Archive of ‘Home Decor’ category

Upscale Bed Linens

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I love embroidered bed linens. They are such a treat to slide between as you end a long day. Here are some tips for stitching gorgeous machine embroidery designs on sheets.

Tips for Success

• Take the time to prepare the design and the sheets. It’s well worth the effort.

• Purchase an extra pillowcase to test the design before stitching on the sheets.

• Open the band before embroidering to hide the wrong side of the embroidery.

• My stabilizer of choice for sheets is fusible polymesh cut-away stabilizer with a layer of tear-away floating under the hoop. Fine linens are a tight weave and benefit from a strong foundation for the embroidery.

• Insert a new, sharp needle.

• Consider adding a single-letter monogram to the center of the band. Then stitch from the center to the edge on each side.

• Allow some space at each end of the border for some breathing room (aka – room for error).

Here’s a case for prewashing the sheets. Normally, I don’t prewash blanks but sheets really benefit from this prep step. It eliminates the unwanted puckers that often appear after laundering embroidered linens.

Measure the band – from folded edge to stitch line and from selvedge to selvedge. If the band measures 4” (a common size), select a design that is 3” in height so that there will be ½” open space on each side of the design. Once you select a machine embroidery design that is 3” tall, make a note of its length. My design is 3” x 5” and my queen top sheet measures 90” from selvedge to selvedge. I’ll divide 90” by 5”. I’ll need 18 repeats to fill the band.

Hmm…90” is perfectly divided by 5 into 18 repeats. Frankly, that scares me because I’ll have to be absolutely perfect on placement for each of the 18 designs. So I’ll take a little artistic license here and set myself up for success by planning on stitching only 17 repeats. Not only will this relieve some stress, it will probably look more pleasing because the center of a design will be dead center on the band and not the join of two designs. Definitely more desirable in my opinion.

Not that I know how many repeats I’ll need, I will take a seam ripper to the band and release the hem. I know, reverse sewing but it’s so worth it. Next, it’s time to carefully press the band but I will leave the crease of the fold in place because it’s a built-in guideline for squaring the band (sheet) in the hoop.

Cut the fusible polymesh stabilizer into 4” strips and press it to the wrong side of the band.

Fold the sheet in half, selvedge to selvedge to find the center and place a target sticker to mark the center.

Print two templates of the design. Place one template on the target sticker. Make sure the template’s crosshair is aligned with the target sticker’s crosshair. Use a ruler to verify the design is flanked by ½” on each side (from fold crease to hemline).

Select a hoop that will accommodate the design – one or two repeats. Hoop the band with tear-away stabilizer. Center the needle over the target sticker and embroider the design. Place the template on the band, connecting the image to the stitched design. Move the needle to the template’s crosshair. Remove the template and embroider the design.

When it’s time to rehoop, use the template and folded crease to square the sheet in the hoop and continue to fill the band with embroidery.

 

Here’s your assignment this week:

Can you find the hidden hearts in this image? Tell us how many hidden hearts you see and one lucky winner will be chosen randomly to receive $25 off at the DIME website. Happy heart hunting!

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Take a look around at the new website and let us know what you think. Leave your comments below and one random comment will be selected to receive a $25 gift certficate to spend on the new DIME website!

And the winner is…Carolyn H. “Very nice! It looks quite modern.”

Machine Embroidered Buttonholes

Click here to download this article as a PDF for future reference.

Many of you wrote that buttonholes are a struggle when it comes to sewing. I agree! One of the worst parts about adding a buttonhole is it’s just about the last thing you do when making a garment. I begin to sweat thinking about marking the buttonholes, spacing them evenly, stitching them perfectly straight, even and parallel. How many times has the foot jammed against the seam allowance resulting in a shorter than planned buttonhole?

Hmm… I don’t think it’s the machine. In fact, most machines have the ability to make a very professional buttonhole. The problem is the operator, me. My sewing/tailoring skills do not equal my embroidery skills. It might have something to do with my attention span but that’s material for another blog! If you’re like me, you might consider using your embroidery machine to create buttonholes.

