My love for sewing is a constant in my life. I never get bored and I am certain it is because of my evolution. When I look back at my early blogs and YouTube videos, I am amazed at how far I have come. I try not to compare myself to others who will always be farther ahead and you shouldn't either. We are always exactly where we are supposed to be and we move forward when it is time. Now I will say that I have had to put effort into my sewing craft by taking classes, going to conventions and purchasing upgraded tools as I have become more proficient. My latest tool is a Grace Cutie Frame.
The Grace Company has many different solutions if you are interested in quilting. Most people I have spoken to at quilt shows love the idea of having a Long Arm Quilting machine but there are always hurdles to overcome. Usually size of your sewing space and the price tag will hold most people back. If you have followed my blog or watched my videos, you will know that my space is not very large. I am set up in our dining room and I have several different machines and a large cutting table that I don't want to give up. So this Grace Cutie Frame helped me move forward with my quilting journey while fitting into my space. The price tag was much more comfortable as well. My plan was to use my Babylock Destiny 2 that has the largest throat space in my machine collection.
Setting up the Cutie frame took a couple of hours. It was not difficult as everything was very well labeled. It's amazing how many things fit into that box.
When I researched the Cutie Frame, I wasn't sure if my machine would fit on the carriage because of the large screen on the right side. You can see in the picture that it does fit and is able to lock down securely. It has 11 inches of throat space. That means there is 11 inches between the needle and the right side of the machine. That sewing area will be reduced by several inches once on the frame. So keep that in mind if you are thinking of purchasing a frame. My vertical sewing space winds up being 7 1/2 inches. That doesn't bother me because I am used to doing machine embroidery and being defined by hoop size. The horizontal or side to side sewing space is roughly 30 inches with my machine on the frame. So it is like sewing with a large embroidery hoop that is 7 1/2 x 30 inches. Compared to a 4x4, 5x7 or even a 6x10, it is quite a different feeling.
I have seen many longarm machines and frames at quilt shows, but I was not familiar with the mechanics. Working with this smaller frame, I now have a better understanding of how they work and where all of the wires need to go. I was concerned that my cords would get caught once the carriage started moving. There are plenty of places to tuck everything close to the machine so it stays safe.
The way I set up my frame and my electrical outlet situation caused some head scratching. I did move my battery back up so I could plug in my machine. You can see my cord draped across my table here. I also purchased an extra extension cable for my sewing pedal. There are several in the Cutie Box but you can see my table doesn't have legs so my cable machine placement for the pedal was challenging.
My plug for the sewing pedal has a standard audio cord end so I was able to visit my local Best Buy and purchase an extension cord about 6 feet long. My pedal had plenty of extra reach room to move around on the floor but I did improve on that a little more once I began my quilting.
This diagram shows how you accomplish your quilting with a standard sewing pedal. As you sew, you are standing on one foot working your pedal. Your hands guide the sewing machine back and forth, side to side with the carriage. You are looking at your quilt, trying to follow whatever quilting design and as you move balanced on one foot, you get tired. My best fix was to move from right to left foot with my pedal. I also found that I was rushing to get areas quilted because I was not comfortable. Needless to say, my stitches were not even at all. Now this isn't the frame's fault. It worked great, but with my machine set up, I knew I could improve on my situation.
My machine came with a large pedal and I looked up replacement options. I found I already had a smaller pedal from a Brother sewing machine that was perfect to use. I measured it and went shopping.
My local Wal Mart has a nice bike section and they carry this cell phone bike mount that worked perfectly.
It is spring loaded on the sides so the sewing pedal fits securely and then I could attach it to the handle bars. Since it has 360 degrees of motion, I can move it any direction I need to. Now I can use my hands to squeeze the pedal as I quilt. It has been much easier to control my stitches and keep them more regulated. This could be put on the left side also if you are left handed. It gets all of the cords off the floor so they don't get tangled. I was afraid I would accidentally step on my pedal while advancing my quilt and cause some damage to the machine or quilt. As long as I have strength in my hands I can use this option. I have also read that a lighter spring can be installed in pedals to make them easier to press. I would get a technician to help with that if possible. Another upgrade would be to install some kind of small block to the pedal so it stops at a certain point like a governor on an engine. Then you could fully depress the pedal to a certain stopping point while moving the carriage. I find that if I place my machine speed at the highest setting, my hand operation goes very quickly and evenly. In the beginning I was moving slowly and my stitching was not consistent. Again, lack of comfort played a big role in that.
This might look like a mess, but it has really helped me to install two tape measures across the frame top. I have a hard time judging space and once I got started quilting, I would get excited. Before you knew it, I was out of sewing area and wasn't in great spots to advance my quilt. These two tape measures keep me focused so I can look ahead and judge how much space I have left or go back to areas I have missed. They are installed with magnets so nothing is permanent. I used L brackets from Lowe's and put ceramic magnets between the frame and the brackets. Harbor Freight also had magnetic tool bars. That is the black metal bar you see running across the brackets. Then the small clips holding the tape are magnetic also. Bungee cords keep everything secure so it doesn't move around. I also added a small paper bag with a spring loaded clamp for my thread clippings. You can see it hanging from the table edge.
The tape measures really define my sewing area. It reminds me so much of doing embroidery and helps my expectations. Since I know my sewing area size, I can do some simple math and calculate how many times I will be able to move my quilt side to side and advance forward. This helps me figure out time to complete. This and moving that sewing pedal up were game changers. Once I had the pedal upright, I was able to move forward standing on both feet while completely balanced. The tape measures can be loosened when advancing the quilt or moving it side to side.
Another view of my small thread bag. Harbor Freight has so many options for magnets and clamps. I love browsing there.
Now this tip is something I realized once I started quilting. I installed a large 90/14 needle in my machine and broke two of them. Once that happened, I used one of these Top Stitch 110/16 needles and was able to finish my quilt. There is a lot of needle deflection as you move the material in doing free motion quilting. You may even see your needle bend. This is probably my fault because I did get excited once everything started working better and my movements were fast. So try to keep your movements in time with your sewing pedal and smooth. A larger needle may help you avoid breaking but it will put larger needles holes in your quilt so keep that in mind. As you practice it will get easier and your technique will improve. I just wanted to quilt so I had to keep reminding myself that I needed to hold back a bit.
