Archive of ‘Wearables’ category

A New Bag

Nothing puts a little kick in your step quite like a new handbag – especially when you make it yourself. Once or twice a year, I like to dip into my fabric stash and see what I can use to create a new bag. I gather some materials I’ve been hoarding, I mean saving, and see if they would work together. Handbag Supplies - Eileen Roche

I knew I wanted to make another grommet bag from Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs. I really like the grommets but I also like ready-made straps. It seems the best ones, (right length, width and material -microfiber) come with a ring attached at the end. Grommets for handbag

The ring doesn’t work with the grommets but I wasn’t going to let the closed ring stop me, I have a seam ripper! So I released the stitches from each end and unbraided the strap. It left me with two slits on each end. Hmmm…I placed them on my cutting table for a few days in the hope a good idea would pop into my head.

Modified purse strap

Once my materials are gathered, I take my time and work on the bag over several days (ok, maybe weeks!). This gives me time to think the process through, make some subtle design changes, overcome any challenges and enjoy the whole process.

I start by measuring the bag I’m currently favoring and decide if I want to duplicate that size or make adjustments. I’ve learned through the years, the larger my bag, the more stuff I pack in there. So reducing the space is a good idea for me, less clutter, less bulk, less weight. I decided my new bag would be a bit shorter than my current favorite. Then I cut and interface my outer fabric.

Next, I prepare my four corner appliques by hooping just the faux suede and stitching the Corner App design from Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs. Then I stash my pre-cut applique pieces in a plastic baggie to keep them safe. While I was stitching the appliques, I turned my attention to the straps.

I was concerned about trimming the straps above the slits as this would make the straps too short. So, I decided to just stitch them closed.

Stitching straps closed

It looked so pretty that I stitched from end to end to make it a decorative detail. I used the triple zigzag stitch on my BERNINA 830. It’s normally a functional stitch but looks great on this strap!

Triple zigzag stitch

On Monday, I’ll show you some speed techniques for embroidering the corners and grommets.

Here’s your assignment this week: Leave a comment below about what size bag you prefer. Small, medium, large or jumbo-jet size? One comment will be chosen to receive a copy of Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs by Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman.Handbags 2 - Designer Knockoffs
The winner of last week’s assignment :Sewing Spoolie invites you to win a Slimline box of fabulous thread along with the pre-digitized designs to make all seven of the Spoolies in Sulky’s Collection #1. These popular sewing-themed designs, from the imagination of Joyce Drexler, are as fun as they are creative. And if you’ve ever tried to keep your stabilizers organized, you’re going to love Sue Hausmann’s bonus project included with the package. The whole package is a retail value of nearly $150 including 22 – 250 yd. spools of Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread, a 475 yd. spool of Bobbin Thread, and a CD with the seven Spoolie designs and bonus project. If you win, it’s all yours from Sulky. Now, go Express Yourself! Leave a comment below on where you would embroider a Spoolie to be entered!blog adAnd the winner is… Karen P – “Oh my gosh!! These are so cute!!! I would stitch them onto a bunch of tote bags that I have that I use for various different things, one is my Quilt Guild bag, one is my Crochet project bag, another has hand embroidery squares that I bring with me while waiting at various appointments, and so on. Plus, how could I resist putting a few of them on a sweatshirt or two!!! Ohhh I hope I won this one!!”



Multi-Needle Monday: Fast & Easy Applique

Aprons are the perfect accessory – whether you’re cooking in the kitchen, tending a garden or stitching in your sewing room.  I recently purchased these oh-so-cute aprons and knew they’d be the perfect accessory to wear at our Stitching Sisters events.  As I’ll show you – you don’t need to shy away from large print fabrics.  Applique is the key!

First, find the center of the apron bib by folding the apron in half or use a target ruler. Place a target sticker on the apron to mark the center.


Prepare the applique fabric by fusing fusible webbing to the wrong side of the applique fabric. Let the fabric cool and remove the protective paper.


Hoop the bib with tear-away stabilizer in a 5” x 7” hoop. I used Multi-Needle Snap Hoop Monster since the flat top makes trimming applique very easy.


Retrieve the embroidery design. On the editing screen, touch the multi-spool icon. Travel through the design and place a stop (touch the hand) at color 2 and 3. Assign the proper colors if necessary. Touch close.