Why machine embroider your buttonholes? The number one reason for me is control. Machine embroidered buttonholes give me total control over the length of the buttonhole and the placement because I’m starting with a digital file that will stitch perfect duplicates since I don’t have to guide the fabric under the foot.

So let’s take a look at how to embroider buttonholes.

First, select the buttons. Measure the buttons and add a small amount (such as .10 of an inch) to the diameter. That measurement will be the length of the buttonhole. Click here for four buttonholes for you to download. You’ll find two 1” buttonholes (square and round) and two 2” buttonholes (square and round). Resize the length only of the designs to accommodate your button.

Naturally, you must make a test buttonhole on the same fabric as the final garment. The sample must include the sample interfacing, facing or lining. You can’t cheat here – it’s the only way to guarantee positive results and this is when you’ll tweak the length.

Crisp or lightweight tear-away stabilizer works beautifully on buttonholes because it tears cleanly. Once hooped, draw a straight line down the length of the hoop to use as an alignment mark.

Insert the metal frame of Magna-Hoop Jumbo. It’s not mandatory to use Magna-Hoop Jumbo but it sure does simplify the task.

Place the garment edge next to the drawn line and place Magna-Hoop Jumbo’s acrylic frame on top. Slide magnets into the slots to hold the garment firmly in the hoop.

Attach the hoop to the machine and select the tested (and tweaked) buttonhole design. Rotate the design so it runs perpendicular to the garment edge for horizontal buttonholes. Also, advance to the first stitch to see what end of the buttonhole will stitch first. You want to stitch the end closest to the edge first and sew away from the edge. The fabric will not bulge next to the seam if you do this (a frequent occurrence in manual buttonholes). Rotate or mirror image the design if necessary.

Measure the distance from the garment edge to the end of the buttonhole. For pleasing proportions, it’s best to leave a space between the end of the buttonhole and the garment edge that is half the diameter of the button. For the 2” buttonhole, move the end of the design 1” from the garment edge.

Stitch the buttonhole.

Reposition the design to the next marked position. You won’t have to measure the distance unless you’re changing button sizes. Here I’m stitching the 1” buttonhole.

Continue adding the buttonholes until you’ve finished the required quantity.

Remove from the hoop and tear away the stabilizer. Use a seam ripper or a chisel and wood block to open the buttonhole. If using the seam ripper method, insert a pin at one end of the stitch to avoid slicing beyond the buttonhole.

Or place the buttonhole over a wood block, and insert the chisel into the space between the satin stitching. Press down to cut the fabric.

Design Tips: Buttonhole Placement

It can be challenging to determine evenly-spaced buttonhole placement. For garments, mark the widest point of the bust and the top of the garment. Fold the garment, meeting the top mark to the bust mark. Place a third mark at the fold. You now have the positions for the top three buttons. Measure the distance between two buttons. Use that measurement to mark the remainder of the buttons below the bust point.

Fuzzy Fibers

Place a piece of fusible web (protective paper removed) over the buttonhole area. Stitch the buttonhole. Tear away the excess fusible web. Press the buttonhole with a hot steam iron to melt the fusible web into the satin stitches. Once cooled, cut open the buttonhole. The fusible web will tame the fuzzy fibers.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Leave us a comment about your favorite In the Hoop Project from the SewAZ Embroidery Designs website. Four readers will each receive a $25 gift certificate courtesty of SewAZ Embroidery Designs to the sewazdesigns.com website.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Download our FREE digital edition of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine. Give it a read and enjoy all of the interactivity, photo zooming abilities, videos and beautiful photography captured for each stunning project. Then, come back and leave us a comment on what you think about it – good or bad, we can take it. One lucky reader will win a gift certificate to Designs in Machine Embroidery for $25!

You can use that $25 to buy anything on our website including a 1 year subscription to our print magazine offered at the special price of $24.97 for a limited time only.

And the winner is…“I like the magazine in print form, and I was pleased to receive this digital copy. I love the navigation features and the ability to enlarge and reduce print and pictures to my needs. Thank you for providing this information-packed resource that embroiderers of all skill levels can utilize! Now I can carry the information with me in my jump drive wherever I go…woo hoo!.” – Sandy S.

Congratulations Sandy!

We’re So Proud!

