Archive of ‘Marie Zinno’ category

Multi-needle Monday: Mistakes Happpen to All of Us

I am sure you get frustrated when you embroider a special gift and you stitch the name incorrectly. Maybe you used the wrong color thread, stitched the design upside down or placed the name or logo crooked or not centered. Whatever the case, we all do it, some people more than others. The majority of our readers are hobbyists and do not embroider nearly as often as I do so I understand how these mishaps occur.

I will be honest, when stitching hats, I always purchase two extra, just in case. Some of my mistakes have even been published on this blog. I know commercial shops plan for errors as well. It is not always human error; machines do act up and “eat” fabric once in a while. The best way to react is to stay calm and keep the item hooped, if it is possible, remove the hoop from machine. Carefully remove the back bobbin stitches. I also like to add another piece of stabilizer (float or use sticky tear away) for extra stability.

Recently while shopping at a large discount store in my town, I came across a number of backpacks on sale for back to school. I immediately recognized the style as a popular wholesale vendor I order from. It is ironic because the bags (at least 30 or so) were already personalized with different names.mistake1BLmistake2BL

The embroidery is professionally done but somehow the wrong names were stitched and instead of ripping out the mistake, they chose to take a small loss and re-sell them. I have come across this situation before at a high end home décor outlet store which offers a popular online monogram studio. The outlet was selling monogrammed (3 letter monograms) towels, robes, bath mats and Christmas stockings which I am sure were mistakes and ended up at the outlet.

Another funny mistake was brought to my attention last year when a customer ordered Christmas stockings online for their growing family. The red velvet stockings had a white velvet cuff. When the stocking arrived all of the names were stitched in white thread! Each name should have been embroidered on the cuff with red thread. I am sorry I did not photograph this mistake. Imagine a “human” took the time and embroidered 6 stockings incorrectly, never noticed the white on white colors.

Take time and plan your embroidery; proper placement, check spelling (I wish they had spell check on the embroidery machine screen), thread color and design orientation. Try not to embroider when you are tired or distracted most mistakes happen during this time.

Take advantage of this coupon link to save on my Craftsy class “ How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business”. https://

Multi-needle Monday: On the Edge Baby Blanket Embroidery

I would like to share with you one of my favorite gift items to embroider; on the edge baby blanket embroidery. The purchased minky dot baby blanket is personalized on the top and bottom satin trim borders with the baby’s name and birth date. The quick, easy and practical way to embroider the edges is to hoop the blanket in a large hoop along with soft tear away stabilizer. The hoop is scanned and the text is stitched right on the satin. I do not rip out the seam to “hide” the thread. The blanket may have stretch to it, but the satin trim does not, therefore a soft tear away stabilizer is used. The stabilizer will easily tear away from the back of the embroidery without pulling on delicate text.

Using the scanning feature is a fool proof way to precisely place the text. Before I purchased the multi-needle machine with the scanner, I had the use the “trace” feature. The trace technique worked well enough but this so much faster.

Find the exact center of the top of the satin trim border by folding the blanket in half and place a target sticker on the fold. edge blankie1BLedge blankie2BLHoop the top edge as shown in the hoop with the stabilizer. Place a piece of blue painter’s tape along the stitched seam of the satin and fleece.edge blankie3BL Attach the hoop to the machine and open the text for the blanket “scan” the blanket. edge blankie4BLedge blankie5BLedge blankie6BL The blue tape gives you a straight reference line to precisely place the text. Remove the tape when pleased with the layout.

Stitch the text and remove the blanket from the hoop.edge blankie7BLedge blankie8BLedge blankie9BL Follow the same steps for the bottom of blanket and make sure the text is in the proper orientation.

edge blankie10BLedge blankie11BL

Join me in my Craftsy class, “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business” to learn more machine embroidery techniques. https://

Multi-needle Monday: Baby Lock’s New Product

What’s new with the Baby Lock multi-needle embroidery machine? Apparently, many things. I just got back from St. Louis, MO where I had the pleasure to attend the Baby Lock Tech conference for sewing machine dealers. During this conference the store owners view new product from Baby Lock and other sewing vendors. The event is always high energy, positive and exhausting at the same time.

