When looking at machines one of the things I expected to learn how to sell was patches. That was of course before knowing anything about patches and the process honestly seemed pretty intimidating. Plus there are not many tutorials out there for creating machine embroidery patches. There are the patches that you have the border for and ones that free float. Due to the complexity of a bordered patch I decided it would be more useful to try a free float. What I mean by free float is simply that the patch is made on an alternate material that will be trimmed to size. For this type of patch I used felt since it is a webbed fiber meaning it will not fray when it is cut. Perhaps in the future I will try my hand at creating a bordered patch that is not 100% file form created to test further, but for now I hope you enjoy this first time video and find it helpful for your own projects.
Tips for Creating a Patch
Felt Material: Won’t fray
Stabilizer: Rip away or Cut Away for back and use water stabilizer for the front if using letters to keep threads from getting buried
Trim or Rip off stabilizer as close as you can without cutting stitches
Heat and Bond shiny side down on the back of embroidery
Use heat press or iron for about 10-15 seconds. I like to iron in small circles since it starts to smell like burning plastic (perhaps turning down the iron would also help) peel when cold
Cut around felt with fabric scissors
Admire patch and iron onto desired project
Random Machine Embroidery Tip:
Use a Report folder with sheet protected pages of designs with sizes to help choose projects as well as see what designs you have
Journal with steps and colors if there is a trace layer or not, also what colors you like
Don’t rip apart the hoop! Always unscrew or it will eventually break the screw mechanism which is why this is my second hoop.
Yet another thing I wish I knew prior to starting embroidery is that ability to adjust the machine’s tension. Embroidery machines have two different tensions to set and each one will vary from machine to machine. For instance, just because I have my tensions set to a certain number does not mean it will have the same effect for another machine. My biggest piece of advice when it comes to adjusting the tension is to take a deep breath, grab a relaxing tea or cocoa, take out a notebook and realize that it will take awhile.
There are two types of tension; the top dial with numbers on it which controls the upper thread and the bobbin tension which controls the bobbin thread. Prior to reading the manual I thought there was only the top thread tension to tweak and after testing all of them the outcomes were wildly disappointing. At one point I thought about returning the machine or taking it in to be repaired. Yes, the manual is your best friend yet always the last resort at least for me anyway! Let me know if you are a manual reader out the box or “only when problems arise person” in the comments.
The bobbin tension is a lot more tedious to get to than the upper threads which is why the tutorial on this post is crucial. First the embroidery control arm must be removed, then the bobbin plate and finally you will reach the bobbin housing to change the tension. Prior to removing this embroidery control arm the machine must be turned completely off or it will pop up with a malfunction warning and require you to turn it off before allowing you to stitch anything. To make things more “fun” there are no numbers to help figure out the best tension for the bottom thread, just a tiny little screw. Also, the machine does not come with a flat head screwdriver. I used one from an eye glasses kit, you may have one laying around the house already.
In order to not go completely blind in this process I like to tighten the screw completely and then loosen it one full rotation test it and then go onto two full rotations, test it and so on. Each time I will fully tighten the screw in order to keep the process consistent. I also recommend either using a notebook or writing directly on the back of the stabilizer to indicate which rotation goes with which test letter. The goal is to not have any bobbin thread showing on the top of your work and only a small amount of the upper thread showing on the back. Too much of upper thread showing on the back can ruin a design from being stitched out properly or even make simple letters look wonky.
Above is a small example of what a difference adjusting the tension can make. Both elephants were made with upper thread tension number four. The only difference was the bobbin tension. On the first elephant you can see the outline stitching is completely off compared to the second one. I realize I should have done them both on a white backing so I apologize if it is a little difficult to see. When these were created it was not for example purposes but rather to see if the design was usable on a less obvious backing. The white example is still not 100% as the ear portion is not fully filled in and would still not be a design I would be happy selling on an item but compared to the first test it is way better.
A little over a year ago I unboxed my first embroidery machine and have been sharing my frustrations ever since. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my embroidery machine. I am simply stating that now I finally feel that I have somewhat mastered the machine. The first few times I used the machine I was nervous to do basically anything but now it’s more of an after thought / fun to create.
When I first opened the machine I searched for tutorials and there were not that many that actually showed how to use the machine. This is something I really wanted to change because it can be hard to simply learn through trial and error or understand the instructional booklet. So, when I was asked for guidance on some starter tasks with the machine I knew it was something I wished had been there for me.
Below is a video of mini starter tutorials that are straight through. I hate fluff in between when I am looking for guidance; which is why I hope it will be beneficially for beginners or even people who are just interested in learning more about machine embroidery. Since the fluff is out of the video here is some fluff or more background.
The first tutorial is how to change the needle which can be intimidating. Things to consider are that you have the correct size for the machine used, and it has to be screwed on, not too loose or too tight. Only tighten until the bar with the screw is no longer able to be pushed up. Second is how to thread the machine’s upper thread. Incorrect threading can cause the needle to break so make sure each step is correct. In the tutorial I mention that I am not a fan of the stoppers that come with the machine. The stoppers in the past have caused the thread to catch and thus snap the needle in pieces. Last is the bobbin which can mess up the outcome of the embroidery stitches if it is not installed properly. I’ve talked about it in another video but that small silver piece is so important! Make sure it clicks because if is does not it will break off the thread, bunch up stitches or even break the needle.
