Posts Tagged ‘Eileen Roche’

Importing Artwork in Word Art in Stitches

It’s very easy to create your own bubbles with your own artwork in Inspirations’ Word Art in Stitches.. Let me show you how.

Open a new file (File, New). Select Import Artwork from the File menu.File1BL

Select an artwork file from your computer (navigate to different areas of your hard drive by clicking on the arrow at the top of the box (Look In).  You can import the following formats: AI, EPS, EMF, WMF, DXF, PLT, SVF and FCM.  I settled for a tomato in the WMF format.  Select the file and click on open.File2BL

The image appears on the screen. In the Sequence box, you’ll see the different colors that make up this drawing.File3BL

Bubble art requires one color, an outline, so I’ll remove all of the interior colors. Select the colors in the Sequence box and hit delete on the keyboard.File4BL

Now I have a black tomato, not an outline.File5BL

No worries, the software will automatically outline it.  Select the tomato and click on the Bubble Text icon.File6BL

The outline appears in the Bubble Text window. To fill the bubble, I chose a run stitch outline, typed in Tomato in the Words box, selected a Red color scheme and clicked Apply.File8BL

It was that easy!File9BL

Wahoo! A Yard a Day?

What’s all the hype about?  My Fabric is sponsoring a contest for a whole month! Just enter and you could win a yard of fabric. That’s all you have to do, enter and win.

So what is My Fabric Designs? My Fabric Designs allows you to create your own custom fabric by the yard! For full disclosure, I am a co-founder of the company and I’m excited to give crafters (just like me!) more choices when creating projects involving fabric. Now, you can upload a doodle from your grandchild, a picture of a favorite pet, an image you fell in love with or something you created yourself on the computer and turn it into custom printed fabric.

Imagine the possibilities! A quilt created with images of your family and friends. A sun dress made from a clip art image you discovered online. It’s all possible and more, thanks to digital textile printing. You can create your own or shop from the posted inventory. And best of all – it never goes out of stock. You can make curtains today, a quilt in 6 months and slipcovers in a year.

Digital textile printing involves a highly-specialized ink jet printer which prints directly onto fabric or depending on the fabric type, a sublimation heat transfer process. This method of creating textiles uses less energy, creates less waste and allows for small runs of fabric, as little as a fat quarter at a time.

You simply upload your design, choose your fabric and in 7-10 business days, your custom, one-of-kind fabric is delivered direct to your door. chipsBL

Whether you’re interested in creating quilts, garments, home decor or crafts, I hope the ability to print your own custom fabrics for your projects opens up an entirely new avenue of creativity for you.

In fact, I used My Fabric Designs to create DIME’s cheater quilts. I had so much fun digitally creating the quilts. But the best part was when I received them. I didn’t have to bother with piecing! I got right to the fun part – the quilting.CheaterBL


Here’s your assignment this week:

Pop over to My Fabric Designs and enter the contest. While you’re there, browse in the fabrics (click on Shop) and tell me what fabric you’d like to win. We’ll pick a random winner here next Wednesday. If we pick your name, we’ll ship you one yard of the fabric you mentioned in your comment.

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

I know many of you have taken on impressive embroidery projects. I’m sure you get a sense of satisfaction when complete. And I think its rewarding to look at the pile of used bobbin and do a head count.  So tell me, have you ever had a 7 bobbin kind of day?  What’s the most bobbins you’ve gone through on a single project? We’ll pick one random winner to receive a $20 gift certificate to Designs in Machine Embroidery.

The winner is:  

Lois: “I used 14 bobbins while completing 105 placemats for my daughter’s wedding. I embroidered two wolves on each placemat after quilting them. Lots of work but worth it?”

Adventures In Word Art In Stitches

Open a new file in Inspirations’ Word Art in Stitches lettering program. Word Art in Stitches is only available at Inspirations brick and mortar dealers.


