Archive of ‘Wearables’ category

Handbags You Can Knockoff

Handbags 2

Nancy Zieman and I have seen so many versions of Designer Handbags (our first handbag embroidery collection and book), we decided to create a second series, Designer Knockoffs, Handbags 2.  This collection focuses on trendy grommets, beautiful and functional pockets plus in-the-hoop techniques. I have to admit, I love these new bags!  Let me show you my favorite details.

The grommets are highlighted by subtle embroidered details while precisely stitched cut lines are hidden underneath the grommets. This combo of function and beauty guarantees success for all embroiderers and produces extremely professional results.

I think many of you would agree that the best part of making your own bag is customizing it to your needs. Nancy shares her coveted technique for making interior pockets and I love how my personal items – cellphone, nail file, pen and more – each have a special storage spot, nestled under a monogrammed label! Love that! Interior Pocket

If you’re a fan of exterior pockets, then you’ll enjoy a roomy exterior pocket like the Scallop lace pocket – created in the hoop.  It looks complicated but I’ve added some key elements to make the continuous embroidery easy to duplicate. I share two continuous embroidery techniques in the book – applicable to any embroidery machine. Scalloped Pocket

In addition to the book, Nancy invited me to teach the whole process on Sewing with Nancy. You can watch online here. Of course, what you see on television doesn’t reveal all of the prep that goes into taping or writing or book. And it always seems to start with my suitcase practically imploding in Nancy’s office. Truth be told, there’s nothing glamorous about this career. Even the airline employees shake their head when see how many bags I check for such short journeys!  Packed suitcase

But once it’s all sorted out in the conference room, we make a list and then divide and conquer. Sorting

Nancy handles the script and tricky sewing details and I man the embroidery machine.Embroidery machine

After a bit, okay – HOURS of stitching, we’re ready to pack the van to head to the studio. Van

And before you know it, we’re sitting on the set of Sewing with Nancy. Sewing with Nancy

And now Designer Knockoffs, Handbags 2, is available for you to watch and make your own bags. I can’t wait to see the fabrics and grommets you select.  Before you get started, tell me what your favorite bag is: the red diamond bag, teal scallop pocket purse, the green starburst bag or the small clutch.  Two lucky winners will get an autographed copy of Designer Knockoffs, Handbags 2.  Bags-1

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell me which of the bags above is your favorite; the red diamond, teal scallop pocket purse, green starburst or the small clutch. Two lucky winners will get an autographed copy of Designer Knockoffs, Handbags 2! Good luck.

The winner of last week’s assignment:

Thanks for the help with my holiday linen update! Leave a question below that you’d like me to answer. I’ll answer one random question and award an open flat stocking you can personalize this holiday season. Good luck!

The winner is Gail M.

Q: When will “Sewing with Nancy” broadcast the Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs? It was advertised in the latest issue of your magazine that it was to be broadcast on November 24th. It was not on her show last Saturday up here in Michigan.

A: Gail you can watch the show now online, just click here. And congratulations on winning the flat stocking!

Wrapped in Embroidery


Joanne Banko

Joanne Banko

We’ve been drooling over our latest book release, “Wrapped in Embroidery, Machine Embroidered Wraps and Cozy Cover-Ups” by Joanne Banko.  If you love to wear your embroidered creations, then you”ll understand why.

I’m so excited about this book. Joanne really gets how a fashionable woman wants to look and she’s tuned into how busy we all are! She made her techniques simple to master and enjoyable to wear.  I recently had the privilege to interview Joanne. Read on to learn more.