While I have created an appliqué post before of my first time creating one I thought it was time to share what I have learned thus far to help those who are also learning embroidery. Appliqués can be intimidating so just like any other file the first tip is to test and take notes on the file. Notes can be for referring to the color numbers used, if there is a trace layer and if there are steps you would prefer to skip to leave out a specific detail of the design. These will make the process run smoothly without ruining finished projects.
If there is a trace layer included in the file it will be easier to pre cut the fabric pieces needed, however, creating the test run through will also aid in this. Next, take the appliqué pieces and prep them with heat and bond. Yes, at first I thought it was an over the top step as well but it really is a game changer. Heat and bond acts similar to botox for fabric as it freezes the fibers in place to prevent fraying as well as stretching.
After the appliqué is tacked down it is time to trim the access fabric with scissors. For this I recommend a curved pair that allows for close cutting; beware not to cut too close or too far. To prevent any issues pull the appliqué fabric away from the base fabric so that there are no incidental cuts that puncture the base fabric. You want a small amount of fabric past the tack down stitches. If you cut too close, when the border is stitched it could rip out the tack down stitches and make the appliqué look messy.
Let me know if you have created an appliqué before and if you have what your favorite tip is for creating them even if I did not mention it in this post. For a full walk through of these tips click on the video linked below.
Although I have not officially classified launches for Custom Little Beasties when the shop first opened this is the first revamp of the shop which sort of classifies it as the second launch. The shop has come along way and I have learned a lot along the way. How to make things more efficient as well as experimenting with new ideas.
Here are some things that have changed since the first launch. The first round of blankets did not showcase mock ups of any embroidery work on the specific fabrics. Yes, they were still aesthetically pleasing, however, if I was looking for a custom embroidered blanket I would want an actual visual on the material I am purchasing to see how the colors worked together. It was also the very beginning of my embroidery journey so there were only two embroidered character choices too.
Now each themed blanket has a unique embroidered character to match its print. The sizing options have also changed from one to two by adding in a lovey option. Loveys are the perfect size for on the go comfort, they are able to be customized and are made with luxurious plush minky fabric. Also the shop has expanded to include more crochet items such as cute hats for halloween costumes and adorable baby photoshoots. More sparkles with bows and dresses for birthdays, holidays, dress up and everyday wear. To view the entire collection and for a peak behind the scenes watch the video below. Go to the shop tab to shop directly.
Learning how to use an embroidery machine is tricky enough so, let’s discuss some basics to make it easier to design with fonts. Softwares for embroidery are pricy but luckily there are some free options. Embrilliance’s free tier is called Essentials which allows you to add and edit fonts together. This means that all the designing is done on the computer rather than on that tiny screen of your machine. The program even allows you to add multiple font styles together to make it one step on the machine. Set a guide for your specific hoop size that will alert you if your design won’t fit. Simply design and then export it onto a USB just as you would with a design file.
Learning how to use an embroidery machine is not easy. It takes a lot of experimentation especially to go beyond the basics the machine comes with. Last week I shared my top tips for digital embroidery files so it is only right that this week we focus on fonts. If you are thinking the rules of files and fonts are the same you would be kinda right but would find yourself in some sticky situations like I did.
Although I would not say I am anywhere close to being an expert at embroidery, looking back I have learned A LOT. If you recently purchased a machine or are curiously researching machines, this next mini series is full of helpful information to get you started. Today’s focus is on digital embroidery files, which seems like an easy concept, however, there are things that can may catch you off guard if you are not careful. First realize that each machine has a set size limitation so depending on how large your embroidery field is depends on which files the machine is able to read successfully.
Texture is one of the first things that can make or break a design. The weight and stretch ability can create a comfy textile all while creating a sewing nightmare. It was not until recently when I sewed minky fabric for the first time that I realized we would have a love hate relationship. If you have ever touched pinky it is a luxurious plush with either a dot texture, a cute design or solid. Basically it is a cuddler’s dream and quite popular in the baby industry.
The candy store otherwise known as the fabric store is my kryptonite. I love looking up and down the aisles for unique prints and characters. Although I often purchase fabric with the intention of a project there are those spur of the moment deals that I cannot pass up. If you see it, you like it, you best get it while you can. Yes, there are those fabrics that will always be in stock but there are also some that are rare gems. For example, rummaging through the clearance fabric there are items that will not come back to the shelf. Needless to say I have accumulated a lot of fabric over the past few years.
After editing this video I’ve come to the conclusion that I really should pause on buying anymore and instead use up what I have. In order to accomplish this I shouldn’t even browse but I’ll let ya’ll know if I cave in and splurge on something new. Prior to editing I was going to share what my intentions were for each piece of fabric from pajama sets to blankets, however, I underestimated how much I had and it became a bit out of control. If you are curious on a particular scrap project and want to know what I made with it let me know and I would be more than happy to share with you. I hope you all enjoy peeking at my stash and let me know which fabric is your fabric from my collection. Of course if you have any crafty or content ideas please also leave me a comment. (: