Posts Tagged ‘Marie Zinno’

Multi-needle Monday: Custom Sandals in Capri

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of going to Italy with my husband to join one of my oldest friends on the Isle of Capri. My girl friend of 35 years planned a birthday extravaganza for her 50th birthday and invited 15 others to join her. She planned some of the outings and dinners to the last detail, each location more spectacular than the next. Dinner under the lemon trees, another location was a sunset view of Mount Vesuvius and of course a boat cruise around the famous island and the Blue Grottos. The group was an eclectic blend of old friends and fairly new but all wonderful people that shared an amazing few days together with our mutual friend.  Walking along the streets of Capri is a sensory overload! All of your senses are in tune and you enjoy every little experience. It is a magical place. capri1BL

We toured the cobblestone streets all lined with beautiful shops and small restaurants each store front utilizes every inch of space to grow flowers or fruit. In Capri there are a few “must have” souvenirs; perfume (you can create your own specific sent), limoncello (a liquor created from the fresh and abundant lemons growing everywhere on the island) and custom sandals (one of my favorite). The women in our group decided to take advantage of the custom sandal option as the men went taste-testing the limoncello. Yes this is a lemon I am holding! lemon1BL

As exciting as it sounds to design your own sandals, it is kind of overwhelming. So many choices! sandal1BLsandal2BL The tiny shop is full of leather strapping, tassels, braided trim and fancy jewels to embellish your sandals. Did I mention the sandals are completed all on site and available in a few hours?  You have the option of choosing the style, color and trims and they construct the sandal. The expert cobblers are so sweet and talented as they work in a space as big as my closet at home. As shown in the photo I selected a basic navy blue sandal (I know it’s kind of boring) but I am not into jewels and I wanted something timeless.

My husband and I went to pick up my sandals the next day and he was shocked at the choices and the quality. I tried the sandals on for a final fit and the clerk asked me in Italian(I eventually figured out what he was asking) if I wanted to have a monogram. sandal6BLsandal7BLMe a monogram??  Of course. I was the only one in my group who was offered the monogram apparently. He stamped the leather sole with my two initials.sandal8BLsandal9BL

Pictured below are the tools and work space in the sandal shop.sandal3BLsandal4BL

I hope you enjoyed my blog although we are a bit off subject. Enjoy the link to my Craftsy class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business”.

Multi-needle Monday: Rush Order Madness

After returning from a beautiful vacation and trying to get back into work mode, I received a call from a good friend, neighbor and parent of a boy’s lacrosse player. Somehow the volunteer parent who was supposed to order the senior gifts for the sports banquet dropped the ball. The banquet was being held the next evening and the parents were disappointed and desperate for a personalized team gift. They requested 17 items, one for each senior boy on the team, of anything I could embroider. This is when I always seem to come to the rescue. Unfortunately I did not have enough time to order blankets from my wholesale vendor and embroider the 17 items in time for delivery in exactly 27 hours. However I live approximately 3 miles from a number of big box stores and I was hoping I could find something appropriate for the gifts. In the past, the teams have ordered blankets, sweatshirts and duffel bags with the athlete’s name and new school/college name.

My daughter and I were on our way to BJ’s Wholesale club to purchase groceries and I happened to check out the plush blankets they had in stock. BINGO! Gorgeous plush blankets in a few colors were on sale for $8 each! Lindsey and I dug through the shelves and yes, 17 gray blankets were found. The gray color is a perfect backdrop for a variety of thread colors and is a bit masculine.

I took a photo of one blanket and texted it to my friend for approval while I shopped. After she replied we loaded all of blankets in a cart. The blankets will be embroidered with the college name and the player’s name in the colors of the new school. Let’s just say people were giving us some strange looks as we proceeded through the store with a car entirely full of gray plush blankets!plushblanket1BLplushblanket2BLplushblanket3BLplushblanket4BL

My first reaction to the phone call was to just say I could not fill the order, but as a mom and parent of recent graduate and athlete I wanted to help. I made a nice profit even if it was a rush order. The blankets turned out great and the parents were thrilled that I could help with such a short notice.

When working on a rush order if you are a business owner; remember the following:

  1. Make a profit
  2. Charge a rush fee
  3. Get all names and information in writing not over the phone. (email or text)
  4. Plan and simplify the embroidery design as best as possible –guide the customer and direct them as to what font/embroidery design will stitch quickly and look appropriate on the specific fabric.