If you have a camera on the multi-needle machine, use it to center the needle over the target sticker.


Touch the camera icon again to close the camera and touch Sewing. Stitch color 1, the placement guide.


Lay the prepared applique fabric over the outline. Stitch color 2, the tackdown.


Touch the hoop icon at the bottom of the screen to move the hoop out for access to the applique.


Trim the excess applique fabric close to the stitched outline. Apron7

Stitch color 3, the satin outline, color 4, the inner satin accent, the bean stitch outline and the text.


Here’s my Stitching Sister and me at our recent event in Sacramento with Meissner’s Sewing & Vacuum. What a great event! I wonder if it was the aprons!


Discreet is the Word – Monogramming for Men


It’s not too late to show your dad how much you care about him. And nothing says it better than stitches. Just remember to keep the embroidery subtle. Here’s a few timely tips on stitching for men.


If there’s one word to describe monogramming on menswear, it’s discreet; discreet in size and contrast. Now don’t go by my samples – my samples are done for photography – highly contrasting so you can see them well on camera. But when stitched for someone to actually wear, a discreet monogram is the one most gentlemen will be comfortable wearing.

You have several choices when it comes to placing the monogram. Some very popular choices are on the pocket, above the pocket, or on the pocket flap if there is one, on the left cuff, inside the placket between the second and third button or on the placket at the bottom, just below the last button on the top placket and just for identification purposes: inside the collar.


There are countless ways to arrange the letters but I’ve focused on three versions of the three-letter monogram. The traditional diamond shape: first name initial, last name initial and middle name initial. The two outer letters are proportionally smaller than the middle letter. Diamond

The standard order: first, middle and last initial – all the same size. Standard

On the pocket flap, go for a contemporary approach with the first initial stacked over the middle initial. This ‘tower’ of letters is equal in size to the last initial. Take this approach when the garment is a casual shirt like flannel, worn every day. Contemp

Let’s take a look at how you do it.

Pocket Flap

Find the vertical center of the flap. Place a target sticker just right of the edge of the flap. Hoop sticky stabilizer and place the hoop under the Perfect Alignment Laser. Turn on the laser and center the hoop under the laser. Position the flap on the sticky stabilizer. Smooth the flap on the stabilizer making sure the shirt is not caught under the flap.


Support the weight of the shirt while transporting the hoop to the machine. Attach the hoop on the machine and verify the needle is centered over the target sticker. Remove the sticker and embroider the monogram.


Button the left cuff and place it on a flat surface. Cuff2

Place the Perfect Placement Kit Cuff template on the cuff, aligning the fold with the template fold line and the topstitching line with the topstitching. Slide a target sticker under the template – use A for sizes small and medium and B for Large and extra-large.


Unbutton the sleeve and pull the sleeve inside out. Hoop adhesive stabilizer and center the hoop under the Perfect Alignment Laser. Slide the cuff under the beam, aligning the crosshairs. Attach the hoop to the machine and embroider the monogram.

These small precise monograms take under three minutes to stitch – you could do a whole closetful in an afternoon!


Here’s your assignment this week:

What is your most appreciated mens embroidery project? Was it the golf club covers you made for your son-in-law, the personalized seat covers for your husband? Tell us the project that wowed and one comment will be chosen to receive a $25 gift certificate to spend on the DIME website. Thank you for reading and good luck!


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

If you owned the Scrollwork Alphabet from EmbroideryOnline, where would you stitch the designs? What thread colors would you use? One comment will be randomly selected and will win a copy of Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Lessons.

And the winners is..Susan M. “Greetings Eileen. I think the showcased monogram would look stunning on a accent pillow for any room in the house.. one or multiple initials. Thanks for sharing.”

Embroidering on Children’s Shirts

We received a message from Melinda on our Facebook page asking for some tips for embroidering on children’s shirts. Here are my top 10 tips for embellishing children’s shirts with machine embroidery.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

1. Keep it light. Kids hate stiff, itchy embroidery so select embroidery designs that have a low-stitch count.

2. Use applique to add impact. Fun colors and funky fabrics infuse a lot of spunk into plain t-shirts without adding the dreaded bullet-proof embroidered shield!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

3. Look for applique designs that are on the small size – under 3” x 3”. Jumbo designs overwhelm a small figure.

4. Get the placement right. Depend on the Children’s Perfect Placement Kit to help with locating the correct position for designs on children’s garments, size infant to youth large.Eileen's Children's Perfect Placement Kit

5. Ask the child (if old enough) for input on favorite colors, shapes, characters and designs. If they help design it, they’ll love wearing it.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

6. Rely on fusible polymesh stabilizer to eliminate the stretch in knits. It’s a strong cut-away and very comfortable.

7. Don’t be afraid to slit a side seam to make hooping easier. Knits don’t ravel so you won’t have to worry about frayed edges if you don’t have a serger.

