Notions: July 2012 Archives
I still consider myself new to the embroidery game even though I have had my machine for a few years. I own a sewing machine/embroidery machine which may explain why I don't log in much time on the embroidery side. But when I do remember this great feature, I use it hard. I love how fast and easy it is to add that little something special to gifts or projects. I have often used this side of my machine to whip up last minute gifts for parties, showers or thank you tokens. However, using your embroidery machine, if you are new to it or even if you have a few years under your belt (like me) can be tricky if you don't have some helpful tips to get you through the frustrating learning period. These tips really helped me when I got started.
1) You are going to break some needles, so just know that ahead of time. My first breakage freaked me out because I had rarely broken a needle and never in that fashion. The machine goes so fast and then all of a sudden, crack, broken needle. You can break your needle for several reasons. My most common was wrong stabilizer for the fabric or wrong needle for the fabric or tension.
2) Test your embroidery pattern first on scrap fabric. You can find the right combo of stabilizer, needle, tension and fabric without ruining your project.
3) Once you have the right combo of fabric/stabilizer/needle/tension, write it down in case you have to embroider that fabric again you can save some testing.
4) Buy embroidery bobbin thread. You don't use the same thread in the bobbin as you do on the upper. Embroidery machines use a certain kind of thread just for the bobbin. Purchase it and wind several bobbins for reserve. It will help prevent needle breakage and other issues that pop up in machine embroidery.
5) Don't expect to get it right away. This is not a TV infomercial; you can't set it and forget it. There are techniques to machine embroidery that you will need to learn, just like with sewing. It is not a load-machine-push-button-you're-done process. Give yourself some time to learn and don't worry if it is not perfect at first.
6) If the machine sounds like a hammer, turn it off. Mine would always sound like a hammer banging when I was thisclose to breaking a needle or the thread. I knew I had missed a step, loaded something incorrectly or had the wrong stabilizer and could prevent a big blow-up by listening for this sound.
7) Purchase Machine Embroidery Essentials by Jeanine Twigg. It is a lifesaver and I would have given up on machine embroidery forever if not for this book. She will walk you through needles, tension, stabilizer and fabric. You can get a head start on some of the common combos. If you are going to try machine embroidery at all, this book is a must for your shelves!
8) Stock up on stabilizer. You will use a lot of it and you don't want to be out when the mood strikes. Also, you can patch sticky stabilizer by cutting out a piece bigger than your hole and placing the patch on top. Don't patch it from the backside. It works better from the top. Don't patch too often. Once your sticky stabilizer is no longer taut, chuck it and hoop a new piece.
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A baby comes standard with a pack (or 3 dozen) Onesies. If you are lucky some of those rompers will be decorated in a style that you like, with a cute appliqué or design. However, most will not be lucky because the thing about baby presents is that not everyone has the same style. Luckily, revamping your onesie collection is pretty easy and fun. You can use these techniques and tips for your little one's wardrobe or as a great gift for another special babe in your life; you can even use them on older children's clothing as well.
Here's what your might need:
First up are the plain white Onesies. These are great because you can purchase them in packs of 5-8 and really go to town which is what I did on a pack I was recently gifted. I was jonesing for some embroidery so I had an idea for a reverse appliqué with "Love" embroidered in the center. To make this reverse appliqué I used my Circle cutter to cut a 5'' circle from my heat transfer paper and then cut another 4'' hole from the center of the first to make a ring of heat transfer paper. Then I placed the ring on the RS of my quilting cotton (I made sure to get some dogs inside the ring to show up) and ironed it in place. Next cut out your circle and place it on the WS of the front of your onesie and iron in place. Stitch the ring in place with coordinating thread and turn your onesie RS out. Cut out the center of your circle from just the onesie, using your stitch line as a guide. Finally, hoop your onesie and embroider your special saying. I wrote "Love" with a water soluble marker.
Next, I found a great apple that I wanted to turn into an appliqué so I used the same technique as for my deer head appliqué and stitched around the apple with a straight stitch. For the letters, I didn't want to machine stitch for fear of sloppiness so I choose to just use a running stitch and go over the letters with embroidery floss to hold them in place and give some definition.
My third onesie I wanted to add some more texture so I decided on a gentle ruffle that was more texture than ruffle so it wouldn't bug the baby. To do this I cut a 4'' strip twice as long as the front of the onesie and with RS together I folded the strip in half lengthwise and stitched ½'' from the edge. I pressed the seam open and turned the tube RS out and pressed again with the seam down the center (this becomes the WS of the ruffle). Next I ran a gathering stitch down each side of the strip ¼'' from the edge. Pull the threads to gather the strip as much as you like and knot the thread when finished. Pin strip in place and stitch to your onesie over the gather stitches, folding under the short raw edges to prevent fraying. Done!
My last romper was a bit of a departure because this one is a hand-me down from my first little girl. It was packed away but when I pulled it out I discovered some staining that nothing could defeat. So again, I leaned on my trusty circle cutter and cut out several circles from some red micro dot, linen and a little heart from a Heather Bailey Nicey Jane Print. I ironed on freezer paper to cut the circles and then used heat transfer paper to adhere them to the romper. Then I stitched in zig zag around all with a contrasting thread. You can't even tell there was ever a stain and the giant polka dots make the romper look better than ever.
You can use all these tips and techniques to add some wow to your rompers or your own wardrobe. Pairing short cuts, like heat transfer paper, with embroidery can make your projects not only time savers but also unbelievably cute. These ideas can be used on any age to brighten up any top or to cover just about any Oops that comes your way.