Tell me three things our readers would be surprised to know about you.
I purchased my first embroidery machine almost 20 years ago and still have the first project I ever made. It was a vest with paisley designs and I almost wore it out.I still have the second project too. I made a pillow and I never closed the back opening. To this day it still has pins in it!I scribble down ideas when they pop into my mind but I sometimes “lose” the thought because I can’t read my own handwriting.
Describe your perfect vacation day.
My perfect day would be warm and sunny. You would find me lounging outdoors (in a shady spot!) with a pile of magazines and books by my side. A refreshing swim followed by a delicious stir fry would complete a perfectly relaxing vacation day.
Describe your perfect work day.
My average work day can be quite varied. I may be home designing, writing and stitching, or I may be away at a sewing event or teaching a class. No matter where I am or what I am doing, my perfect work day ends with the hope that I have taught a fellow sewing enthusiast something new or inspired them to stitch something special, enjoying every stitch along the way!

Joanne's work room/playroom

Joanne’s work room/playroom

Finish the sentence: Nobody knows …
wanted to be a cheer leader but I could not do the splits, so now I’m happy to cheer on fellow sewing fanatics.
What is your favorite thing to do other than sewing/embroidering?
Swim in the summer, read in the winter.


What is your favorite project you have created over the years?
I have many, many favorites and usually I am highly enthused about whatever I am currently creating. However, I think one of my all-time favorites was a small sewing themed wall hanging. I scanned and then printed “antique” pattern envelopes onto fabric and pieced them together with sewing themed embroidery designs. I gave the finished item to a friend and she hung it in her office for years.
Do you prefer to design from scratch or do a makeover?
I would prefer to design from scratch, partly because I love the make it yourself process from start to finish. Even trimming pattern pieces is fun for me. However, when I do embellish a ready-made I get the same “I made it myself” satisfaction. After all a makeover is basically a blank made beautiful!
Share one embroidery tip that every embroiderer should know.
Buy it when you see it and you’ll have it when you need it . . . stock up on commonly used basic supplies like needles, thread, and stabilizers. Nothing kills creativity like having to stop to go shop
What 5 things can you not live without?
I’ll stick with the subject of sewing or this list could get really long.

  1. My sewing and embroidery machine of course, for turning my “want to do list” into my “can do” list.
  2. My full featured software program. Combined with my machine the possibilities are limitless.
  3. My students and sewing friends. They inspire me with their talents and make “sew business” so much fun!
  4. My Snap Hoop. I make lots of greeting cards and this hoop holds cardstock and blank cards in place as I stitch away meaningful sentiments.
  5. My curved tip scissors for embroidered cutwork, appliqué, and trimming itty bitty thread tails nice and close.
  6. Bright daylight bulbs in my sewing room ceiling fixture. They make me feel like nighttime never comes which is great for sewing after dark.
What is your favorite afternoon snack?
Toasted almonds along with a yellow delicious apple.
What one item do you cook or bake really well?
Veggie style pizza.
When you were 12 years old, what did you dream of being when you grew up?
Honestly, at 12 I didn’t have a clue. However, once I started sewing at 13 I wanted to own a boutique full of my own creations! I dreamt of sewing and sleeping upstairs, and filling the storefront below with unique garments and accessories.

Are you more creative during the early morning hours, midday, or do you burn the midnight oil?
While I love mornings I have to say I am an incurable night owl. I get my best ideas when I should be sleeping.
What is your motto?
“To test is best”, make lots of samples. You’ll learn from your flops and failures, and be energized by your success stories.
Name one talent or skill you wish you had.
I wish I could knit or crochet.
Which do you prefer—milk, white, or dark chocolate?
I could say all of the above but when push comes to shove dark chocolate wins!
What one word best describes you?
Finish the sentence:  My mother taught me….
Enough to write a book . . . but above all she taught me to be thankful and to stick to your core beliefs and values

Thank you to everyone that has voted for this blog in the Craftsy Blogger Awards. The final round of voting has begun and thanks to you I’ve made it! Please vote for me in the final round here and by doing so you’ll be entered to win a free Craftsy class of your choice. Good luck and thank you for your support!

