Archive of ‘Holiday Stitching’ category

Last Minute Stitching!

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

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

And this pretty design will take you through February.

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

8 Tips for Embroidering with Metallic Thread

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

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

 

Tips for Digitizing for Metallic Thread

It’s sparkle time!  Dealers around the country are watching metallic thread fly off their shelves as embroiderers reach for their favorite holiday thread.  You can add this shiny element to many designs but you should set yourself up for success.

Use your digitizing software to change some elements into metallic-friendly details.  In Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro digitizing software, lengthen run stitches.  My normal stitch length for quilting designs is 2.2.  For metallic threads, I increase the length to 2.8.  The longer stitch length lets the metallic thread shine on the fabric while shorter stitch lengths, tend to hide the pretty sheen.  Imagine how pretty those longer stitches will look on a dark fabric. 

Reduce the density of a complex fill.  The stitches should lay right next to each other without overlapping. The density default setting is 5.0, type in .80 and click Apply.

If your design requires underlay, consider making the underlay a separate color.  Stitch the underlay first in a coordinating polyester thread, then switch to the metallic to add the top layer.

Satins – think curves!  Metallics really shine when light bounces off the thread at different angles.  So curve your satin columns, and adjust the widths to take full advantage of the light.

The satin column on the right will reflect more light than the blue, straight column.

When digitizing for metallic thread, schedule some extra time for testing your digitized designs.  Later in the week, I’ll share tips for stitching with metallic. I’m hoping all of your holiday stitching is happy stitching!

Embroiderers Always Get This Request

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tame Those Furry Fibers!

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

Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro’s Nap Blocker feature is the answer for taming the fibers.  Nap Blocker adds a layer of complex fill stitches that’s just light enough to flatten the lofty fibers creating a smooth surface for the embroidery. Here’s how to do it in PEP.

Select the Text tool and type JOY in the Properties Box.  I used the Bookman font. 

Select the design, right click to access the command menu.  Select Utility, Nap Blocker.

Instantly, a layer of complex fill is added to the design in the first color position.

The fill extends .15” beyond the design to ensure any long fibers will not obstruct the embroidery.  You can change this by selecting the fill only and resizing.

Notice how the complex fill is placed at the beginning of the design in the color sequence. 

Stitch the complex fill in the same color thread as the fabric. This is key because you want these stitches to disappear behind the beautiful embroidery.  And…you don’t have to use a topper when you use Nap Blocker. How sweet is that?

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

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

 

 

Christmas Village Sewing Instructions

This is Part 2 of the Christmas Village series.  If you missed the software instructions, click here.  If there’s one thing you take away from the series it should be this:   You are permitted to break the rules.  Experiment.  Try.  Learn.  Succeed!

Refer to the original instructions with the collection to familiarize yourself with the overall process.  Don’t stop at one house – make multiple houses for an entire village.

First Hooping: Wall with Door

Here’s an overview of the stitching process for the wall with the new door.  The first 2 thread colors are the same process as the traditional house.  The images show the red felt trimmed away.

The Christmas tree, star and placement stitch for the door are stitched.  Then green felt was placed on top of the placement stitch for the door.  Next, I stitched the tackdown (bean stitch) for the door.  *Note in the software instructions I have you stitch the candy cane before any of the door elements.  This is for ease.  Either method is acceptable. 

I trimmed the felt for the door and stitched the next thread color—the outline for the window.

Very carefully, I cut away the green felt from the window.  I chose to leave the white felt.  But you could cut through both layers of fabric to “peek” through the door.

The candy cane was then stitched.  (Your design will have the candy cane stitch before the door elements.)  

Second Hooping:  Dog Door Converted to Window

The image shows the first two thread colors stitched.

The felt is carefully trimmed as shown.  I did not trim the original dog door at this point.  Leave it untrimmed.

Stitch the remaining elements:  the ribbon and present.  Remove from the hoop and trim the walls as shown.

The last step is trimming the dog door so that it resembles a window shutter.  I trimmed up the center.  Then trimmed along the top arch.  Then I trimmed the bottom.  The key to success:  I didn’t trim the sides.  See two photos below.

You can sew the shutters down with decorative buttons or use scrapbooking brads as shown.  I used brads for the signs that were attached to the house as well.

 

Additional Highlights

Trees:  The free standing trees are stitched on felt.

Trees are trimmed then a wooden bead with a flat bottom was glued to the back of the tree stump providing stability.

Roof & Lights

The roof was stitched and trimmed.  I used Duck Tape to attach mini Christmas lights to the underside of the roof.  The battery pack fit perfectly inside the base of the house.  If yours does not, conceal it behind the house with additional felt and snow.

