I recently was commissioned to do machine embroidery on several masks. When I begin any project, but especially embroidery on multiple items, there is a mental checklist that helps me work through any issues before I start. Of course the first thing I think about is the embroidery design and if it will be possible to place it on the item. If I need to do any digitizing to alter the stitch count or size that is usually what I do immediately and then stitch samples. The size matters and on this project I chose to use a 2 inch x 2 inch format which is a great size for adult masks. The next thing I think about is what fabric type I will be stitching on and stabilizer choices. Once I have these things determined, I start looking at logistics and how much time it will take to complete the individual items.
I am very fond of using templates to help assist with embroidery placement. I have written other articles and there is a very detailed one along with a video you might like to see here. For this particular mask, I created a template that could be used over and over. Templates help shorten the preparation time and assist with accurate design placement. I make these templates from chopping mats seen below.
When I am in my local Dollar Tree I tend to pick up several because I know eventually I will use them. They are easy to draw on with permanent markers and plain scissors can be used to cut them out.
I specifically wanted to reduce the number of times I would need to hoop a piece of stabilizer for these masks. Normally I use the smallest hoop possible for embroidery but in the case of masks the hoop can be just about any size as long as it is bigger than your design.. Since the masks are not an easy shape to place inside a hoop I knew they would require floating on top of the stabilizer with spray adhesive and masking tape. You could also use sticky back stabilizer but I had plans to use my magnetic hoop. I like to use the Dollar Tree brand of tape because it has a low adhesive quality and I have had good luck removing it without damaging fabric or stabilizer between sewing designs.
I used my 10x10 inch Mighty Hoop and with a Frixion pen, I drew a grid that would help me place each mask in a specific area. Any time you embroider something in a hoop, you will have an area around the perimeter that is a "No Sew" zone. Your machine can either read this with built in sensors or you may need to choose or program hoops in your machine and then tell it which one you are using. The machine can read the programmed Hoop Map which includes the measurements that are safe and leave room away from the edge of the hoop for your sewing foot. By creating a grid before I began stitching, I could see how many designs I could safely sew in each hooping. I used my cutting mat grid to help measure everything. Since I knew the design size, I could determine the number of times my machine could be re positioned safely. This might seem like a lot of work but a little planning in the beginning actually made my process go very smoothly.
I like to use a six inch Omnigrid ruler to draw my lines. First I make a square around the hoop. Then I make center marks vertically and horizontally. Small X's tell me exactly where to place the middle of each mask.
I use my template and mark the design placement with a chalk marker on the mask. The grid on the stabilizer helps line everything up so you know it will be straight. Small items like this are hard to judge especially with the curves and shapes of the masks. The temporary adhesive spray and masking tape are used to hold the mask in place. I also used a couple of straight pins on the left side so there would be even tension all around.
By starting in the top right side of the hoop, you can complete that design and then use tape to hold the mask out of the way for your next design. Move to the bottom right and complete that one. Then move to the left top and then left bottom. Each time, you can position the extra fabric out of the way with masking tape. Having the small X's marked on the stabilizer helps with placement each time and knowing that you will have room to sew the design. Remember to check that the mask is right side up or being sewn in the correct area. Your X's marked on the stabilizer will help keep that part simple as the longer you sew similar items, you might tend to get tired. It is easy to lose track or feel a monotonous relaxing of your senses while you watch each design so always double check your placement on the mask. These had a small tag on the right side so that helped me know each mask was correctly oriented before sewing.
Positioning your foot on the center where the design will start sewing will also ensure you are on the right spot. Here you see my foot ready to go and I am pointing to the straight pins holding the outer edge of the mask. I also stay close to my machine when I float items in a hoop. No walking away. I keep my mind on the machine and if I need to do trimming on other masks or preparation, I station myself near it.
Here are all four mask designs completed. The back shows that placement on the center and the front shows each mask held in place with masking tape.
Once done, you just need to trim away the stabilizer. These masks were 100% cotton but they had stretch and a lining. I used cutaway stabilizer to make sure they had good structure for the designs. They will be washed and dried a lot and the cutaway stabilizer will help keep the design for the life of each mask. It is also firm enough to withstand the pressure of multiple designs. I would not try this with tearaway stabilizer as the needle perforations might loosen the tension and registration would suffer.
I always like to use a lint roller after trimming away loose thread tails. These masks were provided by my client so I took extra care with his packaging and reused all of it.
Here they are boxed up and ready to go. I filmed a video that you can watch below. It shows my entire process and goes into a little more detail. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
This year's Christmas gifts for family were all about quilts. I finally feel safe writing about them because they have all received their gifts and I no longer have to worry they might see them online. I consider myself an experienced seamstress in that I have "experienced" sewing a lot of different projects. That is how I keep my creative mojo, but I wouldn't call myself an expert in quilting just yet. It fascinates me to see complex quilt designs and try to figure out how they were put together but I have found the designing and following patterns to be a little out of my reach. I have several quilting books and I absolutely love to read quilting magazines so the desire is strong. I purchase beautiful pre cut fabrics and wait for inspiration. In fact that is what happened with the three quilts above. I had purchased several 2 1/2 inch fabric rolls and stashed them in my studio for the spark of creativity that I knew would happen. For me that is the key. I always have a selection of materials in my reach so I can immediately move toward working on a project. Getting in the car and driving to shop only causes me to quickly lose interest so if you have similar feelings, you might want to buy your beautiful fabrics long before you have a project in mind and just wait. It will come to you.
This was the beginning fabric roll. It contained 40 pieces of fabric. They were cut 2 1/2 inches by 42 inches or the width of the fabric. If you are an experienced quilter you know this already, but I'm going to aim toward those beginners like me because just holding this little roll and trying to figure out how big it would wind up becoming, how much batting I would need, and back fabric to finish it was a huge problem for me. Think "Word Problem" and feel the headache begin.
I did have yardage in my stash that I thought would be perfect for the back. I purchased this piece from a second hand store. I love finding those pieces of fabric that are hidden and creating something lovely. It makes me feel like a treasure hunter. I always bring them home and immediately wash and dry so they are ready for me. It was a light cotton and I thought there should be enough to make a lap quilt. By this time, I had done some research on pre cut fabric quilts and found several blogs on 1600 or Race Quilts. Quilt guilds or groups use the pre cut rolls as a competition to quickly and easily piece quilt tops. This is a great way to sew many quilts for donation. There is very little preparation or cutting and within a short time you can have your top pieced. That was exactly what I was looking for because I had three quilts in mind and about two weeks to get them ready. Yes you read that right. I pieced, quilted and bound all three quilts within a two week period.
Here is my set up. I had my sewing machine of course with a regular sewing foot. I also put my folding table to my right. This little table is one from the camping section of Academy Sports. I love it because it folds away flat and I keep it out of the way unless I need it. I also had my wool pressing mat and a small travel iron just because it is easier to work with while sitting..
The first thing I did was unroll my fabric strips. I did not prewash them. When I did my research on the 1600 quilts, every blog stated not to think too much on laying out your different fabric strips. It is very difficult to plan or determine any kind of placement due to the construction. The whole point of this type of quilt is ease and speed. By the way if you are wondering why they call it a 1600 quilt, it is because by the time you have sewn all of the fabric lengths together, you should have roughly a 1600 inch length. So I just placed my similar strips together and put them on top of my table so I could reach for them as I sewed.