In the finished photos you can see I used a college block type font for the text in a generous 1 ½ inch tall size. I also added an extra underlay to hold down the plush fibers and I increased my density to .40. Always stitch a simple stitch out on a similar weight fabric (not on a final product). Use a water soluble topper to hold down the fabric’s nap.plushblanket5blplushblanket6BL

Join me in my Craftsy class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business” with Marie Zinno.

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Mulit-Needle Monday: Your First Little Black Dress

I want to share an adorable and simple to make baby onesie that I created this week. It is a purchased black cotton baby onesie in the 6-12months size embroidered with the text “My Little Black Dress” in white thread at the center chest with a black tulle tutu added at the waistline. This was a special request from one of my loyal customers.

The elegant text was created in my Perfect Embroidery Pro software. The font selected was Diana-VS and it measures 6.62″ x 2.41″. The onesie will have to be embroidered in a 5″ x 7″ hoop in order to fit the wide text.

Cut fusible polymesh cut-away larger than the 5″ x 7″ frame. Turn the onesie wrong side out and adhere the fusible mesh to the center front.   Turn the onsie right side out and place it on flat surface. Use the Center Chest (3-6, 6-9, 9-12 month) template from the Children’s Perfect Placement Kit. Center the template on the onesie, aligning the template’s bold curved line on  the onesie neckline. Slide a target sticker in the hole with the crosshair’s arrow pointing to the top of the garment. Remove the template and keep the target sticker in place until hooped and aligned with the correct needle.blackdress1BLblack dress2BL

Insert the magnetic bottom frame of 5×7 Multi-Needle Monster Snap Hoop into the leg opening of the onesie.  Add the top metal frame and make sure the target sticker is centered in the hoop. Slide the hoop onto the machine, threading the machine throat through the onesie neck opening. Make sure no excess fabric is caught underneath the hoop. Feel free to smooth and tug the fabric because it is stabilized with the polymesh cut-away.   The stabilizer prevents stretching of the fabric.

Notice how the fabric is taut and centered?black dress hoopBL

Double check the orientation of the text on your screen. Line up the target sticker with the needle bar and remove the target sticker. Add a piece of water soluble stabilizer to the top of the fabric and hold in place with the basting file or tape.

Embroider the design and remove the hoop from the machine when complete. Trim thread tails and re-iron the wrong side of the fabric to release the excess stabilizer, trim ½” around the embroidery design.

The black tutu was simply made from bridal tulle which is sold on 6 inch wide rolls at most fabric stores in many colors. Measure the waist of the onesie while placed on a table, double that measurement and add 12 inches to make a soft skirt , make two layers. black dress10BLYou could make a removable tutu by sewing the tulle on a narrow band of elastic. I opted for the permanent skirt and used a long basting stitch 4.0 to attach the 2 layers. Sew the basting stitch 1″ from edge.blackdress11BL Pull the bobbin thread at one end gather the tulle to make soft folds. Hold in place with a pin and stitch the short ends of tulle together to form the dress12BL

Pin the tutu to the center waist of the onesie, sew the skirt by gently holding the top of the tulle. Do not over stretch the onesie. blacl dress13BL

Learn more on starting a “Machine Embroidery Business” on my Craftsy class.

720 Market


This past weekend in my home town of North Canton, Ohio I was part of a group of volunteers who helped set up for a brand new local creative event. A downtown parking lot was transformed into a fun filled market featuring artists, musicians, food trucks and lots of happy locals walking dogs, pushing strollers and enjoying a sunny Saturday. customers1BL The whole market concept was the brain child of my good friend and her husband, Lynn & Dave Shimko. They are not event planners by trade but are talented in noticing what is needed in an area and they know how to have fun. The name 720- refers the last 3 digits of our 44720 zip code. The Shimkos are passionate about their local town, which is very football oriented (the NFL Hall of Fame is here) and their enthusiasm was catching on.

They started spreading the word at our local tennis club (where we first met) and the interest just grew and grew. People were talking about it at many different gatherings, but not really understanding the whole concept. They had a few restrictions for the vendors- and wanted handmade local artists and musicians. Well, they booked 50 vendors, had 6 food trucks, 1 local craft beer truck (donating a percentage to the local Jaycee club) 3 rotating musicians and all in all 2,000 people showed up! Food trucks sold out of their food and many vendors cleared their booths of product. Everyone was inquiring about the next market and how they can sign up to be a vendor.

