Archive of ‘Holiday Stitching’ category

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.

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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.

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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!



December Update in Perfect Embroidery Pro

Beads, Crystals, Pearls and Rhinestones

Do you love to add crystals, beads and pearls to some of your embroidery designs? Then you’re going to love December’s free update in Perfect Embroidery Pro! Now you can audition gems on a design in Perfect Embroidery Pro before you ever take a stitch. Click on the video below to see how easy it is to add crystals to a lace neckline.

If less sometimes leaves you wanting more, then watch the video below to see how a demure neckline can be transformed with holiday sparkle.

Gems are not just for garments as they make lovely additions to home décor items. LuLu Christmas includes a lovely trio of Christmas ornaments – perfect for linen guest towels when sprinkled across the towel. But I don’t always have time to fill the width of fabric with edge to edge embroidery yet I still want a fluid design. The video below shows how crystals are a simple solution in Perfect Embroidery Pro.

When  you update, you’ll find 24 beads, 12 crystals, 16 pearls and 40 rhinestones – each customizable by size. And of course, you can add your own images to the library. Just set the position of each crystal by placing a node on the design or let the software automatically create a string of gems for you – all evenly spaced. Adjust the spacing by changing the instructions in the properties box or fine tune the placement by adjusting the individual nodes.

Stitch marks (you choose between a cross and a circle) are inserted into the design so that the placement can be easily achieved after the embroidery is complete. The size of the stitch marks is adjustable so that even the tiniest gems cover the small marks.

I hope you enjoy December’s free update – I know I’m going to have fun adding sparkle to my creations!

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!




March Monogram of the Month


Now that I live in Texas, St. Patrick’s Day passes by without much fanfare but that’s not the case in other parts of the country. In Chicago, they dye the river green!  In New York City, they host the USA’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade and on Savannah, GA’s official St. Patrick’s Day parade website, they countdown the days, hours and minutes until their annual parade time. 

As an embroiderer you can celebrate the upcoming Celtic celebration in a subtle way by adding a  petite shamrock to your monogram.  Think of it as a nod to your heritage or just an expression of Spring cheer.  If you do, include a couple of shades of green to add emphasis to the Celtic accent. I made this monogram in Bernina Artista Software. Here’s how.

Open BERNINA Embroidery Software DesignerPlus. Select the Monogram icon and click on the Borders tab at the top of the menu.  B1

Select MB4. B1a

Click on Add to add another border. B2

Insert .25 (inches) in the Offset box.  Select Candlewicking from the Outline menu. Click Ok.  B3

Click on Lettering in the Monogramming box. Select a font and type the letters in each box. B4

Merge the Shamrock design into the monogram.  B5

Save the design and send it to your machine. Hoop tear-away stabilizer with linen in a 4” x 4” hoop and stitch the design.

I’d like to share a little Celtic cheer with you so feel free to download the shamrock.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Do you have a favorite accent that you like to add to a monogram? Maybe a pineapple, pine cone, seashell or something along those lines? One comment will be chosen to receive a gift certificate to the DIME store for $25!



The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Baby Lock

If you could have any Baby Lock machine, which one would you want to own? Post your comments for a chance to win a very generous prize courtesy of Baby Lock! One random winner will be chosen to win The Embroidery Essentials Kit, a $385 value!

The winner is… Jeannie G.  “I would love to have a long arm quilter” – Congratulations Jeannie!

Stitching Lettering on Fur

Stockings-1I know thousands of embroidery machines will be humming right up until December 24th. So here’s how to handle tricky faux fur – a favorite last minute gift item.

Scroll lettering has a tendency to disappear when stitched on faux fur.  Here’s how I tackle that problem.

I used Floriani Total Control Pro to create the lettering but the steps will be same in any digitizing program. Right click on the text.  Select Create Outline from the drop down menu. Fur1

The default setting is .08” outside of the lettering. Click OK. Fur2

An outline appears around the word. Fur3

Select the outline and right click. Select Convert To Complex Fill.  Fur4

Change the Density to 2.0 and leave the stitch length at 4.0mm. Fur5

Select the Shape Tool.

