Archive of ‘Hooping’ category

I can’t wait to meet you!

Stitching Sisters Header

Have you been itching to ramp up your machine embroidery skills? A two-day Stitching Sisters event may be just the thing you need to breathe new life into your hobby.  My Stitching Sister, Marie Zinno, and I travel the country to teach team embroidery classes which feature hands-on projects that cover tons of techniques – everything from terrycloth to continuous machine embroidery.  Take a look at what you can expect.

 

We kickoff the event with a behind the scenes look at Designs followed by our Hooping Clinic. Marie and I hoop over 30 items in standard machine embroidery hoops, Magna-Hoops, Snap-Hoop and border hoops. We discuss why you select each hoop and what to do when you don’t have the ideal hoop. Attendees find this information priceless. One recent attendee in Puyallup, WA said, “I could walk out of here after this lecture and feel I got every penny worth of admission.” Here’s what some other attendees have had to say:

 

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Eileen and Marie,
Thanks so much for coming to KC! LOVED the event and all your stories/energy. WOW! It was awesome to have 2 days to get to study under you and learn so much. LOVE the Stipple products and techniques. Looking forward to seeing you again! – Judy Brennan
 
Eileen and Marie, we had so much fun in Atlanta. The information you gave and taught us was immeasurable. You two are definitely gifted in your talent and love for the embroidery industry.
Best blessings in everything you do.  Signed had fun in Atlanta – Jackie Wallace
 
 
Hey Everyone! I’d highly recommend going to the Sewing Sisters Event if you get the chance. I live in Oregon and I went to PuyallupWA with my friend from LongviewWA. We had a great time! I personally never won anything but I did receive a wealth of knowledge and inspiration not to mention all the fun ladies I met and new friendships made. The projects we did were great and we got the CD-rom to go home to make more. I’m really looking forward to the next event! Thanks Eileen and Marie!! It was great meeting you! – Jane

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Marie and I cover tons of embroidery challenges during our two-day, hands-on, team-sewing events: what to do when your fabric pops out of the hoop, stitching on terrycloth, vinyl, sheers, quilting with an embroidery machine, stitching multiples (and getting them to match!) are just a few of the 50 techniques we cover.  You’ll use all of Designs in Machine Embroidery products – everything from Magna-Hoop Jumbo to Snap-Hoop to placement kits. You’ll have access to several hooping stations so you can test different methods of hooping.  Once at the machine, you’ll navigate in the hoop like a pro.

 

You’ll learn three ways to do continuous hooping and find out what methods works best for your machine and your project.  You’ll meet PAL and PAL2– and see how these helpful little tools can make hooping square a breeze. Treat yourself to two-days of embroidery fun and education – you’ll go home with a smile on your face and some new-found knowledge that you’ll be inspired to put into immediate action.

New-found friends in Santa Rosa, CA

New-found friends in Santa Rosa, CA

 

Why don’t you join us?  We’ll be hitting the road and landing in a town near you!  February 8-9th finds us in beautiful San Marcos, CA at SewingMachinesPlus.com. There’s still room – click here for more information.

 

We are so excited to head to Timeless Treasures in Crofton, MD on April 12-13.  This will be the first Stitching Sisters event in Maryland, so if you’re Mid-Atlantic region, this event is for you. Click here to visit their website or call 410-451-0400.

 

After Maryland, we head back to the West Coast and teach two events for Moore’s Sewing. April 30-May 1 finds us in Pomona, CA and May 3-4 is in Huntington Beach. You just won’t believe how much fun you can have at a sewing event until you’ve been to one at Moore’s.  Join us in Pomona or Huntington Beach.  Visit Moore’s website here.

 

Marie and I hope to see you at a Stitching Sister event this year. Don’t wait any longer; come with a friend or by yourself.  Everyone is a sister at a Stitching Sisters event. Click here for summer and fall events in 2013. And, check out our new Stitching Sisters photo gallery!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Great things come in pairs. Shoes, diamond earrings, Stitching Sisters! Comment below on why you’d like to attend a Stitching Sisters event or if you have, what you liked most about it. We’ll award one lucky winner with two $20.13 gift certificates, one for you and one for your own stitching sister to spend on the Designs in Machine Embroidery website. Good luck!

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Tell us your embroidery resolution for 2013. One lucky winner will win a $25 gift certificate to spend on the Designs in Machine Embroidery website!

And the winner is… “2013 I plan to create my own embroidery designs, organize my sewing/embroidery room, organize and catalog ALL my embroidery designs, and last but not least open up a shop on Etsy” – Angie G.

Six Easy Steps

When planning a two-part series for the Sewing with Nancy television show, Nancy Zieman realized we hadn’t addressed embroidery basics in ages.  Since the hobby has welcomed so many new embroiderers, she felt it was time to address that subject. I wholeheartedly agreed. After carefully studying the embroidery process (hard to do when you stitch all the time and take many steps for granted), I realized it all boiled down to six easy steps.  You can watch the two-part series on Sewing with Nancy online or on your local PBS station.

I thought if I really wanted to get embroiderers off on the right path, they should be armed with the correct information and a few handy tools to get the job done right. So I packed some helpful tools, a 12” centering ruler, 6” target ruler, a sheet of target stickers and the patented Angle Finder, into Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Lessons, a 64-page full color book. It’s everything an embroiderer needs to stitch beautiful embroidery.

Here’s what you’ll find inside:

Step 1. The Embroidery Machine. Learn why seven key features, (sewing field, design transfer, trace, rotation, mirror image, baste and stitch advance) are all you need.

Step 2. Embroidery Designs. Identify underlay, run, fill and satin stitches in lettering, stock designs, quilting designs, lace and appliqué and you’ll understand what makes one design stitch better than others.

Step 3. Placement. What’s the point of beautiful embroidery if it’s placed incorrectly? Discover the industry standards along with helpful positioning aids and tools to achieve perfect placement.

Step 4. Hooping. Standard embroidery hoops will handle 75% of your embroidery projects. Tackle the other 25% with specialty stabilizers, novelty hoops and ingenuous technique. After some practice, you’ll be able to hoop almost anything.

Step 5. Stitching. Reward yourself with beautiful embroidery by embracing professional habits for every design you stitch. Fine tune placement, add insurance to the hooping method, verify the design and orientation before pressing start!

Step 6. Finishing.  Time for the big reveal. Critique the design, remove the basting file and press it like a pro!

Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Lessons is a helpful primer for all embroiderers. Seasoned embroiderers will pick up helpful tips on continuous embroidery, hooping stations, hoop comparisons, pre-cutting appliqué pieces, the embroiderer’s 12-point checklist plus my favorite 10 time-saving habits. Beginners will get a jump start on mastering this fun hobby in no time!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Get back to basics! Check out the special featuring Eileen and Nancy and let us know how the 6 step process has helped you – or what extra step do you add in your process? One lucky winner will receive a copy of Eileen’s new book Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Lessons.

 
 

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Do you doodle? Do you dream? Tell us how you get your inspiration from your head to a finished product and you could win a copy of Bobbi Bullard’s new book, Artful Machine Embroidery. Good luck!

And the winner is… “I dream up my projects while I am doing areobic tapes every morning in my sewing room. While I’m marching, kicking, and lifting weights, I hang a piece of fabric or picture on my design wall and concentrate on how I want it to look. It makes the excercise go faster and I usually come up with a new idea or two!”- Paula

Congratulations Paula! Wow, way to multi-task. Enjoy your book and thank for sharing. 🙂

 

An Indispensable Tool

I can’t believe how indispensable this tool is. Recently, I was stitching 24 onesies, a daunting task even when it’s not crammed into a heavy travel, teaching schedule. I think the only thing that kept me sane during the process was thinking of the new parents of twins who would eventually receive the onesies.  I know they haven’t slept more than 2 hours at a time in over three weeks so my task paled in comparison.

 

Back to the embroidery – the placement for center chest embroidery on onesies was simplified with the Center Chest templates from the Children’s Perfect Placement Kit.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

 

Instead of using a round target sticker, I used the rectangular version and placed it lengthwise on the target area.  This gave me a clear visual guide when hooping the tiny garments.

 

I hooped Floriani Wet ‘n Gone Tacky  water soluble adhesive stabilizer in a 5” x 7” hoop for my single needle machine. Then I scored the protective paper and remove it to expose the sticky surface.  I placed the hoop under PAL2, aligning the beam with the hoop’s centering marks.

 

I turned the onesie inside out and lifted the back of the shirt away from the front to expose the target sticker. Then I carefully placed the center of the target sticker under the beam.

 

Once aligned, I smoothed the shirt to the sticky stabilizer, working above the target and then below.

 

When it comes to quilting, PAL2 can multitask. I use it to find the center of a block.

 

And to make sure my seams are square.

 

I’ve been know to use it to trim blocks and cut fabric strips – all without using a ruler!  I just align the beam with a line on the cutting mat, place the fabric edge on another straight line and then slice on the beam of light. Makes large cutting jobs fly by!

