DIY Holiday Stockings: Sew Stockings With Personalized Embroidery!

Stockings are great projects that are perfect for personalized embroidery embellishment. You can make an intricate stocking with piecing, applique, embroidery, beading–you name it. Or you can create a simple stocking using one fabric for the outer and lining stocking and simply embroider the band with the name of the recipient.

snowman 872327764 DIY Holiday Stockings: Sew Stockings With Personalized Embroidery!

There are tons of stocking patterns out there–from easy freebies to more tried-and-true affordable digital patterns. I particularly like this one.  It’s super easy yet elegant. Choose linen, velvet or a simple cotton fabric, and then go with one line-art design or font for a name.

Screen Shot 2017 11 13 at 10.14.26 AM DIY Holiday Stockings: Sew Stockings With Personalized Embroidery!We have some cute snowflake designs, ranging from heavier weight fill designs to simpler cross-stitch designs.

Screen Shot 2017 11 13 at 10.16.21 AM DIY Holiday Stockings: Sew Stockings With Personalized Embroidery!Large Snowflake 1

Screen Shot 2017 11 13 at 10.16.10 AM DIY Holiday Stockings: Sew Stockings With Personalized Embroidery!Snowflake 9

While these designs each have their own aesthetic. Playing with fonts can really put forth a mood or personality to a project.

This Classic Alphabet is playful and has a holiday vibe. I like the all-caps on a stocking, especially when the stocking has a wide cuff. This font would hold up well to a cuff with a nap, such as with faux fur, fleece or velvet.

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The Bow Alphabet is super cute and a bit more playful. It’s perfect for a little kid who loves Princesses and all things girly.

Screen Shot 2017 11 13 at 10.20.42 AM DIY Holiday Stockings: Sew Stockings With Personalized Embroidery!The Hopscotch Alphabet comes in upper and lowercase and includes numbers, too. This is another kid-friendly font, but would work with adults, too.

Screen Shot 2017 11 13 at 10.22.29 AM DIY Holiday Stockings: Sew Stockings With Personalized Embroidery!As you prepare to decorate for the holidays, think about gifting some stockings that will become treasured family heirlooms for years to come!

Find four free bonus projects for the holidays here!

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Easy Cross Stitch Ornaments

Our Cross-Stitch Christmas Collection is easily one of my favorite collections. Aside from my favorite set of mushroom ornaments, I’m surprisingly traditional when it comes to Christmas decor and these designs are the perfect fit for that. The cross stitch gives an instant heirloom look that’s so easy to recreate on the machine. Bonus points: they look like you made them by hand…and as far as I’m concerned, no one ever has to know otherwise! Screen Shot 2017 11 21 at 9.31.03 AM Easy Cross Stitch Ornaments

The larger snowflake stitches in under 10 minutes and fits perfectly in 5 1/2″ hoop. The smaller one takes less than half that and fits within a 4″ hoop. Stitch them, then display them in painted wooden embroidery hoops for the perfect gift. Or make a whole string for the cheeriest holiday garland.

Check out the rest of the collection in our store. There are deer, trees, holly and an assortment of snowflakes. In a different color combination, this collection can work well beyond the holidays, perfect for sprucing up your home all winter long.

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Basic Training: Working With Blanks – Tips & Tricks

What do you do when you have a whole lot of gifts to give and not much time, but you still want each one to feel personal?

You turn to blanks, of course!

A “blank” is a general term for a ready-made object that can be embroidered, like the tea towels featured on the cover of the Nov/Dec issue of Creative Machine Embroidery (fabric bindings were added as well as embroidery). While the first blank ideas that come to mind might be towels, handkerchiefs, and table or bed linens, there’s a wide range of blanks available. These include things like shirts, onesies, bags, aprons, slippers, koozies, stuffed animals, jewelry, and inserts for acrylic items like travel mugs, sippy cups and pet dishes.CME1712 Cover 500px 221x300 Basic Training: Working With Blanks   Tips & Tricks

With the wide selection of items available, there’s something that will suit anyone on your list. Search for “embroidery blanks” and you’ll find a whole world of options.