Here’s your assignment this week:

It sounds like Joanne’s mother taught her all the right things. If you finish the sentence: My mother taught me…4 lucky jewels of wisdom will be chosen to receive a $25.00 gift certificate to Katelyn’s Kreative Stitches.* Good luck!

Katelyns Kreative Stitches

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Tell us a feature you’d like to see in our magazine! Are you interested in a column about stabilizers? Want to see a dedicated piece on wall decorations, lamp shades – whatever it is let us know! One lucky reader will win Volumes 80-82. Comment below to win. Thanks and good luck!

Machine Embroidered Monograms for the Home

And the winner is…“I want to finish my post about table linens. i would buy a book on how to make fine table linens. i am interested in where to get good fabrics and how to finish the edges as well as how to stabilize for layering designs and embellishment.” – Kathy F.

Embroidered Infinity Scarf

A huge shout out of gratitude to all of our Blog tour stops –Peas in a Pod, Riley Blake Designs, Nancy Zieman, We all Sew, Stitched by Crystal and Totally Stitching. The Be the Difference Foundation is honored to have all of these talented women participate in the drive to spread the awareness of ovarian cancer. Thank you!

Splash a little color on a trendy infinity scarf with feminine scrolls. This lightly-digitized design is part of a larger design and flows fluidly on this delicate rayon fabric.


  • One purchased infinity scarf
  • Water soluble mesh-type stabilizer
  • Embroider a Cure embroidery design #BTD005
  • Embroidery editing software

Open design BTD005 in embroidery editing software.

Select one scroll portion of the design.

Open a new screen and paste the scroll into the sewing field.

Rotate the design to make it easier to hoop.

Print a few templates of the design and audition them on the scarf. You might find it helpful to put the scarf on your neck, in the style you’ll wear, and place the templates in visible areas. Some of the embroidery will be buried in the twists and folds of the fabric but with a little planning you can make sure your embroidery will not be hidden.

Hoop the scarf with water soluble stabilizer and stitch the design. Rehoop as necessary until your embellishment is complete. My sample has 10 designs.

Trim the stabilizer close to the embroidery and rinse away the remainder. Once dry, press and wear!

Here’s your assignment this week:

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.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Tell us how you store your thread! We’d love to know if you keep it neat and organized by color, randomly piled in a plastic bin, kept on dowels – tell us! One random comment will be chosen to receive a $25.00 gift certificate to spend at the DIME store online. Good luck!

And the winner is…JJ “My thread is in plastic zip bags that came with my sheets and pillow cases. Some are large so I have embroidery thread in them and the smaller ones hold metallic or other varieties that I don’t have a large assortment. My serger thread is in a plastic bin. I too am on the look-out for something better but these work and it is recycling so it makes me feel good about using something I already have on hand.”

Momma’s Embroidered Do-Rag


It’s Kick-off Day for the Love my Scarf Blog Tour!  September is not only National Sewing Month but it’s also Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month so join us in making scarves for cancer patients. Our goal is to collect 10,000 scarves – that’s a lot of scarves so we’re going to need your help. Visit each of the stops on the blog tour – pick a favorite project or two and make a scarf.  You can send your scarf to us – we’re donating the scarves to cancer treatment centers here in Dallas, TX – or drop it off at participating sewing machine retailers all across the nation. The list of dealers is growing daily – look for the Love My Scarf Bin in your local shop. If you don’t spot, ask for it.   Many dealers are hosting Serge, Stitch and Sew days.  These events are open to all crafters – sewists, embroiderers, knitters and crocheters.  Wouldn’t it be fun to team with crafters a little bit out of your favorite hobby?  After all, we’re all fiber artists, no matter how you like to twist, bend, shape, cut, stitch or knit your fiber.

Momma’s Embroidered Do-Rag

Scarves don’t have to be long and flowing; they can also be snug and cozy. Also known as do-rags, they offer warmth and comfort for everyone and are perfect for people suffering from hair loss. Stitching a ‘do-rag’ is fast, easy and fun. In fact, you can stitch six from one yard (60″ wide) of four-way stretch knit. Add some delicate embroidery designs to put a feminine touch on this classy head wrap for a woman or go for a more masculine look for guys. They get cold too!