Click on the fill. Move the direction of the stitches by selecting the black circle. Fur6

Drag it to the right. Fur7

Use the Select Tool to select, copy and paste the complex Fill. Fur8

Select only the second fill and change the direction of the stitches so they are at an opposing angle to the first set. In Properties, remove all underlay.  Fur9

Change the sequence of the colors so that the fill is the first color and the lettering is second. Hoop the fur and stitch color 1 in the same color as the fur since you want the fill stitches to blend into the fur. Fur10

You’re probably wondering what to do if you don’t have software.  Here’s a tip I learned from one of my smart students, Peggy Schroeder. Peggy uses it on terrycloth all of the time. Use tulle to mimic the fill stitches. Just place matching tulle (same color as the fur) over the fur. Stitch the lettering and then rip the tulle away from the text. This works pretty well as it holds the fur down under the lettering. Once the tulle is torn away though, some of the fur surrounding the text may creep over the text.  If that happens, just trim away the excess fibers around the lettering so it doesn’t obstruct the lettering.

Hope this information helps you tackle those tricky fibers!

Happy Holidays.

Thoughtful & Quick-to-Stitch Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season

Long before the holidays spring up I have great plans for stitching gifts for family and friends. But inevitably, the hustle and bustle of preparing a Thanksgiving meal, decorating the home and fighting the crowds everywhere I go and staying within budget leaves me overwhelmed. That’s why I think finding balance and coming up with a plan are so important.

This year I’ve decided to stitch Christmas stockings. Here are 5 reasons why I love this idea and think you will too:

  1. Out of the Ordinary!
    These are not your ordinary stockings from your local discount store. These stockings have a zipper from the cuff to the toe enabling you to hoop the stocking flat!

  2. No need to wrap the gift!The Stocking is the wrapping and also means you don’t have to buy something massive that will be difficult to transport or ship.
  3. A little applique goes a long way!Don’t have time to stitch? Use your favorite applique design. Appliques don’t have a lot of stitching—the applique fabric becomes the focal point.
  4. Themes!Here’s where you can have some fun. Write down a list of your gift recipients in one column. Now in the second column write down their interests and activities. This will also help you determine what to stuff the stocking with. Keep in mind you don’t have to spend a lot to fill your stocking. It’s not what you spend it’s the thought you put into personalizing it. Here’s a look at gift ideas with my friends as examples:
    Name Interests Gift Ideas
    Roger Likes to grill Cooking utensils (wooden spoons, spatulas, spoon rests, spices, recipe cards, gourmet sauces
    Casey Has a sweet tooth Chocolates, cookies, hot chocolate. Pick something unusual for them to try or go ‘old school’ and select only those candies that were from their childhood. People always enjoy reminiscing over their favorite candies as a child.
    Ashton Baby’s First Christmas Baby bibs, baby bottles, booties, onesies
    Janis Loves to sew Fat quarters of fabric, interesting buttons and notions, ribbons and trim
  5. Quality “me” time for… others!Having a hard time escaping? Everyone need a piece of your time? Let them know you’re designing their gift. Besides, the time spent stitching is minimal – and this time is your opportunity to rejuvenate your creative spirit so that you can enjoy the holidays more with others!

I think you’ll agree that coming up with a plan makes the gift-giving-gift-making task less of a ‘task’ and more of an opportunity to create and have fun. Read on for tips to embrace your inner ‘creative designer’.

A little time to design!
Take a look at your design stash to see what designs you’ve collected that fit the theme for your gift recipients. Here’s your chance to get creative AND actually use your random mix of embroidery designs! Or you can choose a holiday theme – snowflakes, Christmas trees, etc.

You can also use your built-in lettering on your embroidery machines or in your embroidery software. Come up with cute sayings or stitch the person’s name with the year.

Whatever you choose, remember it’s not what you spend it’s the thought you put into personalizing it. This sure beats anything you can pick up from your local drug store or retailer!

Pick up a stocking (or two!) from Designs in Machine Embroidery!  Click here to purchase.

Keep It Simple Snowman

HeaderMy Stitching Sister, Marie Zinno, is so busy right now. Every time we talk (and that’s every morning), she’s got all three of her machines cranking out holiday orders.  Marie is a commercial embroiderer based in Canton, OH and one very pleasant person. She never grumbles even in the midst of holiday stitching chaos. And if you’ve ever dabbled in machine embroidery for business, then you know what holiday chaos is like. It all starts out innocent enough; you get just the right amount of orders to keep your machines humming about 6-8 hours a day.  Your delivery dates are manageable (because you finally got a handle on estimating how much time to allot for each order); your prices are set and your inventory landed when promised. It’s all up to you now to get the jobs completed as promised.

