Archive of ‘Embroidery Tips’ category

Needle, Needle, What Size Needle?

I’m the first to admit, I sometime (ok, too often!) skim over the recommendations for proper sewing and embroidery.  You know, like changing the stitch length when sewing specific fabrics. Or choosing the right needle for the job. And yes, I’m often (too often!), disappointed in my initial results. My personality profile is I’m a starter; I like to jump right into a project without reading directions (good thing, cause the directions don’t often exist until I write them). But even when designing and creating an entirely new project, there are steps that I could take that would ensure success. And eliminate some frustration on my part.  You know, it’s hard to change your personality. It’s just my first instinct to jump in and get going. When in reality, I should, ahem, exhale, evaluate, gather the necessary supplies and then start.

Those lessons were reinforced this summer when I was making the wedding dress. If you remember, I couldn’t drive during that time, so my fabric trips were scarce and I really had to have my supply list complete.  Also, satin and rayon were not fabrics that I typically worked with in my sewing room.  So I did my research and made a list, and another list and another list. You know, I was laid up for six weeks, there was lots of list making!

The smartest addition I made to my sewing room during that time was Schmetz’s Needle Chart. At a glance, it told me what needles I needed for the massive (I mean, memorable) project and, once secured and lightly used, the chart told me what needle I was holding in my hand.  Its colorful rainbow is a welcome addition to an unused shelf in my studio.

Unused shelf? You’re astonished, I’m sure! But remember, my Stitching Sister Marie Zinno purged my sewing room a couple of years ago and I’m proud to say, it still looks that way! Back to the needle chart: it also happens to be the last thing I see when I walk out of my studio – a great reminder when I’m need of a new pack of needles.

The wedding dress required three types of needles: Stretch for the satin (it had 10% Lcyra), Microtex for the Bemberg rayon lining and Embroidery for the embroidered ribbon and label. Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Since I worked on the fabrics at different times, it was easy to switch them out. That’s when the color coding really helped! Needl2BL

You can download the chart for your sewing room.  Just click here and scroll down the page a bit to locate the chart.  The arrow in the illustration below is pointing to the download link – you have two sizes to choose from – one for your sewing room and one for your handbag. SchmetzBL


Here’s your assignment this week:

Schmetz needles are available at retailers nationwide. Whenever I’m in my local sewing machine dealer, I make sure I pick up a new pack of needles.  I’m building my stash so that I’m prepared for future projects. How about you? Do you have trouble planning properly? Do you jump right in and then regret it later? Or do you approach projects with caution and prepare accordingly?

Leave a comment and one lucky winner will win a SCHMETZ Sew Essential Combo Pack.  That’s three packs of SCHMETZ Embroidery needles with the ever popular Grabbit® Magnetic Pincushion and the free SCHMETZ Info card.  $24.95 US Retail.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

Have you ever felt a moment of relief like this? Leave us a comment telling us how you celebrated a big accomplishment and one of you will be randomly selected to win a $20 gift card to Designs in Machine Embroidery!

The winner is:  

Darlene Bares: “I have a problem saying no. So when someone asks me to do something whether its sewing or an embroidery project. I’m burning daylight because most of the time it’s last minute. I just enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and seeing their faces when its done. That’s enough for me.”

Importing Artwork in Word Art in Stitches

It’s very easy to create your own bubbles with your own artwork in Inspirations’ Word Art in Stitches.. Let me show you how.

