Archive of ‘Embroidery Tips’ category

Bucket List Checkup!

This is a great year to make a conscious effort to sharpen your sewing and embroidery skills.  Focus on incremental improvement – don’t worry about perfection or trying to catch up to someone else who you think has superior skills.  Focus on your personal achievements, no matter how small! 


A few months ago I was making an embroidery project that turned out really cute… except to complete the project I needed to learn how to install snaps.  I froze.  I didn’t move forward.  What if I ruin my embroidery project?  I stashed the project away…but not before I made a half dozen variations of the same project… and they ALL need cute snaps for closures.  Right now they are sitting in a bin… unfinished….

Then this weekend happened.  I decided to download the cute Snappy Key Fobs design from ZippyDesignZ.  I was drawn to it for several reasons:

  1. It’s a New Year. It’s time I embrace the task of learning how to install snaps.  This is the perfect project to make me learn!Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  2. Turning narrow fabric isn’t on my list accomplishments. It’s time to add it!Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  3. I really enjoy embroidery designs that offer a foundation for me to customize to my heart’s content. These key fob designs not only include a variety of styles (9 quilting patterns in 4 sizes) but I can also personalize with my own collection of designs.  The cherries and the hearts shown below were built-in designs in Perfect Embroidery Pro.  Think of the fun designs and variations you can make!
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  4. These key fobs don’t require a lot of fabric! I can use my favorite scraps I’ve been hoarding.
  5. Use what you have!  (Related to #4).  I had a smorgasbord of D-ring sizes.  I like to make the supplies I have work for my needs.  This is especially useful if 1.) the weather is horrible and you can’t get to the store for supplies 2.) you live far away from craft/sewing stores.  This also forces you to think out of the box.

 

Denise’s Newbie Tips and Useful Advice for All Skill Levels
1.  Don’t assume you know it all!  READ the instructions!  I read “In the hoop” and thought, yes, I’ve done that.  Place fabric on top… tape fabric underneath the hoop… blah, blah.  I’m a pro.  That’s what I thought until I trimmed my first key chain and realized this project used a different method.  (Place back fabric on top of hoop, wrong side up, then TURN the fabric).  Oops!Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog2.  If you do add your own designs to the key fob, be sure to double check the color sequence.  For example, you don’t want to stitch your custom designs after you’ve placed the back fabric.  (I didn’t make this mistake but came very close to it!)


This week’s assignment:

Now it’s your turn!  Tell us about a recent accomplishment that you’re especially proud of! This is your chance to share and inspire other readers.  It can be related to machine embroidery, sewing or any other skill you’ve honed!  4 random comments will be selected and each person will win a $25 gift certificate to go on a fun shopping spree at Zippy DesignZ.

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An Expert’s Tip on Text on a Path

Leave it to Inspirations Education Consultant Ashley Jones to teach me another shortcut on digitizing text on a path. Previously, she taught me (and you) how to instantly place text around the perimeter of a shape (artwork).  You can read up on that tip here.

Today’s tip is applicable to the Inspirations’ software program that includes the text on a path feature (Perfect Embroidery Pro and Word Art in Stitches). Select the Text tool and type a sentence into the Properties Box. I wrote: Once upon a time, in a land far away. Click Apply.TP1BL

The text appears on the screen. Right click on the text and select Path from the dropdown menu.TP2BL

Right click again and select Edit Baseline.TP3BL

Right click and select Add Point.TP4BL

Place the cursor under the n in upon and click to add a point.  Do the same under the w in away.  Now move the new modes up to create a curved line.TP5BL

Left mouse click and the words are on the curved path. Use the blue nodes to slide the letters and words along the path. (Black nodes allow you to move that letter independently).TP6BL

But moving the whole line doesn’t seem to work because the first letter, O, does not have a blue node. Ashley showed me a simple fix for that. Just add a space in front of the first word of the line in the Properties Box.TP9BL

Now a node appears (blue diamond) to the left of the line.TP11BL

Use this node to slide the entire sentence.TP12BL

Gee, I just love a tip like this; it simplifies what used to seem like a laborious task into a breeze. Thanks Ashley!TP13BL

Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes

When you get the opportunity work with a friend, work doesn’t feel like work.  My last big sewing adventure in 2015 was no exception. I had the pleasure of working with my good friend, Nancy Zieman, on our latest joint venture – Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes on Sewing with Nancy.  What a fun way to end the year!headshotBL

It all started last April at Nancy’s home in Wisconsin. During a social visit, we started brainstorming about a new project – an updated version of our popular Designer Necklines collection. A few sketches, a page or two of notes and we were off on a new journey.  Of course, the process takes a couple of months and is all done by long distance (thanks to email and text messages!), but before you know it, we had the makings of a fun new technique – Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes.blueBL