Piecing the strips together can be done two different ways. On my first quilt I placed the ends of the pieces right sides together and sewed a diagonal line just like I would for binding. As I worked, I did not cut any of the stitching. I chain pieced. This will create a quilt top that has a diagonal look to the sewn pieces. On the subsequent two quilts, I laid the ends of the fabric right on top of each other and pieced straight across. If you will look at the finished picture below, you can see the lavender quilt has diagonal seam lines. The other two quilts have straight seam lines. I think it is personal preference and it didn't make sewing any harder on either option. I did however have an extra step of trimming the diagonal fabric ends. The straight ends were just sewn with a 1/4 inch seam allowance with no trimming needed after.
All of those little triangles are trimmed and expect a lot of fluff to come away from the precut strips as you sew. My lap was covered along with my studio floor from manipulating the strips. A good sweeping was necessary several times. I also had to pull out my vacuum wand to clean around my machine.
As you continue to sew the strip ends together you will begin to have quite a pile of fabric, so make sure you have room around your sewing space to keep all of it out of the way.
After my chain piecing, I used my small scissors to clip the threads
What was a neat row of strips becomes a long pile of fabric. There is no rhyme or reason to the placement of color. That is the fun part. You just grab piece after piece and sew them together. It can get hypnotic to sew like this and my best advice would be to make sure you are placing your right sides together before you sew the ends. Also VERY IMPORTANT, go through these strips before you move to the next step one more time and make sure the right sides are sewn together and you don't have any flipped or a right and wrong side sewn together. Make your corrections as it is easier to pick out a short seam now before you begin to sew the top together. Ask me how I know?
You will cut 18 inches from one of the ends. This will ensure that your seams do not line up throughout the quilt.
Now that you have your long strip of fabric, you are going to find both ends. Take one end and place it on top of the other end right sides together. Then using a 1/4 inch seam, you will sew the sides of those strips until you can't sew any more. I changed from my regular sewing foot to a piecing foot here. Once you get to the end, you will cut the u shaped fabric piece straight across. I have to tell you that even though I had my pressing station all set up, I didn't make use of it much while piecing. I did once complete with the top, press all of the seams
The first length of sewing will seem like forever until you get to the end. Once you do you will see that you can't go any further and you have to use your scissors to release the ends and make them lay flat. It is difficult to do it exactly straight and you don't need to stress about that. There will be some fabric trimming and squaring before you do your quilting.
Now that you have finished your first long seam, you will find the two ends again and do another long seam the same way. This process will be done FIVE times in total. As you find the ends each time, the piece will get wider and wider and your seam will get shorter and shorter. I did read blogs that stated not to worry about un winding the long lengths of fabric between each long seam as this saves time. I will tell you that on my first quilt, I must have been doing something right because each time I got to the end of the seam and did my trimming and then picked up the two ends to begin sewing, I did not come to much of a fabric twist at the end of my seam. It was fairly easy to cut the U shape of the fabric. When I did my second quilt. I had some confidence and I just sewed really fast to see how long it would take to finish. I didn't even bother to make sure my long length of fabric wasn't twisted and I did have some repercussions from that. When I had the final seam to sew and I was ready to cut that final U shape at the end, the fabric was twisted so much, that I couldn't get a very straight cut. So my top was wider on one end when I squared it off. I lost about six inches of fabric. I had to piece the two ends with additional fabric to keep the size I wanted. So my second piece of advice to you is unless you are doing a race and you don't mind how big the finished quilt will be, make sure to unwind the long fabric piece and make sure there is no twist in it before you place the right sides together to begin sewing.
Here is the top on one of the final seams and you can see it is getting wider and wider and look at the bottom of the fabric where it forms a U Shape. This is what needs to be cut across to release the fabric so it will lay flat. As you can see if the fabric is twisted, cutting would be difficult. Again ask me how I know? I feel confident, I could have gotten these three quilts done sooner if that event had not happened. I lost about two days because I was so mad at myself for rushing through the second quilt and then knowing I was going to have to do some Quilt Math to figure out a solution.
Oh the beauty of a finished quilt top. Is there any site more beautiful to behold? Except a quilted and bound quilt top of course. Which by the time you get to this point you will begin to think about. Now you get to trim up any edges that are not straight and decide what kind of batting you want to use, what kind of quilting designs and how you want to finish the edges.
So I don't think there is an easy way to prepare one of these for quilting except dive right in and know that you will need to flip it a couple of times to make sure there are no areas that will cause puckers. Aggravating I know but worth it. The batting was larger than the top to ensure I would have enough for shrinkage while quilting. I used some adhesive spray and safety pins to layer my back fabric, batting and top. The batting I used is 100 % cotton which I chose because my recipients all live in climates with humidity. I envisioned them using their lap quilts to snuggle on the couch watching tv. Even in summer you can use a 100% cotton quilt and not get too hot. Polyester batting is wonderful for extra warmth in very cold climates. I have several different quilts that I swap on my bed each season and in the summer months, cotton is my favorite.
I did install my walking foot on my machine to help keep all of those layers together as I quilted along.
Once I had everything pinned and ready to go I rolled up one end and you can see that it went to the right side so I could begin my quilting in the center. I decided too keep it simple and just sewed in the ditch along each seam line. I worked from the center to the right side then rotated the quilt and did the same from the center to the left side.
I made my own binding for the quilt by cutting 2 1/2 inch strips on the bias. I only did bias binding on the first quilt. I did make my binding for the other two quilts but the binding was made with straight ends. If you are making a quilt with straight edges, there is no need to go around curves which is the purpose of bias binding. Try straight edge binding for your next quilt and you will see that it works great on those right edges. You will have less trimming of fabric on the straight seams. Once everything was sewn together I pressed the seams open and then I did press the binding in half with the wrong sides together. Some people do not press their binding but my finish seam worked better with a very crisp edge.
I sewed my binding to all three quilts along the back with a 1/4 inch seam allowance and then pulled the binding to the front of the quilt and held it in place with clips.
My finish stitch of choice was a serpentine. If you look online, you will see an infinity of ways to attach binding. I wanted something very quick and with a utilitarian quality. I wanted my recipients to use these quilts. The finish size makes that extremely likely because they are large enough to give lap coverage and small enough to clean in a standard washer and dryer. I wash my quilts regularly so very firm stitching is in order. This serpentine stitch also is VERY forgiving. If you go off a little, it is hard to detect but the coverage and grip of your binding width is a great choice for an everyday quilt.
I think it looks extra pretty. This is what you see from the front. I like to sew it from the front so I can see exactly where those stiches are landing.
Here is the back. Everything is attached with sound stitching and I know if they wash and dry their quilts, there will be no broken stitches or sad surprises. I also love this stitch to give myself a break from trying to get perfectly straight stitches in the ditch from one side and ensuring I have "captured" the binding from the other side that you don't see while sewing.
Pretty isn't it? Also notice the strips that touch may be the same due to the construction. Even though I picked up each color individually as I connected the fabric pieces, the long seams will cause similar strip colors to be side by side on your top.
