Tag Archive | how to

“Blocking” Out Those Big Feet

P1020735When I decided to make Sebastian the bear a blanket, my reason for doing so was not really to hide his big feet but to try out another pattern I had found. This new pattern that I had found was a giant crocheted granny square that could be used to make a baby blanket. I decided that I wanted to make Sebastian a blanket from this pattern because I could add stripes in the blanket from the same yarn that I used to give him his sweater looking torso.

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The pattern was very easy to follow and soon I had quite a few rows of the granny square crocheted. The pattern only gave the basic instructions for making the granny square and the creativity of colors and sizes was all up to the crocheter. So, I decided to do 2 rows of the variegated yarn after every 5 rows of purple yarn. This design seem to be working up great and I really liked the look of it.

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P1020707The only problem I was having while crocheting the blanket was that it would not lay flat. I did not feel that my tensions had varied much while I crocheted it and I did not believe that the problem was in the different yarns I used. Because of this I decided that the blanket was going to have to be blocked when it was completed. Since I have really only crocheted amigurumi’s previously, I have never blocked a piece of crocheting but I had seen my mother and grandmother do it many times during my childhood, so I had an idea of what to do and I knew that this should fix my problem.

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Luckily, I was smart enough not to just rely on my childhood memories and I did a quick internet search on how to properly block a crocheted item. After reading several how-to sites, I decided to use steam to block this blanket. I started with a towel and pinned the blanket to the towel, trying to get it to lay as flat as possible. Next, with the iron on high, I steamed the blanket being very careful not to touch the blanket or the pins with the iron. The last step was to let the blanket dry and see what I got.

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P1020731After removing the blanket from the towel I was happy with the results. The blanket seemed to lay flat. After a day of being handled, I noticed that the blanket was not laying as flat as it had when it was first blocked. I debated about steaming it again or trying a different method of blocking, but then I decided that it is just a blanket for a teddy bear and it did not have to lie perfectly flat. This was probably not the correct answer. I should have tried to block the blanket again just for the learning experience, but I wanted to be done with this project and I wanted to move on to something else. I justified this decision by telling myself that this blanket was not the only thing that I would ever crochet that needed to be blocked, and that I would have other opportunities to block more crocheting projects in the future. I will try the wet method of blocking the next time I have to block a crochet item.

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With that, I called the blanket finished and wrapped Sebastian up in it. He looks so cute in his blanket. I just know he will soon have a great new home and someone to hold him and love him in his new blanket.

Fur The First Time

P1020697 Curse you Fabric Mart for having such wonderful fur on sale!

Because of my fascination with stuffed animals, I have always wanted to purchase some fur to have on hand in the stash just in case. And I have always wanted to sew stuffed animals which is why I enjoy making amigurumi’s so much. But instead of sewing stuffed animals I crochet them, so I don’t really have a need to purchase expensive fur to make stuffed animals or to learn how to sew with.

But awhile back when Fabric Mart was having such great sale on some fur, I decided it was finally time for me to purchase some and to begin to learn to sew with fur. Well, in reality, I went a little crazy and bought a lot of fur so now I feel that I must learn to sew fur to deal with the larger quantity that I just added to the stash.

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Plus since I have a big bag of amigurumi animals already sitting in the closet that need a home, I decided not to use my newly purchased fur to make stuffed animals with. But, then what should I make from the fur? Well, a fur jacket of course!

Now that I knew what I wanted to make from my fur, I started with some quick internet searches to learn how to properly cut and sew the fur. After reading several how-to sites and a couple of blogs on making fur jackets, I started to look for patterns. I knew that I wanted a zipper in my jacket, but could I use a zipper with the fur, or would the fur get stuck in the teeth when you zipped it up? How about buttons instead? But, how do you make button holes in fur? Then what kind of closure should I use? How about pockets? Patch pocket seemed to be out but what about side pockets? Welt pockets? How about lining the jacket? There were just so many questions that I had and so few answers that I finally decided that I just had to go for it and see what I got and try to solve the problems as they came up. I don’t normally sew this way, but it seemed like the best option for this project.