My first quilt was a panel. I did free motion quilting all over it. My hope is that I will keep learning new ways to quilt including some ruler work. I did buy a ruler foot and some Westalee rulers. My advice to you is to keep your first quilt simple. I tried doing straight lines and following shapes before I did this quilt and I got frustrated. Not at the Cutie quilt frame but at myself because it is a new task. So don't put that perfectly pieced quilt on your frame for your first try. Pick plain easy things that you can use for practice. Get your Cutie Frame set up as best you can for comfort. It was hard work doing the quilting, watching my movements and advancing the quilt. I got a great upper and lower body workout and slept like a log that night; with a smile on my face I might add.
My finished quilt is roughly 45 x 45 inches so just about right for a lap throw. It took me an afternoon to finish the quilting and I did the binding the next day. I do have a video you can watch below that shows all of my set up ideas and where I purchased everything. So far I have had fun using my Grace Cutie Frame and I am glad I made the decision to purchase. I have several new quilts in mind and a special one ready to quilt as soon as I am comfortable in my skill level. Remember you can visit my You tube channel by clicking on the video 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.
Has this happened to you while doing machine embroidery? If you are maintaining your multi needle embroidery machine on it's regular schedule, you have probably seen a spot of oil seep into an embroidery design within the first few stitches. As the oil flows down, it can make contact with the fabric. I sometimes see this when I do my "Big" maintenance oiling where the machine head is moved to a position allowing for a deeper lubrication. I usually let the embroidery machine sit overnight. On most occasions, the first item that stitches out after my maintenance doesn't have this problem. In the event it does, I have a great tool in my stash to fix it.
This product from AlbaChem is an aerosol that will dry to a powder. You spray it directly on the oil stain and wait for it to turn completely white and dry.
Here you can compare the picture above showing it just being sprayed and what it looks like dry.
Next you take a soft brush and dust it away. I like to use a toothbrush and then a towel to remove any residual powder.
If it doesn't come out with the first application, you can start over and reapply. Here you can see it removed all of the oil stain.
That was a fresh oil spot. It also works well with stains that have been on clothes for a while. I had great success removing cooking oil spots from these shorts. I use a name brand strong detergent when I launder my clothes and it did not cut through the oil.
Here is the AlbaChem product sprayed and dry on the spots.
Here is the final result with one application. You may want to get some for your laundry room. This would be perfect for family members that fry foods or work in the garage.
Here is one more picture of the product. I keep it in my tool stash and it gives me confidence in maintaining my machine on a regular basis because I am not afraid of staining articles I am doing embroidery on.
Here is the before and after. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Recently I was commissioned to sew a dice bag. There were a few requests for the finished product. The dice were currently being carried in a Ziploc bag because the previous bag had failed. Pink was the desired color and woodland creatures needed to be incorporated into embroidery. Finally strength was very important due to the weight and type of metal dice in the collection. My client plays tabletop games and carries the dice to gaming locations. Other than those requests, I had free reign which I love. It really opens up my creativity.
My first task was measuring a large ziploc bag so I could make sure the finished size was large enough. I also asked my client if the bag needed to be flat or have a round flat bottom which they stated was preferable. So I knew having the round bottom would add girth to the bag.
I went into my stash and found these cloth napkins. When I am shopping I always look in clearance sections and these were marked down when seasons were changing. The Ric Rac on the seam edges was something I wanted to incorporate also.
The first thing I did was digitize a woodland scene with cute creatures. I used my Winter Tree Design to build the embroidery. I love to use designs merged together to make something brand new and this tree design is perfect for that.
I digitized the animals in my software and layered them throughout the Winter Tree design. I also changed the outer square straight stich to a motif. Embroidery software is a lot of fun to play in. Once I had everything to my liking, I stitched it on a cloth napkin.
This dice bag uses casings on the outside instead of the top of the edge. So when I cut the front and back bag pieces, I also used remnants from those cuts for the casings. I thought keeping the Ric Rac would be a nice detail. The edges with the trim are already finished so I would only need to turn a hem on one long edge.
Not wanting to waste anything, I used the Ric Rac trim to frame the embroidery. I love to look at framed artwork that has been matted. You can make a simple picture look more expensive by using multiple layers of matting. I think sewing can accomplish the same thing.
The weight and volume of my client's dice was a concern for the life of the bag. I used a fusible fleece on the lining fabric and quilted a dense grid pattern. This gives great structure. You can see the fabric before and after here. I used the width of my sewing foot to quilt.
I did have to cut circles of outer fabric and lining fabric. Quilting the lining and adding interfacing to the outer fabric added more structure.
I used my Circle template to help me figure out the size circle I would need to cut out. If you would like to see how to figure out circles for your sewing projects, I have a blog post and video. Visit the link here.
Gingham fabric although beautiful does have a tendency to ravel. Throughout the project once I was finished with straight seams, I went back and did a zigzag seam everywhere. Here I am using it on the trim around the embroidery design. The zig zag helps add more strength to those straight seams.
The casings on the outer fabric are an easy way to add drawstrings to a bag. Some casings are created by folding down the top of the fabric like an elastic waist band. These are formed by folding under the ends of the casing along with the top and bottom and topstitching directly to the fabric. The only concern is keeping the ends well away from the side seams allowances. You can see here my side seams are narrow but I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance and made sure those casings were not sewn shut.
Once the side seams were sewn I added the circle bottom. Clips held everything in place during the stitching. Sewing the side seams and the bottom were the same for the lining fabric with the exception of leaving an opening in the side for turning later.
Here is the lining side seams showing that opening. It only has to be large enough to pull all of the fabric through later to turn everything right side out.
Sewing the bottom circle to the lining is accomplished the same as the outer fabric. So you are basically sewing two of the same bags. One for the outside and one for the inside. Then you are ready to put it together.
