Can you find the problem towel above? If you have done any kind of Machine Embroidery, you have probably had a moment when an issue came up. I think more people would enjoy doing embroidery if they gave themselves a break and understood that things don't always work out the first time you sew a design. Frustration will usually cause them to give up but trust me, practice really is necessary to consistently get good results. I do machine embroidery pretty much every day and I have some doozies in my studio. In fact I have a path around my house that gets used quite a lot while I clear my head and get out of my workspace. It is the nature of working with an unpredictable medium. You have so many variables that you have to work through. First you have the complexity of a machine that wants to stitch in one direction. Think about it. There really is only one way a stitch forms. The arm on the machine moves in multiple directions in time to that stitch forming. If everything is in time, you should see a design taking shape. Other possible issues are material you are applying the design to, stabilizer needed, type of thread top and bottom, trimmers, needles, digitizing, dirt and dust, the day of the week- no wait that doesn't matter. There are just so many things that can go wrong. So why even do it? It is beautiful when the work comes into focus and a design starts to peek out. Hypnotic to watch that arm swing and sway and the hum of the machine lulls you into a calm place. If you are a person that likes a challenge and puzzle solving, you might grow to become an embroidery addict. You just need to develop and have some tools in your back pocket for the times when trouble arrives. It will arrive.
Here is a recent problem project I was working on. If you look at the photo above, you will see an unfinished towel. I had several of them to do and as this one was stitching, I noticed a dull thumping sound when the needle struck the fabric. That always indicates to me it is time to change the needle. When you embroider on a machine and become friends with it, you can hear changes. So , I replaced the needle and immediately, my bobbin wound up tight causing the towel to pull down into the bobbin case. This skewed the towel in the hoop. There was no way to salvage the design in that hoop. When I removed the new needle, I felt a burr on the end of it. So even though it was brand new, it was faulty. I had to cut away the thread that had wrapped around the inner case. Luckily the towel wasn't damaged. Another good reason to stay close to your machine while it is working. First thing I did was make a note of the stitch number where this happened in the design and I wrote it down. I would need it later.
I was using my multi needle machine to embroider the group of towels and I didn't want to lose any production time, so I replaced the faulty needle, hooped another towel and started it stitching while I worked on my problem piece. This particular machine does not have a camera function. So if I have to re hoop a design to complete it, I will usually move to my other machine that helps me ensure a good stitch out.
I floated the towel on the hoop with some adhesive spray and tried to get the towel straight but perfection is not necessary when you can scan a picture and see placement.
Here is the hoop loaded on the machine and you can see the screen shows the towel and the design overlaying it. This type of embroidery machine really gives you great options instead of trying to rely on your hand eye coordination to re hoop and get correct placement. I can see the previous design stitched on the towel in real time. This allows me to line up the electronic design in the machine for better accuracy.
Here you can see the movement and rotation options available. So even though my design was slightly skewed in the hoop, I was able to rotate in one degree increments until I got it right where I needed it. I will usually go into the embroidery function and test the first few stitches to make sure it is where I want it to be. Sometimes you need to do this a couple of times to get it right. Don't rush it. Then I use the number that I wrote down from the previous stitch out and I forward through the design to the place where it had a problem to begin sewing. Each machine has different functions to accomplish this. Use your machine manual to verify your tools.
Here it is completing the design. I was able to get it just about right. As it is a towel there will be slight fudge room because of the pile. Still it is very close to the original placement.
The best part of having a second machine is my other towel completed while I was working with my problem piece so no production time was lost.
Now this is a trick that I have seen at many trade shows and classes. Most embroidery artists have a good supply of permanent markers. If you have a few threads that are not perfect while you are working on that placement, you can very lightly touch them up. Especially something with a pile. Just be very ginger when using these type markers as your fabric will really want to soak up the ink.
So here they are side by side. Left side is an original towel, right side is the re hooped towel. Unless I told you I had any problems, you might not be able to tell. An embroidery machine with a camera function is a very good investment if you are doing commercial work of any kind. You can see I was able to save product and keep production rolling along.
I have a You Tube video showing my process below. If you are considering a purchase to upgrade your studio or if you already have a machine with camera, you might enjoy seeing it in action. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Summer's official start date is right around the corner. In honor of those long lazy days we have created some really cute water creature designs just released today. Whether you are on the lake or at the beach, these will help you decorate your summer projects! Let's take a look at them.
Our Crab With Shell embroidery design stitches up in a 4x4 hoop and would look precious on beach bags or home decor projects. His friendly grin will make you smile.
This Fish Embroidery Design is also a 4x4 design and has beautiful blended colors. Stitch him in the suggested orange tones or customize with different colors and group them on bathroom decor.
Our 4x4 Seahorse Embroidery Design is very simple and sweet. Blended threads and an innocent expression makes this a perfect choice for children's decor such as linens or blankets.
Our 4x4 Turtle Embroidery Design is so friendly. He would be another awesome choice for children's items. Look closely and see his shell has beautiful scroll work.
Our 4x4 Frog On Lily pad embroidery design has several greens that blend together and really make him look plump and cute. He looks ready to hop right onto your next project!
Here are all of the summer critter designs on towels. If you are looking for a unique way to dress up your kitchen, these just might do the trick. Not at the beach or the lake? No problem, you can pretend to be by decorating your home and having a "staycation" These would be really precious stitched on a table runner out by the pool. Add some custom text with summer quotes to make these designs perfect for your decor. I hope you have enjoyed and been inspired by this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Who doesn't love Spicy Mexican Food? I know I do and after several months of being at home, I was able to finally dine inside one of our local restaurants. I can tell you I savored every bite. After enjoying that awesome meal I decided to release several new designs that pay homage to one of my favorite food types. Let's take a look at them.