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Bracelets from

Here are a few things to keep in mind when working with blanks:

  • While single-layer flat blanks are easy to hoop, smaller, more fiddly blanks may require a self-adhesive stabilizer. Or you may choose to hoop the stabilizer only and adhere the blank using temporary spray adhesive.
  • Many blanks have texture, such as nap, loft or a waffle weave. Plan to use a topper for smooth stitching.
  • If stitching a single-layer project where the back will show, such as a tea towel, use water-soluble stabilizer if the blank is strong enough to support the embroidery, or use a cutaway stabilizer and trim neatly close to the embroidery edges. Consider using matching thread in the bobbin so the underside resembles the right side.
  • Another option is to stitch the design on separate fabric, then apply it to the blank like a patch or appliqué.
  • If the blank is a wearable that will be against skin, consider covering the underside of the design with fusible interfacing to keep it from irritating the skin, especially in the case of children or babies.
bugs 255x300 Basic Training: Working With Blanks   Tips & Tricks provided the tea towel blanks.

What designs to use on a blank? Monograms, initials or names are always a great choice, but it’s also fun to find designs that speak to what makes the recipients unique. What are their hobbies? What are their professions? What kind of pets do they have? Are they very into a sport, a game, a genre of TV shows, movies or books? What’s their favorite holiday? Their favorite flower? Their favorite vacation spot? What’s their aesthetic like?

Once you have an idea, search the internet for designs. You never know what you’ll find outside of the main embroidery design sites. One of my favorite resources is Knotty Rose Designs, an Etsy shop that features a range of religious symbol designs specific to denominations as well as a wide selection of geeky symbols from popular properties, including Star Wars, Game of Thrones and a whole lot more, down to obscure internet animated series.

One last thought: when you’re choosing your design and your blank, remember to make sure they’ll work together — that they’re the right sizes and shapes to go together into a unique, personalized gift that the recipient will treasure forever.

embroiderthis pet bowl 300x300 Basic Training: Working With Blanks   Tips & Tricks

Pet bowl from

Find the Retro Christmas and Irresistible Insects designs featured in the tea towels in this post at

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BurdaStyle + Spoonflower = Custom Creations

One of the best things about sewing is being able to completely customize a project, from the silhouette to the fabric to the embellishment. Creating your own fabric adds another level to customization, and lends itself well to the addition of embroidery.

Screen Shot 2017 10 25 at 12.34.27 PM e1508956486468 BurdaStyle + Spoonflower = Custom Creations

Oftentimes, manufactured fabric prints compete with embroidery. I find myself choosing mostly solid color fabric for embroidery projects so the stitches will have the most impact. But I do love prints, and many of them compliment embroidery motifs nicely. So I try to at least incorporate fabric prints into linings, borders, straps, plackets or cuffs.

Screen Shot 2017 10 25 at 12.32.11 PM e1508956358847 BurdaStyle + Spoonflower = Custom Creations

A great workaround to using prints with embroidery designs is to create your own fabric print. Upload an inspiration image, sketch or more tech-savvy digital graphic or illustration to Spoonflower and have your own print created in the textile of your choice. This way, you’re able to actually make space for the embroidery within the fabric print before it’s even created. Mimic an embroidered flower as a motif on the fabric print and leave blank areas to embroider to add a textural element into your project. Create a fabric print designed for a fat quarter size, and delete one or more motifs in different areas on numerous fat quarters to create a pieced quilt that’s artistic and modern. There are so many ways to experiment with the software available, and Spoonflower makes it easy to navigate with their online tutorials.

Screen Shot 2017 10 25 at 12.33.21 PM e1508956435631 BurdaStyle + Spoonflower = Custom Creations

While on the Spoonflower site, you’ll notice Sprout Patterns, a company that has teamed up with BurdaStyle to offer its garment pattern printed directly onto custom fabric prints. Using this service, you can strategically place your fabric motifs onto yardage, and then have the pattern digitally printed onto the yardage as well! And you don’t have to use your own fabric print; you can choose one from the Spoonflower marketplace to get started. Below you’ll see the first pattern collection from BurdaStyle, available now on Sprout.

choose to eat healthy BurdaStyle + Spoonflower = Custom Creations

These designs lend themselves to embroidery, and if you’re still against using prints, you can choose a solid for the ties, center-front pieces, sleeves, hem bands, and a print for the rest! How cool is that?