This is the tricky part. You want your lining to be WRONG Side Out. Your Outer bag to be RIGHT Side Out. Then you slip your outer bag INTO the Lining.
Make sure the right sides are facing. Match the side seams. Clip and sew around the top.
Remember the open side seam on the lining? That is where you will turn the entire bag right side out. Sew that opening shut with either your machine or by hand.
Then the lining can be pushed down into the bag and you can press well and secure it with a topstitch around the top edge.
Your dice bag should stand up by itself pretty well with that quilted inner lining. You are ready to add your cord.
I usually measure 4 times the bag width and add about 12 inches. This should give you more than enough to cut the cord in half and have two. I like a cord on both sides with cord locks to pull everything tight. You thread the first cord from one side all the way around and come back to the starting point.
Then go to the other side with your second cord and do the same thing. You can see the previous cord underneath the pin here. Go all the way around and come back to your starting point.
Masking tape will help thread the cord through the locks. If you don't have cord locks you can tie knots.
Once installed you can trim off any extra cord length and seal the ends with a lighter so they don't fray.
This bag will be perfect for dice, but I can think of other ways to use it. How about for cosmetics, or kid's toys on a road trip? How would you use it?
So how did I do? This is a one of a kind custom dice bag. There is only one in the world like it. Much better than a Ziploc bag don't you think? I accomplished all of the tasks. A good size, pink fabric, woodland creatures and strong enough for the metal dice.
Such a cute finished project that started as discounted cloth napkins. When you are browsing your local stores, keep an eye out for gems like these. You never know when inspiration will strike to upcycle.
This blog post is meant to inspire you and I know you might be interested in having some measurements to sew your own bag. That is why 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.
Flip flops mean it is time for that spring pedicure. I am definitely ready to show off mine with my latest In The Hoop Flip Flop Tag Bee embroidery design. I was browsing my local Dollar Tree enjoying all of the bright spring items. I found so many cute flip flops and these had to come home with me. I like to have something to slip on when I am moving between inside and outside chores. Usually I forget what I have on my feet if I jump in the car to run to town but it won't matter if I see anyone I know with these cute little sandals on my feet. That might sound odd to you but when I was growing up, you dressed to go to town. Kind of reminds you of all those things mama said like wearing your best underwear or something like that? Did your mama tell you that too?
Cute just as they are.
Cuter with an added embroidered vinyl tag don't you think? This is definitely one of those quick projects that you can do in about 30 minutes. The best part is the tags can be moved to another pair of flip flips if they wear out.
You will need a 5x7 hoop with wash away cutaway stabilizer and a few pieces of vinyl. I used my mighty hoop which I love. I had some glitter vinyl in my stash and it added some sparkle. There are multiple layers of vinyl where the flowers are installed so you will need to use snaps with longer posts. You can see the two snaps in the picture above and although it doesn't look like much, the white snap has a wider, longer post that will give extra bite to hold all of those layers.
I love doing embroidery with vinyl because you can take something that stitches out in rectangular shapes and a little bit of cutting exposes cuteness.
Look for my other Flip Flop Plain Heart Tag here. Add your own monograms or text! Weddings and shower gifts might be in your future. These would be so cute with the wedding date, the bride's monogram or how about "I Do". My art work is not perfect below but giving you some inspiration. You could add pretty ribbon underneath the snaps and wrap them around the calf with a bow. I think this would be perfect for those destination beach weddings.
Are you interested in seeing how fast and easy these In The Hoop Flip Flop Tag Bee designs stitch out? I have an instruction video you can watch below. Mother's Day is just a few days away. Mom would love to decorate her flip flops with these cute little bee tags. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Accessibility in clothing is something most of us don't think about until we have to deal with it directly. There are so many different scenarios that can make it difficult to put on a pair of pants or shirt. We might think of disabled individuals in wheelchairs needing assistance in dressing. How about someone who is home or bedbound? Or someone who is failing in their capacities due to a stroke or dementia? A caregiver usually assists with dressing and personal needs and it can be a tough situation. This blog post will hopefully help someone out there who is looking for a way to alter a pair of pajama pants. Although I do not have each step here on my website, I do have a video tutorial you can watch down below.
I purchased a pair of fleece pajama bottoms from a local big box retailer and altered it to have tab tops with snaps at the waist.
The inside waist has another tab that is secured with velcro. This will add extra support.
The side seams fully open with velcro. This will make it easier to accommodate dressing someone who might not be able to lift their legs or move in the usual way. This pair of pants did have pockets and a drawstring that fully function after the alterations.
All of these adjustments were done with straight seams and a few added materials.
I added a long strip of fabric that was interfaced and folded to the side seam after it was taken apart. This is where one side of the velcro was attached.
I created the tabs with fabric that was interfaced for added stability. You can see here I sewed and turned them right side out.
90/14 needles were used because the fleece and interfaced material were thick in areas.
This picture shows the second side of velcro ready to be sewn.
Along With The Snap Tab and the Velcro at the waistband, you could add one extra piece of security. If you look closely, there is a hook and eye sewn at the join. This won't interfere with the closures you add and just in case one of them comes loose, the hook and eye will hold tight. Now that I have shown you a few pictures of the process, are you curious to see how the alteration was done? Just click the play button on the video. It will take you through one entire side of pants and several of the steps could be used on other types of clothing. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Spring cleaning and Earth Day have inspired my newest In The Hoop Scrubbie embroidery design. If you have read many of my other blog posts, you will find that I love to repurpose things and I do have a problem throwing items away. Many packaging materials are treasures waiting to be re-purposed. I am hoping this project will inspire you to look around your home to get those creative recycling juices flowing.
I love to make oatmeal with fresh ginger. If you haven't tried adding this to your morning cereal, give it a try. When you purchase ginger and many other produce items, they will often come packaged in mesh bags like the picture above. This mesh material is usually sturdy and tightly woven. I can't throw it in the garbage because I know it can be useful for scrubbing. In fact, if you will look at purchased scrubbing sponges, they might have similar if not the same materials on them.
