Archive of ‘Planning Embroidery’ category

An Early Christmas Present

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.  Tims-1

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.

Peeper-1Peeper2-1I 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!  Cutwork-1

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.


Here’s your assignment this week:

Leave a comment below about what sewing tool you hope Santa puts under your tree. Six comments will be chosen to receive a one month membership to the Silver Threads Golden Needle Club courtesy of OregonPatchWorks. Good luck!

The winner of last week’s assignment:

So how is your holiday stitching coming along? Are you stressed? Are you going to make your deadlines? Let us know how it’s going and we’ll pick a random winner to receive a fold flat stocking, perfect for personalization.

And the lucky winner is Elisa T.

Keep It Simple Snowman

HeaderMy 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.


Here’s your assignment this week:

So how is your holiday stitching coming along? Are you stressed? Are you going to make your deadlines?  Let us know how it’s going and we’ll pick a random winner to receive a fold flat stocking, perfect for personalization.

The winner of last week’s assignment:

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.

And the lucky winners are: Desiree K. and Patty S. Congratulations!

What’s with Lower Case Monograms?

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!)

Monogram font is Newsprint found in
Machine Embroidered Monograms for the Home

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.


Here’s your assignment this week:


Letters are your friend! They can turn almost anything from drab to personalized and fab. Comment below about something you’ve been wanting to monogram and one winner will be chosen to receive their very own copy of Machine Embroidered Monograms for the Home! Good luck.

Machine Embroidered Monograms for the Home

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Look around your sewing room and tell us what your most unorganized area is. Don’t be shy! One lucky comment will be chosen to win the latest Stipple! Sassy Cats by Katherine Artines.

Stipple Sassy Cats

And the winner is…“That is really easy, it is me. I have so many things that I want to make and I have a difficult time getting organized long enough to get very much accomplished.” – Marcia Congratulations and thank you to everyone for sharing!

Need an embroidery miracle? Then you need friends in high places!

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.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Sometimes you just have to pamper yourself. All for Me – Delightfully Feminine Projects Made in the Hoop by Shelly Smola has 6 beautiful projects just for you! Inside you’ll find:

  • Tea Party Luggage Tags
  • Glamour Girl Makeup Case
  • Petite Purse
  • Vintage Apron
  • Time for Tea Pillow
  • Time for Tea Quilt

Leave us a comment below about the last thing you made for you and only you. One random comment will be selected to win their very own copy of All for Me – Delightfully Feminine Projects Made in the Hoop by Shelly Smola! Thanks for reading and good luck.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

The designers at the Sulky Embroidery Club want you to win a FREE Gold Membership. Just leave a comment below about why you’d like a membership in the Sulky Embroidery Club. To find out more about the Club and this $150 retail value, just click the ad. If you win, we’ll create an account for you, already loaded with 500 points, so you can begin shopping immediately. There are hundreds of extraordinarily high-quality designs and projects to choose from, including fill, appliqué, outline, and 3-dimensional. New designs are added each month, so good luck!

And the winner is… Shelly – “I checked out the site and was excited to see the projects and designs that are there! I would love to win and be a part of all the things offered there. I love to learn from the experienced people and find so much joy and purpose in creating things for my family and friends. My embroidery work is my best friend now at this time in my life and I love to share it with all I know.”

Upscale Bed Linens

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

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.


Here’s your assignment this week:

Can you find the hidden hearts in this image? Tell us how many hidden hearts you see and one lucky winner will be chosen randomly to receive $25 off at the DIME website. Happy heart hunting!

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Take a look around at the new website and let us know what you think. Leave your comments below and one random comment will be selected to receive a $25 gift certficate to spend on the new DIME website!

And the winner is…Carolyn H. “Very nice! It looks quite modern.”

Designs in Machine Embroidery Hoop Comparison

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.


Snap-Hoop Monster









Magna-Hoop Jumbo


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


Here’s your assignment this week:

Sealed With a Stitch specializes in embroidery collections, but we want to know which one is your favorite. Come check them out and let us know which one tops your list. Six lucky winners will get a $25 gift certificate code to use at Sealed With A Stitch!

