Archive of ‘Sewing tips’ category

The Tonight Show at Sew Expo? Uh? What?

If you’ve been a Johnny Carson, Jay Leno or Jimmy Fallon fan – then you’ll definitely want to catch the Stitching Sisters at Friday Night Live. Sew Expo, our industry’s largest trade show, is host to this once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. IMG_4109_res

Yep – the Tonight Show takes on embroidery and sewing and quilting! 2015-01-28_16-50-06

What can you expect in Friday Night Live? Well, the predictable Tonight Show fare: a host, guests and entertaining segments. The host – me along with my Stitching Sister Marie Zinno; two very special guests (whose identities will have to remain a secret for right now). And of course, the entertaining segments, I mean the unpredictable segments:

• Thank You Notes to sewing industry giants, an hilarious Friday night tradition started by Jimmy Fallon.
• An embroidery fashion show – unlike any you’ve ever seen before. You’ll learn just how crucial placement and spelling can be.
• You’ll see what NOT to do with embroidery hoops and feet.
• You’ll compete in a hilarious game of Do You Have? to win priceless – and I mean priceless – prizes!
• The Stitching Sisters Top Embroidery Tips2015-01-28_16-56-39
If you’re a current Tonight Show fan (think Jimmy Fallon), then you probably know a little about his infamous lip sinc battles. Lip Sinc Battle? Hmm. Do you think those mystery guests would be game? Tell me your favorite Tonight Show host, Carson, Leno or Fallon. A random comment will be selected to win an autographed PAL!

Our winner from last week, with a $100 gift certificate at the Sewphisticated Stitcher website is Sara R. “I give bibs and burp pads as baby gifts. My BFF’s granddaughter told us the name she was planning to use. I spelled it the traditional way rather than her way, then she ended up naming the baby something totally different. Oh well.”


Friday Night Live Feb. 27, 2015, Sew Expo runs from Feb. 26 to March 1, 2015 in Puyallup , Washington.

A Clutter-Free Digital Workspace

It’s common to feel the urge to get organized in January– purge closets, cabinets and drawers. Many sewers feel the same way. We want a fresh start in the New Year, often pledging to finish projects, clear the cutting table, and tame our stashes – fabrics, stabilizers and threads. The goal is to follow that urge all year and really get our environments under control. I don’t know about you but it’s an annual event for me. It helps me get organized for the next 12 months; forgive myself for the projects that didn’t get completed and make a decision on whether or not I’ll ever finish them. And then toss them, if I know I won’t finish them. It’s a tough decision but I find once I make up my mind, it’s very cleansing to move on with a clean slate. I even like to create a clean space in my digital workspace when I work on a design.

In Perfect Embroidery Pro, My Block Piecer and My Quilt Embellisher, I clean up my thread chips. Sounds silly, right? Well, removing the excess thread chips at the bottom of the screen helps me focus. Let me show you what I mean.

I dragged one of December’s free designs onto the workspace. Notice the 11 color chips in the thread tray. The design is only three colors so I find all of those excess chips to be distracting, unnecessary clutter.Thread1

First, I clicked on the minus sign to remove all excess chips.Thread2

Now, only three chips remain in the tray.Thread3

I’m going to change the colors to reflect a warm, tropical climate (like the one Stitching Sisters are going to enjoy on our February 2016 cruise – join us!) First, click on a chip to see the thread palette.Thread4

At the top of the thread palette click on the brand to access the thread you have in your sewing room.   Thread5


Once you set this brand, the palette will always default to that brand although you can reset it anytime you’d like.

Simplifying the thread tray makes it easy to see what threads I need to collect from stash of thread. I love the new plastic drawer inserts that keep my stash under control.  It’s the fine-tuning of organizing that helps me keep my year-long goal of staying on top of clutter!

Behind the Scenes: Cutting-Edge Serger Techniques

We recently took a trip to Austin, Texas where we dropped in on our friend, Barbara Goldkorn who was teaching a 3-hour hands-on class.  What a fun event!