This photo is a little embarrassing because it shows just how long I shamelessly use dish towels. Yes this was pulled from my kitchen drawer but it can become a fresh new In The Hoop Scrubbie. I also will move these into my rag bag for washing cars. So just a tip, any leftover towels that you don't turn into scrubbies are perfect for those outdoor jobs as well.
This project uses three layers of towel so you can find outer areas to cut that have smaller or no holes. The inner layer of towel can have larger holes because you won't see it. The mesh bag is trimmed open and cut into squares. See just how much usable fabric you can get when you look for it? The towel is already broken in and soft so it will be absorbent and ready for duty. The mesh will give an extra layer of cleaning power without being too abrasive.
One extra recycling step will be to cut all of the leftover bits of towel and mesh into small pieces to stuff the scrubbie before it is closed up. This gives extra bulk and thickness. I see clean tires and rims in my future or maybe a fresh barbeque grill?.
When sewing the final seam with a needle and thread I will advise you to use a strong polyester thread. The mesh is a tough material and cotton thread may cut easily when you pull the thread tightly underneath it. Altogether you can finish these quickly in assembly line fashion. This would be a good project to do with kids. They can help with cutting the squares of towel and mesh and learn about recycling along the way.
It's not colorful and bright like brand new plastic wrapped scrubbies but it will do the same if not better job. Throw these in your washing machine to sanitize after use. Are you inspired to recycle something today? Watch my instruction video below to see how quickly you can make your own scrubbie. Start gathering your FREE materials from your home and grocery shopping. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Easter and Springtime are here. Aren't you happy about that? Just a few weeks ago I was looking at brown trees and now everything is blooming in my yard. The days are longer too and that makes me really happy. My latest design Chenille Chick is a bright and soft project that is perfect for this time of year. I think you could use it for baby shower gifts too. Maybe on quilts for little ones or pillows to decorate their bedrooms. So many options with this one because you customize it with the fabric colors.
Can you believe that this picture is the before? Chenille with your embroidery machine is easy to do but you do have to have a design that is digitized for specifically for chenille. Layers of fabric are stacked in your hoop and small channels are created. I have layered two different fabric colors. One is plain and the other has a pattern. Then you carefully cut in between them without going all the way down to the base fabric or stabilizer.
Your most important tools will be your scissors. I prefer to use small sharp curved ones. When you are cutting, the curve will help get around your hoop edges and under each layer of fabric. You really can't rush when cutting and each layer needs to be done one at a time so you don't make any mistakes. If you don't have patience with handwork, Machine Embroidery Chenille might not be your favorite thing to do.
Another tool you will need is a small metal brush or Chenille Brush. I like to use this one from Harbor Freight. They are a little sharp so be careful when using them. Your fabric can get damaged if you are too aggressive. I like to think of Chenille as a process. The first time you rough up the fabric edges, you will probably see long threads. These need to be cut away. Then you use the brush again and if more threads need to be cut, so on and so forth. You can also wash and dry the design with some large towels. All of this helps fluff that cut fabric.
The Chenille Chick Embroidery Design that I have sewn was turned into a pillow above. Notice how the layered pattern fabric peeks through and matches the ribbon color. You can put the ribbon bow on the top of the head like mine or at the neck for a bow tie. One more cute Idea would be to turn it into a stuffie toy. Cut out the design along the edge and leave a seam allowance. Add a back fabric and fiberfill for a plush lovey. Have I got you inspired yet? Watch the video below to see how the chenille is created. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Sewing needles are one of those tools that should be changed according to your project type or materials. My newest In The Hoop Needle Minder design will help you remember what kind of needle you have taken out of your machine for later use. I like to change my needles at the beginning of a new project and sometimes I am creating something with multiple fabric types. I might be doing embroidery first on a cotton fabric and then construction next on a denim. So the first needle could be taken out and placed in the Needle Minder while a new denim needle is being used. If you stay away from your crafting for a while and come back, you can quickly see what type and size needle you have placed in the Needle Minder.
The finished project is easily installed on your sewing machine using elastic and snaps. You only need to measure the distance around the open area and it can stay on the side of your machine or on the front depending on your preference.
The elastic lays flat and should not impede your sewing. It is easily removed and reinstalled though.
This would be a perfect stocking stuffer or gift for the sewing enthusiast in your life. They embroider quickly and require small pieces of fabric. Perfect for using up those remnants.
If you haven't used snaps before. this In The Hoop Needle Minder would be an excellent project to get some practice. In fact, I believe this would be an easy beginner embroidery design to learn sewing with fabrics, elastic, snaps, fiber fill and closing seams with a needle and thread.
There is always an occasion to add to your sewing studio tools. This In The Hoop Needle Minder should become a favorite once you use it. Your stitching friends will want one also so start working on those birthday and Mother's Day gifts. I have an instruction video you can watch below that shows how this project comes together. 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 love to do applique with my embroidery machine. If you have tried to use your cutting machine to cut out your fabric applique shapes and were not successful, I hope some of these tips might help. I am using my brand new Plain Applique Rabbit Embroidery Design just being released today to show the steps. Click the link to visit my store. I also have a video that you can watch below that will show this process if you would like to see it in action. Just press the play button.
I am updating an old T Shirt that is very soft and loved. I have lightweight interfacing and cotton fabric for the body of the rabbit.
I also have fusible web, my hoop with cutaway stabilizer and minky fabric for the bunny tail. The fusible web is found in the sewing section of your store. One brand name you may have heard of is Wonder Under. It is actually a glue web with a paper backing. This will help your fabric stay pressed to whatever substrate you are doing the applique on. The cutaway stabilizer is being used because my T Shirt is stretchy.
The fabric is cut to size here along with the interfacing. I am using a lightweight brand so the applique retains a softer "Hand" or feel. The interfacing is pressed to the back of the fabric according to the manufacturer instructions then I always press from the front as well. Once you have done this, your fabric will be sturdier and less prone to stretching or skewing. The adhesive web is pressed to the back side of the fabric after interfacing. This will create a bond to the T Shirt once pressed. Leave the paper on the fusible web.
