Archive of ‘Embroidery Tips’ category

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Many embroiderers are stitching last minute gifts and that can mean trying to tame long fibers like faux fur and lofty knits. You need to ‘set the stage’ for the beautiful stitches and give them a foundation to sit on. Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro’s Nap Blocker feature is the answer for providing a base for the beautiful stitches while taming the fibers. Nap Blocker adds a layer of complex fill stitches that’s just light enough to flatten the lofty fibers creating a smooth surface for the embroidery. Here’s how to do it in PEP.

Select the Text tool and type JOY in the Properties Box.  I used the Bookman font. 

Select the design, right click to access the command menu.  Select Utility, Nap Blocker.

Instantly, a layer of complex fill is added to the design in the first color position.

The fill extends .15” beyond the design to ensure any long fibers will not obstruct the embroidery.  You can change this by selecting the fill only and resizing.

Notice how the complex fill is placed at the beginning of the design in the color sequence. 

Stitch the complex fill in the same color thread as the fabric. This is key because you want these stitches to disappear behind the beautiful embroidery.  And…you don’t have to use a topper when you use Nap Blocker. How sweet is that?

If you’re working with intricate text, you might want to adjust the shape of the nap blocker.  the image below shows the default nap blocker for a paragraph of text.  Remember, nap blocker has a default setting of .15″ so if it sees a space wider than that, it will leave it open.

It’s easy to adjust this.  Click on the shape tool, select the nap blocker (color 1).  All of the points will be visible. 

Drag the cursor over the points you want to remove.Hit delete on the keyboard. Poof!  They’re gone and the space is not filled!

Much better presentation!

Stabilizer Hack

Recently, I’ve been stitching a ton of free-standing embroidery designs on water soluble stabilizer (WSS).  The results are stunning but I’m going through a ton of stabilizer!  The designs are best stitched on two layers of WSS so of I cut two lengths to fill the hoop, I find I’m wasting about 12″ of stabilizer per hooping.  Ugh!  Don’t you hate wasting stabilizer?

Now, I keep the stabilizer on the roll and let it sit behind (or under) the machine.   I roll out one length to cover the hoop, fold the stabilizer over to create the second layer, then hoop the two layers with the roll extending behind the top/back of the hoop.

On a traditional embroidery machine, i just place the roll over to the side of the machine leaving enough slack to avoid any drag.

On a tubular machine, I pull the excess off to one side and place the roll under the hoop.  Again, the key is to unroll enough stabilizer to avoid any drag on the hoop.  

After the embroidery is complete, just remove the project from the hoop, slice the stabilizer close to the embroidery and repeat the process.

You have to try this!

 

Crazy Quilting

My Quilt Embellisher features 50 crazy quilt stitches that can be combined, sized, rotated and morphed to create hundreds of gorgeous stitches. My Quilt Embellisher is the software I used to create the projects in Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine. To embellish a block with crazy quilt stitches, take a photograph of the block and load it into the software as a Backdrop. Define the horizon and the scale. You’ll find those tools on the left toolbar, just click on the arrow under the Backdrop icon.

Select the Crazy Quilting icon.

Select a stitch from the drop down menu. Select stitch #10.

Once selected, you’ll notice the cursor changes to a small crosshair. Left mouse click and drag the mouse to create the motif. The longer you drag, the larger the motif. Each motif can be dropped individually creating an organic, hand-stitched look. The line of crazy quilt stitches  shown below is five repeats – all slightly different sizes. If your individual units are not aligned, select all and click on Horizontal Center Align to align the units. 

If a design is skewed, just select the individual design and drag the corner handle to rotate it.

Crazy quilting stitches are such a fun, decorative technique for adding embellishments to quilt blocks, small wall hangings, purses and more. One of my favorite projects from the book is this charming storage box.

If you like crazy quilting, you might enjoy my book, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine.  The book includes instructions for creating your own crazy quilt blocks using My Quilt Embellisher software. Follow the steps in the book and watch the video on the CD to learn everything you need to know.  You can learn more about the book here.

