Tag Archive | applique

Extras

After the puffy foam trials from a few blog posts back, I noticed that I was getting quite a stack of towels with designs embroidered on them. I decided that since I had the sleepers I was working on finished and the blankets all done and ready to go for gifts, I would go ahead and make these towels into baby bibs before I got started on another project.

I really enjoy making the towel baby bibs and in no time at all I had the ribbing picked out and I was sewing away on them.

Once those were completed I noticed that I still had some white and purple floral knit fabric left over from the little girl’s shirts I had recently finished, I decided to use up those scraps to make another sleeper with. I had previously picked out a Mickey and Minnie Mouse design to stitch on one of the shirts, but then I decided to use a Snoopy designs instead. But after that I still wanted to put the cute Mickey and Minnie design on something. Since the sleeper pattern was still out, I cut one out of the purple floral knit fabric and sewed it up. It turned out so cute and I just love the Mickey and Minnie embroidery design on it. And even though I thought that would use up all of that fabric, there is still plenty left over. I have not decided what I want to make next from the leftovers yet, so it might go back into the stash, but as a much smaller piece than before.

Embellishing Baby Towel Bibs – Part 2

With the first appliqued Snoopy bib completed and the end result turning out fabulous, I quickly started to embellish another bib. This time for a little girl. And so with another piece of Snoopy fabric in hand, I got started.

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This time I wanted the back ground peace signs of the fabric to be part of the embellishment. Having already done a square, I decided to try a circle. I hunted around the sewing room and the kitchen for the perfect circle but I could not find the right size. I finally remembered the circle cutter I had purchased many years ago. This is one of those craft items that you use about once every 3 years, that you really shouldn’t have taking up space in your closet but are so happy you have when you need it. I quickly cut the size of circle I wanted with the circle cutter, and then traced and cut out my fabric. Next I needed to fold and press the edges over evenly.

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I decided there was no way I could free hand the folding of the edges and get anything that still resembled a circle. So, I pulled out the seam 2 seam. I cut a smaller circle of the seam 2 seam and applied it to the back of the applique circle. I then snipped the edge of the circle and started to fold the edge over sticking it to the seam 2 seam as I went.

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This worked out fabulously!

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My end result was an almost perfect circle. I then applied the circle to the bib, holding it in place with the seam 2 seam, and stitched around the edge. I wish I had matched my thread color better to the fabric, but the stitching was very simple so it worked out ok. I stitched around the circle twice for a fun look.

At this point the embellishment was done, but I was really not pleased with my end result. It was just a big circle on a towel. Even though it was a Snoopy in a circle on a towel, it still needed something else.

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I returned to my sewing closet and stared, hoping for inspiration, when my eye drifted to the far back corner where my old fabric paints lived. I have not used these in years. I was afraid they would be all dried up, but with a little shaking, the paint began to flow again and then the fun started. I created several peace signs in different sizes and colors with the fabric paints and they looked great!

Adding some pink ribbing around the neck was the final touch for this bib. The end results are so cute. I can’t wait to give it to some little girl.

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As I pulled the fabric paints from the closet, ribbon, lace and various trims fell to the floor. As I picked them up, my creative mind went crazy. Pink Disney princess ribbon with pink matching lace. Disney Cars ribbon with car tracks made from fabric paint. Rainbow Snoopy ribbon with many more Snoopy appliques. A whole new use for my leftover scraps from my other sewing projects. The possibilities became endless, and I became very excited about what to make next.

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I will definitely be making more baby bibs and embellishing them with and without my embroidery machine and maybe a combination of both. Let the fun begin!

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If you want to see my original baby bib post you can find it HERE.

And I hope you all had a great Summer of LOVE and PEACE!

Embellishing Baby Towel Bibs – Part 1

I am spoiled. Very spoiled it seems. When it comes to embellishing the baby towel bibs that I make, I simply move over to my embroidery machine, pick a design and stitch away. The bibs always turn out so cute, and I have a chance to try a new design that I have always wanted to. But, what if I did not have an embroidery machine? Would I still make the bibs? How would I embellish them without it? Would it take a lot of time and be a lot of work? And would it be more time and work than I would want to put into a bib? After giving these questions way too much thought, I decided to embellish a couple of baby bibs without using my embroidery machine to see how they turned out.

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My first thought was the simplest thing to do, apply a store bought applique to the front of the bib. So, I dug through the closet and found my small selection of appliques. Needless to say, I don’t have many and they are not really suited for a child or baby, plus most of them are small, so I was not really impressed with my store bought applique as an embellishment.

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When my store bought appliques did not pan out, I decided I would make my own appliques instead. As I dug through the closet, I ran across my last Snoopy fabric purchases. Yes it’s true, I am the world’s biggest Snoopy fan! They would make great appliques, especially the black Snoopy pirate on the bib with the black ribbing.

