If you plan properly, you can stitch four grommets and four corners in three hoopings instead of eight or six. Here’s how to do it. Hoop tear-away stabilizer in a large hoop, 8” x 12”. Select the grommet design and move it to the edge of the hoop. Stitch the first color, the placement guide. Place one interfaced outer bag panel on the placement guide, matching centers. Stitch the grommets. Fold the edge of the bag back over itself and tape it down. Rotate the design 180 degrees and move the design down to opposite edge of the hoop. Stitch the first color, the placement guide (shown here in pink thread). It will overlap with the first placement guide but as long as the tape holds, the first bag panel is safe. Place the second interfaced outer bag panel on the new placement guide. Stitch the grommets. All four grommets are stitched in one hooping! Let’s move onto the corners. Follow the instructions in Designer Knockoffs to pre-cut the applique corners. Hoop tear-away stabilizer in a large hoop, 8” x 12”. Retrieve the corner design. Copy and paste it. Mirror image of one the designs and position them as shown. Stitch color 1, the placement guide for the left corner (which is actually on the right in the hoop). Place left corner of the bag on the outline and stitch color 2, the applique placement guide. Place the prepared applique over the outline and stitch the next color, the satin outline. Stitch the decorative detail if desired. Stitch color 1 of the second design. Place the right corner of the other bag panel on the outline. Stitch the applique placement guide. Place the prepared applique over the outline and complete the design. Check out all the different handbags you can make with Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs by Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman. Here is my finished bag!
Archive of ‘Planning Embroidery’ category
Nothing puts a little kick in your step quite like a new handbag – especially when you make it yourself. Once or twice a year, I like to dip into my fabric stash and see what I can use to create a new bag. I gather some materials I’ve been hoarding, I mean saving, and see if they would work together.
I knew I wanted to make another grommet bag from Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs. I really like the grommets but I also like ready-made straps. It seems the best ones, (right length, width and material -microfiber) come with a ring attached at the end.
The ring doesn’t work with the grommets but I wasn’t going to let the closed ring stop me, I have a seam ripper! So I released the stitches from each end and unbraided the strap. It left me with two slits on each end. Hmmm…I placed them on my cutting table for a few days in the hope a good idea would pop into my head.
Once my materials are gathered, I take my time and work on the bag over several days (ok, maybe weeks!). This gives me time to think the process through, make some subtle design changes, overcome any challenges and enjoy the whole process.
I start by measuring the bag I’m currently favoring and decide if I want to duplicate that size or make adjustments. I’ve learned through the years, the larger my bag, the more stuff I pack in there. So reducing the space is a good idea for me, less clutter, less bulk, less weight. I decided my new bag would be a bit shorter than my current favorite. Then I cut and interface my outer fabric.
Next, I prepare my four corner appliques by hooping just the faux suede and stitching the Corner App design from Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs. Then I stash my pre-cut applique pieces in a plastic baggie to keep them safe. While I was stitching the appliques, I turned my attention to the straps.
I was concerned about trimming the straps above the slits as this would make the straps too short. So, I decided to just stitch them closed.
It looked so pretty that I stitched from end to end to make it a decorative detail. I used the triple zigzag stitch on my BERNINA 830. It’s normally a functional stitch but looks great on this strap!
On Monday, I’ll show you some speed techniques for embroidering the corners and grommets.
If you think you don’t have time to stitch a last minute gift, think again! Let me show you how to stitch six napkins in no time.
Mark the location of the corner monogram on each of the six napkins. I use the Napkin On-Point template from the Perfect Placement Kit – no math, no measuring. Just place the template on the napkin aligning the guides with the stitched hem and then insert a target sticker into the hole with the arrow pointing towards the body of the napkin. Repeat for all six napkins – you’ll finish this task in under two minutes.
Select the largest hoop available and hoop tear-away stabilizer. Since I was limited to a 5” x 7” hoop for this project, I selected a small design so I could fit three napkins in one hooping. Use one of three options for holding the napkin on the stabilizer: spray the hooped stabilizer with temporary adhesive, hoop adhesive tear-away stabilizer or use painter’s tape.
To get the most of a 5” x 7” sewing field for this technique, consider placing the first design (napkin) at the far left back of the hoop, the second design in the middle on the right and the third design at the bottom of the hoop on the left. You could audition the positions in software or on the editing screen of your machine. Here’s an example.
Position the needle over the target sticker. If your machine has a trace feature, use it to verify the needle will not stitch on the first napkin. Once you’re confident the first napkin is out of the sewing field, remove the sticker and embroider the design.
Bam -three napkins done in no time! Now repeat for a second hooping of three more napkins and your set of six is complete.
1. Print a template(s) of your embroidery design so you can plan the embroidery layout. Place it on the item (garment, home décor, craft or quilt) and critique its placement and size.
2. Build a test stash. Keep a test polo shirt, stretchy t-shirt, terrycloth towel and common items that you embroider on all the time in your test stash. Use this resource when testing a design for a final project. Fill every available inch with test designs then toss it when there’s no more room for additional tests.If you’re stitching on plain fabric, always buy more than you’ll need so you have material to use for a test stitch-out. So many problems can be avoided by stitching a test of the design with the fabric, stabilizer and thread combo that you’ll be using for the final project.
3. Press the fabric – use starch and steam to get the fabric to behave. Press the stabilizer if it’s wrinkled so it will lay flat behind the fabric.
4. Hoop on a flat, sturdy surface, not your lap. Ironing boards work in a pinch but best results are achieved when hooping on a solid surface, such as a cutting table and mat. Use the lines on the mat to square the fabric in the hoop.
5. Select the right hoop for the job. The best hold is achieved with the smallest hoop for the design. For instance, a 4” x 4” hoop is the best choice for a 2 ½” x 3” design.
6. Insert a fresh needle when starting a new embroidery project.
7. Learn how to use simple embroidery editing software. You probably don’t need a full-blown digitizing system but a simple sizing and editing program can do 75% of daily embroidery tasks. Rotating, merging, mirror imaging and sizing designs are the top four chores I do to almost every design I stitch.
Last week, I gave myself an early Christmas present – the gift of time to focus on one of Designs’ valued partners. I have to admit, it had been way too long since I had the opportunity to spend such quality time with my friends at BERNINA. They invited me – along with some other very lucky embroiderers, quilters and sewists – to learn new techniques from the BERNINA sewing wizards at their new BERNINA Creative Center.
Upon arrival, we were asked to give a 2-minute speech on who we were, where we lived and what we were currently working on. I have to tell you, it’s a humbling experience. The talent in the room is breathtaking. Just to name a few (and I’m leaving out many) – Charlotte War Anderson, Georgia Bonesteel, Kaye England, Mary Mashuta, Melody Crust, Pat Bravo and Robbie Joy Eklow. As one attendee said, “It’s like visiting with your bookshelf.” I couldn’t agree more.
I was delighted to spend time with Lisa Archer, Pickle Pie Designs – my shuttle bus seatmate; and Angie Steveson of Lunch Box Quilts –my stitching compadre.
Every single artist/teacher was gracious and warm, all of us excited to be there. The next morning, we couldn’t wait to get started. A heart-touching presentation from Ricky Tims set the tone for the two-day hands-on seminar.
After we broke into smaller groups and marched to our classrooms, I thought of a conversation I had with my daughter before departing for the event. She asked if I had any concerns about the event. I responded, “Yes, I’m worried I won’t be able to behave like a good student!”
I needn’t have worried. BERNINA kept us entertained and busy. It was fascinating to quilt with BERNINA’s 820 under the tutelage of Debra Rutledge in the QuiltMotion class. Amazing how the movement of the 820 was controlled by a tablet! So easy to design right at the quilt and then watch it stitch. We worked on a huge canvas and stitched all morning. After a relaxing lunch, we headed to the next classroom to work on the new 780.
