Tag Archive | Dakota Collectibles

HaHaHaHa – Part 3 of Sew It Begins

With the husband’s latest shirt completed, it was finally time to sew a new shirt for myself.

I picked the design and fabric for my new shirt based on the embroidery design that I had picked out to use. I love this Snoopy design and I have always wanted to embroider it on a shirt for me. So, with the Snoopy design in mind I entered the stash room and picked a piece of blue cotton and a matching patterned cotton remnant for the fabric for this shirt.

After laundering the fabric, I laid it out on the cutting table and got started. I cut out the pieces from the blue cotton first, then I cut into the remnant only to find out that I was short on fabric. I must have measured incorrectly or the fabric had shrunk more than expected in the wash.

Regardless, this piece was too small to use now. Logically, I should have returned to the stash room and chosen another fabric but, oh no, not me. The challenge was on. My creative mind was churning. How could I get the needed pieces from this short piece of fabric?

I started by changing my idea of matching the pattern of the fabric at the side seams. I debated if not matching the pattern was a good idea, or if it would make me crazy after the shirt was sewn. Since the pattern on the fabric was a little crazy itself and it would be non matching at the seam under my arms, I decided to go for it and disregard matching the pattern.

Even with not matching the pattern at the side seams, I was still a little shy, about 2 inches, of having enough fabric for the sleeves. What could I do to get just 2 more inches? If I shortened the sleeves by an inch each, I would have my 2 inches, but I did not want my sleeves an inch shorter. So how could I cut the sleeves an inch shorter and still have them the same length?

Bias tape was the answer.

I cut the sleeves the inch shorter, but instead of hemming the sleeves, I made some 1/2 inch bias tape from the blue cotton and used the bias tape to finish the sleeves. The rest of the sewing of the shirt sewed smoothly and embroidering the Snoopy design was great fun.

I am very pleased with this shirt. It is fun to wear and I love having the Snoopy design on it. It was also a fun shirt to sew and it was exciting to let my creative mind work to solve a sewing problem.

With a new shirt done for both the husband and the me, it was time to pick a my next sewing project. Stay tuned to see what that will be.

Until then, Sew forth and Laugh on!

Advertisements

The foam, it was puffy…

After much study and thought, it is time to cut into the into the purple and white floral knit print that has no singularity. I found a pattern in the closet for a child’s tab front shirt using the cut away tab method instead of the slit method and I am very excited to give it a try. This knit will make great shirts for little girls and I can see many different things embroidered on it.

.

Knowing that the embroidery part of making these shirts would occur early in the construction, I started to look at designs and quickly picked several Snoopy designs to choose from.  But, as I thought about the white Snoopy’s on this purple floral print, I started to grow concerned that the purple floral print was going to show through and the last thing I wanted was the image of purple flowers hiding behind Snoopy’s smile. How could I hide the fabric underneath so I could embroider Snoopy’s on this fabric? After contemplating several choices, I decided to give puffy foam a try. I have only played with puffy foam once before without much luck, but I decided it was time to try and use it again.

.
Now, I have two different types of Snoopy designs, Brother designs that use a running stitch around the edges of the Snoopy’s and Dakota designs that use a satin stitch around the edges. So, with this in mind, I felt that the Dakota designs would be best to use with the puffy foam to seal the edges of the design around the foam. I decided to give it a try on a towel first which I could use to make into a bib later.
.

The puffy foam worked great. I hooped the towel as usual then I taped a piece of puffy foam in the center of the hoop and started stitching. After stitching everything but the outline, I removed the hoop from the machine and carefully trimmed the puffy foam away. I reinserted the hoop and finished the last color, the outline. It did take some extra time to embroider with the puffy foam but the process went smoothly.

.

After finishing the design with the puffy foam, I embroidered the design again on another towel without puffy foam so I had a visual comparison to go by. There was not much difference in the designs once they were embroidered on the towels. Yes, the puffy foam one was puffier  and more 3d looking, but not that much. Was it because I was embroidering on a towel and the nap of the towel had not let the puffy foam look puffy? Then I thought about the differences in the Brother and Dakota designs, namely the stitch count. The Brother designs averaged 8000 to 10,000 stitches where as the Dakota designs ranged 20,000 to 30,000 stitches. Maybe that many stitches was pushing the puffy foam down and not allowing it to puff up as it was designed to do.
.

