Archive of ‘Inspiration Software’ category

Where Oh Where Did My Design Go?

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve fallen in love with a design, any design like a luscious rose, pretty lace or a furry kitten. You stitch it once and then forget about it until you remember just how beautiful it stitched. And how elegant it would look on your current project. But you struggle to locate it on your computer. Its name is not a noun, more likely it’s a five-digit number with a letter or two thrown in. And since it’s been ages since you bought it, you don’t even remember the company who sold it to you.

I’m sure you’ve felt as frustrated as me when searching for embroidery designs. The list of designs is not helpful as I don’t really want to open each design to see what it is.

Now that I use Inspirations Perfect Stitch Viewer, all of my designs appear as small images of the embroidery designs. Eureka! That makes life so much easier.

Perfect Stitch Viewer is a helpful tool for keeping easily identifying embroidery designs in Windows Explorer (the folder system on your computer). My good friend and colleague Katherine Artines created a helpful tutorial on YouTube about Perfect Stitch Viewer. Katherine taught computer skills in her previous career so she brings solid expertise when she talks about storing and locating designs. Every time I watch one of Katherine’s videos on best practices in Windows Explorer, I learn how to work more efficiently. And she doesn’t disappoint this time either. Click here to watch out how she gets the most out of Perfect Stitch Viewer.

Work+Fun = A Good Life

I’ve always been a believer in enjoying work because it’s where we spend most of our time. This week was no different. We had the pleasure of hosting all of our Designs in Machine Embroidery/Inspirations educational consultants for two intense days of training. Our educators are a passionate, talented group and we covered lots of material like new software features and innovative embroidery techniques. Best of all, we brainstormed on how to share them in the classroom. It’s so inspiring to be surrounded by creative people for two amazing days. At the end, we captured a few highlighted moments to share with you.

Once everyone left, I couldn’t wait to get back in my sewing room – all that creative chat had me jazzed! But that had to be put on hold because the moving trucks were practically idling in the parking lot waiting to load.

You see, we moved offices right after training and are now settled (well, almost!) into our new digs. Like many changes in life, the move was bittersweet. We have fond memories of growing Designs in Machine Embroidery in our former location. Lots of creativity came to life in that building. Just like a home, our workplace saw growth, loss, good times and bad.

Our new space is more suited to our current needs and we look forward to a bright future in our new location. Next week, I’ll get back to a regular Software Saturday post. Look for some photos of our new space on Facebook and Instagram this week. But’s here a sneak peek at my office.

Block of the Month: Block 1 Peony – Sewing Instruction

My Block Piecer Sampler Quilt
Block of the Month : Block 1 Peony
Sewing Instructions

Tips to Keep in Mind

The first color of any My Block Piecer block is the block diagram. The diagram includes the numbers on the patches, the patches outlines and seam allowances. It’s helpful to stitch the diagram in a thread that you can see – something other than white (assuming your stabilizer is white). However, if your fabric is light-colored, the stitches could be visible through the fabric. Our photography shows the diagram in a contrasting color so you can see it clearly for instruction purposes. For this block, we used black and jewel tone fabrics so there is no worry about thread bleed-through.

A modern approach to the Block of Month Sampler includes pastel batiks and whites. A light-colored thread was selected for the diagram. It’s still visible to the user but won’t bleed through the fabrics.

We used a lightweight tear-away stabilizer that practically dissolves when washed so we won’t remove it after making the block. It’s up to you whether you want to take the time to remove the tear-away or leave it in the block. If you used a lightweight cut-away, such as poly mesh, you would not remove it.

In the software lesson for Block 1, you’ll remember that I cut my fabrics slightly larger than the standard ¼” seam allowance. That’s not mandatory but it is helpful.

The patches in the images below were cut with ¼” seam allowances. You can see how easy it is to misaligned the fabrics when working with a narrow seam allowance. In the first image, I ripped out the stitches and realigned the patch.

In the second image, I left the patch intact.

Let’s get started.

Hoop lightweight tear-away stabilizer or polymesh cut-away. Stitch color 1, the block diagram.

