Skipping A Step

Or how not to do, what you think you should do, when you think you should do it.

Late last year around Halloween I started working on digitizing an embroidery design of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, one of mine and the husband’s most favorite Disney attractions. The plan at the time was to embroider the design to the latest shirt I had been making for the husband, but this plan went awry and it just never happened.

I did get the design completed last year and once it was completed I was smart enough to hoop a scrap of fabric from the husband’s shirt instead of the actual shirt to test it out on. This proved to be a very good thing. The embroidery test on the scrap did not turn out well at all. But, was it the design’s fault or user error? Had I not hooped the fabric tight enough? I was leaning towards poor hooping because the fabric was so stretchy but I returned to the computer and did some tweaking of the design anyway just in case.

Returning to the embroidery machine, I hooped another piece of scrap fabric with a top stabilizer this time and started to stitch my revised design. The design stitched much better but still not good enough to put on the shirt. Since I felt that I had hooped this scrap very well, I leaned more to blaming the design for the failure this time. I would have went back to the computer to tinker with the design but a little voice in my head kept saying that maybe this fabric was just too stretchy for this large of a design. Was this the problem?

Flustered, I picked a smaller design for the husband’s shirt and set the HM design aside for another shirt at a later date.

Well, the time had finally come to try again. This time the fabric I picked for the husband’s shirt was far less stretchy than the last one. I hooped a scrap of the fabric carefully and used a top stabilizer again. My revised design was stitching great on this fabric. I was greatly pleased. After stitching the first thread color which was black, I noticed that I actually liked the design with just that color alone stitched on this color of fabric. It looked kind of like how some black & white photographs looks better than their color counterparts.

I showed the husband the result and he said that he really liked it in the mono color as well. But because this was a trial run, I decided to go ahead and stitch the rest of the colors anyway. I was using the same colors that I used the last time I stitched the design but as they stitched on this fabric, I did not like them as much. So half way through the stitching of the other colors, I started switching out colors to see what looked the best. When I was done, I had a pretty funky looking multi color design but a lot of colors for the husband to pick from.

It did not take much debating for the husband to pick the colors he wanted. He said that he liked the black only design the best on this particular color of fabric. This was great for me since it cut the number of stitches in the design by half, but it was a terribly odd feeling to stop the machine after the first color and say that the design was done.

I really like the results of the half stitched single color design on this shirt. It looks very rich and clean to me. How about you? Do you like the full color version or the black and white mono color version better?

I don’t think the black and white effect would work on every design I use, but in the case of this bright fluorescent yellow green glow in the dark color of fabric it turned out wonderfully!

It is a useful and helpful technique I will remember to use for another day.

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