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Not wanting to use all my fabric on appliques, I only cut a small square from the corner of the fabric, but tried to get all the designs out of it. At this point, I had to make a decision. Just how much time did I want to spend embellishing baby bibs? I decided that I did not want this to be an all day project or  to be difficult, so I cut the designs in squares rather than cutting out the actual designs.

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The next step was to attach the designs to the bibs.

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I started by  folding the edges over and pressing them down. This worked fine but I quickly learned two things. First, I needed a little more edge to fold over, so next time I will cut the squares slightly larger. Second, I need to spend a little more time cutting and measuring. This does not mean I have to spend all day doing this or have it perfect, but a little more time centering the designs and folding the edge over evenly would have givien me a little more professional look. But, for a baby bib that the kid is going to spill mushy peas down the front of, my appliques were just fine.

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Next I sprayed my squares with some spray adhesive. If you don’t have spray adhesive, you can just pin the squares to the bibs, but I am all about the easy way. I then arranged the designs on the bibs and took the project to the sewing machine where I quickly stitched the squares to the bib. This is where the larger edges would have been helpful.

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I think the end result of this bib turned out great. The bib is just so cute! The time factor was minimal but the fun factor was off the charts. Now I can’t wait to make more bibs.

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If you want to see my original baby bib post you can find it HERE.

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Outgrown

Does anyone remember the monkey applique blog post I did several months ago? Well, the mother of the little girl who received the shirt with the applique on it, told me the other day that her little girl was quite distressed because she was unable to wear the shirt any longer. She said that not only is it getting too hot to wear a sweat shirt, but that she is starting to out grow the shirt and it will definitely not fit her next year.

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It tickles me to find out that something I have made is being worn and liked, so I went home and found some fabric to make a summer monkey shirt. This yellow piece of fabric has been hanging out it the stash to be made into sleepers, but I had plenty for t-shirts as well. I cut a size larger than I think the she is but cut it a little shorter. I wanted to make sure it would fit her well.

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I chose a different monkey applique for the front of this shirt than the last one. I learned a lot from the first monkey applique I did. I applied those lessons to this applique, and then I learned a couple of more things along the way. The thing that I learned the most was that I needed to practice doing appliques, to perfect the technique. Good thing I have more monkey appliques to try it out with. The applique turned out too cute. The rest of the construction of the shirt was very straight forward and I am pleased the the results. I am so excited to give the shirt to the little neighbor girl.

Unlike sleepers, I do believe that if you are making one kid’s t-shirt, it is just as easy to make two, so you can sew from one to the next. With that in mind, I cut and made a second yellow kid’s t-shirt. I put this Woodstock design on the second shirt because it is one of those designs I have always wanted to try but did not have anything to put it on and it is a summer design. I did not have enough ribbing for the sleeves in the particle blue color I used for the neck, so I just hemmed the sleeves instead. I wish I would have known this when I cut out the shirt. I would have just cut the sleeves a little longer for the hem. All in all, the second t-shirt is just too cute too.

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I love to sew kid’s clothes. They are just way too fun to make and I can be as creative as I want with them, plus fit is generally not as much of an issue as clothes for adults. Making these two t-shirts has me excited to sew more of them.

Digitizing your own Embroidery Designs Part 3

If you missed Part 2 of this series, you can find it HERE!

Digitizing your own Embroidery Designs Part 3: Creating a digitized design using Bernina Artista Designer Plus Software

(Updated: June 13th, 2015)

As I mentioned in my previous post I’ve tried most of the embroidery digitizing software out there over the last 10 years or so, and even after trying the latest greatest I always tend to come back to my stand by software, Bernina’s Artista Designer Plus. In this post I will take you step by step how I use it to create my own custom designs which are then stitched on my latest sewing projects.

Step 1: Get ready! Get set! Start your software! GO!

Do you have it up and going?

Great! Here we go!

You will notice that when Artista starts up it will be in freehand stitch placement mode where you can just draw stitches or shapes in freehand mode. This is the mode most embroidery software starts in.

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We need to change it to picture mode so we can load our previously touched up artwork and trace the bitmapped image using the auto trace tool. To do this click on the picture tab up at the top of the design screen. Then click on the icon in the left toolbar that looks like a flower coming out of a folder. This is the Load Picture tool.

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When the file browser comes up you can select your touched up artwork saved in a variety of formats like BMP (Bitmap), JPG (Jpeg), PNG (Ping), etc. I will be using my Mickey Indy Graphic that I touched up in Part 1 of this blog series. Click on the one you want to digitize and then click the Open button in the file browser and your design screen should now look like this.

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The next step is to use the built in Artwork Preparation Tool on the left toolbar as shown below. Once you click on it the Artwork Preparation window will pop up and show you the number of colors in your design as shown below. You want to choose an amount of colors that still gives you good detail of the design, but no more than necessary. I never use more than 16, but I usually try to stay around 4-8 colors if possible.

