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.
After making a couple of items myself sewing and crochet it left me thinking about tagging the things I make. Many tags can be annoying, itchy or add to the overall item. The purpose however is to never forget where the item was purchased. Without tags people inevitably forget where they purchased the item and it can even make an item appear “cheap”. A tag is like a finishing touch which is why after researching them I decided it was time to experiment and create my own.
While you could order custom made tags from another small business or a large one I wanted to try it on my own first. They can be pricey and the idea of not having complete control over the process made me feel a bit iffy about purchasing some. Not to mention I do not believe I have gained “enough” sales to deem it appropriate to order a bunch of tags either. Since I do both sewing and crochet I wanted tags that could work for both while adding to the items rather than hindering them with a giant tag. There are many different ways to put your shop logo on items such as ribbon, fabric, leather, faux leather and more. Either way I knew I wanted something that was washable, simple and aesthetically pleasing.
Since receiving the mini stamp I starting thinking that it was around the perfect size for logo labels. However, it is not as simple as stamping the item itself, it would have to be on another medium. Also, upon brainstorming I started to question if this would simply be a mock up as stamp ink, I assumed, would wash out. After realizing I did not like the look of white ribbon labels I decided to work with what I had that was close to faux leather, faux suede by Cricut. The Cricut part is important since the material is only slightly thicker than paper. Plus if it worked it would mean that I could use the Cricut machine to cut out multiple tags for me because the holes are a bit of a pain to cut/stab out by hand. I am happy to report that diy was successful and I will be making many more in the future! The mini stamp accident has turned out to be one of my favorite small shop items. The only disclaimer I want to give is that the ink I used was the one from No Issue that came with the stamp. I am not sure if that is why the ink stayed on or if other stamp inks would also have a similar result. Watch the tutorial below to see how I created my first label and the tests I put it through.
For the holidays I had a lot of content planned and per usual they fell short. I could say I was too busy, however that was not the case. For some reason my mind gets stuck on certain projects and it is hard for me to pivot before they are 100% complete. Bouncing back and fourth has never been a strong suit of mine and is something I need to work on.
So… instead of creating a half hearted holiday post, I wanted to share a project I actually worked on for a Christmas gift this year. Although I cannot share the pattern with you as it is not my own and not available online, I thought it would be fun to watch me work through the project in a sort of time lapsed video with some holiday instrumental music. I tend to like watching people work on projects this time of year so hopefully you all will too.
Crochet is a new hobby I have picked up and am just now starting to fall completely in love with it. If you have been wanting to pick up a new craft I highly recommend crochet, it’s relaxing and fun to create something out of a little ball of yarn. Plus, unlike machine embroidery it is something that can be done anywhere and travels easily. No inconveniencing the house with loud noises of machines either. Yes, it can be frustrating to try new crafts but it is also part of the fun of learning new ways to be creative. There are so many stitches and I am by no means an expert, so go easy on me if you do crochet as I am still very much a newbie.
Did you make any Christmas gifts this year? If so I’d love to hear all about them.
The fall weather has finally hit California which means its sweater weather. On dreary days we still take out the pups to walk as long as it is not a major down pour. After getting ready for our first sprinkling walk, my little nephew literally shook off his coat. In other words, he went without as it would have been more of a hinderance than anything else. Once the walk was over I wanted to fix his little jacket since hopefully there will be more dreary walks in this desert this season.
First, I want to preference that he is a size medium according to his weight, but sometimes the medium seems like a joke with the size jump from the small. It’s like Goldilocks: one’s too small, one’s too big, except in this case there is not a just right option. Auntie to the rescue! Time to put those crafty powers to work and make some alterations.
This is an extremely basic tailoring project that you can do with a basic sewing machine or even sew by hand during a Christmas movie. Materials needed are velcro, pins, needle and thread. A tape measure can be used however, keep in mind to leave room for two fingers. Also if you are more experienced you could cut and move the straps entirely but I did not want to alter the entirety of the coat. Follow the tutorial below to see how I altered the coat without any major construction changes.
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.
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.
While I do not have a “successful” Etsy shop yet I have been learning as I go. At this stage I am learning a lot so rather than be ashamed of having the few orders I do I decided it was the perfect time to share my knowledge to help other new Esty shop owners or those curious as to if Etsy is a good place for them to sell their crafts. In the video today it showcases how I package an order which in itself is always fun to see how people do it and what they include in their packages. Also discussed today is the actual stats for this listing meaning what the profit margin is as well as where the rest of the money actually goes when selling on Etsy. Shop owners usually say that they are “successful” and that Esty takes a portion of the money but I’ve yet to see someone share the raw data. I know I was curious before opening up my shop and yes Etsy gives a full description and calculator on its site, however, I did not find it helpful or accurate. It is very misleading which is why I am breaking it all down for you so you can do the math to figure out how to properly list your items.
Stats Cheat Sheet
Listing Fee: $0.20
Relisting Fee: $0.20 * They will charge a $0.20 relisting fee to change the stock number to the next digit and keep the item listing for sale.
Shipping Label: Depends on the weight and size of the product and will not effect your profit unless you are offering free shipping. The label is added into the order total which is added in through the processing fee.
Processing Fee: 3.0% of the order total plus $0.25
Transaction fee for Shipping: 6.5% of shipping total
Transaction Fee for Product: 6.5% of item total
Sales Tax: is collected from the buyer and does not effect your stats but is calculated towards the processing fee since it is down with the order total.
*The simplest way to calculate your portion is to calculate 78% off your listing price. Yes that means the other 22% goes stickily to lovely Etsy fees. Keep in mind this is a rough estimate to simply help guide you to create your proper pricing. From the 78% you will also need to dive in a little further by subtracting all material costs. Next subtract your personal labor cost and then you will have your profit total.
Example: A handmade blanket listed for $50 without free shipping. The item cost $7.95 for the customer to ship to their residence and the tax rate is 7.5%. The customer paid $61.75 total.
Processing Fee: 3.0% of the order total plus $0.25
$1.85 + $0.25 = $2.10
Transaction Fee for Shipping: 6.5% of shipping total
Over the past year I have tried my hand at reselling clothes and various items. Currently, I’ve sold over sixty items! As time has progressed so have my strategies of creating quality listings. Below are my top tips for creating listings that leave viewers with all the information they need in order to purchase your items with confidence. One thing I would not recommend wasting your time with is creating a fluffy description. Instead fill the description section with essential information. I have created a cheat sheet list down below of what I recommend putting in the description section. Also use these tips to up your photography skills for flat lays and more. If you would like to see how I edit my photos for listings please let me know. (: