Archive of ‘Just for Fun’ category

Christmas Village: Software Instructions

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Renovations at a Glance:

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

At the Computer:

Open Doghouse1 6×10 in Perfect Embroidery Pro.

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

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

Your design should now look similar to the image shown.

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

First Hooping:  Wall with New Door

Select the top portion of the design as shown.

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

The newly pasted design should look like the image below.

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

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

Adding Symbols

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

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

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

The tree should now look like the sample shown.

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

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

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

New Front Door

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Embellishments:  Candy Cane

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

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

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


Second Hooping with Dog Door Converted to Window 

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

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

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

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

The ribbon should look similar to the image shown.

Reposition the ribbon above the window opening as shown.

Adding a Present

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

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

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


Roof & Free Standing Trees

Open the Dog House Roof 1 6×10 design.

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

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

Locate and select the Christmas Tree.

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

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

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


Decorative Signs

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

Rotate the sign 270 degrees.

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

Copy and paste the outline of the sign as shown.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Return to the original Doghouse SignPost design you opened.

Copy and paste the SignPost into the workspace.

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

Candy Cane Frame as Base

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

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

 


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

Behind the Scenes: Volume 106 Sept/Oct

A Piece of Pie!

The latest issue is shipping to stores and mailboxes across the globe and it’s packed with inspiration that we hope you’ll enjoy.  I’m a crazy detail person— it’s the small details that add up to something great in the bigger picture.  Literally speaking it’s why we selected Katherine Artines’ sunflower for the cover – all those chunky stitches, tiny beads and tufts of tulle are a winning combination.

For today’s blog, I thought I’d share some of the wacky details you might not otherwise notice or think about.  It also gives you a glimpse of the day in the life of the Designs magazine team and contributing writers.  We are grateful for everyone who makes the magazine possible.


High-Tech Meets Handcrafted by Nancy Zieman

Take a look at that beautiful photo put together by our photography team.  Is that pumpkin pie real?  It’s too perfect to be real.  Maybe the whipped cream is shaving cream?  It surely isn’t homemade….

It is, in fact, real!  Editor, Eileen Roche made the pie the night before just for this photo!  Of course, once the photo shoot was complete, we each enjoyed a slice of that delicious pie.  We definitely need to do more food related projects.

Connection Perfection and a Dress Fit for a Princess! By Joanne Banko

Like all of Joanne’s clothing projects, it’s difficult to part with them.  The garments she makes usually fit me and what fun it is to twirl around in this dress!  But it is customary to return all projects to the designers.  (some exceptions do happen!)

If you haven’t visited Joanne’s blog, you need to visit.  She has tip sheets and additional information related to the project, in this case, the dress.  I’m always so impressed with her endless energy and willingness to share her skills with readers.  Be sure to check out her other blog posts with expanded coverage of her projects.

Stylish + Organized by Reen Wilcoxson

If you haven’t seen the article, it’s a must read.  Reen has solved an age-old problem we all have:  getting tangled in cords.  And she’s solved it with such style, creativity and even with cork!  I love our contributing writers – they go above and beyond for our readers and they have fun doing it.  Reen also generously donated the free Cord Wrap designs.  You’ll find them on her website.  The samples below show just how much fun you can have personalizing them.  Glittery vinyl, bright happy colors, monograms and motifs make them unique.  My favorite is the cork set that just happens to have my name on it. 😉

Headrest Covers by Colleen Bell

Join me in wishing a warm welcome to one of our newest contributing writers!  Although I’ve never met Colleen in person, she’s one of the most thoughtful people I’ve had the opportunity to interact with.  Not only that, she’s very talented.  You’ll see what I mean with the headrest covers in the latest issue.

Here’s the behind the scenes look at setting up the shots for the headrest covers.  Creative Director, Samuel Solomon is seen holding a test card for color balancing.

We had a great selection of photos to choose from for all three headrest samples (Texas longhorn, monogram and a mermaid).

What theme would you stitch on your headrest covers?  Choose favorite sports team colors, school colors or go with a new one for every season.


This is just a small preview of the creativity in the latest issue that is shipping now.  If you have a subscription you can access the digital version online.

 

 

 

 

A trip to the museum

As machine embroiderers, I think it’s important to step out of our comfort zones to see new interpretations of the everyday.  That’s why I took a trip to the Dallas Museum of Art recently.  A fashion exhibit featuring the work of Iris van Herpen was on display and it was well worth the trip!

