Archive of ‘Stabilizer 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.

Fusible Web

I have a love-hate relationship with fusible web. I like to add it to the wrong side of applique fabrics, even those that will be finished with a satin edge. I love the insurance fusible web provides through the life of the garment because the applique will not work itself away from the base fabric. That’s the love part.

The hate part? The application. I always seem to struggle with fusible web. I apply the heat, let it cool (well, almost let it cool) then disaster strikes. It doesn’t release properly – oh no, part of the paper peels off with a good bit of the adhesive still stuck on it. In fact, it now looks like a hot mess – adhesive is no longer a smooth sheet – nah, it’s a jumbled mess. I hate this! I curse the manufacturer of the fusible web, (how can they put their name on this product!). I blame the store where I bought it (surely they’ve had this bolt in inventory for a century).

I stalk out of the sewing room and hit the chocolate stash. After a few moments, I realize I’m still in love with the fabrics. I still need to finish my project. I still have to get this figured out NOW!

So I walk back into the sewing room and assess the damage. Hmm. Maybe it wasn’t the fusible web. Maybe it was the iron. Oh yes…hmmm….I was supposed to apply DRY heat. Not steam. And let it cool – completely cool – before removing the protective paper.

But my iron is full of water. And when I switch it to no steam, steam still escapes, apparently too much for this task! Then it dawns on me, I need two irons in my sewing room!

I can hear you laughing as you read this, “Really? It took you 20+ years to figure this out?” I now have two irons on my board. Yep, one full of water set for steam and the other one – DRY – forever!

Embarrassingly, I actually had two irons in the sewing room. The second one was deposited by one of my college students who didn’t need it any longer. And it just sat on a shelf. Not anymore – it’s hobnobbing with its steamy partner on the ironing board – a lasting marriage. And they are both labeled. This leaves no doubt if a family member pops into the sewing room to use the iron.


Here’s what I learned from this sticky situation: read and follow the manufacturer’s directions. They really do know best.

Investing in duplicate tools makes sense – it saves you time and sanity!

Finally, label your tools – it keeps everyone in the house on the same page.

Here’s your assignment this week:

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.

DME Blog-Ad

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

What a fascinating woman! Tell us what your favorite pastime is besides embroidery and 2 winners will be selected to win a $25 gift certificate to the Kreations by Kara website. Good luck!

DME Blog-Ad

And the winners are…Debbie P and Cindy M. Congratulations!

We’re So Proud!


Toot, toot!  Beep, beep! A special digital issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery is free for you – just click here to access. You’ll find projects, free embroidery designs, videos from our sponsors and access to leading companies in the embroidery industry.

Wondering what’s inside? It’s packed with educational material for newbies, intermediate and advanced embroiderers. Devour the expert information on stabilizers and how to embroider on ribbon, polos and t-shirts! Learn to create continuous embroidery with confidence; stitch a little something for the man in your life and develop your designer’s eye – all in this one special issue!


Download the familiar .zip file, unzip and inside you’ll find an exciting interactive Adobe Acrobat PDF file you can read and enjoy from the convenience of your desktop computer or laptop. Use the free Adobe Acrobat reader to achieve full interactivity and flip through the pages, zoom in on projects and print whatever you’d like. Use the arrows on your keyboard to navigate through the pages: advance by clicking the arrows pointing down or right while the arrows pointing up or left will take you to a previous page.

WP-IconWP-PlayLook for the mouse icon and click on it to activate the zoom feature and more.  View the embedded videos by clicking the play button and enjoy.

We made it simple to navigate, easy to view and inspirational to read – I think you’ll see why we’re so proud of our new digital issue. My hat is off to the whole Designs team for making this happen – led by Sam Solomon, Denise Holguin, Stephanie Smith and Sandy Griggs. Designs wouldn’t be here without that team – they’re awesome! I think you’ll agree when you see what they’ve created.

A very special thank you to our valued sponsors: Brother, Embrilliance, Embroidery Library, Five Star Fonts, Janome America, HoopSisters, SWAKembroidery and Urban Threads –  Enjoy!

Here’s your assignment this week:

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.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Go over and give Craftsy a looksy! Tell us what classes interest you or if you’ve already taken a class on Craftsy – tell us what you love about it. One lucky reader will receive a link for a complimentary download of Eileen’s new class, The Machine Embroidered T-Shirt!


And the winner is…“I’ve been checking out Craftsy website, and some of the free classes. My sister told me about this site, she had taken a class and loved it! I would really LOVE to win the chance to take the T-shirt class. I have a fear to try new things, but I’m sure taking the class would give me more confidence. Thanks for sharing your embroidery expertise.” – Jane B.

Congratulations Jane, we hope you enjoy your class and share your experience with us!

Nancy Zieman Hobo Bag Tour

Hobo Tote Bag Blog Tour

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

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

Lazy Girl Designs sent

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

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

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

Hobo Tote Bag

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

Machine Embroidered Quilting


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Here’s your assignment this week:

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

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

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



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

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

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!

Ribbed Knits

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s a great tip for embroidering on ribbed knits.

Aren’t ribbed knits so comfy to wear? I love the stretch and texture but I’m not too fond of embroidering on that challenging fabric.  This weekend, I wanted to stitch something special for my daughter, Janelle. She’s in her second month of grad school – in two and half years, she’ll be a physician’s assistant.  So right now, she’s hunkered down in grad school life and just aced her first Anatomy test.  No surprise there, she got a 4.0 in Anatomy in undergrad studies at University of Oklahoma. It’s one of her favorite courses.

To celebrate her grade, I found the most appropriate embroidery designs at Urban Threads.  And yep, the title of the collection is Anatomy! Can you believe it? Aren’t we lucky? You can find ANYTHING in machine embroidery!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s where the ribbed knit comes in. I had a long-sleeve comfy t-shirt in one of Janelle’s favorite colors but I wasn’t so sure it was the right fabric for this hand design.  With a little ingenuity, I made it work.

First, I put the shirt on, inside out. Janelle and I are not the same size – I’m wider and shorter and she’s taller and leaner. But I needed to stretch the t-shirt to mimic the shape when she wears it. It’s a t-shirt, not a wedding dress, so close enough is good enough in this case.  Then I placed adhesive water soluble stabilizer (Floriani’s Wet N Gone Tacky) to the wrong side of the design area. Then I carefully took off the shirt and hooped it in Snap-Hoop. Love Snap-Hoop for t-shirt embroidery!

Once I nested the shirt around the design area, I used painter’s tape to hold the shirt out of the needle area. Due to the hills and valleys of the ribbed knit, I was worried the fill stitches would cave into the ribs so I placed a piece of crisp (or lightweight) tear-away over the design area.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

After stitching color 1, the fill stitches, I carefully pulled away the excess stabilizer.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I added a piece of film-type water soluble stabilizer over the design before stitching colors 2, the shading and 3, the outline.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s the key, use a tear-away that rips clean. It will feel stiff in your hand, unlike a soft tear-away (or medium weight) that tears with a jagged edge and has a softer drape.  The final colors – the shading and outline- will cover any pokies remaining in the crisp tear-away.  The fabric won’t bleed through and the embroidery won’t sink into the garment even after laundering.

This technique works wonders with faux fur (like Christmas stockings) or other highly napped fabrics.

This week’s assignment:

Fun stuff, wouldn’t you agree? Aren’t you amazed at the sheer number of embroidery designs available to us? Is there a design you’ve been looking for and have never been able to find? Tell us what you’re searching for and you could win a $25 shopping spree to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website!

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question

Let me know what you do when you want to try a new technique. Post your comment for a chance to win a $25.00 shopping spree to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

The winner is: Brenda Howard
“I am new to machine embroidery so all techniques are new to me, with that being said I decide what I want to do and try to make sure that I choose fabric that is a good match to what I want in the final project so that if it turns out good I can use it too in some way. Next I take a deep breath and go for it!”




Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Generally, I fall in love with a fabric and an appliqué design and uh, kind of, force them together. After watching Deborah Jones’ Learn from Expert DVD Applique FUNdamentals, I now know why I haven’t always been successful.

For instance, I should have considered important criteria for both the appliqué and host fabric such as colorfastness and heat tolerance. Thankfully, Deborah’s recommendations don’t limit my choices; rather they are guidelines for success. She embraces the use of all types of fabrics from plush faux fur to holographic to natural bamboo fabrics.

Deborah’s tips on selecting patterned fabrics are spot-on!  She even takes a specially prepared template to the fabric store for appliqué auditions! Talk about setting yourself up for success. I love that tip.

If the only reason you ever consider stitching an appliqué is to repair a garment, then you’ll appreciate her technique for complete coverage – inside and out. I coaxed Deborah into sharing her tip for garment repair – click here and enjoy!