DIME had a beautiful booth to show off our new Weightless Quilter frame along with our Stipple! collections, Monster Hoops and placement kits. As we greet the hundreds of attendees they are always so impressed by the quality of our tools, books and other products. However, a handful of new sewing machine dealers are not aware of the history of DIME and the actual magazine. It is always hard for me to believe that the magazine is not their first introduction to our company. Designs in Machine Embroidery just celebrated its 100th issue! I couldn’t be more proud of all of the hard work my sister Eileen Roche has put into this on-going endeavor. Congrats to the staff at DIME. We look forward to seeing another 100 issues.marieblog

There were many new products unveiled over the past few days but my main focus is the multi-needle embroidery machine. It has a new name: the Valiant. Valiant is defined as: boldly courageous, soldier, heroic. I think all of these words can describe a business owner too. You have to be bold to open a business, heroic when dealing with mishaps and think of yourself as a soldier going to battle when handling competition.valiantBL

The Valiant has a number new technical enhancements but some of my favorite features are: 5 LED lights to illuminate the hoop area, larger LCD touch screen, a color visualizer (random, gradient and vivid), super crisp and clear NeedleCam digital camera, ability to edit text on screen and insert letters or make corrections to text without deleting entire words, IQ Designing capabilities, linking capabilities up to 4 embroidery machines (perfect for a small business owner), 5X faster scanning, 3X higher resolution,  2 X faster CPU processing speed, exclusive memory storage for videos . These are just a few highlighted features that I personally find attractive.

Visit your local sewing machine dealer and take a look at many new sewing, quilting and embroidery machines along with the beautiful and powerful Valiant 10 needle embroidery machine. If you have put off purchasing a new embroidery machine for your business, now is the time to consider upgrading to the Valiant.

Join me in my Crafsy class and save with the coupon link below.

Multi-needle Monay: Kindergarten Rocks

Through my embroidery business I have stitched hundreds of corporate logos, team items and unique baby accessories. I am always open to new ideas. Once in a while a customer will bring me a special request. This time the request was for a kindergarten t-shirt. The mother’s youngest of 4 children was starting kindergarten in a few weeks and she wanted a special send off outfit for her 5 year old. The text was created in my Perfect Embroidery Pro software using a simple Arial font (Kindergarten) along with the Seaside font (Rocks).

Step One: Pre-wash a purchased child’s t-shirt (youth size medium was used) and press before stitching. Position the t-shirt on flat surface and place the template labeled: center front youth small/ medium on the t-shirt (Children’s Perfect Placement Kit). Line up the black bold lines on template with the bottom of t-shirt neckline ribbing. Place a target sticker in the center hole of the template. The target sticker will designate the center of the embroidery design.schoolt1blogschoolt2blog

Step Two: I sized my embroidery design to fit in a 5×7 Monster Snap Hoop to make hooping easy and quick. Embroidering a child’s size t-shirt is so simple with a multi-needle embroidery machine. The bulk of the fabric hangs in front of the machine and out of the way of the embroidery attachment.

Step Three: Use fusible cut away poly mesh stabilizer on the wrong side of upper portion of t-shirt. Lay the magnetic frame of Monster Snap Hoop on a flat surface and cut the stabilizer larger than the frame. schoolt3blog Make sure to iron the stabilizer centered in the area to be t4blogschool t5blog Turn the t-shirt right side out and slide the magnetic, teal frame inside the t-shirt (magnets facing the top). Attach the metal frame on top with target centered within the metal t6blogschool t7BL

Step Four: Slide the frame onto the multi-needle machine with the neck area placed over the bobbin throat. Use your hands to feel underneath the t-shirt for any excess fabric. Line up the target sticker with the correct needle bar (this is a great time to use the live camera if available on your machine).school t8blog

Step Five: Remove the target sticker and add water soluble stabilizer (light weight type) to the top of the fabric. Use the automatic basting file to tack down the stabilizer.