If you’re unfamiliar, she’s a fashion designer that boldly and unapologetically mixes media to make her collections.  Ever imagine using 3-D printing to make garments?  She has and she’s done it.  She mixes everything from tulle (we’d expect that) to resins, chain and magnets.

My friend and I commented on whether or not a model could sit in any of the garments.  We concluded most were not meant for sitting!  But they certainly were fascinating and inspiring.

Take a look.


This dress, called Refinery Smoke, is at the entrance to the exhibit.  I think it’s among my favorites in the collection.  The description of the dress, as featured at the museum, follows.

What a unique gift to see beauty where most of us don’t.

The next dress is my top favorite.  It has a vintage look about it – which I love.

Here’s a closer view of the detail.  Would you have ever imagined to use ball chain on a garment?  Somehow it works!  As a machine embroiderer, I can imagine a touch of Urban Threads’ embroidery designs embellished somewhere on the dress.  You’ll make a splash when you enter the room in this garment!

You might be thinking delicate feathers.  No.  Laser cut 3-D polyester film lace and micro fiber.

At a loss for words? Me too.  Among the components are silicone laser-cut feathers, gull skulls and pearls.  Of course!

Close-up view of the garment.

Can you guess the metal components in the dress below?  Umbrella tines!


While you and I may not aspire to create over-the-top pieces like these – we do have permission to be inspired.  Push yourself to see fabric and embroidery designs with a new perspective.  Iris van Herpen certainly “broke” all sorts of “rules” when it comes to creating garments – and you can too – whether it’s embroidered garments, quilts or home decor.

Look for ideas in the upcoming Volume 106 Sept/Oct issue with Katherine Artines and Volume 107 Nov/Dec featuring a variety of 3-D ornaments.

Happy Campers!

One of the fun aspects of working for Designs in Machine Embroidery is the ability to create and present new ideas.  We gather inspiration from what’s trending, from our own likes and interests, from friends and associates, museums and countless seemingly unrelated fields.  These ideas come to life in Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine, but also through this blog and our products.  It makes the work more interesting for us but more importantly, we hope it keeps us relevant and timely for you, our readers!

When Eileen and I were brainstorming about a new design idea, I had been admiring vintage campers.  I see them as I travel to my favorite hiking and adventure destinations.  There’s something wonderfully nostalgic and charming about them – and they need to be expressed with stitches!

Eileen gave me the green light to design this vintage camper embroidery design.  I considered how I’d like to decorate the camper and who I’d want to include in my camping adventures.  Four-legged friends, of course!  That’s why I included a dog and cat looking through the windows.

The embroidery design is fun to stitch as is—and we’ve created a step-by-step instruction guide to use the design to make a cosmetic bag (or use it for gadgets or other items that need to be tucked away in a cute bag).  Use the design to stitch a sweet pillow or decorate a quilt block.

If you’re like me, you enjoy tweaking the design to add that unique touch.  You can do that with this design.  Add ribbon as embellishment to the camper.  Or use tiny pom pom fringe for a more whimsical look.

Don’t have a cat?  Remove the cat design and add a second dog.  Or remove the pets altogether.  You get the idea.  Have fun and make this vintage camper design your own.  Embellish with beads, crystals or rhinestones.  Add lettering to customize the design further.  Use software to add a square “Welcome” mat.

Most of all, embrace your creativity with enthusiasm!

This camper design along with the cosmetic bag instructions, are included as a free gift when you subscribe to Designs in Machine Embroidery.  You can subscribe for 1 or more years and the offer works with renewals.  Live abroad?  We’ll ship the magazine wherever you live!  The camper and cosmetic bag instructions are an automatic download you’ll receive upon paid subscription.  You can start stitching now!  Click the image below for the subscription page or give us a call:  888-739-0555 / 8 am – 5 pm CDT.

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes at My Candy Store!

I thought I’d share the evolution of the Subtle Tees shirts featured in Volume 105 July/August 2017.


When I am embroidering, I’m like a kid in a candy store.  I’m overwhelmed by all the options – from thread colors to fabric colors and even fabric type.  And before I can make a final decision, I have to try all the “flavors” and hope that I don’t get too distracted from completing the project.  Anyone else have that problem? 😉

The photo below shows example stitch-outs from the Fascinator t-shirt.  I spray painted the lace a light blue and used a variegated thread…because variegated thread has to be tried!

