Archive of ‘Just for Fun’ category

Stitching Pumpkins

The Dallas Arboretum has transitioned from their summer floral display to an eye-catching display of pumpkins and gourds.  All the stores are stocked with pumpkin decorations.  The coffee shops even have fall colors in their window displays.  With all the pumpkins popping up everywhere, I thought it would be gourd to join in! 😉


Our newest quilting collection, Pumpkin Parade, makes it easy to join in the festivities by making fall décor.  But before I started, I decided to set up a few rules.

Rule 1.  Stay focused.  (ha!)  By that I mean I decided to start and finish one project at a time.  I usually like to start multiple projects and I get so overwhelmed that I don’t finish them!  This also motivated me to get the current project finished so I could swiftly move on to my next great experiment.

Rule 2.  Minimize the number of variables.  One of my favorite activities is to take one design and see how many variations I can make with it.  Sometimes the variations are created in software. Other times, I have fun with fabric and thread color selection.  For this project, I decided the primary variable would be fabric and thread color.  (Though I did use two different pumpkin designs).

Rule 3.  Keep the project manageable in size.  Sure, I could stitch an entire quilt—or two—or three but I do need to sleep and I wanted to be sure I could finish them in a day or two.  The advantage of the small centerpieces:  I can give them as gifts to friends, family and coworkers.  The way I like to experiment, I may have enough for an entire neighborhood by the end of the week!

Rule 4.  Have fun and don’t be overly critical!  I read a comment recently on a social media platform from someone who was seeking advice on where and how to start a project.  Her desire for perfection seemed to be holding her back before she could even begin a project.  It can be especially disheartening when social media and photo editing makes it possible to present the best, most pristine and flawless representation of ourselves and our work.  But there’s also reality.  And in my reality, my binding is not impeccable on my quilts.  I try really hard.  But I’m still learning!  And that’s the point.  We have to stay focused on improving our skills and not be so critical of our work that we become immobile.

Denise carefully attaches binding. She’s hopeful. She’s confident. She’s determined to get the job done!

Enough about the rules, let’s take a look at my gourd-ous shenanigans I completed in 2 days.  😊


Centerpiece 1:  Youthful!

I rummaged through my fabric and found the orange print.  The downside, I only had scraps.  I decided to make the best of my supplies by making a 4-patch block.  I added a coordinating green fabric to make the centerpiece larger.

Once the top was complete, I made a quilt sandwich and hooped the project using Snap Hoop Monster.  Then it occurred to me I needed to center the design within the block.  No problem!  I used the handy Centering Ruler from the Embroidery Tool Kit to find the center of the block.  I placed a target sticker in the hole.  Then I made sure the needle hit the center of the target sticker.  Moments like these make having the right tools indispensable.

I chose an orange thread color for the pumpkin quilting design and used the stitch-in-the-ditch method for the busy prints.  My coworker, Sam, commented that he likes the difference in the busy prints.  One print is large scale while the other is a smaller scale.  Until he mentioned it, I hadn’t noticed.  Sometimes I can get so focused I miss certain elements!

Centerpiece 2:  Fall Harvest with a Touch of Blue!

I continued rummaging through my fabric and found small scraps of the beautiful blue print fabric.

It’s so delicious, I had to use it.  It’s also not what we might expect for a fall harvest but that’s why I love it!   I chose a brown thread color for the quilt designs. The brown thread coordinates well with the print.

Centerpiece 3:  Royalty!

I used a delicious batik fabric and a rich purple.

The tan thread color was influenced by the batik fabric.  This sample received a lot of attention when I paraded it around the office.  I suppose we all identify with royalty!  😉

I had an absolute blast making these centerpieces and am sad to see this blog post end.

Which version do you like best?  What other color scheme would you want to see?

 


Given my affinity for this collection, now’s a good time to mention we are offering free shipping on US orders.  I’ve extended the offer to October 5th.  Or give us a call during business hours:  888-739-0555 (8 am – 5 pm CDT).

 

 

Machine embroidery is for everyone!

One recent Saturday, I invited my friend, Tore Bellis, to my studio to learn how to machine embroider.  Tore is a software engineer and he’s always interested in learning new things.  It made sense to me that he should learn.

I considered what he might like to stitch and decided for his first experience, he should do more than embroider a piece of fabric. He needs to make and complete a project in one day.

That sounds like an ambitious task but it’s not with the Snazzy Snap Covers. The collection is fun for all skill levels. And given Tore’s analytical mind, I knew he’d enjoy seeing how the project comes together. The pockets would really captivate him!