Students made their own version of the Woven Table Runner featured in Barbara’s new book, Cutting-Edge Serger Techniques.  Students made the table runner entirely with their own Baby Lock sergers—this way they’d be comfortable applying the techniques they learned in class on their own at home.

I’ll be the first to admit, I had no idea a serger was packed with so many innovative and creative features!  What a great way to spend a day!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

As the students discovered, making the table runner was the chance to learn new techniques and apply more familiar techniques in unexpected ways.  The end result is not just a table runner—but new skills that can be used on countless other projects.   What a great opportunity to expand the use of a serger!  And if you don’t own a serger, you may be inspired to purchase one now!

When you think of binding, more than likely you imagine binding the edge of a quilt.  But Barbara uses the technique in a more creative manner.  Students attached a single fold binder to their Baby Lock sergers.  Then they serged the binding fabric to the fabric strips.

The end result – strips of fabric with a beautifully finished edge.  These strips will be used for weaving as shown below.

Behind the Scenes:  Cutting-Edge Serger Techniques

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

One of the really fun aspects of taking a class is the opportunity to see the different color schemes people select for their projects.

I love these traditional Christmas colors.
Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

On the other end of the spectrum are pretty pastels!  What a great way to welcome Spring any time of the year!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here are some elegant snowflakes.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Festive reds!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Holiday prints with red and gold.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Students also learned how to shrink fabric.  Yes, shrink fabric!  There wasn’t a magic wand involved but I hear it was a seemingly magical product known as Texture Magic.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s a look at the assembly process.  There’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to create a table runner of my own.  The hardest part—deciding what colors to use!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

If you missed out on this fun class – don’t fret!  Barbara’s book, Cutting-Edge Serger Techniques gives easy-to-follow step by step instructions with photos to ensure success.


Here’s your assignment this week:One of these things is not like the other. Spot what’s different in the photo above? Two random comments will be chosen to receive $50 gift certificates at Stunning Stitches! Good luck. SS_DME-Banner-Certificate
The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question…Leave a comment and tell us if you think the chandelier or stipple designs will look best on the Sun Kissed quilt. One comment will be chosen at random to receive a $25 gift card to use on the DIME website. Good Luck!The winner is… Ellen P.  “Chandelier it would look great and different. Love it.”


It’s Sew Easy – Episode 705

ISE 705-2 PIC 1

Embroidery adds so much to garments you make, ready-to-wear and accessories.  And It’s Sew Easy to add embroidery to any project with Brother at your side.

Be sure to catch episode 705 on the It’s Sew Easy website starting at noon on Friday, October 24. It will run for 7 days.

Using computer design software to create a unique design, Angela Wolf embroiders a stunning tote bag.  She uses the basting feature to create an outline that defines where to place the design that she printed out on fabric.  Eileen Roche uses the embroidery hoop to make it easy to quilt any fabric to create a trendy clutch bag.  Using the positioning feature on the Quattro® 3 NV6750D to determine exactly where the crosshatch quilting stitches will appear on the printed fabric.  She aligns it with the snowman sticker. Once the embroidery is finished, she quickly completes the purse and is ready to go.  Angela returns to demonstration free-motion embroidery on the PQ1500s. She draws the design and then sets the machine for free motion. With the free motion foot attached, she moves the hooped fabric under the needle to embroider an organic flower design on her jeans.

Episode 705 Embroidery

Show off your embroidery skills with great totes and jeans. One of the best parts about sewing is the chance to show off some of your latest creations. On this show guest experts give you lots of opportunities to be proud of your embroidery skills.  First, Angela Wolf creates an embroidered tote with an amazing kaleidoscope design.  Then, Eileen Roche has her own quilted clutch with embroidery. Last, Angela returns with a restyle of your favorite pattern or ready-made jeans with embroidery embellishments.

Make sure to stop by beginning at noon on Friday, October 24th to see episode 705 Embroidery.

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.

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Hope to see you April 26th!

If you have questions or comments, please contact us.