Feeling that I had the technique of using puffy foam down, I did not want to spend any more time embroidering on towels, so I decided to embroider a Snoopy Brother design with puffy foam on the purple floral print fabric. I followed the same procedure as I did with the towel, and I embroidered all the colors except the outline,  then I cut away the puffy foam and then I embroidered the outline. It seemed to work great. The resulting design is puffier than the Dakota design on the towel, but the edges are not covered as completely as they are with the Dakota design. The puffy foam solved the show through problem very well though and I am pleased with the end results.
.

The Brother design with the running stitch edge looks great but my concern is how will it hold up over time. Will the stitches become loose on the puffy foam? Will the design be ok after several washing and drying cycles on the puffy foam? I am anxious to get the shirts made and give them to a little girl so she can wear one for awhile and hopefully answer some of my last remaining questions regarding the use of puffy foam.

And Last In Box Number Three…

The contents of box number 3 is what made it easy to send a box of fabric to Good Will. Box 3 contained a lot of scraps. Although I find scraps useful to hang onto because I sew a lot of kid’s clothes, over the years I have found it easier and easier to just throw scraps away or to discern if there is any usable length to donate or use. Box 3 contained all three types of scraps, some went right to the garbage can, some went back into the stash but most had enough yardage to go into the donation pile.

In box 3 was some useful gray fleece scraps that were just perfect for some kids sweatshirts. I love gray sweatshirts and they are also so much fun to embroider on because almost any design looks good on them. So, these scraps made it to the sew now pile.

.

I laid out the gray scraps on my cutting table and then got out all my kid’s sweatshirt patterns in sizes 1 to 4. I started to arrange to pieces and quickly found that one size 1 shirt and one size 4 shirt fit the best. I cut out the pieces for them and then moved to the embroidery machine to get to work putting something fun on them.

.

Since many designs would look good on the shirts, I had a difficult time picking just two designs. But, in the end, I turned back to my Peanut’s designs. I picked two designs that I had never stitched before, one for a girl and one for a boy. The gray fleece embroidered beautifully and the designs turned out great. But then again, all Snoopy designs do in my opinion.

.

I then went back to the cutting table and picked colors for the ribbing which was easy after the embroidery was done. The sewing of sweatshirts went quickly and was great fun. Kid’s clothes are always fun to sew for me. They are usually simple and the results are always so cute.

Now, as I look at the pile of scraps destined for Good Will, I begin to second guess myself. The gray scraps were transformed into such cute clothes. Couldn’t the rest of these scraps turn into the same? Yes, they could, but I think I will let someone else have the fun of making those scraps into something. And so off to Goodwill they go!

From Box Number Two…

With my first mystery box of fabric shirt done for myself, it was time to make the husband a shirt. From the second mystery box in the closet, I pulled this large piece of blue interlock knit out. Once again, I don’t know where or when I bought it, but I am sure I fell in love with it then as I have again now. It is a beautiful piece of fabric with a great soft feel and stretch.

.

I cut the husband’s shirt out and then applied the interfacing to the fabric. The interfacing did not give me any hassle, which was nice. Do you think I have finally figured out the trick to applying interfacing? Or is the interfacing just teasing me, and will bubble and curl even more than normal the next time I use it?

The sewing process for the husband’s shirt went smoothly. Before I opened up the mystery boxes from the closet, I had started a shirt for the husband but had not yet finished it. So as long as I was sewing the new blue shirt, I decided to finish up the first shirt at the same time. It is made from a ribbed green knit that has tons of stretch. Needless to say, with the stretch, the green shirt took more time to finish up than the blue one took to make. I only thought that I used a lot of pins on my shirt to keep the fabric from stretching. It was not even close to the number of pins I had to use on each seam of the husband’s green shirt to keep it from stretching too much.

.

Embroidering designs on the shirts became a little more challenging than I expected, well at least on the green shirt. The only difficult part of embroidering on the blue shirt was picking the design. After looking at many designs, I returned to the my first choice, the Peanuts Snoopy as a World War I flying ace. It stitched up nicely on the shirt and it looks great. I love it, of course since it is Snoopy. Hopefully the husband will like it half as much as I do.

.

