Archive of ‘Embroidery Tips’ category

Do You Need Embroidery Software?

Recently, somewhere searched my blog for an answer to this question, “Why do I need embroidery software?”

I been giving that some serious thought and it took me back to my early days in machine embroidery. Back then (geesh, that’s sounds ancient!), embroidery software was not available to the consumer. Digitizing was a mysterious process to all consumers and frankly, we didn’t give it much thought. The embroidery design companies offered dozens of embroidery cards that seemed to suit most of our needs. As we became more passionate and brave with our stitching, reality set in. We experimented with different projects and realized we needed to tweak the designs that we had purchased. And not just mirror image and copy, oh no, we wanted to change the size (drastically), add or delete underlay, morph the shapes, remove colors, merge elements from one design into another. We needed editing abilities that our machines didn’t offer. We needed software. Maybe we didn’t need to digitize but we most certainly needed to manipulate designs.

Today, those needs remain the same. Ninety percent of embroiderers who own digitizing software do not digitize. They are not artists, they are embroiderers. They don’t want to create or find the perfect artwork and figure out how to transform it into beautiful embroidery. They want to buy designs and make them work on the project they are stitching today. They want to open the design in software and inspect it. They want to review the color sequence, watch the design in slow redraw so they know what to expect before they stitch. They want to look at the underlay and see if there’s enough coverage for a terrycloth towel or too much for a sheer scarf. Then they make adjustments to make the design their own – perfect for the project they are stitching next.

If you’re wondering if you need embroidery software, give some thought to your level of frustration when trying to plan an embroidery project.

If you find yourself saying, “I wish I could…”, know that you can with embroidery software!

Manipulating Designs in Perfect Embroidery Pro

Even if you don’t digitize, you can most certainly manipulate designs to get the look you need. All you need are building blocks. What are building blocks? Building blocks are designs – designs that are stashed in Perfect Embroidery Pro.

Let’s take a look at a design from the Monogram catalog. 2

Click on the Monogram catalog icon and select Mon10683.3

Select and Ungroup the design (right mouse click or use the Ungroup icon on the tool bar). Select the branch on the right. 4

Copy and paste the branch. Move it to the upper right, connecting the bottom scroll to the original branch. 5

Let’s close the space at the top between the original branch and the new one. Zoom in to get a magnified view. Select the Shape Tool and move the last two black dots to expose the blue squares underneath (the points). 6

Select and pull the blue squares down to the original branch. 7

Position the black dots back on top of the blue squares, this sets the direction of the satin stitches. 8

Hit Enter on the keyboard to extend the satin stitches. 9

Select the new branch, copy, paste and mirror image the section. Move it to the opposite side. 10

Voila! A perfectly shaped design for a child’s neckline.11







All for Me!

Improvise! Create! Have fun!

I wanted to create something fun and personalized for my friends. These luggage tags featured in Shelly Smola’s book, All for Me, fit my needs for creativity. They can be used as gift tags, luggage tags or even Christmas ornaments!

The luggage tags are designed with a handy pocket made of clear vinyl to slide a name tag with contact information. Unfortunately, I didn’t have vinyl and I didn’t want to drive all the way to the fabric store. (It’s a whole 5 minutes away from the office!)

I decided to improvise…

Improvise on Materials

First attempt: Clear plastic from a paper CD sleeve.
I wasn’t using the CD sleeve and the plastic seemed like it would work. However, the needle penetrations perforated the plastic making it easy to rip away.

Undaunted, I hunted the office for other clear plastic materials…

Second attempt: A Ziplock bag!

I thought I was pretty clever for trying this technique. Again, the needle penetrations perforated the plastic.

Suggestions from office mates: Use a clear shower curtain.

This idea has been used and tested in the building… but sadly there wasn’t a shower curtain in the office. And the nearest retailer is at least 20 minutes away….

Next attempt: Tulle.

I used two layers of tulle and placed water soluble stabilizer on top. This method worked! Plus tulle comes in countless colors to coordinate with my fabric selection for the dresses. The card insert I placed in the pocket is still legible through the tulle.

Next attempt: Sheer ribbon.

I used two layers and placed water soluble stabilizer on top. This method also worked. I prefer the ribbon because it’s easier to work with but that’s just a personal preference.