The base of the house was stitched on decorative tan felt.

I assembled the house and sign post following the original instructions included with the Stitch Swag Cozy Dog Suites.  Embellish and have fun!


The Stitch Swag Cozy Dog Suites are available for purchase through an Inspirations Dealer.  Use the dealer locator to find a dealer near you.

Christmas Village: Software Instructions

Eileen tasked me with the responsibility of turning the Stitch Swag Cozy Dog Suite into an ornament.  At first glance, I thought I’d use Christmas colored fabric for the dog house.

But between the home renovation television programs I watch and my recent experimenting with building a railroad model… I knew I could do more.

I decided to renovate!  I converted the existing dog door to a window with shutters and installed a new front door.  I used built-in symbol designs in Perfect Embroidery Pro to make the house suitable for a Christmas Village.   With a little imagination and some robust software, there is no limit to what you can create.

Disclaimer:  I broke every rule in the book.  You have permission to do the same.


Embroidery Products
Stitch Swag Cozy Dog Suites:  I used the Large Dog House 1 originally designed for the 6” x 10” hoop.  There is a 5” x 7” version of the design, but the finished house is smaller.  I wanted a larger house.

Free Candy Cane:  http://www.dzgns.com.  Go to the Free Designs page.

Free Candy Cane Frame:  http://www.dzgns.com.  Go to the Free Designs page and scroll through the archives.

Denise’s Notes:
Although the original design combines design components into as few 6” x 10” hoopings as possible, I don’t work that way.  As a personal preference, I like to work with the 5” x 7” hoop.  I took the design components apart from the 6” x 10” design and stitched them using a 5” x 7” hoop.  I also didn’t use all the components.  Do what works for you.  This is a creative process.

Renovations at a Glance:

  1. A new front door was digitized and placed on the side of the original dog house.
  2. The original dog door became a window with shutters – just by changing how the opening was cut away.
  3. Symbols: Star, Ribbon2, Present, Christmas Tree were added to embellish the house.  These are built-in designs in Perfect Embroidery Pro.
  4. Mini Christmas lights were attached to the underside of the roof.  These are available at craft stores.

At the Computer:

Open Doghouse1 6×10 in Perfect Embroidery Pro.

Select and delete the Home Sign, 2 rows of grass and the lines of stitching separating the designs.

Since this is a winter scene, I decided to delete the floral elements on the house.  In the Sequence window, select and delete the grass and flowers on the house.

Your design should now look similar to the image shown.

We will use both portions of this house but I prefer working in a 5” x 7” hoop.  We will create two separate hoopings from this design.

First Hooping:  Wall with New Door

Select the top portion of the design as shown.

Cut and Paste the design into a new workspace.  (Press Ctrl + X to cut).  Click on File / New.  Press Ctrl + V to paste.  The remaining design will be revisited in the Second Hooping section of this article.

The newly pasted design should look like the image below.

For ease of working with the design, go to Properties – Transform.  Type 180 in the Rotate field.  Click Apply.

The design should look like the image below.  It will be easier to add the decorative elements when the wall is facing the correct direction.

Adding Symbols

Tree:
Go to the Symbols icon on the top toolbar.

Scroll through until you locate the Christmas Tree.  Click Ok.

In an empty space on the screen, left click the mouse button to create a tree.  Select the tree.  Go to Properties – Transform.  Change the width of the tree to:  1.25 and the height to 1.95.

The tree should now look like the sample shown.

Select the tree.  Reposition it on the wall as shown.

Star:
Go to the Symbols icon on the top toolbar.  Scroll through until you locate the Star.  Click Ok.

Click the left mouse button to create a star.  Select the star.  Go to the Properties – Transform tab.  Change the width to .52 and the height to .49.  Click Apply.  Reposition the star on top of the Tree.

New Front Door

Select the Rectangle from the Artwork icon on the top toolbar.

Hold down the left mouse button and draw a rectangle in an empty area on your work space.

With the rectangle still selected, go to the Properties – Transform box.  Uncheck the “Maintain aspect ratio” box.  Change the width to .77 inches and height to 1.14 inches.

Reposition the door so that it is centered on the side panel of the house as shown.

Denise’s Tip
Depending on the design, placement stitches may or may not be necessary.  For this small-scale project, I decided to include a placement stitch for the house.  This would prevent any doubt regarding the size of fabric needed for the door and where it should be placed.  If you’re comfortable without a placement stitch, skip the step!

Select the door artwork you created.  Right click.  Select Convert To / Run.

