Posts Tagged ‘Eileen Roche’

The Cart Before the Horse

Last Saturday, I provided step-by-step instructions on intertwining letters in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. I think I should have taught you how to overlap letters first, and then advance to intertwining letters.  In other words, I put the cart before the horse.  Intertwining letters are different than overlapped letters. Intertwining means a portion of one letter goes both over and under the other letter. Overla20

Overlapped letters are when one letter sits on top of another.Overla21

Creating overlapped letters is very simple. Type the letters individually. Change the color of one letter so you can see your work more clearly. This is a good habit for almost all digitizing tasks. Overla21_A

Position them as you’d like. Select the letters individually, right mouse click and select Break Up Text. Overla22

Select the letter on top, the C is this example, right click and select Ungroup.Overla23

Select the letter on top, right click and select Remove Overlaps.Overla24

The stitches behind the C are removed.Overla25

Double check by moving the C to see the open space underneath.Overla26

So now you know how to overlap and intertwine letters.

Behind the Scenes

If you’ve ever prepared Thanksgiving Dinner… or any special meal… you can appreciate the amount of planning and work that is involved.  The same is true with running a magazine.  By the time the printed magazine reaches your mailbox, your local newsstand or your favorite sewing machine dealer, it has experienced many iterations of edits and tweaks, love and care.   Some are often very subtle.  Here’s a photo of the different versions of the latest cover that is currently on newsstands. CoverBLThe back story on the ‘hero’ (magazine lingo for the finished sample on the cover) is quite interesting.  It began last June when I was recovering from a broken patella and humerus (not very funny).  My dear friend, Rita Farro, sent me a little sunshine in the form of four elegant hand-embroidered pillowcases that she recently scored at an estate sale. When I opened the box, I was hit with the aroma of that beautiful fresh-from-the-clothesline smell – straight from her country home in Iowa.  What a delight!  I was touched beyond words and determined to put them to good use.Cover2BLI planned on monogramming and transforming them into envelope pillows. At the time, all I could do was sit and look at these beautiful vintage linens. Weeks later, after I was back to driving, I made a trip to my local quilt shop, Must Have Fabric in Grapevine, TX. Must Have Fabric has at least 2,000 bolts – plenty to choice from. I was on the hunt for 1930s, 40s or 50s fabrics. I could envision the type of print and color way and surveyed the shelves. I found only one bolt that would work. It was the right color, scale and motif. I smiled, tucked it under my arm and got in line at the cutting table.  While waiting, I looked at the selvedge and low and behold, it was Mary Mulari’s Penny Rose fabric from Riley Blake!  How amazing is that?  You see, Mary and Rita are the YaYa Sisters – wonderful and talented presenters at national sewing shows and two of my dearest friends.  Everytime I look at that pillow, I remember the kindness Rita and Mary showered on me when I was under the weather. What luck it was to find Mary’s fabric – full circle, wouldn’t you agree?

I’m sure Rita’s not the only who likes to scour auctions, resale shops and antique stores. Do you like to do that? If so, are you looking for anything in particular?  Leave a comment and a random winner will receive

Here’s your assignment this week:

I’m sure Rita’s not the only who likes to scour auctions, resale shops and antique stores. Do you like to do that? If so, are you looking for anything in particular?  Leave a comment and a random winner will receive. One random winner will receive a $25 shopping spree coupon to the DIME website.

The winners of the last assignment answered the following question:

Have you had a ‘lightbulb’ go off recently?  Share your Aha moment with us and you could win a sewing room twin set! What’s a ‘sewing room twin set?’ Gifts from our friends at Euro-Notions – Grabbit magnetic pincushion and Bobbinsaver.

The winner is:  

Alice: “I have been doing embroidery over 20 years. One of the best things I have used is the Springs from the pens. I place that spring on the screw of the embroidery hoop. You can set the tension on the hoop and the spring gives you a little stretch and keeps the hoop tight as it needs to be.”


Intertwining Letters

In the recent issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery, you’ll find detailed instructions on how to intertwine letters in a monogram. Let’s review the steps with two built-in fonts in Perfect Embroidery Pro.  Select the Monogram tool and type the letter A in the Properties box.  Select the Trad_Scr font.  Select the Monogram tool again and type the letter K. Change the font to Fan_Scr. Select the K, go to the Command tab in the Properties Box and type in 2 in the Color field.