Click on the Bubble Text icon – just hover the mouse over an icon to quickly identify the icon’s function. SewBL

A menu appears with several options for quick customization. Sew2BL

  1. Select the artwork outline. I chose a sewing machine from the hundreds of options.
  2. Select how you want the border to appear: run, steil stitch or no visible outline. I like the steil.
  3. Type in the words. Skip prepositions, just insert a few words. I typed in Word Art Stitches after removing the default My Text.
  4. Select the font. You can choose one or create custom combinations. The software forces a mini font into the list. This is a very helpful safety net as the words can get quite small.
  5. Select a thread palette. There are a dozen to choose from and you can create custom palettes.
  6. Select from several small designs to add additional embellishment.
  7. Apply is where the magic happens. Click Apply to view your work. Continue to click to see random creations. Once you see one you like, click Ok because you won’t see it again!

The menu will dissolve and you’ll find your new embroidery design on the screen. machine1BL

If you’d like to tweak the design (and who can’t leave well enough alone?), select the design, right mouse click and select Ungroup. Select the Text icon and click on each individual word to make any changes you’d like. You have so much freedom in Word Art in Stitches, you’ll find yourself decorating everything with bubble text!

Embroidering on Ribbons

Need to make a label? Use a ribbon. Ribbons come in so many styles; you’ll find it’s best to sample a few. I’m using mini lettering – just ¼” tall so my first thought was grosgrain. But the ridges interfered with the crispness of the letters while the needle penetrations distorted the ribbon fibers. Next, I selected wire-edge polyester satin. Although one side is shiny, I like the matte side.  After several tests, I decided this was the right one.

I used Multi-Needle Monster for this project because it’s so flat and makes working in the hoop a breeze.  I drew two parallel lines on hooped tear-away stabilizer. I used a dark marker because I’m going to use the Baby Lock Enterprise’s camera to help align the lettering and the dark lines will be easy to see on the machine screen. Then, I taped the satin ribbon within the marked border, keeping the edges straight and the ribbon taut. Rib5bl

Once attached to the machine, I retrieved the design and clicked on the camera icon.  The camera centers over the hoop so I used the jog keys to move over to the ribbon.  My goal was to align the grid with the edge of the ribbon, the black lines on the stabilizer. The orange line on the image below is an exaggeration of the grid on the machine. The grid was not perfectly parallel with the ribbon edge, so I rotated the design.  Now that the grid (and the design of course) is square with the ribbon, the embroidery will stitch square.  Rib6bl

The last step I took was to find the horizontal center of the ribbon. Since the camera is a live view of what’s under the needle, I slid a centering ruler on top of the ribbon. The ribbon’s edges hit the ruler at equal increments on both sides of zero.  Then I used the jog keys to move the design directly over the zero.  Here you can see the green cross designating the design center. When moved a bit to the left, the design will be centered on the ribbon.Rib7bl

And so it did! Rib8bl

Not Just for Beginners

Are you too apprehensive to use your embroidery software for anything besides downloading and converting designs into a different format? Fear no more. I have a solution for you. If you are new to Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro software or unfamiliar with many of its features, then watch PEP Intro Video 1, PEP Intro Video 2 and PEP Intro Video 3. Katherine Artines created these three videos to get you started on your journey. Webinar1bl

Each of the three videos is just under 30 minutes, so they are easy to digest in one sitting and easy to refer back to you as often as you’d like. What’s the best part of learning on the web? You can learn in your own home, according to your schedule. You can just watch the video or follow along in the software (click here to read a previous post on how to do that).

If you haven’t taken one of Katherine’s webinars, then you are in for a treat. Katherine is a superb instructor. Never flustered or rattled, her calming voice conjures confidence in all of her students. I watch every one of her webinars and I learn something every time. Really, every time!

I also learn from Tamara Evans, our quilting expert. Every time I watch one of Tamara’s webinars, I learn a new feature in My Block Piecer and My Quilt Embellisher. Webinar4bl

Now you can find all of the Inspirations’ webinars on the Inspirations YouTube channel. You’ll find quick videos – how-to’s on specific tools – and deeper discussions on techniques. Webinar2BL

Here’s two of my favorites:   Organizational Skills (who doesn’t need help on that subject?) and Divide and Conquer (splitting designs). Webinar5bl

Subscribe to the Inspired by DIME channel and you’ll have instant access to tons of education. Your local dealer is always your first source for embroidery education but when the store is closed and you’re yearning to learn, jump on YouTube. Our channel is growing every week. Click here to see all of the videos.  And don’t forget to subscribe – it’s the easiest way to stay up to date. And it’s free!