Do you want to win a PAL2? Leave a comment over at SewMamaSew and you’ll be entered in their Handmade Holiday giveaway.

 

The winner of last week’s assignment:

Have you stopped by the Embroider This! website lately? They have a selection of linens, blanks and baby items that are ideal for machine embroidery! Stop by their website and tell us what item you like best.

Post your comment and one lucky winner will be randomly selected to win a $100 shopping spree on the Embroider This! website! Embroider This is the name you can trust for Unique Gifts, Fine Linens, and Blanks for Machine Embroidery! Over 200 Free Designs for immediate download!

Embroider This!

The winner is… Lori W.! “I love all the hankies and the boxes to give them in are a wonderful gift. All the new guest towels in all the colorful bands would make a great gift and also would be fun to keep! I seem to give most everything I make away!”

Congratulations Lori and keep something for yourself this time!

Hoop Throne

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Let me introduce you to a very powerful combo that solves all of your hooping dilemmas, PAL2 and Hoop Dock. That combo is what I call my hoop throne and it sits on the corner of my cutting table.  Always at the ready, PAL2 hovers over Hoop Dock since it’s clamped to the table.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Recently, I was working on a decorative table cover featuring an embroidery design as large as my 5” x 7” hoop. I knew I wouldn’t have any wiggle room to adjust the design once the fabric was hooped. Plus the design will stitch close to the edge of the fabric so I opted to hoop adhesive tear-away stabilizer.

I inserted the hoop’s outer ring into Hoop Dock and it firmly held the outer ring of my Baby Lock/Brother embroidery hoop (I can’t wait until it’s available for my other machines). Then I added the stabilizer; Hoop Dock creates friction between the stabilizer and the hoop, so nothing moves around while I get the inner ring in place.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Once the stabilizer was hooped, I aligned PAL2’s beam with the hoop’s centering marks.  Now I can forget about the hoop and focus on the table covering.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Of course, I always use a target sticker or template on my fabric so I know exactly where my design is supposed to land.  Then, I slid the marked fabric under the beam and aligned the crosshairs.

I am confident the fabric is centered in the hoop and I just finger press the fabric to the sticky stabilizer and I know my design will fill the hoop!  My hooping throne makes hooping so much easier – and precise.  I don’t know what I did before I used this combo.

Want to win a PAL2? Take a guess at where I took this photo and you’ll be entered to win a PAL2!

The 2 winners of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

What household tools do you use in your studio?  Post your comment and TWO, that’s right TWO lucky winners will receive a $50 shopping spree to use at Oma’s Place.


The winner is:  Becky!
“I use a stubby, short screw driver for my machine, if needed.
I use blue painter’s tape as a fabric guide.
I use plastic cable ties around the inside top of a tote bag or bag for a stable opening.
I use washers if I have to adapt my bobbin size.
I use plastic milk crate to store projects to be worked on so they will stay together and be portable.
Chain links can be used as pattern weights (be sure they are clean).
A 1/4 inch chisel can be used in purse closures to bend prongs.
A grommet machine for anything with a grommet.
Paint brush for dusting.
Canned air for dusting and blowing off threads.
Plastic garden or pet wire for tote bags.
Light bulbs to shape free standing lace ornaments.
Tape measure for obvious reasons.
Needle nose pliers for reaching in serger for threads.
There are many more.”

The second winner is Judie Renfrow
“Oh, one more thing.  I buy the individual pedi toe separators at the beauty supply store – $1.49 for 12 and I use those to put on my bobbins to keep the threads tidy.”

Congratulations!

 

 

Machine Embroidered Wedding Touches

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

As tempting as it was to go overboard, I limited myself to make just one machine-embroidered element for my recent wedding: the table numbers.  In retrospect, I’m not so sure anyone noticed that the numbers were embroidered but that’s okay with me. I enjoyed the process.

Since our wedding took place in a natural stone setting (limestone floor, stucco walls, etc) I felt the table numbers and name cards should have an ‘old world’ feel.  So I used ink and water to age basic card stock tags and embroiderable paper. I had a blast doing that – I like to get my hands dirty so this was right up my alley!  First, I used two colors of Distress Ink (tea and coffee colors).