In an open space on the screen, create another rectangle shape using the Artwork tool.  Make the width .77 inches and height 1.14 inches.  Assign a new color to this shape that is different from the previous rectangle.  I chose green.  With the rectangle still selected, right click.  Select Convert To / Run.

In the Properties – Run box, select Bean for the stitch type.

Drag and drop the bean stitch door on top of the placement stitch door as shown.  Adjust the thread sequence so that the run stitch version of the door is stitched first followed by the bean stitch version of the door.

Using the Artwork tool, make the window for the door by drawing another shape.  This time, .46 inches wide by .43 inches tall.  I made this Artwork the same green color.  With the rectangle/square still selected, right click.  Select Convert To / Run.  Change this shape to a Bean stitch as you have done before.  Position this shape on the door as shown.  Make sure the window stitches after the bean stitch door.

Embellishments:  Candy Cane

Download the free Candy Cane design.  Once downloaded to your computer, go to File / Merge.  Select the Candy Cane Design.  Place the design on the left side of the door.

Rearrange the color sequence so the candy cane stitches before the door elements.  This will help prevent any mishaps if you don’t trim the door properly.

The design will be stitched in a 5″ x 7″ hoop.  Rotate the design 90 degrees to fit the hoop.  Save the design in C2S format and your machine’s format.


Second Hooping with Dog Door Converted to Window 

Return to the original design (Doghouse1 6×10) we cut and pasted from as shown in the image below.

Copy and paste this design into a new work space  (or work from this screen)

Go to the Symbols icon at the top toolbar.  Select the Ribbon2.

In an open space, click and drag the mouse button to create a ribbon.  Go to the Properties – Transform window.  Change the width to .93 inches and the height to .82 inches.

The ribbon should look similar to the image shown.

Reposition the ribbon above the window opening as shown.

Adding a Present

Go to the Symbols icon on the top toolbar.  Select the Present.

Drag the left mouse button to draw a present.  Resize the present to .92 inches square.  Reposition the present as shown.

The design will be stitched in a 5″ x 7″ hoop.  Rotate the design 90 degrees to fit the hoop.  Save the design in C2S format and your machine’s format.


Roof & Free Standing Trees

Open the Dog House Roof 1 6×10 design.

Delete all elements except the roof.  Rotate the roof so it fits in a 5” x 7” hoop.

Go to the top tool bar and select the Symbols icon.

Locate and select the Christmas Tree.

Click and drag the mouse to create a Christmas tree.  Go to Transform – Properties to change the size of the tree to 1.28” x 1.95”.

Copy and paste the tree for a total of 2 trees.

Save the file in C2S format and your machine’s format.


Decorative Signs

Open the Doghouse SignPost design.  Copy the Welcome sign and paste in to a new workspace.

Rotate the sign 270 degrees.

Select the first thread color in the Color Sequence.  This portion of the design is the outline of the sign.

Copy and paste the outline of the sign as shown.

Select the Text icon from the top toolbar.  Select the Goudy Small font.

Type “2017”.  Center the date within the sign as shown.

Copy and paste another outline of the sign.  Select this new copy.  Resize to 2.76 inches wide x .62 inches tall.  Flip horizontal.

With this new sign still selected, copy and paste another copy as shown.

Go to File / Merge to insert the letters to spell CANDY on one sign and LANE on the other.  (A complete alphabet is included with the Stitch Swag Cozy Dog Suites collection).

Rearrange the color sequence so the sign outlines stitch first, from top to bottom followed by the text.

Return to the original Doghouse SignPost design you opened.

Copy and paste the SignPost into the workspace.

Rearrange all elements so they fit in a 5” x 7” hoop.  Save the design in C2S format and your machine’s format.

Candy Cane Frame as Base

Download the Candy Cane frame from http://www.dzgns.com.  No edits were made to the design.  Send the design to your embroidery machine in the appropriate format.

The Sewing Instructions are included in Part 2 of this blog series.

 


The Stitch Swag Cozy Dog Suite is available through Inspirations Dealers.  Click the image below to find a dealer near you.

Give Thanks Video Tutorial Part 2

Check out Part 2 of Katherine Artines’ Give Thanks video tutorial on YouTube.  Finish the remaining two blocks of the fun Thanksgiving project begun in Give Thanks Part 1. You’ll create additional custom stippling and work with Text on Path and the Outline feature. Katherine illustrates how to access artwork from Word Art in Stitches and use it for other techniques. 

If you’ve been wanting to explore the Artwork and Shape tools, this video will help you understand the features of both helpful tools.  Learn how and when to use the Combine tool plus how to set colors in the proper order (sequencing).