Open a new file (File, New). Select Import Artwork from the File menu.File1BL

Select an artwork file from your computer (navigate to different areas of your hard drive by clicking on the arrow at the top of the box (Look In).  You can import the following formats: AI, EPS, EMF, WMF, DXF, PLT, SVF and FCM.  I settled for a tomato in the WMF format.  Select the file and click on open.File2BL

The image appears on the screen. In the Sequence box, you’ll see the different colors that make up this drawing.File3BL

Bubble art requires one color, an outline, so I’ll remove all of the interior colors. Select the colors in the Sequence box and hit delete on the keyboard.File4BL

Now I have a black tomato, not an outline.File5BL

No worries, the software will automatically outline it.  Select the tomato and click on the Bubble Text icon.File6BL

The outline appears in the Bubble Text window. To fill the bubble, I chose a run stitch outline, typed in Tomato in the Words box, selected a Red color scheme and clicked Apply.File8BL

It was that easy!File9BL

Adventures In Word Art In Stitches

Open a new file in Inspirations’ Word Art in Stitches lettering program. Word Art in Stitches is only available at Inspirations brick and mortar dealers.


Click on the Bubble Text icon – just hover the mouse over an icon to quickly identify the icon’s function. SewBL

A menu appears with several options for quick customization. Sew2BL

  1. Select the artwork outline. I chose a sewing machine from the hundreds of options.
  2. Select how you want the border to appear: run, steil stitch or no visible outline. I like the steil.
  3. Type in the words. Skip prepositions, just insert a few words. I typed in Word Art Stitches after removing the default My Text.
  4. Select the font. You can choose one or create custom combinations. The software forces a mini font into the list. This is a very helpful safety net as the words can get quite small.
  5. Select a thread palette. There are a dozen to choose from and you can create custom palettes.
  6. Select from several small designs to add additional embellishment.
  7. Apply is where the magic happens. Click Apply to view your work. Continue to click to see random creations. Once you see one you like, click Ok because you won’t see it again!

The menu will dissolve and you’ll find your new embroidery design on the screen. machine1BL

If you’d like to tweak the design (and who can’t leave well enough alone?), select the design, right mouse click and select Ungroup. Select the Text icon and click on each individual word to make any changes you’d like. You have so much freedom in Word Art in Stitches, you’ll find yourself decorating everything with bubble text!

5 More Great Time-Saving Tips!

1. Keep all materials for the project in a ziplock plastic bag or see-through container.  This eliminates wasting time looking for misplaced items. ZipBags

2. Use pre-wound bobbins or once your bobbin stash has dwindled to four, devote a 20 minutes to winding embroidery bobbins to build up your cache.

3. Line up your thread by the machine in the order you’ll be using them.  If a certain thread has to be used twice, in a different position, designate the position with a penny or other small item. 

5 More Great Time-Saving Tips!

4. Keep a note pad by your machine and use it to document the position of the design in the sewing field.  If disaster strikes, you’ll be able to resume embroidering quickly.

5. Make use of Post-it notes to remember to mirror image a design, rotate or duplicate it.  I stick the note right to the machine so I know to apply this feature when I stitch the next design. ES_6


Here’s your assignment this week:

After reviewing last week’s comments on stitching during the summer months, it seems that most of you definitely find time to embroider in the warmer months. I live in Texas where the thermometer likes to hover above 90, so I find myself looking for indoor activities during June, July and August. This summer, I have plenty to do as I’m working on my daughter’s wedding dress! I’d love to know if you have made a wedding dress – for yourself, your daughter or other family member. Post your comments and one lucky winner will receive a package of Print & Stick Target Template paper. I think I’ll get a lot of use out of Print & Stick Target Templates this summer because they don’t leave a mark on those delicate white fabrics!

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

Now that summer is here, do you find time to stitch? Or do you trade your stitching time for an outdoor activity? Post your comments and one lucky winner will receive a $25 gift card good for the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

The winner is:  Alice Cornelson:  “I find myself sewing mostly and drifting outside to enjoy the beautiful weather or to help hubby when he needs me. I take my time sewing and embroidering which is all enjoyment and relaxation. Thanks, Eileen, for sharing your tips, ideas, and thoughts in the blog and an opportunity to win.”