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2012_11_11_10_38_52.pdf000But in not wanting to waste all my fur while learning to make a jacket for me, I, of course, turned to my children’s patterns and decided to make a fur jacket for the little neighbor girl. I could learn all the things that I needed to know about sewing fur without wasting all of the fur I had purchased. And I would still have a enough fur for my jacket in the end. Actually, I will still have plenty of fur left over after making both the neighbor girl’s and a jacket for me. Man, I bought a lot!

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I dug through my patterns next and decided to use Simplicity 8902, an out of print pattern that I got at Walmart over 10 years ago for $0.25. I decided I would put a zipper in the jacket and hopefully it would zip ok with the fur. Even though I have an unwritten rule that all kid’s clothes I make will have pockets, I decided not to add pockets to this jacket. I have enough to deal with in learning to sew fur for the first time, and so I decided to not add the question and problems of pockets. Plus not having pockets would not affect the wearing of the jacket. I picked the B view of the pattern because I am more experienced sewing collars than I am hoods. So, with all of these things decided, I traced size 3 of the pattern, in view B.

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P1020705I had also decided that the jacket must be lined, not only to help the little neighbor girl to get the jacket on and off more easily, but also to hide the fur’s seams. I made a quick run through the stash, but I did not find any fabric that I wanted to use for the lining of the jacket. This did not surprise me. I have not sewed a lot of lined items during my sewing career. So, the next time we were by M&L Fabric, I stopped in and dug through their $2/yd bins and found some great pieces of suiting lining that I think would work ok for the little jacket. When I make my jacket, I will need to buy more yardage of lining fabric.

 

With all these decisions of making and planning done, I am now ready to start the cutting of the fur and the sewing the jacket. So, let the fur adventure begin!

 

But They Said To

I have fought with interfacing my entire sewing career. It has been a thorn in my side since the first time I used it and it continues to be today. I would love to just leave it out of my projects but I understand its importance in the wear and life of a garment. I have tried many different brands and types of interfacing over the years with a wide range of results. Sometimes it irons on perfectly and sometimes it destroys the project leaving curls and bubbles in the collars and facings.

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Most recently I have been using Pellon SF101.  As with other interfacing, I get mixed results. I have read and re-read the instructions until I have them memorized. The question of whether to pre-shrink interfacing or not is one that I have debated about many times, but in the instructions for the SF101, in bold letters, it says yes you must pre-shink this interfacing by “putting it in warm water for a few minutes and then line dry it”. I can do that.  Next it said to “follow instructions for EK130”. Ok, I can do that. The EK130 instructions say, “Press firmly for 10 seconds. Repeat, lifting and slightly overlapping each time.” Fine, I can do that. So, I did and my end results were terrible.

Knowing the challenges I have had previously with interfacing, I tried to figure out where I went wrong over the next several months and projects. First, I thought that maybe I did not soak the interfacing long enough so that it shrank properly. So, I soaked it longer and tried hotter water, even boiling water. At first, this seemed to be the answer. A couple of projects came out without curls or bubbles, but on the next project the bubbles and curls were back. Next I tried a heavy press cloth, first dry, then wet, then soaked with mixed results. Next a thinner press cloth, dry, then wet, then soaked. Once again with mixed results. Now what do I try? I did samples before each project. Most times the samples would be fine, but when the full pieces were ironed on, the results varied.

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Today, I stood in front of the ironing board with my pre-shrank interfacing and freshly cut out pieces for my new shirt form my new pattern, Buttrick B5503. I so want the interfacing to just work. I re-read the general instructions for the interfacing and I make note of the pictures that show you should slide the iron on the interfacing. But, the instructions say to lift and overlap. But, what do I have to lose? I can follow the same instructions as I always have and it may or may not work, or I can try something different. So, I place the fabric and interfacing on the ironing board, cover it with a damp thin  press cloth, and iron with a sliding motion this time. The results are perfect. Is this the answer?

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I don’t know if this is the answer to the interfacing conundrum, but it worked this time. I need to try it again this way a few more times and see what results I get before I can say that this is the answer to life, the universe and everything. I sure hope that it is.