Place the patch 1 fabric, right side up, over patch 1. Stitch color 2, the tackdown.

Place the patch 2 fabric, right side down, over the seam of patches 1 and 2, aligning the seam allowances. Stitch color 3, the seam.

Flip patch 2 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 4, the tackdown of patch 2.

Place the patch 3 fabric, right side down, over the seam of patches 2 and 3, aligning the seam allowances. Stitch color 5, the seam.

Flip patch 3 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 6, the tackdown of patch 3.

Place the patch 4 fabric, right side down, over the seam of patches 3 and 4, aligning the seam allowances. Stitch color 7, the seam.

Flip patch 4 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 8, the tackdown of patch 4.

Place the patch 5 fabric, right side down, over the seam of patches 4 and 5, aligning the seam allowances. Stitch color 9, the seam.

Flip patch 5 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 10, the tackdown of patch 5.

Place the patch 6 fabric, right side down, over the seam of patches 1, 2, 4 and 5, aligning the seam allowances. Stitch color 11, the seam.

Flip patch 6 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 12, the tackdown of patch 6.

Remove the hoop from the machine and the fabric from the hoop. Place the ¼” mark of a quilter’s ruler on the outside stitch line of the block. Trim the block on all sides. If you used a tear-away stabilizer and want to remove it, do it now. If a cut-away was used, it will remain in the block.

If making the larger quilt, make four blocks of Peony #2. Piece the blocks with ¼” seam allowance or wait until all of your blocks are complete for the final assembly.

Variations of Block 1 Assembly for Large Quilt






My Block Piecer Sampler Quilt Block of the Month

What’s the key to learning and improving your embroidery skills?  Practice!  The My Block Piecer Sampler Quilt block of the month will help you do just that!  Learn the ins and outs to creating in-the-hoop quilt blocks with My Block Piecer, one of today’s hottest techniques. You’ll get familiar with one-unit blocks, advance to two- unit block and three-unit blocks. You’ll learn how to create in-the-hoop blocks from the block library and original artwork files. Plus you’ll create borders – perfectly proportioned without the math!

Don’t have the software?  You can download a free trial by clicking here.  You’ll enjoy a fully-functioning software with only the “Save Function” disabled.  Once you’re ready to purchase the software, visit an Inspirations Dealer to make the purchase. After you purchase, you can duplicate the quilt shown here over the next 12 months.

This block of the month series will feature two lessons every month:

Software Lesson:  First Saturday of the Month
Sewing Lesson:  To be published the following Wednesday

This block of the month sampler quilt has unlimited potential: scrappy, monochromatic, jewel tone, batiks, or ultra-modern quilt.

All blocks are a 6” finished square and the border blocks are 3” x 6” finished.  You can make one of each block or make four for a larger quilt.

Quilt Dimensions

  • Finished size: 24” x 30”
  • We opted to piece our quilt without sashing. If you plan on adding 1” wide finished sashing, you’ll need 1/3 yd. of fabric for the sashing.
  • Fabric requirements:

This is a great opportunity to use scraps or select your own palette. You could go for a bright sunny look as shown above or opt for medium and dark jewel tones.  The image below shows a 42″ x 54″ version. In this version, you’ll make four repeats of each block.  If you opt for the larger quilt, double the yardage of each fabric.

Of course, you can never go wrong with an array of blues.

Yardage calculations are based on ¼” seam allowances. We have slightly increased the amounts for each fabric to allow some wiggle room for cutting and seam allowance.

Special thanks to Nancy Stansbury for this Block of the Month Series.

My Block Piecer Sampler Quilt
Block of the Month: Block 1 Peony
Software Instructions

  1. Open MBP.
  2. Click on Create a New Design.
  3. If the units for the ruler on the design page show mm, Right Click on either one of the rulers on the Design Page, and Click on Inches.
  4. Right Click on either ruler again and click on Grid Settings.
    1. Check marks by:
      1. Maintain aspect ratio
      2. Snap to grid.
    2. Set horizontal spacing to 0.25.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click on the Block icon. noimage
  1. Enter Peony #2 in the Find box at the bottom of the window (DO NOT CLICK THE ENTER KEY). You’ll find Peony #2 under Foundation Blocks, Foundation Flowers. Remember to include the # sign as there are several Peony blocks in the Block Library.
  2. Click on the Down green arrow, next to the Find box.
  3. Click OK to place the block on the design page.noimage
  • In the Properties Window on the right side of the screen, click on the Transform icon. noimage

    1. Have Maintain aspect ratio checked.
    2. Change the Width to 6.
    3. Click Apply.
  • Click on the Select icon and draw a box around the entire block, OR Enter CTRL-A to select all of the block.
  • Click on the Workflow icon.

    1. In the Hoop field, select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine from the drop down box.
    2. Click the Auto Build button.
    3. Click on Sort numbers. Click Yes in the message box.
    4. The numbers have been sorted according to the order you will add them to the block.
    5. Click Preview. I’ve filled in patch 1 with green for easy detection. On your file, look for the green outline. Click Save, located under Preview.
    6. The software will automatically create a new folder with three files: the stitch file (select the format for your machine), the artwork of the block and the stitching instructions in PDF format.
    7. Close the file window.
    8. Close the Save window.
  • Click the Cutter icon. noimage

    1. Seam allowance default is .25”. Normally I change this to 0.4” or 0.5”, to make it easier to place the fabric pieces no matter which output format I choose.
    2. How you are going create the fabric pieces for the block, will determine which file format (hoop) to choose for the templates.
      1. If printing templates and using them to manually cut the fabric pieces, select the Paper Letter 210×279 from the Hoop field.
      2. If using the Scan and Cut, select Brother SCN 12x12”.
      3. If using the Silhouette, select Silhouette 12x12”.
      4. For digital cutting files, change the repeat from 1 to 4 if you are making the large quilt.
    3. Can Unclick Optimize Orientation if using a directional fabric (This will optimize how the pieces file on the paper.)
    4. Click Apply.
    5. Click Save.
      1. In File name enter Peony Templates.
      2. Click Save.
      3. The Following Files are created.
        1. Peony templates.pdf.
        2. Peony templates_preview.pdf.
      4. Close the files window.
      5. Close the Cutter window.
  • Print the templates, or prepare your fabric and send the templates to your cutter.
  • Load the design in your machine and have fun making this block.





Small Hoops – Jumbo Designs

If you love jumbo designs but don’t have a jumbo hoop, you can easily split a design in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. Follow along with me to learn how.

Open a new file in Perfect Embroidery Pro. Click on the Monogram tool and select Mono17. Type in the letter P. Change the height to 6” and click Apply. Split1

Select the design on the screen and click on the Split Design icon. Split2

The Split Design screen appears. Click on the arrow in the Hoop field and select your hoop. I entered 130×180. The red boxes illustrate two hoopings: 1:1 and 2:1. You can move the boxes to select what portion of the design you want to stitch in the first and second hoop. It’s a good idea to move the boxes to split the design at a natural point. In this instance, where the upper right of the P meets the left leg of the P. Click on Split Preview to see the actually split.

The first hooping appears in the preview window.Split4

When you click in the second hooping area, the preview window changes to the second hooping. Split5

Toggle between the first and second hooping to view each individually. If you want to adjust the split, click on Split Preview again. Move the boxes around each portion of the design. Click on Split Preview again to see you changes.

Once you’re satisfied with the split, click Save and the software will save the design into two separate files and templates of both portions.Split6

Print a template of each design and send the designs to your machine. Splitting designs has never been easier.  Give it a try, this is a skill you’ll use over and over again!



Tips for Digitizing for Metallic Thread

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tame Those Furry Fibers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Free New Features in PEP!

The development team at Inspirations wants to wish you a happy holiday season with two exciting new features in Perfect Embroidery Pro!  Update your software now (for free!) to Version 9.68.  I’m sure you remember (and it might be why you purchased PEP) that all updates are free for life in Perfect Embroidery Pro.