When opening the embroidery design in your software, you will need to make a note of the dimensions of the placement line. This is usually the first step in the design that tells you where to lay your fabric. Write that down for later. If you don't have embroidery software, you may need to do download a free viewing software so you can open the file. There are several companies that offer trial versions or smaller free versions that will allow that. Hatch by Wilcom has a 30 day free trial.
If you don't have a cutting machine, you can still use SVG Cut files. Your internet browser is usually the default on most computers that will open them. Once opened, you can print on a plain piece of copy paper. Cut out the file with a pair of scissors and use it as a pattern for your fabric.
You will load your cut file into the software for your cutting machine. I use the Free version from Silhouette. My version does not open SVG files, but I convert them to a DXF file with Corel, then import them. CHECK those dimensions of the cut file in your cutting software and compare them to the measurements from your embroidery software. I find that mine are not always the same, so I have to adjust the size. The placement line dimensions in the embroidery design is where you want to cut. It is usually the first step in the project and is followed by additional steps. Some designs will have an option to use scissors to cut your fabric and then tack it down. The tack down is commonly a type of zig zag that will capture the edges of your fabric.
This step might seem odd, but you will flip or MIRROR your cut file in your cutting software. Notice the left picture is the embroidery file and the right picture is the cut file that has been flipped. You do this because of the next step which is placing the fabric on your cutting mat.
Remember we have interfaced and pressed our fusible web to the back of the fabric. We have also kept the paper on the fusible web. My mat has been well used and lost some of its stickiness. I like this for cutting fabric so that when I pull it away from the mat, the fabric comes off easily. I place my FABRIC RIGHT SIDE DOWN on the mat with the PAPER FACING UP. Then I use masking tape along the fabric edges on the mat. This keeps the fabric in place and helps keep the cutting blade from lifting the edges as it moves across the mat. Our cut file will be mirrored and "Backwards" and the right side of the fabric will now have the correct image for our embroidery. The stabilized fabric will stretch less. The paper from the fusible web adds a layer of protection that inhibits the blade from dragging across the fabric. These are to me the most important steps in preparing your fabric so your cutting machine can do the best job possible.
I am using a fabric blade in my cutting machine and I usually choose the recommended cut settings. So in my software I chose light cotton fabric. My force is 7 and speed is 5. I used three passes. You will want to try a test cut the first time just to make sure. There are a lot of variables that can affect your cut. Your fabric may be thicker than mine and your blade sharper or dull. So take a little extra time to check before you have problems and waste fabric, interfacing and fusible web.
After your fabric is cut, remove it from your mat. The paper can be peeled away from the fusible web. Depending on the cut file design, you may see small threads that have not been cut cleanly. Usually these show up in sharp corners or angles. Some fabrics have tighter weaves or the fabric count is denser and the blade doesn't quite slice through completely. Just carefully trim them with a small pair of scissors.
If you have prepared your fabric to be as stable as possible, you should have a successful applique ready to embroider. One extra tip that I did not use with my sample project is starch. There are several brands available that can be applied to your fabric. They will add a crispness that feels like paper once dried. If you have tried all of the other tips without desired results, try heavily starching your fabric.
After the embroidery is finished and the stabilizer has been cut away, I like to press the fusible web. This is done with the garment inside out and pressing from the back side. It will create a bond keeping the applique fabric from pulling away through wear and laundering.
This Plain Applique Rabbit Embroidery Design stitches quickly and I love how it updated one of my favorite T shirts. Here are some other inspirational projects it could be used for.
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 always looking for ways to streamline my embroidery and tools are the quickest way I have found. Templates are my favorite tool and I use them a lot. I have Exophoria which means my eyes don't always track together and will wander if I am tired or stressed. I do have bifocal glasses made especially for close work but there are days that I need a little extra help. Templates that double check measurements or squaring placement really make my crafting life easier.
I have several embroidery machines and my single needle has all sorts of laser and camera tools. My Multi Needle did not come with a laser so I have a more difficult time judging the placement of the embroidery foot. On most projects, if I can get relatively close I am in good shape. For more precise projects like one I am working on above, I need exact location. I am embroidering 42 different designs for a quilt on a single piece of fabric. I have 1/2 inch around each design to allow for cutting out the completed blocks once sewn. This is for economy of fabric use. You can see I created a small foam tool that I can slip underneath the embroidery foot. As long as I have my fabric square in the hoop and placement marks, I can line up the foam.
When layering the foam, I made sure I kept the thickness beneath the embroidery foot when it was extended. I can jog the hoop around and carefully hold the foam in place. You can see the cross mark very well from the front of the machine. Even at this angle, I can tell I will be right in the middle of the needle placement to start stitching.
Here is a closeup. To make the template, I used craft foam and hot glue. I drew the lines with a permanent marker on each square and lined them up. My hot glue gun is low temp and I was able to secure each one in the centers then add glue along the edges so they were secure.
It's not fancy, but it does work. If it gets dirty or damaged, I can make another one very easily. I have a short video showing it in action below. Remember to be careful using any tool with your embroidery machine. Make sure the depth sits underneath your foot before you use it the first time, protect your fingers while using and remove before you begin stitching. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Springtime in my part of the world is unpredictable as far as weather is concerned but we can depend on the yellow pollen. It covers everything until a few hard rain storms wash everything clean. If you normally have allergies or breathing problems, you will most certainly want to keep your inhaler close by. My latest In The Hoop Inhaler Cover Embroidery Design will help you do that.
In fact, I have five new Inhaler Cover designs. The four in the picture above are seasonal so you can match your inhaler to the time of year.
Inhalers can come in different size containers depending on the manufacturer. The embroidery designs I have digitized will fit the style above. It measures 3 inches tall and 4 inches around the body. You will be able to complete a cover in one 5x7 hooping.
Each design will require a piece of marine vinyl and wash away cut away stabilizer. The stitching time will be very quick. Installing the snaps is easy with a placement graphic that is included in each download.
The ITH Inhaler Cover Spring has hearts all over. This would be perfect for Valentines Day.