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I just dabbed the tea ink pad over the tag and then followed with the darker coffee ink.  Then I quickly swiped a wet paper towel across the tag to blend the smudges.  They dried flat and smooth!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The next step was how to display the name tags.  I found a very affordable wire dress form with circular details and used it to hold (and transport) the name tags. Once I inserted the name tags in the dress form circles, I slid a large plastic trash bag over the dress form and tied it on the bottom. It kept everything in order for the big day.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I applied the same ink technique to the embroiderable paper (The Sewphisticated Stitcher) but didn’t get the same results. That paper quickly absorbed all the ink so the blending wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked. It seemed to call for another layer of ink. So I added a spray of paper ink.  The result? A slightly mottled paper.  Now for the embroidery.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I used open, airy digits from Urban Threads (http://www.urbanthreads.com) I found I could fit two table number tents on each 8 ½” x 11” piece of embroiderable paper. I used a target ruler to mark the position for each letter and gently placed a target sticker in that location.  Too much adhesive might have harmed the paper but a soft touch did the trick.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I placed the bottom frame of my 4” x 4” Snap-Hoop on the machine.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Then I slid the paper under the needle, aligning the target sticker with the needle. I used the edge of the paper as a guide to make sure the paper was square on the hoop.  Then I snapped magnets onto the frame.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I could have used the top magnetic frame of Snap-Hoop but I found just dropping the magnets (from my Magna-Hoop Jumbo) was much easier in this application.  Once I removed the target sticker, I embroidered the number.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I repeated this for each number, rotating the number for the other side of the tent.

After completing the four numbers, I cut the paper, folded the strips and used double-sided tape to hold them together at the bottom.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

As it turned out, the table numbers weren’t the only embroidered items.  My dear friend Mary Mulari brought vintage wedding hankies for each female guest!  What a generous offer.  Many were embroidered (mostly by hand) – all were gorgeous.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

My Stitching Sister, Marie Zinno, surprised with me an embroidered table runner for the unity candle table.  A treasured memento!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Personal touches are what make a wedding day an expression of a couple’s love.  When family members pitch in to do some of the prep – it makes for some wonderful memories. Since I have five sisters who are capable of pulling off anything, I knew we could handle doing our own flowers. So we did – centerpieces, bridal bouquets, boutonnières, and wall decorations.  I imported the flowers from South America and had them delivered two days before the wedding.  I captured two of my sisters, Marie Zinno and Kath Brown, to do the actual arranging in my garage the day before the wedding.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The groom and I hauled the flowers to the location a few hours before the wedding and then an army of family joined forces to transform the barren space. I knew I could count on another sister, Liz Scully, for her museum-quality bow-tying expertise.  Really, this woman would win a Martha Stewart bow-tying throw-down. I supplied the pretty ribbon and she made it look perfect! Here are four my sisters (from left to right): Liz Scully, Kath Brown, Marie Zinno, me and Mary Pat Palombo during set-up.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

And after.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

My oldest sister, Mary Pat Palombo, jumped into action and was a valuable set of hands.  My cousin, Pat Mulligan, climbed a 12 ft. ladder to help engineer the hanging of a 30-ft. baby’s breath/tulle garland.  Height is no issue for Patrick since he’s used to having his head in the clouds as a captain with American Airlines.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

It was a magical day.

 

This week’ assignment:

I need your help selecting a new design to feature in an upcoming project. So tell me, do you like design A, B or C? We’ll pick a random winner to receive a Magna-Hoop! Wow – you could win – just leave your comment!


Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog



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

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!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

This week’s TWO lucky winners are…
Winner 1:  Sharon Aiken
“I like to make an embroidered ring bearer pillow with fsl and the couple’s monogram as well as an embroidered small satin purse for the bride to carry to the church with her essentials for last minute touch-ups.”

Winner 2:  Nancy Stringer
“My favorite gift for a bridal shower is handmade linen napkins, embroidered with something specific to the couple…something they couldn’t just buy.”

Congratulations Sharon and Nancy!

Special Program!

It’s Sew Easy is a unique how-to television program. You won’t find a host – instead, a selection of industry experts share their top tips with you. It’s an in-depth personal sewing/embroidery/quilting lesson in your own home.

Watch a special viewing of episode 105 of It’s Sew Easy at http://www.itsseweasytv.com. It will begin airing at noon EST on April 27th and be available for viewing for ONE week only. You’ll see my exclusive tips for monogramming napkins and towels which include speedy tips for embroidering multiples. And you can catch Tricia Waddell and Katrina Loving demonstrating how to use needle-turn appliqué on pillows and wall hangings. Finally, Pam Damour wraps up the show with 10 steps to the perfect pillow. Click here to watch It’s Sew Easy!