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Once you choose your number of colors and click on ok Artista will decrease the number of colors and smooth any lines in your design it can. It will also create large single color blocks if possible. This will provide the auto digitizing function with less work to do in the next step.

The next step is to take your prepared artwork and use the auto digitizer tool to insert stitches over your artwork. To do this click on the Design tab at the top of your design window as shown below. Then click on the Select Tool in the left toolbar. Next click on the prepared artwork image on the right. This will select it so it can be auto digitized. To do that click on the AutoDigitizer Tool on the left toolbar. It looks like a paintbrush with multicolored paint on it.

At this point you will see an AutoDigitizer window pop up where you can change your Fills and Details stitch types. I normally leave these settings at their defaults but you can use the different stitch types to create different looks for your designs. Choose your stitch types or leave it at the default and click on the OK button.

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Now you should see the bar at the bottom showing that the AutoDigitizer is creating the different stitch objects of your design. Once it has finished your design window should look like the screen below.

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If you click on the Artistic View tab you should now see a 3D representation of your completed auto digitized design as shown below.

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This is all looking pretty good at this point except you will notice that it automatically digitized the white background of the design.

I don’t want this to stitch so it needs to be removed.

So I click back on the Design Tab up at the top of the design window. Then I click on the object Select Tool on the left toolbar (it looks like a white arrow). Then I click on the edge of the portion of the white background and it will be selected and turn to a pink color to show it selected.

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Then I just hit the delete key on my keyboard and POOF it’s gone! It should now look like the screen below.

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You can click on the Artistic View Tab at the top again to make sure you are satisfied with the results. Now make sure and use the File/Save As menu option from the top to save your design. Artista offers several design formats to save to so choose the one your embroidery machine uses. I always save in the PES format since I have Brother machines.

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That is it! You are all done! Now you can change thread colors or resize your completed design to make it larger or smaller or rotate it, mirror it, or whatever else you would like to do with it using the built in tools.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post series, I sure had a lot of fun creating it!

Please let me know if you would like to see other topics covered or if you have any questions and I will do my best to answer.

If you missed Part 2 of this series, you can find it HERE!

Digitizing your own Embroidery Designs Part 2

If you missed Part 1 of this Series, you can find it here.

Digitizing your own Embroidery Designs Part 2: Which Digitizing Software should I use?

(Updated: June 13th, 2015)

First let’s get a few things out of the way.

The software you use to digitize your designs probably isn’t going to be a very important decision for you.

At first glance this might come as a surprise. But the reason I say that is simple.

Most of the embroidery machine makers usually have their own in house software that is made by a third party company for them. They don’t make their own software in house. There are only 2 or 3 major embroidery software creation companies in the world that create this embroidery software for them so they will all pretty much work the same way and have most of the same features.

So no matter what brand of embroidery machine you have, you can usually use whatever digitizing software you like or that suits you best for the job at hand.

Now they will tell you that you have to use their software so that you have the proper hoop support or the right thread colors, etc. but that is all bunk.

They are just trying to lock you into their particular product so that you always have to purchase their support, their updates, their supplies, etc.

Don’t buy into their hype and sales pitch.

I’ve been using a different manufactures brand software than the one that made my embroidery machines for over 10 years now without any problems whatsoever so use what YOU want to, not what they want you to use.

I have always only owned Brother embroidery machines (for why read this previous blog post),  but I dislike their PE-DESIGN embroidery software that comes with their machines. It’s seems too simplistic to me, and it will not allow me to do some things I like to do, the way I like to do them, so I use Bernina’s Artista (Now called Bernina Designer Plus) software instead.

Why do I use this particular software rather than another?

Well for me, it was because I spent a lot of time at different sewing machine stores trying out everything they had in software (digitizing software) and hardware (embroidery machines) before I purchased anything.

What I found by doing this was that after using Bernina’s Artista, Brother’s PE-DESIGN, Husqvarna Viking’s 4D/5D, Janome’s Digitizer/Customizer, Pfaff’s Creative 4D/5D, Singer’s PSW (Professional Sew -Ware), and several others along the way, I just liked the way the Bernina Artista software worked the best.

More than anything it fit the way I seemed to want to work. So many of the embroidery software packages I tried just kept putting up road blocks and getting in my way. The Artista software never seems to get in my way, it let’s me get in and get what I need done, get out of it and get on with actually stitching out the design on my machine.

Most of the embroidery software comes in what they call modules. What that means is if you want to do resizing you have to load a single program to do just that. But then say you need to change the colors or maybe digitize something? Well that will require that you close the program you are in and load another one instead. And you have to continue to re-load the same design into the different modules over and over again.

That was a real pain in the keister!