All for Me


Sample 1. Pretty Blue!

I selected blue satin fabric for the dress and soft thread colors to coordinate with the fabric. I accidentally stitched the leaves in pink. Surely there are pink leaves found in nature somewhere! I added hot fix pearls to the flowers for added embellishments.

Sample 2. Bridal Party

I selected the same blue satin fabric. This time I stitched everything in white. The blue is subtle enough that it could be used for a bridal shower gift tag. I added the hot fix pearls to the flowers and the buttons. Also consider making one as a Christening ornament for a baby.

Sample 3. Celebrate the Crinkles!

When discussing our serious fabric shortage in the building with Eileen, I came upon a delightful brown crinkle type fabric. I hesitated but had to ask anyway, “will this work or am I crazy?” Fortunately, Eileen encouraged me to try. In fact, she shared a tip to ensure success.

Eileen’s tips:

Add fusible polymesh cut-away stabilizer to the back of the fabric. This will add stability and will also keep the wrinkles in place as you stitch the crinkle fabric. The particular concern was ensuring the stipple stitches would stitch properly on the fabric.

Another tip, the fusible polymesh comes in black. This is especially useful if you’re working with a dark colored fabric. I’ll keep that in mind next time!

I love the added texture this fabric brings to the dress. In fact, I’d wear this dress if it were full size!

Sample 4. Embrace Color!

Now with 3 dresses successfully stitched, I was feeling quite bold. I found a bright yellow satin fabric. I fused polymesh to the back of the fabric. I opted to embrace contrasting colors… and during the process I must admit I got some inspiration from the movie, 27 Dresses. I used two layers of pink tulle for the pocket and of course a bright pink for the stitches. While stitching the flowers I noticed the leaves look like hearts. I decided to skip the flower centers and add hot fix crystals as embellishments.

Have Fun!
The primary motivation when I create anything is to have fun. During this process I enjoyed focusing on variety and details. For this project I only made dresses and challenged myself to try and make each one slightly different. What details can I add? I experimented with fabrics, thread colors, skipping embroidery details, adding hot fix embellishments and more!

Looking at the dresses, I realized hangers would be a nice addition. Using wire and some pliers I fashioned a small hanger for the embroidered dress. I cut two pieces of wire—one for the hook and the other for the base. I wrapped the end of the hook to the base. Next I covered the wire with a decorative fiber.

The hanger was an afterthought for my pretty brown dress. Next time I would skip stitching the hole for the ribbon since the hanger serves the same purpose.

What a wonderful way to have fun with small scraps of fabric!

There are additional luggage tags included with the book as well as other fun projects.

A total of 6 projects are included:

  • Tea Party Luggage Tags
  • Glamour Girl Makeup Case
  • Petite Purse
  • Vintage Apron
  • Time for Tea Pillow
  • Time for Tea Quilt

All for Me

Did you know? All for Me is now available as a download! That’s right, now you can download the book and the designs from the comfort of your home. This is especially ideal for overseas customers!

Visit the Designs in Machine Embroidery website for more information.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Urban Threads is giving away four (4) $25 gift certificates to their website. Just leave a comment below about a design you re-purposed for something new, something different! Maybe you turned a kitchen towel project into some doll clothes or made a bracelet out of a sashing – whatever it is, we want to know.


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

What is your most prized monogram project? Tell us your favorite and one comment will be chosen to receive a $25 gift certificate to spend on the DIME website. Thank you for reading and good luck!


And the winners is..Shea  – “My favorite monogram is the stacked one that I put on one of three t-shirts I gave to my 30-year old son for his last birthday. I’ve seen him wear that shirt three times in the month since then – he LOVES it.”

Diamond to Leaf in 7 Mouse Clicks

I know many embroiderers do not consider themselves artists because they struggle with the artwork side of digitizing. Creating beautiful artwork is a talent – a gift – and if you don’t have it, digitizing can be daunting. But many pretty embroidery designs are made of simple shapes so it’s wise to explore the tools that are packed into Perfect Embroidery Pro. I’ll show you how to start with a diamond and end with a leaf in seven mouse clicks.