The ITH Inhaler Cover Summer has stars all over. Perfect for those patriotic or camping months.
The ITH Inhaler Cover Fall has leaves all over it. Perfect for those chilly autumn days.
The ITH Inhaler Cover Winter has evergreen trees all over it. Perfect for Christmas time. Red snaps would make this a cute seasonal stocking stuffer.
The ITH Inhaler Cover has symmetrical quilting all over. This would be perfect year round. You can customize all of these designs with your choice of marine vinyl and snap colors.
You don't realize how important an inhaler is to someone until you see how they really need it. This cover is very useful because you can attach the inhaler to bags, backpacks or keys. It is a scary thing to need quick relief and not be able to find your medication.
I attached this inhaler to a purse with a key ring. If you are in a rush, you won't forget it if you place on something you always grab before leaving your home.
The instruction video for the ITH Inhaler Cover is below. Watch it to see how easily you can make covers for yourself, loved ones or friends. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Sewing circles can be accomplished several different ways. You can physically draw a circle on your fabric and then carefully follow that line in a freehand style with your sewing machine. You can also use an attachment for your machine that is usually screwed to the bed around the sewing foot. These range in price and can really stretch your wallet. I did a brief search and here are a few examples I found.
Another option is to use a template. I have designed one that will allow you to sew circles from 2 inches up to 20 inches. The concept isn't something I invented. In fact it has been around for quite some time, but I think you will like the simplicity of creating and using this one. The digital download is available in my store here.
One of the hardest things to do when sewing circles is getting them equally spaced; especially if you want to sew concentric circles that get bigger each round. A template and marking your center will make that a lot easier.
Here is the magic piece of equipment. A small tack or lapel pin and some masking tape. You can sew circles right now if you have these two tools. Just push the tack through the tape making sure the sticky side is facing the machine bed. Put the fabric over the tack and sew. One other important thing is to either interface your fabric or use a light tear away stabilizer. If your fabric is very soft or stretchy, it will tend to get pulled and distorted by the feed dogs. Then your circles won't be very symmetrical.
Why is the Sew Circles Template helpful if you know the tack and tape will work? Exact measurements and placement of your circles. Let's say you are sewing a quilt and you want to put circles in just the right spot. In fact you want to quilt the top using circles. Knowing where those will land and how big they need to be will make your finished project so much better.
You can also do applique on top of a project using a template. Just layer the base fabric and the applique fabric. Sew a circle, trim the fabric away then satin stitch around the edges all without removing the fabric from the machine. The template makes exact size and placement easier and quicker. In fact you can sew almost hands free.
Moving the tack to new size locations on the template is very easy with the masking tape. You can see I am lifting the template here, inserting the pin and then it will be placed on the machine bed for sewing. All you need to know is how big you want to sew your circle. Push the pin through the appropriate hole in the template and stitch. I bet you would enjoy sewing round pillows this way over trying to do them freehand. Just layer the two fabrics right sides together and sew around. Leave a small opening for turning. You could really get some projects done quickly.
If you are interested in how the Sew Circles Template is made, I have an instruction video below. It shows you all of the steps, how to calibrate the template to your particular machine foot, and a few sewing tips. Your creativity with it is unlimited. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Spring is starting to show herself in our area and I am ready with a brand new embroidery design. This is an In The Hoop Plant Stake. We usually start seeds growing in multiple areas of our home this time of year. Sometimes we start them indoors because of the threat of cool nights. Other more hardy seeds or bulbs are in outdoor pots, beds or the ground. We can get too energetic and forget what we have planted. This embroidery design will allow you to use your seed packets while protecting them from the weather.
I found other ready to purchase options online, but in all of the review comments, the main complaint was the top opening. This allowed moisture to fill up the plastic and the seed packet deteriorated quickly. My In The Hoop Plant Stake is designed for the opening to be at the bottom so once your seed packet is installed, it will be safer. The interior plastic is also folded at the bottom. This creates a small lip where the packet sits. I also like that you can see from the front or the back. All of your seed packet information is available like germination times, plant heights and planting times by area. There is a small pocket where you will insert a dowel so you can place your plant stake wherever you want in your garden.
This project uses plastic that is purchased in the decorator section of your fabric store. The same type that you might use to cover your dining room table. It is easy to work with and usually inexpensive.
The entire project is completed in one 5x7 hooping. There is some creative cutting that allows you to fold the design down while in the hoop. Masking tape holds all of your pieces in place while they are sewing.
With a little trimming the project gets neatened up and you are ready to insert the dowel and seed packet. I think you could also use this to decorate other plants for special occasions. Or you could insert pretty cards to change the seasons. The options are endless.
You can find dowels in the craft section of your big box store. They are typically found in packs so you should be able to make multiples of this project very easily.
Has the sunshine been peeking out in your area and are you inspired to create some of these In The Hoop Plant Stakes? Look for the instruction video below to watch this project come together. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Who else is getting itchy feet to travel? I sure am. In my part of the world, we have many gray days this time of year and the urge to visit someplace warm and tropical is usually starting. The last two years have only increased this feeling as we have really begun to feel the need to stretch our surroundings. So I am releasing a brand new In The Hoop Luggage Tag design. I have a feeling travel will be in my future and yours.
This project is very quick and easy to complete. Notice I chose denim fabric and it has pinked edges to avoid raveling. In fact, I used recycled blue jean material which is a bonus. You could use old pants in your closet and make something brand new for each member traveling in your group.
The front and back of the design are sewn in two separate 5x7 hoopings. Look how cute the little airplane is buzzing through the sky. Snaps can be color coordinated with your thread and fabric. The hanger I used is made of ribbon, but you could use cord or decorative elastic.
The inside of the In The Hoop Luggage Tag has more cute text and a clear pocket. As an extra "Lagniappe" the design download includes a printout of the paper template you see in the clear pocket. So you can make a bunch, print off the inserts and fill out all of the important information.