The Viking and Pfaff software really suffer from this since the same company makes them both. I think they have something like 14 modules in all to let you use all of the different features they offer.

The Bernina Artista software has all of the modules built in to the same program and will allow you to switch modes by just clicking a button in the toolbar. Simple, reliable, and easy to learn.

Bernina’s software is created by the world leader in embroidery software Wilcom, who also makes their own commercial software called Wilcom Embroidery Studio (Wilcom ES) for the big embroidery houses to which they happily charge $5000.00 PLUS for a license to use it. I’ve used a demo of the Wilcom ES software and I can’t see anything I’m missing in my Bernina Software. Not for a personal home user anyway.

Now I am sure many will disagree with my choice of software and will say how much they love this one or that one because of this or that feature.

And I won’t disagree with them. I’m sure they love what they use.

I am just telling you why I use the software that I use. I’m not saying that it is better than one software or another, just that it works best for me and how I like to do things.

I should mention at this point that I am an Apple Mac user and that most of my embroidery software is used on my Mac using Virtual Machine software running Windows XP.

Unfortunately for us Mac users, there is very little native Mac compatible embroidery software available, and the Mac compatible software that is out there is VERY expensive and is only made for commercial embroidery designers.

There are a couple of bright spots on the horizon though.

A friend of mine, Matthias Arndt, in Germany has for the last few years, been creating a Mac compatible embroidery software capable of letting you resize, recolor, flip, convert designs between several different formats and much more. His software is called StitchBuddy. It still will not let you fully digitize designs but it may in the future. It is shareware and can be tried out for free before you need to purchase it at a cost of $50. I was a beta tester for the early versions and I think it is coming along fine. He seems to add new features to it a couple of times a year. He also makes a Quick Look plugin and a Spotlight Importer which he provides for free to let you view your embroidery designs and search for them in the Mac’s Finder. All very, very cool tools and they have decreased my need to start up Windows on my Mac far less than I previously needed too.

One other company called BriTon Leap has recently started converting their Windows embroidery tools to the Mac, but they are close to 3 times the cost of Matthias’s Mac tools. Still they are much less expensive than something like PE-DESIGN or Bernina Artista, etc. They make a Quick Look Plugin called Embrilliance Thumbnailer, a design converter called Convert it, mac, and what seems to be the first steps of a full blown Mac compatible digitizer called Embrilliance Essentials.

BriTon Leap also has a new product called StitchArtist which runs on the Mac and will let you do more complete digitizing than their Essentials product will. I have not reviewed this product yet, but once I do I will add my thoughts on it here.

They also have a demo that you can download to try out their software before you have to pay for it. Clicking on any of the links above will take you directly to their respective websites for more information on their products. I wish I could say I was making money by linking to them here, but I’m not. I’m just trying to help out some friends I believe in and pass the word to other Mac users.

Ever since the smartphone (iPhone and Android)  and tablet revolution (iPad and Android) of a few years back, there have been several new tools released to help you digitize and convert designs on your smart phone or tablet. Both Matthias Arndt with his StitchBuddy HD and BriTon Leaps AirStitch app’s look interesting. I am currently trying out several of these new app’s and I will report back here and in a new post reviewing those tools specifically at a later date.

Stay tuned for part 3 of this series where I will take you step by step through a typical (for me anyway) digitizing session where I take the touched up artwork I created in part 1 and convert it to a fully useable, stitchable design.

If you missed Part 1 of this Series, you can find it here. Part 3 of the Series is here.

Monkey Sale

I received an e-mail from Smart Needle advertising a sale on their pack, Monkey Adventures. Since I love to embroidery monkeys on kids clothes, I could not resist purchasing this pack. The pack contained 10 double appliqué designs for the 5 by 7 hoop. Excited about stitching monkeys, on one of the trips to M&L fabric I specifically purchased fabrics to use in the appliqué’s of the monkeys.  When I cut out the Indy shirt for the nephew, I went ahead a cut a second shirt for a monkey design.

I had done appliques before, but I have never perfected the technique, so the stitching of the monkey design became a learning experience. It was actually more of a re-learning experience. I remember learning these same things previously when I appliqued some letters to a pair of sweat pants, but I did that so long ago now that I made the same mistakes again when doing these appliqués. I learned that I need a much sharper pair of very small scissors with very fine points if I am going to continue to do appliques. I was smart enough this time though to use a little spray adhesive on the applique fabric to keep it in place. This helped with both the stitching and the cutting of the applique. Although the design is not perfect, it is usable and sure turned out cute. If and when I stitch another monkey, I want to get a little fur or at least a fussy fabric to make the monkey.

As I stitched the monkey to the shirt, the shirt became quite feminine, so I have decided to give it to the little neighbor girl instead of one of the nephews. She just got a new little brother and needs a little extra attention.