The collection features 6 different styles of notebooks in two sizes. He chose to stitch the shark design for the small notebook cover.


I offered all my fabrics for Tore to choose from including a new pack of Carnival Batiks I received from the Baby Lock Common Threads event. Tore was a little hesitant to use my special new batiks but there is no better time than the present. I was pretty surprised how much he deliberated over the fabric selections. (This is a sign he’s an embroiderer at heart and perhaps even a quilter!).

He cut the vinyl fabric for the notebook cover, the batiks for the inside pockets and the blue ‘denim’ for the inside cover.


He also made a preliminary selection of thread colors. I assured him he could change his mind as the project came together.

He hooped the stabilizer and attached the hoop to the machine.

I showed him how to thread the Baby Lock Spirit by following all the numbers and arrows on the machine. He also learned how to use the automatic needle threader. The automatic needle threader was his favorite part.

I took photos throughout the process and we decided to capture his very first stitches on video. He practiced the steps before I shot the video. I explained if something goes wrong we can always stage it again and re-shoot. I quickly learned however, he really wanted the video to catch his first stitches— no exceptions. So we practiced the motions a few times until he was ready.


As he stitched, I explained the concept of placement stitches and tackdown stitches.


He stitched his first appliqué and learned about appliqué scissors.

I demonstrated how to use the scissors and suggested he compare them to using regular scissors. But without trying them he could already see the advantage of appliqué scissors. He carefully trimmed the excess appliqué fabric and carefully returned the hoop to the machine.

Tore stitched the next applique fabric – the top portion of the shark.
Then he carefully trimmed away the excess fabric.


The design quickly takes shape!


He continued stitching and we reached a point when difficult decisions would have to be made. What thread color for the fish designs? Tore auditioned several options.


He contemplated the shades of blue.


Tore decided to experiment with a tan color that would pop off the blue vinyl. He’s becoming a professional at threading the machine at this stage of the process.

At this point Tore was ready for the particularly clever part of the construction process: the inside of the notebook cover.

Tore aligned the “denim” fabric with the notches on the back of the design. We used a spray adhesive to hold the fabric in place. Then he stitched the fabric down.

Next, the fancy batik pockets (my favorite part of the design). Tore aligned the pockets with the notches on the design.

He secured the pockets with Painter’s Tape.

He was ready for the final thread color that would secure the pockets and define the shape of his notebook cover. This was the last critical thread color decision to make and he was not hasty. I suggested red since it’s a shark notebook to hint at the idea of blood. I pulled out all my threads (not just red) so he could browse options.

Then I found him at the machine, contemplating which shade of red.
He said, “This one is more ‘blood’ while this is more vivid. Do I want blood or do I want vivid?”

These were important questions only he could answer, of course. He made his decision and finished stitching the design.

He heard the celebratory chime on the Baby Lock that proclaims the design is finished. I pointed out the smiley face on the touch screen of the machine that also indicates the design is complete. (Even though I’ve been embroidering for a few years, I never tire of those features!).

Tore unhooped his masterpiece.

Then he trimmed the notebook to its final shape.


The last step: installing snaps! Among Tore’s many hobbies and talents, he’s installed snaps with his leatherwork projects. But we still practiced our snap skills on a piece of fabric.
And just like that, my friend who has never machine embroidered made his first in-the-hoop project!

Tore went home that night and ordered a six-pack of mini notebooks from Amazon. Now he’s planning his next set of notebooks.



The take-away from this piece:

  • Machine embroidery is for everyone! Share your hobbies with friends and family members. Don’t forget to consider kids or grand-kids. Depending on the child’s age, you can do some of the more involved parts of the task. It’s not only a time to bond but there’s a delightful element of discovery you can enjoy through a novice’s eyes.

Special Limited Time Offer (1 week only!)
Take $10.00 off your order of Snazzy Snap Covers! Use coupon code: snazzysaturday. Visit the Designs in Machine Embroidery website by clicking here.

Stitched Snapshots Plus – Part 3

Converting Sketches to Stitches
By Denise Holguin

Having multiple roles at dime, I have a unique opportunity to play with all our new embroidery software.  I had been playing with Stitched Snapshots Plus Software by converting my favorite vacation and adventure photos in to stitches.  Then I pushed myself even more by converting clip-art in to stitches.  If you’ve been following along in this 3-part Software Saturday series, you saw examples of photos and clip art being converted by Dalene McDonald and Lisa Knight. 

