Friday, December 30, 2011

Quick Tip: What to do when I HAVE to hoop.

 I am NOT a hooper. I think most of the reason I upgraded my machine was just to buy Fast Frames and kiss hooping goodbye.

I know, there is pinning too. Ummmm, also not for me. I'd pin and everything would be off center even more. Or the extra fabric from the shirt on top would get caught in the machine. Yes, even with clips holding it back!

I do believe you have to be coordinated to use a hoop and I'm a clumsy fool.

But, there are times when I will do an older shirt and need a larger frame (still working on getting that custom fast frame for larger items!).

So, hopefully this will help as it has helped me.

Regardless of how I hoop, I measure and mark where the center of the shirt is every few inches down the front.

I'm not much with an iron either, but I know some ladies have luck folding the shirt in half and ironing to give a crease on that center line.

Me, I end up with about 5 creases and none of them straight.

So you see, if you are especially talented and slightly uncoordinated with an iron as well, marking may work out.

Anyway, back to the hoop.

After my shirt is marked, I slide the bottom part of my hoop along with the stabilizer under the front of the shirt.

Then, I add a bit of tape to the top hoop (double sided tape on the bottom of the top frame works too!). 

 Next, I pull out my grid and line everything up.

Once it is all lined up, I press the tape down to hold the shirt in place. After that, I gently press the top hoop into the bottom hoop and then tighten.

The tape helps hold the shirt exactly where I want it so when I press down in my hoop it doesn't shift and I don't have to endlessly adjust.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Quick Tip: Making Your White Stay White

I recently made a Santa Riding a Tractor design.

This guy was fun to make, but I had a little dilemma. Should I do a lot of the detail in applique or embroidery? To save some time, I went with embroidery.

This causes one slight problem if you stitch Santa's white beard on anything but a white shirt. White is terrible at giving complete coverage. Just ask any 13 year old girl wearing her first white shirt since she.........................uh....................................wrong blog.

Anyway, there is an official product out there to help your embroidery design color pop. It's a permanent topper called Hide It Stabilizer.

I did not have a large area to stitch so I decided to use a little tear-away instead. Mostly since it is not a large area but I am also cheap frugal and impatient didn't want to wait for shipping.

Oh, I decided to test this out on some blue fleece too without any WSS since I ran out. Talk about the odds of this turning out well!

Before your fill stitch, lay your topper on your design.

 When you are done, carefully tear-away!

Ta-da! I even did one without to compare.

Here is without.

Now, I'm interested in getting a pack of the real permanent topper to see how well it works for other embroidery designs. What do you think?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Quick Tip: Hedging Your Bets (Or Securing those Tie-Offs)

How many of you have had a store bought or homemade item's thread unravel?

Maybe just a little bit. Or maybe the whole thing came undone.

I'm sure all designers program a tie-off and close when they create designs, but if it's that easy for them to come undone what are we supposed to do? When I stitch out a design, I like to hedge my bets.

Do you remember this stitch-out? I took a lot of pictures that day.

This design has a lot of trims and lock-offs. But even with a cover, how will it hold up through multiple washings?

I'm not sure but just look at all of those trims and lock-offs.

So I like to hedge my bets with this fabulous stuff. (It comes in handy for a lot of different projects. Pick some up now, you might need it for a BIG release I have coming in January!)

My bottom layer of stabilizer is usually a tear-away. This works PERFECTLY!

 I will put a glob on the back of the design......

.........and rub a light layer on the back of all the stitches making sure to get any tie-offs.

Now you just need to remove your tear-away, add your cover, and you should feel doubly cozy inside.

Oh, and a heads up, tear-away might not be the best for zig-zag stitch outs. And just maybe, when you add that glue and the paper gets a little mushy, it's a mess to try to remove. Not that I've done that more than once. I always remember my mistakes ;)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December 2011 Freebie: Mini Patchwork Santa Embroidery File

Our December Freebie is now posted! 
Please select the link to instantly download the "Mini Patchwork Santa."

It comes in sizes:
.75x.75 in and 1074 Stitches
1x1 in and 1619 Stitches
1.5x1.5 and 2937 Stitches
AND formats DST, EXP, JEF, HUS, PES, SEW, VIP, and XXX.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Quick Tip: Getting "That WSS" OFF

So, have you tried a layer of wss on your design before stitching our the final satin stitches?

Did you like it?

And how about removing that top layer of wss?

Yes, that can be a bit of a pain. If the item you made is for yourself, you can easily wash away the wss.

But, if you made the item for someone else, you may be thinking of skipping the final soak with this little tip.

 Here's an item I made the other night using my "Give Thanks Cross" design.

With a lot of little spots for the wss to get stuck.

And you probably have several items in your home that would make peeling off the remaining wss go very quickly. 

I ended up using an eraser the other night because my favorite tool went missing (not that work area is ever messy). I used a regular green eraser but thought that maybe I should have grabbed the white one after a few strokes. Either way, the rubber easily grabs/pulls at the wss making your job a breeze.
(I will note that my favorite is tool is actually for office assistants: A Rubber Finger Tip! Google it. They are cheap and work well :)

Now, after seeing that BOX of rubber finger tips, you'd think I would have been able to find ONE!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Quick Tip: That WSS


When you starting to applique, did you think there would be sooooo much extra stuff you would have to buy to have that "perfect" applique?