1 BurdaStyle + Spoonflower = Custom Creations
BurdaStyle Wrap Top in BurdaStyle Pink with Embroidery by Embroidery Library (Dream Catcher Potpourri Feature)


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Mantel Decorating Ideas For Fall

Many families have Thanksgiving traditions that span generations while others embrace the old and occasionally add something new to spice up their celebrations. We’re pleased to bring you something new to add with this embroidered mantel cloth, courtesy of the Martha Pullen Company. White linen serves as a backdrop for four white linen pockets that are each embroidered with a design encouraging you to “Give Thanks.” Maize linen is used in a gently curved pinstitched Madeira border.October Mantel Cloth 1024x934 Mantel Decorating Ideas For Fall

Don’t worry if your mantel is unusually smaller or larger. Length, width and numbers of pockets are easily adjusted. As to what could you do with those pockets — use them to gather thankful thoughts from family members or to serve as holders for small bouquets. Embroidered pockets can also be quickly stitched onto ready-to-embroider napkins or table coverings. Of course, the embroidery alone can add an updated embellishment on table linens that you already own.


  • Embroidery detail and Madeira Border 233x300 Mantel Decorating Ideas For Fall 1 yard white handkerchief linen
  • 1/4 yard maize handkerchief linen
  • 1 yard white batiste
  • Stabilizer: tear-away and water-soluble
  • Quilting ruler
  • Thread: embroidery, matching all-purpose & water-soluble
  • Needles: 75 embroidery, 70 universal & 100 topstitch or universal
  • Removable fabric marker
  • Starch
  • Pocket template
  • Madeira border template

Click here to download the Pocket and Madeira Border Templates.


Prewash and dry the fabric.

From the white linen, pull threads to assure a straight grain and cut one 21”x43” rectangle and four 10” squares.

From the white batiste, cut one 21”x43” rectangle and four pockets using the pocket template.

Pull a thread and cut to straighten one edge of the maize linen piece.


Starch and press each of the 10” linen squares. Fold each square into quarters and mark the centerlines with a removable fabric marker for the center of embroidery.

Stabilize, hoop and embroider the design onto each of the four squares using water-soluble stabilizer.

Cut away the excess stabilizer and trim any loose threads. Remove remaining stabilizer following the manufacturer’s instructions. Let dry, and then press.

Use 1/2” seam allowances unless otherwise indicated.

With the design centered, trace the pocket template onto each embroidered square using a removable fabric marker. Cut out each pocket.

Align a batiste pocket to an embroidered linen pocket with right sides together and stitch around the edges, leaving an opening at the top of each pocket for turning.

Clip the corners and turn right side out. Press. Topstitch along the upper edge 1/8” from the edge to close the opening.

Starch and press the maize linen fabric. Fold in half widthwise with right sides together and finger press the center fold line.

Unfold the fabric and place wrong side up over the Madeira border template, aligning the center fold to the fold line on the template and the straightened bottom edge to the line for the edge of fabric. Trace the template onto the linen.

Thread the sewing machine with water-soluble basting thread in the needle, bobbin or both. Fold the linen piece in half along the previous fold line and stitch along the drawn Madeira line.

Trim away the excess fabric above the line 1/4” from the stitching. Clip the curves.

Turn right side out and press with a dry iron. Lightly spray starch along the seam line and press until dry. Repeat. Try to pull the piece apart. If it is difficult to pull apart, starch and press again. Open the piece flat.

Place the created Madeira border over the white linen rectangle with the wrong side of the Madeira to the right side of the linen. Match the center lines and the lower raw edges.

Install a size 100 topstitch or universal needle into the machine. Place tear-away stabilizer under the white linen and topstitch the Madeira border in place using a pinstitch (L=2.5, W=2.5) and white lightweight thread. Sew the straight part of the stitch on the white linen so the “fingers” of the pinstitch grab the Madeira border.

Tear away the stabilizer. Baste the two layers together along the bottom edge within the seam allowance.

Place the pockets onto the piece according to the layout below. Topstitch the pockets onto the linen piece 1/8” from the pocket edge.

