Archive of ‘Embroidery Tips’ category

Numbered Patches in My Block Piecer

Welcome Software Saturday readers!  Recently, I was creating a Flying Geese border in My Block Piecer. I stitched 16 repeats and after the third or fourth one, I knew the patch sequence by heart. Since I’m always on a mission to find time-saving steps, I figured if I omitted stitching the actual numbers in each patch, I would save some precious time. Here’s how to do it.

Open a new file in My Block Piecer. Click on the Block Libraby icon and enter Flying Geese #7 in the box. Click the green down arrow to jump to Flying Geese #7.  Click OK.N1BL

Select the block, right mouse click and select Ungroup.  Delete both side panels. N2BL

Select the remaining patches and click on the Workflow icon and Autobuild. Click Preview.  There are 12 patches in this unit.  Click Save and close. N3BL

Copy and paste the unit to stitch two in one hooping.N5BL

Select all and Ungroup. Now click on each individual letter and delete it.N6BL

You’ll be left with everything but the numbers.N7BL

But don’t worry, when you saved the design earlier, a PDF was created with a visual guide to the block. The first image includes the numbers on each patch.N8BL

The second shows an image of the design with the numbers.N9BL

And finally, there’s an instruction sheet which guides you through each patch.N10BL

Save this edited design with a new name and use it to stitch the block. Don’t you just love this software? It gives you so much freedom when creating blocks to piece in the hoop!


Multi-Needle Monday: Cylinder Hoop Attachment – Brother Entrepreneur

Multi-needle embroidery machine owners are a resourceful and thrifty group. I follow a few Facebook organizations and blogs and try to get a feel for what they are looking for. Most of the questions pertain to hooping and stabilizer challenges on multi-needle machines. Many are overwhelmed once the machine and all the necessary notions are purchased. I remember when I first started my embroidery business; I had no idea about the different accessories that were available to ease hooping.

Last year I taped an episode of It’s Sew Easy TV and I featured the cylinder hoop for the Brother Entrepreneur multi-needle embroidery machine. The series was titled fashion through history. My segment #813 focused on the 1970’s and I embroidered the bottom pant leg of denim jeans. The cylinder hoop can be a useful tool for stitching: upper sleeve on jackets, bottom edge of short sleeve shirts (coaches and corporate), children’s pant legs, narrow opening of bags (wine bags) and any other problematic blanks.

One of the best attributes of the cylinder hoop is the generous embroidery area size: 3 inches tall x 3.5 inches wide. There are three different components of the cylinder hoop: the mounting jig, the cylinder driver and cylinder hoop frame (all included with purchase from your authorized dealer). The hoop is curved and the use of stabilizer is very critical because of the “open window” frame. I suggest using fusible cut away stabilizer when stitching a fabric with stretch. The clips are necessary to hold the fabric in place and inserting the frame to the machine needs a steady hand so as not to push the fabric through the frame opening.

The embroidery machine will “read” the hoop which is helpful but consider if the design needs to be rotated.

Step 1: Loosen and remove the screws from back of machine attachment and remove the “A” or “B” arms, place the screws aside. Insert the cylinder driver on to machine where the arms were removed and tighten the bottom screws (included with the cylinder hoop) as well as inserting the screws from the arms that were removed. Attach the cylinder mounting jig to a table top or metal stand frame and tighten the bottom screw vice which is included with mounting jig. cylinder2BLcylinder3BL

Step 2: Mark the embroidery area on jacket sleeve with a target sticker; turn sleeve inside out and iron the fusible stabilizer to the inside of upper sleeve (or desired location for embroidery). Turn sleeve right side out with target sticker still in place. Insert the cylinder frame onto the mounting jig and slide the sleeve onto the frame.cylinder4BLcylinder5BL Use the included clips to tighten the fabric on the frame on both sides. Remove the frame from the jig carefully and transfer to the cylinder driver.cylinder6BL

Step 3: Embroider the design on upper sleeve area of jacket and remove frame from driver. Remove all clips and re-iron the fusible stabilizer from inside jacket sleeve. Carefully trim the excess stabilizer from inside jacket and clip thread tails if necessary.cylinder8BL

Visit It’s Sew Easy TV to view the segment:

I have included a special coupon for you to use on my Craftsy class: “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business” with Marie Zinno

Split Long Text Messages for Embroidering on Ribbon

If you have a message that’s longer than your largest hoop, you have two choices, shrink or split the text. Since you don’t always have the option of shrinking text (you might have to fill a certain size space), you might as well learn how to split it. And it’s really quite simple. Here’s how.

Open Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro (you can also follow these steps in Word Art in Stitches). Select the Text tool and type the message in the Properties Box.  Do not hit the return key on the keyboard as you’ll want a long continuous line of text for a ribbon.  Select the font, the sample is Athletic Script. WebRib1BL

The text appears on the screen and if you check the top of the screen, you’ll find the length. The sample was 27 ½” wide. WebRib2BL

Before doing anything else, zoom into the lettering and check the spacing (kerning). WebRib5BL

This is too wide for my taste so I reselect the text (with the Text tool) and change the settings in the property box.  Decrease the height to .65” and reduce the spacing to -4. Click Apply. WebRib6BL

Now the letters almost touch – perfect for stitching on organza. WebRib7BL

But the overall width of the design is still way too big for one hooping.  Let’s breakup the text. Right now, the color sequence box shows the text is all one color and one unit. WebRib7ABL

Select the text and right mouse click. Select Break Up Text from the drop down menu. WebRib8BL

Now the color sequence shows each individual element (underlay, satins, and runs) of the design.  Don’t fret. WebRib8ABL

Click on the Hoop tool and select the hoop you plan on using. WebRib9

Move the text so that the beginning of the message is at the edge of the hoop. Select a logical group of letters. Copy, open a new file and paste.  Save that design as Hoop1. WebRib10BL

Go back to the original file and select the next group. Use natural breaks (between words) to your advantage. WebRib11BL

Save each hooping as a new file and then print templates of each one to help with placement.  See how easy that was?

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

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