Posts Tagged ‘functional embroidery’

Where’s the embroidery?

As embroiderers we often think in terms of, ‘what will I embroider on this fabric?’ Oftentimes, some fabrics are quite busy and embroidery doesn’t seem possible. But sometimes the fabric is just too irresistible to pass up—like this bright and colorful linen.

You might be asking… that’s a great bag, but where’s the embroidery?

Take a closer look.

The bag was constructed using Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs. The bag’s corners are machine embroidered applique. I used a luxurious red suede to coordinate with the print fabric. When Nancy Zieman and I wrote this 68-page book, we set out to prove that machine embroidery can be beautiful but also functional. It can simplify sewing tasks and ensures flawless results. We let the embroidery machine handle the trickiest tasks of bag construction: making four perfect corners and attaching the straps. We also created this collection to give you the freedom to design any sized bag.

Some favorite features of this bag include the details. Never neglect the details—they can elevate an ordinary homemade project to a designer handcrafted project. I used a black zipper rather than one that blended in and I added the tabs at the ends of the zipper.

Black grommets (made by Dritz) were the perfect choice—they are available at most sewing supply stores or online.

When designing a bag—consider a light color for the interior. I chose lime green for a splash of color and because it’s a light color, I can easily find things inside the bag. There’s nothing worse than a black abyss where you have to go ‘fishing’ for your wallet, lipstick or pen!

Remember, ladies, look at embroidery as both beautiful and functional!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Look carefully at the image below. Can you help this clown find his beloved dog?


One correct answer will be chosen to receive Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs by Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman. Good luck!

Handbags 2 - Designer Knockoffs

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

We’ve showed you plenty of mistakes we’ve made in the past few weeks and asked you to share your stories as well. Now we’d like to know the funniest mistake you’ve ever made! We’ll choose one random comment below to receive a $25 gift certificate to use on the DIME website. Thank you for sharing your stories with us in our Has This Ever Happened to You series.


And the winner is…Marjorie P. “I found out how “strong” my machine was when I embroidered completely a flower head pin. I had to sit and look at it for a while I was so amazed, then I just picked the stitches out backed up the design and continued on. Project saved, pin a complete loss.”

Designer Handbags by Nancy Zieman and Eileen Roche

Designer Handbags with Nancy Zieman and Eileen Roche

If your sewing skills are holding you back from tackling complex projects, you might be interested in seeing how an embroidery machine can simplify complicated sewing tasks. How? The tough/challenging/persnickety steps are handled by digital files completely eliminating the need for top-notch sewing skills. You’ll be amazed to see how easy it is to duplicate four corner accents; how the embroidery machine ensures both straps are attached at the same location and how two fabric rectangles are all you need to make a great-looking handbag.

Did I get your attention? Nancy Zieman and I are happy to share the steps with you. In fact, you can watch on your computer by clicking here, Click on the EMBROIDERY link. On Dec. 4, 2011 you’ll see the latest episode of Sewing with Nancy, featuring this hot new technique. Nancy and I joined forces to simplify one of our favorite sewing projects – making handbags. Next week, on Dec. 11, 2011, you can watch the second episode of the two-part series. Of course, feel free to check your local PBS channel listing for the airing of Sewing with Nancy.

Ever wonder how these television shows happen? Well, usually it starts with a phone call from Nancy, followed by an enthusiastic YES! by me. Then after the glow fades, it’s time to get to work, to define the tasks, buy the fabrics, make the samples, dissect the steps, make more samples, throw out some samples, make more samples and regret you threw anything out! Of course, all of this happens with 1100 miles separating us.

We depend on email, telephone calls and some unsophisticated photography to relay visions back and forth. Here’s an early shot of the results of one of my early fabric buying trips.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Then it’s time for me to head to Beaver Dam, WI, home of the sewing world’s top television star, Nancy Zieman. What do I do when I arrive? Basically, I implode in the conference room.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

After careful screening and organizing, Nancy gets me back on track. It’s quite clear why she’s been so successful all these years. Organization is her forte!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

We pack for the next day’s taping.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

And before you know it – it’s over! And I can’t wait to do it again!

Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman, on the set for Designer Handbags

Here’s your assignment this week:

Want to win a copy of Designer Handbags? Just post a comment to tell me which of the fabric choices, Group A, B, C or D, shown above, did Nancy select for the taping and you could be the winner. The winner will be announced December 7, 2011

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s a limited time special offer for Eileen’s blog readers:

Order Designer Handbags between Dec 2-15, 2011
& enjoy $10 dollars off the regular price!
Regular price: $49.99.
Exclusive Special on Eileen’s Machine Embroidery Blog: $39.99
Order Now

Just a Couple of Bag Ladies

I’m afraid to count. I feel like Imelda Marcos but instead of shoes, it’s bags. Handbags. In the past five months, I’ve made over 20 handbags. Wow – it would be embarrassing if it wasn’t necessary. Every time I made a bag, I learned something very valuable that I applied to the next bag. Eventually, I got the hang of it.

But I wasn’t the only one. My good friend, Nancy Zieman, also made bags (I’ll bet she’s up to 20+ too!) just for this project, Designer Handbags. We decided to tackle this subject together because she has a line of handbag templates with Clover and I developed a ‘functional embroidery’ technique that not only looks good but works too. It sounded like the perfect marriage. And it was – we had a blast and hope you will too.

In Designer Handbags, you’ll find a 30-minute video illustrating all of the steps – embroidery, stabilizer, foundation, hardware, pressing – everything you need to make your own Designer Handbag.

There are some very clever – or smart – techniques that simplify complicated sewing tasks with an embroidery machine. What pleases me the most is every corner, strap connector and tab are exact duplicates of each other. There is no ‘bad side’ to your Designer Handbag because the digital files do all the work. You will be so impressed with your professional results when you create your own handbag with Designer Handbags.

Of course, Nancy brings her years of sewing expertise to making bags. I learned so much from her! And you will too. Nancy enjoyed using her purse templates as a starting point for Designer Handbags while I just started with rectangles of fabric. So if you have a favorite purse pattern that you’d like to add smart embroidered accents to – you can. Truly, the choice is yours.

I have made cutesy bags, quilty bags, sophisticated bags, go-to bags, gadget bags, and travel bags (with a zipper sleeve!). But I’m probably not stopping because each one is sooooo different from the one before it. I’ve been feeling like a hoarder because I haven’t been able to share the handbags until the product is out. And now it’s out! Last weekend, Nancy and I showed a few of our bags with quilt shop owners at Quilt Market in Houston. Here we are – caught in the act of hauling our precious cargo.

Finally, I get to show them off this weekend in Orlando at the Stitching Sisters event at Sewing Studio. Click here if you want to join us.

Here’s your assignment this week:

I can’t wait to see what you do with Designer Handbags and I’m hoping you’ll share photos on Facebook in a few weeks but for now, tell me what size bag you prefer. Do you tote a jumbo bag, a mid-size or petite purse? Tell us what you’re carrying now and you could win Designer Handbags.

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

I would really like to know how many of you prefer books or ebooks when it comes to embroidery/sewing/quilting titles. So tell me your preference and you’ll be in the drawing for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate from All About Blanks.

And the winner is…. (drum roll please!)
“Your quilt is quite beautiful and I am sure your niece loves it!  I prefer books b/c I like to riffle through the pages which is hard to do on an e-book…just a little old fashioned, lol”