WP-BlogHeader

Toot, toot!  Beep, beep! A special digital issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery is free for you – just click here to access. You’ll find projects, free embroidery designs, videos from our sponsors and access to leading companies in the embroidery industry.

Wondering what’s inside? It’s packed with educational material for newbies, intermediate and advanced embroiderers. Devour the expert information on stabilizers and how to embroider on ribbon, polos and t-shirts! Learn to create continuous embroidery with confidence; stitch a little something for the man in your life and develop your designer’s eye – all in this one special issue!

WP-What

Download the familiar .zip file, unzip and inside you’ll find an exciting interactive Adobe Acrobat PDF file you can read and enjoy from the convenience of your desktop computer or laptop. Use the free Adobe Acrobat reader to achieve full interactivity and flip through the pages, zoom in on projects and print whatever you’d like. Use the arrows on your keyboard to navigate through the pages: advance by clicking the arrows pointing down or right while the arrows pointing up or left will take you to a previous page.

WP-IconWP-PlayLook for the mouse icon and click on it to activate the zoom feature and more.  View the embedded videos by clicking the play button and enjoy.

We made it simple to navigate, easy to view and inspirational to read – I think you’ll see why we’re so proud of our new digital issue. My hat is off to the whole Designs team for making this happen – led by Sam Solomon, Denise Holguin, Stephanie Smith and Sandy Griggs. Designs wouldn’t be here without that team – they’re awesome! I think you’ll agree when you see what they’ve created.

A very special thank you to our valued sponsors: Brother, Embrilliance, Embroidery Library, Five Star Fonts, Janome America, HoopSisters, SWAKembroidery and Urban Threads –  Enjoy!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Download our FREE digital edition of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine. Give it a read and enjoy all of the interactivity, photo zooming abilities, videos and beautiful photography captured for each stunning project. Then, come back and leave us a comment on what you think about it – good or bad, we can take it. One lucky reader will win a gift certificate to Designs in Machine Embroidery for $25!

You can use that $25 to buy anything on our website including a 1 year subscription to our print magazine offered at the special price of $24.97 for a limited time only.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Go over and give Craftsy a looksy! Tell us what classes interest you or if you’ve already taken a class on Craftsy – tell us what you love about it. One lucky reader will receive a link for a complimentary download of Eileen’s new class, The Machine Embroidered T-Shirt!

Craftsy

And the winner is…“I’ve been checking out Craftsy website, and some of the free classes. My sister told me about this site, she had taken a class and loved it! I would really LOVE to win the chance to take the T-shirt class. I have a fear to try new things, but I’m sure taking the class would give me more confidence. Thanks for sharing your embroidery expertise.” – Jane B.

Congratulations Jane, we hope you enjoy your class and share your experience with us!

Made by Hand and Delivered in Person

What better way to shower a first-time mother-to-be than by creating a gift from the heart. And if you can deliver it in person – all the better!  Last weekend, our family showered our niece with dozens of gifts for the new baby.  Lucky girl that she is, some of those gifts – well, many of those gifts – were made by hand. I gathered the handmade items for a photograph to share with you because I know many of you love to stitch for others.

Handmade Machine Embroidery Items

Two of my sisters created gorgeous items. The grandmother-to-be not only made a quilt and matching crib bumpers but also crocheted a blanket. The great-grands jumped into it too!  The gorgeous mint green crocheted blanket was made by her paternal great-grandmother. And my mom, the maternal great-grand, doesn’t sew or craft but she knows where to turn to get the job done. (No, she doesn’t turn to me!). A fellow assisted living resident crocheted the diaper bag and wipes container. Oh wow.  A big hit with the hipster parents-to-be.

A dear family friend, Kathy, made the sheep applique quilt.  Kathy is multi-talented in the crafting world and really pulled out all the stops with the quilt. Intricate piecing and raw edge applique are brought to life by gorgeous quilting.  Kathy is new to quilting but you would never know by the looks of this quilt.

The new babe’s room will be decorated with a Sunshine theme and my stitching sister Marie Zinno went to town on that theme.  She stole the show with her diaper cake, 12 onesies and embroidered pillow.