Content in this feed is © Copyright 2012 by Eileen Roche and may not be republished without written permission. You’re welcome to forward to a friend or colleague but it’s not okay to add the RSS feed automatically as content on a blog or other website.

 

12 Household Tools for the Machine Embroiderer

12 Household Tools for the Machine Embroiderer

  1. Digital Camera– best design tool in the house (besides pencil and paper). I use a digital camera to record my progress when designing an embroidery layout, auditioning fabrics or setting blocks in a quilt. Any task that takes several attempts to get a certain look can be confirmed by documenting the different versions. I usually step away from the task and return to view the images after a brief hiatus. This break in time and space gives me a fresh eye to select the winning design.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  2. Pet brush– for picking up embroidery threads. Look for it in the pet aisle in your local discount store.Eileen's Machine Embroidery BlogEileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

  3. Skewer, chopstick or unsharpened pencil– for protecting fingers under the needle.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  4. ¼” chisel– found in hardware stores, the ¼” chisel provides the exact opening needed to insert the prongs of magnetic snaps or purse feet into fabric/interfacing/lining sandwiches.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  5. Plastic zip lock bags– These handy storage bags come in a variety of sizes. I use three sizes: snack size for buttons and beads; quart size for spools of threads and appliqué pieces; and jumbo for keeping all the pieces of a project in one place. Just remember to close the zip lock top!Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  6. Wooden dowel– Achieve crisp seams by centering a sewn seam over a wooden dowel and pressing.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  7. Glad Press ‘n Seal– When I have to store a project in progress, I place a sheet of Press ‘n Seal over the fabric/appliqué/ buttons/beads to keep everything in place. A quick smooth by hand and everything stays put – even if I roll it up into a tube for quick storage.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  8. Binder clips– for holding hooped garments out of the needle area.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  9. Pony tail holders– come in a vast array of colors and sizes. Walk down the hair accessories aisle in your local drugstore and see how many you’ll have to choose from. Use the pony tail holders in lieu of a length of narrow elastic. They make a quick closure over a button and add a bit of color whenever you need a mini bungee cord.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  10. Zip ties– add shape to the top of a purse. Zip ties can be found in the electric supply aisle of a home improvement center. They are also known as cable ties.
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

    Zip tie is connected for photography purposes

     

    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

  11. Painter’s Tape– a wonderful visual reference when hooping long strips of fabric. Place the tape on the fabric strip and align the edge of the tape with the edge of the hoop. As you rehoop and continue to align with the tape, it will keep the fabric square for each hooping.
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  12. Ironing board– besides the obvious use of a pressing surface, an ironing board doubles as a hooping aid. Place your embroidery hoop on the narrow end and slip the shirt over the board. This ‘dressing the board’ method helps you square the shirt over the outer hoop without getting the back of the shirt caught in the hoop. Just slip the inner ring in place and then nest the shirt around the hoop before attaching to the embroidery machine.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

This week’s assignment:

What type of flooring do you have in your sewing room? Tile, wood, carpet, linoleum, stained concrete or perhaps some other material? Answer the question for a chance to win a $25 shopping spree to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

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

I need your help! Tell me what color combination of the images shown is your favorite. Keep in mind that you’re not looking at actual fabric swatches, these are just thumbnails of colors. Your answers will help me when I’m shopping for fabrics and will place your name in a random drawing for a $25.00 gift certificate to Designs website. I can’t wait to see what you choose.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The winner is… Barbara Rowlan Wong

“Group A really attracts me.  Perhaps because those are the colors I’ve been using a lot lately.   A happy combination that really pops!”  ~barbara

Congratulation Barbara!

Thank you everyone for your input.  This was really fun!

 

Content in this feed is © copyright 2012 by Eileen Roche and may not be republished without written permission. You’re welcome to forward to a friend or colleague but it’s not okay to add the RSS feed automatically as content on a blog or other website.

How to Embroider on Minky

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

How to Embroider on Minky

Do you love the feel of Minky but have been afraid to add embroidery to this luscious fabric? Its cuddly-soft texture, stretchy give and lush fibers tend to scare the most courageous embroiderers. But don’t worry; it’s fairly easy to tame Minky. Let me show you how.