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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Multi-Needle Monday | Who’s on First?

Who's on First?

You are!  Sure to be a hit with all baseball fans, here’s a little baseball stitching to get you into the mood for the season.  Celebrate Opening Day 2014, whether you’re a major league baseball fan or tee-ball devotee, by wearing this design. It doesn’t have to be on the back pocket of a pair of white jeans, it could adorn any pocket on a tote bag or polo shirt. Whatever your preference, show your baseball pride!  Here’s how to do it on a pair of jeans.  You’ll find the free downloadable baseball stitching design at the end of the article.

Open the design in software and print two templates – one as is and one in mirror image. Set them aside.

Baseball template

Decide if you can lose the use of the pocket – talk yourself into it because it makes adding the embroidery a whole lot easier. If you agree, separate a scrap of fusible web from its paper backing and insert it into the pocket.


Press the pocket to fuse it shut. This will transform the jeans into one layer instead of a shifting layer (the pocket) on top of a base fabric (the jeans).

If you really want to use the pocket, then separate the pocket from the jeans. Leave the bartack stitches in place (at the pocket’s top corners) and pin the pocket to hooped cut-away stabilizer.

Separate pocket

Place the templates on the pocket. I opted to place and hoop each of the designs separately.  When merged to fit on my pocket, the designs measured 120mm x 124mm. Since I wanted to use a 130mm x 180mm hoop on a multi-needle machine, the merged design left little ‘wiggle room’ for placement. And since this design was landing well, you know where – I wanted make sure each segment of it was placed properly.

Template on pocket

Slide a target sticker under each template, aligning the crosshairs.

Target Sticker

On the mutli-needle machine, slide the pants over the metal frame of Quick Snap and place the magnetic frame on top.

Multi-needle machine

If you have it, use the machine’s camera to align the needle with the target sticker. Wow – I love that camera.

Machine Camera

But don’t fear, you don’t need a multi-needle machine to stitch this project because I stitched the second pocket on a single needle machine with a slightly different method.  For a single needle machine, hoop polymesh stabilizer in a 130mm x 180mm hoop.  After turning the pants inside out, place the pocket on the hoop, with the legs extending over the attachment (away from the head of the machine). Place the templates back on the target stickers so you can see the design.

In the hoop

Then, pin the pants onto the stabilizer, keeping the pins out of the design area. Use binder clips to hold the bulk of the pants out of the hoop.

Holding in hoop

Attach the hoop to the machine and stitch the first design.  Move the needle to the center of the second target sticker, mirror image the design and stitch.  Repeat for both pockets.

Wear with pride and I’ll look for you at the ballpark!

Baseball Stitched Pocket
Download your design here, you’ll find two sizes: 4” x 4” and 5” x 7”. I used the 5” x 7” designs on my jeans.

Bernina Part 2

Day 2 of the BERNINA Ambassador Reunion found me in BERNINA educator Debbi Lashbrook’s class. Debbi’s talent extends far beyond the teaching podium. Her eye for design is unique and yet not so far out of the box; her style appeals to everyone. She stretches the imagination and backs it up with solid stitching techniques while making everything look simple. And under her guidance, it is. In her class, we decorated three fabric strips with decorative stitches and played with those fabulous BERNINA feet on the B 580! We used the leather roller foot (#55), pintuck and decorative stitch foot with clear sole (#46C), edgestitch foot (#10C), 3-groove cording foot (#30) and more.

By this time, our group was quite comfortable with each other and laughter was heard throughout the morning. Debbi gave us the freedom to embellish as we desired. She had great samples for inspiration and we really enjoyed playing with the feet and decorative stitches.

As an embroiderer, I obviously love to add thread to fabric but I usually let the machine do all the work. Guiding the fabric as the machine stitched meandering lines of thread is something I haven’t done in a long time and I thoroughly enjoyed the process and the result. I love the organic look of the long vertical panel.