About 4 months ago Lynn approached me to see if knew other local artists who might be interested. I decided to tell my daughter Lindsey who sews coil baskets out of rope. This was going to be her first public market although she has an Etsy shop and sells her products online. Lindsey arrived home one week before the market from college and sewed her heart out in my studio all week. I prayed for nice weather while she focused on the product.lzm1BLstampedtagsBLThe day arrived, the sun was shining and the market was a busy. She sold almost all of her baskets, trivets and coaster sets.set up 1BLset up 2BL It was a proud moment for me as a mom and as a business owner to watch her interact with the customers explaining how she creates her coil products.momandlizBLnorthernmarketBLDid I mention she is only 18 years old? She created her logo and purchased an ink stamp with the logo which led to the digitized logo that I embroidered on simple black hats the day before the market.hatlogo2BLsign logoBL

Her successful first attempt at this market really has us excited for the rest of the summer. I think my sewing room is going to be very crowded the next few months!

Through my business I handle screen printing and therefore created the t-shirts for the 30 or so volunteers. They selected a great bright teal color for the shirts which makes it easy for vendors to spot us if they needed help or a bathroom break throughout the day. Friends and family of Lynn and Dave arrived at 7am to help set up tents, position picnic tables and place trash cans as needed. Coffee and donuts always put volunteers in a good mood I might add. am set up BL720sign1BLchalkboard1BLlynnandmarieBL

Is your home town in need of fun and creativity? My advice to my fellow embroiderers is to take a chance this summer and maybe create a market or other type of show yourself and include other artistic vendors. If that is too big an undertaking, participate in a local market or art show to feature your embroidery. You never know until you try.

Enjoy a coupon to use for my Craftsy class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business”.

Multi-Needle Monday: The New Kid on the Block

Well it’s not really a “kid” but the machine I want to talk about is the single needle, multi-thread embroidery machine. Brother and Baby Lock have created a simplified version of the traditional multi-needle embroidery machine. Brother has developed the Persona and Baby Lock designed the Alliance. Both machines are very similar and feature the amazing technology of both companies. They have listened to the consumers and designed a sleek, user friendly and efficient embroidery only machine which holds 4 spools of thread.alliance1BL

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting my Stitching Sister in Dallas for a few days which was planned just for fun. We see each other fairly often although it generally has work involved. This time however we had no “real” work scheduled and we took a little side road trip to Waco, Texas, more on that in a bit. We did go to her office so she could get caught up with emails and magazine details and I had the opportunity to check out her new toy- single needle multi-thread embroidery machine.

I have seen this new style of embroidery machine at shows and dealers around the country but have not had the chance to actually stitch on it until that week. My current embroidery machines consist of; one 10 needle, two 6- needle machines along with sewing/embroidery machines. Therefore, I do not need a new embroidery machine nor do I have room for more but you can always test drive.

What is easy to understand with this embroidery machine is the functionality of the hoops, the 7 inch LCD touch screen (perfect for onscreen editing), the simplified threading and that the machine is quiet; it is much quieter than my other multi-needle embroidery machines. The embroidery field is a bit smaller but to me it more manageable and practical. The largest hoop size is an 8×8 and the smallest size hoop is 1.5 x 1.75. There are a variety of other hoops along with a free arm extension hoop which is perfect for bags and other tubular items and a cap frame for embroidering hats.

As I approached the new single needle multi thread machine I wanted to get started right away. Eileen was busy in her office and I was working in an adjacent room. The machine was just calling my name, I didn’t see a manual but I am comfortable with these machines and just started to “play”. Believe it or not my first project was stitching on the sheer organza I brought in my suitcase for my next article. The machine is so easy to use.alliance2BL

If your embroidery is mostly personalization this is the perfect machine to have. It would be make a great compliment to a multi-needle machine as well. Take a visit to your local sewing machine dealer and test drive the new single needle multi thread embroidery machine; I think you will be pleased and surprised.

Take advantage of this $20 coupon for my Craftsy class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business”.

Multi-Needle Monday: Contemporary Crafts at the Renwick Museum

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to visit one of my nieces in her home town of Washington DC. She is a recent doctoral graduate, new mother and busy career woman. I honestly do not know how the young moms of today (that sounds so old fashioned) do it all and so well.

Fortunately my daughter Lindsey was on spring break at the same time as my niece. We decided to take a relaxing road trip through the beautiful country side from our house in Ohio to Washington, DC. Spending a few precious days with one of your children is such a gift. Especially since I am now officially an empty nester.

We selected a few days to visit with a few specific sights to see, the Cherry Blossom Festival and Renwick Gallery exhibit. Growing up in New Jersey I visited Washington, DC many times but never at the exact time of the famous cherry blossoms. Since my daughter Lindsey and I have seen most of the historic sites in past visits our main focus was to visit with my niece Kim and her adorable 2 year old son Atticus.