Katherine shares the steps for completing the quilted wallhanging – the actual sewing part!  She’s so much more than a ‘virtual quilter’, I’m sure you’ll pick up several tips to use in your digitizing.  Enjoy!

A few dozen eggs

Project Highlights:

  • Put your stash of embroidery, crafting and sewing supplies to use.
  • Make gifts for family, friends or residents in nursing homes and senior centers.
  • Experiment with color!
  • Relax with this creative and productive outlet.

As a hoarder of scrapbook paper, I don’t actually make anything.  Instead, I flip through the stack of paper to admire the colors and patterns.  The papers are too pretty to waste on just anything.  Someday I’ll make something special.

That someday is now!

I volunteered to make Easter cards for a local senior center.

It was a bold and confident move to volunteer.  But then reality set in.  Exactly how will I make the cards?

The answer was easy:  with my embroidery machine!

Embroidery Designs
Floral Easter Eggs from Kreations by Kara.  (I used Egg 5.)

The inspiration came from two cards I received from a dear friend, and regular contributor to the magazine, Joanne Banko.  She used felt to embroider the cards.  The cards were so fun to receive and I love the technique.  I keep one on my desk at work and one on the refrigerator at home.

Materials

  • Assorted colors of embroidery thread
  • Card stock Paper
  • Felt:  I purchased 8 sheets of pre-cut felt from a big box store in several colors. I fit 2 Easter eggs per sheet.  Once I stitched 16 Easter egg designs, I realized I was committed to this task. I purchased yardage of felt (on sale at this time of year!). I was able to hoop the fabric to fit more designs.  I chose to use white felt because it gave me more freedom with thread colors.

Instructions
I cut the felt into long strips wide enough to fit a 5″ x 7″ standard hoop or Snap Hoop Monster.  I rotated the embroidery design 90 degrees to make the design horizontal.

Stitch the design on the entire strip of fabric.  Leave enough room for trimming around each design.  The design I used has multiple thread colors.  For variety I stitched some eggs in one color while others I stitched in multiple colors.  If you  have little ones that want to help, consider having them select the thread colors.  You can’t go wrong with this project.

I also considered the recipients and what colors they might like.  Some embroidered eggs are more masculine with navy blue, brown and emerald green.  Those turned out to be among my favorites.

As the embroidery machine was stitching, I cut card stock paper.  I used 12” x 12” sheets of card stock.  I cut the sheets in half to make two cards per sheet.  Then I scored the card to make the fold.  To conserve paper, you could just make a single sided card.

Once the Easter eggs were finished stitching, I trimmed close to the edges, leaving about a ¼ inch around the design.

I took the opportunity to pull out all my craft supplies, including ribbons, trim, buttons and brads.  I’ve also made it my challenge to use up nearly all my scrapbook paper—even the ‘special’ paper with extra sparkles.  It doesn’t do me any good hoarding the supplies and it is fun to find interesting ways to decorate each card.

I was bored with the solid colored card stock so to add texture I pulled out my little New Home sewing machine.  It doesn’t have as many features as I’m used to (where’s the automatic needle threader?) but it has decorative stitches ideal for my cards.

Once you’re happy with the added embellishments, use a hot glue gun to attach the design to the card stock.  Be sure to add a sentiment inside the card.

Can you tell which one is my favorite? 😉  I was excited to find a use for the hounds-tooth paper and the bow button.

At the time of this blog post, I’ve stitched 45 Easter egg designs.  My first goal is to reach 50—which will be done tonight.  Then the new goal will be 75… because that’s the Blue Hair Girl way!

 

 

 

 

 

Software Saturday: Applique to Instant Gift Tag

Make an impression with flawless, personalized gift tags this holiday season!  Once the gift is unwrapped, the gift tag can be used as a Christmas ornament for years to come!


In Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro, open an applique frame from your stash or choose from any of the included applique shapes.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Click on the Text tool and type the message in the Properties Box.  Select a micro font such as Bauhaus.  Click Apply.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Center the text in the frame and change the color of the text to another color.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Select the an Ellipse from the drop down menu on the Artwork tool Insert

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Drag the mouse to draw a small circle and center it above the text.  Select the circle and right click to access more options. Select Convert T, Steil.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

If you’d like to review different applqiue fabrics, select the Applique, and click on the Command tabe in the Properties box. Click on the field next to Fabric.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Select a fabric to review your work.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Stitch the applique on lightweight tear away stabilizer – one that tears clean. After removing from the hoop, use an awl or eyelet cutter to open the eyelet. Thread a pretty ribbon through the eyelet and you’re all set. Start making them now and the gifts under your tree will be beautiful!

 

 

1 2 3