Onesies

The gray daisy quilt in the background was my contribution to the new baby’s room.  I told the mother to use it, not hang it on the wall. I said, “When I see this quilt in a year or two, I want it to be rumbled and well-loved – not preserved!”

Marie and I were so lucky to attend and give these gifts to our niece in person. Our schedules are pretty intense but the shower was set around our Stitching Sisters events. The shower was in New Jersey on Sunday and we led some very lovely ladies in a 2-day hands-on seminar in Maryland on Friday and Saturday.  We had a blast with these fine ladies and many of them went home with new skills and goodies. Here’s a couple of happy faces.

Stitching Sisters Event

Then we hit the road and drove through the early spring farmlands of Southern New Jersey to arrive in time for the shower.  Whew!  But it was worth it. And we’re not done yet.  In two weeks we head to one of our favorite dealerships in the country, Moore’s Sewing in Pomona and Huntington Beach, CA. It’s been two years since our last visit and we have an all-new presentation for George Moore and his customers.  We can’t wait to get there – in fact, I’m pretty sure Marie is already packing her bags cause it’s still gray and dreary in Ohio!

 

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell me how you get your embroidery fix, is it a daily activity or one you squeeze in when you find a free afternoon?  Just leave a comment and you could win one of two Gold Memberships to Daily Embroidery. That’s a $120 value each!

Daily Embroidery’s Gold Membership program offers unlimited downloads to their massive and ever-growing design collection with two new designs added daily.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Share a comment about contemporary quilting and you could win a trio of Stipple! Collections: Geometrics, Butterfly and Seashells.

And the winner is…”I too absolutely hate hand stitching or sewing. I always try to find another way somehow to sew by machine if anyway possible! I love your embroidery techniques and your embroidery stipple products! These are the 3 that I do not have and would very much love to have them. Hope I can be a winner this time around! Thanks so much for all of your quilt projects! Love them!.” – Ginger S.

Hand is a Four-letter Word

Hand is a four letter wordI’m a machine girl, always have been, always will be. I’m amazed, impressed, in awe, humbled by those who stitch by hand. But truth be told, I don’t get it. I think the ONLY thing I like about handwork is, it’s portable. You can throw it in a bag and take it anywhere. Kinda hard to do that with your embroidery machine. Just ask my sweet husband about that fishing trip we took to Arkansas. You know, the one where I told him, “I’m just going to bring a little bit of work with me. Okay, honey?” Here’s the photo of ‘my little bit of work’. But he still loves me.

Machine Embroidery Blog

Since I don’t like handwork, I’m always looking for a way to turn handwork techniques into sewing techniques. Take binding for instance. Most people believe binding should be sewn by hand to the back of a quilt. I think that’s because they only make one or two quilts per year. Oh okay, that sounds kind of mean and it’s probably not true. It could be they just have higher standards than I do. That’s more like it.

In fact, my standards on binding are not really that high. If I could leave the quilt, raw-edge, I probably would. I have been known to show quilts in a classroom setting without a binding. You might remember my friend, Cindy McCord – a student in San Antonio. Cindy just couldn’t bear to let me show an unbound quilt (honest, there was only one!). She took it home on Friday, purchased the perfect fabric, bound and returned it to me at the start of class on Saturday morning. Wow, that was impressive.

Cindy And Eileen

Since that humbling moment, I’ve taken great strides to bind my quilts. But I still absolutely refuse the hand-sewing part. And this morning, I found a new use for a sewing foot that’s been in my drawer for years.

Embroidery Machine Foot

The lowly, blind hem foot is apparently, the perfect tool for stitching in the ditch. Why didn’t I know this? Or think of this? Or try this sooner? Doesn’t everybody else know this? I looked at that little foot and thought, hmm, that metal guide might be just the thing to run along the binding seam and keep the whole mess, I mean beautiful quilt, under control while the binding is sewn to the back.

After sewing the binding to the quilt, I pressed the binding to the back and pinned it from the front. I slid the binding under the blind hem foot, nestling the foot’s metal guide in the seam.