First, select a ball-point needle to handle the job of slipping the thread between the fibers not slicing into the stretchy fibers. A 80/12 ball point will handle most Minky jobs.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eliminate the stretch during the hooping process by pressing a fusible polymesh (permanent cut-away) to the wrong side of the design area. Most fusible cutaways require a rather low iron temp so harm to the Minky is minimal. Of course, it’s always wise to test first. Make sure the stabilizer extends beyond the hoop.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Select the correct design for the fabric. Just because you want a design to work, doesn’t mean it will! Designs with delicate running stitch outlines such as this Brother Quattro built-in design are not appropriate for Minky.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Look for designs that have a complete fill (that doesn’t mean bullet-proof embroidery) that will hold down Minky’s nap with some open areas to let the fabric relax. This rose damask design from Embroidery Library is good example of a design appropriate for Minky.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s a fun Steam Punk design from OESD. Unfortunately, only part of this design would work on Minky. Save this for t-shirts, broadcloth and denim.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Other possibilities for Minky include appliqué and embossed designs.

Select lettering with generous satin columns that will stand up and cover the Minky. The image below are two excellent examples of lettering for Minky (Floriani software).

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The lettering shown here is too delicate for Minky. The opening in the Y on the left is completely closed while the running stitches on the sample on the left will be invisible once the water soluble stabilizer is washed away.


Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

If possible, edit the design in software and add extra underlay to hold down the nap. Or consider placing a crisp tear-away on top of the fabric to receive the fill stitches then tear it off before adding the final details and outlines. If using this method, select a white tear-away for light colored thread and a black tear-away for dark thread. The stabilizer will blend into the background fabric. For instance, if you’re stitching Santa’s beard on red Minky, place a piece of white tear-away over the design area. Stitch the fill stitches of the beard then tear it away before completing the beard.

A water soluble lightweight film-type of stabilizer on top of the fabric will help keep a design crisp. Just tear it off after all embroidery is complete.

Select a hoop that is the appropriate size for the design. I use Magna-Hoop for all appliqué designs on Minky and Snap-Hoop for all other designs. The flat magnetic hoop inserts and hoops leave the Minky with no visible hoop burn – a real bonus with this stretchy fabric.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Finally, keep your bobbin area clean. Minky tends to shred and build up in the bobbin case can occur much faster than other fabrics. This shredding is why I try to avoid spray adhesive when embroidering on Minky. Imagine the mess you can make with the adhesive, Minky lint and the speed of your embroidery machine. Kind of makes me shudder.

Each embroidery project you tackle is a challenge that you can overcome. Just use some common sense, pull from your past experiences (okay, mistakes – heavens knows, I’ve made hundreds!), take a deep breath and move forward. Remember, it’s just fabric and thread, not muscle and bone.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell me about an embroidery project you are most proud of accomplishing. TWO lucky individuals will win the Crazy Quilt Series 1 (in 4 sizes!) courtesy of Molly Mine.

This is a series of 20 blocks in 4” x 4”, 5” x 5”, 6” x 6” and 8” x 8” sizes. All blocks and sizes are included and all blocks are completely embellished! Simple applique designs that need no turning or ironing!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

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

Tell me what you like best about attending embroidery events and you could win a one-year subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidery.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The winner is…Anna Cameron!

“It’s the atmosphere and exciting hum of the place. Its is so easy to talk to the other ladies or gentlemen because you know you have one thing in common.” – Anna Cameron

 

How to stitch on baby soft knit fabric

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Those stretchy, skinny t-shirts are so popular. Here are some tips on how to stitch them successfully. First, the right embroidery design for the right fabric is crucial. Don’t try to force a design on any fabric. Look at the limitations of this baby soft knit fabric (sheer, 4-way stretch and nubby). That’s an embroidery suicide if approached wrong! So let’s control what we can.

Stabilizer

The stabilizer has to disappear after the embroidery process. Our choices pare down to water soluble or heat away stabilizer. The stabilizer also has to hold the fabric stretched beyond its relaxed position during the stitching process so an adhesive is best. Use a water soluble adhesive stabilizer.

Needle

It’s a knit fabric so a ball point needle (70/10) will do the job.

Hoop

I’m going to use-Snap Hoop because it’s flat and lets me stretch the fabric without distorting the fibers.

Design

A low stitch count design will allow the fabric to relax and stretch between the stitches – keeping the garment comfortable and wearable.

I love this design featured in the Crosses collection from Anita Goodesign but I know this dense fill will destroy the delicate fabric.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Fortunately, the collection was designed with fashion in mind so the same design comes in a raw edge appliqué version. Perfect for this trendy fabric.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

What if you don’t have the luxury of different versions of a design? Dissect the design in question and scale it down to an outline or sketched embroidery design in machine embroidery editing software. Remove whole color segments and see what’s left. Often, you’ll find a sketched outline and details that will work. Take a few moments to play with the design in your software.