Step Six: Embroider the t-shirt and remove after stitching is complete. Turn t-shirt wrong side out and clip the basting files carefully.

Step Seven: Re-iron the cut away stabilizer from the wrong side of t-shirt. The adhesive is deactivated and can be trimmed.

Step Eight: Turn t-shirt right side out and spritz with water to remove excess water soluble stabilizer from the text design.

Repeat same steps for embroidering the back of the t-shirt.kinder1blogkinder2blog

* The poly mesh fusible stabilizer is perfect for knits and minimizes the urge to over stretch your fabric when hooping.

Use the coupon link to save $10 on my Craftsy class: How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business.

Multi-needle Monday: Create Professional Looking Embroidery

As I have mentioned before, it is so important to plan your embroidery. As a business owner, I really stress over the execution of my embroidery. The moment I accept a job, the planning begins. If you are a machine embroidery hobbyist, I am sure the same situation comes into play. Although I try to avoid embroidering on customer supplied items, there are exceptions.

The most challenging jobs I have handled are always the property of interior designers. The semi-finished item (usually a pillow sham, chair back fabric etc) are sent to me with a specified thread color, monogram size and a short deadline. I like to tackle the difficult jobs early in the morning and use the proper tools to precisely place my embroidery.

For example, silk pennant style window treatments arrived a few days ago. There are four pennants which will have an “S” in the Sydney font, embroidered in black thread. The pennants were sewn in a tubular style. Right away, I planned my hooping technique. The size of the initial is 3 inches tall, therefore my 5×7 Monster Snap Hoop will have to be used.

Measure the pennant front with the large Target Ruler, place the target sticker inside the hole on the target ruler.pennant 1BLpennant 2BLpennant 3BL The placement of the initial was discussed with the designer ahead of time. Follow the same steps for the remaining pennants. The silk fabric can have a bit of stretch to it so I selected to use poly mesh cut away stabilizer inside the pennant.pennant 4BLpennant 5BL The teal frame of Monster Snap Hoop is inserted into the pennant with the magnets facing up(New MSH have covered magnets). Place the metal frame on top and align with the target sticker’s crosshair.pennant 6BLpennant 7BL

Carefully place the hoop on to the embroidery machine with the silk fabric fitting over the bobbin throat. For this particular job a multi-needle embroidery machine must be used.pennant 8BLpennant 9BL Always check the orientation of the embroidery design at the touch screen along with the thread color before removing the target sticker.pennant 10BL

Repeat the same steps for remaining pennants; turn the fabric wrong side out to trim the excess stabilizer.

Join me in my Craftsy class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business”. Click the link below to save with this coupon.

Multi-needle Monday: It’s Never too Late to Try Something New!

In my year of turning 50, I am trying to do at least 50 new things. My list consists of a few mundane things such as trying new foods (yes I like octopus now), running a 2 mile race on July 4th(not very exciting but glad I did it with my daughter and husband), and something centered around embroidery. Yes, I finally pieced and machine embroidered a jelly roll quilt. Drum roll please!

A few weeks ago the DIME staff hosted a workshop for their educators and we had the opportunity to have a Jelly Roll Race.(I think I won because I was the only person to actually complete the entire quilt). Eileen showered us with the pre-cut jelly roll fabrics and of course we had the top of the line embroidery/sewing machines at our disposal. The workshop was held at a tremendous quilting retreat in the Texas countryside. We enjoyed 4 days of sewing /embroidering/ quilting and meeting new friends.