BURDA STYLE

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.

Digitizing your own Embroidery Designs Part 1

Digitizing your own Embroidery Designs Part 1: How to get a usable graphic image ready to digitize.

(Updated: June 13th, 2015)

Happy Fall Everyone! I thought I would give all my lovely readers something great to start Fall, the 1st of October (my favorite month) and the weekend with, so without further ado, here it is!

Before I start talking about the software used to digitize your own designs, and how to go about digitizing on your own, I need to talk about the first step in the process.

And that step is to first get the artwork you want to use, and then making it usable to be digitized.

This is the most important step in the process, and if you do it correctly it will usually take the most time.

The hardest part of the whole process is getting good artwork and tweaking it so that you will have no problems digitizing it using your choice of software later on.

If you don’t do this step first your end results will most often end in frustration and disaster.

I can not stress this point enough, if you don’t spend the time now getting your artwork in good shape before digitizing, you will spend hours and hours later trying to fix it.

Please don’t try to use badly photographed or the lowest resolution clip art that you have downloaded off of some website somewhere on the internet that is no larger than a postage stamp, you won’t like your finished results.

Try to make sure your artwork is clean and in a medium to high-resolution format. I usually like to start with something at least in the 300×300 pixel size range. Of course if you have some camera ready artwork of 1200+ pixels in size you should be in great shape and you should get some excellent results without too much tweaking.

ALWAYS REMEMBER! The lower the resolution of the item you are trying to digitize is, the more work you will have to do up front in a graphic editor getting it ready to digitize.

Of course you don’t need to have great camera ready artwork to start with. If you have a simple idea of what you want, you can just sit down with a piece of blank white paper and sketch out a simple design of what you are trying to create. I’m no artist, so I usually try to use something that has already been drawn by someone else and go from there. But if you cannot do that, just sketch something simple onto a piece of plain white paper and either scan it in or take a photograph of your sketch to get it into your computer to get started on the process of cleaning up the bitmapped graphic before you begin the digitizing part.

Here are a few photos to show you what I am talking about in the good art department.

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To the left is an original photo I found on the internet somewhere. I really wanted to use the Indy Mickey graphic for an embroidery design but I didn’t want to use the background since it is very complicated and it wouldn’t embroider well.

The first thing I did was extract Mickey from the background graphic. I won’t be describing the exact process or software I used to do this since almost any graphics editing software can do this process of snapping out an object from the background of a photo. Do a search on the internet for ‘remove a background from a photo’ and you will find several great articles and tools on how to do this.

Of course the most common graphics editors used to do this type of work are Adobe’s Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. They are great tools to use for this. But there are many others that are very usable and are available for very little money or for free in shareware and freeware tools.

Ok!

Now once you have the graphic that you want extracted from the background you should have something that looks like Image 1 below.image-1-2-3This is a good start, but it still needs to be edited by hand a little more to remove more detail before going any further.

This next step is a very important one too.

On most designs you will want to have a heavy black edge around the entire design to help with digitizing later on.

So if you look closely at Image 2 you can see how I traced around all of the lighter lines around the border and the light grey colored areas to make them thick dark black lines and curves.

This little bit of editing here will give you a nice dark satin stitch around the border of your design once we the design digitized.

Here is my edited image a little further on in the process.

image-4In Images 3 and 4 I am getting really close to the final bitmapped image that I will put into my digitizing software.

You will notice that I have continued to edit the graphic until I have changed the hair and teeth on the golden idol to more solid colors rather than the individual fine lines that the original graphic had. I’ve also simplified the shoe strings and shadows on the shoes since at smaller sizes these would end up being unrecognizable blobs of knotted up thread on your embroidery machine once it was stitched out.

And you don’t want that.

It’s a mess!

In Image 4 you can see that I changed some of the colors in the graphic to other colors that already exist in the graphics design to reduce the number of thread colors I would need to use when digitizing the graphic.

The fewer colors you have  in your bitmapped graphic once it has been tweaked, the easier it will be to get a good digitized embroidery design in the end.