Here are some roundabout measurements in case you are wondering how large it is. This will vary depending on your end cuts of course.
Here is the second quilt. Remember the difficult one? Look at the two sides and you will see a navy border. That is what I had to add to keep the finished size I wanted due to the fabric twisting. So if you do have a smaller finished top than you planned, you can add fabric to it. Not sure why I couldn't think of that when I lost those two days, but when you get deep into a project with a deadline in mind, tunnel vision can occur. Take a break and breath, It's ok.
By the time I got too my third one, I was very sure of myself which usually happens when you practice something. For this top, I wasn't sure what color to use for the back and I did have to make a shopping trip to purchase fabric. I bought a 4 yard fabric cut from Wall-Mart in this bright sunny yellow.
This is how I pieced that back from that fabric cut. It shows my top final measurement. The fabric is 44 inches wide so I cut two lengths 55 inches long and pieced them together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance for strength. The width needed to be cut off on either side at 10 inches. This gave me a extra fabric when creating my quilt sandwich. After everything was quilted, I did some squaring up. I had extra fabric left over for my binding and even some more for future projects. These fabric cuts from Walmart are usually a great price also. They are a polyester blend so if you want 100% cotton just make sure you look for that on the label. Or visit your local quilt shop for your fabric where you will have a great selection that is wide enough for quilt backs and 100% cotton.
Just a few more pictures of that serpentine stitch for you to see. Nice work on that binding corner don't you think? Very crisp. Using your iron to press that binding edge makes that happen.
I love that bright sunny back. I enjoyed making each one of these quilts because they were all straight seams and I was able to finish them within a short timeframe. If you are not in a rush, this project would be very easy to lay down and come back to at a later date without having to think too much on where you left off.
Here is the best part. A picture from my family member underneath his quilt with the caption "MY BLANKET IS PERFECT". Now THIS is the goal accomplished. Exactly what I envisioned coming to fruition. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Embroidery Placement is one of those subjects that most people have questions about. I recently had a comment on one of my You tube videos that pointed to that subject. So I decided to look at some of the various tools I currently use or have in the past.
I think this might be the most important thing to learn when you are machine embroidering and I really struggled with it in the beginning. Knowing your machine capabilities with the hoop sizes available to you is the first step. If your machine came with one hoop, say a 4x4, you will be able to stitch embroidery designs no larger than 3.93 x3.93 inches. That 4x4 hoop is also known as a 100mm x 100mm hoop in metric conversion. Sometimes you may purchase designs that are denoted in inches but many will also have those metric numbers. I like to keep this chart handy near my machine so I can quickly glance at it before I begin any project. The size of your design will be constrained by not only your hoop size but the area you want to place it on your project. I have found exceptions to this chart with some designs. My Mighty Hoops have a "suggested" maximum that can vary between two measurements. Depending on the design shape, the rounded corners of the hoop will sometimes cause issues where I need to reduce the size. So always do a trace of your design on your machine before you begin to make sure it will fit inside the hoop and not strike the sides.
Templates are one of my favorite tools when doing machine embroidery. This picture shows a 4x4 hoop and the template that came with it. If you will look closely, you will see the template has a small purple square with a grid. This is the actual sewing field available in the hoop. Most of the time, these will be roughly 1/2 inches inside the hoop edge. That is a default determined by the machine manufacturer to make sure you will not damage anything. On my commercial machine, there are ways to extend this a little in the settings, but I would not suggest doing so without the assistance of your technical support. This template is helpful for placement because it has a cross hair in the center that lines up with the four markings on the hoop itself. The small circle in the top of the template allows you to remove it once you have your item hooped.
Although I like to use the templates that came with my hoops, I do have some that did not have any when I purchased them. So I make my own using these chopping mats purchased from Dollar Tree.
Here is one I made for my 5x5 Mighty Hoop. I used a permanent marker, hole punch and scissors to customize it exactly how I wanted.
You may not realize it, but you probably have a template in most of your embroidery designs that is easy to use. This is a printout of one of my free designs and as you can see there is a cross hair in the center. I like to use these to mark placement and also see how a design will look on my projects. I usually will cut the center cross and use a chalk marker to show me where I need to place my hoop.
Here is a closeup of my chalk marker. These can be purchased at most sewing and quilting stores. You can buy replacement cartridges or loose chalk to fill it. The chalk comes out when the small rolling teeth go across the fabric surface. I like chalk because in most cases it brushes off fabrics and won't leave any marks. Now I will warn you that if you mix that chalk with another marking pen like a disappearing one and then iron or place heat on it, you may set the color. So always test the fabric before you make your marks.
I also like to keep many different rulers and tape measures close by when I am placing my embroidery. Working with fabric can be tricky because it moves and distorts. This small six inch ruler is great to work in smaller areas.
Placement rulers can be a helpful way to get a measurement for apparel. I have a couple of different ones and I will say that they sometimes differ in their suggestions. Most commercial placement rulers have a disclaimer that the final area is determined by the person doing the embroidery. So just be aware that these are meant to assist but they are not always the final or perfect tool. If I am doing many shirts or garments, I will usually make my own templates so placement can be done quickly without guesswork.
Here you can see one that I use for shirts. This was made using one of the chopping mats. I usually make one for each size that I will be working with. I make notes on the template telling me where the design should go. I will draw buttons, collars, seams or any defining placement areas so I can lay it on top of the garment quickly. Then I have a cross hair cut out that I can mark with my chalk marker. This one has two cross hairs because depending on the design shape or customer preference, I may need to move it 1/2 inch on this particular shirt. There is not a perfect location. Each project may need to be tweaked a bit.
I do like to use my Echidna hooping station to assist in lining up the hoop. The magnets hold the stabilizer in place so it does not slide around. Then I can confidently place the garment or fabric and quickly secure the top hoop.
Before I purchased my hooping station, I did primarily use temporary adhesive spray. This holds your stabilizer in place until you can hoop the fabric. I have in the past had some shirts Pill when the stabilizer is removed after stitching so always do a test with a garment that I don't mind damaging. I try to have extras for this purpose. It saves some stress in the event you have a machine malfunction or if it's "Just One Of Those Days"
I find that the hardest part of hooping any project is knowing where the bottom hoop is located. You can't see it once you put your fabric on top. That is where the templates come in handy. Here you see I have a towel on top of my hoop and I am using my template to "feel" the bottom hoop location. If I have marked my placement with my chalk marker, I can also Line up that chalk inside of the cross hair of the template.
Then I can place the top hoop on and decide if that placement will be good. I will tell you that this doesn't always go as planned. No worries, just take it out and try again. Some fabrics are harder than others. The location of the embroidery can be tricky also if you are embellishing a ready made product. Don't get frustrated and sew it because you are tired. Take a break and come back to it later.
So templates are a great way to line up projects. They are also an inexpensive tool that you can print off or make yourself. I found that once I started getting the hang of using them, I enjoyed creating my own as it helped me understand the hooping process more. This blog post is just the tip of embroidery placement. I have more detailed information in my video below. I show you how I use all of these tools. If you are interested, scroll down and watch it. I bet you will pick up some new tricks of your own.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
The New Year is approaching and once again I have steered myself back into my studio. This project won't take too much time and it would make a wonderful gift for someone in your life.