Then there are those moments when I go off the rails with crazy color selections.  I didn’t see a need to complete the test stitch-out….I don’t know why I chose that fabric….

Here’s a look at another test stitch-out.  I didn’t want to waste a good piece of lace so I used a piece of polymesh stabilizer as my applique fabric.  For this example, I was double checking my thread color choices.  The threads used on the bird and branch became my final colors.

You can appreciate how color choices and fabrics can transform a look.  Compare the polymesh stabilizer applique photo above with the flowery lace applique below.   The orange stippling pops while the blue stippling blends in.  

Here’s a look at the final design, shot on location.  The airy, flowery lace applique makes a statement.  The shapes can be interpreted as clouds and fits the theme for the shirt.


Fulfillment comes not only from the finished project but in the process of experimenting and improving techniques!

Software Saturday: Stitched Poetry!

Farewell to My Red Pen
By Denise Holguin

As Managing Editor, a portion of my time is spent editing the magazine. This includes making sure advertisements are placed, the Buyers Guide has the correct page numbers and the Table of Contents leads readers to the proper articles. I do all these tasks with a red pen.

And as strange as it sounds, I have only one (favorite) red pen that I use issue after issue. I was at a great loss the day it ran out of ink.

I penned a poem to commemorate the ‘passing’ of my red pen. Humored by the absurdity, I decided to take it one step further and embroider the tribute on to fabric.

Goals for this article:

 

  • Inspire you to start thinking about custom gifts you can make for family and friends that only they would understand.
  • Help you to discover your inner poet!
  • Practice your lettering and layout skills in embroidery software.
  • Problem solve on the fly.

 

 

Embroidery Products
Make Something UT5084 from Urban Threads (3.39” x 3.86”)
Free Skull Design courtesy of Designs in Machine Embroidery.

Embroidery software (Perfect Embroidery Pro was used)
Hoop Size: 300×200

At the Computer
First, we will type each line of text. Then we will rearrange and add other elements.

In Perfect Embroidery Pro, select the Text icon and type the words, “arewell, my friend.”

Click on the Text icon again and type, “You’ve served me well.”

Click on the Text icon and type, “When we, upon the page, would dwell”

Click on the Text icon and type, “To an editor, your color”

Click on the Text icon and type, “Was heaven, but now you’re dead.”

Select the Hoop icon on the left side of the screen. Select the 300×200 hoop. This will establish boundaries to rearrange the poem.

Select all the text. (Control-A). Change the font to “Times.”

Click on the first line of text. Go to the Transform tab and change the height to .69 inches. Repeat this step for each line of text.

Once finished, your text will look similar to the sample shown.

Click on File / Merge. Select the Urban Threads design. Place the design in an open space. We will be editing the design to fit our needs. Select the design. Right click and select Ungroup.

Select “Make Something” and delete it.

Since this is a tribute to a red pen, I selected and deleted the other tools that didn’t fit the pen theme.

You should only have two pens remaining.

Slide the last pen to the left of the marker. Then copy and paste the same pen and place to the right of the marker. Flip the last pen Vertically.

Copy the marker and place it to the right of the pen. Flip it vertically. Copy the first pen and marker and paste them to the right. Your version should look similar to the image shown.

Select all the pens and markers. Right click. Select Group.

Rearrange the rows of lettering to fit within the hoop. This isn’t the final stage of rearranging but it’s the first step.

Slide the pens to the right side of the hoop as shown.

Click on the Text icon. Type the letter “F”. Select Old English. Size the Width and Height to 1.77 inches.

Position the letter in front of “arewell”.

Select the Text icon. Type the word “red”. Select the Athletic font and resize it to 2.05” wide x .80” tall.

Position the word after “color” as shown.

Go to File / Merge Design. Select the Skull design.

Place the skull at the end of the poem.

Change the “F”, the word “red” and the set of pens to red.

I decided to change the word “heaven” to blue. There are three ways to do this:

Inconvenient & Hard:

 

  • Stop the machine before it stitches.

 

 

Too Much Work:

 

  • Edit the line of text so that it’s made up of three designs.

 

 

Easiest! (but you need to be responsible)

 

  • Select the last line of text. Right click. Select Break up text. Note, when you do this, the text is no longer a font.

 

 

Each letter becomes an individual design.

Select all the letters for the word “heaven”. Change the color to blue.

