Category Archives: machine embroidery designs (mine)

My machine embroidery designs.

An arch appliqué t-shirt for a little boy who * MIGHT * be moving to St. Louis

St. Louis LOVE Shirt

St. Louis LOVE Shirt

Hello from the Netherlands! I’m here visiting our university’s campus in Leiden before attending a conference in Spain. I know, I know… My life is rough. And how does this all relate to machine embroidery?

My colleague in Leiden has a 1-year-old son, Freddie,  who I had never met so I wanted to take him a little gift. But since I had never met the little tyke and didn’t know what he was into, I decided to use the gift giving opportunity to help convince his parents to move to (my home town ) St. Louis! It IS actually a possibility that they may move… which would be great from my point of view.

So I bought Freddie a simple t-shirt from Target –  which currently has some really cute kid clothes – but not much that is plain enough for appliqué.  But I think this blue t-shirt with subtle stripes is perfect for this design.  It’s kind of retro and reminds me of the sky. AHHHH – lovely.

Like the concept?  It’s actually a hybrid of two designs I sell in my Etsy store: the arch design plus any of the states that contain an appliqué heart.  Enjoy and happy embroidering!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/248105477/st-louis-arch-machine-embroidery-and?ga_search_query=arch&ref=shop_items_search_1

https://www.etsy.com/listing/217977768/missouri-applique-and-embroidery-design?ga_search_query=missouri&ref=shop_items_search_1

Skeleton (Day of the Dead) Embroidery Design / Best Gift Ever

I love embroidering gifts for my friend Alix, because she likes just about anything I make. (See lotus flower dress from last year.) Or maybe that’s just what she tells me. Anyway – when her birthday came around this year, I felt a lot of pressure to top some of the gifts I had embroidered in years past.. but was – JUST –  NOT –  FEELING –  IT.

But – fortunately – things changed for me while taking a trip to Puerto Rico this winter. While dining in old San Juan, I noticed a skeleton face icon painted on a wall across from where I was eating. And the thought occurred to me that this would be a great design to digitize.  I had wanted to digitize a “day of the dead” skeleton face – but had not found a great design. But once I spotted this sign – I knew I had found a winner. 2016-04-06 18.08.31

I ended up finding a black longsleeved T-shirt with a slight swing in the hem on the Old Navy clearance rack that would be the perfect back drop for my design.  I had considered stitching it out all in one color but opted to get a little crazy with the color combo and I think I made the right call.

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I couldn’t be any more in love with this design.  I especially love seeing my best bud in this ensemble.  (The necklace is from Puerto Rico as well!)

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Want to make this shirt too?  Check out the day of the dead design on my Etsy store.

Use your old t-shirts to make groovy appliqués like this funky gecko sweatshirt!

gecko-sweatshirt

There’s nothing I like more than making a custom item of clothing for my kids and their friends. But the last thing I want to do is dress them in something dorky just because I think it’s cute.  So I’m always asking  for their opinion on what they think looks cool. Unfortunately I don’t always have the perfect materials on-hand to make exactly what they have  in mind.

Right now I have a little boy who is six (Thomas), and he’s a big fan of the t-shirts I make for him.  So he has a lot of ideas for garments he would like me to stitch for him and his friends.  But when it comes to little boys – I think it’s a bit tricky finding an age appropriate design for boys his age.  I tend to favor raw edge appliqués on garments I make for little boys.  Some of my favorite designs for little boys include my fishbone appliqué and the rodeo cowboy design. These make great T-shirts for little guys.

But for his friend, Johnny (who was celebrating his 6th birthday), Thomas had a new idea.  He informed me that we needed to make a gecko shirt for his friend. You see Johnny has a pet gecko, so Thomas thought it would be the perfect emblem for a sweatshirt.  Alright – a gecko sweatshirt is it – with a raw edge applique to make it a little more boy-appropriate.

When I make right at edge appliqués I like to use a knit fabric so that the fabric doesn’t ravel around the edges when the raw edge is exposed.  The only problem was that I didn’t have any green knit fabric to make the appliqué. But what I did have, was a green t-shirt that was waiting to go to Goodwill.

t-shirt applique

An old t-shirt can be a great source of applique fabric.

Old t-shirts make great knit fabric applique. In fact, I frequently use my husband’s old white undershirts (when I find a clean patch) and use it for an appliqué design. Unfortunately –  he only wears white T-shirts so that deprives me of other color options. I suppose you could dye parts of his white T-shirts in a rainbow of colors or simply save pieces of junkie T-shirts that you’re going to get rid of anyway in different colors?

gecko-sweatshirt-in-progress

Stitching the gecko

Anyway – back to the project.  I took this hideous green t-shirt, cut out a small piece and used it for a lizard applique on a blue sweatshirt, then I I added some initials  to personalize it a bit.  I chose a blue sweatshirt because they are “uniform acceptable”  at the Catholic school they attend. I realize that the gecko may be pushing the dress code a bit but I think sister Diane will let it slide.