Now that the variables are under control, it’s time to focus on the planning and hooping.

Print a template of the design. Place the t-shirt on a dress form and audition the template(s).

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Verify placement and slide a target sticker under the template to mark the center of the design. Remove the template.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Carefully turn the shirt INSIDE OUT and place it back on the dress form. Your design area will now be in mirror image on the form.

It might help you see the entire embroidery design again at this point so just tape the template back on the shirt. Flip the template over to view in mirror image and tape it to the shirt. Mark the outer edges of the design with removable chalk.

Select your hoop and place it over the design area to verify you have the right hoop. You might want to chalk the outer edges of the hoop. But this is just for reference, it’s not a crucial alignment mark.

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Remove the hoop and the template.

Cut a piece of water soluble adhesive stabilizer larger than the selected hoop. Remove the protective paper from the stabilizer. Adhere the sticky stabilizer to the design area using the chalked marks as a guide. Smooth the stabilizer to the fabric over the form. This can be a bit awkward but you’ll get another chance to smooth the layers after the garment is removed.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Remove the shirt from the dress form (don’t dislodge the target sticker). Smooth the stabilizer.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Place the shirt over the hoop’s outer ring or over the flat metal frame of Snap-Hoop or Quick-Snap.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Place the inner ring inside of the hoop and capture the design area in the hoop.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

In Snap-Hoop or Quick-Snap, pull the fabric taut in the frame. Nest the rest of the shirt around the hoop.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Attach the hoop to the machine, center the needle over the target sticker. Remove the target sticker and stitch the design. I often use painter’s tape to hold the fabric away from the design area.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Remove the hoop from the machine. Gently peel the adhesive away from the shirt and trim all excess stabilizer. Rinse the stabilizer under running water to activate the dissolving process. Fill a container with this solution: ¾ water; ¼ fabric softener. Soak the t-shirt in the solution for about 30 minutes. Agitate the water occasionally. Rinse thoroughly. Wash right side out in the washing machine with like-colored garments. Air dry.

Once dry, you’ll notice a bit of puckering around the stitches.

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No worry – once the garment is on, the fabric and stitches will be stretched – and flat! Works every time (well, for me, hope it does for you too!)

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s your assignment this week:


Tell me about your embroidery habits.  Are you stitching Valentine and Spring themed projects now?  Or maybe you are the type to get ahead of schedule and you’re stitching for the summer or fall?  Post your comment for a chance to win 30 Favorite Embroidery Tips & Techniques.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

There were TWO opportunities to win in last week’s assignment.


The winner of the Little Black Tee answered the following question:

Tell me what fabric you find to be the most challenging to embroider on? Post your comment on this blog and you’ll be entered for a chance to win The Little Black Tee!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The lucky winner is: Judith Torphy!
“I find knits with lycra the most difficult.  I will truly put your great tips to work.” – Judith

The winner of the $100 Visa Gift Card will be randomly selected later this week.  Stay tuned!

 

 

A new solution to squaring up fabric in the hoop

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Let me introduce you to PAL – Perfect Alignment Laser. I use PAL for common machine embroidery tasks: finding the center of a quilt block or pocket, squaring my fabric/design in the hoop and continuous embroidery.  First, I’ll show you how easy it is to set up PAL in your sewing room.

Once it’s set, use it to find the center of a project. Watch how quick this task is mastered.

If you struggle with hooping square, you’ll be amazed at how easy PAL can get you on the straight and narrow path to success.

PAL is great for hooping square but PAL is also ideal for more complex embroidery projects like continuous embroidery.  I know many of you struggle with continuous embroidery.  There are quite a few ways to tackle continuous embroidery.  The old school method is to print templates of the designs and use them to connect the designs.

Stitch the first design. Remove the fabric from the hoop.  Align the image on the template with the stitched design.  Tape the template to the fabric. Hoop the fabric, centering the template in the hoop. Stitch the second design.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

A newer method involves stitch marks or placement marks.  Some machines let you add these stitches to a design while some software programs feature easily-positioned placement marks.

However you opt to add them, the method for stitching is the same.  Stitch the first design with its alignment marks. Remove the fabric from the hoop.  Hoop tear-away stabilizer and stitch the alignment marks in the second design.  Spray the stabilizer with temporary adhesive.  Align the marks on the stabilizer with the marks on the fabric. Press the fabric to the sticky surface and continue.  Many embroiderers actually insert thumbtacks into the alignment marks on the stabilizer (tacks are inserted from the back of the hoop) and then puncture the fabric with the tacks for a seamless joint (image from Vol. 72 Designs in Machine Embroidery).