I had this drying mat in my stash and I thought it would be perfect to upcycle into a wine bag. If you have a Dollar Tree in your town, they usually have a good selection of colors and for One Dollar you can create a personalized item. Maybe you aren't going to attend your normal New Year's Eve party but you still want to celebrate with family, friends or neighbors? How about delivering a bottle of wine to them as a surprise? Leave it on their front porch or hang the bag on their doorknob?
This project really is just a few seams. The padded material of the drying mat is great to protect the glass bottle. Maybe customize yours with embroidery. I used my latest New Year Balloons design that you can find here. Some pretty satin ribbon is an easy handle.
I used a 4x4 hoop with tear away stabilizer and floated my drying mat in the embroidery hoop with temporary adhesive spray.
After doing the embroidery, I placed right sides together with clips and sewed along the bottom and side of the mat. Make sure you lengthen your stitch and use a larger needle.
I created boxed corners with zig zag stitching on the bottom. This makes it flat once you turn it inside out. You can trim these away but I left mine as they give a little more structure to the bag.
The satin ribbon is folded under on each end and stitched to the outer sides. The box and cross stitching will give extra security to the wine bottle in the bag.
Now you are ready to add the wine or any other libation of your choosing. I filmed a short You tube video that you can watch below that will take you through the entire process. I hope you are well in your part of the world and that you have enjoyed this along with my other posts, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
This project is an oldie but goodie and I thought it needed to be brought back. I found it in one of my old sewing books from the eighties. Just looking at it reminds me of that Heirloom trend we were all decorating with back then. It can be sewn or if you have some fabric glue, you should be able to make one as long as you dry your glue in between steps.
Here is the secret ingredient that keeps the wreath shape. These book rings were purchased from Dollar Tree and they have a hinged side with a lock. A package of eight means you can make a lot of wreaths
Here is a view of the ring being opened. You can see that makes it easy to slide your fabric on and then close up to secure everything.
You will need a piece of fabric cut 18 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide. Also, any kind of lace, ribbon or ric rac will dress up the wreath.
A tube turner really comes in handy also and if you have never used one of these tools, you might want to give it a try. A long narrow tube of fabric is sometimes difficult to turn right side out but one of these makes it effortless.
Here is an abbreviated version of how they go together. The lace or ribbon is pinned to the right side along one edge. I like to baste it on first. Then sew the edges together along that length. Use the tube turner and turn right side out. Then press flat so the lace is one one side and the fabric tube is on the other.
Then you take it back to your machine and sew a seam right in the middle down the length. This creates a smaller casing. If you are using fabric glue, this part won't be possible but you will already have a wide casing that will work just fine. Thread the material on the book ring and snap closed. I make a hanger with 1/4 inch ribbon and a simple bow. Both are attached with a needle or thread. If you are using glue, you should be able to attach both.
I made two versions so you could see by decreasing the fabric width to two inches, the ornament has a slightly different look. As a final creative idea, you could place a small picture behind each wreath with hot glue. This project would be easy for kids to design with their favorite fabric pieces. If you are like me, you probably have some remnants that would work great for this.
I have a complete video tutorial that you can watch below as you are sewing your wreath ornaments. Handmade projects are on my Christmas list this year. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work! Have A Merry Christmas!
My latest embroidery designs are close to my heart because they were requested by a family member. When the pandemic started, I set to work on drafting a face mask design that you can find here. Then I went to work sewing many masks and mailing them to my family in South Louisiana. I put them in individual polybags and asked that they distribute as they saw fit to anyone in need. At that time when everything was new, supplies were short so everyone was looking for any kind of face covering. I sewed a mask for my uncle that is a Navy veteran and the fabric had ships and compasses all over it. Last week he was filling up at a gas station and a man came across the parking lot to talk to him. He saw the fabric, commented on the mask and said he wished someone could make him one that had his Shrimping profession on it. That is all it took for me to get to work on sewing a new batch of masks and getting them mailed to my family again. So Mr. Reuben or "T-Reub" this is for you. I hope you love your custom mask.
The Trawler Embroidery design is perfect alone or you can add custom text like a personal or business name above or below. The boat design is less than 2 inches square so it will work great on masks, caps or hats. See the inspiration pictures below for some gift ideas.
The Compass Embroidery Design is also less than two inches square so it will work on masks, caps or hats. You know any person that fishes as a profession or hobby uses compasses and maps to navigate the waters. This design looks great by itself but the addition of a name will make it really special. Campers, hikers or scouts would love this also. See the inspiration pictures below.
The Shrimp Embroidery Design is one of my new favorites. I love how simple and clean it looks stitched in the white thread against the navy fabric. If you have a shrimper or chef in your life they will love this stitched on their favorite items, like masks, hats, towels and shirts. Add their name and they might cook up a nice meal for you. See the inspiration photos below.
This picture shows the piece of fabric in my hoop after it has been embroidered. If you are making custom masks, just draw the outline of the mask pattern with chalk and you can place the design right where you need it before you sew up the masks.
Here are just a few of the custom masks ready to send out. I did sew a special one for my uncle with the Navy veteran logo embroidered on it. Sadly I don't offer this embroidery design, because the Navy logo is trademarked by the Naval Department, so without their permission, I would only sew this for family members as gifts. I think my uncle will love it though.
I do have one more embroidery design that was just released a few days ago and it ties in with my South Louisiana Heritage. This Sportsman Paradise design has a Pelican sitting on a log which is something that you will see if you are ever visiting along the Gulf Of Mexico. It is perfect for those outdoorsman or anyone that loves Louisiana culture. Check out some Inspiring photos below.
So that brief meeting at a gas station started all of this. Mr. Reuben did you know when you walked across that parking lot and spoke to my uncle that you would inspire these embroidery designs? I loved creating all of them and making masks which I hope the receivers will enjoy wearing. Maybe the embroidery will spark conversations like the one you had with my uncle and give a moment of normalcy to this time in our lives. We from South Louisiana love to talk and visit after all. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Life's celebrations are one of the things we can count on. No matter what happens, we will always have loved ones, friends or co-workers that will be celebrating milestones. In honor of that I have digitized several new designs that are releasing today. Of course, we all have birthdays in our lives. This Happy Birthday Embroidery design stitches in a 4x4 hoop and within just a few minutes you will have a hip customized project. Also, this design is part of my Celebrations design pack that includes three other celebratory designs! See them below.
Do you know someone who is celebrating and needs a little congratulating? My Congratulations Embroidery Design is part of the Celebration Design Pack also. This 4x4 design can be customized with any color under the sun and would be perfect for so many occasions!
Help someone acknowledge that special date with my Happy Anniversary Embroidery Design. This would be beautiful in any thread color but Golds and Silvers would be very luxurious. This 4x4 design is part of the Celebrations Design pack also.
My Good Luck Embroidery design will help you send that special person off with a very meaningful wish. This 4x4 design is also part of my Celebrations Design pack. The best part about these four embroidery designs is they are all ready for you to pick your favorite thread color and within just a short time, you can have a very special customized project.