Want to make it yourself?  Check out my lizard applique on Etsy and don’t forget your applique scissors so you don’t cut your finished product!

In-the-hoop wine tag for awkward Thanksgiving meals.

In-the-hoop wine tag for those awkward Thanksgiving meals.

In-the-hoop wine tag for those awkward Thanksgiving meals.

A friend of mine is totally and completely dreading her Thanksgiving dinner.  Let’s just say she has a bit of strained relationship with her mother-in-law and her sister-in-law.  Nevertheless – the matriarch has insisted that they all dine together for Thanksgiving.  AWK-WARD!!

We have had several discussions about coping strategies – agreeing that consuming the perfect amount of alcohol to “take the edge off” a bit is probably wise.  You see – we are both loving drunks – so even people we are not so crazy about become more tolerable after a glass or two of fine.

So to put her in the right spirit I will be delivering a bottle of pinot grigio with the pictured tag attached that I designed and made in-the-hoop on my embroidery machine.   And I CAN NOT wait to bring it over.

Perhaps you are in a similar situation?  You gotta laugh (and have a drink).

In-the-hoop Thanksgiving wine tag is now available on the Machine Embroidery Geek Etsy store.

Addendum to yesterday’s post about the Walmart 2014 Christmas dress…

Personalized applique dress

Personalized applique dress

A quick follow up from yesterday’s post. I have to share one more picture.  This is the same design that I showed yesterday on a new dress.  I cranked this out for a birthday gift… (party’s tonight).  Once again the $6.49 Walmart dress scores.  Hope she likes it!

The Walmart Christmas personalized applique dress – check out the 2014 edition

personalized dress

The 2014 Walmart dress

 

Okay so don’t hate me – but this weekend I started wrapping Christmas presents. And I am soooooo happy to have made headway on my Christmas shopping / making.  But, one of the reasons why I have been able to get so many presents wrapped is because I am basically re-creating a well received gift that I made last year.

I know from all my embroidery/applique Facebook groups that many of my embroidery sisters have discovered the adorable cotton tunics that Walmart has been selling for girls. Last year they sold a nautical striped tunic with three-quarter sleeves that was absolutely divine. Both my sister and I bought a ton of them and personalized them for all the little girls in our lives.

walmart-dressThis year the styles Walmart is selling are slightly different, but just as cute. They are still made of cotton stretch fabric in cute prints, however this year the dresses have empire or drop waists and have a seam in the middle. Of the styles they are selling, I especially liked the navy polkadot version. In fact, as soon as I saw it, I snapped up six of them for $6.49 each. And to personalize them, I came up with a new appliqué design, a single initial monogram design that is cute on kids and looks more modern than a formal monogram. It also allows for the dress to potentially be handed down.

After after personalizing all six dresses, I took them with me to the Children’s Place Outlet and picked up coordinating leggings for the dresses and, Voila! I had six gifts done. I do love this letter appliqué design so much that I plan to digitize every letter in the alphabet, but I haven’t quite gotten there yet. Stay tuned. But last year’s initial flower appliqué design which would look FAB on this this year’s Walmart dresses is available in my Etsy store.

A new monogram design + 1 Christmas gift done = thank you, Iowa

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This summer we took a trip to the Iowa state fair (my husband’s idea), where we mingled with the locals and ate every meal (and dessert) on a stick.  While I can’t deny that milking a cow wasn’t a thrill, my favorite part of the trip was stopping off at Amana Colonies, Iowa on the way home.

Amana Colonies is a German colony in Eastern Iowa that has remained relatively preserved. The town is quaint and charming, attracting tourists from all over to sample their restaurants and purchase handcrafted goods.  After eating our body weights in spaetzle, we headed over to the Amana Woolen Mill where we purchased copious blankets for Christmas gifts that were made at the facility.  (Yep – we started our Christmas shopping in August.)

Of course – I didn’t want to just give the throw as a Christmas gift without something personalized and embroidered.  So I ordered a pillow sham in a coordinated color and designed a new single initial monogram design.  I am pretty happy with how it turned out – but even more thrilled with the fact that I’m making my way through my Christmas list.

Like the design and want to copy my Christmas gift idea? It’s cool – you can steal my idea.  The new monogram design is available on my Etsy store, and the pillow shams are available on Amazon Prime.