There would be Tacos design is perfect for that person that has to be bribed with tacos to show up. Or maybe that person who looks forward to Taco Tuesday every week? It is a fun way to tell everyone that you are a taco expert.
Of course you have to have Chips Dip and Margaritas with those tacos. I think those hot crispy chips are my favorite part. Add some cheese Queso and I can make a meal right there.
The Extreme Sauce embroidery design has several choices of heat. It looks like you might go for the hottest of the hot though. This is perfect for that spicy foodie.
The Born To Be Mild embroidery design shows two peppers talking about their "personalities" This is a cute design for that person that might like their food a little tamer. Check out the examples stitched on kitchen towels below.
All of these designs are available in my store. Click on the links above to be taken to each one. Maybe this will inspire you to enjoy some of your favorite spicy food. 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 designs are being released today. These patches are a unique way to customize suspenders. If you are looking for something "different" for Dad, Grandpa or Husbands this might just work. There are several designs that the ladies would rock also. I think suspenders should make a comeback. They were popular in the 80's after Marty from Back to the Future wore them. I had a rainbow pair that I wore because Mork from Ork was a favorite TV character. My husband is in the picture above showing off his custom patch. Let's look at all of the different designs available. Click the links under each picture to visit my store. Remember you will need an embroidery machine with a 4x4 hoop to sew these patches. The designs are digital and not fully made patches.
The Biker Suspender Patch is perfect for anyone who loves to ride motorcycles. Best part is you can customize the colors of this patch to match their wheels.
The Dressy Attire Suspender patch is perfect for that person who loves to be comfortable wherever they go. Take them as they are because their suspenders are how they dress up!
The Gone Fishing Suspender Patch says it all. They won't need to explain where they are going as you watch them walk out the door.
The I'm Retired Suspender Patch will let all of their friends see the official dress code of retirement.
The Mister Suspenders Patch is the design that raises it's nose to the belt establishment. No more uncomfortable bellies in tight pants!
The Nerd Suspender Patch proclaims it loud and proud. Remember yesterday's Nerds are today's and tomorrow's Billionaires.
The Veteran Suspender Patch is a great way to honor that person in your life. If you see a Veteran thank them for their service.
The Groom Suspender Patch is perfect for the groom on his wedding day. Hidden under the jacket but out and proud for the reception.
The Best Man Suspender Patch will let everyone know who the special person is standing beside the groom.
The Groom Crew Suspender patch would be a great gift for the wedding party. After all, what is a groom without his buddies?
Customizing your suspenders with any of these patches is very easy to do. In fact, when you download the designs, you will receive full color instructions. If you would like to see all of my tips and tricks, you can watch the You Tube 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 project for my home has recycling, gardening, sewing and embroidery all together. I really hate to throw away any kind of container and when I recently had problems with my washing machine, the leftover parts gave me all kinds of crafting ideas.
Here is the original tub from our front loading washing machine. It is the back end of the tub. The front end has two large pieces of concrete that act as counter weights so the tub will spin correctly. My washer sounded like an airplane taking off when it would spin. In fact it was so loud, we had to close doors to hear anything. We tried to first change the four shocks on the tub which was the "Hopefully Easier Fix". After taking everything apart and rummaging around in VERY tight spaces to change those shocks, it helped but we realized it didn't completely solve our issue. We ordered the rear tub part and found that our bearing had blown out when we disconnected everything. The tell tale oil dripping out confirmed we had found the problem. We did have to move the washer in and out of our home twice and that is how I can assure you that if the repairman gives you a price, you may want to bite the bullet and pay the man. Unless you have a handy husband and two grown sons to help disassemble it. Or you are extremely cheap with your money and are too stubborn like us to at least give it a shot. I can say that instead of purchasing a new washer that might have cost upwards of $1500, we spent $127.00 on the parts. So not too bad.
The silver lining to all of this besides being able to run my laundry with all doors open is I had a very heavy duty container complete with drainage holes. I knew a planter would be a great project.
First I painted the tub with spray paint. It is amazing how a little color can transform any object.
I had already started a flat of zinnias and marigolds from seed several weeks ago, so plants were ready to go in. It's almost like I planned this. No I wouldn't wish that repair on anyone.
I love garden flags so I knew I needed to come up with some kind of hanger. I had several PVC pipes and a T connector from other projects. When I tried them in the bearing hole, it was light bulbs and excitement as I began to figure out my flag options.
Using a spray paint that resembles metal helped hide the PVC pipe and gave the stand a sturdy look.
I digitized a sunflower design and added some fun text to stitch on my fabric which by the way is Duck Canvas. Canvas is a great choice for outdoor projects. It isn't UV rated, but should last for the season. This embroidery design is available in my store in a large 9.5x14 size here or a 5x7 size here.
I sewed the flag and added buttons with elastic to the back so it would be very flexible on the stand. Then I planted everything and added rocks from around my yard. This was such a fun project and I filmed a You Tube video showing the entire process including how I sewed the flag. You can watch that below. Maybe it will inspire you to recycle containers for planting or sewing a garden flag. Or repair your washing machine????
