Archive of ‘Nancy Zieman’ category

Where’s the embroidery?

As embroiderers we often think in terms of, ‘what will I embroider on this fabric?’ Oftentimes, some fabrics are quite busy and embroidery doesn’t seem possible. But sometimes the fabric is just too irresistible to pass up—like this bright and colorful linen.

You might be asking… that’s a great bag, but where’s the embroidery?

Take a closer look.

The bag was constructed using Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs. The bag’s corners are machine embroidered applique. I used a luxurious red suede to coordinate with the print fabric. When Nancy Zieman and I wrote this 68-page book, we set out to prove that machine embroidery can be beautiful but also functional. It can simplify sewing tasks and ensures flawless results. We let the embroidery machine handle the trickiest tasks of bag construction: making four perfect corners and attaching the straps. We also created this collection to give you the freedom to design any sized bag.

Some favorite features of this bag include the details. Never neglect the details—they can elevate an ordinary homemade project to a designer handcrafted project. I used a black zipper rather than one that blended in and I added the tabs at the ends of the zipper.

Black grommets (made by Dritz) were the perfect choice—they are available at most sewing supply stores or online.

When designing a bag—consider a light color for the interior. I chose lime green for a splash of color and because it’s a light color, I can easily find things inside the bag. There’s nothing worse than a black abyss where you have to go ‘fishing’ for your wallet, lipstick or pen!

Remember, ladies, look at embroidery as both beautiful and functional!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Look carefully at the image below. Can you help this clown find his beloved dog?


One correct answer will be chosen to receive Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs by Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman. Good luck!

Handbags 2 - Designer Knockoffs

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

We’ve showed you plenty of mistakes we’ve made in the past few weeks and asked you to share your stories as well. Now we’d like to know the funniest mistake you’ve ever made! We’ll choose one random comment below to receive a $25 gift certificate to use on the DIME website. Thank you for sharing your stories with us in our Has This Ever Happened to You series.


And the winner is…Marjorie P. “I found out how “strong” my machine was when I embroidered completely a flower head pin. I had to sit and look at it for a while I was so amazed, then I just picked the stitches out backed up the design and continued on. Project saved, pin a complete loss.”

Nancy Zieman Live Webcast Event

Nancy Zieman Live Webcast from Nancy Zieman's Studio to Your Computer

Learn—Interact—Save—Have Fun!

Nancy Zieman Live Webcast from Nancy's Studio to Your ComputerLive from my studio to your computer on April 26th, join me, Nancy Zieman, for a fun and interactive webcast featuring my Favorite Handbag Sewing Techniques.

If you’ve never participated in a webcast, it’s easy. The day before the event, we’ll send everyone who registered a link to the webcast. A few minutes before your scheduled time, log on. In minutes, you’ll see me live on your computer screen.

Wondering if your internet connection is up to the task? Test your viewing ability by clicking here. This test link is a live webcast from the nest of a bald eagle! It may take a little time to load, but if you can see the eagle and nest, you’ll be able to watch Nancy Zieman Live. (Most of you should not have any issues watching the video.)

Nancy Zieman Live Webcast from Nancy's Studio to Your Computer–Map


I’ll share my tried and true quick bag making methods along with many all-new never before seen designer bag making tips. You just may become a bag designer after viewing my 90 minute webcast.

  • Learn new strap making techniques gleaned from ready-made bags.
  • See how to turn ordinary fabric into laminated fabric.
  • Be introduced to new fabrics, ideal for bag making!
  • Get the inside scoop It’s what’s inside that counts! Updated tips on how to construct and what to add to the inside of your bag to make it look like a wow bag!

Nancy Zieman Live WebcastInteract

During the webcast, email me your questions and I’ll reply during the webcast.*

*If every question cannot be answered during the live webcast, questions will be answered post-webcast via email. Duplicate questions will not be answered.

Nancy Zieman Live Webcast from Nancy's Studio to Your Computer–Email QuestionsSave!

Exclusive online specials will be available to you from Nancy’s Notions on the day of the webcast.

Nancy Zieman Live Webcast from Nancy's Studio to Your Computer–Exclusive Specials

One Low Price–Two Time Options—Register Today!

Only $19.95!

