Sew A Softie

Sew A Softie today and reconnect, slow down and share your love of sewing soft cute things with the next generation of sewists.

CME Sew A Softie Sew A Softie

Join us in July to Sew a Softie! The event was founded by Trixi Symonds, a designer, sewing teacher and author of Sew Together Grow Together, a book of simple sewing projects for parents and children that aims to bring children and parents together over a common love of hand sewing, unplugging and, of course, super-cute softies.

Be sure to pick up a copy of the latest Creative Machine Embroidery magazine and read all about Trixi and learn what Sew A Softie day means to her, how it got started and why it’s important to teach kids to sew.

Join Trixi’s Sew A Softie Facebook Group and connect with all sorts of people. This group will have schedules, line ups of blog tours, great tips and tricks and other important and fun information. We hope you join along and sew a softie or two this July.

Don’t forget you can get two softie designs for free now and through August 31 Find the cutie little piggy softie and a monkey softie and join in the fun!

 

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Basic Training: Needles

In the past, needle choice was limited to different needle sizes, but the current market offers so many choices, making it overwhelming. Learn the basic needle options to narrow down the choices and make needle selection easier.

tomatoe  682x1024 Basic Training: NeedlesSystem
•    The needle system is denoted on the package by a series of numbers/letters (A). There are many needle systems for commercial machines, but most home machines use the 130/705H system. Check your machine manual for the needle system that your machine uses. The needle system number is listed on all needle packages, regardless of the needle type or use. The needle system number may be followed by a dash and another letter. That letter refers to the needle type, such as 130/705H-J for Jeans or 130/705H-E
for Embroidery.

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(A) Examples of needle numbering.

Size
•    The needle shaft size is denoted by a set of two numbers, such
as 80/12, on the package. The
first number is the European metric number, and the second number is its American equivalent. The larger the number, the larger the needle shaft. Needle sizes range from 60/8 to 120/19. The needle size is also stamped on the rounded side of the shank, along with the needle brand. Use a large magnifying glass to view the size.
•    Choose the needle size according to the project fabric. Heavier fabric requires a larger needle in order to penetrate the heavy fibers. Lightweight fabric requires a smaller needle to avoid leaving large holes in the fabric. The most commonly used sizes are 75/11 or 80/12 for general sewing.
•    Also consider the thread type and size when choosing a needle size. Smaller needles have smaller eyes and are suitable for lightweight thread. Similarly, larger needles have larger eyes and are suitable for heavier, thicker thread.

SCHMETZ Color Coded Needle w Labels 300x147 Basic Training: Needles

Anatomy of a needle.

Needle Tip
•    There are a variety of needle
tip options appropriate for different fabrics. The three most common types are sharp, ballpoint and universal.
•    Sharps have the sharpest point and are used when stitching fabric that’s difficult to penetrate. Ballpoint needles have a slightly rounded tip. Use this needle type when stitching knits, as the point nestles between the fabric yarns instead of cutting them and causing a hole in the fabric. Universal needles are a cross between the two. These all-purpose needles can be used on a variety of fabrics, including woven fabrics and some knits.

Type
•    Different needle types are
manufactured to accommodate different thread, fabric or for different applications. The groove and the eye are altered depending on the intended use. There are special needle types for
many different kinds of sewing and thread.
•    The long needle groove cradles and protects the thread as it travels down to the needle eye. The groove must be large and deep enough to accommodate the
chosen thread, or thread breakage may occur.
•    The needle eye must also be large enough to accommodate the thread. The shape may be elongated or enlarged depending on the specific use and thread it’s designed for. Reference your machine manual for specific needle suggestions.

Embroidery Needles
•    Always use a high-quality needle. This is especially important for machine embroidery because of the high speed of the machine.
•    Use needles designed specifically for machine embroidery. Embroidery needles have a slightly rounded point and a larger eye to accommodate the thread as it moves rapidly back and forth through the eye. This helps prevent thread shredding and breakage.
•    Embroidery needles are available in sizes ranging from 65/9 to 90/14. As with sewing, use a smaller needle for lightweight fabrics and a larger needle for heavier fabrics. The most commonly used sizes are 80/12 and 75/11.
•    Purchase ballpoint embroidery needles when embroidering knit fabrics. The rounded tip slides between the knit yarns instead of cutting them as a universal embroidery needle could. This is especially important when embroidering on a lower-quality knit fabric. You might not notice the difference during embroidery, but when the garment is washed and worn, small holes or runs may appear around the design perimeter.
•    Some embroidery needles, such as Organ Titanium Coated Embroidery Needles, have a special
coating that helps keep the needle tips intact. They’re more expensive than a standard embroidery needle, but last considerably longer. These needles work well when embroidering with adhesive-backed stabilizers, as the coating prevents the adhesive from adhering to the needle. However, continue to check periodically (at least during each thread change) to see if a ball of adhesive has formed on the needle blade/shaft. Clean the adhesive from the needle using a cotton swab slightly moistened with alcohol or water.