Foot on binding

I placed thread that matched the quilt – not the binding – in the needle and moved the needle so that it was just a millimeter to the left of the metal guide. Then I floored it! I whizzed around the binding, pausing only to remove the pins. And when I flipped it over – I was thrilled! The entire binding was captured from the front. Binding Captured

No stray sections wandering off the back of the quilt. Yippee! Oh my, what a relief. The quilt is really done – completely finished and 5 days – yes 5 WHOLE DAYS – before being handed off to the mom-to-be at her baby shower.

Daisy Quilt

These new moms love the contemporary quilt movement. How about you? Do you love it or could you leave it? Are inspired by their use of negative space and clear color? Truth be told, I’m intrigued and have been delving into designing some quilts with this contemporary slant. Share a comment about contemporary quilting and you could win a trio of Stipple! Collections: Geometrics, Butterfly and Seashells.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Share a comment about contemporary quilting and you could win a trio of Stipple! Collections: Geometrics, Butterfly and Seashells.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

What’s your go-to tool for embroidery? Is there one thing that you use almost every time you embroider? Share your thought with us and you could win a pack of 250 yellow Target Stickers.

And the winner is…”I can’t do without my Hugo’s Amazing Tape. It keeps my thread tails neat(and confuses the cat because she can’t unroll any thread now).” – Shannon D.

Upscale Bed Linens – Tips for stitching gorgeous machine embroidery designs on sheets

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I love embroidered bed linens. They are such a treat to slide between as you end a long day. Here are some tips for stitching gorgeous machine embroidery designs on sheets.

Tips for Success

• Take the time to prepare the design and the sheets. It’s well worth the effort.

• Purchase an extra pillowcase to test the design before stitching on the sheets.

• Open the band before embroidering to hide the wrong side of the embroidery.

• My stabilizer of choice for sheets is fusible polymesh cut-away stabilizer with a layer of tear-away floating under the hoop. Fine linens are a tight weave and benefit from a strong foundation for the embroidery.

• Insert a new, sharp needle.

• Consider adding a single-letter monogram to the center of the band. Then stitch from the center to the edge on each side.

• Allow some space at each end of the border for some breathing room (aka – room for error).

Here’s a case for prewashing the sheets. Normally, I don’t prewash blanks but sheets really benefit from this prep step. It eliminates the unwanted puckers that often appear after laundering embroidered linens.

Measure the band – from folded edge to stitch line and from selvedge to selvedge. If the band measures 4” (a common size), select a design that is 3” in height so that there will be ½” open space on each side of the design. Once you select a machine embroidery design that is 3” tall, make a note of its length. My design is 3” x 5” and my queen top sheet measures 90” from selvedge to selvedge. I’ll divide 90” by 5”. I’ll need 18 repeats to fill the band.

Hmm…90” is perfectly divided by 5 into 18 repeats. Frankly, that scares me because I’ll have to be absolutely perfect on placement for each of the 18 designs. So I’ll take a little artistic license here and set myself up for success by planning on stitching only 17 repeats. Not only will this relieve some stress, it will probably look more pleasing because the center of a design will be dead center on the band and not the join of two designs. Definitely more desirable in my opinion.

Not that I know how many repeats I’ll need, I will take a seam ripper to the band and release the hem. I know, reverse sewing but it’s so worth it. Next, it’s time to carefully press the band but I will leave the crease of the fold in place because it’s a built-in guideline for squaring the band (sheet) in the hoop.

Cut the fusible polymesh stabilizer into 4” strips and press it to the wrong side of the band.

Fold the sheet in half, selvedge to selvedge to find the center and place a target sticker to mark the center.

Print two templates of the design. Place one template on the target sticker. Make sure the template’s crosshair is aligned with the target sticker’s crosshair. Use a ruler to verify the design is flanked by ½” on each side (from fold crease to hemline).

Select a hoop that will accommodate the design – one or two repeats. Hoop the band with tear-away stabilizer. Center the needle over the target sticker and embroider the design. Place the template on the band, connecting the image to the stitched design. Move the needle to the template’s crosshair. Remove the template and embroider the design.

When it’s time to rehoop, use the template and folded crease to square the sheet in the hoop and continue to fill the band with embroidery.