 

 

Make Sketch Fonts

Spotted on garments, chalkboards, wood signs and even glassware, open, airy fonts are the rage. It’s easy to get the same look if you have Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro.  Follow along and you’ll be stitching this look in no time.

Open a new screen in Perfect Embroidery Pro (PEP).  Go to File, Import TT (True Type Fonts).

Select a script font from any true type font installed on your computer. Write the message in the text field and place 500 in the size field. Click OK.

The text appears on the screen.  To produce the best stitch file, meld the connecting elements.  Select the o and v, right click, Shaping and Meld.

See how the o and v are one continuous line and do not overlap like the v and the e? 

That’s the looks you’re going for.  At this time, the ov is one unit and the e is a separate element.

Select the ov and e, right click, Shaping and Meld.

Select all, right click, Convert to Complex Fill.

With Love selected, change the Fill Type in the Properties Box to Contour. Click Apply.  Change the density to 1.0 and the stitch length to 2.6. And there’s your sketchy font!

I just learned this trick from one of our education consultants, Tina Bartelmay.  Tina is an embroidery whiz – she uses PEP everyday – evident in her awesome samples!  Catch her at upcoming DIME event at a dealer near you.  Click here to learn more about Tina.

Thanks for sharing this great tip, Tina!

Water Soluble Stabilizer Substitute

Colleen Bell’s gorgeous quilt in the most recent of Designs in Machine Embroidery (Vol. 110, May/June 2018) was made with Shannon Fabrics’ Cuddle.  Wrapping yourself in a Cuddle quilt is like submersing yourself in a teddy bear hug.  Its fibers are luxurious and irresistible to the touch. 

Those luscious fibers can make embroidering on it a challenge. The fibers want to work their way through the embroidery stitches leaving your embroidery looking lackluster. Colleen’s traditional method of taming the fibers was to add a layer of water soluble stabilizer on top of the Cuddle before adding the embroidery.  Colleen is an embroidery whiz – she knows what stabilizer to use when and what hoop is best for the job as seen in this photo. 

Her water soluble stabilizer covers the whole design area and is easily removed by just tearing it away after the embroidery is applied.  Her Snap Hoop Monster won’t leave any hoop burn on the tender Cuddle fabric.  This approach is tried and true but what if you don’t have a supply of water soluble stabilizer on hand?

Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro has the solution with one of its most popular features – Nap Blocker.  In just a few clicks you can add a light density fill BEHIND the design that will permanently hold down the fibers. Here’s how you do it.

Open your embroidery design in Perfect Embroidery Pro.  Colleen used Urban Threads UT17449, Floral Arrow. 

Select the design, right click, select Utility, Create Nap Blocker.

The Nap Blocker, a light density complex fill, is now listed as the first element of color 1. 

Select the complex fill and change its color to match the color of the fabric.  This is crucial as you want the complex fill to disappear behind the embroidery.  

Just hoop your fabric, stitch the first color in thread that matches the fabric and complete the design.  No need to tear or wash away a topper!  Love that feature!

What’s your favorite feature in PEP?

Nancy’s Sewing Weekend

I just arrived in Beaver Dam, WI for Nancy’s Sewing Weekend.  It’s always a fun time – full of great classes, inspiring samples and wonderful people.  Of course, this year will be a little different without Nancy but we’re all committed to carrying on this great tradition.  If you’re in Wisconsin or Ilinois or Iowa or Minnesota or…well, you get the idea, head to Beaver Dam.  I’m reposting Saturday’s blog from Zieman Productions here.  Read on to see what’s happening at Nancy’s Notions this weekend, May 3-5, 2018.

What started as a grand opening in 1985 has grown into one of Wisconsin’s largest annual sewing events. This year’s events start Thursday, May 3rd, and run through Saturday, May 5th. FREE Admission and FREE Parking!

