Sunday, March 17, 2013

Adding Extra Fabric or Stabilizer

Top o' the morning to you this fine St. Patty's Day morning. 

We had absolutely gorgeous weather yesterday which meant we were outside basically from sun up to sun down...which meant I did not accomplish my three blogs in three days goal. (sigh)  But we were able to watch my 4 year old's soccer game, start our seeds for our garden, do a little landscaping, and take in an afternoon baseball game so all in all it was a wonderful day.  They are calling for possibly more snow next weekend (or a very cold rain) so I am glad we got outside while we could!

During a couple of recent stitch-outs I decided to add some extra fabric/stabilizer in the middle of the process to ensure a great finished product. I had just finished stitching our Zig Zag Bunny on a shirt and everything was going as planned.  Just before I started stitching the name above the bunny, I checked the number of stitches left on the design.  It seemed to me that the font I was using was extra dense (lots o' stitches) so I decided to add a layer of tear-away stabilizer under the hoop to make sure the dense letters did not cause the shirt to pucker. 

Adding Extra Fabric or Stabilizer

Once the design was finished stitching I just tore away the extra stabilizer. No puckering.  Perfect!

Zig Zag Bunny Shirt - All Things Applique

On our Scallop Bunny Patch design I used a very bold chevron pattern for bottom fabric (the scallop applique) and a solid light pink fabric for the top applique (bunny). As I was placing the light pink fabric on top of the chevron fabric I noticed I could still see the chevron lines through the pink fabric. I decided to add a layer of while flannel in between the light pink fabric and chevron fabric to ensure no chevron lines would show through.

Adding Extra Fabric or Stabilizer-001

When you have multiple layers of fabric for one applique layer I recommend cutting as close as possible to ensure the satin stitches cover everything.  If you don't have white flannel, you could also try a second layer of the solid pink fabric (or whatever fabric you are using) or a white cotton, etc.  I just had the flannel handy and it worked for me. 

Here is the finished product...success!


So, don't be afraid to modify your process mid-way to achieve the finished product you are hoping for.   A little extra stabilizer or another layer of fabric can make all the difference!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Adding a Patch to Cover a Monogram

My sister-n-law was given a super cute hand-me-down dress with matching bloomers. The only catch was that there was an "m" monogram on the dress...and her daughter's name starts with a "c". So she asked me if we could make it work and I said of course! Here are the steps I did to make this adorable and FREE dress work for her.

First, here is a picture of the dress with most of the "m" still in tact. I got a little excited and started ripping out stitches before I took a picture. 

Patch to Cover Monogram - All Things Applique

And here is a close-up of the process of pulling out the stitches. I decided to cover the "m" with a green circle patch to compliment the pink polka dots on the dress and to match the green rick rack trim. I could have left the "m" alone, but the stitches were pretty dense and therefore raised and I thought you would be able to feel/see the "m" underneath the patch so I decided removing as much of the "m" as possible was the best strategy.

Patch to Cover Monogram - All Things Applique-001

To do this, I used both my applique scissors and a seam ripper and tried to cut through the bottom stitches. Once you cut through the bottom stitches, the top stitches are relatively easy to pull out. I was able to remove all of the top satin stitches. The bottom underlay zig zag stitches were very tough to cut out. But they were also pretty flat so I decided to leave them alone.

The next decision was what size Circle Patch to use to cover the "m". Because the "m" was so close to the top, I knew I was going to need a circle that was wider than the width of the "m" because the top of the circle would be covering the "m" instead of the middle of the circle where the width is the widest. Are you still with me?

Patch to Cover Monogram - All Things Applique-002

I opened a Word document and created 3 circles of varying sizes, printed the circles, and cut them out. Then I placed each of the circles on the "m" to see the smallest circle that would fully cover the "m" but still leave a little bit of room between the top of the circle and the top of the dress.