The third line of the poem is a little tight in the hoop. Change the height to .67 inches. Make any other last minute adjustments to the layout of the design.

Select All. (Control-A). Go to Edit / Optimize Sequence.

Save the design and send to the embroidery machine.

I framed the design and added the red pen to its final resting place.


A few dozen eggs

Project Highlights:

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

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

That someday is now!

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

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

The answer was easy:  with my embroidery machine!

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

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

Materials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Who is Blue Hair Girl?

Welcome, Blue Hair Girl!
What do you get when you mix machine embroidery, a quirky sense of humor and streaks of blue hair? The launch of a new brand from Designs in Machine Embroidery. Blue Hair Girl is a fresh and quirky approach to embroidery!

Managing Editor, Denise Holguin, has been in the machine embroidery industry for over 15 years. Her approach to embroidery and every project she tackles is simple: It has to be fun. That same spirit is what inspired her to launch her own Blue Hair Girl brand.

Blue Hair Girl makes you smile!
Blue Hair Girl is about approaching machine embroidery with a smile. Blue Hair Girl wants to inspire a smile during the creative process of stitching and deviating from the expected.

Blue Hair Girl gives you wings! 
Denise Holguin aims to inspire machine embroiderers to take that often difficult first step of trying. Blue Hair Girl is about having the confidence to try and celebrating milestones.

Blue Hair Girl is unconventional!
From streaks of blue hair victory rolls and polka dot everything to current pop cultural influences, Blue Hair Girl aims to give you something quirky, fun and definitely unique to machine embroidery.

Be the first to have a Blue Hair Girl Product!
Patch Celebration! features 12 embroidery patches, 4 printable Gift Tags and instructions.  

Order now and enjoy FREE US shipping and handling up to $10.00!  Use coupon code:  celebrate.  Offer good until February 25, 2017.

Volume 102 – Subtle Tees – Spray Paint!

Embrace your inner spray paint artist!

Have you been following the new Subtle Tees column in Designs in Machine Embroidery?  If you aren’t there are several reasons you will want to:

  1. The designs featured on the t-shirts include our magazine sponsors – without whom, we wouldn’t be able to provide you inspiration.
  2. Periodically you’ll find a free design download mentioned in that section.
  3. The column is about everyone’s favorite garment:  the t-shirt!  It’s affordable.  It’s wearable.  It comes in countless colors.  This column presents new ideas you’ll want to try – if not for yourself for someone you know.

The most recent installment of Subtle Tees (Volume 102 January/February 2017) showcases t-shirts with an added element of excitement:  spray paint!  This blog post covers the expanded content as referenced in the magazine.  Let’s begin!

 


You’ll need the following supplies which are all available from your local big box craft/hobby store.

  • Tulip ColorShot Instant Fabric Color spray paint.  Purchase an assortment of colors! This photo represents just a small stash in my collection.  They sell smaller cans, but don’t bother.  You need the full size cans because once you start one shirt, you’ll want to do many.

  • Plastic Stencils.  Select a stencil that will make a good background for embroidery designs. Look for patterns instead of single motifs.  Your local craft/hobby store should have an assortment of options.
  • Cardboard T-shirt Form (this provides a nice flat surface for the t-shirt and prevents paint from seeping to the back of the t-shirt.)

  • Tulip Stencil Adhesive (this is optional but I found it very useful for keeping the stencil in place)

Additional Supplies:

  • Painter’s Tape
  • Wax paper
  • T-shirt

Notes on Color
Dark colored t-shirts lend themselves to lighter colored spray paints.  Light colored t-shirts lend themselves to darker colored spray paint.  Of course, I did the complete opposite with the unicorn shirt featured in this blog.  All colors were subtle!  The point is, consider color when you’re making your purchases.  Note that on some shirts I deliberately sprayed white spray paint as a base before adding other spray paint colors.

Step 1.  Preparation
This step reminds me of what it must be like to make Thanksgiving dinner.  You spend the majority of your time preparing the meal!

Slide the t-shirt onto the cardboard t-shirt form.  Fold the excess t-shirt (the shirt sleeves and lower portion of the shirt to the back of the cardboard form.  Secure the excess shirt with Painter’s Tape.

If using the Tulip Stencil Adhesive, spray the back of your stencil now.  Place the stencil on the t-shirt.

Even with the use of the Stencil Adhesive, I like to add Painter’s Tape to the entire perimeter of the stencil for an extra secure hold.