Select Diamond from the drop down menu on the artwork tool. Diamond1

Left mouse click and drag the cursor to draw the diamond. Diamond2

Click on the Shape tool.Diamond3

Hold the control key on the keyboard and left mouse click on the two side points. Right mouse click and select Smooth from the drop down menu.Diamond4

The diamond is now a leaf shape. Diamond5

Take it a step further and add a little more personality to the leaf. With the Shape tool selected, hover the cursor over the line, right mouse click and select Add Point. Diamond6

A node will appear. Diamond7

Drag on the node and handles to give it shape.Diamond8

Click on the Select tool and convert it to a run stitch. Diamond9

The leaf looks a little lonely so copy and paste the leaf several times and align them in a path. Diamond10

Select the run stitch and draw in a meandering vine. Diamond11

Imagine what else you could draw with the simple shapes provided in the Art tool.  Once the shapes are drawn, you can convert to complex fill, satin outlines, filled satins, applique and more.Diamond1

And if you’re artistically gifted, then by all means, use the pen. So many possibilities! What will you create today?











Hooping a t-shirt in Multi-Needle Monster

Today’s blog is inspired by a reader’s recent question.  We hope you enjoy and be sure to keep those questions coming!


On July 21, 2014, reader Beth Price left a comment asking how to center a t-shirt with Multi-Needle Monster and PAL. Here’s how I do it.

First, prepare your hoop. Multi-Needle Monster comes with four adhesive centering rulers. Apply them to the top of the metal frame. MN1

Mark the centers of the magnetic frame on the magnet side with a permanent marker. For illustration purposes here, I’ve place four Target Stickers on the marks so you can see them clearly. Set the hoop aside. MN2

Stabilize the knit shirt with fusible polymesh cut-away stabilizer. I use the Embroiderer’s Helper for left chest placement because it provides flawless placement. Fold the t-shirt in half, matching the shoulder seams. Place the folded t-shirt on a flat surface and align the Embroiderer’s Helper’s straight edge with the fold. The notch at the top left goes right under the neckline ribbing. If there was a button on the shirt, the notch will land right under it. Slide a target sticker into the notch corresponding with the size of the t-shirt. My shirt is large so I align the target sticker with the notch marked Large. Remove the Embroiderer’s Helper. MN3

Place the shirt under PAL and turn on the beam centering the target sticker. Alignment now is not crucial; you’ll fine tune that in a few moments. MN4

Slide Multi-Needle Monster’s magnetic frame, magnets up, inside the shirt. Open the t-shirt to view the frame. Align the frame with the beam. MN5

Smooth the shirt front over the frame aligning the target sticker with the beam. MN6

Position the metal frame on one long edge of the magnetic frame holding it perpendicular to the magnetic frame. Check the alignment. The beam should hit the center mark of the metal frame. MN7Carefully release the metal frame onto the magnetic frame. Smooth the t-shirt by gently tugging on the fabric beyond the edges of the hoop. Since the t-shirt is stabilized with a fusible cut-away the fiber will not distort with the frame. Remember, it’s a flat hoop so it’s perfectly acceptable to pull on the fabric – within reason! You wouldn’t want to use brute strength, just normal handling. MN8

Attach the hoop to the machine, hem first. MN9

Inserting the free arm into the hem (instead of through the neck) insures that hoop can move freely during the embroidery process. MN10

You gotta love these multi-needle machines – they make embroidering on blanks so easy!

Multi-Needle Monday: Speed Techniques for Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs

If you plan properly, you can stitch four grommets and four corners in three hoopings instead of eight or six.  Here’s how to do it. Hoop tear-away stabilizer in a large hoop, 8” x 12”. Select the grommet design and move it to the edge of the hoop.  Stitch the first color, the placement guide.  Place one interfaced outer bag panel on the placement guide, matching centers. Stitch the grommets. 1 Fold the edge of the bag back over itself and tape it down. 2 Rotate the design 180 degrees and move the design down to opposite edge of the hoop.  Stitch the first color, the placement guide (shown here in pink thread). It will overlap with the first placement guide but as long as the tape holds, the first bag panel is safe. 3 Place the second interfaced outer bag panel on the new placement guide. 4 Stitch the grommets. All four grommets are stitched in one hooping! 5 Let’s move onto the corners. Follow the instructions in Designer Knockoffs to pre-cut the applique corners.  Hoop tear-away stabilizer in a large hoop, 8” x 12”. Retrieve the corner design.  Copy and paste it. Mirror image of one the designs and position them as shown. FacingIm Stitch color 1, the placement guide for the left corner (which is actually on the right in the hoop). Place left corner of the bag on the outline and stitch color 2, the applique placement guide. Place the prepared applique over the outline and stitch the next color, the satin outline. Stitch the decorative detail if desired. Stitch color 1 of the second design. 6 Place the right corner of the other bag panel on the outline. 7 Stitch the applique placement guide. Place the prepared applique over the outline and complete the design. 8 Check out all the different handbags you can make with Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs by Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman. Here is my finished bag!


Monogram of the Month: A Reason to Celebrate!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I was very excited when Eileen gave me the opportunity to write this month’s Monogram of the Month feature.  I’ve had my eye on the banner designs from JoAnn Connolly’s book, Sweet Stitchesand decided instead of monograms today I’d do a fun banner.   I’m quite fond of quick and easy projects that require minimal effort but create lots of joy while I stitch.  And these designs fit my requirements to the letter!  (Pun intended!)

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I wanted to make something special for my friend, Jean, who will be celebrating her 95th birthday.  Friends and family are gathering this 4th of July weekend to celebrate her day.  I decided to make a festive banner to mark the occasion—plus it would make a great backdrop to take photos of her with her family.  Great memories everyone can cherish!


Like most of our readers, I like fabric and I eagerly sign up for any excuse to buy more, more, more!  But this time, I decided I’d challenge myself—really test my nouveau designer skills and gasp… use what I already have!

I rummaged through my containers of fabric – I was certain I had nothing!  Nothing!  But wait… that polka dot fabric is kinda cute.  Actually, it’s very cute.  So cute, I haven’t used it because I wanted to use it for something special.  It was a small remnant I purchased over a decade ago from Hancock Fabrics.  It’s perfect.  Once I found the main fabric it was easy to add other coordinating fabrics.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


My next challenge was figuring out what combination of letters to use.  “Happy Birthday” is an obvious choice.  But I decided to go with something more universal—and that can work all year long—“Celebrate”.  After all, life should be a celebration—especially when you have lived 95 years!

Sweet Stitches comes with an accompanying CD.  I transferred the letters to spell “Celebrate” to a USB stick for my embroidery machine.  Then I stitched the designs.

Denise Tips:

  • Be sure to keep the book handy!  The photos and step-by-step instructions will guide you along the way.  Initially I thought I didn’t need to read the steps—I like a challenge.  But after stitching a few samples I decided I’d go ahead and read the steps.  Surprise, surprise!  Following the steps made the process much simpler.
  • JoAnn has a reason for suggesting you use Temporary Spray Adhesive when working with applique fabrics.  If you don’t… you might end up with puckers!  Oops!A Reason to Celebrate!
  • Applique scissors are especially useful when trimming.
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  • If you place white on top of a busy fabric, be aware of the possibility of fabric show-through.  My first ‘careless’ attempt to solve this problem was to place a second layer of white fabric.  But the fabric I was using was very heavy—so when it came time to trim the two layers of white fabric, it wasn’t an easy or flawless task.  Argh!
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
    My second attempt was much better.  I used a layer of stabilizer underneath the white fabric.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

  • Mix & Mingle… and have fun!  Don’t feel like every letter has to be the same color.  Mix and match.  That’s what makes the process fun.  Plus this gives you a chance to use small fabric scraps.


Here’s a look at the finished banner!  I look forward to decorating for Jean’s birthday and creating fun memories! Imagine the banners you can make for someone special!  Give it a try.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog



Here’s your assignment this week:What decorations have you made over the years to celebrate someone’s special day?  Post a comment for a chance to win a $25 shopping spree to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.Gift-Card
The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

Do you have a versatile design you use over and over on different types of projects? Post your comment for a chance to win a copy of Calligraphy Project Designer.