8. After all embroidery is complete, add a fusible lightweight, tricot knit interfacing to the wrong side of the embroidery. This delicate, sheer cover-up will camouflage the bobbin threads and eliminate the ‘itch’ factor.

9. Lighten up your expectations. Kids are not only finicky but they grow so fast! Save the heirloom techniques for really memorable occasions when the effort will be worth it.

10. Look for ways to extend an active child’s wardrobe by adding embroidered borders to lengthen hemlines and cover stains. You’ll be glad you did if the child gets another season out of a garment.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell us what your favorite children’s theme is for the Summertime goodies you are crafting. FOUR lucky comments will be chosen to receive $25 to spend at the Applique for Kids website. Thanks and good luck!

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The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Here’s your assignment this week:
What vintage goodies from your grandmother, great-grandmother or other special family member do you have tucked away? It’s time to pull the linens out and use them as inspiration! For those feeling especially social, take a photo and post to our Facebook page! (No worries, everyone who just posts a comment on the blog has a chance to win!)One comment will be randomly selected and will win a $25 shopping spree to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

Designs in Machine Embroidery Shopping Spree

And the winner is…Shumidog “Even though most of my aunts at one time worked at the Coats and Clark factory in Central Falls, RI which made cotton embroidery thread none embroidered. Knitting and crochet were their forte and I have a number of items including doilies and bureau scarves.”

Multi-Needle Monday | Applique and Onesies – Oh, My!

Applique and stitching on onesies have always challenged my multi-needle machine skills. First, trimming applique in those deep standard hoops is tricky on a small item. I can’t seem to get my scissors to trim close enough to the stitch line in those hoops without nipping the base fabric. And of course, hooping a onesie when the design requires a larger than 4” x 4” hoop is almost impossible. Multi-Needle Monster Hoop solves both of those problems. Let me show you how.

Iron fusible polymesh stabilizer to the wrong side of the onesie shirt front extending the stabilizer above the neckline if your design has to stitch close to the ribbing.

Tape the embroidery design template onto the onesie. I use PAL to make sure the template is square on the garment before I tape it down. One1-1

Slide the magnetic frame (magnets side up) inside the shirt.   Place the metal Monster Hoop frame on top, aligning the frames. One2

Lift the frame and pull the back of the onesie over the frame. The metal arms of the frame will hold the onesie in place. One3

Check the back of the hoop to make sure nothing is caught under the hoop. Attach the hoop to the machine, center the design on the template’s crosshair and begin to stitch the applique. One4

After tacking down the applique fabric, remove the hoop and place it on a flat surface while trimming. Hold the hoop by the metal arms, not the frames, while transporting the hoop. One5

Reattach the hoop to the machine and slide your hand under the design area to make sure nothing is caught under the hoop. One6

There you have it! Never been easier. One7

7 days FREE at It’s Sew Easy

ISE 603-3 PIC 1 (3)

I’m always so excited to head to the It’s Sew Easy studio to tape new embroidery projects.  It’s a whirlwind of activity and usually involves a snowstorm or two.  Taping occurs in northern Ohio in February and although the natives think nothing of 3, 6 or 10 inches of snow, the guests have completely different thoughts.  And no matter how many times you check the weather on your laptop, ipad or phone app, there’s bound to be snow on the ground when you land with more scheduled to arrive before your early morning wake-up call.

I learned so much about preparing for weather when I taped my first appearance on It’s Sew Easy in 2011. Maybe you remember how I moaned about that experience in a previous post:

The car rental agent informed me that the Cleveland area was getting 8” of snow that night. Really?  How could that be?  I checked the weather and packed a coat but no boots, no hat, no scarf.  I had on– oh absolutely a southern rookie mistake here – clogs!  Clogs?  For heaven’s sake, I could hear my mother now, “You might as well be barefoot!”