So I bet you know what is next? Birthdays for those little ones in your life. We all like to celebrate those special days that only come once in a lifetime. I have several birthday embroidery designs that you can stitch up in your 4x4 hoop. Let me show them to you with a few inspirational projects. This is My First Birthday Embroidery Design. These all include text and an Applique Number.
How about stitching this on a cute and soft bib?
This is My Second Birthday Embroidery Design and remember that you can always customize the colors on these so they will be perfect for many little ones.
I know a lot of two year old children that love to cuddle underneath a cover. They will know which blanket is theirs with this stitched on the corner.
When you get to My Third Birthday you can start working on those older projects for your special little people. Or have you thought about using any of these designs for your pets? They love birthday gifts too!
All kids love a Shirt just for them and they can tell everyone how old they are. I see birthday cake on the front of this one already!
My Fourth Birthday embroidery design lets those little buddies know they are still special and that you are taking time to create memorable gifts for them.
So how about a cute apron that they can wear while doing their crafts or helping you in the kitchen?
We have made it to My Fifth Birthday Embroidery design and they aren't babies anymore but I bet they still let you hug and kiss them. Let them be little as long as they can and make that homemade gift they will love to show off.
Now they are big enough to carry their own bag. A cute backpack for pajamas and overnight stays would be an awesome project for this design!
We have so many celebrations to look forward to and my wish is that these designs get you inspired to be creative. Remember how good it feels to give. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
It is that time of year when the turkey becomes part of our holiday season. Today I am releasing this new In The Hoop Turkey Ornament as my ode to that tradition. This project is fun because two hoopings are required. The first hooping uses a 4x4 embroidery hoop which creates the face and details of the turkey.
If you look closely at the picture, you can see that the face/body is attached with a U shaped stitch just around the widest part of the body. This creates a small pocket that is perfect to hide small surprises. What kind of surprises? Keep reading.
The second hooping is done in a 5x7 hoop and I love this one because you can go through your seasonal fabric. If you look at the picture above you will see all of the fluffy fabric edges or Chenille. This makes the fabric look like the turkey's feathers. If you have Fall inspired charm packs, they would be so cute in different turkey ornaments. If you have never done chenille techniques, it is really easy using a small chenille or wire brush. The design comes with a full set of color instructions. Also, I have created a video you can watch below to make sure you can work through the process. So be sure to check that out.
So what can you do with this ornament? Here I have used it as a napkin ring. These would be precious at each of your place settings. Remember that pocket created by the turkey face? Slide a small dinner mint or hand written note in the pocket for a sweet take home gift for your guests.
Another unique idea would be to add a few drops of scented oils to a small piece of felt. Slide the felt into the turkey pocket and make your own seasonal air freshener. Hang this in your kitchen, bathroom or car. Bringing a bottle of wine to a gathering? Hang it on the bottle for a cute hostess gift.
If you don't want to hang it as an ornament, you can always use the turkey as a cute mug rug to dress up your work space.
I bet you have other creative ways to use an In The Hoop Turkey Ornament. Fall is a season of many blessings and my wish is that yours is very full. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Nothing makes your heart stop like an error message in the middle of a sewing or embroidery project. When I have an error I usually pull out my manual first because the answer will more than likely be found there. The manufacturers are usually very good about knowing what might come up and giving you various scenarios to try. In sewing the most common will be your needle, bobbin and thread. In this error, I went through the checklist from my manual but my error still occurred. As I would sew I was able to get through 10-15 stitches and the machine would stop with the above error. I initially thought it might be the tension discs and some thread or debris so I cleaned those out by taking the top covers off, but the problem persisted. Of course I made sure my machine was powered OFF to do these checks.
So after some online searches, I found a couple of other people with similar problems and even though they have a different machine, I thought I would try looking in the same area they were indicating, so I removed my cover from the side of the machine. I have to thank generous people on You Tube and Blogs because isn't it great to be able to figure out those small maintenance repairs during the pandemic? Usually I wouldn't think twice about bringing my machine to the shop but now that isn't always an easy option.
I traced myself to the 3rd position in the flow of tension on the front. There is a very small spring located behind this front cover that helps the machine tension the thread. It is a moving part and when you couple that movement with thread, debris, moisture and dirt; the spring can become immobile and the thread is no longer in the correct placement so the machine will issue the error.
Look in the picture above and follow the thread down to the point where it passes under that straight bar. Directly underneath you will see the very small curved tip of the spring. That piece is where my problems were happening. I used a small picking instrument like a dentist would use and I VERY CAREFULLY cleaned around the spring. I also made sure the spring could move up and down and was not immobile. As I did that I saw a piece of thread remnant fall out.
You can also see the other very tiny bits of debris I was able to clean out. I put everything back together to test the machine. As a side note, this error did occur right after I had been trying out a brand new metallic thread. I can't say for certain if that caused the problem but it was a different material than I sew with on a daily basis.
The final thing I did was remove the thread and re thread it through all of the tension areas. If you don't do this, the thread placement is the same as before the repair and the error will probably show up still. Now my machine sews just fine. I will say that this is a minor adjustment and I would only recommend doing this to get you back to sewing; especially if you are in a production setting like me. I use my machine to test embroidery designs every day. It doesn't replace my usual maintenance schedule where the machine is taken apart, cleaned, oiled and tested. I will still get that done per the manufacturer's suggestions which is normally at least once a year. I filmed a short video below that will show you the error as it was happening, removing the covers and where that spring is located. If you are having similar issues with your machine, this might help. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
I am taking it way back with my latest design. I wanted to do something fun and quick and this In The Hoop Fortune Teller Game is just that. Do you remember folding one of these when you were in school and playing with your friends? Back then the fortunes would make your day. Well I am hoping these fortunes will bring back that smile and nostalgia.
The materials needed are really simple. I used cutaway stabilizer in my hoop and sewed directly onto it. It is really no different than the standard paper you would usually use to fold a fortune teller. In fact, the cutaway is a little bit more resilient and should last longer. I have noticed mine has gotten softer as I use it more and more. When I digitized this design, I wanted all of the fortunes to be readable and as close to an original game piece as possible so it is only available in an 8 x 8 size. This makes inserting your fingers in the pockets easy as well.
I did use my iron with small bursts of steam to set all of the folds in the game piece.
After everything is stitched, you will remove the stabilizer and trim around the edges carefully. Then fold the game piece to play. I think this would be such a fun project for kids. It would be easy to complete as a project with them because it sews out fairly quick and they might not get too bored watching it. Then cutting is just straight lines and the folding is perfect for tactile work.
Just look how adorable that is. So simple but such great memories I have with my school friends.
On this day, my wish was granted. That is a great fortune to have come true. I have a short video below that shows the entire project, especially the folding process so you can create your In The Hoop Fortune Teller Game. I hope you have enjoyed this post, you share what you learn and you are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
If you have read many of my blog posts, you might guess my creative projects follow the seasons and what I see in my life. So right now, my yard is a priority as I continue getting it in order for winter. I really do love little yard trinkets, signs, hanging decorations etc. So you will find Shepherd Garden Stakes in many of my flower beds. They come in a lot of different sizes and styles and usually I use them to hang bird feeders or plants. Since cold weather is coming, I am looking at them to see if they need any maintenance like rust removal or cleaning out the bird feeders.