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 Math. If that gives you a headache, I totally understand. My math skills have always been something that is continually evolving and also a disappointment when I just don't "get it". I can't blame my teachers because they taught math in the setting that was available to them and it was the only one I had access to. Now with the internet and so many generous people out there, we have a lot of different learning methods. I am convinced if someone would have found out my sewing interests way back then and applied Math Skills directly to that, my skills might have improved. I "see" measurements and projects in Pictures more than numbers. Another thing that I have come to understand is memorizing formulas is only as good as being able to physically practice them. This tactile learning process is so much more helpful to me than say a WORD PROBLEM. YUCK. Also, a little advice to you out there who beat yourselves up when you can't remember those formulas? Don't. You can never remember everything, but if you have a general understanding and can look it up, you will be A-OK. So how do you figure out the circles you will need when you want to make a bolster or neck pillow?
Here is a remnant piece of fabric I used to test out a Waving Flag Embroidery Design. Which you can see here in my store. When I stitch out my designs, I always have a lot of these around my studio and I like to make small quick projects with them. I am not working from a pre-determined pattern. Instead, I am using the piece of fabric in the size I have available. So, to make a bolster or neck pillow, I need to figure out how big the circle needs to be for that specific size fabric. First you need to do some measuring.
I know that when I sew this pillow I am going to fold the right sides together and sew that long edge to make a tube.
This opening on the ends of that tube is where the circles will be inserted into. So I will need that measurement. It is too hard to try and get it measured right when it is in a circle.
If I open it back up and lay it flat, I will measure that edge. This is called the Circumference. Now stick with me if that makes the brain fog start to come over you like it does to me. For some reason, the word Circumference is confusing to me. It sounds so much like the word circle. If you remember that circumference can be a "Linear" or a flat LINE measurement it might make more sense. When I lay out my fabric edge flat , I have a "Line" or "linear" measurement that will be my circumference.
If you look at the formula above, you will put that measurement where it says Circumference. My edge was 13.25 inches. Then you will divide that number by pi (3.14) Once you have done that, you will have the Diameter of that circular opening. Mine was 4.219. That is all you need to know. If I keep my fabric edge length this size I need to cut a circle that will measure 4.219 inches across. Using this formula, you can work with any size fabric you have in your stash to make a quick bolster pillow. I didn't want to try and cut out a circle that had all of those numbers after the decimal point, so I figured out my formula again until I had a number close to 4.
I cut my fabric edges to 12.5 inches and my formula showed 3.98 inches. I rounded it up to 4 so now I know I should be able to cut a circle that is four inches wide (Or has a 4 inch DIAMETER) and if I use the same seam allowance on that long edge and when I sew the circles in, everything should fit. How will I cut out a perfect four inch circle though?
You have many different choices. You can use a compass, ruler with many holes or a pencil and piece of string.
Another great option is to make your own circle template. This is my choice because it makes more sense to me and the way I "see" measurements. Also, the circle sizes are already figured out for me. Once I know my size circle, I just pick the right number and the template does the heavy math lifting. If you will be sewing bolster pillows on a regular basis and you want to be able to quickly cut out circles, this template will make your measuring and cutting easier.
I really like to use the cutting mats from Dollar Tree for my templates. They are easy to lay on top of things I have drawn out on paper and trace.
So here is how I drew this circle template out. I used my cutting mat and since I will be drawing circles by placing something on one end and tracing around, I know that I need to use half of my circle measurements. See the one inch mark on my mat? If I place my pencil there and move the template around, I will actually trace a two inch circle. If I use the two inch measurement it will make a four inch circle and so on.
Here is my circle. I used the mark at the 4 and now I have a four inch circle.
I sewed the long seam on my pillow right sides together. Leave a small opening in the middle of that long seam so you can turn the pillow later. Then I pinned the circles with right sides facing in to the tube ends. If you finger press the circles and the pillow it is easier to match your seam.
Sew around the circles, clip the curves and turn the pillow. Stuff it and sew the opening closed.
Now you have a finished bolster pillow. These are really nice when lounging on your favorite couch or chair. I am using this one in my studio at my desk chair for lower back support.
Here is a graphic if you want to try to create your own circle template. I also have a PDF download below. If you print it out, use the one inch scale to make sure it is accurate. Then trace over it onto one of the Dollar Tree Cutting Mats. I also have a You Tube video that shows the template in action and sewing the pillow. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Did you know you can sew your own garden flag? I am a fan of exterior decorating throughout the seasons. Flags are one of the ways I do that because they add that extra pop of color and excitement. Even when my landscape is in the cold dreary days of winter, I will usually have some kind of flags stuck in the ground to cheer me up. Memorial Day is fast approaching and I digitized this design in honor of that.
Here is my flag installed on a hanger. I used a fabric called Oly Fun. You can find it at most hobby or craft stores. It is a synthetic fabric that will melt if you apply too much heat. You can sew with it easily though. I have seen projects where it is used for costuming because of the light weight and non fraying quality.
I have a You tube Video below that shows how I created my garden flag. If you don't have the Oly Fun Fabric, you could use another type and have a lot of fun changing with the seasons. Check out the design in my store here.
Thank you to all who served our country in the past and currently. We all owe our freedoms to you. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Mother's Day should really last a lot longer than 24 hours don't you think? I wanted to do several embroidery designs in honor of my mama. I know she would love this Mom Frame design. When I was growing up, one of my chores was to press laundry. My mother loved to see crisp linens and she always had beautiful things in our home that were feminine. This design would be right up her alley. Perfect for pillow cases or tea towels.
Mom really does make it all better. With a kind ear and sage advice, most moms can sooth frustrations away and keep us in check so we don't feel too sorry for ourselves. This design is digitized to stitch out quickly. It would be precious on pillows or bags for your mom. Check it out here.
