Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hooping at the Bottom

For those of you that don't know...I have a niece that is almost 9 months old. Up until this sweet girl was born...all the kids in our extended family have been boys so I have been thrilled to make some frilly and pink things for my sweet niece!

For her Christmas shirts, my sister-in-law requested that the designs be at the bottom of the shirt because Camille is always wearing a bib. She is a drooler.  So the top of her shirts are ALWAYS covered up!

Up until now I had only hooped shirts to stitch at the top and center. I have a single needle machine and am sometimes intimidated by unusual hoop positions. Well, I tried it twice this week and I think hooping at the bottom is so much easier than hooping at the top and centered!

All Things Applique - Hooping at the Bottom-005

I took a few pictures of my process and thought I would share them with you in hopes that those of you with a single needle machine might want to try a different hoop option for a shirt too!

First, I should mention the shirts. I found these adorable blanks at Carter's on the clearance rack. They were less than $5, I think. I loved how they had ruffles and buttons at the if Camille does happen to be without bib, the top of the shirt would have some visual interest to balance the applique design at the bottom.

When it was time to hoop the shirt, I put it on a flat desk with plenty of working room. Next I put my hoop in the shirt and then started to push it over to the right as far as possible. I wanted to stitch as close to the side seam as possible, so I even rolled the shirt a bit to the left so the right side seam was just inside the hoop. I had to be careful to keep my hoop straight vertically. It was easy for the hoop to become slanted while trying to position in this different be sure to check that you are parallel with the bottom of the shirt before you actually hoop. I hope the below pictures helps explain a little bit more...

All Things Applique - Hooping at the Bottom

One thing I did find with hooping at the bottom of the shirt is that the shirt was not quite as secure as when you hoop at the top. I decided to add a layer of tearaway stabilizer before stitching.

All Things Applique - Hooping at the Bottom-001

After the shirt was hooped and stabilized, I attached it to the machine and was ready to stitch. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to make sure the excess shirt fabric and sleeves were out of the way. When you hoop at the top/center of a shirt for a single needle machine, I am always afraid a piece of the shirt will end up under the needle! This was so much easier!

All Things Applique - Hooping at the Bottom-002

All Things Applique - Hooping at the Bottom-003

I did use my Layout buttons on my machine a good bit before I started stitching. Every machine is different, but you should be able to test to see the farthest right your needle will go and the farthest to the bottom your needle will go and so on. If you aren't pleased with the positions, use your Layout arrows to shift the design up/down/right/left until it is placed where you want it to be on your shirt. In this case, I made sure that the bottom-most point was just above the bottom hem of the shirt and that the farthest right point was just inside the side seam of the shirt.

Here is one picture from the second shirt I did. I stitched our Raggy Christmas Tree design on this shirt.

All Things Applique - Hooping at the Bottom-004

On this shirt I decided to do all of the fabric cutting when the shirt was completely done. I always like to wait as long as possible to trim because I feel it keeps the shirt as secure as possible when hooped. For raggy designs I almost always wait until the shirt is completely done and cut once it is out of the hoop. I also feel I can cut better when it is out of the hoop. When stitching raggy designs, I usually use flannel or felt as my base layer to add some depth and additional fray...but in this example I used fleece! I think it really made the raggy stitches stand out at the rest of the design have a nice puffy feel.

All Things Applique - Hooping at the Bottom-009

So there you have tips on how to hoop at the bottom! Hope it helps!

All Things Applique - Hooping at the Bottom-007

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chalkboard Wall, Painting, Gifting, and Designing

We have been busy, busy, busy designing and listing just as many Thanksgiving and Christmas designs as we possibly can for you guys! Have you seen them all? Take a look...


Do you have a favorite? I think I like the Dinosaur with the Santa Hat...because that one was a special request from my 4-year old. :)

You can find ALL of these designs and MORE at either or

Here are a few baby gifts that I FINALLY mailed this week. I stitched all of these bibs when we were in our temporary apartment this summer. Talk about belated gift giving! Thankfully babies need bibs for a long time and I hope they can still use these.

All Things Applique - Baby Gifts is time to work on the 10+ other new baby gifts I am still behind on. So many new precious gifts to be thankful for this year!

I recently tackled a couple of Pinterest ideas...and I must admit...they were both very fun and easy!

First up...a BIG, GIANT, chalkboard wall!

For those of you that remember our housing saga as we relocated to North Carolina, there was a room in the house we first had a contract on that was going to be PERFECT for it to be painted 1/3 chalkboard, 1/3 stainless steel (magnet) and 1/3 cork board. I had my heart set on it and it was going to be one of the first projects we tackled.

You can see the idea here...