Jeannine Cook-Delpit led us on a fun in-the-hoop eyeglass case. An excellent teacher, Jeannine gave us an overview of the 780 and steered us around its editing screen. We selected a design, added custom stitches and a monogram. Then we switched out the needle with the cutwork tool and voila! Our peeper case was cut to precision. It didn’t quite seem complete until we added the custom crystals. Ingenious! Jeannine thought through every detail of the design so that all students finished without a hiccup.
I had fun playing with the cutwork tool. If you know anything about today’s cutwork, you know that the cutting is done by a blade inserted into the fabric at four different angles. Cutwork systems have four different needles requiring the user to insert the correct blade at the proper color sequence. BERNINA’s is quite different as it has one blade that rotates when needed. You stitch color 1 with the blade at position 1 and then spin the dial to rotate the blade for color 2 and so on. In future posts, I’ll be telling you more about the cutting tool and some other goodies I brought home with me. After all, it is Christmas!
Stop back next week and I’ll fill you in on the second half of the seminar. In the meantime, take a look at our assignment and special prizes for next week.
My Stitching Sister, Marie Zinno, is so busy right now. Every time we talk (and that’s every morning), she’s got all three of her machines cranking out holiday orders. Marie is a commercial embroiderer based in Canton, OH and one very pleasant person. She never grumbles even in the midst of holiday stitching chaos. And if you’ve ever dabbled in machine embroidery for business, then you know what holiday chaos is like. It all starts out innocent enough; you get just the right amount of orders to keep your machines humming about 6-8 hours a day. Your delivery dates are manageable (because you finally got a handle on estimating how much time to allot for each order); your prices are set and your inventory landed when promised. It’s all up to you now to get the jobs completed as promised.
But Marie is the first to admit things don’t always go as planned. Oh she definitely has survived holiday emergencies in previous years of power outages, machines malfunctioning and family illnesses and she handled each with panache. But this year, it’s been a bit different. It seems when a customer arrives to pick up an order they see some of the items that she’s been making for other customers and promptly order four or six or 24!
So what’s so hot in Canton this year? Snowman towels, onesies and t-shirts. When Marie’s customers spot them on display they promptly order a set of towels for their own home. And then they remember their niece who had a new baby this spring and order a onesie for that angel. Then they remember the baby has an older sister or brother, and well you get the picture. She charges between $15 and $20 for each item and because she has an inventory of blank items, it’s just a matter of hooping and stitching.
As embroiderers we tend to overcomplicate things – take personalization to whole new levels. But really, many people are just as touched with a simple holiday design. Something that’s unique, something you don’t find in the local store. So if you’re scrambling to finish your holiday stitching, maybe you should simplify. And think snowman!
The snowman design is from Embroidery Garden.
You see it everywhere today – lower case monograms catch your eye and make you wonder if it really is a monogram. I think its popularity stems from texting. Many young people will tell you uppercase letters are a waste of time. What’s the point of engaging two fingers to type a letter when the same letter can be easily produced with one finger?
But upper case sends a message in monograms. When placed with lower case letters, the upper case letter is dominate and depicts the first initial of a surname. When lower case letters are in a string, they spell something, intentional or not. It’s acceptable and actually quite fun to mix upper and lower case. The mix can add balance and interest to a standard monogram.
Let’s take a look at a couple of monograms I created for my 22 year-old son. First I experimented with a traditional 3-letter monogram in caps.
I played with the positioning of the flanked letters.
Then I changed the first and middle initials to lower case.
And again changed the positioning.
After reviewing these options, I wasn’t quite sold so I changed to all lower case.
I like that one the least. Probably because his first name is a vowel, like mine, and whenever I see a monogram with a vowel as the first letter, I make up a word. My childhood monogram was EW followed by ER. Ugh, I never liked either one. But maybe that doesn’t bother you.
Anyway, back to my son’s monogram. I settled on a stacked monogram: first initial stacked over the middle initial and standing guard next to the upper case R with a polka dot in the center. He likes it (which, let me tell you, is huge!)
I hope you enjoy the projects and tips and tidbits found on my blog. I like sharing my love for embroidery with you all and as many of you know I also teach classes on the Craftsy website. So, if you like my blog and nominate me for best embroidery blog by clicking on the Craftsy badge to the right or by clicking here you will be entered to win a FREE class over at Craftsy! Thanks for your vote and good luck in the contest.