Five Ways to Wear

  1. Scrunch the tube together and slide it over your head. Keep part of the tube scrunched near the hairline and pull the remainder over the crown of the head to cover the head. Now, work the scrunched part down over the forehead.
  2. Turn the tube wrong side out. Slide your hands into the tube like a muff and pull the opposite end back onto itself. A knot will appear, work the knot close to one end. Use both hands to spread the tube open, creating a ‘cap’. Pull the cap over your head, with the knot towards the back of the head.
  3. Scrunch the tube together and slide it over your head. Leave it scrunched at the crown of the head to create a headband.
  4. Scrunch the tube together and slide it over your head. Keep part of the tube scrunched near the hairline and pull a bit back over the top of the head to create a wide headband.
  5. Wear around the neck.


  • Embroider-a-Cure* embroidery designs
  • Embroidery editing software
  • Water soluble mesh-type stabilizer

Open design #BTD014 from the Embroider-a- Cure design pack in your embroidery editing software. You can also use your own design, or buy the Embroider-a-Cure design pack to get access to design shown. You can find the pack at *A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each Embroider-a-Cure design pack will go to the Be The Difference Foundation, an organization dedicated to increasing the survival rates for women with ovarian cancer.

Select one ribbon.

Open a new screen and paste the ribbon into the sewing field.

Select your largest hoop and turn on the grid. Continue to copy/paste the ribbons and place them 2″ apart. Rotate each one individually to get a random appearance. Save the design and send it to your machine. Cut 4-way stretch knit fabric 21″ (crosswise stretch) x 20″. Place water soluble stabilizer (mesh-type) over the outer ring of the embroidery hoop. Place one corner of the fabric over the stabilizer. Insert one end of the hoop and gently stretch the fabric (crosswise stretch) before inserting the remainder of the hoop. Stretching the fabric before embroidering allows the fabric to expand during wear.

Attach the hoop to the machine stitch the design. Once complete, repeat the process and fill another area with ribbons. I stitched four hoopings on my fabric.

Slit the stabilizer between the rows then trim right next to the embroidery. The more stabilizer you remove, the easier it is to rinse away the remainder.
Fold in half, right sides together, so that the fabric now measures 10 ½” x 20″. Sew with ½” seam allowance. Leave the other ends unfinished, they’ll be hidden when worn.

T-shirt Do-Rag

This is great way to recycle -shirts. Cut the t-shirt across the body at the underarm seam. Keep the hem intact, you’ll use it as the front of the headband/scarf when worn.

Trim the t-shirt tube down to 9″ x 20″- it’s cut a bit narrower than the embroidered scarf because it will stretch more without the added embroidery.

Serge the side seam. Done!

How easy was that?


What is Love My Scarf?

Each year over 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. These women are our mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends. We aim to support these beautiful, courageous women by asking you to donate handmade or store-bought head scarves for them. Your scarf donation can be knitted, embroidered, embellished, crocheted or any other medium you prefer. We will donate all of the scarves you send in to cancer centers so that they can be used as head covers for women. Our goal is to donate 10,000 scarves and we hope you will join us and participate in Love My Scarf for these incredible women.


How to Participate

Visit your local sewing dealer and look for the Love My Scarf donation bin or mail your scarves to:
Attn: Be The Difference Foundation 2517 Manana Rd, Dallas, TX 75220

Love My Scarf Blog Tour Stops

Please stop by these blogs on the Love My Scarf Blog Tour and see their unique scarves which will all be donated at the end of the tour and see what prizes you can win along each stop as well.