But Marie is the first to admit things don’t always go as planned. Oh she definitely has survived holiday emergencies in previous years of power outages, machines malfunctioning and family illnesses and she handled each with panache. But this year, it’s been a bit different. It seems when a customer arrives to pick up an order they see some of the items that she’s been making for other customers and promptly order four or six or 24!

So what’s so hot in Canton this year? Snowman towels, onesies and t-shirts. When Marie’s customers spot them on display they promptly order a set of towels for their own home. And then they remember their niece who had a new baby this spring and order a onesie for that angel. Then they remember the baby has an older sister or brother, and well you get the picture.  She charges between $15 and $20 for each item and because she has an inventory of blank items, it’s just a matter of hooping and stitching.


As embroiderers we tend to overcomplicate things – take personalization to whole new levels. But really, many people are just as touched with a simple holiday design. Something that’s unique, something you don’t find in the local store.  So if you’re scrambling to finish your holiday stitching, maybe you should simplify. And think snowman!


The snowman design is from Embroidery Garden.


Here’s your assignment this week:

So how is your holiday stitching coming along? Are you stressed? Are you going to make your deadlines?  Let us know how it’s going and we’ll pick a random winner to receive a fold flat stocking, perfect for personalization.

The winner of last week’s assignment:

Tell me which of the bags above is your favorite; the red diamond, teal scallop pocket purse, green starburst or the small clutch. Two lucky winners will get an autographed copy of Designer Knockoffs, Handbags 2! Good luck.

And the lucky winners are: Desiree K. and Patty S. Congratulations!

Holiday Linen Update 2


It sounds like the blog favorite font of last week’s picks is font C. I agree it’s a beautiful font – very fluid, traditional and yet, warm and inviting. Let me show what I’ve done with it. The font, Cursive is a built-in font in Floriani Total Control Pro digitizing software. If you don’t have this software, I’m sure you can accomplish the same results in your lettering or digitizing program.

Click on the Text tool and type Merry into the dialog box. Select the Cursive font from the pull down menu. Place 1.00 in the Height box. Click on Apply.


The word appears on the screen.


Pull on the green circle at the center top.


Then push on the green circle at the center bottom.


Merry will now be arched. I know there is a way to do this automatically in the software but I feel like I have more control over the finished effect doing it in this 2-step method.

Reduce the spacing between the letters by selecting the blue diamond (just left of the letter) on the portion of the word you want to move. Notice how all of the letters to the right of the e are selected and moving to the left.


You can move individual letters by selecting the black diamond in the center of the letter.

Now, let’s dress it up a bit. Go to File, Merge and select a holiday design from your design library. I’m using the bell design from Stipple! Jingle Bells. If you’re using the bell design, delete the first color, the stipple stitches.


Now, add Christmas by selecting the Text tool and typing Christmas in the dialog box. This time, pull down the green circle at the bottom center and pull the green circle at the center top to arc the word.


Let’s add a little sparkle with embroidered stars. These small designs – or symbols as Floriani calls them – are like sprinkles. Drop a four or five around the bell to fill the space. Change the thread color of the text to red to preview your design in actual colors.


Hoop a linen or cotton towel with tear-away stabilizer and stitch the design adding applique fabrics if your design calls for it. Make two, three or a dozen – they are great gifts and take just 15 minutes to stitch.


Here’s your assignment this week:

Thanks for the help with my holiday linen update! Leave a question below that you’d like me to answer. I’ll answer one random question and award an open flat stocking you can personalize this holiday season. Good luck!

The winner of last week’s assignment:

Leave a comment below about which font is your favorite from above, choose A, B, C, or D and if you have a favorite color scheme. One comment will be chosen to receive a $25 coupon code to use at Hoop Sisters!


The winner is Rory D, with the suggestion”Boy, they’re all great but my favorite is “C”. It’s cheery and would look great in country colors of dark green and a deep red or burgundy..”

Holiday Linen Update


I’m working on some new holiday kitchen towels. After all these years of using the same holiday linens, I think it’s time for an update. Here’s a look at some of the lettering I’ve been working on in software. This week, I plan to gather my materials, test the designs and then finish by Monday. But I’d love to have a little assistance from you.

I want to know what font pictured below is your favorite (Chose A, B, C or D) and what color scheme do you prefer? Traditional red and green? Gold and silver? Refashioned vintage aqua and red? Blue and silver? If you have another favorite combo, please share!





