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.