You’ll reap the benefits of her in-depth exploration into cut-as-you-go and pre-cut appliqué techniques. I learned there’s more to it than just saving time. And for those of you who use software to make your own appliqués, you’re going to love Deborah’s clear and concise explanation of where to position the placement, cut and tackdown lines.

I feel so enlightened now; I can’t wait to stitch an appliqué that I know will last through repeated washings and lots of wear and tear!

This week’s assignment:

I’d love to hear how you use appliqué – is it for beauty or function? Leave a comment and you could win a copy of Applique FUNdamentals.

The 20 winners of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

Tell me what appliqué design you’d like to win for your fall stitching. Remember 20 of you are going to win $10 gift certificates to Planet Applique, so don’t be shy…tell us!

Barbara Cummings
I love the Halloween feet!  I think it’s cute!!!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Brenda Howard
I am a racing fanatic and would love to have the Indycar and race tire appliques. Such a cool site thanks for telling me about it.

Carolyn Oglesby
I love applique and am always looking for new cute designs!

We all love to win…I love your designs:)

Darlene Pino
I like the Ghost Face applique.  I would like to make ghosts with this for my front yard with lights underneath for our Halloween decoration.  Friendly Ghost welcoming the little kiddies.

Diane Cockman
Love them all. Did the birthday cupcakes for 3 yrs. Granddaughter loved them. I think the crayons would be wonderful, as she just started PreK4.

Donna G.
I’d love to do some Halloween cupcakes on tea towels. There are so many cute designs!

Karen Rilstone
Birthday designs, the crayons, cute Halloween designs for t-shirts and totes. The list is never-ending.

I love the crayon alphabet! I want to use it on some new shirts for my grandbabies. :)

I need to build up my alphabet supply- I’m particularly looking at the Owl and Gator Alphas!

Kim Wilson
I love anything Halloween!

Kelly Lamb aka Sew Lambitious LLC
I would love to win a few of the Halloween applique designs to make a few things for my grandsons! Such cute designs! I found you through Designs In Machine Embroidery on FB. Thank you for the entry!

I couldn’t wait… I used the coupon code and purchased THREE applique alphabets and another “regular” alphabet.  Jack’n Jill, Crayon, and Aimee, plus Abigail.

But if I should win, my prize would be used to purchase something to use for two spring grandbabies.  The “Twins” are currently expected on the same day in the April!   The moms-to-be are my daughter and daughter-in-law.

This is such FUN!   :)

Marlene C
I love them all. So many applique, so little time, but the one that really caught my eye is the in the hoop bunny booties.  Soooo cute.  I”m expecting a new grandaughter in Oct. and these would be really cute for her.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Pat Fritze
A dress for my granddaughter would look really cute with the crayons around the bottom, for her first day of school.

Patty Sack
I think I would choose something for baby’s or for Christmas.  It’s hard to choose there are so many good ones.

Sheila Walton
I love the Witch feet – makes me think of the Wizard of Oz!

I really like and need some owls, here in Finland they are just coming into fashion…

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Susan Wilson
I have enjoyed stitching many of Planet Applique’s designs so I already feel like a Winner. I would get to enjoy looking back through all of her designs to decide what I would get if I did win.  Thanks so much for this opportunity!!

Sue Reiss
With twin Granddaughters and being in education I love the crayons


Congratulations everyone and thank you Planet Applique!


I always learn something from Deborah Jones….

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I am amazed at Deborah’s wealth of knowledge when it comes to embroidery.

She has such a grasp on the technical aspect of this complicated process we all love.

I have to admit it was Deborah who taught me about underlay – when to use extra and when a little goes a long way. She taught me about lettering and how to critique a font for embroidery and she has definitely taught me everything I know about stabilizers.

And I’m still learning from her! In fact, when I watched her recent video release on stabilizers, I couldn’t believe how many things I learned.  Deborah’s a strong communicator, simplifying complicated thoughts and techniques in clear precise language.

If you still have questions about selecting stabilizers, let me tell you, Deborah has the answers.  She wades through all the murky misconceptions about water soluble stabilizers. I know I have a drawer full of water soluble stabilizers and often I don’t know which one would work best for the job at hand. And you’ll love her tips on removing the often stubborn stabilizer.