Multiple stabilizers, silicone spray, Heat N Bond, comfort cover, WSS.

It's a mass conspiracy to fuel the need to outdo the next. And to take a little bit more of our hard earned $$.

Or maybe I just didn't do my research.

WSS is short for Water Soluble Stabilizer. It comes in different weights. If you are going to make a patch, you need to use something heavy that will hold all of your stitching. Don't worry, the WS means it will wash away!

If you want your stitches to stay on top of your designs (either when using fleece, minky, and stitching on terrycloth or onesies) you can use a lighter weight.

I like to apply mine right before my final stitchout.

Either spray adhesive or pin in place.
And stitch!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Getting that rouched look.

Texture is good.

I love to add ribbon or frayed layers to my designs. They give it that "something different" look.

Recently though, I took a look at my ribbon and decided that I didn't want to buy any more. Does anyone else have too much stuff?

So, I decided to make an applique a little differently. I pleated the fabric.

Crazy huh?

I wasn't sure if I wanted to pleat or gather. I went for pleated as I like clean lines. I also found that tape held everything down very nicely (just make sure it is out of stitching range - you don't want to gum up your needle).

After my layering was completed, I added a water soluble stabilizer (wss) to the top so my foot wouldn't get caught on anything as I stitched out the tackdown stitch. 

Time to trim! Go slowly, cutting folded fabric can be a little tricky.

Lastly, before the final stitchout I added one more layer of wss just to make sure nothing would get caught and to give all of my stitches a clean even look.

Add a few bows and look: texture and volume all with clean lines in an applique!

For all of my designs, instructions are included. For this one, picture instructions are included too!

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November Freebie is up!

Select Harvest Cross on the left hand side of the page to download. Sorry, but this one comes in only 5x7 and 6x10!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Your Order Downloads

Are you nervous?

I'm nervous. Murphey's Law seems to follow me around wherever I go. And, doing website stuff is the worst.

I like to do trial downloads just to make sure everything is working.

Here's the one I did the other day. I bought a regular priced item and a sale item.

After paying and checking out, you get a confirmation email that will look like this:

It shows you what you purchased, how much it was, the format, AND where to download the files.

If you select the link, it will take you back to the Original Stitches website and have you log in. ALL of your information and downloads are under the "My Account" selection at the top of the page.

After selecting "My Account" you select your order and that will look like this (minus the red boxes, those are my nifty additions):

Near the bottom is where the money is. Oh yeah, I just typed that!

You have 90 days and at least 2 downloads for each file purchased.

Yes! 90 days! I have four young kids, I know you can't always download what you need in a day. Maybe you are on your phone or maybe the internet went out.....either way you have 90 days to forget about your download your order.

If you ever have any questions, just return to your "My Account" page. Or email me, I'm almost always available. With four young kids, who wouldn't be?   ;)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Quick Tip: Saving time with your Heat N Bond Lite

Titles, titles, titles.

Titles are not my strong suit. Lucky for me, I've been counting up the days my husband has been overseas on my family blog. We are over 180 right now.

Not so lucky, I started a new blog.

I was going to title this: Being lazy with your HNBL. But, I don't want to give off the impression that I'm that lazy.

I mean, I have four kids, how lazy can I really be? Don't answer that.

Anywho, how many of you use some form of Heat N Bond or Wonder Under on your appliques (use the thinnest available)?

It's a good tip of the trade for helping the applique stay flat and crisp looking. But, it does add some time to completing an item.

When I was a newbie, I'd look at the size of fabric I'd need and cut the HNBL accordingly. After attaching to the fabric, I'd cut it out.

Now, insert my laziness tip:

Anytime I use a new piece of fabric, I slap a giant piece of HNBL on the backside so I am ready to go in the future too.

Time saved. Maybe not economical if you don't applique very often or if you are a fabric junkie (come on, fess up). But, if you have a few go to fabrics, it saves a few steps!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Quick Tip: Being Lazy With Your Fabric

Do you have an applique with a fabric layer that has several placement stitches close together?

This santa I'm testing has a white beard and white on his hat.

 And since I like to save time, I plopped a larger piece of white over both sections. 

After you run your tackdown stitch, just trim as usual. It's a lot easier than cutting down the fabric to each small size. And it works REALLY well if you are doing applique letters!

I bet you are asking what I'm working on here......

Hmmm, he'll be available soon! This santa has some really clean lines and is not too cutesy so it's PERFECT for the boys!

And if we get to 1,000 FB followers before Monday, he'll be only $1!!

Let's spread the word!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Setting a Goal

It's always good to have a goal....right?

I'm setting one. Right now.

Follow the Facebook link in the tab and become a fan. If we reach 1,000 fans in one week (next Monday), I'll post a whole sibling set of appliques for FREE download!

That's right!

This whole set (Big Sister, Little Sister, Big Brother, Little Brother - should we add middle in their too?) will all be posted!

Let's spread the word....

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My favorite shirt of the summer.

My little boy turned 4 this summer.

And of course he wanted race cars on his cake. That's what he wanted last year too.

But, when we went to pick out his cake, only dinosaurs where available.

No problem!

I made a cute stegosaurus.

And added a volcano.

To make the cutest shirt in the world.

Which looks even better stitched out and on the birthday boy.

Welcome to Original Stitches! We hope you enjoy this blog as we add tips and showcase new designs. Everything machine applique and embroidery will be covered!