While I do LOVE the house we are now in, there just wasn't a good wall for that type of project. But, as we have gotten settled, I have been inspired by a maps/solar system theme for the boys' playroom. I will share more as it changes (very slow progress around here)but for now we have one giant solar system wall that is chalkboard paint! The idea is for the bottom half to be all kids...and I am going to sketch the solar system at the top...

All Things Applique - playroom chalkboard

The boys have LOVED it and it is fun to see the creations they come up with.

The other Pinterest inspired project was for Halloween...a little late in sharing...sorry!

The boys painted canvases...

All Things Applique - Pinned It Hween Canvas-001

We added footprint ghosts and handprint spiders...

All Things Applique - Pinned It Hween Canvas

And then they wanted to keep painting! It was great and I LOVE their creations. Look forward to hanging these for years to come!

All Things Applique - Pinned It Hween Canvas-002

I will start switching design gears to Valentine's soon...if you have any design requests or ideas...please e-mail me at allthingsapplique (at) gmail (dot) com.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tracking Thread Colors

I recently learned a lesson the hard way and thought I would share my carelessness with you so you don't make the same mistake I did!

I noticed a few weeks ago that I was running low on several thread colors. When I lived in Richmond, VA, I had a great local shop where I got a great deal on thread and I could just go in and match whatever color I needed.

Now, I am 30 minutes or so from a good thread shop so I decided to try to order my replacement thread online. I found a great site...and the prices were better than what I paid in Richmond. However...several of my low thread spools were missing their identification number sticker! I tried my best to match colors do you think that turned out???

Let me show you...

All Things Applique - Spool o Thread Blog-001

low baby blue on the left "replenished" with silver on the right...

All Things Applique - Spool o Thread Blog

a pretty lime green on the left "replenished" with a more yellowy green that doesn't quite match any of my fabric!!!

All Things Applique - Spool o Thread Blog-002

and look at this...a pretty pink on the left that perfectly matches the pink on the right. You know why???

All Things Applique - Spool o Thread Blog-003

Because the magic sticker was still on top of the spool!!! advice to you is to make a list of your thread color whenever you buy it! You never know when you want to replace it and if that oh so important sticker is still going to be around!

I recommend keeping track of the following information as a document on your computer:

1) Thread Brand 2) Thread Identification (color/code) 3) Where you purchased it 4) Specific Project - if you purchased it for a special project or to match a particular fabric you might want to note that too.

Hope this helps and keeps you from ordering unmatched thread in the future!

If you have any additional thread tracking tips...please leave a comment below!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bunch of Pumpkins Tutorial

One of our most popular Back to School designs was this adorable Bunch of Apples design.  The design has a little bit of fill stitch, but is mostly a raggy stitch and pretty quick to stitch out.  You can use 1 fabric, 2 different fabrics, or 9 different fabrics as I did in the example below. 

Bunch of Apples - All Things Applique

I decided to create another "bunch" design...this time Pumpkins!  I am also considering bunches of footballs, ornaments, hearts, etc.  It is a great design to use up all kinds of small pieces of scrap fabric...or to really showcase one fabric that you LOVE! 

I thought it might be helpful to detail by pictures how I stitch this design.  So here goes...

First up is the instruction sheet:

Bunch of Pumpkins - ATA - Instructions

(As an aside, did you know that every design you purchase from All Things Applique comes with a detailed instruction sheet similar to this one?  I hope the instructions help!)

The first step is to pick your fabrics.  I start by cutting small squares.  (Note: For the 5X7 design, each pumpkin is 1.25" x 1.4" so these are small pieces of fabric.)  Then I play with the squares to arrange them however I like.  I think I spent as much time arranging as I did stitching! Ha!  But truly...I think this design looks good no matter how you arrange your fabric. 

Bunch of Pumpkins Tutorial - All Things Applique

The first step in this design is the pumpkin stems. Simply hoop your item...make sure it is centered...thread your brown or green thread and stitch the first color.

Bunch of Pumpkins Tutorial - All Things Applique-002

One quick note...

I set the design to stitch as follows:
Top Row: Left to Right
Middle Row: Right to Left
Bottom Row: Left to Right

This order prevents a big jump stitch from the top right pumpkin to the middle left pumpkin. The design snakes down to create the smallest jump stitches possible.

The next step is the Placement Stitch. I like to place a large sheet of flannel or felt down that covers the entire hoop for this step. See below.

Bunch of Pumpkins Tutorial - All Things Applique-001

Now you are ready to stitch color 2. Note, all placement stitches will stitch in one color without stopping.

Once your placement stitch is in place...