The 90 minute webcast on April 26th is only $19.95 if you register on or before April 16, 2014. (Registration fee on or after April 17 is $29.95.) The fee includes:

  • A link to watch one of the two Nancy Zieman Live webcasts. (Link to webcast will be sent on April 25.)
  • The ability to have your question answered during the webcast.
  • A link to specials offered by Nancy’s Notions.
  • A free Nancy’s Bag Making Tips Sheet, which will be a download document.

Two Time Options

There are two webcast time options for the 90 minute webcast to accommodate North American Time Zones. Since a webcast is live, what might seem like late morning for those of you living in the Eastern Time Zone, is very early morning for our Hawaiian viewers. Both webcasts will cover the same topics. Since they’re both live, each will be personalized by the questions or, hmm, my whims! (For our followers in other parts of the world, convert your time zone by clicking here). We’ll be broadcasting live from the Central Time zone. Register for a time that best fits your schedule.

April 26: Times/time zone for Webcast Option One:
  • 11:00 AM—12:30 PM (Eastern Time)
  • 10:00 AM—11:30 AM (Central Time)
  • 9:00 AM—10:30 AM (Mountain Time)
  • 8:00 AM—9:30 AM (Pacific Time)
  • 7:00AM—8:30 AM (Alaska Daylight Time)
  • 5:00 AM—7:30 AM (Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time)
April 26: Times/time zone for Webcast Option Two:
  • 2:00 PM—3:30 AM (Eastern Time)
  • 1:00 PM—2:30 PM (Central Time)
  • 12:00 PM—1:30 PM (Mountain Time)
  • 11:00 AM—12:30 PM (Pacific Time)
  • 10:00AM—11:30 AM (Alaska Daylight Time)
  • 8:00 AM—9:30 AM (Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time)

Click here to select your preferred time.

Thank you to our sponsors





Hope to see you April 26th!

If you have questions or comments, please contact us.

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

Content in this feed is © copyright 2014 by Nancy Zieman and may not be republished without written permission. You’re welcome to forward the email to a friend or colleague but it’s not okay to add the RSS feed automatically as content on a blog or other website.

Meet Nancy Zieman

SeamsUnlikelyBookCoverLike it or not, your smile is your ticket through many doors. A smile is the universal symbol of happiness, contentment, encouragement and kindness. Think about how your smile has affected your life. Hasn’t it opened doors, swayed decisions, made new friends and quelled uneasy situations? What if you had half a smile? Do you think it would have made a difference? Do you think things would not have been so easy?  Would you have been able to put your best foot forward and ignore the stares and faces of wonderment?

Imagine trying to accomplish what you have done in your lifetime with half a smile. Then think of what Nancy Zieman as accomplished. When you look at Nancy what do you see? Do you see the relaxed side of her face that is the number one thing that’s searched for on Google? Do you see a self-made woman? A terrific mom, a joyful grandmother, a treasured wife? Do you see an expert seamstress? Or do you see a famous television personality? At first glance, you see all of these things. But what you don’t see is the courage it has taken to get where she is. You don’t see the pain she has endured during many lonely years with countless health issues.

You don’t see the responsibility of growing a business from her basement to a chicken coop to a building complete with offices, warehouse space and a retail outlet. You don’t see the drive, determination and sheer genius of growing a business from demoing in front of small classroom into streaming 30 years of her PBS television show into the living room of millions of Americans. You don’t see the family struggles that occur when you grow a business from one part-time employee to 100+ employees while raising two young boys.

You don’t see what she has endured through the years – first having the courage to step out and follow her dream. And all that with half a smile.  When I look at Nancy, I don’t’ see the relaxed side of her face. In fact, I never remember which is the ‘good side and which is the bad side’. I see her beautiful smile, the twinkle in her eyes and the sheer genius that lies behind that façade we call a face. l see a loyal friend and a mentor. I also see a shy young school girl who has beat all odds to build a life that stands above many.  Read Seams Unlikely to learn how she’s done it.

And, please follow along on each stop of the Seams Unlikely book blog tour to learn even more about Nancy and show your support for her. Plus – there are giveaways! Click on the February 4th blog posting, listed below first, and comment on Nancy’s blog for your chance to win your own copy of Seams Unlikely.