Wedding Dress Update

Wedding Dress Update

I love to sew. I mean, I really love the act of sewing two pieces of fabric together.  I like placing two pieces of fabric under the presser foot and putting the pedal to the metal. I love to guide the fabric under the needle, watch it whiz across the machine bed and then cut the tails at the end.  When I agreed to make my daughter Janelle’s wedding dress, I had visions of feeding yards of beautiful, white, silky fabric under the needle.  It seems I forgot that the actually sewing part doesn’t arrive until hours and hours of preparation were accomplished.

And boy as it been a lot of preparation. I approached this project with more apprehension than I normally bring to sewing projects. I’ve had my share of sewing pressure – magazine covers, product packaging and television appearances. But a wedding dress is something different. It’s so personal, it’s my daughter. Her wedding photos – you know what I mean. So I’ve been taking my time and tackling it one step at a time.

Of course, my family has been aware of the process. In fact, my sweet sister, my Stitching Sister, Marie Zinno sent me a text on Sunday afternoon. I didn’t hear from her all weekend, she knew I was working on the dress. Her text said, “Is the wedding dress done yet?” Charming, isn’t she? My sister, she can be 1400 miles away and she still cracks me up.

I responded with an image of bridal fabrics in a heap on the floor with the caption: “Almost.” dress1bl

What she didn’t know was that a pile of scraps is actually a really good sign because I spent Saturday and Sunday cutting the lining, interlining, silk organza and satin pieces. I pieced the lining for Janelle’s final fitting. I basted the layers for all of the pattern sections. There are 15 – each with intricate markings (that I swear are nearly identical on several pieces!).

When Janelle tried on the lining last night, we both breathed a sigh of relief.  Her, because she loved the silhouette. Me, because it fit! So now comes the easy part – the sewing, the part I really love! I’ll spend this weekend piecing the bodice and skirt. After I add the lining and insert the zipper, it’ll be time for hemming and final decorations.  The wedding is August 21 – just under a month away and I’d really like to get this wrapped up by August 3rd.

I still haven’t had to time to get a mother of the bride dress but maybe that’ll happen this weekend too.  Thank goodness I live in Dallas – where you can shop til you drop.

If you think I’m cutting it close (and I know I am), you have to remember I was out of commission for six weeks – that’s practically a lifetime in my sewing world!

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the bodice sections. dress2bl


Here’s your assignment this week:

I’ll share the photos of the bride after her big day – don’t want to break any traditions! Speaking of traditions, I’m planning on embroidering a label for the gown, documenting the occasion. Have you ever done that? And if so, what information did you include? We’ll pick one random winner to receive a $20 gift certificate to Designs in Machine Embroidery.

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


Leave us a note and tell us what Stitch Soup fairy cottage is your favorite. We’ll pick five random winners to receive a $20 gift certificate from Stitch Soup!

The winners are:  

Sara Redner: “I love the flowers on the one in the center”

Rosalie sharps: “I like the fairy house that has the yellow flowers on the roof.”

Shawn Marie: “I just am in love with the House of Flowers!”

Patty Sack: “I like the one with the flowers for windows! Too cute.”

Kitt: “I like the Lilly Pad chalet the best”

This Fairy Needs a Home

Many years ago, DIME Managing Editor Denise Holguin and I were enchanted by Sally Mavor’s Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects published by C&T Publishing in 2003. Salley’s latest book was released in March from C & T Publishing, Felt Wee Folk-New Adventures: 120 Enchanting Dolls.  This stellar event was under my radar but not Denise’s. It seems she caught the wee folk bug again.