Although Eileen and I have taken a hiatus from our Stitching Sister events we continue to work and laugh alongside each other and this retreat was no exception. She likes to tease me about my lack of knowledge in some things such as: quilting. She loves to create new quilts and I generally do not. This time however, was an exception. The pre-cut jelly roll fabrics are so fun to work with and you are so surprised at the outcome when all the strips are sewn together.jelly roll 1BLjell roll2BL

The endless sewing of fabric strips finally takes a productive turn when the rows are assembled (the actual directions are found on Youtube) and actually starts to look like a quilt top. After the top was complete I had to “quilt” it with my embroidery machine. jelly roll4BLjelly roll 5BLjelly roll 6BL

I layered the batting and backing and used the ShortE and the Monster Snap Hoop. Eileen would talk endlessly about the shortE while we were traveling the past 2 years. I know my eyes would start to glaze over during these conversations, now that I see how efficient it is for the home embroidery enthusiast, I really get it.jelly roll 7BLjelly roll 8BLjelly roll 9BL The secret is to use the magnetic hoops which eliminate the difficult task of hooping a quilt. The frame sits underneath the embroidery machine and holds the bulk of the fabric to evenly distribute the weight. The embroidery design selected for my quilt is a simple full size stipple; I printed a template and placed it on the pieced quilt top. The easy to use camera function and laser light on our machine assists you in placing each design. We had many “experts” attend the workshop and sometimes it is very difficult to learn in this atmosphere. I was humbled and enjoyed learning about the pieced binding, mitered corners and everything in between. I am proud to share my first “machine embroidered” quilt. (I even have an embroidered badge).jelly roll11BL

The quilt is a gift for my daughter who will be moving into her first apartment at the University of Cincinnati this week and she was very pleased with the result.jelly roll 10BL

Clink the link to save on my Craftsy class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business”.

Multi-needle Monday: Pocket Top Embroidery Placement

I would like to share one of my favorite techniques for embroidery above the pocket on a dress shirt. Through my business I work on a variety of different garments and accessories. A popular request is always the top of pocket placement for a corporate logo. My customer is the president of a business and likes to dress professionally in quality dress shirts; he also knows how important it is to promote your business when in public. He wears a company logo on many items especially when he attends tradeshows.

Before I owned my multi-needle embroidery machine, this technique was challenging. I would print a template, tape it on the shirt and use a target sticker to mark my center. Then I would use the trace feature and align the needle with the crosshair on the target sticker. (This technique is still very practical if you do not have a scanner). Now of course, technology has improved immensely in the last few years and the tools at our finger tips are invaluable. My days of “tracing” and actually printing template for small jobs are over.

Here are a few important tips to remember when planning the embroidery above the pocket on a dress shirt:

The logo or text should not exceed 4 inches in width as a rule; this is because most pockets are less than 4 inches wide. Button all of the front placket buttons and place the shirt on a clean flat surface. Use the small Target Ruler (Embroidery Tool Kit) and target stickers.

Press wrinkles from the pocket area. Use the smallest hoop that will fit the embroidery design(4×4 hoop), along with poly mesh cut away stabilizer. Use two pieces of stabilizer if the design is a bit dense, but usually medium weight poly mesh cut away will work fine.

Test your logo on fabric that is similar in weight to the final product. I like to keep an old performance fabric polo or a cotton woven shirt to test my corporate logos before I stitch them on the provided shirt.pocket top1BLpocket top2BLpocket top3BL

Lay the small target ruler above the top edge of the pocket, precisely lining up the center and side edges. The logo should be at least ½ inch above the top edge of pocket. Hoop the upper portion of the pocket in the lower section of the hoop as shown.pocket top4BLpocket top5BL  Place a small piece of blue Painter’s Tape along the top edge of the pocket. The painters tape will give a clear visual guide for you to see in the scanned image. Use the “scan” feature if available on your embroidery machine (looks like a camera icon). Adjust the design if needed as viewed on the screen.pocket top6BLpocket top7BL Unbutton the upper buttons on the shirt and place the hoop on the embroidery machine as shown above. Let the fabric hang down under the machine so it is not caught under the hoop.

Embroider the design and remove the hoop. Trim the thread tails (as you can see in the photo) and carefully trim the excess stabilizer from the back of the shirt. Always leave at least a ¼ of an inch of stabilizer around the embroidery design.