August 28th Eileen Roche
August 29th Peas in a Pod
August 30th Riley Blake Designs
August 31st Nancy Zieman
September 1st We All Sew
September 2nd Stitched by Crystal
September 3rd Totally Stitchin
September 4th Eileen Roche


Be The Difference

The Be The Difference Foundation was formed by four ovarian cancer survivors in different phases of survivorship who all share the same passion, to Be the Difference and end the fight against ovarian cancer. Our mission is to help women increase their chance of survival of ovarian cancer by raising money to fund programs for better treatment options, effective early screening, symptomatic and genetic predisposition awareness and a cure. Learn more at

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell us how you store your thread! We’d love to know if you keep it neat and organized by color, randomly piled in a plastic bin, kept on dowels – tell us! One random comment will be chosen to receive a $25.00 gift certificate to spend at the DIME store online. Good luck!

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Do you have any unfinished embroidery projects piled in your sewing room?  Perhaps you started a baby quilt and the “baby” is all grown up now?  Or maybe you’re looking for just the right fabric too coordinate with the project?  Tell us about your unfinished project(s) and SIX lucky winners will win a $25 gift certificate to the Stunning Stitches website!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Visit the newly updated Stunning Stitches website featuring Alphabets & Monograms, Cross Stitch, In the Hoop, Native American designs and also Give Back Project Challenges!

And the winners are – Donna, Vickie, Linda E, Nancy W, Jacqueline C, and Maureen K.

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!

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!

The Machine Embroidered T-shirt


I’m just tickled pink that my latest class on Craftsy, The Machine Embroidered T-shirt, has launched! If you’re not familiar with Craftsy, it’s an excellent platform for learning intricate techniques. So I was thrilled when they decided to offer this class.

My goals in teaching this class were to make garments that you would truly want to wear and make garments that really teach technique.  I think I did that. But you can be the judge. Here’s a look at the t-shirts.


And some of the designs:


The techniques include stabilizing knits, continuous embroidery, free-standing applique, learning how to work with placement guides and neckline transformations.  All of Crafty’s classes are very thorough – they never let instructors leave you hanging for more details. And if you have a question, you can ask the teacher. Just type your question on the discussion board just to the right of the video and you’ll get an answer within 24 hours – often much sooner.

When I taught my first class on Craftsy, the Machine Embroidered Quilt, Craftsy taped my videos segments in my studio in Dallas. This time, they encouraged me to head to their place. I happily agreed because I love new experiences and it was scheduled for March in Denver. You know, Spring skiing!  Yippee! Oh wait, we’re talking about education here.

So let me give you a guided tour through the Craftsy studio.  First, you pull into this fun office park.


And since I’m nosy, I mean curious, I peeked into one of the nearby offices across the parking lot from Craftsy.  And this is what I spotted. I think I should hang this in my studio!


But since I was at Craftsy, I already had all of my ‘stuff done’. Good thing because once I entered this door, it was game on!


You can tell by the soundproofing insulation that improvements are always being made at Craftsy.


And props are handy.


And sets are stripped down and rebuilt in just no time.


But like any great company – Craftsy is all about the people. I was blessed with a terrific team – Andrew Harris, Tonya Nelson, and Nicole Perry.


We spent three full days together, had a ton of laughs and wrapped some very decent footage.  After that, I headed to the ski slopes with my sweet husband while the Craftsy crew put their heads together and produced a powerful class on machine embroidery on t-shirts for you.

And just for you, my dedicated readers, you can use this special link to receive 50% off my Machine Embroidered T-Shirt class! I hope you’ll check it out.

Here’s your assignment this week:

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!

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

We love Nancy and know you do too! Leave us a comment on the best thing you’ve learned from Nancy over the years and we’ll pick 4 random winners to receive items from the Nancy Zieman Sew Knits with Confidence blog tour. Up for grabs; one winner will get the Sew Knits with Confidence book + Newport Pullover pattern featured in this blog, our second winner gets the Monterey Knit Collection pattern, next up for grabs is a Santa Fe Dress & Top pattern and the last, but not least, winner will get a Cape Cod Jacket pattern – all by Nancy Zieman!