February 4          Nancy Zieman

February 5          Eileen Roche

February 5          Pat Sloan

February 6          Melissa Stramel

February 6          The Long Ladies

February 6          Tori Thompson

February 7          Amy Barickman

February 7          Melissa Mora

February 8          Shari Butler

February 8          Vicki Christensen

February 9          Carolina Moore

February 9          Kate Mclvor

February 10          Amy Ellis

February 10          Melissa Mortenson

February 11          Ilene Miller

February 11          Liz Hicks

February 11          Rachael Pannepacker

February 12          Bill Gardner

February 12          Elizabeth Evans

February 13          Amy Webb

February 13          Lindsay Wilkes

February 14          Gertie Hirsch

February 14          Veronica Philips

February 15          Jenny Gabriel

February 15          Laura Wasilowski

February 16          Frieda Anderson

February 16          Rita Farro

February 17          Cindy Cloward

February 17          Joan Hawley

February 17          Patty Young

February 18          Nancy Zieman


Here’s your assignment this week:

Leave a comment below about how Nancy has inspired you. One lucky comment will receive a $125 gift voucher courtesy of Bunnycup Embroidery to spend at!


The winner of last week’s assignment:

Tell us the last place you found inspiration for a monogram. One comment will be chosen to receive a copy of Deborah Jones’ Beautiful Lettering Made Easy. Good luck!


And the winner is…Elaine C- “I have done mostly 3 letter monograms and prefer them. I like to do different things with them like different shapes and fonts. I like to do monograms for couples with the sir name initial larger in the center. Your single monograms are beautiful and inspire me to experiment with the colors.”

Handbags You Can Knockoff

Handbags 2

Nancy Zieman and I have seen so many versions of Designer Handbags (our first handbag embroidery collection and book), we decided to create a second series, Designer Knockoffs, Handbags 2.  This collection focuses on trendy grommets, beautiful and functional pockets plus in-the-hoop techniques. I have to admit, I love these new bags!  Let me show you my favorite details.

The grommets are highlighted by subtle embroidered details while precisely stitched cut lines are hidden underneath the grommets. This combo of function and beauty guarantees success for all embroiderers and produces extremely professional results.

I think many of you would agree that the best part of making your own bag is customizing it to your needs. Nancy shares her coveted technique for making interior pockets and I love how my personal items – cellphone, nail file, pen and more – each have a special storage spot, nestled under a monogrammed label! Love that! Interior Pocket

If you’re a fan of exterior pockets, then you’ll enjoy a roomy exterior pocket like the Scallop lace pocket – created in the hoop.  It looks complicated but I’ve added some key elements to make the continuous embroidery easy to duplicate. I share two continuous embroidery techniques in the book – applicable to any embroidery machine. Scalloped Pocket

In addition to the book, Nancy invited me to teach the whole process on Sewing with Nancy. You can watch online here. Of course, what you see on television doesn’t reveal all of the prep that goes into taping or writing or book. And it always seems to start with my suitcase practically imploding in Nancy’s office. Truth be told, there’s nothing glamorous about this career. Even the airline employees shake their head when see how many bags I check for such short journeys!  Packed suitcase

But once it’s all sorted out in the conference room, we make a list and then divide and conquer. Sorting

Nancy handles the script and tricky sewing details and I man the embroidery machine.Embroidery machine

After a bit, okay – HOURS of stitching, we’re ready to pack the van to head to the studio. Van

And before you know it, we’re sitting on the set of Sewing with Nancy. Sewing with Nancy

And now Designer Knockoffs, Handbags 2, is available for you to watch and make your own bags. I can’t wait to see the fabrics and grommets you select.  Before you get started, tell me what your favorite bag is: the red diamond bag, teal scallop pocket purse, the green starburst bag or the small clutch.  Two lucky winners will get an autographed copy of Designer Knockoffs, Handbags 2.  Bags-1

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell me which of the bags above is your favorite; the red diamond, teal scallop pocket purse, green starburst or the small clutch. Two lucky winners will get an autographed copy of Designer Knockoffs, Handbags 2! Good luck.

The winner of last week’s assignment:

Thanks for the help with my holiday linen update! Leave a question below that you’d like me to answer. I’ll answer one random question and award an open flat stocking you can personalize this holiday season. Good luck!

The winner is Gail M.

Q: When will “Sewing with Nancy” broadcast the Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs? It was advertised in the latest issue of your magazine that it was to be broadcast on November 24th. It was not on her show last Saturday up here in Michigan.

A: Gail you can watch the show now online, just click here. And congratulations on winning the flat stocking!

