Archive of ‘Embroidery Tips’ category

Facebook LIVE Tutorial on Conquering Your Fear of the Snap Hoop Monster: Magnetic Hooping

We hope you enjoyed our second Facebook live this week but due to technical difficulties we decided to re-shoot a video just for the blog! Take a look below to learn more about magnetic hoops and why you shouldn’t be afraid of the Snap Hoop Monster.

2019 Stitch Along Tour – Participants List

Join dime, Baby Lock, and the following talented individuals as we celebrate National Embroidery Month in February with a Stitch Along Blog Tour!  There will be prizes given away on each participant’s blog as well as beautiful inspiration on how to use my newest collection, The Farmhouse Collection – Sentiments.

Take a look at the schedule and be sure to mark your calendars!

Friday, February 1, 2019
Eileen Roche


You’re reading my blog so you probably are already familiar with me. Just in case you’re new here, I’ll fill you in on why I’m here. I’ve been immersed in machine embroidery for over 20 years. I love overcoming challenges by inventing new techniques and products to make machine embroidery more enjoyable for everyone. Most of all, I want you to be proud of what you create on your machine and if I can help you do that, well, that makes my day!

Monday, February 4, 2019
Team Nancy Zieman Productions


In 2007, Nancy Zieman and Deanna Springer started Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC. (NZP). Deanna worked along side Nancy as marketing coordinator, business manager, co-director of video production, and in product development and project design. Over 10 exciting years, NZP launched a new BLOG, social media channels, 40+ sewing and quilting products including tools, patterns and books. The NZP Team continued to produce 10 more seasons of Sewing With Nancy, with Wisconsin Public Television, until Nancy’s passing in November 2017.

Today, Deanna and the NZP Team are honored to carry on Nancy’s legacy and love of sewing through sharing Nancy’s time-saving sewing techniques via the BLOG, by creating patterns and developing new products, gathering the stitching community at Quilt Expo, and continuing reruns of Sewing With Nancy on Public Television for many years to come. 

Deanna is VP of Marketing at Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC, where she continues to enjoy her role as business manager, blog editor, manager of product development and project design, and co-events manager of Quilt Expo. On any given day, you’ll find Deanna developing sewing notions for Clover Needlecraft, Inc., fashion garment patterns for The McCall Pattern Company, fabric collections for Penny Rose Fabrics—a division of Riley Blake Designs, creating quilt patterns for QuiltWoman, managing Quilt Expo quilt contests, challenges, exhibits, lectures, workshops and stage presentations, and sewing projects for the BLOG on Baby Lock sewing machines.

Deanna has a certificate in Applied Marketing from the University of Wisconsin School of Business. Deanna enjoys all things nature—and all four seasons—with her husband, Dennis, in their beautiful home state of Wisconsin.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Carla Reale
Baby Lock Palette Community


After a traumatic wrap skirt experience at the hands of a vindictive Home Economics teacher in junior high school, Carla hung up her sewing shears, choosing to pursue a graduate degree in Rehabilitation Counseling which she used to pursue a career working with children with disabilities and their families. She left that job to become a stay-at-home mom, but soon realized she needed a hobby. Her fascination with embroidery machines coupled with her inability to leave anything left unexplained, lead to her teaching digitizing software both by writing digital workbooks and by teaching classes at the local Baby Lock retailer’s store. Her innate selling skills, and overt bossiness combined with the counseling skills she acquired in college (no it did NOT go to waste, Dad) enabled her to manage a very successful store for the next thirteen years. During that time, she became a certified machine technician and developed a series of videos to teach her customers how to use their machines. As a National Training Specialist for Baby Lock, Carla enjoys training retailers how to both sell and use Baby Lock machines and software, and is involved with the SewlutionExpert Certification programs.

Friday, February 8, 2019
Karen Parker
Thread Head and Company


Threadhead & Co. was born when 2 fiber loving friends, Karen and Beth, joined forces to provide education in various areas of fiber arts. Threadhead & Co offers an array of patterns in quilting, embroidery, accessories, and home decor to name just a few. Now they would like to share them with you!

Monday, February 11, 2019
Cathy Sundermann
Stitchfork Designs


I am a rule follower.

Don’t run with scissors; never eat more than you can lift;

if your sleeve rips, put on a sweater; and so on.

At Stitchfork, I am a rule follower who loves to break the rules when designing monograms. It’s just embroidery, have fun with it!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Michelle Umlauf
Sewing Machine Artistry


Michelle Umlauf has made a career for herself in the sewing industry working as an independent educator.  Eleven years ago she knew she wanted to share her passion with others by teaching.  She began taking teacher certification courses with the Martha Pullen Company and Sulky of America.  Today she is a Certified Ambassador of Education for Baby Lock, a National Educator representing Sulky of America, a Certified Educator for the Decorating Diva and a Demonstrator for Clover Needlecraft, Inc.  She helped found and hosted the Sewing Online with Sulky webinar.  Michelle enjoys traveling across the country working and teaching at expos, sewing shops, Baby Lock retailers and at local quilt guilds.  When she is home, she enjoys spending time with her family at their home in the mountains of Maryland.  Her German Shepherds and rescue kitty enjoy taking mom on nice long walks in the woods!