Mama Needs A Nap. Oh yes she probably does. What better way to let her get some rest than an eye mask that will tell everyone to SHHHH!! We stitched this one using some really pretty elastic with ruffles.
If you are lucky to still have your mom, give her some love and let her know how much she has helped you. You know moms show up everywhere in our lives. Don't forget those moms that are mentors, co workers, friends and family members. The best gift for moms is your TIME ... and a NAP. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Cord stops are a great little piece of hardware. You probably have a jacket or bag that uses one on a drawstring. Here you see I am using one on a mask. I originally created a pattern with shoelaces because I was having a difficult time finding elastic. I also did a You tube video showing how it was put together. After wearing that mask for a while, I decided to try and see if I could eliminate one of the shoelaces and add a nose piece. This allowed me to use the cord stop with just the two mask ends. It really works great. See the original blog post with the video and updated pattern here. Now that I am looking for the cord stops, it seems that they are becoming harder to find in a short time frame. I can order them online but there is a lag in the shipping dates. So I wanted to find an alternative and here it is.
This little knot works pretty well. I used para cord to create it and so far it is proving to be a good substitute. The knot will slide along the mask tie and stay put. It does work best on synthetic materials as they will slide but bind as they are tightened. Cotton will bind but it might not slide as easily. The best thing is I can make a new one if this one gets lost or wears out. I have a You tube video below that shows how easy it is to make. 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 rarely able to surprise my husband with gifts. This past Christmas I really did good because I bought a back up camera for his Jeep. He loves to drive that vehicle but the only problem he has ever complained about is it didn't come with a back up camera. Weird because it has that tire on the back that creates blind spots and takes up part of viewing area of the glass. Anyway, I made myself pretty proud by actually finding the one that would work for his model and getting it delivered to my house without him even suspecting it. Since we are currently at home social distancing , he got brave and finally installed it and wow it works great! Only one issue though. I had sewn a tire cover for him last year that either needed to be retrofitted or re sewn. I decided to make a new one because the last material I used was vinyl and it was starting to show some wear and tear. He also has a birthday coming up so bonus opportunity.
Sewing your own tire cover is not hard. See the graphic above. I took a measurement across the tire, then I measured the thickness of the tire. I overlapped the tape measure toward the back so when it was installed, the cover would go over the sides a bit. The third measurement was around the tire. That's the tricky one unless you are good at math. (I'm not) Once I had those I added one inch to A, Two inches to B and 10 inches to C. I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance so my final measurements were A=33 inches , B= 16 inches C= 110 inches. Those will vary according to your tire sizes. I added 10 inches of extra length to C because it gives you a little bit of fudge room as you are sewing the gusset to the circle fabric. I did have several extra inches that were cut off once it was sewn together. I am always scared to cut exact on gussets so I always seem to leave extra for mistakes. Again, I am Math challenged but if you are not, you will probably be able to figure that out just fine.
I used a tape measure and french curve ruler to get my circle just right. This would be the front of the cover.
The gusset had to be pieced because of the length. I also had to use two different color fabrics due to my stash. I am using DUCK canvas which is good for outdoor projects. It is not UV rated so I do expect fading but this is an easy project and I can make a new one in a year or two.
Here you see the gusset has been sewn around the circle right sides together and then I did a dry fit before I added the elastic. I used my chalk marker to trace around the small triangle where the camera was mounted.
I picked a center point on the drawn triangle and then drew lines to each corner. I cut on each of these lines toward those corners so I would have three flaps.
This shows me cutting the flaps and then folding them toward the back.
I did a quick stitch around the perimeter and trimmed the fabric edges with pinking shears. If you wanted to do a bit more, you could sew binding around also but I think this will be good enough for me. The thread I am using is a heavy duty outdoor type also. I used a denim needle to put the entire cover together.
I created a casing for the elastic by double folding the edge 1/2 inch. Then I stitched around leaving a small hole so I could pass that elastic through.
I used 1/4 inch elastic and a bodkin to make it easier. Then I stitched the elastic ends together and sewed the opening. Time to install on the Jeep.
Here it is! I made sure I had the placement where the camera still worked and surprised him again. I think the color looks so nice with the Jeep. I will probably use some clear fabric spray just to protect the colors as long as I can. This was an easy project and if it only lasts a year or so, no problem making a new one. This would be a great project for Father's Day which is coming up! Maybe do some embroidery on it 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!
Have you ever tried to draft and then sew your own pattern? Maybe you have walked around a craft fair and instead of purchasing a home sewn item, you said to yourself I could make that. Or you search the internet for ideas and think to yourself " I could totally make that " You can do it but it is a challenge. I made the bag above and wanted to show you my process because as I moved through it, there were several moments when I really wanted to put it away but I had a birthday deadline to meet. I also had a special request from my son and you know I was not going to let him down.
This bag was my original design. I drafted and sewed it several years ago. In fact I did a blog about embroidery machines and sewing the name on the front of it. You can check that out here. This bag came about from a Christmas gift my son received. We bought him a laptop that year and he needed something to carry it with. Both of my sons are computer geeks and their devices have always gone everywhere with them so I knew it would have to be sturdy.
My main design goals were a safe place to cradle his laptop and lots of pockets. There were so many different techniques in this bag. I had an exterior zippered pocket with lining. An interior quilted "hammock" for the device. Interior zippered pocket for smaller items. A heavy duty padded handle with D rings would need to be secure as he wore the bag on his shoulder
Here are a few views of the bag today. When I looked closely I saw some things that I wanted to change, but for the most part, it has done really well and he has used it every day. This bag helped him finish high school and it took him almost all the way through college.