Good To Know

Consider the following guidelines when deciding how often to change a needle.

•    In general, change the needle for every four to six hours of embroidery time. Change needles more often if embroidering heavyweight
fabrics.
•    Change the needle any time the threads in the design appear less than desirable.
•    Change the needle before embroidering on lightweight or sheer fabric. A burred needle could damage the delicate fabric.
•    If you experience thread breakage or fraying, first try
rethreading the needle. If the thread breaks again, change the needle.
•    If thread loops appear on the fabric right side, change the needle.
•    Change the needle immediately if you hear any unusual or popping sounds.

Sources
Klassé carries sewing machine needles: klasse.com.
Organ Needle Co. carries sewing machine needles:
organ-needles.com/English.
Schmetz provided the jeans, jersey, embroidery
& metallic needles: schmetz.com.

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15 Patterns + 2 Embroidery Design Collections + Free Class!

It’s all in the details this summer! The best on-trend detail you can add to your 2017 garments is embroidery. This kit includes 15 digital sewing patterns and 2 collections of machine embroidery designs that you can load onto your machine. Check out a few of the patterns and the full embroidery design collections below. You’ll find all the details and patterns here!

And, wait there’s more! You will receive access to a free class on machine embroidery. This is such a great opportunity for those that love to sew and fans of machine embroidery and all for $29.99.

Screen Shot 2017 05 09 at 11.23.15 AM 15 Patterns + 2 Embroidery Design Collections + Free Class!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Learn More Machine Embroidery Tricks & Tips!

Last year we released the Absolute Beginner Machine Embroidery with Sara Gallegos as the host. That first season was one of our most popular video series. In series one Sara covered

Embroidery machine 700 Learn More Machine Embroidery Tricks & Tips!Now in season two Sara covers even more must know machine embroidery tips, tricks and secrets. In season two you’ll learn:

  • How to Embroider on a Shirt Lapel
  • Creating Your Own Embroidery Designs with Auto-Digitizing
  • Quilt as You Go with Embroidery
  •  Embroidery and Thread Colors
  • Creating Special Occasion Napkins
  • Fixing a Hole or Stain with an Embroidery
  • Decorative Embroidered Buttonholes
  •  Adding Embroideries to Hemlines
  •  Embroider an Inspired Phrases Wall Hanging
  • Embroidering on Shirt Sleeves
  • Intro to Hand-Look Embroideries
  • Multiple In-the-Hoop projects
  • Utilizing Test-Stitch and Random Embroideries
  •  Monogramming with Frames
  •  Embroidering with Ribbons
  • Embroidering on a Pant Legs
  • Multiple Hoop Placements
  • Plus, five individual projects

Whew! That’s a lot to learn, but as usual Sara delivers it all in bite sized pieces, easy to watch and learn. Sara G ABME 2 Learn More Machine Embroidery Tricks & Tips!

This is a 26 episode series and you have two ways of getting it. One is in one easy to download video for 24.99. The other option is to go to QNN TV and subscribe and purchase only the classes you want. All start at 5.99.

ABME 2In the Hoop Quilt As You Go Zippered Pouch Learn More Machine Embroidery Tricks & Tips!

One of many projects you’ll complete!

 

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Ready For Endless Machine Embroidery Projects?

Do you love your embroidery machine, of course you do! Have you ever wondered what else that talented piece of equipment can do? Then this course is for you! We’ll explore how easily your embroidery machine can become your best sewing room helper, tackling those sometimes aggravating and stressful tasks like zippers, buttonholes and pockets, paper piecing and stippling.

Embroidery machine 700 Ready For Endless Machine Embroidery Projects?

  • Help with functional everyday sewing; classic quilting techniques and fantastic in and out-of-the-hoop projects.
  • Discover just how easily your embroidery machine can be a sewing room helper, artistic enabler and time saver.