As I mentioned above, the cherry blossoms were supposed to be in bloom on this very week. However, nature had other plans and a cold snap moved in (probably from Ohio) and the blooms decided to stay closed until we drove back home. Yes we missed the blooming cherry blossoms by just 2 days!

Our other specific destination to visit was the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian. Let me tell you it did not disappoint. renwick1BL

The exhibit is titled, “Wonder” and it is dedicated to the future of art. There are a total of nine contemporary artists featured in the large scale works which completely fill the gallery rooms. The artists use a variety of materials such as; wood, recycled tires, marbles, thread, index cards, branches and dead insects.renwick2BLrenwick8BL Photos shown above are the small mountains of index cards with Lindsey hiding and branch pods where Kim is peaking out between the branches.

The gallery promotes and encourages photography which is pretty unorthodox for a museum. renwick6BL They also want visitors to tag the museum photographs on Instagram. If you have an Instagram account you can view hundreds of amateur photos posts at the tag #RenwickGallery. Lindsey really embraced this task and we all eventually took advantage of the fun and interesting photo op session.

I will fast forward to the artist Gabriel Dawe’s work of cotton embroidery thread. According to Dawe used 60 miles of embroidery thread in 15 colors to create an optical illusion in a rainbow color palette. The installation took 10 days to complete. He says it is a visual representation of the full spectrum of natural light. It is truly fascinating. The thread has been hooked from floor to ceiling in a repeating overlay. The classic architectural features of the gallery also make a perfect backdrop for photographs.renwick3BLrenwick4BLrenwick5BLrenwick10BL

The variety of materials used in this exhibit are so unique but yet so easily accessible. I think what I love about this show is the use of some repurposed materials such as wood, branches, tires and dead insects .I hope you enjoy my photos of our visit to the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC and I am sorry to tell you the show will be ending July 10, 2016. If you have a chance to visit in the next few months you will be amazed and happy that you did.

Join me in my Craftsy class “How to a Start a Machine Embroidery Business” and save $20 with this special promotion.

Multi-Needle Monday: Add Embroidery to Almost Anything!

If you are a Designs in Machine Embroidery subscriber you might have seen my current project in volume 97. However, many readers who follow the DIME blogs might not subscribe to the magazine, and they should. For this reason I want to share this interesting technique I used for embroidered shoes. Actually the embroidery is done in the hoop and then added to a pair of purchased shoes.

I love to follow fashion blogs on Instagram and try to duplicate interesting embroidered garments and accessories. My 18 year old daughter has a great eye for trending styles and encouraged me to try my hand at the elegant floral embroidered shoes pictured. The price of the pictured shoes were $240 and definitely out of our range.rose embroideredBLThe online search for the perfect affordable shoes and embroidery design began. It was much easier to “google” a specific style of shoe rather than drive to shoe stores in my area. Once I located the shoes (which cost $49) it was time to pursue the perfect embroidery design. The search for the ideal design had to have these characteristics:

  1. Light to medium density
  2. Vertical orientation
  3. Natural looking roses
  4. Attached stems to flowers

The flower embroidery designs were located at Once selected, I tested and retested the design for density, size and color choice. Always stitch out the proposed embroidery design on fabric as similar to the end use as possible. In this case the final “fabric” is actually black tulle (netting). The embroidery design will be stitched on the black tulle in a 5×7 hoop. I suggest placing water soluble stabilizer in the bottom of the hoop along with the tulle for extra stability. Cut the tulle large enough to fit in the hoop as needed and make sure everything is taut, but not over stretched. Notice in the photo below how the tulle is not puckered?shoe3BLshoe4BL


After the embroidery is complete, carefully cut around the embroidery design. Leave ¼ inch of tulle around the embroidery design. Attach the embroidery designs on each shoe back as desired with heavy duty fabric glue such as: Fabric Fusion or Gutermann HT2. Follow all directions as suggested.

This technique can be used for a variety of uses such as: suit cases, hat brims, baskets and containers among a few. (Yes you can stitch on most hat brims but this can be an alternative if needed).

There are a few more step by step instructions in the article but I think you can get a good idea of the procedure. I like to share my challenges and how I find inspiration. Get creative with how to tackle a problem project by trial and error – test, re-stitch and test again.

The following photos were photographed by me of my daughter and her new and much loved embroidered chunky high heels.rose shoe2BLrose shoe3BL

Enjoy this coupon and join me in my Craftsy class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business”.