The one area that I knew I had to improve was where the strap connected to the bag. I repaired these at least two times. The last repair brought the request from my son that he might need to commission a new bag from me. When I originally designed the pattern, you can see the strap connection is right at the top seam of the bag. It performed pretty well but needed to be further down into the gusset. I also wanted to add more interior pockets. So there were some changes that had to be drafted.
When I originally created my pattern, I used brown wrapping paper so I would have something to use in the future just in case. I am so glad I did that.
Then I found my original instructions. I wrote these down as I sewed the original bag. As I read them, I thought why didn't I re-write these and type everything up really neatly? It took me a day of looking over everything just to get my bearings on how this bag went together the first time. So I tried to organize it better. I got on my computer and drafted up some cutting layouts.
Then I made fabric lists and little tabs for cutting each piece out.
And it grew..... And grew...... Until........
My entire working table was covered with instructions, and layouts and templates and my first wave of defeat. I didn't know if I had everything in my fabric stash. I have a lot of fabric and my other challenge was to use some of it. Since I am home and social distancing, I am not going out to shop for anything new. I did look online to see if I could find fabric to order but that didn't last long as the shipping times would be after his birthday. So I had to use available materials. I didn't have one color for the entire bag so I had to make another list showing which colors I would use for each pattern piece.
Fast forward to all of my pieces being cut out, labeled and nicely waiting for me to begin sewing. All I can say is a lot of coffee made this possible.
Here is the quilt batting ready to sew for the device hammock.
The first thing on the bag was that name being embroidered and then the zipper being installed on the flap. I love messenger bags and I think not making use of that flap for a pocket really wastes material. It is an extra step but my son uses it all of the time.
The fabric I had in stock is Duck canvas. This created new challenges because it is very thick.
Another big issue for me was the interfacing I had in stock. The original bag used an iron on interfacing. I didn't have that in my stash but I did have Soft and Stable foam. It had to be sewn in so that added an extra task to each step.
Here are the finished views. The front pocket is fully lined.
That connection has been sewn farther down into the gusset of the bag. I also created the strap this time instead of using pre-made strapping. This one is also adjustable which the original was not..
The quilting is vertical on this bag and I added bias binding to the top instead of using the lining fabric to finish the hammock seam.
I added an elastic expandable pocket for the laptop cord to have it's own storage place.
Several smaller pockets for pencils and other loose items were added this time.
The zipper pocket is the same as the original bag. I noticed my son really used this one. It might be hard to see from these interior pictures but another change was my having to hand sew the lining into this version. My sewing machine did have a hard time when I sewed the straps to the bag. The duck fabric coupled with the soft and stable foam gave it a workout. I did some creative trimming on the foam but by the time I got to finishing the interior, I was tired of wrestling with the arm of my machine and the bulk of the bag.
Here is the back pocket and a view of that adjustable strap. So altogether from start to finish it took me six days to complete this bag. I would estimate I have over 30 hours total invested in putting it together. That includes all of the redesign, layout, cutting and sewing.
Did I go back and rewrite those pattern notes you ask? No I did not. I put them neatly away as I remembered why I didn't do it the first time. I was too exhausted. Proud that I completed the bag but brain dead and ready to move on to an easy project.
My process might look hard or too entailed to you but it is only one way that patterns can be drafted and sewn. You would probably have a different way to make your own and that is perfectly fine. If you have tried in the past and not had success, don't give up. There is no correct way to make this happen. That is why you may enjoy sewing with certain ready made patterns and not others. Reverse engineering is a great way to expand your sewing skills and all of this will follow you toward your next sewing adventure. So are you ready to challenge yourself and try your own pattern? You can do it. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Social Distancing has become our new normal but we know it will come to an end. It is sometimes hard to know when we are living in a turning point in history. I don't think any of us would doubt that right now. As our lives get back to normal we will remember this time. I wanted to create a design that you could send to your friends and loved ones so they can look back and talk about. When I was growing up, we kept photo albums and I loved to sit with my parents and ask questions. It always sparked some great family discussions. This "Sewcial" Distancing Embroidery design just might do the same thing for you.
At the same time that we are sheltering in place and trying to stay well, there are "Essential Workers" who are on the front lines. I have a brother who is a nurse in Houston. Now he is always a hero to me because the medical facility where he works specifically helps patients on respirators. With the increase of patients and lack of some important PPE supplies, he is more than ever risking his own health every day. I wanted to create a second design in his honor and this Hero Social Distancing Embroidery design does just that.
So there are TWO FREE DESIGNS! Both of the postcards stitch out in one hooping and do require a 5x7 hoop. The back of the card can be customized with any fabric. My brother was in the Army so I used that for his postcard.
The materials needed besides your fabric are cardstock and a firm interfacing. I used Pellon with an adhesive because I had it in my stash, but plain interfacing would work also.
The design includes a PDF pattern that you use to cut out all of the pieces. An SVG cut file is included also if you have an automatic cutter. I would advise exact cutting because the design is very precise around the blanket stitch edges.
All of the details sew and then the fabric goes on the back so you hide the stitching.
Sewing card stock on your embroidery machine or sewing machine for that matter is not difficult. I used a Sharp 75/11 embroidery needle. A little embroidery tip is to pull just a length of extra thread after each trim and when each embroidery object begins to sew. These designs have been digitized so there is a color change after each trim. This will give you the opportunity to grab that thread while the first couple of stitches begin. It really does help resolve any thread shredding or tangling.