Smart girl that I am, I trudged to the nearest mall and bought boots.  Now I really felt prepared for the morning.  Ha! What I should have done was head to Home Depot and got a shovel. Have you ever stayed at a hotel with a rental car in a snowstorm?  And absolutely had to be somewhere at 7:30 in the morning? Pretty darn hard to dig your car out with a credit card and a measly rental car-supplied brush that resembles a chop stick.

It was no different when I taped episode 603. Although this time I came prepared! I stayed at my sister’s house!  Marie had the right car, tires and more outerwear than I would ever need.  She picked me up at the airport, stayed at the hotel and then dropped me at the airport after it was all said and done.  Not only did Marie hang with me – she also taped her first segments on It’s Sew Easy! She helped me deal with the weather and I helped her deal with the pressure of taping a television segment.  MZ

Even though we weren’t on air together, we got to tape on the same day. We helped each other tag, bag and organize all of our step-outs in perfect sequence.  We are a great support team – we always have each other’s back whether we’re taping a television segment, writing a book or teaching a seminar. I couldn’t do half of what I do without Marie!  MZ_ER

Join me at this week to view episode 603, FREE for 7 days. In my segment, you’ll learn how to work with templates and a dress pattern to make an embroidered tunic.  I’ve highlighted easy steps for a professional finish that complements your best feature – your smile!  You’ll learn how to cut out the pattern, create the embroidery layout, cut the fabric and how to hoop and embroider the fabric while it’s still flat.

Marie’s appearance occurs in another segment of season 6.  Stay tuned for her showing – I’ll post it here.

Monogram of the Month

Spend a few inspiring minutes browsing embroidery boards on Pinterest and you’ll spot a monogrammed shirt pocket. Define your search a bit to monogrammed pockets and you’ll find dozens, maybe hundreds of images. Inspiration abounds!

Here’s how to add a monogram to a pocket. And yes, it does involve a seam ripper. Remove the pocket from the shirt. Leave the stitches at the top left pocket in place to make it easier to align after the embroidery. Find and mark the center of the pocket. I used a target ruler and target sticker.

Hoop adhesive tear-away stabilizer or water-activated tear-away, I used water activated tear-away. Sponge a little water over the hooped surface to activate the adhesive. Place the hoop under PAL, the Perfect Alignment Laser, aligning the laser crosshair with the hoop’s horizontal and vertical center marks. Slide the pocket onto the stabilizer, aligning the target sticker with the laser crosshair. Smooth the pocket onto the sticky surface.

Gently lift and carry the hoop to the machine. Attach the hoop to the machine and support the weight of the shirt on the machine table. Do not let the shirt extend over the table. As the monogram stitches, make sure the shirt stays out of the sewing field.

Remove the hoop from the machine.

Carefully remove the excess stabilizer. Press the pocket and reposition it on the shirt. Topstitch the pocket to the shirt in matching thread.

Here’s your assignment this week:

What embroidery product on the Designs in Machine Embroidery website is on your wishlist?  Who knows, maybe you’ll see that product go on special in the near future! Post your comments for a chance to win a 1 year subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

How many times has this happened to you? Share your story below and one comment will be chosen to receive a $25 gift certificate to the DIME store.

The winner is…Dianne D.
“Oh yes, this happened to me. I sent a sample photo of the monogram for a monogrammed baby gift and they OK’d the design. I then went to stitch it out and decided to make it a little smaller, so I retyped the name, made it smaller, stitched it out, took pictures of it, admired my work, and shipped it to the happy Mom. Sent photos to the Mom after it was shipped and right away she emailed me and said you spelled the name wrong. Talk about humiliation and I am a perfectionist. Don’t know how I missed it. Of course I sent her another one right away and she was very pleased and wrote me a beautiful review. Thank goodness.”



How to Stitch a Onesie with Hoop Guard

Don’t you hate it when you’re working on a large (or small project) and as soon as you turn your back on the machine, a portion of the fabric (that’s not in the hoop) falls into the sewing field? It never seems to fail that the more time and materials I have invested in a project, the more trouble happens down the road.  Last summer, I was quilting several large quilts – bed size quilts – on my embroidery machine.  I spent many hours, repositioning the quilt to quilt a new area and several times, the quilt roll would fall into the sewing field.  Luckily, I was nearby, so I was able to avoid disaster. But it got me thinking, couldn’t there be a device that creates a barrier between the roll and the sewing field?