* Have the customer sign a Customer Supplied Garment Waiver to cover yourself in the case of a mishap (they only happen on expensive and sentimental items) Haha.

pocket top8BL

Join me in my Craftsy class for more information on Starting a Machine Embroidery Business. Forms are included in the class materials.

Multi-needle Monday: Sport Theme Can Cooler


Machine embroiderers have more choices every year when it comes to purchased blanks. If you have a multi-needle machine and machine embroidery business, you have discovered that purchasing blanks is the most profitable way to make money. Maybe you embroider just for gifts and charity and profitability is not important. In either case, quality purchased blanks are a must-have staple in your embroidery studio.

For example: the can cooler or can koozie. I have stocked the plain blank koozies for years for my customers and thought I have seen or stitched all the styles available. Last week while searching the website of ,I found the sport theme can cooler/koozie. It is exactly what I had in mind for my tennis team giftsSportThemeKooziesBL.

The sport theme can koozies are available for tennis, golf, basketball, football, car racing, softball and baseball. The can cooler will arrive flat, embroider the name, logo or initial on the neoprene fabric and proceed to sew the two side seams after the embroidery is complete. Here are a few tips to remember when planning the embroidery process:

1. Measure the front area of the can cooler (small target ruler from the Embroidery Tool Kit works great) that will be embroidered and place a target sticker in the center location. Only one side of the koozie is generally embroidered.

2. Remember the can koozie will need to be able to stretch to enable the can to slide inside.

3.Double check the orientation of the design on the touch screen before you stitch.

4.Reinforce the side seams because they will take some wear and tear.

5. Use sticky back tear away stabilizer.

The can coolers make perfect gifts for coaches, team mates and anyone who appreciates the sport and enjoys a cold drink on a hot day.

In the book, Hoop It Up we show you how to hoop multiple koozies in one hoop by positioning the koozies side by side and embroidering one side of the koozie only.

Use the small Target Ruler to precisely find the center and slide a target sticker underneath the crosshair.koozie1BLkoozie2BL Remove the ruler and insert a piece of sticky back stabilizer in your hoop. Keep the protective paper intact. Take a pin and score the protective paper with an X, carefully remove the 4 sections of the protective paper. The reason for this step is to keep your hoop clean and free of adhesive residue.koozie3BLkoozie4BLkoozie5BLkoozie6BLkoozie7BL

Place the koozie on the sticky tear away stabilizer and double check the orientation of the embroidery design. Align the needle bar with the target sticker’s crosshair and remove the target sticker when ready. Embroider the name or text and remove the stabilizer from the hoop. Carefully remove the sticky stabilizer from the back of the koozie. Fold right sides together and pin in place. Sew the two side seams together turn right side out.koozie8BL

final canBL

Join me in my Craftsy class to learn more about starting a Machine Embroidery Business.

Multi-needle Monday: Applique Sea Life Designs

Yay! It’s finally summer! If you are like me, you are probably searching for quick and festive items to sell to your customers. Even if you use your multi-needle embroidery machine for gift giving, quick to stitch designs are always welcome. Some of my favorite designs are appliqué. Applique designs add a lot of punch with the high stitch count. It’s easy to change the look of a design by switching fabrics. Did you know most quilt designs can easily be transformed into an appliqué? I love using my edited quilt designs on t-shirts, tote bags, baby onsies and athletic wear.

sea life cover1BLsea life pillowsBL

I selected the sea turtle block design included in the Stipple! Sea Life Collection, to be stitched on a child’s t-shirt. The original design has beautiful stippling that surrounds the sea turtle. In my embroidery software I deleted the stippling portion of the design and saved it as a new design. I also printed a paper template so I could easily position the design on a child’s t-shirt. turtle finalBLOne great feature of the Stipple! Collection is that all trimming is done after the embroidery is complete.stippleimage1BLstippleimage2BL