Top Five Applique Techniques for Plush Fabrics


Most embroiderers love appliqué designs. Appliqué can be used when a large embroidery design is needed but using a high stitch count design is not feasible. Appliqué can also be used to tame thick plush fabrics; such as terry cloth, fake fur and plush velour. In my embroidery business I add appliqué frames in combination with beautiful monograms to lounge chair towels, blankets and baby items. Here are some helpful techniques for creating professional looking appliqué when stitching on plush fabrics.

  1. Pre-wash all appliqué fabric before embroidering.
  2. Use a fusible light weight interfacing to the wrong side of appliqué fabric.
  3. Match the satin stitch thread to your background fabric.
  4. Test the appliqué design on similar fabric before stitching to check the density and quality of design. Adjust design in software if necessary.
  5. Place the embroidery hoop on a clean flat surface when trimming the excess fabric.


Learn more in my Craftsy class; How to Start a Home Embroidery Business with Marie Zinno.

Click here for a $10 coupon.

Embroidering for Small and Plus Size Figures

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

In my first attempts at embroidering a blank garment for a small child, I must admit I struggled. I often made the design too large for the small figure and it always landed in the wrong place. Oh, it looked great when the garment was flat but when worn, it was an entirely different story. The design usually hit closer to the belly button than up near the neckline. And a good portion of a left chest embroidery pretty much always wound up in the armpit.  Once the Children’s Perfect Placement Kit was available, I was saved. I just rely on that handy tool to get the embroidery in the right scale and location for young ones.

At the other end of the scale, embroidering for plus size figures gave me the same trouble.  So what’s my problem? Familiarity. I know what works on a garment that fits a person about my size, give or take a few sizes up or down the scale. But adding a left chest logo to say a man’s XXXL shirt, is not something I do every day.  So finding the right location is difficult. I was relieved when the Embroiderer’s Big Helper was released.  Everyone deserves to look their best when wearing embroidered garments and it’s up to embroiderers to make sure they do. After all, it’s the stitchers who set the look. The common man (those poor souls who don’t stitch) don’t know any better. They need to be led, steered in the right direction when it comes to embroidered garb. After all, they are a walking advertisement for your skills. So help them look their best – use the Embroiderer’s Big Helper when stitching on plus size shirts.

Let me show you how easy it to use.

Fuse Sulky’s Soft N Sheer Plus to the wrong side of the design area. Use enough to fill the hoop – you can trim the excess after stitching.

Place the shirt on a flat work surface. Align the Helper’s straight edge with the center of the placket and position the curved cutout at the neckline.  Align a target sticker to the corresponding size notch.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Remove the Helper and stitch the design.

Remove the shirt from the hoop. Turn the garment inside out and place it on a terrycloth towel on a pressing surface.  Press the stabilizer. Once it’s heated, gently lift it away from the shirt and trim away the excess leaving about ½” stabilizer around the design.  Press again to fuse it back to the garment.

Present the shirt to the lucky recipient!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


Here’s your assignment this week:

Every sewing studio runs more smoothly with embroidery essentials. For today’s blog, Eileen reached for Sulky’s Soft N Sheer Plus to complete the garment. What’s your favorite go-to Sulky product?

Sulky banner

Post a comment and one very lucky winner is going to score BIG courtesy of our friends at Sulky! Prize includes:

  • 8” roll of Tear Easy
  • 8” roll of Solvy
  • 8” roll of Soft ‘n Sheer
  • 1 can of KK 2000
  • A set of 12 Rayon Threads


The retail value is approximately: $105


The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

Which approach do you most identify with? Are you the experienced machine embroider that begins a new quilt like Eileen or a more novice embroider like Denise who used the quilt designs to finish existing projects? Post your comments and one random winner will be selected to win Windmill Garden Quilts designs. And the winner is:  Beth R. – “I am more of a novice type – plus I have plenty of existing projects to finish!”

Multi-Needle Embroidery: Using Designs with 10+ Colors

Multi Needle Monday - Diane Kron

The Baby Lock Enterprise multi-needle machine has 10 needles.  Many embroidery designs have more than 10 color changes. To utilize these designs on this machine it will require just a few additional steps.