When embroidering something on a machine that needs to punch thousands and thousands of holes using a needle into a very small area, fewer colors means fewer punches.

The fewer the punches that are needed, the happier you will be with your end results.

Luckily for you, most graphic editing software tools have a great feature that will reduce the amount of available colors in a graphic image easily or automatically for you by using color averaging.

It’s best to reduce the image you are working with to 256 colors or less before trying to digitize it.

I usually prefer to stick with under 16 colors in my embroidery designs. 8 is better still.

Sometimes you do need more colors than that to make your design work though, and that is ok too.

It just won’t be as sharp and precise of a design in the end.

Well I hope that gives you a pretty good idea on how to get your original ideas, concepts and designs into your computer and get them into a condition that will work well for digitizing.

The next step will be to get that graphic into your embroidery software and finishing the touching up and final digitizing of the design.

I will cover that in my next how to: Digitizing your own Embroidery Designs Part 2.

Part 2 of this series is HERE, Part 3 of this series is HERE.

“Doomed” Fraying

If you missed Part 1 of this story, it can be found HERE.

I know I keep talking about writing some technical posts on how to digitize designs, but I am too excited about my new designs and have been playing with them rather than focusing on the technical aspects and getting them written down. So, don’t give up on those posts yet, they are coming but in the mean time, take a look at my steps to complete the Messenger Bag of DOOM!

Looking at the bag, I did not want to just stitch the design to the lid of the bag and have the back of the design show every time the  bag was opened. I thought about unstitching the lid of the bag from its lining so I would only be stitching on the top, but decided that was way too much work. Staring at my sample pieces of the designs, I decided I would try to make a patch to sew to the lid, leaving only a single stitch line on the underside of the lid. Commercial patches are made with a special merrowing machine that makes a sealed merrowed edge to keep the sides of the patch and the embroidery from unravelling over time. These are single purpose machines, and that is all they do. Because I don’t have have a need for such a machine very often, I think $3000.00 is a bit much to pay for such a machine. Therefore I would need to make my own edge.
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A very long time ago, I tried to make a patch but had very little luck with the process. I embroidered a design and then statin stitched a frame around it. I then cut close to the statin stitches and used some seam 2 seam to attach it to my project. It was great at first, but over time the edges started to fray and the statin stitches started to fail. I was not really happy with the end result. I thought on the bag that I could statin stitch the patch directly to the bag and that my solve some of the problems, but I certainly am not skilled enough to free hand the statin stitches and because of the size of the designs, there was no way I could stitch it in with the embroidery machine. The thought of using a fabric paint around the edge was quickly discarded. Although there are projects just right for fabric paint, this bag is just not one of them. I feel it would have make the project look homemade. Returning back to the picture of the bag from Disney, I decided to try what they did, sew the patch on and then distress the edges.
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Having never done a distressed edge before, I was not willing to test it out first on the bag and ruin it, so I grabbed a piece of fabric from my last shopping spree and cut out a size 3 sweat shirt. One of the nephews loves Indiana Jones as much as the little brother so a shirt would be great for him. I left about a 1 and 1/2 inch border around the design and then stitched close to the design edge, sewing the patch to the front of the shirt.  Then I started fraying the edges. After fraying for a little over 2 hours, I was getting no where. Discouraged a little, I cut some of the border off and started to fray from there. When I finally frayed down to the design, I could see just how much border I really wanted. After trimming some of the border and having a good start, the fraying went a lot easier and faster. So, what I learned was that when fraying an edge do leave a good border and don’t let the starting discourage you. The more you fray the faster it goes. After fraying, the design will need a “haircut” to get rid of split ends and long hairs. I am super pleased with the results even though I trimmed some spots a little too close to the designs.
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I wanted to see how the design washed, so a trip to the laundry was the next step. After a washing and drying, the edges of the design curled around the design. I like the curl except that it covers the edge of the design a bit. So, I learned that when stitching the design down to not stitch quite so close to the edge  leaving a place for the curl.