Katherine Artines created a new 45-minute tutorial on the new features. She gives a thorough exploration – and explanation – of the new tools.  She confesses her new favorite feature is Navigator.  Navigator allows you to view areas of a design quickly by blending the Zoom and Pan tools into one window.   You can access the Navigator on a tab at the bottom left of the screen, next to the Library and Color Sequence tabs. Here’s a close-up view of the area.

Notice the blue box  – that shows the magnified area in the main screen.

You can move the blue box in the Navigator window to any area of the design. This tool is such a time-saver – I love it!

If you’re intrigued with embossed fills, they you’ll be overjoyed with the expanded control you now have. Scale percentage allows you to change the size of the actual embossed pattern.  Katherine has a great example – three rectangles, three different percentages.

Of course, there’s more!  Now the angle can set the angle of the embossed pattern to follow the shape of the letters or any shape.  Just put a check mark in the box, click apply and you’re done.  Take a look at JOY without the check mark.

And JOY with the check mark.  Notice how the pattern flows with each letter, not just in a vertical pattern like above.  It bends around the curve of the J, around the O and out into the branches of the Y.

Another great example of the Inspiration development team listening to its users.  It’s just keeps getting better and better!

Check out Katherine’s video and see how she cleverly used the new features for her holiday decorations.


E-Stitch or Satin?

Do you like to finish the edges of your applique with an e-stitch or a satin?  I have to admit I like both finishes.  In fact, in some projects, I mix them.  I’m working on a quilt – a large quilt – that features five embroidered blocks in a modern composition. Each block has four flowers, stems, leaves and some sort of center design to link them together. I opted to include one block with e-stitch edges.  It’s the center block so it works in the overall layout.

When deciding what type of edging to use in an applique project, remember satin (and motif) edges introduce another element to each applique. The edging can blend with the applique fabric, the host fabric or contrast with both. 

E-stitches usually blend with the applique fabric and of course, there is no applique fabric beyond the e-stitch edging.

The key to success for e-stitch applique is to apply a fusible web to the wrong side and pre-cut the applique pieces. Since a tack down stitch would be visible in the final applique, don’t include a tack down on e-stitch appliques. Instead, use a tacky fusible web such as Steam A Seam. The tacky adhesive will hold the applique in place while the e-stitch is applied. It can be fused permanently after removing the project from the hoop.

The applique feature in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro and My Quilt Embellisher gives you control over placement guides and tack downs.  Follow along in your software so you can see how easy it is to remove a placement guide.   Select a leaf from the Applique Shapes menu.

The default applique is a satin edge.

Change the type in the Properties Box to E-Stitch. Notice the check marks in both the Placement line and Tack down line boxes. 

Remove the check from the Tack down line box.

When you stitch the design, apply the tacky fusible web to the pre-cut applique pieces and you’ll have a beautiful applique.


Magnify Those Stitches

Here’s a sneak peek at a recent work in progress.  These jeans will be featured in an upcoming issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery and I’m excited to see them on the model.

I know you’ve seen the flower patches in previous posts but check out the magnifying effect on this patch:

Isn’t that fun? Follow along in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro to duplicate the technique.  Use the Art tool to draw a rectangle.  Select the rectangle, right click, Convert to Complex Fill. 

In Properties Box, change the Fill type to Motif, Pattern 129.  Change the Pattern Length to 10.0. Click Apply. 

Draw a circle and position it off one corner. 

Convert the circle to Complex fill. Select the circle and rectangle and click on Combine.  

The overlapped area will be empty.

Draw around the open space. 

Convert to Complex Fill, Motif, Pattern 129, Pattern length 18.0 mm.

Select all, right click, Utility, Create Outline.  

Enter 0.0 in the distance field and click OK. Make sure the color sequence is rectangle, circle and border. Since I planned on stitching this on denim, I assigned Vintage Retro 40 wt thread to the first two colors and the Vintage Rope 15 wt. to the border to mimic hand stitches.  Enjoy!



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