It’s Cold in Those Chemo Centers

Bag of Hope

When you have a family member or friend diagnosed with cancer, it leaves many of us feeling helpless – what can you do to support them? Nancy Zieman and I decided to each create a bag stuffed with helpful items that we’d give to someone in treatment for cancer. The bags are a perfect way to show you care and can be used to to carry everything someone might need during their treatments which can sometimes last for hours. For our bags we used embroidery from the Embroider-a-Cure collection where all proceeds go toward the Be The Difference Foundation, an ovarian cancer research foundation founded by our friend Helen Gardner.

I decided to work with blanks and wrap a little hope and warmth around someone undergoing chemotherapy treatments with an embroidered sweatshirt, pashmina and tote bag.

I selected the Bald is Beautiful design because many patients see no need to cover their hair loss so why not make a statement and put everyone looking at you at ease? This versatile design looks great on both a sweatshirt and a pashmina.

Let’s start with the sweatshirt. Find the center front of the shirt and mark it with a pin. Print a template of the Bald is Beautiful design and place it on the center chest. It’s a large design so standard industry placement templates don’t work for a design of this size.  No worries – just place the center of the design on the shirt’s center. Leave enough room at the top of the design to hoop the shirt – about 3” below the bottom of the ribbing will do it. Make sure the template is straight and place a target sticker under the template.  Remove the template.

Bald is Beautiful in the hoop

Fuse polymesh stabilizer to the wrong side of the design area.  Place the hoop’s outer ring on the pointy end of an ironing board and ‘dress’ the ironing board until the target sticker is centered in the hoop.  Insert the inner ring.

Bald is Beautiful in the hoop

Attach the hoop to the machine. Retrieve the design and center the needle over the target sticker.  Add film-type water soluble stabilizer over the design area. Stitch the design.  Once complete, tear off as much of the soluble stabilizer as possible and spritz away the rest.  Trim the polymesh on the wrong side – ready to make a statement!

Bald is Beautiful in the hoop

Since the design is already loaded on the machine, let’s move on to the pashmina.  Fold the pashmina in half, lengthwise and measure 8” above the fringe on one end. Place a target sticker in that location.

Pashmina with Target Sticker

Place a piece of cloth-type water soluble stabilizer over the hoop’s outer ring; place the pashmina over the ring, centering the target sticker.  Insert the inner ring; tighten the screw since the pashmina is lighter than the sweatshirt – the previous hooping. No need to over tighten, just hand tight, is fine.

Target Sticker on pashmina

Flip the hoop over and make sure the water soluble stabilizer extends beyond the hoop in all directions. If it doesn’t, rehoop. Attach the hoop to the machine and stitch the design. Trim as much of the WSS as possible and spritz away the remainder.

Bald is Beautiful in the hoop

For the tote bag I chose the bold Survivor design in a vibrant teal color. It looks great against the black background of the tote and teal is the color of support for ovarian cancer. The bag was stitched in a jiffy on a 10-needle machine. I used Quick-Snap to hold the tote and was done in about 15 minutes! If you’re using a single-needle machine, it would take just a bit longer because it’s necessary to open the side seam to get the bag front to lay flat in the hoop. Once embroidered, just sew the seam and you’re done!

Survivor Design


To see more on the Sew a Bag For Hope created by Nancy Zieman please visit her blog here. And, for more information on ovarian cancer and the Be The Difference Foundation please visit their website here or join them on Facebook.

Nancy Zieman Sew a Bag of Hope


Here’s your assignment this week:

Leave us your ideas for items that would be perfect to put in totes for women in chemotherapy treatment. Two readers will receive this beautiful butterfly pin created on behalf of the Brookharts family in memory of their wife and mother, Joanne. If you’d like to pick up one for yourself or a friend you can do so here.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Leave us a comment about your favorite In the Hoop Project from the SewAZ Embroidery Designs website. Four readers will each receive a $25 gift certificate courtesty of SewAZ Embroidery Designs to the website.

And the lucky winner are…Patty, Colleen, Paule-Marie and Dana. Congratulations to you all!!

Nancy Zieman’s Sew Knits with Confidence Blog Tour

Blog-HeaderYeah! Another blog tour – combining a few of my favorite things – knits, anything designed by Nancy Zieman and gorgeous embroidery!  So what did I get when I put all those things together? A new favorite garment – my Newport Pullover Tunic, pattern designed by Nancy Zieman.  It’s the perfect canvas for embroidery – the cowl necks drapes softly over the shoulders displaying feminine embroidery designs and framing the face. The nifty little asymmetrical panel hits below the hip (that’s right– BELOW the hip! – thanks, Nancy!) and adds a playful touch to the garment.  It’s soooo comfortable to wear, you’ll want one too. There’s a good chance you could win the goods to make one of your own.