Next, we played with the circular sewing attachment. I forgot how cool it is to sew in a circle! A variety of stitches brought texture and dimension to the circles. Stitching off the edge of the fabric added an asymmetrical touch to the large panel.

Since I’m gadget girl, I really enjoyed making the corded pintucks. The pintuck and decorative stitch foot with clear sole (#46C) creates flawless corded pintucks.

Really, there is no thinking involved, just stitch! The cord slips under the thread and fills the fabric channel. Then move the fabric keeping the freshly-corded pintuck in one of the foot’s grooves to stitch another parallel line.

Some members of the group are known for over -the-top embellishing so the jokes began to fly around the room. It was an atmosphere I don’t normally sew in so I quite enjoyed the banter. Here’s part our group: Angie Steveson, me, Kaye England and Vicki Tracy.

We all started with the same materials and wound up with different pillows. I wish I had the foresight to take photos of everyone’s pillows but in the scramble to get the job done, I forgot to snap more photos. Lesson learned – you can never have enough photos!

Once the embellishing was complete, we pieced the strips and finished the pillow. After heart-warming goodbyes we went our separate ways for our journey home. I’m sure I speak for many when I say it ended too soon!

Give yourself the gift of time this week and sneak off to your sewing room. A few hours to yourself at your machine may just be the best gift of all.


Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell us how you ‘de-stressed’ during the hustle and bustle of the season. Did you sew, watch a movie, sit in front of a Christmas tree or maybe hold a sleeping child in your lap? We’d love to know how you unwind. A lucky winner will win a $30 gift certificate to spend at the DIME store!

The winner of last week’s assignment:

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!

And the lucky winners are: Judith D, Tammy W, Madeline L, Gail B, Denise F, and Jill H. Congratulations to you all!


Starch is the unsung hero of the sewing room.  We often overlook it but I have a favorite use for liquid starch and so does Sherry McCary, seamstress extraordinaire at Designs. I apply liquid starch to the wrong side of delicate fabrics that will be embroidered with water soluble adhesive stabilizer. It not only adds body to soft fabrics during the embroidery process but also creates a shield between the adhesive and the fabric. After the embroidery, the water soluble adhesive stabilizer just slides away and does not penetrate the fibers. Read how Sherry depends on it for piecing projects.

Smooth Cutting and Stitching with Starch

By Sherry McCary

At a sewing retreat my good friend Pat Fountain saw me struggling with sewing some bias blocks together and gave me this great tip to tame cantankerous bias edges. It also saves money on starch and can transform even lowly muslin into a fabric that can be used for “real” projects:

Buy a half-gallon container of inexpensive starch and a pump-type spray bottle from the grocery store. Fill the spray bottle half-way with starch and fill the rest with water.  Before you begin a project, drench the fabric with the starch mixture. It should be soaking-wet. Hang or drape it somewhere and let it air dry 10-15 minutes, or until it’s almost dry, but not quite.

Next, iron the barely-damp fabric, spraying with another layer of starch as go. Fabric will be super-easy to cut and work with following these starching instructions. Quilters especially will love the ultra-flat seams that can be achieved with fabric that has been treated this way.

In addition to the savings to be had by mixing your own starch, you’ll save “pointer finger fatigue” since you won’t be having to press the spray button on purchased cans of pre-mixed starch!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Leave us a comment below about your secret sewing or embroidery weapon and one comment will be chosen to win a secret weapon of their very own, Target Stickers! These handy stickers are reusable, repositionable and provide you with perfect placement everytime. Thanks and good luck!

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Leave a comment below about your favorite scarf on the Love My Scarf Blog Tour and what inspired you to create one of your own! One lucky winner 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.

And the winner is…“The scarf is beautiful and the scroll design is so delicate and doesn’t overload the scarf.” – Karen W.

Machine Embroidered Buttonholes

Click here to download this article as a PDF for future reference.

Many of you wrote that buttonholes are a struggle when it comes to sewing. I agree! One of the worst parts about adding a buttonhole is it’s just about the last thing you do when making a garment. I begin to sweat thinking about marking the buttonholes, spacing them evenly, stitching them perfectly straight, even and parallel. How many times has the foot jammed against the seam allowance resulting in a shorter than planned buttonhole?