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Excited by the results of the sweat shirt, I sewed the design I was going to use to the bag and started to distress the edges. When I took a break from fraying, I decided to iron the sweat shirt’s design and learned that I should have used something under the design to keep it flat to the shirt like some adhesive spray or seam 2 seam. Augh! The bag also needed this too. So, to help this problem, I stitched in the ditch around some of the center parts of the design. When I stitched the design to the bag, I left a border for the curl and I left the frayed edges longer. I am not going to wash the bag myself, but I am sure that will happen sometime in the future when it gets dirty, so I have ruffed up the fray edge to give it a more worn look.

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As always, sewing is a learning process. I have learned a great deal from both the sweat shirt and the bag. I am very pleased with the end result and will happily apply another patch with a distressed edge to any project as it give it a cool worn look that is very in style these days. Hopefully the nephew and the brother like the end results as well.

Creating and Digitizing your own Embroidery Designs SNEAK PEEK!

I have been very busy at work the past week and I have only had a small amount of free time so I have been spending it digitizing some new embroidery designs for my new Messenger Bag of DOOM project. I have been taking notes along the way so I can give everyone a full how to of exactly what I did to get from my ideas to the final designs but it will take a lot more time than I originally anticipated to not only get these new designs created and tested, but also to write up blog posts on exactly how you can do it yourself using your own software and equipment.

I doubt a lot of you are very interested in Indiana Jones or Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, The Last Crusade, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, etc. But I think several of you might be interested in how you can take your own graphic or picture of any type and convert it into machine embroidery to stitch on a garment, or just make an embroidered patch that you can sew or iron on to something you have later. I didn’t feel it was fair to keep those of you interested in this project waiting any longer, so for the meantime here is what I have been working on in picture form. The full how to guides are coming soon. I promise.

Leo the Lion

Leo the Lion is my first amigurumi from the book Amigurumi World since I figured out that I was crocheting them inside out. As you see, his head and his bottom are much rounder than my previous animals for this book. I also feel that he was easier to crochet than the elephant or monkey from this book. This is probably due to crocheting him correctly, not inside out, or just the fact that I have made 4 of the patterns in this book, as well as the ones from my other book. I am getting the hang of crocheting amigurumi now. Either way I really enjoyed crocheting Leo and I think he turned out really cute.

The part that I really dislike still is the sewing together of these guys. I love to crochet all their parts but just hate when it is time to put them together. I feel I did better on Leo though than on my other amigurumi’s. First I studied the pictures in the book very carefully, and I saw that the felt parts where not being stitched on with a back stitch as I had tried to do previously. Second, by the end of crocheting, I am excited to put my amigurumi together so I think I rush the sewing together part. So, following the suggestion in the book and the pictures closely and slowing down and taking all the time I needed, I am much more pleased with Leo’s face than his friends. His face is probably better looking just due to the fact that his head is not pointy, or maybe just practice.

His mane was a sources of contention for me though. I crochet really tight. I followed that pattern exactly to make his mane but it fell short around his head due to how tight I crocheted it. I stretched it around to fit, but if I make another lion, I will break the pattern down and see how many stitches to add for more dumps on his mane. I already tried to crochet it looser, but still did not get a nice fitting mane.

So, Leo needs a good home. If anyone would like to provide him with one, please let me know.

One Fat Walrus

“Do Not Overstuff!” I have read this a million times in patterns, both sewing and crocheting but never really understood what they were talking about until I overstuffed this little walrus. In an attempt to make sewing of the pieces of an amigurumi together easier for me, I tried assembling this walrus before I stuffed him. The pattern says to stuff the body, then stuff the other parts and sew them to the body. I did the opposite. I stuffed the tusks and sewed them to the unstuffed muzzle. I then stuffed the muzzle and sewed it to the unstuffed body. It did not make the sewing any easier and when I was done I could see that I have overstuffed the tusks and the muzzle. Especially the muzzle. It did not make placement of the pieces any easier and I missed not having the stuffing help secure my stitches. Lesson learned. I will from now on follow the patterns for stuffing amigurumi. Even with the extra pudding, Wally, as he has quickly became named, is as cute as can be. And, I didn’t think anything could be cuter than the seal, but I think Wally is. He makes me smile.

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