Layout Mantel Decorating Ideas For Fall

Place the 21”x43” rectangle of batiste over the linen piece with right sides together. Pin well to avoid shifting. Stitch around the edges, leaving an opening large enough to turn.

Clip the corners and turn right side out. Press well. Topstitch around the entire mantel cloth 1/8” from the edge. This will close the previous opening.


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Gift Tags Printables! Free For Your Handmade Gifts

No ordinary gift tag will do for your holiday gift giving. Don’t settle for the old flimsy gift tag, top your gift with a tag that’s especially for the handmade present.  Creative Machine Embroidery magazine has created six fun gift tags for you to use as your wrap up your gift giving.

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Download the gift tags here and Happy Holidays!

CME Gift Tags fs Gift Tags Printables! Free For Your Handmade Gifts

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Design Ideas For Embroidered Tea Towels

Growing up, my mother had a set of days-of-the-week hand-embroidered towels that we used for years and years. When she passed, I searched for the towels to no avail. The nostalgia they conjured was palpable, and I desperately wanted to re-create them. With the advent of machine embroidery, I was able to whip up seven tea towels in no time and make multiple sets to give to family members, furthering this tradition of sorts.

2006 days Design Ideas For Embroidered Tea Towels
Colorwork Days of the Week Collection;

Tea towels are a great medium for embroidery designs. They’re easily displayed as artwork or décor by using an intricate, elaborate design, or meant for daily use by using a simpler line-art design made to withstand multiple washings.

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Design choice is the most difficult process when making personalized tea towels because anything goes. Think about the intended use when choosing designs, as a stiff heavy-fill design won’t drape well on a towel hook, nor will it clean anything particularly well. It’s nice to choose an entire collection and embroider different towels using coordinating designs so no two are alike. Leave the towels otherwise plain or add a strip of festive fabric to elevate the tea towel further.

DPIEC2017RC 1 Design Ideas For Embroidered Tea Towels
Retro Christmas Design Collection,

Tea towels make wonderful gifts, as they evoke memories of simpler times and last for years as cherished heirlooms. A bit of warning: You can’t make just one. If only my mother had made a second set!

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Find the featured embroidery collections here.

Find the Tea Time towel kit, featured below, which includes a set of 3 solid white tea towel blanks, Riley Blake Designs’ Calico Days 10″ square stackers (24pcs.) and the exclusive Creative Machine Embroidery Tea Time Embroidery Design Collection (6 designs) here.

CMETTK 150x150 Design Ideas For Embroidered Tea Towels

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Basic Training: Organizing Embroidery Designs 10+ Tips To Get Your Designs Organized

Avoid searching for embroidery design files by creating an organizational system. Use visual reference guides, digital sorting systems and a backup of all designs to easily find inspiration and begin stitching at a moment’s notice.

Lead image Basic Training: Organizing Embroidery Designs 10+ Tips To Get Your Designs Organized


  • Create a binder to file design information sheets for easy visual reference. Having every design in your collection at your fingertips makes it easier to find designs when you’re ready to begin embroidering.
  • Most designs, whether purchased on a USB drive, a CD-ROM or as a digital download, come with a printed information sheet. This sheet includes a thread chart, sewing information and design images rendered at full size. This information sheet may also include the name of the collection, the digitizer (if applicable) and the company that sells the designs. Store each information sheet in a protective sleeve in a binder (A).
  • notebook Basic Training: Organizing Embroidery Designs 10+ Tips To Get Your Designs Organized


  • Review the various information sheets to determine how to categorize your designs. Organize them using a system that makes sense to you. Some general categories that might work well with any design collection include: animals, appliqué, baby, floral, fonts, freestanding lace, geometric, holidays, novelty, quilting and redwork. Choose categories that work best with your personal collection; if you have many different holiday designs, organize the designs by holiday. If something falls into more than one category, copy the information sheet and store it in both categories.
  • Alternatively, keep the sheet in only one category and add sticky notes to the other categories as reminders. Organize categories using tab dividers and create an index listing categories to use as the binder’s first page (B).
TOC Basic Training: Organizing Embroidery Designs 10+ Tips To Get Your Designs Organized



