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.
Yes, the rules of finding the right size, format, and testing files are all important for font files too but they are a bit deeper. First is making sure the font will be a good fit for your machine. If the machine is a 4 X 4 like the PE550d it can read up to a 3.5” font but that would be only one letter per hoop. I’ve done a 2” font that still required an entire hoop per letter so depending on how many words you want to embroider it is going to be a long and frustrating process to line them up and a lot of re hooping. When choosing a font for a base machine that is a 4 X 4, search for fonts that are 0.5”, 0.75” or 1”. The sweet spot for me is 0.5” to 0.75” as it allows me to maximize the amount of letters while still being relatively large.
Another thing to take into consideration is how wide the characters in the font are, the puffier the better as thin embroidery fonts tend to look a bit sloppy. While analyzing the font, also check to make sure all the characters and punctuations are included. Choosing the perfect font only to find out it does not do a period or quotations is annoying yet not all font sellers include them so don’t forget to check.
Similar to the file tips the format is also crucial for the machine to be able to read. The format PES in this instance is legible to the machine but it will not allow you to string letters together since it is reading it like an image file. To avoid this issue use a BX format instead and download an embroidery software that will allow you to upload the font and create/edit the words you need for the project. Embrilliance is the software I personally use as the free version allows you to create font projects, kern letters and makes split hoop projects easier by providing the dimensions of the full project to map out prior to beginning to embroider. With all the prep in the world there will still be fonts that do not meet your expectations or simply do not work correctly so don’t forget to share a photo review and communicate with the seller too.
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.
Browsing on Etsy for instance can be full of roller coaster emotions if the field size is a basic 4 X 4 like the Brother PE550d as creators customize sizes to the design and it is never a one size fits all. Files sold in a multisite bundle also does not guarantee that it will include a size that works for every machine either. For 4 X 4 there will be files that may say 3.85” X 3.80”, 4” or they may even just say 4 X 4. After the test shown in the video below, my rule of thumb is to make sure it is no larger that 3.90” X 3.90”. If it says 4 X 4 or 4” for the size I will message the seller and ask for the distinct measurements or move onto another file. It is a bit weird that a 4 X 4 machine really cannot do 4” by 4” but it is just how it works. To simplify, it take the embroidery hoop and before the curves is primarily the active feild.
Once the file has the correct size listed in the description, the second step which is just as important as the size, is making sure the file format comes in your machines language. File formats are found in the manual and on the manufacture’s website. Typically formats vary by brand for instance most Brother machines read PES files. The easiest way to explain it is each format is a different language and if you try to use one that is different that what the machine knows it will not understand it.
Finding out if it is a quality file often times comes with experimentation and eventually building up a trust level for the seller. I will look for review photos over shop files since they tend to show you the design on a finished product rather than a digital photo. If the specific design you are wanting does not have a review photo look at other review photos for other files in the same shop.
Some shops will have a 100% satisfaction guarentee which is great, however, I have tried both shops with and without this and it does not mean anything in terms of if the files are quality or not. In fact some of my most trusted digital embroidery file shops do not have any type of guarantee. The reason for not having a guarantee is simply to limit the amount of fraud rather than not trusting their products. Even if the shop does not guarantee a refund if the file has a flaw, communicate with them. Often they are willing to help you but if you don’t reach out they will assume you are a satisfied customer.
No matter what always test new files first on a scrap piece of fabric. Instead of viewing it as a waste of time use this test to really analyze the file. Test colors, take notes on if there is a trace layer or not (used in appliqué files) and if the borders match up etc. There are many factors to consider and each file is unique so even if you’ve bought multiple files from the same digitizer it is wise to do a quick sample.
I hope these digital embroidery file tips help save you some grief and if you have any more tips please leave them in the comments. Also let me know where you are in your embroidery journey.
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.
Starting a small business is obviously a roller coaster, so let’s talk about what I’ve learned about shipping. Although I am very much an amateur in the small business community some may call it a side hustle but I’d rather poor the energy out there that it is a small business. Either way let’s not get off track, being an amateur means learning as you go and while some may decided to skip past the icky parts I would rather document my journey to help others. Also it doesn’t hurt that sometimes mistakes can make amusing stories too.
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. (:
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. (:
How to: Create a Larger than Hoop Embroidery Project
When I first started exploring machine embroidery it wasn’t until my first couple projects that I realized that the hoop size really mattered. With a 4X4 hoop machine it can seem like a creative jail so today I am going to show you how to escape. In the video below I will be demonstrating the tips I am discussing here which is the method I used for today. For those that are not aware I currently have the Brother PE550d embroidery machine which is a 4 X 4 hoop machine.
Since it has been awhile, I thought a life update was well over due. A lot has happened or rather not happened depending on your perspective. Whenever I start to compare my progress to others my age or just in general it can be a real downer since the expectations I’ve put on myself are based on societial guidelines that ,have yet to be met. You can’t be too far ahead or too far behind and it’s a constant battle that is impossible to win. Perhaps everyone feels this way yet from the outside it looks like others have it all figured out. Let me know in the comments if you feel like you’re on track or if you’ve never thought about it? Not sure how you couldn’t think about it as people question when you’ll get married, when you’ll have a kid and the list goes on and on.
Stains can be annoying and somehow thrilling whenever you find the perfect cure all. Either you walk around cautiously or only wear dark clothes to lower the percentage of ever coming into contact with a spot that ruins your favorite outfit. Although I have reviewed stain removers in the past I wanted to see which one was the absolute best. I’m constantly trying new spot removers for items I’m selling on Poshmark as well as for items I love such as the sweater in the video below with several mystery spots. In the tutorial below I will be testing: Zout, homemade paste, Grandma’s Spot Remover, and Clorox Bleach for Colors.