And the winners are…


  • Prize 1 – Barb G
  • Prize 2 – Carol S
  • Prize 3 – Belinda B
  • Prize 4 – Savanna


Congratulations to all our winners!

Nancy Zieman’s Sew Knits with Confidence Blog Tour

Blog-HeaderYeah! Another blog tour – combining a few of my favorite things – knits, anything designed by Nancy Zieman and gorgeous embroidery!  So what did I get when I put all those things together? A new favorite garment – my Newport Pullover Tunic, pattern designed by Nancy Zieman.  It’s the perfect canvas for embroidery – the cowl necks drapes softly over the shoulders displaying feminine embroidery designs and framing the face. The nifty little asymmetrical panel hits below the hip (that’s right– BELOW the hip! – thanks, Nancy!) and adds a playful touch to the garment.  It’s soooo comfortable to wear, you’ll want one too. There’s a good chance you could win the goods to make one of your own.

Here’s how I created my tunic. I selected a comfy lightweight knit in one of my fabric colors – a deep slate that pairs well with brights, black or grays. And then I set off on planning the embroidery in Perfect Placement Software – which includes a delicious assortment of fashion embroidery designs.

The Newport Pullover

Embroidery Products
Perfect Placement Software by Designs in Machine Embroidery available at your local sewing machine dealer or

Nancy Zieman’s Newport Pullover available at, view 2
Knit fabric per pattern requirements
Floriani Wet ‘n Gone Tacky

Step 1 – At the Computer
Open a new file in Perfect Placement Software. Select Embellishments, Eileen, Earthtones, EileenB.


Select Embellishments, Earthtones, EileenC.  Rotate and move EileenC to the left of the original design and resize it to 1.70” x .98”.Cowl2.

Select Embellishments, Earthtones, EileenA.  Connect EileenA to the left of EileenC.Cowl3

Copy, paste and mirror image EileenA. Move it to the far right. Go to Embellishments, Earthtones, EileenH and place EileenH on the end of EileenA.Cowl4


Save this file as CowlCenter and send it to your machine in the appropriate format.

You might find it helpful to send two smaller segments to your machine. This will be helpful to decorate the cowl once it’s pieced together. Send the EileenB and EileenC combo to the machine.Cowl6

Also send EileenA and EileenH to the machine.Cowl7

On lightweight jersey fabric shown in the sample, use an adhesive water soluble stabilizer such as Floriani Wet N Gone Tacky. Add a basting stitch to hold the fabric to the hooped stabilizer.  Stitch most of the designs on the flat fabric, starting in the center front and working towards the center back, one side at a time. At some point, the embroidery will be stitched across the center back seam. Do as much embroidery as possible before stitching the center back seam then add the embroidery across the seam.

But hey, don’t just take my word on how great Nancy’s pattern is, take a look at what these other blog tour participants did with one of Nancy’s patterns and view upcoming dates and links for the rest of the tour.

April 16, 2013 – Nancy Zieman the Blog

April 17, 2013 – Gretchen “Gertie” Hirsch

April 18, 2013 – Baby Lock

April 19, 2013 –  Sew Beautiful Magazine

April 20, 2013 –  Marie Madeline Studio

April 21, 2013 –  Pamela Erny

April 22, 2013 –  Amy Webb

April 23, 2013 – Sew News

April 24, 2013 – Eileen Roche

April 25, 2013 –  Riley Blake Designs

April 26, 2013 – The Sewing Loft Blog

April 27, 2013 – Nancy Zieman the Blog

Here’s your assignment this week:

We love Nancy and know you do too! Leave us a comment on the best thing you’ve learned from Nancy over the years and we’ll pick 4 random winners to receive items from the Nancy Zieman Sew Knits with Confidence blog tour. Up for grabs; one winner will get the Sew Knits with Confidence book + Newport Pullover pattern featured in this blog, our second winner gets the Monterey Knit Collection pattern, next up for grabs is a Santa Fe Dress & Top pattern and the last, but not least, winner will get a Cape Cod Jacket pattern – all by Nancy Zieman!