You can use a white bobbin or match your color to the blanket stitch around the edges.
My firm interfacing was adhesive on both sides so I did an extra step of pressing it once completed. This just strengthen all of the layers and should help as it travels through the postal system.
Mailing these postcards should not be a problem. I brought both of them to my local post office and cleared the designs with them so they should be deliverable. The USPS has some guidelines that need to be followed with postcards. At the time of this post, the size must be no larger than 4 1/4 inches x 6 inches and the thickness no larger than 1/16th of an inch. I weighed mine and they are 4 ounces so well within the limit of postcard postage but double check that when you mail yours. I will however be using Forever stamps so I hope there is enough postage. Once the Postal service receives and stamps the postage as being cancelled, your receiver will have a part of history they can save. Kind of like a newspaper clipping but special because it came from someone who cared about them.
Here is a picture of one of my postcards after it was received. You can see that the USPS did stamp it as Non Machinable and the Forever Stamp postage did have to be increased with an additional ounce stamp. You will need to verify the required postage with your local Post Office before mailing.
Are you ready to make these postcards? Visit my Free Designs Page and download them. Remember that a 5x7 hoop is required. There is a graphic that you can look at to see the design types and sizes to verify your machine can stitch these out. I also have a You Tube video below that you can watch the entire stitch out. There are full color instructions in the download also. 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 creative MOJO has been slightly diminished with the current social distancing and threat of the Covid-19 but I think it is coming back. Check out my blog about how I started to regain my focus and get a little bit happier and HOPEFUL here.
Now back to my most recent project. I have a back porch that I really love to utilize but I did not have a screen door until now. This time of year is perfect for letting those spring breezes freshen up my house. It also invites all of the flying critters in. So I decided to do something about it.
I had a few feet of fiberglass screening mesh in my stash believe it or not. I have sewn beach bags with this in the past and it works great if you haven't tried it. It will do fine on your sewing machine. I also had some outdoor fabric with a plastic coating on it. Kind of like that tablecloth material but thicker. It doesn't ravel on the edges either so great for this project.
A Teflon sewing foot helped me guide the fabric and mesh through without any problems.
I laid everything out and used clips to hold the pieces together as I sewed. It was large so I had to take my time.
Now my view from my house is a little different and I love it. The fabric on the bottom makes it look like a screen door. It is not permanent though. So I can remove it in bad weather or when the season ends.
Grommets and cup hooks helped me mount everything. I did have to add a small amount of length to the bottom because I mounted the cup hooks on top of the frame instead of in it. So I would advise you to cut your bottom panel a little longer than what you think you will need just in case you decide it would work better.
Here you see the bottom view and that addition. I used a piece of 1x2 lumber inside a casing to weight the bottom and keep the panel flat as it hangs. Also, it does a good job of making sure that screen doesn't fly into the doorway as the wind blows. Small magnets and hot glue secured the panel so it clicks into place. I had a very windy day to test it out and so far so good.
You can open it easily to step in or out of the door. My dogs have become accustomed to it and they tried it a couple of times but now will just stand there and wait for me to open it. I have used the cheaper screen covers and purchased one each season because they will tear at the bottom. I hope this fabric will increase the time this cover lasts.
Here are the final measurements for the fabric and the screen. You may need to alter these according to your frame and door size. I also did a You Tube Video that you can watch the whole sewing process 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!
What a time in our history. My son said something that really struck home for me. He said it feels weird to be in a state of normalcy and emergency at the same time. For me, I have been through all of the emotions that I know each of you are living with. At times, it really is surreal and I have gotten sad. To help me get motivated, I walked around my yard in the rain and watched my dogs. You know our furry friends are living this too. As we moved from place to place, I noticed they were just so happy.
Look at Rambo in the background. He is living right in the moment just like he always does. Patrolling the yard and chasing squirrels. Look at my flowers. They are beautiful
My garden is coming in nicely and the fig tree that I nurture all year waiting for juicy fruit to harvest is showing the beginning leaves.
I am already picking micro greens and will soon be enjoying fresh salads and herbs. Nature and my furry friends hold all the hope in the world. They are living and moving forward. Content and thriving.
If you are feeling down, maybe take a walk outside and just breathe. Look closely at all of the things that are constant around you. This really helped me. I have a short video showing you my walk in the rain. I send you hope and peace.
There is a movement across the country to sew and donate face masks. I did a blog post a couple of days ago with a mask pattern and shoe lace ties. You can see that here. When individuals and groups began sewing masks most of the patterns used elastic. I thought it might be difficult for people to acquire with everyone staying in their homes. Also, several comments I saw on forums stated elastic was getting difficult to order online. The idea to use alternative materials like shoelaces worked and the masks have been holding up great. Today I wanted to post an easy way to create mask ties from fabric. Most patterns advise using bias binding that is pre-made or making your own
You can use a binder foot to sew fabric ties very easily. These ties are not as wide as bias binding, but they are very durable with all the raw edges being enclosed. This particular sewing foot is not a standard attachment but you might have one in your sewing feet and not realize it. I actually have one for my sewing machine and one for my serger. Binder feet are used to add binding to quilts and other projects like vest and jacket edges. In most instances you would have the binding being attached to other fabric. Here, you are sewing just the strip of fabric by itself and it works great. Most people that sew love to try and buy additional feet because they really do make short work of sewing tasks. If you don't have one, look in your machine manual and see if they are available for your model.
This is what the foot looks like. It has a curved center and might seem intimidating but it is magical when you see how easily the fabric is folded and sewn in one step.