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Look closely! Tell us what you think you see in the Stitching Sisters image at the top of this post. One comment will win a mystery prize! Oh the suspense…

And the winner is…“a hot pink, beautiful, fly fishing lure” – Greta K.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Congratuations Greta. You have won a $25 gift certificate to the new and improved Designs website. Check it out here!



7 Steps to Improve Your Embroidery

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

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.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

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.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

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.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

6. Insert a fresh needle when starting a new embroidery project.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

 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.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


Here’s your assignment this week:

Summer is almost here! Leave us a comment about your plans for summer vacation and tell us if they involve embroidery. One comment will be chosen to receive a copy of Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Lessons written by Eileen Roche! Eileen demystifies embroidery machines and tools, designs, placement, hooping, stitching and finishing in easy to understand segments. It’s a great book for beginners or seasoned embroiderers alike. Good luck and thank you for reading!

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

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.

Thank you to everyone for sharing your thoughtful suggestions and touching stories. This week our two lucky readers are:

Mary Ann – “Maybe a box of note paper and stamps. For one who likes to write, a journal can be therapeutic. Also, light weight gloves for cold hands. Thanks for all the great ideas!”

Nell S. – “My mom has to take dialysis three times a week and she likes word puzzle books, a light weight lap blanket and ear plugs!”

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!!

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.

Blog Tour Finale

Wow – what a fun two weeks! We’ve given away a dozen books over the past two weeks and have received tons of comments and questions. My hat is off to all of our blog tour participants. Here’s a look at the stops:


Hoop Sisters


Think Crafts


Indygo Junction


Hope Yoder




Riley Blake


Machine Embroidery
& Digitizing


Nancy Zieman


Sealed With A Stitch

I hope you make these blogs part of your weekly web visits. I know I’m always on the lookout for inspiring ideas and fun techniques and I’m sure you’ll find them on these great bloggers.

I loved learning what embroidery tasks you find the most challenging. It seems placement and stabilizers top the list of troublesome duties. And I’ve struggled in those areas too. In fact, that’s why we invented the Perfect Placement Kit because 10 years ago, I didn’t have a clue on where to place an embroidery design on a garment! Under the guidance of Deborah Jones, we selected 15 items that embroiderers commonly decorate – shirts, linens and home accessories.

Perfect Placement Kit

Then we made templates of the items – a clear plastic template of a napkin corner for instance. The napkin corner template is universal and will work on ANY napkin! I just place the template on the napkin according to the guidelines printed on the template, then insert a Target Sticker into the hole. To be honest, it still amazes me how perfect every set of napkins comes out because I remember it like yesterday when my ‘yuck’ pile was higher than my good-to-go pile!

Perfect Placement Template

As far as stabilizer, there are so many products and brands available, it is confusing! I still get confused and I wish you could buy stabilizer like you can buy fabric using the touch and feel test. I shared this with one of Hope Yoder’s blog readers:

Always approach an embroidery project with common sense. Knit fabrics are unstable – they stretch! So control them with a cut-away which is a sturdy, strong and permanent material. Woven fabrics are more stable and tear-away stabilizer is sufficient. Tear-away comes in different weights and some rip cleanly while others leave a ‘fibery’ edge.

Sheer fabrics require stabilizer that can be permanently removed by water or heat, fiber content will tell you what direction to take.

Big, bulky impossible to hoop items need a stabilizer that will hold them under the needle – think adhesives here. You can turn any stabilizer into an adhesive by using temporary spray adhesive. Don’t be overwhelmed, use common sense and know that there are no stabilizer police. If it worked for you, then it’s fine.

I’ll share more information on placement and stabilizers in upcoming posts but for now – I have a mountain of sewing to tackle! Tell me what was your favorite project in 2012 that you created and you could win the final giveaway of Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Steps.

I have a Valentine’s Day gift from my friends at Craftsy. Click here to receive special pricing on all Craftsy classes.

Here is your assignment for this week:

Tell me what was your favorite project you created in 2012 and you could win an autographed copy of Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Steps and the Sew with Nancy DVD.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Tell us what Valentine’s Day projects you have in the works. One lucky winner will win a $25.00 shopping spree to!

And the winner is… “I’ve been making ITH Valentine heart coin bags for my grandchildren.” – Merron Kay S.

Congratulations Merron Kay. I’m sure they will love them!

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