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Tell me how you get your embroidery fix, is it a daily activity or one you squeeze in when you find a free afternoon? Just leave a comment and you could win one of two Gold Memberships to Daily Embroidery. That’s a $120 value each!

Daily Embroidery’s Gold Membership program offers unlimited downloads to their massive and ever-growing design collection with two new designs added daily.

And the winners are…Leora B & Terrie Underwood! Congratulations!

Made by Hand and Delivered in Person

What better way to shower a first-time mother-to-be than by creating a gift from the heart. And if you can deliver it in person – all the better!  Last weekend, our family showered our niece with dozens of gifts for the new baby.  Lucky girl that she is, some of those gifts – well, many of those gifts – were made by hand. I gathered the handmade items for a photograph to share with you because I know many of you love to stitch for others.

Handmade Machine Embroidery Items

Two of my sisters created gorgeous items. The grandmother-to-be not only made a quilt and matching crib bumpers but also crocheted a blanket. The great-grands jumped into it too!  The gorgeous mint green crocheted blanket was made by her paternal great-grandmother. And my mom, the maternal great-grand, doesn’t sew or craft but she knows where to turn to get the job done. (No, she doesn’t turn to me!). A fellow assisted living resident crocheted the diaper bag and wipes container. Oh wow.  A big hit with the hipster parents-to-be.

A dear family friend, Kathy, made the sheep applique quilt.  Kathy is multi-talented in the crafting world and really pulled out all the stops with the quilt. Intricate piecing and raw edge applique are brought to life by gorgeous quilting.  Kathy is new to quilting but you would never know by the looks of this quilt.

The new babe’s room will be decorated with a Sunshine theme and my stitching sister Marie Zinno went to town on that theme.  She stole the show with her diaper cake, 12 onesies and embroidered pillow.


The gray daisy quilt in the background was my contribution to the new baby’s room.  I told the mother to use it, not hang it on the wall. I said, “When I see this quilt in a year or two, I want it to be rumbled and well-loved – not preserved!”

Marie and I were so lucky to attend and give these gifts to our niece in person. Our schedules are pretty intense but the shower was set around our Stitching Sisters events. The shower was in New Jersey on Sunday and we led some very lovely ladies in a 2-day hands-on seminar in Maryland on Friday and Saturday.  We had a blast with these fine ladies and many of them went home with new skills and goodies. Here’s a couple of happy faces.

Stitching Sisters Event

Then we hit the road and drove through the early spring farmlands of Southern New Jersey to arrive in time for the shower.  Whew!  But it was worth it. And we’re not done yet.  In two weeks we head to one of our favorite dealerships in the country, Moore’s Sewing in Pomona and Huntington Beach, CA. It’s been two years since our last visit and we have an all-new presentation for George Moore and his customers.  We can’t wait to get there – in fact, I’m pretty sure Marie is already packing her bags cause it’s still gray and dreary in Ohio!


Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell me how you get your embroidery fix, is it a daily activity or one you squeeze in when you find a free afternoon?  Just leave a comment and you could win one of two Gold Memberships to Daily Embroidery. That’s a $120 value each!

Daily Embroidery’s Gold Membership program offers unlimited downloads to their massive and ever-growing design collection with two new designs added daily.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

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

And the winner is…”I too absolutely hate hand stitching or sewing. I always try to find another way somehow to sew by machine if anyway possible! I love your embroidery techniques and your embroidery stipple products! These are the 3 that I do not have and would very much love to have them. Hope I can be a winner this time around! Thanks so much for all of your quilt projects! Love them!.” – Ginger S.

Serving Up Style


Today we are serving up a fun hemline project by Marie Zinno. Enjoy!