Where do you turn when you need a solution to an embroidery dilemma? It started innocently enough with “Honey, can you embroider my name and phone number on this strap?” I naively responded, “Oh sure, I’ll bet it’ll be an easy thing to do.” Then he hands over the ‘harmless’ strap. From afar, it looked like camo canvas maybe camo neoprene. But once in my hand, my knees began to tremble when I gripped the…RUBBER backing! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!
Rubber? Really? Are you kidding me? Dang, I wish I hadn’t shared that joke about the lady who informed her husband that no, she won’t stitch a logo on his golf shirt because her machine can’t do menswear. I still chuckle at that line. But my sweet husband knows the truth behind that – it’s a joke he’s heard me tell in Stitching Sister events. He knows all of my machines ‘can do menswear.’
So off I trotted to the office with the noose, I mean strap, over my shoulder. I figured I’d start my research there – pour through all our technical journals, embroidery books and commercial magazines to look for a solution. My search led to nothing, not a clue on how to hoop or stabilize rubber-backed neoprene. So I did what I normally do when approached with a stumbling block. I climb around it. Avoid it. Make a path around it – like the elephant in the room. And mull it over for a few days. But not this time because in walked the most knowledgeable person in the embroidery industry. Deborah Jones.
She was here on official business – really big important stuff like what would we have for lunch. At the end of our visit, I remembered the noose – strap (gee, I keep staying that!) and asked for her advice. Without a trace of confusion or a moment of hesitation, she said, “Oh hoop it with wax paper. You’ll need something to lubricate the needle and thread as it exits the rubber.”
I looked at her like she handed me the Hope diamond. She looked at me like she sometimes does, “Oh you silly Yankee.” (Doesn’t matter how long you live in Texas, you’re always a Yankee if you imported yourself.) Then she left. I was perplexed, okay scared, so I worried for a few more days. And then I bought wax paper. I haven’t purchased wax paper in years and didn’t spot it the new fancy grocery near the office. I asked a salesperson where I would find it and she wasn’t quite sure what it was! After a minute she muttered something about packed lunches at grandma’s house when she was a little girl and then sent me to aisle 23. Anyway, I bought it.
The noose, I mean strap, is thick so holding it in a hoop was not an option. Sticking it down on hooped wax paper in a standard hoop would likely result in the noose, strap, popping off the wax paper. So I hooped tear-away stabilizer and two layers of wax paper (Why two? I don’t know, I bought a whole roll, so I figured I’d get my money’s worth) in Snap Hoop on a 10-needle machine. Snap Hoop is flat and will help keep the strap on the wax paper. I sprayed the back of the strap with temporary adhesive and pressed it onto the wax paper. Then taped it for extra security.
As you remember Deborah told me to ‘use wax paper.’ She didn’t tell me anything about hooping, adding stabilizer or adhesive. I was on my own there, I just tried to apply common sense (something most Yankees are not known for in Texas) and tame the challenge and well, git her done as they say here.
It worked! An embroidery miracle, thanks to Deborah Jones.
I love embroidered bed linens. They are such a treat to slide between as you end a long day. Here are some tips for stitching gorgeous machine embroidery designs on sheets.
Tips for Success
• Take the time to prepare the design and the sheets. It’s well worth the effort.
• Purchase an extra pillowcase to test the design before stitching on the sheets.
• Open the band before embroidering to hide the wrong side of the embroidery.
• My stabilizer of choice for sheets is fusible polymesh cut-away stabilizer with a layer of tear-away floating under the hoop. Fine linens are a tight weave and benefit from a strong foundation for the embroidery.
• Insert a new, sharp needle.
• Consider adding a single-letter monogram to the center of the band. Then stitch from the center to the edge on each side.
• Allow some space at each end of the border for some breathing room (aka – room for error).
Here’s a case for prewashing the sheets. Normally, I don’t prewash blanks but sheets really benefit from this prep step. It eliminates the unwanted puckers that often appear after laundering embroidered linens.