Tear sheets of wax paper large enough to cover the areas of the shirt you do not want spray painted.   Spray paint is a very fine mist.  Absolutely cover every inch!  Secure the wax paper with painter’s tape.  Don’t skimp.

Step 2.  Spray Paint
Go to a well ventilated area (outdoors!).   Avoid spray painting on a windy day.  It makes the process more difficult and overspray will happen.  Also wear a mask, there’s no need to take in the fumes!

Following the directions on the spray paint cans, apply even coats of spray paint to the shirt.  For the example shown, I went crazy and incorporated multiple colors.

You’ll soon discover at this point that this task is very much like the eating part of Thanksgiving dinner.  It seems over in minutes compared to the preparation!

Step 3.  The Big Reveal
This is my favorite part of the process.  Very carefully, remove the wax paper.  Set aside in a safe place (it will still be wet with paint).  Carefully peel the painter’s tape and stencil away from the shirt.

Go ahead and admire your work.  You, my friend, are a spray paint artist!

Follow the instructions that accompany the spray paint regarding the dry time.

Step 4.  Embroidery
I like having a few days pass to let the inspiration percolate in my head.  Let the spray painted design influence your choice of embroidery design.  Once you select a design, do a test stitch on a scrap t-shirt.  This step is worth it.  You don’t want to whip up another Thanksgiving meal – err, prepare another t-shirt for spray painting!  This will give you the opportunity to make sure the design size, density and thread color choices are right.

For the featured shirt, I chose the Unicorn design from A Few of My Favorite Things.  This collection is free to anyone who attends an Embroidery Techniques from A to Z event in 2017.  Print a template of the design and audition its placement on the shirt.

Place a Target Sticker to designate the center of the embroidery design.  Remove the template.  Turn the t-shirt inside out.  Fuse a piece of polymesh stabilizer using Sulky KK2000 to the back of the spray painted t-shirt.  Be sure to place the stabilizer in relation to the target sticker’s position.  (Example, placing stabilizer centered on the shirt isn’t the most effective for hooping my t-shirt example.  My design isn’t centered on the t-shirt.)

I used the Baby Lock Alliance with the Snap Hoop Monster to stitch the design.  I love using the Alliance because it’s a single-needle free-arm embroidery machine.  The free arm makes hooping and stitching a t-shirt wildly easy.  I’m not as prone to stitching the back of the shirt closed.  Of course, you can get the same results on a traditional single needle embroidery machine. I recommend using a Snap Hoop Monster with the a single needle machine as well.  You avoid hoop burn this way and making adjustments to the fabric is as easy as giving it a tug.

Once finished, invite your favorite unicorn friend with purple hair to wear the shirt!

 


Need more inspiration?  Subtle Tees has been making a splash since Volume 100.  Pick up past issues from our website.

Curious about the free designs I mentioned at the beginning of this blog?  We’ve given away two so far in the column.  Click on the images below to visit the download pages.

Volume 102 January / February 2017

Volume 100 September / October 2016

It’s All About Perspective!

If you’ve ever gone on a road trip you’ve probably seen roadside attractions.  Imagine the excitement when the denizens of Tiny Land discovered enormous 1” pillows.

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This new roadside attraction draws crowds of people who stop to get their photos taken.  If you take a closer look, the Flamingo’s legs are the letters “J” and “L”

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About the “Pillows”
The scene was inspired by Eileen’s beautiful assortment of pillows on the cover of Volume 102 January/February 2017.  I wanted to see what a miniature interpretation would look like.

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If you look closely, I even coordinated some of the same decorator fabrics Eileen used on her cover project.

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The really fascinating part about the pillows is the tiny lettering.  The “SAS” monogram is only ¼ of an inch tall.  Perfect Embroidery Pro includes an assortment of fonts digitized for small applications.

Whether you need to stitch large embroidery fonts (like Eileen’s oversized pillows) or very small fonts as seen in Tiny Land, Perfect Embroidery Pro has you covered!

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Font:  Arial Small

Additional features:

  • Symbols were incorporated, including the Top Hat, Flamingo and Pine Tree.
  • I used the Bridge Convex Top envelope shape for the “TRB” monogram.

22 new symbols are available to all Perfect Embroidery Pro software owners.  Just run the latest update (Version 9.35) and you’ll find 22 new symbols installed in your software!

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