After experimenting with photos and clip-art my mind wandered to other options.  I grabbed a black sharpie and paper.  I wrote the word “Love”.  Using my cell phone, I snapped a photo and emailed the image to myself.  I imported the image in to Stitched Snapshots Plus… and behold… my handwritten word was converted to stitches.  And the crowd goes wild with endless oohs and aahs!

Isn’t that a fun technique?

Here are the step-by-steps:

Click on the Stitched Snapshots Plus icon in the top left corner.

A new window will appear.  Click on Browse to locate the image you want to import.

Once you’ve selected the image, it will display on the right side of the window.  Options abound on the left side of the window.  I left the size untouched.  For this example, I chose the Mono for the Color Mode.  You’ll notice the background turns to a crisp white.  The white “background” disappears – it won’t end up being part of the embroidery design.

I chose the Stippling style of stitches.

Click on the Show / hide preview button to view the effect of your choices.

Click on the Show / hide preview button again.  Select the Hatching style of stitches.  Click on the Show / hide preview button again.

I stitched both examples using my Baby Lock Spirit.

Stippling Example

Hatching Example

But I didn’t stop there.  I wanted to see the effects of Medley Variegated Poly by Exquisite. Take a look:

Stippling Example using Denim Blues Variegated Poly

Hatched Example using Carnival Variegated Poly

 

Here is a fun example of unleashing creativity to see what happens.  My coworker, Sam Solomon, designed and hand colored the sheet that you see.  I conveniently “borrowed” it for my experiments.  I photographed it, cropped it and changed the colors.  How delightfully fun!

I like the free-spirited nature of the design.  It’s not the expected or traditional.  It’s a more artistic approach to machine embroidery that I hope you too will embrace and experiment with on your next project.

Note that if you own additional Inspirations Software, like Perfect Embroidery Pro, you can manipulate the design further.  But as a standalone software, it has plenty of tools for you to create and have fun – without breaking the bank.  From photos, to clip-art to your hand written words or sketches, you can create one of a kind embroidery designs.

For more information on Stitched Snapshots Plus, visit the Inspired by DIME website.

Christmas Village Sewing Instructions

This is Part 2 of the Christmas Village series.  If you missed the software instructions, click here.  If there’s one thing you take away from the series it should be this:   You are permitted to break the rules.  Experiment.  Try.  Learn.  Succeed!

Refer to the original instructions with the collection to familiarize yourself with the overall process.  Don’t stop at one house – make multiple houses for an entire village.

First Hooping: Wall with Door

Here’s an overview of the stitching process for the wall with the new door.  The first 2 thread colors are the same process as the traditional house.  The images show the red felt trimmed away.

The Christmas tree, star and placement stitch for the door are stitched.  Then green felt was placed on top of the placement stitch for the door.  Next, I stitched the tackdown (bean stitch) for the door.  *Note in the software instructions I have you stitch the candy cane before any of the door elements.  This is for ease.  Either method is acceptable. 

I trimmed the felt for the door and stitched the next thread color—the outline for the window.

Very carefully, I cut away the green felt from the window.  I chose to leave the white felt.  But you could cut through both layers of fabric to “peek” through the door.

The candy cane was then stitched.  (Your design will have the candy cane stitch before the door elements.)  

Second Hooping:  Dog Door Converted to Window

The image shows the first two thread colors stitched.

The felt is carefully trimmed as shown.  I did not trim the original dog door at this point.  Leave it untrimmed.

Stitch the remaining elements:  the ribbon and present.  Remove from the hoop and trim the walls as shown.

The last step is trimming the dog door so that it resembles a window shutter.  I trimmed up the center.  Then trimmed along the top arch.  Then I trimmed the bottom.  The key to success:  I didn’t trim the sides.  See two photos below.

You can sew the shutters down with decorative buttons or use scrapbooking brads as shown.  I used brads for the signs that were attached to the house as well.

 

Additional Highlights

Trees:  The free standing trees are stitched on felt.

Trees are trimmed then a wooden bead with a flat bottom was glued to the back of the tree stump providing stability.

Roof & Lights

The roof was stitched and trimmed.  I used Duck Tape to attach mini Christmas lights to the underside of the roof.  The battery pack fit perfectly inside the base of the house.  If yours does not, conceal it behind the house with additional felt and snow.

The base of the house was stitched on decorative tan felt.

I assembled the house and sign post following the original instructions included with the Stitch Swag Cozy Dog Suites.  Embellish and have fun!


The Stitch Swag Cozy Dog Suites are available for purchase through an Inspirations Dealer.  Use the dealer locator to find a dealer near you.

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.


1 2 3 13