Created by: Diane Kron, Software and Embroidery Projects Manager for Designer’s Gallery

Enterprise Multi-Needle Embroidery Machines by Baby Lock®
Built- in design

At the Embroidery Machine:

  1. In the Properties field of the machine, set the Manual Color Sequence to Off. This will be on  page 5 of the Properties.blog1bl
  1. Select the 12th design listed under Exclusive Home Décor.
  2. On the embroidery screen, each of the 10 needle bars is assigned a color based on the colors in the design. There are 13 colors in this design.blog2bl


  1. The screen also tells you how much time before the machine will stop and a spool color change is needed. The time indicator will turn red as the last color is being sewn before it stops.blog3bl


  1. To see where a spool change is necessary, touch the Forward/Backward key on the screen. A new screen appears.blog4bl

Notice the red line and its placement. At this point, the machine will stop and allow you to change thread colors for the remaining color stops in the design.  You will see a message at the bottom of the screen (Change Threads and click start button).blog5bl

  1. The LED spool stand indicator will light up in white and then flash with the new color as shown in the following illustration. If black is the next color, the light will turn off. Touch Close to remove the message.
  2. Re-thread the machine on spools 1 and 2 as indicated above in the illustration or any other remaining spool that is flashing. When the machine stops and indicates a spool change, the thread information for the spool to be changed is outlined with a red outline.blog6bl

If some of the colors needed are already being used in another part of the design, the machine will make the adjustments recognizing the previously used needle bars and thread colors so no spool changes may be necessary even though the screen may indicate more than 10 thread colors in the design. The following image shows the finished design.blog7bl

Multi-Needle Monday: Text Tools at Your Fingertips


One of my favorite features about my multi-needle machine (Enterprise or Entrepreneur) is the touch screen text tools. As an embroidery business owner I wear a lot of hats; marketing, finance, designer, and operator so if I can save a little time to stitch a name on a hat back or the sleeve of a coaches shirt I am elated. Using the programmed fonts and editing tools to accomplish this task makes professional looking lettering at your fingertips.

Convert horizontal text into vertical text.

There are a handful of occasions when a vertical name is needed such as: bat bags, locker bags and a length of a sleeve. This is how I create the vertical text on my 10 needle embroidery machine.


Step1. Select the lettering icon on the main screen and type in the word “Coach”. Generally the vertical name or word would be all caps.

Select the Array icon and diagonal choice.




Step2.Select and hold the lower bottom bold diagonal line. The letters will move from a diagonal into a perfect vertical line. Touch close and embroider the text. Size and spacing can still be adjusted as needed.




Array Text

Select the horizontal line icon and the arch icon. There are many different ways to position the text with the array keys. The arch feature is the perfect tool to use if you add a name to the back of a baseball hat. You can easily squeeze the letters to fit around the opening.




Slice Tool

This feature separates each letter in a line of text.



Type in the name or text needed and select “Spacing” icon. Touch the picture of a knife and you will notice the knife moving between each letter in the word.




Use the “select” key to highlight a letter to be re-sized or moved if needed. Touch edit end and embroider the text.




Learn more helpful machine embroidery business information by taking my Craftsy class : How to Start an Embroidery Business by Marie Zinno.

Click the link to save $10 on this class.

Software Saturday – My Quilt Embellisher Labels


When you stumble across a family heirloom, don’t you find yourself yearning for some background behind the object?  Don’t you wish you knew the date it was created and by whom? And where?  I sure do.  So I think we should take that into consideration when we make quilts and include a label.

Of course, labels are as individual as signatures but here are my self-inflicted rules for quilt labels – with the emphasis on self-inflicted!  I think it’s important to document the title of the quilt, the recipient (if there is one), the quilt maker’s name and hometown, the date of completion and…how to care for the quilt.

Two more rules that I have are to make the label visually appealing and add it to the quilt before the quilting is complete. I’ll explain how I add it to the quilt in a future post but for now, I’ll concentrate on digitizng.