Simple sewing tasks can sometimes be daunting but they don’t need to be because you have an embroidery machine just waiting to help you! Let me show you how to create simple designs with basic digitizing software to make buttonholes, pockets and zipper placements. We will also explore some onboard tools your machine may have that will allow you to create the same techniques on your machine, no software involved!

Using your embroidery machine for quilt projects

Who doesn’t love a nice quilt, especially a beautifully pieced and stippled quilt. Did you know your machine can aid you in creating one? I’ll show you how to digitize a quick paper-pieced block with basic digitizing software to get you started. Then we will explore how to add stippling – even character stippling – to be added right in the hoop.

Next we’ll check out how easy it is to create all-over stipple patterns either with digitizing software or with onboard tools your machine may have. I’ll show you my favorite tools, supplies and lots of tips and tricks to create beautiful quilted projects. It’s so easy and so fast!

Machine embroidery on ‘un-hoopable’ items

If you’ve ever wanted to put embroidery on things you can’t possibly get in the hoop but were not sure how to go about that, join me as I show you how much fun I have doing that! We’ll explore substrates, glues and fabrics, stitching techniques and tools. What about 3D embroidery even if you don’t have 3D designs? Let me show you how to see your design stash in a whole new light while we check out embellishments that pop up off the fabric and also projects that pop right out of the hoop!

Your embroidery machine will not only save you buckets of time and reduce your stress level; it will also make sewing fun again. This class includes designs so that you can follow along right there in your own sewing room, making pretties with me as we explore the wonderful possibilities of the embroidery machine!

unique creative endless embroidery 600x600 Ready For Endless Machine Embroidery Projects?

See you soon!

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Bukhara Embroidery

Some of the most amazing embroidery comes from an old province in Uzbekistan.  I haven’t been to Uzbekistan yet. But, I was fortunate to see  a few pieces of embroidery work from the region from a local exhibit a few years back. Bukhara is a province in Uzbekistan and is still considered one of the holiest cities in Central Asia, its history reaches back thousands of years.

 Bukhara Embroidery

Detail from Thomas Cole Antique Rugs & Textiles – Uzbek

It once was considered the very epicenter of intellectual thought, culture and art. Located near the famous Silk Road, Bukhara was at one time the largest and most populated city in Central Asia, home to artists, holy men, thinkers and scientists. Bukhara is a place of great treasures of antiquity and archeology making it a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.  One treasure of Bukhara that can be enjoyed by everyone even today is the beautiful Bukharan embroidery. Different schools of embroidery are represented by the Bukhara, Shafirkan, Nurato, Gijduvan, Fergana, Tashkent and Urgut provinces.

Each school has unique characteristics from the other. All are stunning and beautiful. The embroidery is used in blankets, clothing, home decor items like curtains, table linens, and pillows. The embroidery also serves in ceremonial and religious purposes as in the use of praying or prayer rugs.

Photos don’t do the embroidery justice, and should be seen to be appreciated. Remembering that this was and still is all done by hand boggles the mind. No embroidery machine here! Here are just a few examples of the embroidery work. Most of this type of embroidery is bold in color and intricate design work. Some of the larger pieces were used as bed coverings of which you can buy contemporary pieces online.

Uzbek suzani1 Bukhara Embroidery

Image from Thomas Cole Antique Rugs & Textiles – Suzani

Uzbek suzani2detail Bukhara Embroidery

Detail Image from Thomas Cole Antique Rugs & Textiles Suzani

Here are some ladies doing embroidery work.

uztextilecom Bukhara Embroidery

Image from Uztextile.com

If you ever get a chance to see this embroidery either contemporary or old do so. This type of embroidery is an inspiring example of how modest hands can transform simple threads into a breathtaking example of beauty and creativity. The Bukhara embroidery is a perfect illustration of how the human spirit works through creative means regardless of class, gender or condition, it’s craft work at it’s finest.

Resources and further reading and viewing

Thomas Cole Antique Rugs and Textiles has some amazing examples with great photos of Uzbekistan’s embroidery.

For further reading please check out the Textile Blog which has a great post on Uzbekistan’s rich embroidery heritage.

Wonderful post on travels to see Uzbek embroidery from Anita’s Feast.

Great photos and article on Uzbekistan’s embroidery by Uzbek Textiles.

Flickr Photo Group – Bicycling in Burkhara

UNESCO Site - More on historic Burkhara and it’s UNESCO status.