Here’s how I created my tunic. I selected a comfy lightweight knit in one of my fabric colors – a deep slate that pairs well with brights, black or grays. And then I set off on planning the embroidery in Perfect Placement Software – which includes a delicious assortment of fashion embroidery designs.

The Newport Pullover

Embroidery Products
Perfect Placement Software by Designs in Machine Embroidery available at your local sewing machine dealer or

Nancy Zieman’s Newport Pullover available at, view 2
Knit fabric per pattern requirements
Floriani Wet ‘n Gone Tacky

Step 1 – At the Computer
Open a new file in Perfect Placement Software. Select Embellishments, Eileen, Earthtones, EileenB.


Select Embellishments, Earthtones, EileenC.  Rotate and move EileenC to the left of the original design and resize it to 1.70” x .98”.Cowl2.

Select Embellishments, Earthtones, EileenA.  Connect EileenA to the left of EileenC.Cowl3

Copy, paste and mirror image EileenA. Move it to the far right. Go to Embellishments, Earthtones, EileenH and place EileenH on the end of EileenA.Cowl4


Save this file as CowlCenter and send it to your machine in the appropriate format.

You might find it helpful to send two smaller segments to your machine. This will be helpful to decorate the cowl once it’s pieced together. Send the EileenB and EileenC combo to the machine.Cowl6

Also send EileenA and EileenH to the machine.Cowl7

On lightweight jersey fabric shown in the sample, use an adhesive water soluble stabilizer such as Floriani Wet N Gone Tacky. Add a basting stitch to hold the fabric to the hooped stabilizer.  Stitch most of the designs on the flat fabric, starting in the center front and working towards the center back, one side at a time. At some point, the embroidery will be stitched across the center back seam. Do as much embroidery as possible before stitching the center back seam then add the embroidery across the seam.

But hey, don’t just take my word on how great Nancy’s pattern is, take a look at what these other blog tour participants did with one of Nancy’s patterns and view upcoming dates and links for the rest of the tour.

April 16, 2013 – Nancy Zieman the Blog

April 17, 2013 – Gretchen “Gertie” Hirsch

April 18, 2013 – Baby Lock

April 19, 2013 –  Sew Beautiful Magazine

April 20, 2013 –  Marie Madeline Studio

April 21, 2013 –  Pamela Erny

April 22, 2013 –  Amy Webb

April 23, 2013 – Sew News

April 24, 2013 – Eileen Roche

April 25, 2013 –  Riley Blake Designs

April 26, 2013 – The Sewing Loft Blog

April 27, 2013 – Nancy Zieman the Blog

Here’s your assignment this week:

We love Nancy and know you do too! Leave us a comment on the best thing you’ve learned from Nancy over the years and we’ll pick 4 random winners to receive items from the Nancy Zieman Sew Knits with Confidence blog tour. Up for grabs; one winner will get the Sew Knits with Confidence book + Newport Pullover pattern featured in this blog, our second winner gets the Monterey Knit Collection pattern, next up for grabs is a Santa Fe Dress & Top pattern and the last, but not least, winner will get a Cape Cod Jacket pattern – all by Nancy Zieman!

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Tell me how you get your embroidery fix, is it a daily activity or one you squeeze in when you find a free afternoon? Just leave a comment and you could win one of two Gold Memberships to Daily Embroidery. That’s a $120 value each!

Daily Embroidery’s Gold Membership program offers unlimited downloads to their massive and ever-growing design collection with two new designs added daily.

And the winners are…Leora B & Terrie Underwood! Congratulations!

The Secret is Out!

Ever wonder how Nancy Zieman and I get our embroidery designs to land exactly where we want them? We use a simple – I mean, really simple – software program that outlines the garment so we know exactly where to place the embroidery.

Perfect Placement Software includes 30 outlines or garment sections plus over 70 beautiful embroidery designs. Since I work in this program all the time, I’ve printed templates of all the outlines and I keep them stored in a folder.


I go to the folder first whenever I’m embarking on a wearable project. I flip through the templates and find the one that is closest in shape and size to my garment. Then I audition the garment section on the template.