She tackles stitching on athletic wear – even taming the trendy and challenging Under Armour Microfiber.  And she explores the variety of cut-away and tear-away stabilizers. She has such a wealth of experience, I often ask myself how would Deborah stabilize this fabric?  Now I don’t have to guess, I can just watch her video and read the printable reference chart for stabilizing 26 different fabrics! I keep that handy guide right next to my stabilizer stash.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

This week’s assignment:

If you could have a private 3-hour lesson with Deborah Jones what would you want her to teach you?  Post your comment for a chance to win your own copy of Deborah’s Learn from the Expert DVD – Stabilizing for Embroidery.


The winner of last week’s assignment answered the question:

You don’t have to wait until July 24th.  Leave a comment here this week and you’ll be entered into a random drawing to win a copy of the 30-Minute Doll Clothes book.  I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


This week’s winner is… Dolores!
“I just purchased the Floriani software!  This is a perfect project for me to get started with this new software.”


Content in this feed is © Copyright 2012 by Eileen Roche and may not be republished without written permission. You’re welcome to forward to a friend or colleague but it’s not okay to add the RSS feed automatically as content on a blog or other website.

How to Embroider on Minky

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

How to Embroider on Minky

Do you love the feel of Minky but have been afraid to add embroidery to this luscious fabric? Its cuddly-soft texture, stretchy give and lush fibers tend to scare the most courageous embroiderers. But don’t worry; it’s fairly easy to tame Minky. Let me show you how.

First, select a ball-point needle to handle the job of slipping the thread between the fibers not slicing into the stretchy fibers. A 80/12 ball point will handle most Minky jobs.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eliminate the stretch during the hooping process by pressing a fusible polymesh (permanent cut-away) to the wrong side of the design area. Most fusible cutaways require a rather low iron temp so harm to the Minky is minimal. Of course, it’s always wise to test first. Make sure the stabilizer extends beyond the hoop.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Select the correct design for the fabric. Just because you want a design to work, doesn’t mean it will! Designs with delicate running stitch outlines such as this Brother Quattro built-in design are not appropriate for Minky.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Look for designs that have a complete fill (that doesn’t mean bullet-proof embroidery) that will hold down Minky’s nap with some open areas to let the fabric relax. This rose damask design from Embroidery Library is good example of a design appropriate for Minky.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s a fun Steam Punk design from OESD. Unfortunately, only part of this design would work on Minky. Save this for t-shirts, broadcloth and denim.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Other possibilities for Minky include appliqué and embossed designs.

Select lettering with generous satin columns that will stand up and cover the Minky. The image below are two excellent examples of lettering for Minky (Floriani software).

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The lettering shown here is too delicate for Minky. The opening in the Y on the left is completely closed while the running stitches on the sample on the left will be invisible once the water soluble stabilizer is washed away.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

If possible, edit the design in software and add extra underlay to hold down the nap. Or consider placing a crisp tear-away on top of the fabric to receive the fill stitches then tear it off before adding the final details and outlines. If using this method, select a white tear-away for light colored thread and a black tear-away for dark thread. The stabilizer will blend into the background fabric. For instance, if you’re stitching Santa’s beard on red Minky, place a piece of white tear-away over the design area. Stitch the fill stitches of the beard then tear it away before completing the beard.

A water soluble lightweight film-type of stabilizer on top of the fabric will help keep a design crisp. Just tear it off after all embroidery is complete.

Select a hoop that is the appropriate size for the design. I use Magna-Hoop for all appliqué designs on Minky and Snap-Hoop for all other designs. The flat magnetic hoop inserts and hoops leave the Minky with no visible hoop burn – a real bonus with this stretchy fabric.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Finally, keep your bobbin area clean. Minky tends to shred and build up in the bobbin case can occur much faster than other fabrics. This shredding is why I try to avoid spray adhesive when embroidering on Minky. Imagine the mess you can make with the adhesive, Minky lint and the speed of your embroidery machine. Kind of makes me shudder.

Each embroidery project you tackle is a challenge that you can overcome. Just use some common sense, pull from your past experiences (okay, mistakes – heavens knows, I’ve made hundreds!), take a deep breath and move forward. Remember, it’s just fabric and thread, not muscle and bone.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell me about an embroidery project you are most proud of accomplishing. TWO lucky individuals will win the Crazy Quilt Series 1 (in 4 sizes!) courtesy of Molly Mine.

This is a series of 20 blocks in 4” x 4”, 5” x 5”, 6” x 6” and 8” x 8” sizes. All blocks and sizes are included and all blocks are completely embellished! Simple applique designs that need no turning or ironing!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

Tell me what you like best about attending embroidery events and you could win a one-year subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidery.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The winner is…Anna Cameron!