Select the letter and right mouse click to view the dropdown menu. Select Break Up Text.OD2BL

Select the letter and click Ungroup. Select the lower portion of the K and click on the Slice tool.OD3BL

Left mouse click at one edge of the satin column where you want the split to occur.  Drag across the column and hit the Enter key.OD4BL

Repeat at the other side of the overlapping column.OD5BL

Select the column, right mouse click and select Break Apart from the drop down menu. OD6BL

Select the portion you want to remove and hit delete on the keyboard. OD7BL

The column is now split.OD8BL

Split the underlay stitches by selecting the Shape tool and clicking on the line.OD9BL

To remove the jump stitches between the satin stitches, select the satin colum. In the Properties Box, select Trim from the End Command window and click Apply. OD10BL

You can apply this to any area where the two letters overlap.  See how easy it is to create one-of-a-kind monograms in Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro? I just love this software!

Tame Those Tees

Yesterday, I was prepping t-shirts from the Simple to Chic T-shirt Remakes collection that Nancy Zieman and I recently created.  I ruined one of them.  I stepped away from the machine for a second (that’s when danger sprints into the sewing room) and when I returned, the needle was pounding through several layers of t-shirt – of which only one was supposed to be stitched.  URGH!  I exhaled and carefully removed the stitches to release the excess fabric. It worked out okay – the t-shirt will be used for teaching purposes only so I can hide the damage. I moved on to other tasks.

Then last night, I was sleeping and dreaming about work (that’s a mix between a dream and a nightmare).  The dream/nightmare involved t-shirts. I was reliving the day’s activities (see how boring I am – I dream about this stuff!) and then I woke with a start. Use Press’n Seal to control the bulk around the sewing field.  Yes – Press’n Seal, sealable plastic wrap, that you find in your local grocery store. Brilliant!

I couldn’t wait to get to the office and try it out.  And lo and behold – it’s perfect!  I cut a 4” strip and then cut that in half for two 4” x 6” strips. I rolled the t-shirt up around the sewing field and stuck a strip of Press’n Seal on each side of the sewing field.Press1BL

Oh My Gosh – brilliant. Now all those folds and rolls are controlled out of harm’s way. That’s what I call taming a tee!Press2BL

Here’s your assignment this week:

Have you had a ‘lightbulb’ go off recently?  Share your Aha moment with us and you could win a sewing room twin set! What’s a ‘sewing room twin set?’ Gifts from our friends at Euro-Notions – Grabbit magnetic pincushion and Bobbinsaver.

The winners of the last assignment answered the following question:

Now it’s your turn!  Tell us about a recent accomplishment that you’re especially proud of! This is your chance to share and inspire other readers.  It can be related to machine embroidery, sewing or any other skill you’ve honed!  4 random comments will be selected and each person will win a $25 gift certificate to go on a fun shopping spree at Zippy DesignZ.

The winners are:  

Doreen Linehan: “I made a tuffet. Used a whole bunch of things I had never used before. Long Upholstery needles, metal button, 15 degree ruler. Came out great.”

Linda Lynch: “I was fearful of using my embroidery machine and am making small projects i.e. Small art quilt, kitchen towels and graduated to a beautiful large tote for carrying supplies to classes.”

Judie: “Gee, where do I start!!~ Yes, my Evolution is sitting in the corner,…. I need to get a grip on that and actually use it. I have designs and handkerchiefs ready to try a cutwork corner…. someday AND that continuous border will be on my next set of pillowcases. Yes, really love this key fob design and am proficient at In-the-Hoop so I’ll be giving it a try. I read directions at EVERY step. Only takes one or two boo boos to learn that.”

Deanna: “I recently finished a baby blanket for my niece. Their theme is camouflage and deer. So I embroidered 5 blocks with different bucks, found coordinating deer fabric and put it all together and gave it to them at baby shower. They loved it!”

Preparing Files to Send to Janome Machines

If you’re a Janome user, it seems simple enough to send a design you created in Inspirations’ software to your Janome machine. But there’s one more necessary step if you’re transferring a JEF file to a USB stick for your Janome embroidery machine. A special folder must be created on the USB stick in order for the machine to find the design and thanks to the genius engineers at Janome, your machine is programmed to do that instantly. Just insert a USB stick into your Janome machine. Select Embroidery.  Select the USB icon. You’ll notice a warning screen telling you NOT to turn off the machine or remove the USB stick.  When the message clears, you’ll see a folder on the machine screen, titled, EMBf.janome1BL

Remove the USB from the Janome machine and insert it into your computer. Open a design in your Inspirations’ software, I’m in Perfect Embroidery Pro. Go to File, Save and select JEF from the drop down menu.janome2BL

Locate the USB drive. When selected, you’ll find a new folder, EMB.janome4BL

Click on it to open and there you will find the EMBf folder.janome5BL

Open the folder and save the design in that folder.janome6BL

Now, take the USB stick to the Janome machine. Select Embroidery, USB stick and open the EMBf folder. You’ll find your design.janome8BL

That’s all there is to it.  If you need specific Janome model information (some machine models generate one file instead of two), you’ll find a very thorough blog post by a Janome dealer.  Click here to view. That solves the mystery of ‘Why can’t I see my design on my Janome machine?’