If it doesn’t fit perfectly, I move to the computer and open the program. In the program, I select the outline then tweak its shape and size to mimic my garment. Once that’s done, the fun begins.

I select a design, drop it in the outline and play with proportion, size, rotation, etc. I can add as many designs as I want and actually ‘see’ the layout before I take a stitch.

Nancy Zieman uses the same technique and wrote a terrific tute on how she embellished a collar. Click here to see how she did it.

But before you head over to Nancy’s blog, tell me what design you like best. A, B or C.  We’ll pick a random comment and the lucky winner will receive a copy of Perfect Placement Software – Nancy and my secret to perfect placement!

Design A

Design B

Design C

Here’s your assignment this week:

Pick your favorite design from above, A, B or C. One lucky winner will win their very copy of Perfect Placement Software. Thank you and good luck!

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Mary Mulari’s travel designs are fun and fast to stitch and just right for jazzing up some travel accessories. Of the six designs shown at the top of the page, tell us which one is your favorite and you could win a copy of Mary’s book and embroidery collection. We’ll pick a random winner on Wednesday.

So don’t forget to post your comment – let us know what your favorite design is and you could be a winner!

And the winner is…“While shampoo girl is cute, the kitty in the suitcase reminds me of our cat BooBoo who always knew something was up when we put suitcases on the bed and started packing! Of course he would jump in whenever you turned your back to get more clothes. I love Mary’s work and enjoy her on Sewing with Nancy as well as classes I have taken from her at SewExpo.” – Ruth P.

Nancy Zieman Hobo Bag Tour

Hobo Tote Bag Blog Tour

Hip, Hip, Hooray! Today we’re a stop on the Nancy Zieman Hobo Bag Tour. Nancy sent me all kinds of goodies

  • Hobo Tote Templates
  • Create-a-Strap interfacing
  • Magnetic snap closures
  • Bag feet and
  • a Create-A-Shape bag shaper

Lazy Girl Designs sent

  • interfacing – Face-It Soft (woven fusible interfacing) and
  • Stiff Stuff Firm (sew-in interfacing).

I used the Stiff Stuff Firm to add body to the quilted bag but truth be told, I’m hoarding the Face-It Soft for a while. I have a feeling Face-It Soft is going to do double-duty in my sewing room as an embroidery stabilizer. I’ll keep you posted on how that turns out in a later posting.

If you’ve been following the Hobo Tote Tour, you’ll notice my bag looks a bit different than all of the others. I decided to add the pocket to the OUTSIDE of the bag instead of the inside. And since I’m an embroiderer, I had to find a way to use my embroidery machine to make the pocket a bit more interesting than just a contrasting fabric.

Hobo Tote Bag

Here’s what I did. I purchased pre-quilted fabric (I cheated, I know but life is short!) and found coordinating fabrics for the appliques and lining in my avalanche, I mean, stash of fabric. Then I turned to my book, Machine Embroidered Quilting and Applique, for the scallop design, ContScallopCir.

Machine Embroidered Quilting


I followed the directions on the Trace ‘n Create Bag to cut my fabrics but I cut my pocket fabric 3” wider than required. By wider, I mean from the bottom of the bag to the top of the pocket. So maybe that’s actually taller!

This design adds a facing to the scalloped edge and is so fast and easy to stitch. I opened the design in software and eliminated the quilting stitches since my fabric was already quilted.

Then I hooped the fabric in Snap Hoop (no need for stabilizer since the fabric was a pre-quilted sandwich). After stitching the appliques, I added the facing strip.

Hooped in Snap-Hoop
To make a long continuous strip, you’ll find clear, concise instructions for this method in Machine Embroidered Quilting and Applique along with a video demonstration on the included DVD. Basically, I used Target Stickers to connect the designs, end to end.

Facing Strip
Once the whole strip was stitched, I trimmed close to the scallop edge and turned the facing right side out. Perfect scallops!

I basted the scalloped strip to the bag fabric and followed Nancy’s instructions for completing the tote. What fun!