“It’s the atmosphere and exciting hum of the place. Its is so easy to talk to the other ladies or gentlemen because you know you have one thing in common.” – Anna Cameron


How to stitch on baby soft knit fabric

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Those stretchy, skinny t-shirts are so popular. Here are some tips on how to stitch them successfully. First, the right embroidery design for the right fabric is crucial. Don’t try to force a design on any fabric. Look at the limitations of this baby soft knit fabric (sheer, 4-way stretch and nubby). That’s an embroidery suicide if approached wrong! So let’s control what we can.


The stabilizer has to disappear after the embroidery process. Our choices pare down to water soluble or heat away stabilizer. The stabilizer also has to hold the fabric stretched beyond its relaxed position during the stitching process so an adhesive is best. Use a water soluble adhesive stabilizer.


It’s a knit fabric so a ball point needle (70/10) will do the job.


I’m going to use-Snap Hoop because it’s flat and lets me stretch the fabric without distorting the fibers.


A low stitch count design will allow the fabric to relax and stretch between the stitches – keeping the garment comfortable and wearable.

I love this design featured in the Crosses collection from Anita Goodesign but I know this dense fill will destroy the delicate fabric.

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Fortunately, the collection was designed with fashion in mind so the same design comes in a raw edge appliqué version. Perfect for this trendy fabric.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

What if you don’t have the luxury of different versions of a design? Dissect the design in question and scale it down to an outline or sketched embroidery design in machine embroidery editing software. Remove whole color segments and see what’s left. Often, you’ll find a sketched outline and details that will work. Take a few moments to play with the design in your software.

Now that the variables are under control, it’s time to focus on the planning and hooping.

Print a template of the design. Place the t-shirt on a dress form and audition the template(s).

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Verify placement and slide a target sticker under the template to mark the center of the design. Remove the template.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Carefully turn the shirt INSIDE OUT and place it back on the dress form. Your design area will now be in mirror image on the form.

It might help you see the entire embroidery design again at this point so just tape the template back on the shirt. Flip the template over to view in mirror image and tape it to the shirt. Mark the outer edges of the design with removable chalk.

Select your hoop and place it over the design area to verify you have the right hoop. You might want to chalk the outer edges of the hoop. But this is just for reference, it’s not a crucial alignment mark.

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Remove the hoop and the template.

Cut a piece of water soluble adhesive stabilizer larger than the selected hoop. Remove the protective paper from the stabilizer. Adhere the sticky stabilizer to the design area using the chalked marks as a guide. Smooth the stabilizer to the fabric over the form. This can be a bit awkward but you’ll get another chance to smooth the layers after the garment is removed.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Remove the shirt from the dress form (don’t dislodge the target sticker). Smooth the stabilizer.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Place the shirt over the hoop’s outer ring or over the flat metal frame of Snap-Hoop or Quick-Snap.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Place the inner ring inside of the hoop and capture the design area in the hoop.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

In Snap-Hoop or Quick-Snap, pull the fabric taut in the frame. Nest the rest of the shirt around the hoop.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Attach the hoop to the machine, center the needle over the target sticker. Remove the target sticker and stitch the design. I often use painter’s tape to hold the fabric away from the design area.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Remove the hoop from the machine. Gently peel the adhesive away from the shirt and trim all excess stabilizer. Rinse the stabilizer under running water to activate the dissolving process. Fill a container with this solution: ¾ water; ¼ fabric softener. Soak the t-shirt in the solution for about 30 minutes. Agitate the water occasionally. Rinse thoroughly. Wash right side out in the washing machine with like-colored garments. Air dry.

Once dry, you’ll notice a bit of puckering around the stitches.

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No worry – once the garment is on, the fabric and stitches will be stretched – and flat! Works every time (well, for me, hope it does for you too!)

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell me about your embroidery habits.  Are you stitching Valentine and Spring themed projects now?  Or maybe you are the type to get ahead of schedule and you’re stitching for the summer or fall?  Post your comment for a chance to win 30 Favorite Embroidery Tips & Techniques.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

There were TWO opportunities to win in last week’s assignment.

The winner of the Little Black Tee answered the following question:

Tell me what fabric you find to be the most challenging to embroider on? Post your comment on this blog and you’ll be entered for a chance to win The Little Black Tee!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The lucky winner is: Judith Torphy!
“I find knits with lycra the most difficult.  I will truly put your great tips to work.” – Judith

The winner of the $100 Visa Gift Card will be randomly selected later this week.  Stay tuned!



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