And then of course, it was time to shop. We sampled tons of t-shirts to find the right ones for this technique. We wanted to make sure the technique would work on readily-available blanks so we designed around ladies’ shirts at Kohl’s, Target and WalMart. We figured just about everyone has access to one of those three retail stores.  When I look back on the receipts, it looks like I was outfitting a softball team – I was buying t-shirts by the dozen!blackBL

But it was well worth it because this is my absolute favorite collection that I’ve ever designed. I love how wearable it is. When we photographed the samples at our studio here in Dallas, the stylists wanted to know where they could buy the embroidered shirts. I took that as a good sign. And Nancy and I had similar reactions when we presented the program on Wisconsin Public TV. Another good sign!grayBL

So what’s so different about this collection? It features classic designs that mimic ready-wear and a nifty finish that’s completed in the hoop for professional results. There are neckline, sleeve and side seam designs so you get a total package.  You can watch the series on your local PBS station or online at WPBS. Just click here to view.  http://wpt.org/SewingWithNancy/Video/simple-chic-t-shirt-remakes-part-one

And if you’d like to purchase the collection, just click here.  http://www.shop.dzgns.com/collections/elieen-roche-nancy-zieman/products/simple-to-chic-t-shirt-remakes
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Here’s your assignment this week:

Last week, Nancy asked her blog readers what t-shirt they liked best. How about if you do the same here so we can see if both sets of readers have similar taste?  Just tell us what t-shirt is your favorite and we’ll pick a random comment to win a copy of Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes!

Perfect Embroidery Pro January Updates pt. 2

Last week, blog reader Vickie Deanglis wrote, “I only have PEP…other than snap to grid were there any other changes made to Perfect Embroidery Pro (PEP)?” Yes, Vickie, there are two more improvements to PEP that I think you’ll find very helpful.

Retrieving designs from the design library has been streamlined. Now, when you select and drag a design from the library onto the current open design page, it will instantly appear on that page. If you drag the design away from the library and towards the Properties Box, the design will open in a new file. Watch this 25-second video to see how easy it is.

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Artboards is a new concept in Perfect Embroidery Pro that allows you to define multiple hoop areas on your screen. Watch this quick one-minute video to see how it works.

Splitting Designs in Perfect Embroidery Pro

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. Split3

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!

 

 

Fabric Too Short for the Hoop?

Don’t you hate it when the fabric doesn’t fit in the hoop? Recently, I was stitching a faced scallop border on my embroidery machine and the fabric was about 3” too short to fit in the hoop. I find that so frustrating! I didn’t want to waste more fabric so I cut a 3” piece of adhesive water soluble stabilizer then removed 1 ½” of the protective paper. I pressed my fabric strip to the sticky surface. Presto! The fabric strip fit into the embroidery frame and I didn’t have to fill the hoop with fabric or stabilizer. Fab3

Stitching a faced scalloped hem on the embroidery machine is no different than stitching one on a sewing machine. It’s still a running stitch and doesn’t require stabilizer behind the stitches. The difference is the scallops are perfect when you leave the measuring and stitching to the digital precision of an embroidery machine. It works for all kinds of projects: towels, totes, quilts and garments. And now you know how to fill the hoop even if your fabric is too small!Fab2l

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Multi-Needle Monday- Personalized Christmas Stocking

It’s that time of the year again….time to handle the tricky task of stitching a Christmas stocking. Every year I am approached by customers who need their family Christmas stockings personalized. There are endless styles, sizes, and fabrics of stockings and I have embroidered them all. I will share my quick and painless technique for stitching the cuff area of a Christmas stocking. I always use a Target Ruler and target stickers.

Products used: Tear away stabilizer, Target Ruler contained in Hoop it Up book, target sticker, Snap Monster Hoop for Quick Snap (4X4, 5X7 combo with attachment).

Step 1: Find the exact center of the cuff by using our Target Ruler, insert a target sticker into the center hole (make sure the arrow on cross hair is facing in the proper orientation for the name to be stitched). Remove the ruler and keep the target sticker in place.stocking1BLstocking2BL

Step 2: Turn the stocking inside out with the target sticker still in place. stocking3BLstocking4BLMake sure the stocking cuff will slide over the Monster Snap Hoop frame. Remove the arms of the embroidery machine and attach the metal attachment of the Monster Snap Hoop.stocking5BLstocking6BL

Step 3: Measure the opening of the metal frame to make sure the text will fit inside the hoop.stocking7BL Always use the “trace” feature before adding the garment or stocking onto the hoop . The embroidery machine does not “read” this hoop so you have to be certain the embroidery design or text will fit inside and adjust it if needed.