I usually start by trimming my fabric to the correct width. Here you see I have an assembly line going with my strips. My particular foot requires the strips to be 15/16th of an inch wide. I have tried sewing them just a little shy of this and they still work great.
I trim the end to a point and that makes it easier to slide into the curved part of the foot. The fabric goes in with the pretty side facing to the right.
A pair of tweezers will assist in pulling the fabric through under the foot. I have my stitch on center needle with 2.5 mm width and 2.5 mm length. Verify all of these settings according to your machine and binder foot.
You make sure that the foot is lowered and hold the fabric at the same angle as the foot for smooth sewing.
Fabric strips go in and sewn ties come out with no exposed edges. As long as you hold that fabric at an angle and feed it smoothly, the foot will fold everything in place allowing the machine to sew beautiful fabric ties. These would be similar to spaghetti straps. If you want to do some relaxing sewing, this will certainly do the trick to watch these little ties being created with minimal work on your part.
Check out the mound of fabric ties I have been able to sew. Now all I have to do is cut out my fabric for masks and insert these into whatever pattern I am using. This has shortened my preparation time because all I am doing is trimming my fabric across the grain and letting the foot do the work. I pressed my fabric flat before I made my cuts and have not done anything else to prepare it. The fabric doesn't need to be cut on the bias because I won't be going around any curves. Everything is straight sewing when creating these ties. So if you have a binder foot in your tools, give it a try. Just look up the recommended fabric width for your foot. I have a video below showing my foot in action. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work! If you are interested in donating face masks to very needy organizations, visit WENEEDMASKS.ORG
Many states are in dire need and would welcome home sewn masks. Look for your area and I bet there is an organization close to you having made a request. If you know an organization that needs masks, point them in the direction of the WENEEDMASKS.ORG website so they can add their contact information and address to make a request. This is a legitimate site being spearheaded by the Sewing and Craft Alliance and American Sewing Guild.
I have a new In The Hoop project releasing today and I think you will really like it. It is just in time for Spring and Easter. There are three sizes available. This is the 6x10 size and it finishes to a 3.5 x 7 inch bag. The right size for a pair of glasses or sunglasses. Or use it for pens and pencils! Check out the design in my store here.
The second size completes in a 5x7 hoop and finishes to 4 x 5.5 inches. If you love little bags that can hold makeup or thumb drives this bag would be perfect. Check out the design here.
The third size completes in a 9.5x14 inch hoop so it is quite a bit larger. It finishes to 8 x 11 inches. Unfortunately the JEF format is not available in this design due to that hoop size. This design is perfect for I pads and E readers.
Kamsnaps are installed on the flap and everything is fully lined with no exposed seams. There is quilting on the front and applique with a cute bunny. It is a really fun bag to sew out and as you can see from the samples, you can really customize each with your fabric choices. If you would like to see the process, I have a You tube video below that will take you through all of the steps. They are the same for each bag. Of course the download will include instructions with color pictures.
Check out 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!
****See updated pattern available below***
There has been an abundance of face mask requests from all over the USA as institutions are currently in need. I am a member of the American Sewing Guild and they are assisting with the effort. A website has been established that will allow requests to be made by any organization for sewn face masks. People who are able to sew are needed and all of the information is here. www.weneedmasks.org
If you are able to sew or know someone who can donate, please visit the website and see if your state has any needs. It is being updated daily.
There are so many free patterns available on the weneedmasks.org site and the internet in general. Many different and specific types from each hospital or medical center have been requested so every skill level will be able to help. Since the movement has begun, I have seen online comments that some people are ordering elastic from the Big Box stores. In these trying times, some basic items have become harder to find. I worry that some people may not be able to get elastic so I wanted to contribute a pattern that did not require it and used an alternative material. So here is a mask that is comfortably curved and has shoestring ties that are easily attached by top-stitching. These shoe strings may be easier to find right now. In fact, I got mine from Dollar Tree. If you can't find them, ribbon or bias tape would be a great substitution. If you can cut out a simple pattern and sew a straight line, you can complete these masks.
It requires four pieces of fabric and two shoelaces. There are no gathers or tucks so it is simple to sew but curved around your chin for a comfortable fit. The ties make it easy to customize depending on how tight you want to wear it. Like other home sewn masks, this is not approved by the Centers For Disease Control as PPE Protection and no claim of disease prevention is made. I sewed several for our home and we use them to help remind us to keep our hands away from our faces. It's amazing how often we touch surfaces and then touch our face. The medical centers are saying they will be able to use the sewn masks in certain circumstances to aid with their medical supply rationing. So check out the site to see if your area might need donations. If you are like me, you have extra fabric in your stash. You may also be at home and working on a project would make you feel very productive. I would use precaution with this type of mask for children because of the ties. A mask with elastic would probably be preferable for smaller children so keep that in mind if you decide to sew these for your loved ones.
So are you ready to sew a face mask? The project won't take very long and I have a pattern in a PDF document you can download below. The pattern does not include pictures but I also have a video below showing all of the construction that you can watch. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone , especially now, will appreciate your hard work! Be well.
****Updated pattern below- New design includes curved top for ease around eye area, added pipe cleaner nose piece and only one shoelace needed on bottom. Use a Cord stop fastener to hold in place. See pictures below. Stitches the same as original with exception adding the pipe cleaner in the nose area. The cord stop makes it easy to tighten and loosen. Curved area around eyes works great with glasses***
Spring is Here! My yard is quickly changing and it reminds me everyday how lucky I am; as long as I pay attention to it! This is a unique time in the world and a lot is happening that can take away the joy in our lives. If you are experiencing sad thoughts or you feel scared, let's look at some pretties that will help remind you to look forward. These Spring Embroidery Designs might just get you in the mood to "dust and fluff" around your home.