If you have never sewn with clear plastic before, this project is a great way to try it out. You can find the plastic in the decorator section of your fabric store. Your embroidery machine will do just fine and because the foot is slightly higher than a normal sewing machine, it will glide over the plastic without sticking.
A few pieces of masking tape will secure it in place while the stitching happens.
So are you getting excited to plan a trip? You don't have to go very far or spend several days. In fact if you have been staying home like us, taking an overnight trip somewhere will probably be just enough to get started. If you have matching luggage in your vehicle, this In The Hoop luggage tag will let everyone know whose suitcase belongs to them
If you are interested to see how the In The Hoop Luggage Tag is created, I have an instruction video you can watch below. It will take you through all of the steps. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
A Brand New embroidery design is being released today. It is the In The Hoop Bunny Bum. I think you are going to really enjoy this little project because it can be finished two different ways. It has some unique steps in the design to allow you to complete the entire process in one 5x7 hooping.
Look closely and you will see one of the finished Bunnies has a hanging ribbon on the top. The other bunny is installed on a dowel. The front shows all of the sweet details of a smiling bunny rabbit.
When you turn them over, you see the details of the feet and a cute fluffy fringed tail. A ribbon bow tie finishes everything up.
Look how cute that Bunny Bum is. When I designed this I imagined spring time wreaths on front doors. If you made several In The Hoop Bunny Bums, you could insert them facing both directions around the wreath.
Or you could stick the dowel into a house plant or flowers as an added decoration. Tie a pretty satin bow around the pot and you have a cute springtime gift for someone!
Decorate a small tabletop tree for springtime with several different pastel bunnies.
Or you can add bunnies to your Easter baskets in between all of the other goodies. These would look so sweet on your desk at work. Teachers would love these as a gift.
One fun technique is adding the ears so they stand up. Your embroidery machine does the stitching.
The tail is another fun part because it is digitized to be fringed. Here you see the trimming that will create that fluffy look.
Here is a sneak peek at the creative cutting you do in the hoop so the design can be completed in one 5x7 hooping.
Everything is turned out here and ready to stuff with fiberfill. If you have remnants of fleece in your stash, you can see that this little design would make great use of them.
If you don't have dowels, you can use take out chopsticks. That would be a great way to recycle! Hot glue keeps the dowel where it needs to be while you hand sew the bunny closed.
Are you ready to create your own In The Hoop Bunny Bum? Maybe you are inspired to start pulling out those springtime decorations. In my area, we are trimming back our plants, cleaning out flower beds and looking through seed catalogs. Just a few more weeks and we will start to see those early spring flowers pop up.
If you would like to see how this project comes together, watch the instruction video 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.
My latest embroidery design is releasing today and it has so many techniques in it. I think for a small project you will love trying all of the different things I have packed into this design. It is the In The Hoop Lucky Towel Topper. Lets take a look at it.
The inspiration for this embroidery design started here. I purchased this decorative towel from my local Dollar Tree so it begins with an inexpensive item. Even better, you can cut the towel in half and make two towel toppers.
The towel topper has many different parts. There is a tab that will be used to attach it to your oven or dishwasher handle. The body of the topper has quilting and also notice the nicely hemmed edges. Applique is laid down and then decorative text is sewn. I used a variegated rainbow thread to add to my St. Patrick's Day Theme. Keep in mind that you can be "Lucky" any time of year so this project could be used with plain towels and other fabrics. I see all kinds of cute items in my local stores and the word "Lucky" is sprinkled all over the place.
You can embellish your towel with RicRac and buttons also. I used my sewing machine and a needle and thread for this part of the project. Let your imagination run wild and use up some of those smaller bits and pieces in your stash.
A 5x7 hoop with tearaway stabilizer is used for the topper portion of the project. Then a second embroidery design is included so you can install the towel inside the topper with wash away cutaway stabilizer. The design sews a placement line that tells you where to place the finished topper and then sews across to secure your towel. If you have a sewing machine you can quickly sew with that instead. Cutting that towel in half reduces the bulk so your embroidery machine foot can handle it.
One of the neat techniques you will use is creative folding and pressing on the tab. The In The Hoop Lucky Towel Topper download includes a graphic you can print out that has instructions for the tab piece of fabric. Hem tape and your iron will morph this fabric into a nice tab with a finished edge and enclosed seam. You won't have to pull out your sewing machine for this part.
Iron on Hem tape will also help you create finished hems on the front and the back of the topper fabrics. It is a nice detail that keeps your project looking professional. It also makes it ready to insert your towel with minimal effort.
Fusible fleece is a fun product used on the front fabric that will give your project a nice quilted look. The appliqued front will give you a chance to do some trimming with your scissors or an SVG cut file is included in the design download that you can use with your cutting machine.
Here is the topper once it has been completed and pressed. All of that happens in your 5x7 embroidery hoop. It is ready for the towel to be slipped into it. You decide how long you want your project to be. So put the towel just inside the topper or move it into the upper area for a shorter finished product.
Here is a view of the second included embroidery design attaching the towel to the topper. Masking tape is used throughout the project to hold your pieces in place while they stitch. Of course if you have a sewing machine and it would be quicker for you to just sew the towel into the topper with a seam across, that is another option.
This view shows the wash away cutaway stabilizer removed and you can see the fabric is damp around that seam line. Marks for the snaps can also be seen in the tab. It is generous in length and you can adjust that with the placement of your snaps depending on where you will be hanging your In The Hoop Lucky Towel Topper.
Once you have finished all of your embellishments, you will have a cute and unique finished product. You can see that this little design has a lot going on. So you will have an opportunity to try different techniques and products. I love having fun and learning while I create.
If you are interested in watching this project come together, I have an instruction video below. It takes you through the entire process so you can follow along as you create your topper. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Valentine's Day is fast approaching and Hearts are everywhere in our local stores. So in honor of that upcoming day, I am releasing a brand new simple Fringe Heart Embroidery design.
I really like quick and easy designs for those last minutes projects and this one will most certainly fit that description. In a short time, you can put this on pillows, T-Shirts, quilts or anywhere you want to spread some love.