This flag project just came about because I realized I had never tried to sew something decorative for one of these shepherd hooks. I thought it would be a great project to move between seasons. Right now, my trees still have leaves on them and they are just turning beautiful shades of yellow and orange. After a few cold snaps, I will look outside and they will all be gone and then our skies will be gray for several months. This makes my yard a little depressing, but these flags might help that this winter. My intention is to sew some for those cold winter months and when I look outside my windows, it just might cheer me up and keep me excited for upcoming spring gardening.
So the first thing I did was digitize a special embroidery design for this flag. I had my husband in mind and thought he would get a kick out of seeing this in our yard. If you are interested in the An Old Fisherman design it is available here. You will need at least a 6x10 embroidery hoop. The size of the flag I was sewing demanded a larger design to fill up the space.
Here is a view of the Old Fisherman embroidery design with a different background color so you can see the details. I used canvas duck fabric for the flag and grosgrain ribbon for the casing. I didn't do a written pattern for this project but I did a full video tutorial that you can watch below. I think a beginner could sew this project as there are mostly straight seams, The long curve and adding the ribbon casing is a nice skill to practice as well as clipping along curves. All of this can be done sewing a flag like this. The tutorial will show you how to draft your own flag depending on the shepherd hook you have so it is not specific just to the type I used. In any case, I am wishing you will have fun watching the video and dreaming up ways to decorate your outdoor space year round with these flags. You know these would be awesome for yard sale signs or business advertisements also.
Check out the video below. I have assembled a playlist of several garden flag projects together. Look for that in the description of the video and you can have a creative watch party! I Hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
This Free In The Hoop Ribbon Awareness Cup Wrap is my latest embroidery design and it is a good one! We are in Breast Cancer Awareness month so this design is timely for that but did you know that the Ribbon is used for so many other causes?
I visited Disabled-world.com and pulled their graphic above. If you click on the link or picture it will take you to their site where you can learn more about each ribbon and cause. *NOTE* Some of the colors may not be listed and they are always adding causes to each color so you will probably want to go to each Organization cause on their social media sites and verify before you stitch out this embroidery design or make a donation.* That being said, let me tell you about this embroidery design.
Other than being completely FREE, the other most important fact is you will need at least an 8x12 embroidery hoop to complete the project. When you stitch the design you will have two Fleece cup wraps that are oh so soft. You can use different color fleece and thread for your cause. See in the picture above that they will fit on Plastic cups. I also use mine on stainless steel insulated cups.
The front will sew your ribbon design which is simple but effective to showcase the pattern on your fleece.
You will also have a buttonhole that sews in the design. Once complete, a needle and thread will be used to sew on your button. Here we used a 5/8 inch button. Have fun picking out cute ones!
Here is a little bonus for you! Included in the design download is a PDF gift tag. Just print these out on heavy duty paper or cardstock and slide the cup cozy over it. Fill in the blank area with your name so the person receiving the cup cozy knows where it came from.
We used a small piece of scotch tape underneath the cozy to keep it from sliding off the gift tag.
When I digitized this design my hope was you would use this as a service project for your group, school project, church, civic club or personal family and friends. Not sure how much each one will cost your organization to make? We have done the math for you also. We figure you can make 20 of these cup cozies with a yard of fleece that is 60 inches wide. So divide 20 into your yardage cost. If a yard of fleece cost you $10.00, each cozy is roughly .50 cents. That is just fleece cost. You will need to add stabilizer and buttons, thread etc. but that is a good place to start your cost analysis if you are doing a lot of cozies. Another place to look for cheaper fleece is your local big box store. Visit the blanket section and search for seasonal throws or blankets. Sometimes you can find real bargains that are cheaper than off the bolt.
Are you worried it will be too hard to construct the cup cozies? I got that covered for you too. Watch the instruction video below to see how easy they are to make. So are you ready to get started? Click this LINK to add the design to your cart. Check out in the store and you will get an email to download the design. I have done all the hard work for you. Now you just need to have fun sewing and donating. Did you know you can send me pictures and details of your cup cozy projects too? Visit my contact page here. That would make my day and I just might showcase your cozies on my Facebook page. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
I have been buttoning up my yard in preparation for winter. My garden plot has been mowed down, all of my flower beds have been successfully weeded and my flower pots are host to new pansies. This time of year I tend to change a few things around on my front porch and I like to maintain some color as I watch the leaves turn and fall. In honor of this beautiful time of year, I am releasing my latest design Falling Leaves Flag Pattern. This embroidery design is really simple in it's concept and it only has 6,645 stitches but it has a really big impact with the addition of artificial leaves.
You can see here that the stitching includes cute seasonal text and a smiling puppy. He is watching all of the beautiful leaves falling around him. My dogs love to do that and they have so much fun chasing the leaves as they fall to the ground. I purchased a small bag of leaves from my local Dollar Tree store and it had 50 of them so I have a lot of extra ones for future projects.
There are several different fabrics that you can use for garden flags. On this one, I used OLY FUN fabric which is the same material you will find in reusable grocery bags. I have done other flag projects using this material and I like it for the price, weight and non fraying qualities. I will tell you that your flag won't have UV protection and might only last one season if you use OLY FUN Fabric. I don't mind that because I love to change regularly. Also, if I look closely at flags I have purchased they will usually fade pretty quickly and I tend to avoid putting them back up more than two seasons.
The embroidery instructions will take you through the placement of the leaves. I have included a flag pattern with the design that will help you prepare your fabric and cut the bottom portion.
You will see how to add the ribbon on the top and sides and sew the trim to the bottom of the flag.
This would be a great project for a beginner as it includes many techniques that can be used for future sewing and embroidery projects. If you have a sewing and embroidery machine or combination of the two and feel like you want to do something creative but not too difficult, give this a try. I think you will love seeing your flag in your yard. I have created a video you can watch below that shows the entire project also so if you are a more advanced seamstress, you should be able to make your own garden flag just by following along.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Fall Is Here and I have several brand new designs releasing today. My first design in the picture above is Happy Fall Ya'll and it caused some discussion in my household. Is the spelling Ya'll or Y'all? Well I looked that one up and I think my spelling is correct although it goes against the traditional rules. Anyway, it's still cute and would be perfect for stitching up a quick project like the example below.
So I had a little more fun playing with words on My Pumpkin Patch. I did have a garden this year and it has pretty much fizzled out so I won't be picking my own fall produce but I can wear it! Maybe you had a similar experience and need to laugh? Try out this design and see if it brings a smile or starts a conversation.
I am Nuts About Fall and my next design pretty much sums it up. This design has a couple of elements that I think you will like stitching. The acorn is an applique and I used a fabric with several different colors. You could customize your acorn with an infinity of fabric. Also, the tail on the squirrel is an open blend and it is always fun to see how two color threads interact on the fabric it is stitched on.
Crow On Pumpkin is just another fun design. Can you see a trend here? If you just need to see some cute or funny things around you right now, this little crow might cheer you up. He stitches in a 4x4 hoop and is great as a stand alone design, but an addition of your text would make it even better.