A Chinook helicopter embroidery design collaboration

chinook-doneOne of the benefits of writing a blog and selling embroidery designs is that I have a lot of opportunities to connect with some major embroidery enthusiasts. One recent connection resulted in a mutually beneficial collaboration; I digitized a unique design, and my new friend provided me with super cute images for the new product listing.

My new buddy Britt had developed a cute design for a quilt especially suited for babies of Chinnock helicopter pilots. She started by making one for herself, and writing about it on her blog, providing instructions for people who wanted to make it themselves. In fact – Britt randomly met a woman who had made a similar chinook quilt and told her she found instructions online. Coincidently the instructions were from Britt’s blog. Crazy!

Britts chinook quilt was gaining a cult following, and she was receiving requests to have them made. The catch? Chinook quilts were taking her a very long time to make since she hand appliquéd all of the helicopters. This is when I entered the picture.

Briitt contacted me after finding my Etsy store and asked if I could custom digitize her Chinook helicopter according to the picture she supplied. Not a problem.

Once I sent Britt the design she test stitched it out right away. Since this was the first time she had appliqued by machine – it blew her mind.  The emails she was firing off that night while watching her embroidery machine stitch like crazy were absolutely hilarious.  She was overjoyed.

Now Britt’s officially hooked on machine embroidery and I’m hitting her up for more cute embroidery ideas.

Check out Britt’s blog.
Check out the chinook design on my Etsy store.  Thank you to Britt for the use of all her photos!

This is my house and I’ll do as I damn please!

Plate provides inspiration for machine embroidery.

Plate provides inspiration for machine embroidery.

One of my favorite things that my grandmother had in her kitchen was a hand-painted plate mounted on the wall.  It was painted with sweet flowers with a subtle message above the flowers that was anything but sweet. In dainty cursive, it said: “this is my house and I’ll do as I damn please.”

What I found so funny about this plate was the fact that most people probably wouldn’t have noticed what it said until they actually took a minute and stopped to look at it. Most people would have given it a quick glance and thought it was just a sweet old lady plate.

Like many others, I too, had not given the plate much thought or even realized what it said until after my grandmother passed. But my older sister had. I guess it pays to be observant because she requested it outright, and now she proudly hangs the snarky little plate in her kitchen.  Frankly, it makes me a little jealous.

So what’s a spaced out second child to do after missing the boat on a gem like this? Digitize it, of course! Using the original plate as inspiration, I set up a design that lends itself well to be stitched on kitchen towels or even an apron. Now I can use my embroidery machine to share a little piece of my granny’s humor with my cousins and aunts who will appreciate it.

I am hoping that people outside my family like the design as well – so I posted it on my Etsy store.  We’ll see!

this-is-my-house

A set of baby month applique onesises for my friends at FORAI

baby-monthsOver the past couple of years, I’ve gotten to know an amazing woman who lives here in St. Louis, named Jen Owens. Jen founded and runs a non-profit called FORAI whose tagline is “bringing together beauty and opportunity.” The way they do this is by mentoring “refugee and immigrant women as they begin home-based microbusinesses to supplement their incomes through the production of high quality, marketable handicrafts.”

Until last week, FORAI was selling these products at local craft fairs throughout the year. Now – FORAI products are available on-line! To celebrate this huge milestone, they hosted a silent auction and launch party at a popular micro brewery in town, Schlafely Bottleworks.

When Jen told me about this exciting event, I knew that I wanted to contribute in some way, so I offered to donate an embroidered item to the silent auction. The problem? I had no idea what it would be… I thought about embroidering some baby items, but without knowing who would purchase the products, there was no way to personalize them.

Fortunately, a few days before the event I got inspired. I came up with the idea to appliqué a set of baby onesies – one for each month for the first year of a baby’s life. I had seen pictures of friends’ babies on-line wearing these types of onesies but had been told they were just wearing blanks with stickers… Applique would be so much nicer. I had the perfect idea – I was stoked!

After a lot of digitizing and a lot of stitching – I made a set of 6 baby onesies – one for each significant month in the first year: 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 1 year. I stitched them out in pastel, gender-neutral seersucker fabric, and O-M-G C-U-T-E.

Because inspiration had struck so late – I was literally running in my donation to the auction, and, of course, Jen was super appreciative. And the event was fantastic as well. It was truly inspiring to meet some of the women who are involved with FORAI.

So what’s next for me and FORAI? Jen mentioned that someone had donated an embroidery machine a few years ago and it was just sitting at her house!! She asked if I could possibly teach them how to use it. Um… yes!

Like the baby month applique design set?  It’s available now on the Machine Embroidery Geek Etsy store and SWAK Embroidery