The green shirt was made for the new Haunted Mansion design I had recently digitized for Halloween, but with the stretch, I just was not sure it was going to work out. Luckily over the years, I have learned and remembered some hard learned lessons, so I hooped up a scrap piece of the green fabric and tried the design out first. Due to the stretch, it did not work out. I hooped another piece of green scrap differently this time, tinkered with the design, and tried again. Still it was a No go. Disappointed, I looked though my designs and found a design I just loved, but have just never put on anything until now. So, I present to you superhero Tootsie Roll! The stretchy fabric still gave me a hassle with this design but since it was smaller, stitched from up and down rather than side to side, and had a much lower stitch count, I was able to make it work without too many problems. I think the design turned out cute and I like the chocolate buttons I chose on the shirt with the design.

 .

Now the dilemma, I want to finish sewing up the fabric from the boxes, but I am anxious to get into the stash and find a piece of fabric for another shirt to put the husband’s Haunted Mansion design on. So, what to do next?

Work Shirts

I just needed some simple shirts to wear to work. So, I dug out my old t-shirt pattern and some piece of fabric I had long since forgot, but discovered again with the organization of the stash a few weeks ago.

It has been several years since I have made this pattern and I remembered that the last time I made it, I was not pleased with the end results. With that knowledge, my first step became altering the pattern. I did something in this process that I have never done before. I sewed a seam that I knew full well that I would be unpicking later. I altered the pattern to what I thought would fit best, cut out the front and back and sewed them together. I then tried on the basic shell, no sleeves, no facings. I learned that I was close on my alterations but not quite there. I then unpicked the side seams, made some more alterations and started to sew again. Now, for most of you out there, you would say that I just made a muslin, and that is what I would say as well. I have just never taken the time to make a muslin of my patterns before. For me they either work out or they don’t. But then again I don’t usually use or buy really expensive fabric or try a whole lot of new patterns so it usually works out ok. This time though I was very pleased with the end results of my actions and I did not mind taking the time either. I will continue to use this technique more in the future so that I get a better fit from my patterns.

I stopped making this pattern of mine years ago because I could never get the neck to lay flat. Every time I made this pattern, the facings at the collar bulged and made the neck line stand out instead of laying flat around my neck. Over the years, I have tried several things to stop this but to no avail. Since I was in the mood to intentionally unpick, I sewed the facings on without interfacing them first just to see how the collar laid. It laid perfectly. What? That is all it took? Just don’t interface the facings? So, I did not have to unpick my facings and an age old problem has been solved. Yay!

On the muslin, as I will now call it, I cut the shirt 2 inches longer than needed, but did not make the allowance for the extra length in the slits at the side. So, when I cut off the extra 2 inches I lost my slits. I had only the seam allowance left to make the slits. It took some extra care, but I did it, and I learned a valuable lesson about concentrating on all the details.

When all is said and done, my muslin turned into a wearable shirt. With that, I cut out and sewed up the next shirt faster and with more ease, giving me two new shirts for work and a functioning pattern for when I want to make more.

My Sewing Machines – Part 3: The Art of Embroidery

IMG_0982

My Sewing Machines – Part 3: The Art of Embroidery:

(Updated: June 13th, 2105)

Once you have decided that you want to get into machine embroidering, the purchasing of an embroidery machine is a big step in getting started that much is true, but it is far from the only step.

And don’t let the sales people tell you any different.

They try to tell you that the only money you will be out to get started is the cost of the machine. They say they will give you free classes and teach you how to use it and now for a limited time only even the $2000-$5000 design software is included for free. That is great that they offer that, but what if you don’t live close to the store, or you don’t have the time to go to their free classes?

Like I said before, once you have the equipment, now you have to learn to use it. 

Using the machine involves the purchasing of embroidery supplies and teaching yourself to use the machine by using it.

As mentioned earlier, the purchasing of some kind of embroidery editing software to make this all work is recommended but can be expensive and isn’t needed if you always plan on stitching out pre-made designs only.

The purchasing of designs is another big expense. 

There is also the purchasing of embroidery top thread for the designs (I now have almost 400 spools of various colors), and a special embroidery bobbin thread, and many different types of stabilizers for all of the different designs and fabrics. Even though these items may seem inexpensive by themselves, trust me they added up quickly. And then there is the specialized bent scissors that make trimming the jump threads easier, the specialized tweezers to hold the threads still while you cut them, the assortment of rulers and guides needed to help you hoop straight and the number of reference books to help you get it all right.