A few weeks ago, I noticed a heap of peculiar supplies on her desk: bits of felt, a clothespin, embroidery floss and a silk flower.  I wondered what she was up to and in a matter of minutes, Denise spun these simple elements into an adorable, yet homeless, small fairy.  Since Denise never does anything once, she churned out multitudes of these charming creatures.

Violet appeared in her floral finery. VioletBL

And Harriet hung precariously from a plant on Denise’s desk. HarrietBL

I told her they need a home, they just can’t sit on her desk, dangle from the houseplant or perch on a shelf. Oh no, they need a real home.  I only know of one place that offers a choice selection of real estate for tiny folk. Stitch Soup.

Wouldn’t Violet just thrive in a cottage like this? Stitch2BL

And I can envision Harriet landing on the lily pad roof of this chalet. Stitch3BL

I think it’s high time Denise got to stitching one of Stitch Soup’s Fairy Houses.  Stitch1BL

Imagine the fun she’ll have selecting the fabrics and thread to coordinate with her wee folk.  I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. If I know her, the wee folk won’t have one residence. Oh no, they’ll have choices! They’ll travel from a lodge in the forest to an urban lean-to and ultimately find respite at a beach bungalow. Stay tuned for a future post on wee folk real estate.

If you’re interested in getting in to fairy real estate, now is a great time!  I have a strong inkling Denise would love to have her wee folk vacation to wonderful lands, visiting blog readers and their own cottage creations from Stitch Soup!

StitchSoup Blog Banner July 2015

Here’s your assignment this week:

Leave us a note and tell us what Stitch Soup fairy cottage is your favorite. We’ll pick five random winners to receive a $20 gift certificate from Stitch Soup!Stitch1BL

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

What do the letters spell?  A A N D N I

Post your answer and one lucky recipient (with the right answer) will be selected to win a $25 gift card to use on the Designs in Machine Embroidery website!

The winners is:  

Pat Kimball: “Dianna”

Permission to Play

Now when you open Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro, you’ll see a new My Today page.  You’ll find an announcement and live link (if you’re connected to the internet) for an informative webinar, Katherine Artines’ “Permission to Play”. The link takes you right to YouTube to watch Katherine give an in depth lesson on blending complex fills, mastering the slice and lasso tools in Perfect Embroidery Pro. Web1BL

Improve your digitizing skills by understanding the blend feature in complex fills. You’ll learn how to change the fill of an existing design to gradient fill, change the angle and direction of complex fills for more realistic and interesting designs.

Katherine also reveals a shortcut for viewing the contents of the design library. At the lower right corner of Perfect Embroidery Pro, click on Library. Web2BL

Select the folder you want to view and right click. Select Show Contents from the drop down menu. Web3BL

If you have folders within in folders, select the one you want. Web4BL

I selected July 2015 and now all of the designs are visible. Web5BL

To bring one into the software, just select the design and drag it to the Perfect Embroidery page.  This eliminates the standard File/Open path. Web6BL

When it comes to improving designs, Katherine is a wiz!  She shares her secrets for splitting applique or complex fill so that you get more control and better results.   And since Katherine’s motto is permission to play, she shows us how to go from a simple built-in applique design.  Web7BL

To this: Web8BL

So log on, click and learn!  It’s time well spent.

July Updates


Happy Fourth of July!

Hope you’re enjoying your holiday weekend. When you tear yourself away from the festivities, you’ll find July’s free designs on the My Today page of Perfect Embroidery Pro, ready for download. 

Once you open Perfect Embroidery Pro, you’ll be prompted to accept the latest version, 8.47. Just follow the prompts to receive helpful new updates. Here’s what you’ll find:

Enhanced icons – those that are active are brighter while the dormant icons are softer. The distinction between the two is now easily identified.

You’ll find a new option for forcing a machine to stop between color changes in applique designs. Since some machines skip a color change when identical colors are next to each other in the stitch order, adding a check mark in the Color Change box will ensure the machine stops at the correct time.  If you’ve been struggling with this at your machine, you’ll find the stop specifically helpful between the placement guide and tack down of an applique design.