This Monster Eyeball Sign is my final try at getting you to smile. It is an In The Hoop project that uses fleece fabric and there are two appliques. One is the huge eyeball and the other is the sign that the monster is holding. Can you see his little scaly hands at the bottom? Those are fun motif stitches that I used variegated thread on. One more design choice was that I used glow in the dark thread on the eye, teeth and text. So this one will be able to warn intruders in your house to back off in the daylight and in the dark. Not that you need any kind of sign to keep others out of your space right now . RIGHT? Check out the video at the bottom of the page to see how the Monster Sign is constructed.
So I hope this post finds you doing well with the change of the seasons. Even with events as they are in the world, mother nature keeps marching forward doing her best every day. I think she's a pretty smart chickie and I want to be like her when I grow up. Enjoy these designs, share what you learn and be generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
I have been accused of being addicted to post it or sticky notes. I don't deny it especially as I get older. If there is a yellow (or any color for that matter) pad close to me, I am going to use it. So my newest embroidery design pays tribute to having them at your fingertips. On my desk, they will wind up underneath a pile of other papers or stuff. So an elevated position on a stand will hopefully keep them visible to "Remind Me" of everything unless I have it staring right at me.
The L frame used along with the design is 3 1/2 by 5 inches and clear. It can be found at most Dollar or discount stores. The cover has a pocket on the back that slides right over the frame.
It uses a 5x7 embroidery frame and just a few pieces of fabric. This is a project that would be a great way to bust though your stash and begin working on those small gifts for Christmas.
These ITH Post It Note Holders stitch up really quickly and are fun to customize with fabric and thread choices. I did an instruction video below that takes you through the entire process. Also, when you download the design, you will receive a full set of color instructions. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
My Happy HCS2 1201 Embroidery machine has provided me with many hours of steady sewing. Let me first start this blog post by saying I am still glad I purchased it. I knew when I made the choice to upgrade to a multi needle machine that was not a predominant model for my geographical area, I would have some challenges when it came to maintenance. This coupled with the current pandemic makes it even more difficult. So I had to dive in and try to figure out my problem. As you can see from the picture above, I have my machine ready to load a cap and the arrow points to the position that the arm should calibrate to once it is turned on. If you have never used a multi needle machine, the arm will usually move through a rotation and settle back in the center ready for you to load your cap.
My machine would calibrate and settle to the far right position instead. When the machine is turned off, you can freely rotate and move the hoop right to left and back to front which is how I was able to take the first picture. When the calibration landed in this position, it made it impossible to load the caps with the bills pointed up ready to sew. Also, I later discovered if the frame was too far right when I turned it on, the machine would try to calibrate and make a terrible grinding noise when it ran out of movement room.The weird thing is my machine sewed fine one day and the next time I put my cap frame on, it started doing this. So I was really worried I wouldn't be able to center any of my designs to sew. The trial and error period began.
I looked at the screen and noticed that even though the arm of the machine was situated to the far right position, the screen showed my design should be in the center. So that told me there was a miscommunication between the brain or computer and the arm.
I took the cap frame off and then noticed that when the machine did not see caps sewing, but a standard frame it would calibrate to the center as it should. That was the really hard one to figure out. Mechanically, the calibration cycle worked for standard but not cap frames. So I started looking at what controlled the machine knowing how to see caps.
My first thought was the small plunger underneath the arm. The small black unit in the picture above is what tells the machine you will be sewing caps. When you load the frame on the machine, it pushes that little plunger in. Sometimes I have noticed that when I take my cap frame off, the plunger will stick and I have to manually pull it out. I now make sure there is no trash in it and keep it lubricated. Even doing a thorough cleaning and oiling didn't solve the frame centering problem so I moved on to my machine manual, centering instructions. There wasn't a whole lot of information to go from. I also looked at other Happy machine manuals online and spoke to the techs at the service department where I purchased my machine. To say the least it was a head scratcher. I even re initialized the machine thinking I may have changed a setting inadvertently. Nothing worked.
Then I got brave and started taking covers off the arm. The first time I did that I noticed there were several sensor boards and wires with connectors. I did see one that looked like it might be loose, so I pushed all of the connectors in as tight as I could. I also unplugged and re-plugged the large black cable that goes from the machine to the arm unit. I loaded the cap frame on the machine and the calibration moved to the far right. This was very disappointing because what else could it be? I began to wonder if it was something in the control box so I looked up the electrical schematics and tried to figure out which sensor board and pulse motors controlled the arm. The worst part was I could see all of these parts in the list, but no real explanation of what each one did.
So naturally panic set in because I figured I would not be able to get this figured out. As long as I had a small design to sew, I could move it around in the hoop and get it stitched and over this period I still had cap orders coming in. This was very stressful so I created a work around while I still tried to figure out what was going on. When these machines are turned off, the arm becomes free and you can move it easily. This assists when you are doing maintenance or changing your frames. Once it is turned on, the arm becomes immobile. So I played with my arm position. I knew that when I turned it on, it always moved to the far right. So each time, I would move the arm starting position farther to the left, turn it on and see where the calibration landed. I did this until I got it to the center. I put a mark on the arm and matched it to a placement on a piece of painters tape. I did this for standard and wide cap settings. Each time I went to sew caps out, I just moved the arm to that location, turned it on and it always moved to center. So this took some of the pressure off and I could get my orders completed still. I have to be honest, this situation rocked on for a year until this week when I said I am either going to figure it out or load it up and make a trip to where I purchased it from which for me is about 6 hours away.
So have I got you confused enough and are you ready for the fix? I pulled out my screwdriver and once again pulled the cover off the arm of my machine. Remember I said earlier I noticed there was a connector that looked loose and I pushed it back in tight? Well, when I took the cover off this time, I saw that it was loose again. Weird right? See in the picture above I am pointing to the small screw that holds the center of the cover when it is installed. There is tape wrapped around all of the wires. When I looked closely, the tape had come unwound and all of those wires were tucked beneath the screw instead of on top of them where they are in the picture.
Here I am making sure they are all above that location and out of the way.
This connector is the one that looked like it was loose and after seeing the wires underneath that screw, I figured out that when the cover was being pushed back on the arm, it was putting downward pressure on those wires and pulling the connection loose. This of course I could not see because the cover was on top of it and I thought everything was secure because I had just pushed everything in nice and tight. It also explains why the machine sewed fine one day and the next it did not. I estimate that the wires were in this predicament when I purchased the machine and through the movement vibrations over time, the connection finally just gave way. Such a simple problem but because it was not consistent between the standard and cap frames, it was a hard one to diagnose.
Here is another shot so you can see the back of the arm with the sensor boards, connectors and wires. It feels so good to have this figured out. Now I can confidently sew moving forward and know each time I load my cap frame, it will center correctly and I can get on with the process. I filmed several snippets of the process and then the solution which you can watch below. My wish is this helps someone out there having a similar problem or maybe it will give you courage to pull out your manual and tools and try to fix your embroidery machine. Especially right now when our technicians are social distancing or working minimal hours. **Always make sure you unplug your machine before making any repair attempts.** I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with that you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
We are in that time of year where back to School plans are being made. If you have a child that is just starting school or you will be homeschooling, this little soft book is an excellent way to introduce them to ll of the things they might be doing every day. Check out our blog post about the book here. The best part is you will get multiple embroidery designs with the download and an easy pattern to sew your own soft book. It will be on sale through the end of August so don't wait!