I’m planning on making a set similar to the vintage elegant towels I did a year ago for my niece. This time around, I’m using holiday designs, fabrics and threads.


But if you know me, my favorite part is gathering the ribbons and fabrics. Here’s a look at materials I used for the days of the week towels.



It’s fun to weed through my stash and find long lost holiday novelty fabric. I don’t buy those types of fabrics too often but when I do, I hold onto them. They always come in handy at this time of year.  I’ll be looking for colorful prints with small to medium size motifs. Since the ruffles are only 4” wide, you won’t see a lot of the print.  Same goes with the ribbons.

So let me know what direction to take! I can’t wait to get stitching.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Leave a comment below about which font is your favorite from above, choose A, B, C, or D and if you have a favorite color scheme. One comment will be chosen to receive a $25 coupon code to use at Hoop Sisters!


The winner of last week’s assignment:

It’s time to take a look at your design collection!  Tell us what embroidery design theme you seem to collect the most. Do you favor flowers, birds, quilt blocks, redwork, fruits, vegetables, dogs, cats, monograms, lettering, fish, Christmas, lace, borders, frames, etc.  Post your comment for a chance to win a $25 shopping spree on the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

The winner is Nancy, with her comment:  “I have a lot of heirloom type designs. I love embroidering dainty designs on baby items. Next I have many tiny designs to embroider on my granddaughter’s socks, they are so cute. I also like to embroider the freestanding ornaments to tie to napkin holders during the holidays.”

You’ll still have time to decorate your holiday table

Eileen Roche Tutorial on Stipple Jingle Bells


Here’s a tutorial on a fast easy centerpiece.  You can stitch this in about two hours, and then just slip your potted plant, floral bouquet or a glass vase of sparkly Christmas ornaments inside the tube. It’s a fast and easy way to dress up your table.


You’ll Need:

  • Stipple! Jingle Bells Collection
  • One 9” x 30” quilt sandwich. For best results, measure your 5” x 7” hoop and cut your quilt sandwich 4” wider than the hoop.
  • Appliqué fabrics: green, red, white, yellow and soft gray
  • One 6 ½” x 22” strip of lining fabric
  • Four 1” x 6” sashing strips
  • One 2 ½” x 25” binding strip
  • Flour 4 ½” squares of cardboard or heavy duty cardstock



Stitch four Stipple! Jingle Bell blocks on the quilt sandwich, spacing the blocks 1” apart. Follow the color sequence instructions included in the Jingle Bell CD for making each block. Trim the blocks with ¼” seam allowance on all four sides.

Stipple Jingle Bell Tutorial - 1

Sew one sashing strip to the right edge of the first block, right sides together, and ¼” seam allowance.

Stipple Jingle Bell Tutorial - 2


Stipple Jingle Bell Tutorial - 3

Sew the second block to the sashing strip.

Stipple Jingle Bell Tutorial - 4

 Add another sashing strip to the right edge of the second block.  Repeat for all four blocks.

Stipple Jingle Bell Tutorial - 5a 

 Sew the last block to the first block, creating a tube.

Stipple Jingle Bell Tutorial - 5

 Bind the top edge. Set aside.


Fold and press under ½” on one long end of the 6 ½” x 22” lining strip. Sew the short ends of the strip, right sides together. Topstitch the folded edge.

Stipple Jingle Bell Tutorial - 6

Fold the lining strip into quarters and mark with pins. Place the lining strip over the quilted tube, aligning the bottom raw edges and matching the quarter marks to the sashing strips.

Stipple Jingle Bell Tutorial - 7

Sew with ¼” seam allowance.

Stipple Jingle Bell Tutorial - 8

 Turn, press. Pin the lining at the sashing strips.

Stipple Jingle Bell Tutorial - 9

 Stitch in the center of each sashing strip.

Stipple Jingle Bell Tutorial - 10

Insert card board squares.

Stipple Jingle Bell Tutorial - 11

 Fold into a square; insert a candle or small plant.

Stipple Jingle Bell Tutorial - 12Enjoy your new centerpiece!



This week’s assignment

At, you can choose from more than 40,000 professionally digitized and downloadable stock/licensed designs, premium embroidery card/CD/USB Stick collections, embroidery software applications and hardware, a rainbow of thread, glitz and other embroidery supplies 24 hours a day.

Post your comment about your favorite OESD item and one lucky winner will be randomly selected to win a $100 gift certificate for downloadable designs at

Win $100 in downloadable designs

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