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

When I first witnessed this technique, I have to confess I was horrified.  Rarely is there a garment I’m working on that I’m willing to shove thumbtacks through.  But I did admire the accuracy.  I think that’s what got me thinking about a new tool and that’s how PAL was born.

Now let me show you what PAL can do for you during the complicated embroidery process of continuous embroidery. Watch how PAL perfectly aligns one design to the next.

I have been having a ball using PAL in my sewing room. It’s perfect for beaming a straight line on the sewing machine bed so I can stitch accurate seam allowances. But I showed PAL to my sister. No, not my Stitching Sister, Marie. One of my other sisters, Liz Scully, the real artist.  She’s a painter and immediately turned on PAL and beamed the crosshair on her canvas.  Now she uses it to streamline proportion drawing and the like. She told me other crafters would love this tool too – scrapbookers, rubber stampers, cake decorators and more!

For more information or to purchase the Perfect Alignment Laser (PAL) visit our website.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell us what embroidery/sewing/crafting tasks you would use the PAL for and you could win a $25 shopping spree on the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Join the Stitching Sisters at an upcoming Hooping Clinic!

It’s been a great week and we’re planning a fabulous Fall!

On the set of It's Sew Easy

What a week! Last Thursday I traveled to Cleveland to tape the second series of It’s Sew Easy television show. I had a blast connecting with my dear friend June Mellinger, Director of Product Promotion for Brother, meeting other guests and doing my segments. It’s such a hoot to tape television segments because the real work comes weeks before the taping – so much prep! The actual day is really quite enjoyable, that is, if you arrive fully prepared!

Since my Stitching Sister, Marie Zinno, lives just an hour from the television studio, I spent the weekend at her house then both of us flew back to Texas together on Sunday to prepare for the 2011 Fall Stitching Sister Tour. I don’t know how I convinced her that was a good idea because it was 102 degrees when we stepped off the plane at 7:30 PM. Boy does it hit you like wave. Oh well, at least she’s not here to landscape my yard!

My sister Marie Zinno and I are busily planning the Fall 2011 Stitching Sisters Tour

Here’s a sneak peek at what we have planned for our upcoming events. First on the event schedule is our Hooping Clinic. Marie and I hoop over 30 items with adhesive stabilizer and without stabilizer in standard hoops, Magna-Hoops, Snap-Hoop and border hoops. We discuss why you select each hoop and what to do when you don’t have the ideal hoop. Attendees find this information priceless. One recent attendee in Puyallup, WA said, “I could walk out of here after this lecture and feel I got every penny’s worth of admission.”

But we all love to embroiderer and what’s an embroidery event without actual stitching? So Marie and I developed projects that really teach new techniques. Here’s a glimpse of two audience-favorite projects: the Ladybug Pin Cushion and a Designer Neckline t-shirt.

We'll show you techniques for embroidering on felt and knit t-shirts!

Marie and I cover tons of embroidery challenges during our two-day hands-on, team-sewing events: what to do when your fabric pops out of the hoop, stitching on terrycloth, vinyl, sheers, quilting with an embroidery machine, stitching multiples (and getting them to match!) are just a few of the 50 techniques we cover. Attendees use all of Designs in Machine Embroidery products – everything from Magna-Hoop Jumbo to Snap-Hoop to Placement Kits. Attendees learn how to set themselves up for success and navigate on the machine like a pro.

I hope you’ll join us this Fall and Winter – check the schedule, we might be coming to a location near you soon!

Here’s your assignment this week: If you could travel anywhere for a hands-on embroidery retreat, where would you go?  Just post a comment on my blog for your chance to win a Perfect Placement Kit!  (The winner is chosen in a random drawing) Kathy is the lucky winner of a $100 gift certificate from Embroider This!

Post a comment on for a chance to win!

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the question:  What type of projects would you like to see more of?
“Anything you come up with is always great, I do like the idea of embelishing ideas for ready-made clothing. My favorite place to get blanks is garage sales & second=hand stores. I find I get alot of practice without the great expense of retail, especially as I am just starting out, but getting better the more I practise. I do recommend using reference cards for embroidery. Nancy’s Notions carry really good ones, but when I was running out of them, I was able to customize some for myself with all the info I usually need.

I also love all the orgainzational ideas, an organized stitcher is a happy stiticher because we spend less time hunting and more time stitichin!!!”  – Kathy Schmidt

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