Hmm… I don’t think it’s the machine. In fact, most machines have the ability to make a very professional buttonhole. The problem is the operator, me. My sewing/tailoring skills do not equal my embroidery skills. It might have something to do with my attention span but that’s material for another blog! If you’re like me, you might consider using your embroidery machine to create buttonholes.

Why machine embroider your buttonholes? The number one reason for me is control. Machine embroidered buttonholes give me total control over the length of the buttonhole and the placement because I’m starting with a digital file that will stitch perfect duplicates since I don’t have to guide the fabric under the foot.

So let’s take a look at how to embroider buttonholes.

First, select the buttons. Measure the buttons and add a small amount (such as .10 of an inch) to the diameter. That measurement will be the length of the buttonhole. Click here for four buttonholes for you to download. You’ll find two 1” buttonholes (square and round) and two 2” buttonholes (square and round). Resize the length only of the designs to accommodate your button.

Naturally, you must make a test buttonhole on the same fabric as the final garment. The sample must include the sample interfacing, facing or lining. You can’t cheat here – it’s the only way to guarantee positive results and this is when you’ll tweak the length.

Crisp or lightweight tear-away stabilizer works beautifully on buttonholes because it tears cleanly. Once hooped, draw a straight line down the length of the hoop to use as an alignment mark.

Insert the metal frame of Magna-Hoop Jumbo. It’s not mandatory to use Magna-Hoop Jumbo but it sure does simplify the task.

Place the garment edge next to the drawn line and place Magna-Hoop Jumbo’s acrylic frame on top. Slide magnets into the slots to hold the garment firmly in the hoop.

Attach the hoop to the machine and select the tested (and tweaked) buttonhole design. Rotate the design so it runs perpendicular to the garment edge for horizontal buttonholes. Also, advance to the first stitch to see what end of the buttonhole will stitch first. You want to stitch the end closest to the edge first and sew away from the edge. The fabric will not bulge next to the seam if you do this (a frequent occurrence in manual buttonholes). Rotate or mirror image the design if necessary.

Measure the distance from the garment edge to the end of the buttonhole. For pleasing proportions, it’s best to leave a space between the end of the buttonhole and the garment edge that is half the diameter of the button. For the 2” buttonhole, move the end of the design 1” from the garment edge.

Stitch the buttonhole.

Reposition the design to the next marked position. You won’t have to measure the distance unless you’re changing button sizes. Here I’m stitching the 1” buttonhole.

Continue adding the buttonholes until you’ve finished the required quantity.

Remove from the hoop and tear away the stabilizer. Use a seam ripper or a chisel and wood block to open the buttonhole. If using the seam ripper method, insert a pin at one end of the stitch to avoid slicing beyond the buttonhole.

Or place the buttonhole over a wood block, and insert the chisel into the space between the satin stitching. Press down to cut the fabric.

Design Tips: Buttonhole Placement

It can be challenging to determine evenly-spaced buttonhole placement. For garments, mark the widest point of the bust and the top of the garment. Fold the garment, meeting the top mark to the bust mark. Place a third mark at the fold. You now have the positions for the top three buttons. Measure the distance between two buttons. Use that measurement to mark the remainder of the buttons below the bust point.

Fuzzy Fibers

Place a piece of fusible web (protective paper removed) over the buttonhole area. Stitch the buttonhole. Tear away the excess fusible web. Press the buttonhole with a hot steam iron to melt the fusible web into the satin stitches. Once cooled, cut open the buttonhole. The fusible web will tame the fuzzy fibers.

Here’s your assignment this week:

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.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Download our FREE digital edition of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine. Give it a read and enjoy all of the interactivity, photo zooming abilities, videos and beautiful photography captured for each stunning project. Then, come back and leave us a comment on what you think about it – good or bad, we can take it. One lucky reader will win a gift certificate to Designs in Machine Embroidery for $25!