My go to stabilizer for t-shirts is a poly mesh or no-show mesh fusible cut away stabilizer. Cut the stabilizer bigger than the hoop you plan to use. To position your embroidery properly on a child’s t-shirt, use the Children’s Perfect Placement Kit. Included in the kit are 16 clear plastic templates labeled for a number of baby and children’s accessories and clothing. Use the center front template for a child’s t-shirt. Remember ark the center with a target sticker and remove the template. turtle tshirt1BLBecause the design features a bean stitch instead of the usual satin stitch to finish the edges, I use wonder under to the wrong side of the appliqué fabric. Remember to trim the excess fabric and fuse the appliqué design after embroidery.

I love to simplify the task of hooping t-shirts, I find using the Monster Snap hoop for multi-needle embroidery machines the quickest and most efficient way. After the target sticker has been positioned with the template, slide the bottom teal frame of the Monster Snap Hoop (5×7 was used for this project) inside the t-shirt body. Attach the top metal frame and smooth the fabric as needed. Always flip the hoop over and make sure the stabilizer is positioned within the frame top and bottom.MSH BL

Carefully attach the hoop to the machine through the neck of the t-shirt. Feel underneath the hoop for any excess fabric that could possibly be caught between the bobbin plate and hoop. Line up the needle bar with the target sticker and remove the sticker before embroidering. Stitch the design, adding fabric as instructed and trim after embroidery is complete. Turn the t-shirt wrong side out, iron the stabilizer to release the adhesive stabilizer. Trim the excess stabilizer around the embroidery design.

Enjoy your long sunny summer days and happy stitching!

Join me in my Craftsy class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business”. click the link below to save with a coupon.

Multi-needle Monday: Custom Sandals in Capri

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of going to Italy with my husband to join one of my oldest friends on the Isle of Capri. My girl friend of 35 years planned a birthday extravaganza for her 50th birthday and invited 15 others to join her. She planned some of the outings and dinners to the last detail, each location more spectacular than the next. Dinner under the lemon trees, another location was a sunset view of Mount Vesuvius and of course a boat cruise around the famous island and the Blue Grottos. The group was an eclectic blend of old friends and fairly new but all wonderful people that shared an amazing few days together with our mutual friend.  Walking along the streets of Capri is a sensory overload! All of your senses are in tune and you enjoy every little experience. It is a magical place. capri1BL

We toured the cobblestone streets all lined with beautiful shops and small restaurants each store front utilizes every inch of space to grow flowers or fruit. In Capri there are a few “must have” souvenirs; perfume (you can create your own specific sent), limoncello (a liquor created from the fresh and abundant lemons growing everywhere on the island) and custom sandals (one of my favorite). The women in our group decided to take advantage of the custom sandal option as the men went taste-testing the limoncello. Yes this is a lemon I am holding! lemon1BL

As exciting as it sounds to design your own sandals, it is kind of overwhelming. So many choices! sandal1BLsandal2BL The tiny shop is full of leather strapping, tassels, braided trim and fancy jewels to embellish your sandals. Did I mention the sandals are completed all on site and available in a few hours?  You have the option of choosing the style, color and trims and they construct the sandal. The expert cobblers are so sweet and talented as they work in a space as big as my closet at home. As shown in the photo I selected a basic navy blue sandal (I know it’s kind of boring) but I am not into jewels and I wanted something timeless.

My husband and I went to pick up my sandals the next day and he was shocked at the choices and the quality. I tried the sandals on for a final fit and the clerk asked me in Italian(I eventually figured out what he was asking) if I wanted to have a monogram. sandal6BLsandal7BLMe a monogram??  Of course. I was the only one in my group who was offered the monogram apparently. He stamped the leather sole with my two initials.sandal8BLsandal9BL

Pictured below are the tools and work space in the sandal shop.sandal3BLsandal4BL

I hope you enjoyed my blog although we are a bit off subject. Enjoy the link to my Craftsy class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business”.

1 2 3 4 6