Measure the band – from folded edge to stitch line and from selvedge to selvedge. If the band measures 4” (a common size), select a design that is 3” in height so that there will be ½” open space on each side of the design. Once you select a machine embroidery design that is 3” tall, make a note of its length. My design is 3” x 5” and my queen top sheet measures 90” from selvedge to selvedge. I’ll divide 90” by 5”. I’ll need 18 repeats to fill the band.
Hmm…90” is perfectly divided by 5 into 18 repeats. Frankly, that scares me because I’ll have to be absolutely perfect on placement for each of the 18 designs. So I’ll take a little artistic license here and set myself up for success by planning on stitching only 17 repeats. Not only will this relieve some stress, it will probably look more pleasing because the center of a design will be dead center on the band and not the join of two designs. Definitely more desirable in my opinion.
Not that I know how many repeats I’ll need, I will take a seam ripper to the band and release the hem. I know, reverse sewing but it’s so worth it. Next, it’s time to carefully press the band but I will leave the crease of the fold in place because it’s a built-in guideline for squaring the band (sheet) in the hoop.
Cut the fusible polymesh stabilizer into 4” strips and press it to the wrong side of the band.
Fold the sheet in half, selvedge to selvedge to find the center and place a target sticker to mark the center.
Print two templates of the design. Place one template on the target sticker. Make sure the template’s crosshair is aligned with the target sticker’s crosshair. Use a ruler to verify the design is flanked by ½” on each side (from fold crease to hemline).
Select a hoop that will accommodate the design – one or two repeats. Hoop the band with tear-away stabilizer. Center the needle over the target sticker and embroider the design. Place the template on the band, connecting the image to the stitched design. Move the needle to the template’s crosshair. Remove the template and embroider the design.
When it’s time to rehoop, use the template and folded crease to square the sheet in the hoop and continue to fill the band with embroidery.
Last week, I wrote about fishing, I mean teaching, in Bend, OR and while I was there, I introduced my students to the new Snap-Hoop Monster. Almost all of my students asked the same questions about the magnetic hoops so I thought I’d discuss it here.
What’s the difference between Snap-hoop Monster and Snap-Hoop? Strength! Monster is four times the strength of Snap-Hoop and is easily distinguished by its elegant teal color.
Do I have to purchase a whole new hoop if I already own Snap-Hoop? No! You don’t, you only need the new top in the same size as your original Snap-hoop. The bottoms are interchangeable and since your machine can only hold one hoop, you only need one bottom.
Do I need both? Yes, Monster is great for heavy, textured fabrics while Snap-Hoop handles lighter cottons and knits.
Will the magnets hurt my machine? No. If you were told not to put a magnetic pin cushion on your machine bed back in the late 1990s, you were given proper information. You were also carrying a cellphone that was a tote bag – literally! Think how much technology has changed over the years. Our machines today are highly sophisticated – just like our cell phones. The microchips in the machines are highly insulated and the magnetic field of Snap Hoop or Snap Hoop Monster cannot penetrate the layers. The hoops were tested extensively on all makes and models with no harm to any machine.
Here’s a handy chart to demystify the difference in all of our hoops.
|Best for:||Terrycloth, bulky fleece, quilt sandwiches, faux fur, heavy textiles||Quilt blocks, continuous embroidery, light to medium weight knits||Small items||Towels, ribbons, belts and continuous embroidery|
|Handles delicate embroidery projects|
|Holds a quilt sandwich with no additional stabilizer|
|Hoops small items (coasters, belts, straps, etc)|
|Use with lightweight fabrics including knits and sheers|
|Can tug on fabric and not distort fibers|
|Minute fabric adjustments are easy to make|
|Stabilizer is required to hold frames in hoop|
|Eliminates hoop burn|
|Fits in a standard hoop|
|Diminishes the size of the sewing field|
|Is recognized by the machine||N/A (fits inside standard hoop)||N/A (fits inside standard hoop)|
|Stitch all the way to the edge of the fabric|
|Ideal for allover embroidery|
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