In my part of the world, we have had a lot of rain. I can tell you we were singing this little Rain Rain Go Away song a few weeks ago.
Here is some Rain Gear to go along with all of that wet weather!
Now that you have spring weather, I bet your Garden Hat and Gloves are getting some use like mine!
If you are getting your garden ready, maybe you are thinking about planting Peas in A Pod?
Don't forget to pull out that Watercan so you can fertilize everything really well!
Is your yard starting to come alive like this Spring Tree?
Have you loaded up your furry friends for a ride like this Old Spring Truck?
Are the little critters starting to come out of their winter homes like this Bunny and Bird?
Maybe you live where there are Spring Lambs frolicking in the green fields.
Or have you seen a Sweet Bunny hopping around your yard nibbling on the fresh grass?
I'm sure you are already seeing the insects like this Fringe Bee buzzing around and doing their work!
Or have you grabbed a blanket and looked at the Rainbows that pop up after those storms?
I am hoping my garden will produce huge vegetables like this Bunny with Carrot!
Wow! Just seeing all of those pretty designs together really makes me feel happy! I have been working in my studio on new designs, catching up on sewing as well as getting my yard in order. Focusing and working with my hands have really helped me stay grounded with the hard events in the world around me. If you are not sure how to move forward, just pick up a tool. Any kind of tool whether it be a paintbrush, garden rake or pair of sewing scissors. My favorite stress reliever is pulling weeds. It's FREE! If I get in a sad mood, I just go outside for about 15 minutes and yank those weeds out. It helps clear my mind and if you do it a couple of times a day, you will look up and your yard will look fresh and clean! Just give it a try and I bet within a few minutes, you will have all sorts of ideas for new projects. The hardest part is always getting started. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
How cute is this In The Hoop Seatbelt Pillow? It completes in a 5x7 embroidery hoop and uses a couple of 5 inch charm squares and 4 inches of Velcro. Perfect for Charity Sewing/Embroidery! This design was inspired by a sewing pattern I found on the internet a few years ago. I did a blog article about sewing with compassion and showed how you can deliver things to people going through a hard time in their lives. I really enjoyed seeing how they were so happy and decided I would digitize an embroidery design that could achieve the same result.
This shows basically everything you would need to complete several of these pillows. The Velcro installs so they can be reversible. If you want to have two different fabrics or something with a theme, you can do that too.
Here is the front and back view of my pillow. The design has roughly 1300 stitches and you will be able to finish one in just minutes. I used hem tape and my iron to close the opening where you need to turn the project but you can use a needle and thread. The filling is Polyfil and because it is a small project you don't use very much. In fact, this little project is perfect for cleaning out your stash of fabric, short pieces of Velcro and leftover Polyfil!
Here is another pillow with different fabric. I made several different types so there were choices when I delivered them. Now, where can these be used? Just think about your local Cancer Treatment Center, Children's Hospital and Retirement Communities to start. I bet police officers, firemen and delivery drivers would love one too. One more idea is to use them for kid's gifts. Do you have a classroom or birthday party coming up? Just use your imagination to share some comfort for people around you. The best part? This design is FREE! Just click on this link to go to my store, add the design to your cart and check out. You will need to enter your email address so it can email the link to you. From there, download and sew. While you are there, check out my other Free Designs and add them to your cart too! You will get Full color instructions in the download but I have a You Tube video you can watch that will take you through each step. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create Someone will appreciate your hard work!
QR Codes have been around for several years. I believe they were originally created to help keep up with inventory controls but businesses have adapted them to do a lot more now. A QR code is usually a square with pixels inside. You can add other fancy graphics. Although you and I can't read it, there are bits of information encoded in the way the pixels are placed. This allows electronic devices equipped with scanners to interpret the codes and do something with the information. QR Codes can be made using Apps and software. I made this one with Corel Draw and used my website address for the encoded information. .
So all I do is open my phone camera just like I'm taking a picture and point it at the code. This is what you see. The camera recognizes the QR code by surrounding it with the yellow brackets. At the top of the screen my phone browser gives me the option to visit the website. Pretty neat right? So what am I doing with this code? I installed it on a purse that I will take with me to a sewing convention. Driving people to websites is always going to be a challenge until you develop a name or grab part of your market. Then once you have that traffic, you will still want to advertise to keep your regular base of visitors and gain new fans. A convention where the people are already engaged in the type of business you have will increase your chances of introducing people to your brand.
I used a purse from Walmart that has a sleeve on the back of it meant to go over a handle on a piece of luggage. Dark fabric transfer paper allowed me to print off the advertisement so it was really bright. I ironed it onto 100% cotton fabric, sewed a hem around the edges and then used Cam Snaps on the purse sleeve to make it removable. In the future I can create different advertisements for other events or customize for specials and coupons. When I want to use this as a purse, I can just remove the advertisement! The QR codes are very user friendly and have a fault percentage programmed into them. This means that scanners can pick them up even if they are backwards or farther away. My hope with this purse is that people will be able to snap a scan as I am going to classes and shopping the convention. They can do this without speaking to me if they are shy and just want to check out my site or if they want to interact, I will have business cards to hand out also. This should definitely be a conversation starter. So, if you are visiting my site because you snapped the QR code, thanks for taking the time. There is a You tube video below that takes you through the entire process of making the label. I hope you have enjoyed this 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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