Step 4: Add a piece of tear away stabilizer to the top of the metal frame and hold in place with tape under the frame; slide the cuff onto the frame.stocking8BL Rotate the text to stitch in the right direction.stocking9BL Remove the target sticker when the needle is aligned with the cross hair on target sticker.stocking10BLstocking11BLstocking12BL

Step 5: Embroider the text or name and remove the stocking from the hoop. Turn right side out.

*Sometimes you only have one hoop size that will fit over the stocking cuff. Therefore, adjust the text size to make the job easier to embroider. Always use the trace feature to double check that the embroidery will fit inside the hoop selected before stitching.

Click the link below to save $20 on my Craftsy class: “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business” with Marie Zinno

https://www.craftsy.com/ext/MarieZinno_4963_H

Keep Your Hand Out of the Hoop

Well it’s taken me 20+ years but I finally did it. I stitched on my finger. If you’ve been to any of my classes, I always caution students to keep their fingers out of the hoop. I encourage them to use the eraser end of a pencil, a chopstick, a dowel, anything other than their fingers.

And I usually take my own advice except when I’m in a hurry. And that’s when I don’t take my own advice. Recently, I was stitching a t-shirt when I noticed a portion of the garment was about to flop into the design area. And without thinking, I quickly reached into the hoop to retrieve the fabric. I must have I blinked at the same time. Then I yelped! And yanked my hand back. It hurt really bad, so bad that I was afraid to look at it.  My husband ran into the room (he was outside at the grill when it happened and heard me yelp) and we stared at each other. I told him I stitched on my finger. He asked if the needle was still in there. I didn’t have the nerve to look so he did. And it wasn’t in sight. We went back to the machine and were greeted with this safety message: Finger2BL

By then I was okay, it still hurt and was bleeding but everything was under control.  Upon closer inspection of the machine, I saw the needle was still in one piece in the machine but bent.  Really bent.   Look at the image below.Finger1BL

Wow – did I yank my finger away or what?  I was lucky the machine stopped and didn’t stitch my finger to the stabilizer, garment or foot.   Here’s my souvenir:FingerBL

Many thoughts ran through my head. I could hear myself telling my students to get their hand out of the hoop. I thought of my sister, Marie, who suffered a similar injury years ago that had to be treated surgically. And I was so thankful for the folks who designed my Brother Entrepreneur 10-needle and put that safety feature into the machine. Without that safety feature, my injury would have been so much worse.   Thank you Brother for looking out for all of us embroiderers!

Here’s your assignment this week:

So come on, tell me, have you ever stitched on your finger? You don’t need to share the gory details; just a yes or no and you’ll be entered to win a $20 gift card to dzgns.com !

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

Now that Halloween is over, we’re just about in full swing of the next holiday – Thanksgiving.  I’d love to know if you’re hosting the meal or if you’re being treated to a year off – and celebrating in someone else’s home.  Tell us your plans and a random winner will receive a 13” x 54” ruffled-edge burlap table runner.  Perfect for a holiday table!

The winner is:  

Joan Shriver: “For years we have traveled to my husband’s sister. We always have a huge group of relatives to enjoy again, see the new babies, catch up. My sister-in-law is my best friend!”

Multi-Needle Monday: Extension Table for Babylock Enterprise and Brother Entrepreneur

I’ll admit I have owned my 10 needle embroidery machine for 4 years and have recently started to use the extension table and I am wondering WHY I waited so long. My other embroidery machine is a 6 needle and the extension table was not an option so I always improvised when embroidering heavy bulky items.

One of the most convenient attributes of the extension table is the capability to slide it out of the way when necessary. The brackets are easy to install and the table clicks into place and can quickly be taken off or repositioned down to access the bobbin.

Why would you use the extension table? One of the most obvious reasons would be to give a large hoop extra support when stitching. I embroider heavy jackets, thick plush towels and luxurious blankets and using the table helps keep the large hoops balanced and decreases the chance of my project bouncing out of the hoop. The extension table also keeps excess fabric out of the way of the bobbin area and back of embroidery machine. If you have purchased the optional 14 x 14 jumbo hoop, the extension table should always be used. The “B” arms would have to be attached to replace the “A” arms.

Do not use the table as a hooping station. You should always keep a clear surface for hooping only. Use a table or counter top that is the appropriate height for you. Position a rubber mat or rubber shelf liner on your work surface to help ease the task of hooping.