Friday, February 15, 2019
Milinda Stephenson
Milinda Sews


Hi, I’m Milinda Stephenson, and I’m an Education Ambassador for Baby Lock. I am a third generation sewing fanatic, and I owe this to my wonderful mother and grandmother. Sewing has been a passion of mine for years. Through this hobby, I have learned many tips and tricks for an abundance of designs, and now I would like to share all of those tips with YOU!

My blog offers sewing patterns every week (most of my projects include embroidery and serging), sewing advice/tips, and information on new Baby Lock sewing/embroidery/serging machines. I created this blog to share my knowledge of sewing with anyone who is eager to learn a new trait. My goal is to inspire others, just like sewing inspired me!

Let’s get sewing.

Monday, February 18, 2019
Marie Zinno
Marie Zinno Blog


She has published 40 Multi-needle machine blogs, which reached over 40,000 readers each week on the DIME website. Her column “Multi-needle Know How” is a popular article in each issue in Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine. Marie has appeared on numerous PBS sewing TV shows, such as Sewing with Nancy and It’s Sew Easy. She has authored and co-authored 4 books on machine embroidery. Marie has a class on Craftsy/BluePrint titled, How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business.

During Marie’s 6 years as a Stitching Sister with Eileen Roche, she has taught thousands of embroiderers across the nation. And oh yes, Eileen and Marie really are sisters – the middle sisters of 6 daughters.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Colleen Bell
The Embroiderist


Embroidery has been around since the beginning of civilization. While Colleen Bell cannot claim to have been around that long, she has had a long history of embroidering – first as a young teen in the 60’s with hip bell bottoms embellished with hand embroidery to the innovation of the embroidery machine which has become her passion. Join her adventures at  

Friday, February 22, 2019
Sara Gallegos
Baby Lock / Sew Positively Sara


Hi, I’m Sara Gallegos of and Decorative Stitch, in Shelby Twp, MI! Decorative Stitch is an oasis for sewers and quilters of all ages, styles, and proficiencies! Located in Shelby Township, MI, our store features a bright, colorful interior bursting with creative inspiration and over 4000 bolts of designer fabrics. In addition to our super friendly certified staff members, you will also find a wide variety of sewing notions and accessories, along with Baby Lock sewing machines and Koala sewing furniture. Feeling creative? It is time to sew…with Decorative Stitch!

Monday, February 25, 2019
Debbie Henry
Secrets of Embroidery


Debbie Henry is a regular contributor to Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine as well as blogger for (now, and She resides in western Pennsylvania with her husband who is very understanding of her fabric addiction.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Debbie Cleek
Designer’s Gallery Get Together by Baby Lock


Thursday, February 28, 2019
Eileen Roche


It’s going to be fun month – you’ll learn lots of machine embroidery tips and techniques from our talented contributors. And you’ll have a chance to win a Farmhouse Sentiment kit on each day of the tour. I’ll kick it off on Feb. 1 in a Facebook Live event at 1:00 PM CST. This will be my first Facebook Live event and I would love to have you join me. Although I’ve done tons of television, LIVE is well, LIVE – who knows what will happen. I think I’ll need all the support I can get. Hope to you see there!

Ramping Up

I have been spending the last few weeks ramping up for a great 2019 and it has totally consumed my time.  In February, we are celebrating National Embroidery Month by partnering with Baby Lock and fellow embroiderers to bring you a blog tour based on quilting with your embroidery machine.  If you’re a frequent visitor here, then you know I love to quilt with my embroidery machine. So I’m really pumped to see what the other bloggers will create!  You’ll learn more about that on February 1st.

My friends over at Nancy Zieman Productions are hosting a giveaway on my Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons book during the month of January. 

You’ll find everything you need to know about
quilting with your embroidery machine in this book.

Stop by Nancy’s blog and leave a comment to be entered into the drawing.  One of my favorite tips in that book is using pool noodles to baste a quilt.  Yesterday, I basted a whole cloth quilt in under an hour with the pool noodle technique. So much fun!

Pool noodles to the rescue!

In 2019, you’ll find a new block of the month quilt and you will be able to download all of the embroidery designs for piecing and quilting in the hoop!  Look for the first block in the coming weeks here on the blog.  

I’ll be back to my regular posting schedule this weekend.  I hope you had a great holiday and I wish you good health and happiness in 2019.

Set the Stage

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!

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