And the winner is… Alicia Key 
“I have several designs I enjoy but after a few kitchen towels of them I’m ready to try a new design. I’ve just recently joined your email list & I’m looking forward to more of your ideas for creativity! I like the Embroidery Library design that Colleen Bell mentioned above & while checking that out, I found some more that I like. I also like Andrea Henke’s suggestion of the glow-in-the-dark eyes on pillow cases! I’ll have to find some of that thread! I would LOVE a chance to win the Calligraphy files.”

Congratulations, Alicia.  Sounds like you’ll be very busy with all sorts of projects!




Discreet is the Word – Monogramming for Men


It’s not too late to show your dad how much you care about him. And nothing says it better than stitches. Just remember to keep the embroidery subtle. Here’s a few timely tips on stitching for men.


If there’s one word to describe monogramming on menswear, it’s discreet; discreet in size and contrast. Now don’t go by my samples – my samples are done for photography – highly contrasting so you can see them well on camera. But when stitched for someone to actually wear, a discreet monogram is the one most gentlemen will be comfortable wearing.

You have several choices when it comes to placing the monogram. Some very popular choices are on the pocket, above the pocket, or on the pocket flap if there is one, on the left cuff, inside the placket between the second and third button or on the placket at the bottom, just below the last button on the top placket and just for identification purposes: inside the collar.


There are countless ways to arrange the letters but I’ve focused on three versions of the three-letter monogram. The traditional diamond shape: first name initial, last name initial and middle name initial. The two outer letters are proportionally smaller than the middle letter. Diamond

The standard order: first, middle and last initial – all the same size. Standard

On the pocket flap, go for a contemporary approach with the first initial stacked over the middle initial. This ‘tower’ of letters is equal in size to the last initial. Take this approach when the garment is a casual shirt like flannel, worn every day. Contemp

Let’s take a look at how you do it.

Pocket Flap

Find the vertical center of the flap. Place a target sticker just right of the edge of the flap. Hoop sticky stabilizer and place the hoop under the Perfect Alignment Laser. Turn on the laser and center the hoop under the laser. Position the flap on the sticky stabilizer. Smooth the flap on the stabilizer making sure the shirt is not caught under the flap.


Support the weight of the shirt while transporting the hoop to the machine. Attach the hoop on the machine and verify the needle is centered over the target sticker. Remove the sticker and embroider the monogram.


Button the left cuff and place it on a flat surface. Cuff2

Place the Perfect Placement Kit Cuff template on the cuff, aligning the fold with the template fold line and the topstitching line with the topstitching. Slide a target sticker under the template – use A for sizes small and medium and B for Large and extra-large.


Unbutton the sleeve and pull the sleeve inside out. Hoop adhesive stabilizer and center the hoop under the Perfect Alignment Laser. Slide the cuff under the beam, aligning the crosshairs. Attach the hoop to the machine and embroider the monogram.

These small precise monograms take under three minutes to stitch – you could do a whole closetful in an afternoon!


Here’s your assignment this week:

What is your most appreciated mens embroidery project? Was it the golf club covers you made for your son-in-law, the personalized seat covers for your husband? Tell us the project that wowed and one comment will be chosen to receive a $25 gift certificate to spend on the DIME website. Thank you for reading and good luck!


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

If you owned the Scrollwork Alphabet from EmbroideryOnline, where would you stitch the designs? What thread colors would you use? One comment will be randomly selected and will win a copy of Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Lessons.

And the winners is..Susan M. “Greetings Eileen. I think the showcased monogram would look stunning on a accent pillow for any room in the house.. one or multiple initials. Thanks for sharing.”

Love that Zoom Tool

I’ve met many Baby Lock and Brother machine owners (both multi-needle or single-needle machines) who didn’t know how to get a close-up look at an embroidery design before actually stitching. The tool is accessed at the top of the editing screen on my multi-needle machine (and single-needle machine). Once I’ve aligned my designs, I like to double-check the positions of each of the elements and the best way to do that is with the hoop view.

Zoom Tool

Now the view transforms to the hoop view. Hoop Tool

But here’s my favorite tool – the magnifying glass. Magnifying Glass Tool

Once selected, the designs fill the screen. Now I can verify the position of each element before taking a stitch.Zoomed in design

What’s your favorite tool?

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