Bunch of Pumpkins Tutorial - All Things Applique-003\

It is time to stitch the tackdown stitch for all 9 pumpkins. You have a couple of choices here. You can lay one fabric down at a time and add the next fabric at each color stop on the machine. Or, you can lay all 9 fabrics down at once and then just go through the 9 tackdown stitches without having to remove your hoop or lay down any fabric in between stops. See below for an example.

Bunch of Pumpkins Tutorial - All Things Applique-004

If you choose the latter, you will need to make sure that your scrap fabrics pieces do not overlap at all or the tackdown stitches might grab the wrong fabric. Either way is fine...just do what is most comfortable for you!

After all of the tackdown stitches are complete, you are ready for the final step...the redwork/detail stitches. These will all stitch in one step. Again, the order snakes down the row is left to right, middle row is right to left, and bottom row is left to right.

Bunch of Pumpkins Tutorial - All Things Applique-005

Once all stitching is done, remove your item from the hoop and carefully trim away the excess fabric and enjoy your beautiful work!

Bunch of Pumpkins Tutorial - All Things Applique.psd

What other "bunch" designs would you like to see?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


This past weekend was cool and felt like fall was just around the corner.

And today it is muggy and mid 80's. are such a tease! 

We decorated anyway this weekend and despite the warm temps we are enjoying our new fall decor.  The boys were really excited to help and most of the decorations are kid friendly.

Pumpkins to replace the candles on the mantle candlesticks...

Wooden pumpkins on the dining room table...

We have several ghost and bat pillows in the living far the boys' favorite!  My little one walks around the house with a ghost in front of his face saying "ooooooooooooooooooh"  I wonder where he got that idea? :)

A new spider wreath I made for the front door.  I wrapped orange yarn around a straw wreath, added some black ribbon, and a big felt spider I found at Michaels. 

My mother-in-law (Mimi) was in town this past week and she did a fun fall craft with the boys.  They made pumpkins out of circus peanut candy and gum drops.  Then they filled up the truck with their "harvest"! I love it! And the report from Mimi is that the boys had a blast making the pumpkins too!

My husband has been taking the boys on lots of hikes lately and they always come home with pockets full of acorns and pinecones too! I love having them out on the table for decoration.  And the boys love playing with them and counting them and they are a great reminder of a fun day spent with daddy in the woods.

We planted our fall mums a couple of weekends ago...and they are very loved and thoroughly watered.

And finally...I made the boys some new felt toys/cookies to play with!  I love working with my embroidery machine but love it even more when I get to make something for my boys that they enjoy!

So there you have it...a peek at our Halloween decor.  Nothing very all fits in one Tupperware box...but having it up is making our new house feel more like home! 

Have you decorated for fall yet?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

New Designs - Arch Animals!

We have 4 brand new arch animal designs - Elephant, Giraffe, Rhino, and Hippo. 

We think the arch legs gives a funky yet innocent look to these animals.  What about you?  I can see them in soft pastels for baby items...or in bold prints for a more modern look. 

I have included pictures of the designs stitched out as well as unstiched with a monogram idea. 

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Feedback GIVEAWAY!

I need your help!

I have been working on a set of new athletic tail designs and need to make some decisions. I keep going back and forth...back and I thought I would ask YOU! 

Here are some pictures to illustrate the options:

#1: Redwork Stitch "Brother" and NO border

ATA - Big Brother - 5X7

#2: Redwork Stitch "Brother" with Satin Stitch border

ATA - Big Brother Outline

#3: Redwork Stitch "Brother" with Redwork Stitch border

Redwork and Redwork

#4: Fill Stitch "Brother with Satin Stitch border (note: VERY large stitch count!)

Big Brother Outline and Fill

I plan on offering the designs with several "types" of brothers (big, middle, little, etc.).

Big Brother - All Things Applique

I also plan on offering a "Sister" set. 

Big Sister - All Things Applique

Here are the questions:

1) Which of the above options is your favorite?  (you can just answer with #1, #2, etc.)
2) What other athletic tail designs would you like to see? Touchdown? Homerun?
3) Would you be interested in purchasing an individual name with athletic tail? For example, Brandon or Samantha...etc. 
4) Any other athletic tail ideas or comments you would like to share? 

Now to the GIVEAWAY rules!
•PRIZE: a FREE single applique design of your choice!
•TO ENTER: Answer the above questions either by commenting on this blog or by answering the questions on my FB page:
•GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Thursday, 6/21 at midnight EST
•NUMBER OF WINNERS: 1 winner per 10 comments!
•OTHER STUFF: One entry per e-mail address/FB profile is permitted. The winners will be selected using and announced on Friday, 6/22.

Thanks for your help!