Multi-Needle Monday: Saving an Embroidery Design as a JPG

Technically this subject could be viewed as embroidery software but I think if you are using a multi-needle embroidery machine for a business you could use this information. As a commercial embroidery business owner, I use this feature often. Many customers select a font or embroidery design from a website or printed catalog page and we know as embroiderers, that all letters are not created equally. Therefore, it is important to lay out an entire monogram or logo in embroidery software and have the customer approve the selection.

One of the many benefits to having this opportunity is to quickly share the future order with whoever needs to ok the design. For example: I work with a high end interior designer who frequently changes her mind on lettering styles and overall design size (much to my dismay). Instead of stitching out samples for her approval, I can go to my software and save the new design as a JPG. I can easily email the design to her in a few minutes rather than stitch the sample and wait for her new changes in a matter of days. I always charge for sample stitch outs but sometimes I am more concerned with the deadline ahead and the JPG file is a wonderful tool to have at our fingertips in our embroidery software.

Here are a few samples of what I would send to a customer for approval.lac 1BLlac 2BL

The two designs shown are the exact same monogram font which contains left letters, center letters and right letters. This style is called master circle and the letters should be placed as Left, Center, Right. I always re-work the monogram to be more pleasing to the eye and make sure it is legible. Intertwining letters are perfectly acceptable and it looks elegant as long as you can read the monogram. The first monogram design shown is using only the center letters.

My Perfect Embroidery Pro software by Inspirations has the capability to save any embroidery file as a JPG file. Save each new design as separate file name: LAC1, LAC2 it makes it easier for the customer to select the correct file name.

Step One: Open the monogram or other design in the embroidery software and select File, Save as Image. save as imageBL Select the JPG file format. Name the file as desired. design in folderBL

Step Two: Open the second choice of monogram and save the design as an image again. Rename it something different.

I am not sure if all embroidery software has this option but you can check when selecting “Save As “. Save all JPG images in a folder titled appropriately.

Join me in my Craftsy class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business”. Click the link below to save $10.

Multi-Needle Monday: Automatic Basting File

My multi-needle embroidery machine has an automatic basting file option which I use in a variety of ways. I know I have shared this feature in a past blog but I did not show you how to use the basting file to hold bulky items in a hoop. For example,embroidering on neoprene fabric such as a lap top case, tablet case or mouse pad. The thick cumbersome fabric is difficult to place in a hoop, even when you use a sticky back tear away stabilizer the item can be pulled out of the hoop. As the embroidery mechanism moves the opportunity for the lap top case to come loose is increased.

This is how I use the basting file option as a third hand.

Step One: Locate the center of the lap top case and place a text target sticker on the fabric. Make sure the monogram or initial is stitched in the correct orientation. The arrow on the target sticker will designate the proper direction for the monogram to be stitched.basting1BLbasting2BLbasting3BL

Step Two: Place water activated tear away stabilizer in your hoop. Spritz the stabilizer with water and lay the lap top case on the hoop. Keep the target sticker in place until precisely aligned under the needle bar.basting4BL

Step Three: Load the embroidery design on the screen and touch the basting file icon on the editing screen. basting5BLThe basting file will move to the first color of the design. I like to use a thread color that matches the background of my fabric. (For this photo I opted to use red thread so you can see it better).basting8BL You have the option of increasing the size of the basting file distance around the design on page 2.basting6BLbasting7BLStep 4: The basting file is stitched first and will now hold the bulky fabric to the hoop. The monogram will be stitched next. After the embroidery is complete, carefully remove the basting file stitches from the back of the fabric.basting9BL

If your machine does not have his feature, you can easily create a basting file in your embroidery software. Go to your appliqué shapes icon, select a simple shape such as a rectangle, right click and convert to “run” stitches. Increase the stitch length to 4.0 . Save the basting file in a folder for future reference.

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All Aboard!

The blog will be back for regular programming on Wednesday. Last week, Marie and I were cruising on the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas ship.AllureBL

After a year of planning with Baby Lock and Inspirations’ dealer Flash Sew and Quilt, Naples, FL, we had a ball.Cruise1BL

Not only did 70 cruise attendees embroider with the Stitching Sisters, they are also received expert software instruction from Inspiration education consultants, Donna Siler and Lisa Knight.  Donna is at the helm here.DonnaBL

And Lisa is first mate during this class.LisaBL

Marie and I enjoyed connecting with familiar faces – embroidery enthusiasts we’ve met all over the country through the past six years.SisterBL

And our dealer, Harold Havard, is one easy-going chap! “Yeah, mon” as they say in Jamaica.HaroldBL

If you’ve been considering an embroidery/sewing/quilting cruise, sign up today. It’s a blast!

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