Posted on

Confused about machine applique? Check out this “how-to” video and learn the basics of machine appliqué how to make a $6 tunic look cute and custom.

I never anticipated that after I started making embroidery designs, people would start asking me how to use them. It all seems so simple to me now. But I remember when getting started – I, too, was perplexed about certain processes. The big mystery for me? appliqué designs.

Now I do tons of appliqué on my embroidery machine. In fact, a personalized, appliqué t-shirt or sweatshirt is usually my go-to gift for kid birthday gifts. (And either they all are lying to me but the kids LOVE them).  One of my favorite items that I’ve ever made are these personalized tunics that I bought at Walmart.

In the following video you will see how I personalized a similar tunic. It’s cheap, it’s easy to do and kids will love it.  I hope this helps + let me know what you think!

Note: the single initial flower design is available on my Etsy store.

Posted on

Anyone can digitize (with Sew Art) in a few clicks of a mouse… yeah, right!

Tonight I was looking around for digitizing tutorials to see if I could learning something new and improve my digitizing techniques.  What I found was something unexpected:  I learned about a new digitizing software from a digitizer who claimed “anyone” could digitize a logo in a few clicks of a mouse.  REALLY???

If you spend any time at all on machine embroidery and digitizing forums, one thing you will learn very quickly is that you never want to use the auto digitizing feature in your digitizing software.  There are simply too many variables you need to consider and understand when digitizing. You will never get great results if you let the computer do the digitizing for you.  Computers are smart – but not that smart!

So I was pretty aghast when I found this video called “How to Digitize Yourself and Never Pay for Embroidery Files Again.” In this three minute video, the author shows you how to auto-digitize a (very, very simple) logo. While he makes it look super easy – what he neglects to discuss is setting stitch angle, density, pull compensation, adding an outline… anything above and beyond what the computer is doing by default.  So, in my opinion, I think the video is a bit misleading.

What I did find intriguing, however, is the digitizing software he was using: Sew Art.  I had never heard of this software but it is available as a free 30 day trial and (after looking at the on-line manual) seems to have features beyond auto-digitizing.  This might be a great option for people wanting to get in to digitizing but not wanting to cough up $1000 for fancy schmancy digitizing software.

I would love to hear your thoughts… is anyone out there using this software?  Let me know what you think.

Posted on

How to center your machine embroidery designs using the folding method

After completely screwing up the birthday crown t-shirt I appliquéd a couple of weeks ago, I decided to try the “folding method” for centering t-shirts on the hoop recommended to me by Bev – the lady FULL of great advice (like patching stabilizer in the hoop) at Make It Sew in St. Louis.   I appliquéd 10 funny face shirts this weekend using the folding method to center the t-shirt on the hoop and not one of them was crooked.  This is definitely the way to do it going forward.

I hope this tutorials helps you with your centering.

How to center an embroidery or appliqué design on t-shirt
How to center an embroidery or appliqué design on t-shirt
Posted on

How to make embroidered personalized wine bags.

My friend, Julie Smith, sent me a link to a shop a couple of weeks ago called that has provided quite a bit of inspiration over the past few weeks. One of the products that I particularly liked were wine bags printed with celebratory messages. My first thought when I saw those wine bags was…. “I can make that.”

But a lot cuter.

And – I had the perfect reason to figure out how to make these wine bags and share the process with you in the form of a “how-to”: I had a dinner party last Saturday night and I needed a hostess gift.
A couple of notes about the specific choices I made.  The fabric I used for the wine bags was a stiff, coarse, linen-like fabric.  I think this worked really well because it was thick so the bags stood up on their own.  (Julie Smith told me that this was very important.) Re: the designs I stitched out on the bags.  I digitized these myself so – if you like the “cheers!” design – I posted it as a free embroidery design yesterday – so go ahead and download it if you would like. Here’s the how-to. Enjoy!

How to make personalized wine bags
How to make personalized wine bags