Want to win one of the six blog tour prizes? Post a comment on Nancy’s site and share your thoughts about the Hobo Totes you see on the blog tour and/or about the Hobo Tote you’re planning to make. Six random winners will be selected and posted on Nancy’s site on March 2. Here is what’s included in each of the prize packages:

Clover Prize PackPrize Package 1
Trace ‘n Create Bag Template—Hobo Tote Collection
Shape ‘n Create Bag Stabilizer
Pin ‘n Stow Magnetic Wrist Pincushion
Satin Bronze D-Rings
Double-Sided Basting Tape 1″
Create-a-Strap Wrap ‘n Fuse Piping
Magnetic Snap Closure

Lazy Girl GiveawayPrize Package 2
Lazy Girl Designs is giving away a Lazy Girl Interfacing Pack that includes 1-1/2 yard cuts of Stiff Stuff and Face-it Soft ($17 value) to three additional random winners.


Here’s your assignment this week:

Leave a comment below about what topic you’d like to see covered on the blog. One lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of Machine Embroidered Quilting and Applique.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Tell us if you ever participated in a community outreach program – what did you do? Why did you participate? Did you enjoy the experience? We’ll pick a random winner next week and they will receive a $100 certificate for downloadable designs from



At, you’ll find embroidery designs with fun and exciting techniques. Our art comes from renowned licensed designers and from our own studio artists, the most talented in the industry. Digitized by experts with over fifty years’ combined experience, our designs will make your projects shine, spark your creativity, and inspire you to stitch more.

And the winner is…“My neighborhood sewing group made teddy bears with embroidered faces for our neighborhood fire and police departments to give to children involved in traumatic experiences. I don’t remember how many we actually made, but we a great time doing them!” – Patty S.

We’ve Been Busy!

Placing embroidery on a shirt has got to be the most challenging task an embroiderer can face. Oh, there are many solutions to the fairly easy job of left chest placement but when you want to really decorate a neckline, cuff or yoke, things can get tricky.  Nancy Zieman and I first addressed this problem in our Designer Necklines DVD. Designer Necklines has been a continuous best seller and what we’ve learned from customers is they love the technique but wish it was more flexible.  So Nancy and I have taken their concerns to heart and developed a very handy software program that has all the flexibility they need and more.  It’s called Perfect Placement. We included 30 placement guides (collars, necklines, pockets, cuffs and …) and 72 scalable fashion embroidery designs.  The software is so simple to use:


Select a placement guide.


Merge the design(s), resize and position until you’re satisfied then send it to the machine.


Stitch the first color, the placement guide onto hooped adhesive stabilizer.


Place the garment edge on the placement guide and smooth the garment onto the sticky stabilizer.  Stitch the embroidery designs.


Everything stitches exactly as planned!

Of course Perfect Placement Software is also a powerful editing program. You can size (it recalculates the stitches), copy, paste, mirror, delete sections, recolor, group and ungroup, select a grid and/or hoop and print templates. It’s everything you need to edit embroidery designs without learning how to digitize.

I’ve been having a blast using the designs in Perfect Placement Software – in fact, I’ve stitched more garments in the last three months than I have in a year. Here are just a few examples featuring Perfect Placement Software.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably had a few embroidery ‘fashion disasters’ in the past. You know what I mean. You plan the embroidery as best you can, hoop the garment, stitch the designs and then slip the garment over your head. Yikes! When you look in the mirror you’re greeted with embroidery sitting in the underarm area or right at the bust point or just off center enough to be annoying.  I’ve had this happen too many times – so now I rely on Perfect Placement Software to help me, well, prefect my placement!


Here’s your assignment this week:

Share with us a fashion disaster that happened in your sewing room and you could win a copy of Perfect Placement Software. Just leave a comment and you’ll be entered into the drawing.


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

John Deer’s Adorable Ideas is giving away FIVE $20 Design Points! To win simply leave us a comment below and tell us what you’re working on and how these Designs Points could help you. Good Luck!

And the winners are… Vicky I., Shannon C., Donna G., Barbara, and JoAnne F. Thank you to everyone that shared your projects with us. Keep reading for more giveaways and great tips and insight from Eileen.

Machine Features Everybody Needs

Eileen Roche Machine Embroidery BlogLast week, I shared an overview of Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Lessons. You can watch the two-part Sewing with Nancy series online here or check your local PBS listings.

When Nancy and I were creating the series, I delved into the basics of machine embroidery and found that the better the tools, the easier the process. So let’s start with our biggest tool – the machine. That doesn’t mean you have to buy the top-of-the-line machine to enjoy machine embroidery but you should arm yourself with basic machine features. When you’re looking for a new embroidery machine make sure it has an adequate sewing field, simple design transfer, trace, rotation, mirror image, baste and stitch advance features.