Join in on 24 seminars featuring top educators and designers

New! Sewing Weekend speakers include:

      • Sara Gallegos
      • Mike Johns
      • Joi Mahon

Returning favorite speakers include:

      • Eileen Roche
      • Marti Michell
      • Linda McGehee
      • Pamela Leggett
      • Mary Mulari

Find seminar details and class ticket pricing over at the Nancy’s Notions website.

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012Test-drive a Baby Lock Sewing Machine!

Baby Lock LogoHands-on classes are running throughout the weekend. While many are sold out, tickets for select days and times are available onsite at Nancy’s Notions Sewing Weekend.

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012Free Demonstrations by the Experts

Company representatives from some of the top brands in the sewing industry are available at Sewing Weekend to answer questions and demonstrate products.

NEW! This Year: Food Trucks

    • Food Trucks—7 food trucks/vendors will be part of the Sewing Weekend festivities this year. You won’t need to leave the event to travel to an off-site food location, unless you choose to do so. A seating area and tent will be near the food trucks. It’s a great way to enjoy a variety of choices plus support other Wisconsin-based businesses. Trucks and vendors participating include:
      • Lisa’s Pizza (serving an array of pizzas and pasta)
      • Mac’s BBQ (serving chicken sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, shredded beef sandwiches, jambalaya, coleslaw, potato salad, etc.)
      • Cold Stone Creamery (serving various flavors of ice cream, of course)
      • Curd Girl (serving their specialty fried cheese curds)
      • Gouda Girls (serving specialty grilled cheese sandwiches)
      • We Go Waffles (serving waffles that are both sweet and savory)
      • Mobile Café Express (serving coffee as well as breakfast and lunch food options)

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012Don’t Miss the 3-Day Super Sale!

  • Over 10,000 yards of fabric on sale; and more! Save up to 75% on select Clearance and Overstock items. New deals daily!

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012

  • Ride the FREE! shuttle buses to seminar locations.

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012

  • You can even check your packages while you’re attending seminars and workshops.

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012

  • You’ll find lots of inspiration! Scott Stanton, accounting and IT guru, sports one of his personalized ties. Yes, Scott made it himself. Every day of Sewing Weekend he wears a tie that he made.

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012Special Exhibits and Displays!

Quilt_Expo_Black_and_White_Plus_One_First_Place_WinnerQuilt_Expo_Black_and_White_Plus_One_Second_Place_WinnerQuilt_Expo_Black_and_White_Plus_One_Third_Place_WinnerQuilt_Expo_Black_and_White_Plus_One_Honorable_Mention_WinnerJoin us in celebrating the 34th annual Sewing Weekend, May 3–5, 2018—at Nancy’s Notions in Beaver Dam, WI. What started as a grand opening in 1985, Sewing Weekend has grown into one of Wisconsin’s largest annual sewing events.

Remember the first Sewing Weekend?

Check out these photos from the 1985 Grand Opening of Nancy’s Notions:

Thank you to Nancy, for her vision in creating an annual event for us to gather and celebrate sewing. This year, we celebrate Nancy and her many contributions to the sewing world, her elegant style and gracious living.

Hope to see you there!

How to Hoop a Tote Bag

Just about every tote bag can benefit from the addition of embroidery but hooping one can be challenging. Here’s how I do it – on a single needle machine or a multi-needle.

Place a target sticker 4” below the center top of the tote.  Place the tear-away stabilizer over the metal frame of Monster Hoop.

Turn the tote inside out and center the tote over the stabilizer (centering the target sticker).  Place the magnetic top over the tote. Use the edge of the tote as an alignment guide. If it’s straight, the design will be straight.  

Attach the hoop to the machine and lift the tote over the machine head. Keep an eye on the straps and make sure they are not caught under the hoop. 

Multi-Needle Machines

Place a target sticker 4” below the center top of the tote.  Place the outer ring inside the tote and lay a piece of tear-away over the outer ring.  Insert the inner ring, keeping the target sticker centered. 

Or if you’re using Multi-needle Monster, then insert the magnetic frame into the bag, centering the target sticker. Position the metal frame on top of the magnetic frame and attach to the machine. 

Easy peasy!