Here’s your assignment this week:

With Christmas fast approaching travel plans are in full swing. One important aspect of travel planning is packing. If you forget one key thing it can send you in a tailspin! Leave a comment below about the most memorable item you’ve ever left behind and you could win an autographed copy of The Travel Gear Made Easy Bundle by Mary Mulari. In it you’ll learn how to create fifteen new clever and usable travel accessories for trips around the corner or the world. Using Mary’s easy-to-follow instructions and hand drawn illustrations you’ll make travel gear for yourself or family and friends.

Mary Mulari Travel Gear Bundle

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

At EmbroideryOnline.com, 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 EmbroideryOnline.com.

OESD

The lucky winner is… (drum roll please!) “Love this tutorial, awesome for decor or gift. I love using the OESD stabilizers. I really like the Christmas designs best! anything for the holidays. ” – Sue

Congratulations Sue!

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

 

Instructions:

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

Press.

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 EmbroideryOnline.com, 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 EmbroideryOnline.com.

Win $100 in downloadable designs

7 Ordinary Towels – One Fabulous Gift Part 1 of 2

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Vintage Elegance

Elevate a humble days-of-the-week towel set with charming embroidery, ruffled trim and ribbon.  The fun is in the making – truly – I had a blast working on this set of towels.  Hidden in a drawer for ages, the days-of-the-week towels popped into my mind just as I was scrambling for the perfect bridal shower gift for a young, kitchen-comfortable bride!

The bride, my niece Kim, has been an avid cook since she first learned how to make homemade pasta at the ripe old age of 8. And she’s got an arsenal full of kitchen equipment. So it’s natural I thought of her kitchen –and the joy she derives from cooking up concoctions in there when I wondered what gift I would give.

These towels are as charming as Kim. A multi-talented, humorous, intelligent woman, no plain-Jane simple terrycloth towels for her. Oh no, her towels need to make a statement – to shout to the world, this kitchen and cook are fun-loving serious foodies.

It started with adorable embroidery designs. A touch of vintage elegance, the utensil designs were snatched at http://www.emblibrary.com.  The collection name is “A Classic Kitchenware Design Pack.  I opened each one in Floriani software and had a bit of fun with the lettering. Did you know lettering doesn’t have to sit on a straight line? You can curve it, bend it, shape it any way you want.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

My next post will give you the step-by-step instructions for adding the ruffles and ribbon. For now, let’s concentrate on the embroidery. Before you get started, take my advice and buy the ribbon to match the towels, then select the fabrics and finally the thread for the embroidery.  Finding the right ribbon was the biggest challenge – it’s easier to match everything to the ribbon instead of hunting for the perfect shade of ¾” wide ribbon.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

In a nutshell, here are the steps. Buy the towels. Find the ribbon. Design the embroidery. Select the fabrics. Select the threads. Prewash the fabrics and towels (if you have the time). Stitch all embroidery. Make the ruffles. Sew the ruffles to each towel. Finish with the ribbon.

Measure the width of the towels. One third of that measurement is the limit for the width of each embroidery design. After creating the personalized embroidery designs, size them for the towels.

Open Embroidery Library design F8031 in Floriani software.  Size the design to the appropriate width.  Click on the Text icon and select the Diana-Vs font.  Type Celebrate! in the text window, click Apply.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Place the cursor over the center green circle and pull the circle down towards the spoon.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The text will curve. You can adjust the curve by sliding the circle.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Save the design.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Let’s step it up a bit by adding three words – Stir with Love.  Open design F8029 and write Stir in the text box.  Now grab the green square on the lower right corner. Pull the square down towards the whisk.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Enter ‘with’ in the text box.  Place the cursor over each yellow square to move the individual letters closer together.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Pull the green circle in the bottom center down towards the whisk.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Nestle the word just above the stem of the whisk.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Enter ‘Love’ in the text box and click Apply. Select the ‘L’ by clicking on the yellow square in the L. Move the letter to the left. Select the green circle on the upper right corner and rotate the L so that the base is parallel with the whisk’s handle.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Move and rotate each individual letter so that they connect and wrap along the top of the handle.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Save the design.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Make seven different designs and have fun with the sayings. Keep the gift recipient in mind and personalize, personalize, personalize!