An Expert’s Tip on Text on a Path

Leave it to Inspirations Education Consultant Ashley Jones to teach me another shortcut on digitizing text on a path. Previously, she taught me (and you) how to instantly place text around the perimeter of a shape (artwork).  You can read up on that tip here.

Today’s tip is applicable to the Inspirations’ software program that includes the text on a path feature (Perfect Embroidery Pro and Word Art in Stitches). Select the Text tool and type a sentence into the Properties Box. I wrote: Once upon a time, in a land far away. Click Apply.TP1BL

The text appears on the screen. Right click on the text and select Path from the dropdown menu.TP2BL

Right click again and select Edit Baseline.TP3BL

Right click and select Add Point.TP4BL

Place the cursor under the n in upon and click to add a point.  Do the same under the w in away.  Now move the new modes up to create a curved line.TP5BL

Left mouse click and the words are on the curved path. Use the blue nodes to slide the letters and words along the path. (Black nodes allow you to move that letter independently).TP6BL

But moving the whole line doesn’t seem to work because the first letter, O, does not have a blue node. Ashley showed me a simple fix for that. Just add a space in front of the first word of the line in the Properties Box.TP9BL

Now a node appears (blue diamond) to the left of the line.TP11BL

Use this node to slide the entire sentence.TP12BL

Gee, I just love a tip like this; it simplifies what used to seem like a laborious task into a breeze. Thanks Ashley!TP13BL

Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes

When you get the opportunity work with a friend, work doesn’t feel like work.  My last big sewing adventure in 2015 was no exception. I had the pleasure of working with my good friend, Nancy Zieman, on our latest joint venture – Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes on Sewing with Nancy.  What a fun way to end the year!headshotBL

It all started last April at Nancy’s home in Wisconsin. During a social visit, we started brainstorming about a new project – an updated version of our popular Designer Necklines collection. A few sketches, a page or two of notes and we were off on a new journey.  Of course, the process takes a couple of months and is all done by long distance (thanks to email and text messages!), but before you know it, we had the makings of a fun new technique – Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes.blueBL

And then of course, it was time to shop. We sampled tons of t-shirts to find the right ones for this technique. We wanted to make sure the technique would work on readily-available blanks so we designed around ladies’ shirts at Kohl’s, Target and WalMart. We figured just about everyone has access to one of those three retail stores.  When I look back on the receipts, it looks like I was outfitting a softball team – I was buying t-shirts by the dozen!blackBL

But it was well worth it because this is my absolute favorite collection that I’ve ever designed. I love how wearable it is. When we photographed the samples at our studio here in Dallas, the stylists wanted to know where they could buy the embroidered shirts. I took that as a good sign. And Nancy and I had similar reactions when we presented the program on Wisconsin Public TV. Another good sign!grayBL

So what’s so different about this collection? It features classic designs that mimic ready-wear and a nifty finish that’s completed in the hoop for professional results. There are neckline, sleeve and side seam designs so you get a total package.  You can watch the series on your local PBS station or online at WPBS. Just click here to view.

And if you’d like to purchase the collection, just click here.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Last week, Nancy asked her blog readers what t-shirt they liked best. How about if you do the same here so we can see if both sets of readers have similar taste?  Just tell us what t-shirt is your favorite and we’ll pick a random comment to win a copy of Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes!

Stabilizing Cotton Fabric

In October, reader Shirley Clark asked, “What’s the best stabilizer to use for stitching on pillowcases or cotton fabric? I know I’ve played with this a lot, and even used a spray on stabilizer to keep it from puckering. Stitching on knits are easy, but cottons are always challenging.”

Shirley, it depends (great answer, right?) on the design and size of the project. When I’m adding embroidery – think full, dense designs – I often give cotton a little extra lift. I fuse interfacing to the wrong side of the cotton.  When making pillows or quilt blocks, I interface the entire wrong side of the block or pillow front.  Then I add tear-away stabilizer for the actual embroidery.  The interfacing stabilizes the fabric and the tear-away stabilizes the stitches.

I’ve used Pellon’s ShirTailor fusible or tricot knit interfacing. The ShirTailor adds body to the cotton and makes it a bit stiff.  I find it’s great for pillow fronts and whole cloth wall quilts (fused edge to edge).  I started using it many years ago when I wrote my first quilt book, Contemporary Machine Embroidered Quilts. Since then, my style has evolved and I find I don’t really stitch heavy embroidery designs on quilt tops anymore but the technique still works.