After numerous requests, we’ve added the Break Up Path feature for faster editing of buttonholes.  Select the buttonhole design, right mouse click and select Break Up Path from the drop down menu.

The elements will now be grouped in two groups – the decoration and the actual buttonhole.

We all have a favorite thread chart that we use to select our threads. Of course, you’ve been able to select a default palette and custom any chart. Now when you load a C2S design, Perfect Embroidery Pro will convert the colors to your thread chart if you’ve selected that option in Tools, General Options, Environment. Just put a check in the box to activate the option.

If you have Microsoft Surface tablet, you’ll enjoy the new, larger My Today screen.

PES format users rejoice! The warning message regarding designs that are larger than 200mm x 300mm is now a thing of the past.

Open Perfect Embroidery Pro today, download the update and enjoy all the improvements!


Today’s the Day – I’m Out of Excuses!

I am going to cut out my daughter’s wedding dress.  There.  I said it out loud. But before I do, I just have to say, it takes a lot of courage to commit to make a wedding dress.  Shortly after she got engaged, she asked me to make the dress. Never one to let my children down, I agreed.  Time marched on before we finally got to a bridal shop to try on dresses. She lives a fairly casual life and I wanted her to know what it feels like to wear a wedding dress. And I wanted to confirm her desires – mermaid, aline, sheath, open back, sleeves, sweetheart neckline, well, you get the idea – there were a million decisions to be made.

Then we shopped for fabric. That took a couple of trips – spread out over a month.  Although I ‘kinda’ got a feel for what she wanted we didn’t have any luck in finding all of the right materials. We did purchase the patterns (Vogue 8997 and 1032) and the satin. But we still needed lace, lining, interlining and organza.  In the meantime, I made the muslin and perfected the fit.  But finding the other materials was presenting a challenge. And then….I got injured and couldn’t drive, sew or embroider for six weeks. Oh boy, the days were flipping by with no progress.

Until last Saturday, we paid a visit to one of Dallas’ finest fabric stores, Richard Brooks.  Before we went, I wanted her to see what the satin would like and how it would photograph in the bright sun.  I had her step on a clean, large towel and draped the fabric around her. I took a photo with the shiny side. Satinbl

And one with the matte side.  She likes the shiny.  Mattebl

When we arrived at Richard Brooks, we found everything we needed under one roof.  We spread out an expanse of silk charmeuse (shiny side up) on a broad table and auditioned lace after lace.  She’s not a sewist (currently) so she needed a little guidance about drape and transparency but after a little while she began to appreciate the subtle differences in each lace. And then she made her selection.  She has excellent taste and we’ll use this beaded and sequined embroidered lace in delicate touches.  She comes for one last fitting tonight before I cut the lace for the princess-seamed bodice and then I’m off to the races (well, not really, I’m still healing but that’s another blog).

I thought you’d appreciate the beautiful materials. There’s nothing quite like silky satin, lace and trims. Fabsbl

I know my daughter has many painful childhood memories of being dragged into fabric stores against her will but this time, she enjoyed it!  nellbl

We oohed and aahed over the displays – just a width of fabric wrapped around a dress form.  FunDressbl

We quickly designed several dresses with some of the gorgeous fabrics but logic set in and we walked out with just the bridal supplies.  I have to get through this before I tackle another personal sewing project. God only knows what the mother of the bride will wear!


Here’s your assignment this week:

This week tell me what color do you think I should wear? Let’s take a vote. Tell me if you think deep blue, coral or taupe is the way to go. Post your comments and ONE random winner will be selected to win the Designer Handbags DVD “Nancy Zieman host of TV’s Sewing with Nancy, and embroidery expert Eileen Roche show how to make upscale handbags featuring embroidered accents completely stitched in th embroidery hoop.”


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

This week tell me what you think makes a design outstanding and you could win a subscription to Designs. Post your comments and ONE random winner will be selected to win $25 gift cards to use on the Desings in Machine Embroidery website!

The winners is:  

Glenda: “For me, I like designs that can be used more than once and can be changed by adding more or sometimes taking away. They need to be clean and not too busy. Sometimes less is better.”

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