Now that the designs are ready, mark the embroidery placement on each towel.  I used the Hand Towel with Border template from the Perfect Towel Kit. Slide a target sticker into each hole.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Hoop the towels in a 5” x 7” hoop with tear-away stabilizer and center the needle over the target sticker.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Remove the target sticker and embroider the design.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Press the towels on a fluffy terrycloth towel, pressing from the wrong side.  Set them aside for now. We’ll work on the ruffles and ribbon on this Friday’s blog post!

This week’s assignment:

Tell me what is your ‘go-to gift’ for bridal showers?  Post a comment and we’ll select TWO random winners to win a $35 gift voucher courtesy of Designs by Hope Yoder!

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the question:

If you were to create fabric fortune cookies for an upcoming event, tell us what the event would be and share one question you would include in the fabric cookies. One random comment will be drawn and the lucky winner will receive a $25 shopping spree on the Designs in Machine embroidery website.

The winner is…Patty C.
What a great idea. Wished I had known of it 2 weeks ago when we hosted my husband’s 60th birthday party. Instead we played a version of Jeopardy. Categories were segments of his 60 years of life…Early years, Golden years, Grindstone, etc. We had fun but the fortune cookies would have worked great with our family.

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Advent Calendars

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I’ve always been charmed by advent calendars. When I saw this Winter Mitten Gift Card Holder from our friends at SWAKembroidery.com, I couldn’t resist transforming the in-the-hoop ornaments into 25 mittens to countdown the days until Christmas. The mitten is featured in the current issue of Designs and is a bargain-buy at $8.00 because you get five different designs in three sizes.

I opted to use cotton quilting fabric instead of traditional red felt. Either works just fine but felt is more economical. If you choose felt, use one layer for the front of the mitten and one layer for the back. Cotton fabric needs a bit more stability so fuse two layers of fabric with fusible web together for the front of the mitten. A single layer of fabric works fine for the back. You’ll need enough for 25 stockings or five hoopings in a 200×300 hoop.

In embroidery editing software, open Mitten4x4 Christmas Tree. Remove the Christmas tree. Copy and paste the design four times. Position the mittens in the hoop leaving ½” between each design. If the fabric doesn’t have a directional print (such as a stripe), rotate the fifth one to fit in the hoop. Select three of the mittens and mirror image them.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Color sort the design. Select the lettering function and type in number 1. Place the digit in the first mitten (thumb facing to the right) and size the letter to a height of 1.46”. Repeat for numbers 2 through 5.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Move the numbers to the first color of the design. Save it as Mitten1_5.

Remove the numbers and replace them with numbers 6 through 10. Save it as Mitten6_10. Repeat this process until you have 25 mittens with the numbers 1 through 25, five hoopings.

If you don’t have embroidery editing software, you can do this at the machine but you’ll have to ‘embroider responsibly’. Open the embroidery design in the machine’s editing feature. Merge as many mittens into the largest hoop as will fit. Add a number to each mitten, centering the number over the Christmas tree.

Attach the hoop to the machine. Stitch the numbers by advancing through the design. Stitch the placement guide for the trim. Add the trim. Skip the colors of the Christmas tree and advance to the mitten outline. Place a second piece of fabric under the hoop and stitch the final outline. When stitching the final outline, it’s wise to cover the fur on the side opposite the thumb. Use a skewer or pencil to hold a scrap of water soluble stabilizer over the fur as the needle advances to the fur.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Remove from the hoop.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Trim about ¼” from the outline.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Create your advent wreath by attaching to a decorative ribbon, clothesline, or wire. Adorn a mantel, staircase or tree with the mittens. The kids will have so much fun checking for a small treat each day.