Designs suggested a hemline theme, which sounded like a fun project. My lifestyle is very casual; sewing, embroidering for my business, housework and driving my kids to after school functions. I generally do not dress up unless we have a special occasion. However, I’m lucky enough to play tennis 2-3 days a week, so I based my projects on a tennis theme. I embroidered two tennis skirts and a white long sleeve shirt with the Polka Dot RikRak designs from Zippy DesignZ. I focused on the shirt details (diagonal pockets) and coordinated the skirts to match with the shirt. The white shirt has only the multi colored polka dot designs; this is a great quick embroidery design that would work on many blanks.

The Polka Dot RikRak designs are a versatile collection to have in your library. They add a unique element to baby and home décor items. In fact, I am going to use them as trim on burp cloths and baby blankets.

Embroidery Products

Polka Dot RikRak #3 embroidery designs by Zippy DesignZ available at


  • Poly mesh cut-away stabilizer (white)
  • Polyester embroidery thread
  • Templates of design #3 (printed on tracing paper from embroidery editing software)
  • Target Stickers
  • Two purchased tennis skirts
  • One white purchased long sleeve shirt


Lime Green Tennis Skirt
Step 1.

Open the RikRak #3 design in embroidery software. Insert vellum paper into the printer and print two templates of the design.

Step 2. Embroider

Measure the skirt hemline and the exact length of RikRak #3; calculate how many repeats of the design are necessary to embroider the entire circumference of the skirt. Mark the center of each design with a target sticker. (Six repeats were required to stitch the entire circumference.)

Hoop two pieces of poly mesh cut-away stabilizer with the skirt fabric. If the skirt fabric is quite stretchy, do not pull the fabric. The hemline will have a warped look after the embroidery is complete. Two pieces of poly mesh work better than one heavier cut-away stabilizer in this application.

Embroider the skirt by stitching from one side seam to the other; carefully check all target sticker placements. Remove the extra stabilizer as neatly as possible from the wrong side of the skirt and trim all threads.


Blue Skirt
Step 1. Embroider

Use the same template from the lime green skirt and place it on a diagonal slant near the side seam. Repeat the placement for the opposite side mirror image. (Just flip the template over to get a mirror image of the design). Slide a target sticker under the template and align the crosshairs. Make sure the lower edge of the design is close to the bottom hem.

Place two pieces of poly mesh cut-away stabilizer in the 5″ x 7″ hoop, and embroider the design on each side section. Trim all threads and stabilizer from wrong side of skirt.


White Long Sleeve Shirt

I wanted to highlight the side pocket details of the shirt and coordinate it with the blue and lime green tennis skirts. However, I eliminated the actual RikRak portion of design #3 and embroidered just the polka dots.

Step 1. Embroider

Open Polka Dot RikRak #3 in editing software, delete color #1 and save the design as PolkaDots in the appropriate format.


Print two templates of the new design, PolkaDots. Use the templates to determine the exact placement of the design on the shirt detail.

Place the template of PolkaDots on the long sleeve shirt. (If the purchased shirt has different details as the sample, adjust the layout as you like.) Position a target sticker in the center of the design. Hoop the shirt with poly mesh cutaway and stitch the polka dot designs. To make color changes easier, use your color sort tool on your machine or with software. The polka dots can easily be embroidered in one color to simplify the task even further. Repeat embroidery on the opposite side of shirt.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Zip on over to ZippyDesignZ and let us know what your favorite RikRack pattern is. Six lucky winners will get a $25 gift certificate code to use at ZippyDesignZ!

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Pick your favorite design from above, A, B or C. One lucky winner will win their very copy of Perfect Placement Software. Thank you and good luck!

And the winner is…“I like design “C” best because it has a more free-flowing aspect to it than the first two designs. It is somewhat art nouveau in feeling which is a favorite design style of mine.” – Rosalyn S.

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