 

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Tips For Embroidering On Sweater Knits

Sweater knits are lovely to wear, sew and embroider on. Sweater knits are available in a wide variety of types from sheer and lightweight to heavy, textured and dense. Single knits have a knit look to them on the reverse side whereas double knits have a similar appearance on the front and back side of the fabric.

sweater knits Tips For Embroidering On Sweater Knits

Tips

Sweater knits come in a wide range of fibers too. From  natural like silk, cashmere, wool and cottons to synthetic acrylics, rayon, Lycra, metallics and other manmade fibers. The use of Lycra in sweater knits allows for single knits to be very stretchy. Double knits stretch less than single knits and are a dream to to work with.

Sweater knits can be used for any garment from sweaters, pullovers, cardigans, dresses, tops, pull on pants and skirts. Always check the pattern envelope to gauge the amount or percentage of stretch needed for a particular garment when picking out a sweater knit.

Don’t be intimidated by sewing with sweater knits. You don’t need a fancy machine and most get by without a serger. Use a narrow zigzag stitch for seams and finish edges using a standard zigzag or a stretch overlock stitch if you have one. A walking foot is nice for use with a slinky knit or with bulky knits.

Stabilize necklines with a fusible bias tape and use clear elastic when stabilizing shoulder seams.

When sewing buttonholes place a layer of water-soluble stabilizer on top of and underneath the fabric to keep it smooth when stitching.

Most sweater knits wash up fine in the washing machine. Check the fabric and content for any specific washing or dry cleaning requirements.

Embroidery

For embroidery designs sweater knits do best  with small designs. A large dense design will make the sweater knit stiff and could be uncomfortable to wear. Small floral designs are nice and add a vintage charm to a garment.

Applique is a wonderful embellishment with sweater knits and are adorable when used with children’s clothing.

Use a 40-wt rayon and polyester thread when embroidering on wool or cotton type sweater knits, it will show off well. Cotton, metallic and wool thread work well too.

Use ballpoint needles when sewing and/or embroidering with knits.

Most sweater knits do well with a adhesive-backed stabilizer. Place the stabilizer in the hoop with the paper release side up. Use a pin to score the stabilizer around the edges inside the hoop perimeter; peel away back to expose the sticky side. Position the fabric over the adhesive. Make sure the fabric has not been distorted. Once all embroidery is completed carefully tear it away.

Water soluble stabilizer can be used with smooth knits. Use a topper when working with spongy or textured knits.

Do you embroider on knits? What’s your favorite way to stabilizer or embellish knits?

 

 

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How To Get The Most Out Of Your Embroidery Machine

Are you interested in learning more about your embroidery machine, how to make beautiful embroidered projects? Did you purchase your embroidery machine thinking you’d take classes later, but never found the time? Has life gotten in the way (gasp!) of creating? We’ve got an easy way for you to learn about your awesome machine and with a most excellent instructor.

Katie Bartz can show you what your embroidery machine can do and all with her easy, down to earth teaching style. Get ready, in these classes you’ll learn so much about your machine and what it can do.  Additionally, you can take these courses one by one or get the whole package and learn whenever and where ever.

Let’s break it down and see what the four course series will cover.

embroidery thread 600x248 1024x423 How To Get The Most Out Of Your Embroidery Machine

 

Katie will show you how to get the most out of your embroidery machine, but in a logical sequence, beginning with the most basic elements and moving on to more intricate and creative embroidery skills over this four-part series.

  • Starting with needles and threads, learn about the sizes and styles of each, and how they affect each other and your stitching.
  • Learn to solve – or better yet, avoid — common problems like skipped stitches, frayed or breaking threads and puckers.
  • Develop confidence in your own thread and needle choices, and learn to get the most from them – like getting maximum shine from your metallic threads.
  • Learn to hoop easily, and precisely, even centering your motif perfectly, as you gain an understanding of stabilizer choices and how they relate to the hooping process.
  • Explore the anatomy of a hoop, and how to decide whether to hoop ….. or not!
  • Move confidently through three of the most common embroidery situations, and build a solid foundation upon which all your embroidery projects can develop successfully.
  • Begin an exploration of special effects embroidery, as you learn the anatomy and language of each via step-by-step demonstration.
  • Learn to properly stabilize for each project, how to remove water soluble stabilizers with ease and how (and why) to use puffy foam in your embroidery.
  • Finish up with a project that has it all, as you learn to center your embroidery in the hoop every single time.
  • See how easy it is to incorporate unique materials into your projects.
  • Experience the various embroidery styles, including simple grid quilting and applique in the hoop.
  • Series Bonus: The easiest zipper insertion ever, and adding beads to your projects by machine.