Packaging Problems

  • There are a variety of different machine embroidery companies, which means there are a variety of packaging styles. Some designs arrive on a CD-ROM while others are distributed digitally or via a USB drive. Often, once the information sheet and design files have been removed the packaging is no longer needed. If so, recycle the packaging material. If the packaging is needed for vital information, use the following tips to keep it organized.
  • Choose a packaging type that you prefer and use it for your entire collection. For instance, if you like the look of DVD cases, CD-ROMs and USB drives fit easily into a DVD case. Purchase empty DVD cases at office supply stores and store the designs inside the case (burning digital downloads to CD-ROMs as needed), keeping identifying packaging on the outside. Label the DVD case with the design name and number on the exterior for future reference.
  • Use the binder of information sheets to store CD-ROMs. Purchase CD-ROM storage sleeves at office supply stores and place them with the information sheets in the binder.
  • Research USB drive storage options if you prefer to keep all designs on USBs. Some USB storage systems hang on the wall and allow the drives to dangle, while others incorporate plastic storage boxes. Whichever storage device you choose, make sure to label each USB drive with the design name and number.

Electronic Organization
Storing and organizing embroidery design files on the computer is easy and requires the least space. Keeping all design files in one file makes it easier to create backups and find designs as needed.

  • Begin the organizing process by placing all of your design files in one folder; label the folder “Embroidery Designs.”
  • Within the folder, create category folders. Label them using the same naming conventions used to create the binder. Within each category folder, createindividual folders for each design or design collection, labeled with design name and number (C).
screen shot Basic Training: Organizing Embroidery Designs 10+ Tips To Get Your Designs Organized



  • Keep the design file original names in case you need to contact the company regarding a specific design later. Create a naming rule that allows you to add descriptive terms to the design file name. For instance if a rose embroidery design file’s name is “” rename it “”. Placing an underscore after the original name and then adding your own description allows you to quickly recognize each file as it appears.
  • Save zipped files as original backups only if you plan to edit the designs using embroidery software. Keep the zipped files in the same folder as the design or design collection.
  • To view the designs saved on your computer while browsing, seek out design cataloging software or embroidery editing or digitizing software with cataloging features. These software programs convert designs to JPEGs to view them as images (D). The ability to view your collection on the computer will come in handy as you search for a design for your next project.
screen shot 2 Basic Training: Organizing Embroidery Designs 10+ Tips To Get Your Designs Organized



Storage Solutions

  • Always have a second form of storage available in case your computer crashes or the discs/USB drives fail.
  • To create a backup of a CD or USB stick, copy the design files and any other important files, such as .pdf documents containing sewing information, to a file folder on your computer.
  • To backup design files on the computer, copy the embroidery designs folder onto a removable hard drive. Removable hard drives are USB-connected hard drives with anywhere from 50 gigabytes to a terabyte of storage. Removable hard drives are more reliable for storage than optical media (CDs or DVDs) because they’re less likely to fail.
  • Alternatively, copy the embroidery designs folder onto a cloud-based storage system. Cloud-based storage is internet-based storage. Many services, such as DropBox, SugarSync and Google Drive, allow you to store files online for free or a small annual fee. Storing files online provides extra protection as these systems regularly backup and protect your data. This method of backup also allows you to access your files from any computer with Internet access. §


Find category inspiration on your favorite embroidery design websites. See how they organize their designs to help you determine how to organize yours.


If not already listed on the information sheet, add the embroidery collection name and number.


Extract all ZIP files before storing in a folder. In Windows, right-click the file and select “Extract All,” and then follow the prompts to save the files. On a Mac, double-click the zipped file; the uncompressed files will open in the original zipped file.

Fox: Forest Friends Fox, CME;

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4 Techniques for Embroidered Pants

embellish pants 1024x1024 4 Techniques for Embroidered PantsWe hope you’ve been enjoying pants month, here and on the Sew News blog. Machine embroidery is one of the best ways to customize your pants creations. Today we’ll discuss 4 techniques for embroidery that are easily customized to a variety of pants patterns or for readymade pants that need updating. Continue reading

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Basic Training: Embroidery Essentials – What You Need To Get Started

Discover the must-have and some nice-to-have tools and materials to help achieve embroidery success.

embroidery essentials 600 Basic Training: Embroidery Essentials   What You Need To Get Started














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