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Personalized embroidered chair is the perfect gift for my fishing and camping coworker

Embroider an outdoor chair for a man that loves the outdoors
Embroider an outdoor chair for a man that loves the outdoors

Let me start this by saying I cannot believe how well this turned out. I can also do not believe how much my coworker Jake, liked this gift.  I’m already getting ahead of myself…

Jake’s birthday was last week and I wanted to do something nice for him. But, the afternoon prior to his birthday I had no idea what this would be. Embroidering gifts for male coworkers is a bit tricky, because you don’t want to do anything too personal. And, let’s face it, guys don’t usually get that excited about monograms.

Last year, though, I did hit a homerun embroidering St. Louis Cardinal dish towels for my other coworker, Bryan. But Jake doesn’t have the same passion for the Cardinals that Bryan does.Jake likes to fish, camp, canoe and basically spend a lot of time outdoors.

Inspiration struck as I was slogging my way through Walmart with three kids in tow when we discovered outdoor camping chairs on sale for $12. They came in great bright colors and looked like they were good enough quality that they wouldn’t fall apart in their first year of use. But how in the hell was I going to get them on my embroidery machine.

I decided to give it a go – stitching Jake’s name on the back of the chair. This made me extremely nervous since I only have a single needle machine, however I was able to rest the chair on my sewing table while sticking the back headrest onto sticky back stabilizer and stitching it out just like that. I sort of tried to hold it in place as the stitching was going on and keep the chair from folding back up during the stitching.

And… I can’t believe this actually worked. The stitching looks great; it was straight and I had no problems whatsoever. But the best part was that Jake absolutely loved the chair. He was texting pictures to his wife and brother shortly after I gave it to him. Who knew a $12 gift from Walmart could make someone so happy?

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What embroidery file types are the most common and how do you convert them?

In preparation to launch my ETSY store of machine embroidery designs, I have been wondering what file formats I should offer. In looking at other stores, I see that there is a little bit of variation among sellers with respect to what file formats they offer. The most common six file formats that
I have seen offered are: ART, PES, DST, HUS, VIP and JEF.

But before I forge ahead and simply offer these six file types, just because everyone else is, I decided it would be informative to find out what file types my Facebook friends are using, so I put the question out there to my machine embroidery Facebook groups. Here’s what I found out.

The vast majority of respondents are using PES files.  A few mentioned HUS, VIP, VP3, DST and ART – but nothing else.  This was a great question to ask as I learned A LOT about machine embroidery file formats – more than I expected.  One of the group members explained what the VP3 format is.

VP3 is the format that current Viking & Pfaff machines use. Specifically, it is the format created by 5D Embroidery software. VIP is the older version created by 4D software. The top of line Vikings – Diamonds & Rubys can use any Viking format – HUS, VIP or VP3. The Topaz machines can only read VP3. They do, however, come with software to transfer designs from one format to another.

It seemed like based on their feedback the six file formats that everyone is offering, make sense.  My expert digitizer buddy, Sue suggested:

It is best to offer in as many formats as you can to appeal to the majority of customers – if you don’t want to convert them all before putting up for sale, then I would suggest .pes .hus .jef and .dst and .art if you can convert to this format – you could also put a note to say you can convert to other formats if requested, that way you will be covering them all

My only issue is that my software can only export in a few of these formats, which made me wonder, is there some type of conversion software that can be used to convert my files to other formats? It turns out there are.  Some of the companies who sell designs also offer conversion services on their web sites, e.g. but use is a bit limited. I also stumbled upon other conversion tools online.

Then I found an inexpensive standalone software that will do conversions to all of the formats I want to offer: Data 7 Consultancy’s package. Hooray!  As a test I converted a PES file to EXP format which is the format my machine reads when stitching it out and it worked beautifully.

One less obstacle between me and opening the ETSY store…

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A personalized, embroidered tote bag for a new mom.

A new mother (make that almost any mom) is frequently schlepping around everything under the sun which is why a personalized tote makes a great gift. I found these totes at our local Borders bookstore that was going out of business and I picked 2 up not knowing who or what I would use them for.

Inspiration struck when I received an invitation to my cousin’s baby’s baptism. The color and the style of the tote seemed light and feminine enough to be an appropriate gift for a little girl baby and her mom.

I thinking about the type style for the name, I wanted to use a type style that would be light and feminine, yet a little but funky. None of the standard typefaces that come on my Bernina seemed appropriate, and frankly, I’m getting pretty sick of them.

Using a Typeface on Your PC for Embroidery on Your Sewing Machine

If you have embroidery digitzing software, you have the ability to create a stitch file based on any text in almost any font installed on your computer.  (This was exciting revelation for me because it allowed for a lot more versatility in the type family I used for personalization.)  So for the purpose of embroidering my tote, I searched on-line for a free font for my PC that would fit the bill: something light, feminine and a little funky and discovered the “Japan” font.  I typed out the baby’s name in the digitizing software using the Japan font, created the stitch file and stitched it out on my machine.