You can use that $25 to buy anything on our website including a 1 year subscription to our print magazine offered at the special price of $24.97 for a limited time only.

And the winner is…“I like the magazine in print form, and I was pleased to receive this digital copy. I love the navigation features and the ability to enlarge and reduce print and pictures to my needs. Thank you for providing this information-packed resource that embroiderers of all skill levels can utilize! Now I can carry the information with me in my jump drive wherever I go…woo hoo!.” – Sandy S.

Congratulations Sandy!

Hand is a Four-letter Word

Hand is a four letter wordI’m a machine girl, always have been, always will be. I’m amazed, impressed, in awe, humbled by those who stitch by hand. But truth be told, I don’t get it. I think the ONLY thing I like about handwork is, it’s portable. You can throw it in a bag and take it anywhere. Kinda hard to do that with your embroidery machine. Just ask my sweet husband about that fishing trip we took to Arkansas. You know, the one where I told him, “I’m just going to bring a little bit of work with me. Okay, honey?” Here’s the photo of ‘my little bit of work’. But he still loves me.

Machine Embroidery Blog

Since I don’t like handwork, I’m always looking for a way to turn handwork techniques into sewing techniques. Take binding for instance. Most people believe binding should be sewn by hand to the back of a quilt. I think that’s because they only make one or two quilts per year. Oh okay, that sounds kind of mean and it’s probably not true. It could be they just have higher standards than I do. That’s more like it.

In fact, my standards on binding are not really that high. If I could leave the quilt, raw-edge, I probably would. I have been known to show quilts in a classroom setting without a binding. You might remember my friend, Cindy McCord – a student in San Antonio. Cindy just couldn’t bear to let me show an unbound quilt (honest, there was only one!). She took it home on Friday, purchased the perfect fabric, bound and returned it to me at the start of class on Saturday morning. Wow, that was impressive.

Cindy And Eileen

Since that humbling moment, I’ve taken great strides to bind my quilts. But I still absolutely refuse the hand-sewing part. And this morning, I found a new use for a sewing foot that’s been in my drawer for years.

Embroidery Machine Foot

The lowly, blind hem foot is apparently, the perfect tool for stitching in the ditch. Why didn’t I know this? Or think of this? Or try this sooner? Doesn’t everybody else know this? I looked at that little foot and thought, hmm, that metal guide might be just the thing to run along the binding seam and keep the whole mess, I mean beautiful quilt, under control while the binding is sewn to the back.

After sewing the binding to the quilt, I pressed the binding to the back and pinned it from the front. I slid the binding under the blind hem foot, nestling the foot’s metal guide in the seam.

Foot on binding

I placed thread that matched the quilt – not the binding – in the needle and moved the needle so that it was just a millimeter to the left of the metal guide. Then I floored it! I whizzed around the binding, pausing only to remove the pins. And when I flipped it over – I was thrilled! The entire binding was captured from the front. Binding Captured

No stray sections wandering off the back of the quilt. Yippee! Oh my, what a relief. The quilt is really done – completely finished and 5 days – yes 5 WHOLE DAYS – before being handed off to the mom-to-be at her baby shower.

Daisy Quilt

These new moms love the contemporary quilt movement. How about you? Do you love it or could you leave it? Are inspired by their use of negative space and clear color? Truth be told, I’m intrigued and have been delving into designing some quilts with this contemporary slant. Share a comment about contemporary quilting and you could win a trio of Stipple! Collections: Geometrics, Butterfly and Seashells.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Share a comment about contemporary quilting and you could win a trio of Stipple! Collections: Geometrics, Butterfly and Seashells.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

What’s your go-to tool for embroidery? Is there one thing that you use almost every time you embroider? Share your thought with us and you could win a pack of 250 yellow Target Stickers.

And the winner is…”I can’t do without my Hugo’s Amazing Tape. It keeps my thread tails neat(and confuses the cat because she can’t unroll any thread now).” – Shannon D.

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