Today, when I’m adding embroidery designs (fill stitches) to a quilt block, I fuse tricot knit interfacing to the wrong side of the block. This added layer of support won’t change the hand of the fabric but the embroidery definitely benefits from this addition.

Of course, another way to avoid puckers on cotton is to select a design that is appropriate for the lightweight cotton. Heavy dense stitches need a firmer substrate, one that can endure thousands of needle penetrations.  If you select airy and open designs for stitching on cotton, you’ll be happier with your embroidery.

Always stitch a test of the stabilizer, fabric, interfacing and design combination. Use fabric of the same weight and fiber for the text. Make notes right on the sample if you don’t think you’ll use it in another project. If it’s a candidate for future use, write in pencil on the back.  Down the road, you’ll know what changes were required.

Here’s your assignment this week:

I hope this information helped Shirley for stitching on cotton. Our blog sponsor this week is Graceful Embroidery. Please click on the banner below to visit their site and make sure to tell us what’s your favorite Graceful Embroidery design. Four commenters will be chosen to win a $30 voucher to Graceful Embroidery!


The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

So tell me, how does your significant other show you that they are thinking of you? One comment will be chosen to win a $20 gift card to Designs in Machine Embroidery.

The winner is:  

Joan: “This week, my husband cleaned and replaced the ceiling light panels in my sewing room. I’m afraid to let him in there for very long for fear he’ll get rid of some of my stash, though.”


Little Ways to Say I Love You

Spouses, partners and significant others find countless ways to show their love.  My husband shows his love in many thoughtful ways but there’s one that I really enjoy. He’s my “eye in sky.” He travels quite a bit for business and when he’s on the road, I have proof that he thinks of me. You see, he sends me photographs of embroidered or decorated garments, wallhangings and who knows what. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the garments are worn by some innocent bystander.  Here’s how it plays out:

I’ll be working at my desk, and my cell phone will ping. When I look at it, I see it’s a message from Pete.  I love that – I get all warm and fuzzy and then look at the message. An image appears. And then another. And then the explanation of why he sent it and who the person is follows. He’s very thorough.

This week, he’s in Las Vegas at a convention. And you can imagine just how many embellished garments (or items trying to pass for garments) there are in Vegas on display.  But he knows I’m more interested in everyday wear.  He knows my current fave is uniquely printed fabrics because of our new business, MyFabricDesigns.  Pete is still in the learning phase of understanding the capabilities of print on demand fabric so he was intrigued when he saw the back of this coat:Coat1BL

And even more so when he introduced himself and asked permission to photograph the coat. She only spoke Italian but her husband granted permission in English.Coat2BL

Here’s your assignment this week:

So tell me, how does your significant other show you that they are thinking of you?

My Block Piecer Block of the Month Sampler

Toot, toot!  Beep, beep!  We’re happy to announce our My Block Piecer Block of the Month Sampler.AllblocksBL

I learned so much when I made this quilt designed by Nancy Stansbury. Nancy did a fabulous job of designing and writing the instructions. My tasks were to stitch each block, photograph the process and make it available to the dealers.  So please nudge your dealer to participate.  We want everyone who owns My Block Piecer to join in the fun. By the time you’ve completed all 12 blocks, you’ll be a My Block Piecer pro!

You’ll learn how to make one, two and three-unit blocks.block1BL

And if you’ve been hankering to learn how to upload a block of your own and turn it into an in-the-hoop pieced block, you’ll learn that in block 6.Blk6BL

I forced myself to cut my patches on a digital cutter and became so familiar with that process; I was tempted to throw away my rotary cutter!  This is the most precise quilt I ever made – I’m so proud of all my sharp points, matching seams and flawless seam allowances.  I know, I know, it’s practically cheating when you’re using digital files – everything is perfect!

The Sampler works well as a scrap quilt or even modern solids.  But I took a different path because I just melt at Kaffee Fasset’s use of colors. I threw caution to the wind and grabbed several bolts of his Free Spirit fabrics. They might not have been the best choice, several of the prints are very large for these small patches but I couldn’t resist. I paired his bright fabrics with black and I must say I’m pleased with the end result.  We’ll unveil the fully-quilted version soon – right now it’s sitting on my shortE.

If you decide to make the large version (four repeats of each block), you’ll have fun creating your own layout. I think block 11 was my favorite because it gave so many options for joining the blocks. Blk11aBLBlock11bBLBlock11cBL

So nudge your dealer and encourage them to join in the fun!

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