Patch to Cover Monogram - All Things Applique-003

Four inches was the magic number. I pinned this to the dress exactly where I wanted the circle to stitch and then got my hoop ready for stitching. I decided to only hoop the stabilizer. I used a medium tearaway (I might have been cutaway) and then I used spray adhesive to position the dress where I wanted it.

The next step was crucial to getting the right placement. Once everything was hooped and ready to go...I loaded the circle patch design on my machine and used the layout buttons to move my design on the hoop so it would stitch exactly where I wanted it to.

Patch to Cover Monogram - All Things Applique-004

I thought positioning the top center needle position would be easiest. I then used my arrow buttons to move the needle until it was exactly on the edge of the circle that I had pinned in place.

Patch to Cover Monogram - All Things Applique-005

I even lowered my needle to double check that it was lined up. I checked the bottom, right, and left boundaries as well. Once I was pleased with the location, I removed my cut out circle template and stitched my first placement line for the circle patch.

Patch to Cover Monogram - All Things Applique-006

You can see in this picture how the "m" is mostly covered by the top of the circle patch but there is still room to see some of the dress in between the circle patch and the top of the dress. Mission accomplished. :)

The green fabric I used for the patch was pretty thin and I was afraid you would still be able to feel part of the underlay stitches of the "m" so I tacked down a layer of flannel before I tacked down my green fabric layer.

After the circle patch finished...I stitched the monogram in a pink thread to match the polka dots.

Patch to Cover Monogram - All Things Applique-007

And there you have it...a personalized hand-me-down dressed re-worked for another sweet girl.

Patch to Cover Monogram - All Things Applique-008

I hope this step by step blog helps you recreate something too!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Little Lull...

I am (not so) patiently waiting for new digitizing software to arrive (never been so excited for a Monday to get here) and while I wait I thought I would share some of my digitizing history with you…so here are a few things I have learned along this journey…

There is a ton of information “out there”.  From yahoo groups, to FB pages, to YouTube tutorials, etc.  there is more information than is possible to sort through.  So many embroiderers are generous with their time and expertise and offer invaluable tidbits of information about how to embroider/appliqué. 

At the same time…there is very little relevant information “out there”.  I have lost countless hours searching for the answer to an issue or topic without being able to find exactly what I am looking for.  I have especially found this to be true when it comes to exploring software options for digitizing.  Makes sense…who wants to share their secret? Their magic formula for making their business work?  Well, that is what I am going to do today…or at least I am going to tell you all of the “magic formulas” I have tried: 

I started with Embird; I recently tried Bernina Designer Plus;  and I am now waiting for my Wilcom software to arrive.  Hence the time to blog.

Embird served me well for several years.  I started with Editor when I was selling physical items.  I upgraded to Studio a few months before I launched All Things Applique.  I added Font Engine at some point along the way too.  In my opinion it is a great digitizing platform for beginners and has great value for the price.  I won’t lie…I was ready to throw my computer out the window a couple of times when I was learning to use it…but can now digitize with almost every keyboard shortcut in the book. 

As All Things Applique has grown, I have felt constrained by Embird.  I also wanted to be able to offer .art format, so I visited a Bernina dealer, had a demo of the software, asked lots of questions, thought about it for weeks, asked more questions, and then decided to give it a shot.   After experimenting with this software during my “return” window I came to the tough conclusion that this was not the right “next step” software for me.  I loved some of the features…but then other areas slowed me down.  Lessons learned…1) make a list of every question you can think of and don’t be afraid to ask them 2) ask about a return policy (there is only so much you can see during a demo…sometimes you just need to drive the software yourself to be able to see if it can do what you want it to do).  3) ask the dealer to digitize a design you would do 4) weigh the pros and cons and make a decision.

I have now decided to purchase Wilcom.  It is quite an investment for me.  I am hoping you guys decide to stick around and enjoy All Things Applique as much as I do because after this purchase I plan to be digitizing for a long while.  J 

Is it Monday yet?  I can’t wait to start creating new designs again…until then…I will be sketching, blogging, and plan to spend a lot of the weekend at the soccer fields and in the garden with my boys!