Connecting Designs

I love this clever storage idea from Colleen Bell published in the latest issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery, March/April 2018.

If your sewing room is chockfull of fabrics, notions and the like, maybe you use plastic totes to store your treasures.  Colleen Bell created a ‘fool the eye’ project to camouflage basic storage units.  She covered a tower of plastic totes with an embroidered linen cover.  The Trompe l’oeil designs from Urban Threads were just the right touch – delicate yet eye-catching.

Colleen used one of my favorite techniques – connecting embroidery designs with regular stitches.  When designs look like they are just hanging in space, linking them together completes the scene.  First, stitch your embroidery designs. Then use a removable marker to sketch lines connecting the designs. 

Then just stitch on the lines in the same thread as the embroidery design!

On Colleen’s project, the sketched lines mimic a swagged curtain and provides a natural resting spot for the bow. It adds to the Trompe l’oeil style of Urban Threads’ designs.  Well done, Colleen!  Learn more about Colleen at her website: http://www.the-embroiderist.com/about/

 

What Did You Make Today?

When someone asks me, “What did you make today?”, I always want to reply, “something beautiful”.  Some days I can confidently say that.  And other days, all I can say is, “Mistakes!”

Like when the needle falls out during the stitching.

Or when I stitch over a white target sticker.

Or even better, a yellow target sticker.

Or when I catch the fabric on the back of the hoop and end up with something like this:

Or pull this mess out of the bobbin case.

When any of these mistakes, accidents, nightmares, blunders, gaffes, etc. occur, I’m always so grateful to have an arsenal of tools to get me out of my jam. 

I don’t know what I would do without my Bird’s Nest tool, tweezers and screw driver!

How about you? What did you make today?

Stitching Split Designs

It’s easy to split designs in software but the challenge for many embroiderers is in the stitching.  I use a combination of templates, Perfect Alignment Laser and the advance stitch feature on my machine. First, split the design in Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro.  Click here to review the steps.  Send the two designs to your machine.

Print a template of both designs. I use Print & Stick Target Template Paper because its adhesive back will stick to the fabric.  Align the two templates on the fabric focusing on placement of the entire design.  For instance, if you’re embroidering a pillow, center the monogram (both designs aligned) on the pillow.  Then remove the second design template (the second hooping).  Hoop the fabric centering the crosshair of the first hooping.  Stitch the design. 

Remove the fabric from the hoop.  Place the second design template on the fabric aligning the template with the stitched design.  

Hoop adhesive stabilizer and remove the protective paper.  Attach the hoop to the machine and stitch the first color of the second hooping, the alignment line. Remove the hoop and position the hoop under PAL aligning the horizontal beam with the horizontal marks on the hoop and the vertical beam with the stitched line. 

Place the embroidered fabric on the sticky stabilizer aligning the stitched line with the vertical beam and the horizontal beam with the template’s horizontal line. 

Double check the placement by lifting the fabric and checking that the stitched line on the fabric is aligned with the stitched line on the stabilizer. 

Attach the hoop to the machine and return to the beginning of color 1, the stitched line.  Advance through color 1 watching the foot trace over the stitched line.  It should align with the stitched line, if not, adjust the fabric until it does.

Stitch the second design.  Now take a closer look.  

My sample is not perfect. 

The four circles illustrate where the two designs connect.  The connections are fine in the blue circles but the areas in the red circles need some help.  I would fix these disconnected areas by sewing a narrow satin column (zigzag stitch) on the sewing machine to join the two areas.  No one would ever know!

I hope you’ll forgive me for this not-so-perfect project and the poor photography on the laser shot.  We’re moving our offices this week so my working environment is not quite up to what it should be.  Hope to have everything back to normal in a week or two!

Last week’s winner of Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons is….BRENDA KENNEDY!  Brenda said, “I have four tops that need to be quilted.Just purchased the Brother Dream Machine. I need to do something to justify the cost of the machine.I also have a Quattro 2.”

Brenda, we’ll email you to get your mailing address. Congratulations!

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