Remove the extension table when embroidering bags, t-shirts and other tubular items because you will need to have the ability to fit the item around the bobbin throat.

Installing the extension table is simple to do; the hardware consists of two rails, 4 tall extension screws and 4 extra small screws. One Philips head screw driver is needed to remove small screws and insert back into tall extension screws.

The photos below will give you a clear image of how to proceed when inserting the extension table.table1BLtable2BLRemove the 4 screws shown in the red boxes and place aside. Insert the 4 tall extension screws (included with extension table accessories) into the same hole where the small screws were removed.table3BL

Attach the 2 rails to the inside area of  embroidery machine, notice the two side rails will have to be installed correctly on the left and right side.table4BLtable5BL

Insert the 4 small screws into the top metal frame of side rails.

Slide the extension table top into the rails.table6BLtable7BL

The table is flush with the bobbin throat. The hoop will rest on the table and should not bump into it at all. Use the trace feature when the hoop is attached to be certain the hoop can move cleanly.table8BLtable9BL

My bulky plush blanket can now rest on the extension table and not pull the hoop down when being stitched. It gives me great satisfaction to know I can walk away from my machine and not worry if the hoop will be on the floor when I return.

*Add a water soluble topper to the top of the plush fabrics to keep the nap from poking through the satin stitches of embroidery design.

Use the attached coupon link for my Craftsy class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business”- with Marie Zinno.

https://www.craftsy.com/ext/MarieZinno_4963_H

Embroidering on Velvet

A few weeks ago, many of you responded to my request for future blog topics. I’ve found your suggestions helpful and sometimes I’m at a loss for what to blog about.  I’ll be working through your requests as time permits. Kathy E. asked about embroidering on velvet and since velvet is a holiday favorite, I thought I’d tackle that first.

Kathy E. “A few years ago, I bought an expensive piece of plush black velvet. I had hopes (and still do) to embroider a large, fancy “E” on it, and then make it into a pillow. I’ve never taken on the project because I don’t know what stabilizer and needle to use. I’m thinking it would be best to use a topper too. If you could give me any tips, I’d be so thankful, then I could get this project going!”

 

Velvet shimmers when viewed from one angle, and becomes a deep, matte surface when tilted away from a light source. It’s an alluring textile and not one that we use very often.  Let’s discuss its challenges for an embroiderer.

  1. Velvet’s nap crushes when pressure is applied. A standard embroidery hoop will damage velvet’s delicate surface so don’t hoop it! Instead, hoop cut-away stabilizer and spray the cut-away with temporary adhesive. Finger press the velvet to the sticky surface centering the design area in the hoop.
  2. Embroidery design. Designs with complete filled areas work best on velvet. Running stitches and narrow satin columns will sink into the velvet’s pile.  Keep in mind velvet is a delicate fabric with a luxurious drape so avoid heavy dense designs.
  3. 75/11 sharp needle will do the job.
  4. It’s tempting to use a topper but you should proceed with caution here because removable is crucial. Options for toppers are no topper (most pile is very short), a lightweight water soluble film-type (think Sulky’s Solvy regular weight) or tulle.  You will not actually apply water to the velvet to remove the Solvy but you’ll tear it away since regular weight Solvy perforates at the stitch line very easily.  Tulle also tears easily and if you select a tulle that matches the velvet, any remaining bits will not be visible as they’ll blend in with the background.
  5. Once the design is complete, carefully remove the hoop from the machine and release the stabilizer from the hoop. Pink the edges of the stabilizer around the design – leaving at least ¼” of stabilizer.

Use these tips for your holiday stitching and you’ll be pleased with the results. Always remember to approach each embroidery project with common sense. Think about the care instructions for a fabric and use them as a guideline for selecting stabilizers (water, heat, etc). You can handle this!

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Here’s your assignment this week:

As I mentioned above velvet can be a challenging textile. What other fabrics do you find challenging yet alluring to use? Your comment will enter you in next Wednesday’s random drawing for a $20 gift card to dzgns.com !

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

So why not hop over there and come back here to tell us what Bunnycup design collection is your favorite?  Your comment will enter you in next Wednesday’s random drawing for 3 $50 vouchers to Bunnycup Embroidery.

The winners are:  

Kati: “I love all the wonderful designs from them. My favorite set is the woodland animals…they are sooo cute!”

Diane: “I really love the “Christmas Village” Set. There are too many to pick from, I really love them all.”

Deanna: “I love the Pretty Ponies designs. Cute designs, I had not checked out this website before. Love it.”

 

 

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