After a trip to the hardware store and a bit of experimentation, I met with our engineer. Several prototypes later, Hoop Guard was born.  I’m so excited about this new product!  I’ve used it on quilts and bulky terrycloth towels but I recently discovered how handy it is for small items too.  Let me show you how it works for an onesie.

Fuse polymesh cut-away stabilizer to the wrong side of the front of the suit. Mark the location of the design and turn the snap suit inside out.

Since a baby’s snap suit is small, select a small Monster Snap Hoop (4” x 4”).  Separate the metal frame from the top magnetic frame. Bottom frame embroidery hoop

Place the onesie over the metal frame, with the suit’s front (design area) laying on the frame. Position the neck at the bottom (closest to you) of the frame. Onesie on hoop

Attach the Hoop Guard to the bottom of the magnetic frame (the part closest to you when attached to the machine). Hoop Guard snaps onto the bottom of the magnetic frame with the barrier on the outside of the frame. Hoop Guard onto frame

Insert the magnetic frame with the Hoop Guard into the suit from the leg opening.  Thread Hoop Guard through the neck.  Hoop Guard Onesie

Pull the bulk of the suit over the Hoop Guard, exposing the design area.  Easy onesie

Attach the hoop to the machine. Verify the top and bottom frames are aligned with your hands. Trace the design to verify the needle will only stitch on the design area.  HG6 HG7 hg8

Add water soluble stabilizer over the design area and stitch the design. HG9

Voila!  HG10

I love Hoop Guard – it’s so handy for many embroidery tasks.   If you’d like to learn more about it, you can watch a video here.


Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell us what project you would stitch first with a Hoop Guard. One lucky comment below will be chosen to receive their very own Hoop Guard!


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Do you have a favorite accent that you like to add to a monogram? Maybe a pineapple, pine cone, seashell or something along those lines? One comment will be chosen to receive a gift certificate to the DIME store for $25!


The winner is… Lisha  “I like to use a tiny honeybee or fleur de lis for myself” – Congratulations Lisha!

Multi-Needle Monday | Sneakers

Table Top 9572Monogramming is sweeping the Southern region of the USA. My Stitching Sister Marie Zinno and recently taught in Augusta, GA and we’ll saw monogrammed cell phones, shirts, handbags, hats, shoes, boots and even automobiles.

One of our students, Bonnie Blinson, was sporting these to-die-for boots.  Boot1

She did an awesome job on those boots. She told me she just slid the boot shaft over the Quick Snap metal frame, snapped the magnets in place, held her breath and touched Start. She was delighted when it turned out perfectly, not once, but twice!

Since I didn’t have a pair of boots on hand to demo the technique, I thought I’d share a how-to on the same approach for sneakers.

Here’s what you’ll need: Quick-Snap Hooping system, tear-away stabilizer and one pair of tennis sneakers.

If there’s a label on the tongue, remove it. Measure the design area at the top of the tongue. Use this measurement to create your lettering.  The monogram on the sample, LZ, is 1.40” x 1.75” while the tongue measures 3 ¼” wide. Once you’ve selected your monogram, make sure it will fit on the tongue with open space around the monogram.

Create the monogram in software, print a template of it and audition it on the tongue.  Tape it in place or slide a Target Sticker under the template aligning the crosshairs. Make any necessary adjustments and send the design to the machine.

Remove the arms on the multi-needle machine. MMSneak1

Place the Quick Snap attachment on the machine.  MMSneak2

Tighten the gray screws as tight as they will go. MMSneak3

Select the 2” x 4” metal frame and three magnets. Place a piece of tear-away stabilizer behind the tongue and lay the tongue over the frame with the shoe at the end of the frame. Snap the magnets on the frame to hold both the stabilizer and tongue. MonoSneak4

Use the camera to locate the target sticker. Center the machine’s crosshair (on the screen) over the target sticker’s crosshair. Trace the design making sure the needle will not hit the frame or magnets.  If you have a flat surface under your machine, rest the shoe on it. MonoSneak5

Remove the target sticker.  Stay with the machine during the embroidery process.  You may have to support the weight of the shoe during the stitching. Stitch the monogram. Repeat for the second shoe.  How easy was that?

What is the most unique item you’ve monogrammed?

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.

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