Cost: $149.99 for 12 week course.

If you’re interested in getting the most out of your embroidery machine Katie Bartz is your gal. You’ll walk away with a better understanding of your machine and what it can do.

This course starts April 17th and runs through July 10. To find out more about this course and Katie Bartz head on over to Craft University! 

applique zip pouch2 500 How To Get The Most Out Of Your Embroidery Machine

 

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Why Don’t You Use Your Embroidery Machine? What’s Holding You Back?

Life gets in the way of sewing doesn’t it? I love my embroidery machine but I just don’t make the time to use it. Usually what I do is cut out a garment pattern and sew it together in a weekend. Or, I’ll cut out a pattern and steal away here and there to slowly piece it together. Once it’s done I totally forget about the embroidery part!

life in the way Why Dont You Use Your Embroidery Machine? Whats Holding You Back?

My sewing time is so limited I don’t allow myself the time to thoughtfully add in some pretty details like a machine embroidered hem, or add some spice to a collar.  All I want to do is finish it up and wear it. I haven’t had my machine that long.

Here’s my deal. I don’t want to add machine embroidery because I think I’ll mess up. I’ll ruin my fabric or I’ll need to test, create a muslin, test etc. All this adds time, of which I don’t have a lot of. So, there lies the embroidery machine, in a corner gathering dust.

I would love to hear from you, machine embroiderists new and experienced, and those that embroider garments. How did you start? What kind of process do you have. Got any tips and suggestions for time management or shortcuts. Let’s blow these excuses away and get started creating !

 

Posted in Absolute Beginner Machine Embroidery | 19 Comments

A Little Red Coat: Free Patterns With Class

When I saw this Little Red Coat I thought of my own little red coat I had as a kid. Mine was made out of wool had a faux mink collar, black lining and big glossy black buttons. I LOVED that coat and every time I wore it I felt so grown up and chic like my big sisters.

FB size little red coat A Little Red Coat: Free Patterns With Class

If you know of a little girl who needs a beautiful coat for winter and spring celebrations join Connie Palmer, master of children’s’ clothing design and construction, as she takes you through the  little red coat’s creation, step-by-step, sharing the best techniques, helpful notions, favorite tips and more from her children’s clothing toolbox.

The adorable A-line swing coat is fully lined and full of special details, giving you plenty of opportunities for adding new skills to your own sewing practice. Patterns are included with course purchase.

I think machine embroidery on the coats collar and cuffs is a must for this coat to be more perfect. There are so many design possibilities for this one-of-a-kind garment. Pink or white wool would be adorable. Of course, this coat would be delightful in light-weight denim too – for a more casual outing. Plus, you’ll also receive a free 18″ doll coat pattern too!

On-demand courses can be accessed any time and anywhere, with your computer, laptop, tablet even a smartphone. There are in-depth videos to help your learning experience and no set class time! Take this when and where you want.

red coat A Little Red Coat: Free Patterns With ClassThis course is great for beginners too. You’ll learn:

  • Tips for accurate and easy cutting
  • Great stay stitching and under stitching techniques
  • How to apply piping, including trimming and clipping for smooth, bulk-free results
  • All about making and inserting linings
  • Top tips about interfacings: how, where, why
  • Application of facings for a flawless finish
  • How to achieve a smooth hem when the hemline is curved
  • How to add buttonholes, even on thick layers
  • …and many hints and Connie’s best tricks for trouble-free sewing

This darling coat is sure to delight any little girl (and her mother). Now picture her holding her 18” doll in a companion version of this adorable coat having a pleated ruffle instead of an overlay and snaps instead of buttons. All buttoned up in sweetness, your little one will be admired everywhere she goes. Are you ready to get started?

Pattern includes girls’ coat in sizes 3 – 6 plus the matching 18” doll version. Suitable fabrics include wool, corduroy, velveteen, pique, and other moderate weight woven fabrics. The lining can be solid or … mini-checks to coordinate with the piping and buttons. It’s time to use your creative imagination and create the coat of your little girl’s dreams.

Cost: $59.99

Sign up today, so you’ll be ready for the Easter Parade, spring weddings and other ‘dress-up’ occasions!

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