My Quilt Embellisher has 99 different labels to get you started.  Open a new file in My Quilt Embellisher, click on the Border icon and select a favorite – I like Border 74. label1

It has adornments at the top and bottom; an inner bean stitch outline and an outer satin stich outline.  Select the design, right mouse click and Ungroup. Now, delete adornments and the satin stitch outline. label3

Select the Text icon and click inside the frame.  Move the cursor to the Properties box and type the title of the quilt. Select a font from the drop down menu, I’ve selected Bauhas.  Click Apply. label4

Select the Text icon again and click inside the frame.  Move the cursor to the Properties box and type your name, click on Enter and then type your hometown on the second line. Click a different font from the drop down menu – Cursive in this sample. In the Line Spacing box, enter -5. Click Apply. The negative number automatically pulls the letters close together mimicking handwriting. label5

Just a little more information and we’ll be done. Select the text icon again, click inside the frame and move the cursor to the Properties box.  Type the date on the first line and the care instructions on the second line.  In the font drop down menu, select Arial 4mm.  Click Apply. label7

Select all of the elements, right mouse click and select Align, Horizontal Center. label8

Once you’re satisfied with the layout, reorder the color sequence. In the Sequence window, select the first color, the frame. label9

Move it to the last position. The label is ready to be stitched! label10

On Wednesday, I’ll share the next steps – applying to the quilt.

I love how easy it is to customize a label in My Quilt Embellisher.

Glitter Princess!

Glitter Princess!

You’re never too old or too young to celebrate a special birthday!  Recently, Stephanie Sanders, my loyal employee of 14 years, approached me with a request to stitch a shirt for her daughter’s upcoming 2nd birthday.

We discussed options and thought it would be fun to stitch an applique crown and a number 2.  Since little girls love sparkles we knew the applique fabric would have to be something glittery and fun.

This was the perfect opportunity to use Glitter Sheets from BFC-Stash.  The sheets are available as sets and individual sheets in countless colors.  Instructions are included with the Embroidery Glitter for steps on how to use and care for the product.  


I used embroidery software to create the embroidery design.  If you missed the Software Saturday lesson on the blog click here.

I could have placed an entire square of the Glitter Sheet on the applique then trimmed it away once the tack down stitch was complete.  But this was a great opportunity to use the Brother™ ScanNCut to create pre-cut applique shapes.  So I sent the applique artwork files from Perfect Embroidery Pro to my Brother Scan N Cut.  I loaded a gold glitter sheet, pressed the button and Voila! A gold crown, perfectly cut!  IMG_0655

I was so excited I quickly picked up a pink glitter sheet and repeated the steps for the digit.  Gee, that stuff is addictive! IMG_0659

Once the design was created I fused Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer™ Extra cut-away stabilizer to the wrong side of the t-shirt. Then I hooped the t-shirt in Snap Hoop Monster.

When it was time to stitch the design I placed the pre-cut Glitter sheets on the placement stitching.  The sheets were tacked down then finished with the satin stitching.  The final step is to use a Teflon pressing cloth to iron the embroidery using the linen heat setting.  (330-365 degrees).  Complete care instructions are included with the Glitter Sheets.

The Glitter Sheets are light-weight and move with the garment.  Perfect for a little one that is always on the move!


The final step was to finish the back of the garment with Sulky Tender™ Touch.  This added step makes the shirt more comfortable for little ones to wear by covering the bobbin stitches.


Now the little princess is ready for her party!


If you’ve missed out on this month’s Designs Plus Newsletter, be sure to stop by for a visit.  Sulky is offering 3 free embroidery designs and a limited time special offer on their products.


Here’s your assignment this week:

I had so much fun working with the Glitter Sheets from BFC- Stash on this project. The wide range of sheet color choices is my favorite aspect of the product. What is your favorite color Glitter Sheet to use? Post your comments and one random winner will be selected to win a $25 gift certificate to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

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