I used a variegated thread on my sample so you could see that by making a unique thread choice, you will have a lot of options to use this design; not just for Valentines Day, but for other occasions. Moms, Dads, Grandparents and Kids are happy to receive some love. The inside is blank so you can customize it with your own text.
The design stitches out with a wide satin and you can see the inner zig zag stitching also. This is important because you have to have something to hold those long threads in place for your upcoming trimming.
When you are ready to create the fringe, flip the hoop over and slide a small pair of scissors underneath the bobbin threads. Carefully snip those and the long fringe threads will be released.
Here is everything trimmed away and ready to turn over. Keeping the design in your hoop during this part will make it easier to trim as the hoop keeps it taut.
Then use a blunt object or your fingernail to gently pull the fringe to the front of the hoop. It's that easy.
Interested in trying fringe embroidery for free? Check out this cute little Caterpillar available in my Free Embroidery Designs.
Have I got your creative ideas for Valentine's Day perking? Visit my store here to see the new Fringe Heart Embroidery Design. Watch the short video below to see this design come to life. 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 here and my first design is being released today. How about a Round Tuit Coffee Mug Wrap designed for the procrastinator in you? This time of year is kind of dreaded by a lot of people isn't it? There are a lot of things ending and life slows to a crawl for celebrations. Then the normal get back to work tasks creep back in. The hardest part is getting started. So I designed this mug wrap to remind myself that I will "Get Around To It"
I am a hot beverage lover and real coffee mugs are necessary in my opinion. It is truly a small pleasure that I indulge in daily. There is something so decadent in sitting quietly with a warm mug enveloped in a quilted wrap. I chose a floral fabric for this wrap and the quilting looks so pretty. I look forward to using it on my favorite pink mug.
This project has some applique in it so small pieces in your stash can be used up. The design will require at least a 6x10 hoop and the entire wrap will be completed in one hooping except for a small opening to turn.
The text is really cute and simple. I think the sky is the limit with color choices in fabric and thread.
A button finishes everything off. If you are like me, you probably have a lot of buttons in your stash that need a project home.
What a bright and cheerful wrap. I love the colors. Now instead of procrastinating, I can say I am going to get "Round To It"
Get The Round Tuit It Coffee Mug Wrap Embroidery Design here. I hope your New Year is going great so far and you are working on all of those needed tasks in your world. Remember to add in some time to be creative too. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Happy New Year to you in your part of the world. In honor of this day, I am releasing a brand new FREE New Year Ball Drop Embroidery Design. This is a fun one because you can play with MYLAR to add some sparkle. It has also been digitized for Knitwear. So decorate those T Shirts or Sweatshirts.
First there will be a placement line that will tell you where to place the MYLAR.
You can use whatever color you can find in the gift wrap section of your store and let your machine sew it down. I like to add a few small pieces of tape while it sews.
It will add amazing sparkle. I also used a variegated thread color on my sample above. Look how pretty all of those colors came out. The MYLAR has also been pulled away for the remaining elements to sew.
Festive, Fun and you get three different sizes in the download. There is a 5x7, 6x10 and 9x12 (or 9x9 for JEF machines) So you can stitch out one for each family member. One more creative idea is to use some Glow In The Dark thread. Perfect to see while you watch those fireworks!
Now you can see the original design does not have a year on it. That is because I want you to be able to sew it in the future. You can add your own fonts to customize the date like the picture above.
If you don't have MYLAR, no problem. It will look like the shirt above. Just an open fill with no sparkle.
Or just leave the year date off and your shirt can be used in the future. So many ideas for you to be able to celebrate the New Year Ball Drop anywhere in the world. My family will celebrate close to home this year which is perfect for us. When caring for a Mylar design, I would wash on delicate or hand wash and line dry.
Get this and lots of other FREE EMBROIDERY DESIGNS HERE. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work. See you next year!
My latest project was quick, easy and fun. Yesterday was Christmas and I usually receive at least one gift with great smelling lotions, bath salts and perfume. My favorites for sure. If you have read many of my other posts, I am a saver of things that can be used again, recycled or repurposed. Well, you know that means the bag that contained all of the toiletry items will become something I plan on using instead of throwing away. I even save the hard paper inserts. They are perfect for gift tags. Look at the deep purple color inside that bag. I can cut that apart and use it for lots of projects. The plastic bag could be taken apart and used for in the hoop applique projects and there is also a perfectly good zipper. So how much would those items cost if you purchased them separately? Or what would this bag cost you if purchased? Not to mention it would be a shame to toss it in a landfill.
There aren't too many things that need to be covered up once the paper and tags have been removed. Just the top band has writing and that will be easy to disguise. So, if you have something like this from your gifts, hang on to them and maybe try this project..
How cute is this? It took me less than an hour to do everything on this bag. So how did I get it done?
First I measured the area on the top of the bag that I wanted to cover and found some ribbon in my stash. I used my computer and Microsoft Publisher to design the artwork. If you are using this program, you can find these images by inserting pictures from the internet inside the program. Just click on the Creative Commons area for free pictures. I grouped everything together and then saved it as a picture. This is important in Publisher because you can only mirror print items that it sees as graphics. I inserted the saved image back into the software, rotated it and printed to my Sublimation printer.
The ribbon I chose is 100% polyester satin. Since I used white, I could print anything I wanted on it. I did print it slightly larger than the ribbon so there would be some bleed around the edges and the artwork would fill up the ribbon. A few pieces of heat tape allowed everything to stay in place for pressing.
I set my heat press to 380 degrees and 60 seconds. Then all I had to do was wait.
I also used my iron to press the ribbon under on each edge so it would not unravel. My sewing machine was set up for regular sewing with a zipper foot.
A few pins and some masking tape held the ribbon in place while I did the sewing.
I added a small piece of grosgrain ribbon to the zipper pull with some beads. Now I have a new make up bag that is just the color I wanted. It really makes me feel good to reuse, upcycle things and be crafty. If you would like to see more details on this project, watch the video below. I hope I have inspired you to upcycle something today, share something you learn and be generous with what you create. Someone, especially our planet, will thank you for 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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