1. A 5” x 7” Sewing Field. I know, I know, I hear you. A 5” x 7” sewing field costs so much more than an entry level 4” x 4” machine!  You’re right; it is definitely a step up in price but worth every penny.  Ninety percent of embroiderers outgrow their 4” x 4” hoop about six months after they purchase the machine. Now they’re stuck with a machine that’s not easy to trade-in or sell online and that can be frustrating. So, go ahead, splurge a bit and treat yourself to a larger sewing field.

2. Design Transfer. Hmmm, I know a few popular machines allow design transfer via a computer link only. I don’t know about you, but my sewing room is pretty crowded.  I really don’t have an extra square foot of space for a laptop or desktop computer on the same table as my embroidery machine.  So I really love the flexibility of writing to a simple medium – such as a USB stick – from my laptop (which may be parked in another room!). To me, this just simplifies the task.

USB Design Transfer

3. The Trace Feature. Remember how your mom used to cringe when you jumped into a pool or lake without checking the water below you. Well, that’s the feeling I’m trying to avoid when I use the trace feature. The trace feature allows you to position the needle in 10 different locations within the sewing field. This is very helpful when attempting to achieve specific placement on an item. For instance, it you are positioning a monogram above a pocket, select the bottom center point to make sure the design will not actually stitch on the pocket. Selecting the right and left bottom points verifies the design will sit squarely above the pocket. After all, your mother was right – always check the water below before jumping in.

For continuous embroidery, the trace feature is priceless. When you’re connecting a second design to a previously stitched design at the top of the sewing field, for instance, selecting the top three trace positions will show you the designs will (or will not) connect. You can make positioning adjustments before stitching the designs.

4. Rotation. Do not go home with a machine that does not have the ability to rotate a design in one degree increments. Really, do not buy that machine because a machine that doesn’t rotate in one degree increments expects you to hoop PERFECTLY SQUARE every single time. For heavens’ sake, are you kidding me? That’s a beginner’s machine?  I don’t think so, do yourself a favor, save some gray hairs and premature wrinkles and get a machine that spins the designs in one degree.

5. Mirror Image. The mirror image feature is often overlooked because we take it for granted. But without it, many embroidery layouts look very unprofessional. Make sure your new machine has this feature.

Mirror Image Feature Example

6. Baste or Fix Feature. We’ve all been told to hoop everything, in an actual hoop. During the courting stage of your relationship with your machine, you will hoop everything. You’ll place a piece of fabric with stabilizer between the inner and outer rings of your standard embroidery hoop. Then you’ll get confident and you’ll want to embroider something that won’t actually fit in a hoop. So you’ll get creative and use spray adhesive, sticky stabilizer or a magnetic hoop insert. And you’ll press start on the machine, turn around to answer the phone and POP goes the fabric. You didn’t think it would ever happen to you but it did and it will happen again. So use the baste feature, it’s a stitched box around the design that holds your fabric to the hooped stabilizer. It’s like insurance, once you need it, you’re so glad you have it.

Baste Feature

7. Stitch Advance. Stitch advance gives you freedom – freedom to sail through a design and skip colors, freedom to go back and restitch some stitches (don’t ask why, you’ll learn soon enough) Oh okay, here’s why. The thread broke; the sensor didn’t catch it and either did you. But you notice the cute little kitty cat you just stitched is missing an eye. Hmmm…as long as it’s still in the hoop, you can go back and restitch that segment.  Now your kitty is perfect!

Stitch Advance Feature

In Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Lessons, you’ll find a handful of exercises that focus on these basic features. You’ll learn how each feature simplifies the embroidery process, helps in hooping technique and results in gorgeous embroidery.  Back to basics has never been more fun!


Here’s your assignment this week:

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

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

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

And the winner is… “I am getting married in June 2013 and I plan on doing several machine embroidery projects for my wedding. The projects will include the vintage inspired dress I plan on making and the linen napkins that I will use as part of my reception decorations. The new series and accompanying book by Eileen and Nancy will be perfect for me as I am a complete novice at machine embroidery, but not sewing. The placement ruler looks awesome! Something I will defintely try!” – Terry

Congratulations Terry on your upcoming wedding and being chosen as our winner! We hope you’ll share some photos of your beautiful wedding projects.

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