Archive of ‘Embroidery Tips’ category

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!

Small Hoops – Jumbo Designs

If you love jumbo designs but don’t have a jumbo hoop, you can easily split a design in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. Follow along with me to learn how.

Open a new file in Perfect Embroidery Pro. Click on the Monogram tool and select Mono17. Type in the letter P. Change the height to 6” and click Apply. Split1

Select the design on the screen and click on the Split Design icon. Split2

The Split Design screen appears. Click on the arrow in the Hoop field and select your hoop. I entered 130×180. The red boxes illustrate two hoopings: 1:1 and 2:1. You can move the boxes to select what portion of the design you want to stitch in the first and second hoop. It’s a good idea to move the boxes to split the design at a natural point. In this instance, where the upper right of the P meets the left leg of the P. Click on Split Preview to see the actually split.

The first hooping appears in the preview window.Split4

When you click in the second hooping area, the preview window changes to the second hooping. Split5

Toggle between the first and second hooping to view each individually. If you want to adjust the split, click on Split Preview again. Move the boxes around each portion of the design. Click on Split Preview again to see you changes.

Once you’re satisfied with the split, click Save and the software will save the design into two separate files and templates of both portions.Split6

Print a template of each design and send the designs to your machine. Splitting designs has never been easier.  Give it a try, this is a skill you’ll use over and over again!

 

 

Last Minute Stitching!

If you still need something special for someone on your gift list, go the personal route.  You can take a mundane item and transform it into a heart-warming and thoughtful gift. This might sound simple but you really can’t go wrong with embroidered towels, terry, linen or cotton.

Embroider linen or cotton towels for the kitchen with seasonal embroidery. Add the family name and you’ll add that extra touch. This week (right up until Christmas), our friends at Urban Threads are offering huge discounts on Quick Stitch Christmas designs.  They not only stitch up in minutes but display beautifully.  Here are two sure-to-please designs for Christmas.

And this pretty design will take you through February.

Of course, last minute stitching can be very stressful so when I’m crunched for time I use our Perfect Placement Kit (PPK) to place the design on each towel.  Deborah Jones developed that product many years ago and it’s one I still use every time I embroider.  Such a time-saver.  The towel templates ensure every towel matches in the entire set!  I don’t know what I did before the PPK.

Here’s how I stitch 3, 4 or a dozen towels. I mark the vertical center of each towel with a pin.  Then I place the towel template on the towel, aligning the template’s horizontal border line with the towel border. I insert a target sticker into the opening, aligning the cross hair with the template’s cross hair.  The sticker’s arrow points into the body of the towel indicating the top of the embroidery design.

Remove the template and repeat for all the towels in the set.  Once I have target stickers on all towels, I won’t get confused if I get interrupted during the stitching process. And since it’s the holiday season, I probably will get interrupted!

How about you? Do you have a favorite last minute gift item that you embroider?

Last week’s winner of I Sew For Fun, Click, Print & Stitch software is Janet Rettig.  Merry Christmas!

 

 

8 Tips for Embroidering with Metallic Thread

Tis the season for shiny, sparkly embroidery!  Many embroiderers shy away from metallic thread but a few tips will help even the most hesitant embroiderer master this holiday favorite!

  1. Use a vertical thread stand. If it comes off the spool and kinks, slip a thread net over the spool. Don’t have one?  Cut a 3” section of pantyhose and slip over the spool.
  2. If you’re worried about feeding the thread from the stand to the machine, add an extra thread guide. Tape a safety pin to the top of the machine (closed end up) and feed the thread through the hole. 
  3. Need another guide? Tape a straw onto the top of the machine.  Just a 1” section will do the trick.
  4. Select the right stabilizer. Soft is best as a heavy, dense cut-away can shred the metallic thread as it enters and exits this tough barrier. Consider polymesh, soft tear-away or tear-away wash away stabilizer.
  5. Tension – decrease the top tension to let the metallic thread slide through the tension discs.
  6. Slow the machine down to 500-600 stitches per minute. Remember this is a specialty thread so it needs special attention!
  7. Chill It – really, many embroiderers swear their metallic performs better after resting in a freezer for 30 mins.
  8. Insert a new sharp metallic needle. The large, polish eye prevents shredding.  You can learn more about needles at SchmetzNeedles.com

 

Embroiderers Always Get This Request

Stitching a name on a stocking cuff is something almost every embroiderer is called upon to do during the holiday season. Most cuffs are faux fur with long fibers that can creep over embroidery obstructing the beautiful stitches.  On Saturday, I showed how to use Perfect Embroidery Pro digitizing software to create a light complex fill to hold down long fibers of faux fur.

Now let’s take a look at how to stitch it.  On a single needle machine, you’ll have to open the side seam of the cuff to flatten it (and possibly a portion of the stocking).  Find the horizontal center of the cuff and place a target sticker in that position.  Point the arrow towards the top of the cuff (where it meets the stocking) so that the word will stitch in the correct orientation.

Hoop adhesive tear-away stabilizer and remove the protective paper.   Place the cuff on the hooped stabilizer, keeping the straight edge parallel to the hoop. I like to rest the body of the stocking over the pantograph as it has less chance of falling into the sewing field.  If there’s a hanging loop, pin it to the stocking.

Stitch color 1, the light complex fill, in a thread color that matches the cuff.  

This color’s only function is to hold down the nap of the fur. It should virtually disappear after the decorative embroidery is applied.  If you look closely at the image, you’ll notice I changed threads in the center section.  The outside sections are stitched in a 40 wt. polyester thread – with the traditional sheen of an embroidery thread. The center section was stitched in our Retro Vintage thread – 40 wt., a matte finish.  I think it disappears quite nicely. In fact, I can’t wait to try it on towels. Anyway, back to the task at hand.

Stitch the next color in traditional thread and you’re done! 

No topper to remove, just tear it away from the hooped stabilizer and it’s ready to hang. How many stockings have you stitched this holiday season?

Tame Those Furry Fibers!

Cold weather calls for cozy fabrics like Minky, faux fur and lofty knits.  As wonderful as they are to wear, they present challenges when it time to add embroidery to them.  First, their fibers creep over embroidery camouflaging the beautiful stitches. Second, since they’re lofty and bulky, they’re hard to hold in a hoop.

Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro’s Nap Blocker feature is the answer for 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?

Now to hoop – I use Snap Hoop Monster for all lofty fabrics because the magnetic flat frame does not leave hoop burn.  My 5” x 7” is my go-to hoop for these bulky fabrics – its strong grip does a great job for monogramming and more!

PEP and Snap Hoop Monster are a powerful combination for furry fibers.  Use it for Christmas stockings, faux fur throws and Minky blankets.

 

 

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