And so on and so on. 

I have several thousands of dollars invested in threads, bobbins, stabilizers, tools, patterns, designs, etc. and that isn’t counting the amount of money spent on the machines themselves.

I didn’t learn to sew or embroidery overnight and neither will anyone else. It will take a lot of time, patience, and money.

EME_BooksCollage

After you purchase your first machine, I would recommend that you purchase the book Embroidery Machine Essentials by Jeanine Twigg and read it. It’s the one I started with on a recommendation from a friend. Jeanine does a good job of covering what you need to get going and how to get started. She writes a whole series of books on machine embroidery that are all very good.

Once you have done that and had a little time to flip through the book, go to your local store and buy a small amount of embroidery thread, the standard colors of black, blue, white, green, yellow, red, etc.. Pick up some stabilizer too, both cut away and tear away types, and then just come home and get started with a design that is already in your machine. I feel this is the easiest and best way of getting started learning to embroider with your machine.

This also gives you a chance to work with different threads and stabilizers and see what types you like and what works for you.

After you have decided that this is the right hobby for you and you figure out what supplies you like the best, then get on the internet and search for the best prices on all of the supplies you need.
smartneedlefinallogo

I have had good luck with a company called Marathon threads for thread and stabilizer and another company named All Brands for various hoops, tools and designs. Amazon has an ever increasing number of these items as well at great prices.

You can then buy in bulk, save some money and time. 

As far as pre-made embroidery designs, there are a ton of designers out there that I like.  I usually look for designs that I might want from the websites of OESD, Amazing Designs, Cactus Punch and Dakota Collectibles (My Snoopy designs are all from Dakota). Recently I have found a fabulous new site, with some really unique designs called SmartNeedle Embroidery Designs and I have been purchasing several of their embroidery packs.

As you can tell from my blog, I love to sew and embroider things for myself and for my family and friends. Sometimes I start with an embroidery design that I want to stitch on something and work out a project around it but, sometimes I had a project idea already designed first and then I have to find the perfect embroidery design to put on it.

Sewing is a way for me to relax (except when it is teaching me patience) and to enjoy life.

I hope to continue to do this for a long time as it is something that I really enjoy and I hope you will too.

If you missed the previous parts of this post you can find them here: Part 1 and Part 2.

Snoopy Designs

img_35611A couple of months ago, Dakota Collectibles released another new pack of Snoopy embroidery designs. Of course, I had to have it to add to my collection.

The pack has designs of Snoopy and Woodstock in both 4X4 and 5X7 inch sizes. If you are a reader of my blog, you have seen a couple of the designs that I have stitched out, one on my blue shirt and one on my nephew’s jacket.

Shortly after the release of the first pack, a second pack was released with designs of the whole Peanuts gang and, of course, I had to have it too.  But now Dakota has done it to me again and released a third Peanuts embroidery pack and this time with Peanuts holiday designs as the theme for it.

And yes as I am sure you have guessed already, I now own it too. I just love every one of the designs in all three of the packs. My husband hopes Dakota’s licensing from UFS will end soon.

img_3555

I have a million ideas for the designs, but I img_3557have been so anxious to stitch them all out that I couldn’t possibly wait to get something made.

So, I pulled some purchased sweatshirts from my stash and tried out a couple of the designs from the second pack. The designs stitch smoothly and have such great detail. Both of the designs I tried are 5X7 inches in size. I think they turned out great. I can’t wait to stitch more Peanuts and Snoopy designs.

img_3556

One day at work a coworker was admiring my img_3560blue shirt from the side, telling me how pretty the fabric and blouse looked.

When I turned and she saw that Snoopy on the front, her voiced dropped and she said, “Oh, and you put a Snoopy on the front”.

And she said it with such disappointment in her voice…

But, I don’t really care too much about her disappointment. I will continue to be a devoted Snoopy fan forever. And I will continue to stitch Snoopy designs on everything that I possibly can and especially on times for me, until I just can’t stitch any more.

P.S. I think for Christmas this year I will make my coworker something with a nice big Snoopy design embroidered on it just to get her riled up. I think she would like that!