Another great embroidery design perfect for back to school is my calendar topper. I absolutely love mine and use it for all of the things I need to be reminded to do. It along with the magnetic pen holder will be on sale through the end of August!
Both of these designs are easy and fun. I use a Dollar Tree Calendar so it is an inexpensive project and looks very nice on my refrigerator! Check out the Calendar Topper Project Here. Look for the Magnetic Pen Holder Project Here.
Who can leave out one of my favorite things in the world? COFFEE??? Yep my Coffee Mug Wrap Embroidery Designs are on sale and I know many of you teachers are going to be reaching for that morning cup. What about you parents who are going to be homeschooling? You will probably enjoy these mug wraps as well.
I hope you are well in your corner of the world and you enjoy what you do, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
My latest sewing project is not only fun but economical. I am always scanning the clearance aisles of my big box stores and when I see something that is really reduced and made of any kind of material that can be stitched, I will usually grab it. On a recent trip I found a package of 30 microfiber towels on sale for $6.00. The regular amount is $9.97 so still a great price for this project.
Check out this cute drawstring bag and my (*click link*) latest embroidery design Shark Towel Applique. This bag can be used for wet swimming suits, flip flops, beach toys, you name it. If you are looking for an inexpensive gift to sew for a group of people this is almost as cheap as you can get for 20 cents per towel. Even full price they are just 33 cents each.
The embroidery design has been digitized to include a knockdown stitch you can see here. So you can put the Shark on the fluffy side of the towel and he will really stand out. Also, with the knockdown stitch, you don't need to use any wash away stabilizer on top. If you want to embroider the shark on woven fabric, just bypass the knockdown stitching and move directly to the applique parts.
This design is fun because it has two areas of applique. So if you have never done a project with multiple areas of placement, trimming and satin stitching, you will love playing with all of the different options just by alternating your colors of fabric. As you can see, I used a plain blue for the back area but the tummy has a small print. Can you imagine using stripes or polka dots for your shark? Or making some for girls or boys just by changing the towels? Look for these microfiber towels the next time you are in the automotive section of your store. They have a good selection of colors in most stores which are perfect for cute drawstring bags.
Sewing the bag is just a few seams and I thought you might want to see the complete process so I created a video you can watch below. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Changing the thread on a multi needle embroidery machine can seem like an overwhelming task. When I bought my machine, I had to adjust from my usual threading practice because I was familiar with my single needle machine. Each time the thread color changed on a design, I was used to re-threading through the single needle machine path and moving on. A multi needle machine has many different colors on the machine and as the design stitches, the machine trims the thread and the head moves to a different position to continue sewing.
The multi needle machines are taller and usually on a cabinet so reaching up and around to change each cone is a little harder. The most efficient way to change colors is to tie onto an existing thread and pull through your tension discs and the needle. In order to do that you have to use a very small knot.
This picture shows the path that the thread follows from the top through all of the tension areas, take up levers and eventually through the needles. First you pull a long length of thread from the cone you are replacing. Cut that so there is something to tie onto left on the machine and remove the cone. I like to have around 24-30 inches. Then you place the new cone on the machine and pull a long length equal to the first thread. Next you need to tie your knot.
The original thread left on the machine is wrapped around your two fingers and held by your thumb. This creates a open loop on your middle finger.
The new thread is laid over your hand. So here you see my old thread is black. My new thread is white
Then you reach your finger through the open loop and pull both pieces of thread through. This creates a very small knot.
Looking at this type knot you can see that it does not resemble a traditional square knot. It actually looks like half the size and will be narrow enough to go through the sewing needle eye.
Once your knot is secure, you can start pulling the existing thread through the needle from the bottom of the machine. I usually hold the new thread ends taut while they go through the top tensions, Once they get past that area I continue to pull until I can see that the old thread is gone , the knot passes in the needle and the new color is ready.
This view shows that black thread tied to the white and the knot has just passed through the eye. I clip the excess off, secure my new thread to my spring and move forward.
Now you know you can quickly change those empty or wrong thread cones. It is difficult to imagine tying that knot from pictures, so I made a video you can watch below that shows the entire process with very close shots. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Bowl Cozies are one of my favorite things. If you like to reheat food in a microwave they might become one of your new favorites. The purpose of a cozy is a place to set your bowl in the microwave while it is heating. Once the food is hot, you just use the cozy to lift the bowl out. You can also eat your food comfortably so your fingers don't get burned. I like to use mine for cold items like ice cream and cereal as well. They are perfect to catch those drips. When they get dirty, I put mine through a regular cycle in my washer and dryer. You want to make sure you use 100% cotton or natural materials. Any polyester or blends may cause a spark or melt in your microwave. So use 100% cotton batting, thread and material.
If you have read my other articles you may have seen a couple of other projects using these character towels. I have used them for drawstring bags which you can see here. I have also used them for adult bibs which you can see here. When I walk through the Dollar Tree I am always scanning for new materials to remake. These towels are so vibrant and fun that they have become a staple I keep in my studio at all times.
They are also 100% cotton so perfect for these cozies. The size on the package is 11.75 x 11.75 inches and once they are washed and dried the first time, they will slightly shrink. You may also see that the shape gets slightly skewed but that is not a problem. The care instructions state they should not be ironed, but I do press them with a medium setting and a press cloth. This will protect your iron plate from any residual ink on the towels.
The cotton batting is cut to 10 x 10 inches and adhesive spray is used on the towel to keep everything together while you sew your first quilting seams. Once the towel and the batting are adhered, you can trim away any extra towel. The batting will assist in keeping the cozy square.
These bowl cozies are a simple project but they do include darts on all sides. The darts help them stand up and form the bowl shape. This is a great introduction to learn how to sew darts if you have never done them.
Here you see me marking the dart placement with a heat erase pen. It is not hard to accomplish and great practice with your measuring tools.
There are so many of these bowl cozy projects on the internet and they are all similar. Using these character towels will present one challenge that you won't have if you use cotton fabric. The terry cloth coupled with the batting makes these thick along the seams. When it is time to close the project after turning, I like to use a needle and thread instead of my machine. This way I ensure I have grabbed both edges of the towel. You will be washing and drying them frequently so you want to have a durable closure. I love to use a ladder stitch for this part because the thread is hidden. Once I have it closed up, I will go around with a top stitch on my sewing machine but well away from the edge. This is slightly different than other bowl cozy projects you may see on the internet. A regular sewing machine can be used with these towels, but you may have to help it just a bit when you get around those thicker seams. Just take your time and you should be good to go.
When all is done, you will have a reversible bowl cozy that is not only practical, but cheerful.
Look at all of the different cozies I made in just an afternoon. These are great for kids, teens and adults. Everyone in your family will want their own.
So are you ready to make this project? Click on the video below to watch me sew a complete bowl cozy. All materials, measurements, sewing machine settings are included. Don't forget to Like and subscribe to my You tube channel. Then every time I upload a new video, you will be notified. I hope you have enjoyed this blog post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Lagniappe Peddler believes that the process of working with our hands can be one of the best forms of healing the hurts in our lives and welcomes all who visit this safe little corner of the world.
What is a Lagniappe Peddler?
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift
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