Want to use multiple fabrics for a charming, quilty look? Don’t assign the numbers to the mittens in chronological order, change fabrics with every hooping and consider doing some of the numbers in single hoopings.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Christmas decorations and ornaments can evoke warm memories of childhood. What’s your favorite motif? Is it a star, reindeer, Santa, snowflakes or a menorah? Do you have a central theme running through your holiday decorations? Share your thoughts and you could be one of four lucky winners this week. What’s the prize? FOUR lucky winners will receive a $25.00 gift certificate from SWAKembroidery.com!
Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

I’d love to know what digitizing program you use – and maybe you don’t! Tell me that too. Just leave a comment and let me know if you do or don’t digitize and if you do, what program you use. You could win one of my favorite embroidery editing programs, Perfect Alignment Software.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The lucky winner is…  (drum roll please!)
“I use Embroidery Magic 2 and Fancyworks.  They take some effort to learn but the results are well worth the effort.” – Becky

Congratulations Becky!

The Bubble Quilt – Complete!

I finished! Yippee! Not only finished but I flew it across the country, wrapped it up in pretty paper and hand delivered it to my precious niece, Christin Morrow. I have to say, I’m quite proud of myself because there’s something you don’t know about me. I finish 95% of the projects I have to do for work but only a measly 20% of projects I want to make for loved ones. Geesh, something’s wrong with that picture. That will have to be my resolution for 2012.

When I do get the opportunity to make something for someone I absolutely love the process because I get to focus on the recipient. During the Bubble Quilt, I added a dash of purple fabrics because Christin loved purple during her childhood. I thought of the days we spent splashing in the ocean and playing in the sand and picked fabrics with watery themes. I thought of how she has grown into a beautiful young woman – a very smart young woman and worried that the quilt would live up to her adult standards. But mostly I thought of the joy she is about to experience with the birth of her new child in a few months.

I got to spend the whole weekend with Christin and her husband, Tom, at her parents’ home (my oldest sister, Mary Pat and her husband Aldo). There were a bunch of us as their family keeps growing. Now there’s a new fiancé (to daughter Kim), a sweet boyfriend (to daughter Regina) and a dog (a first in that family).

If a reunion like that was at the end of every project on my list, I think I would complete them all. Here’s a quick look at the mom-to-be, four of my five sisters and my dear mom at the baby shower.

Christin Morrow, Liz Scully, Mary Pat Palombo, Betty Ward (seated), Theresa Ward Murray, Marie Zinno and me.

But enough of the celebration. Let’s take a look at the quilt!

Here’s a bit of the process. I worked on quilt sandwich strips of white fabric/batting/backing adding circles spaced 1 ½” apart. Then, I auditioned the strips on the design wall. I wanted to space the darker value circles evenly across the quilt.

After a little rearranging, I taped a piece of painter’s tape to each strip and numbered them. Numbering the strips saves confusion later on if the strips get out of order. I also placed the tape at the top of each strip so I would know what end was up.

Then it was time to piece. The reversible piecing technique is fast and manageable. I built the quilt in segments then seamed the two larger segments together. It was less fabric to wrestle under the needle.

And oh yes, I bound the quilt – in the traditional method. If you’ve attended one of my seminars then you know how I often cheat on binding. Sometimes I fuse the binding to the quilt. But not the Bubble Quilt, I went the extra length and did it the right way.

Next week – Handbags! Finally, it’s time reveal all those handbags Nancy Zieman and I made this summer. Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog so you get first notice on new posts.

Happy Stitching!

Here’s your assignment this week:

This week’s blog discussion is sponsored by our friends from All About Blanks. I would really like to know how many of you prefer books or ebooks when it comes to embroidery/sewing/quilting titles. So tell me your preference and you’ll be in the drawing for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate from All About Blanks.

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

Tell us what types of quilts inspire you the most-modern, traditional, realistic scenes, art deco… We’ll do our best to take photos while at the International Quilt Festival in Houston and share them with you when we return.  One random comment will be drawn for a chance to win Machine Embroidered Quilting and Applique by Eileen Roche!

The winner is…Mary Haggenmaker!  Her comment below was randomly chosen as this week’s winner.  Congratulations Mary!

“I’m gonna get there..eventually I hope, making a quilt that is.  These old bones of mine aren’t up to all the travel.  I sure would be happy to see you come to Southern Maryland or even Northern Virginia. In the meantime I just sort of plod along doing the best I can with the books and designs I have accumulated.  I am taking  my trial stitchouts that turn out okay and put them together to eventually have a quilt of my efforts.” – Mary Haggenmaker

 

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