Sunday, August 28, 2016

Busy Summer Stitching

Our family business kicks it up several notches in the summer so my poor blog and fun crafting suffers greatly during this time of year.  I did get a few projects done, mostly for fun and one for necessity.  I wanted to share what I have squeezed into the summer work schedule.

I repaired my 25-year-old bath robe...yes, I am just that silly...but I love that robe.  After years of laundering (and I used to be a bleach-user in my twenties) the wear on the robe included thread-bare areas and totally worn out and missing areas.  I am pretty frugal but mostly, I really wanted a very absorbent robe.  For the past few Christmases, I requested a terry robe and received polar fleece, minky, and flannel robes.  (Clearly, I need to educate the family on fabric types).  I gave up on them and started looking on line and in stores but I have noticed one thing:  vendors like to call things 'terry' that aren't.  Plush robes are NOT absorbent; they are warm and fuzzy but that is not what I wanted. I looked at fabric, thinking I might just make one, since I have made lots of robes and they are really easy.  Even with 50% off fabric coupons, however, a robe was looking to cost more than $50 to make it myself and that just seemed silly since I had a robe I loved.  The perfect ones I found were over $200.  So, instead I bought a hand towel and used it to replace the parts of the robe that were worn out.


I drafted patterns from the robe itself just by tracing and sewed it all in place.  It took almost no time.  I finished it by adding a monogram.  This is the bamboo monogram from Apex.

For a little stress relief, I worked on dressing up some pillow cases.  


The frame is from the Monogram Frames and Borders CD that was in the Anita's Attic sale.  I really love the texture and attention to detail in the digitizing.  This is an example of why I have gone hog wild on Anita Goodesign since I discovered them this year:  really special designs unlike the other stuff in my obsessed-with-embroidery-files collection.


The monogram is Carson from Itch2Stitch.

I did these using a repositional 5x12 hoop with Embrilliance software.  


The pillow cases were one of the unopened packages at the back of my grandmother's linen closet. She has been gone for a while now but embellishing something from her house just makes me happy. I have no idea how long she had these or why she never used them, but the price tag says 97¢ and the store on the tag closed in our city in the late 70s (or early 80s?)  It is going to take a few washings to get the creases out because my steam press couldn't do it.  Vintage pillow cases are one of those things I like to collect so this is sort of in line with that even though the embroidery is new.   


 My current wish on my project board is a purse set with matching accessories.  This is the first accessory:  an eyeglass case.  After trying a pattern that was a total pain, I decided to make my own pattern.  This includes a zipper top and an extra pocket to hold my readers.  The monogram is Elegant Scroll from Itch2Stitch.

I enjoyed doing this so much that I decided to try another and work out some things I wished were a little different on the first one.


The monogram on this one was Apex Curlz Fun Circle font.  I quilted the floral with my sewing machine, but I let my embroidery machine and a block from the Anita Goodesign Quilting 123 collection quilt the strawberry fabric.  I enjoyed these little cases so much!  I have a tutorial coming soon.

Links from this post:

The sewing was done on a Bernina 1230.  Feet used were the #0,  #37 (quarter inch foot), walking foot, and a generic cording foot.  Embroidery was done on a Brother 770PE and Embrilliance embroidery software.  

Thanks for checking my blog post today.  To see many of my other embroidery projects and resource info, check out my Embroidery page (click here).  My paper crafts can be found in my Paper Gallery (click here).  I am looking forward to getting back to more regular sewing and crafting in a couple of months when work slows down.  I hope you are loving your summer!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Double Wedding Ring Table Runner Made in the Embroidery Machine!


When you think of your embroidery machine not as a machine that does embroidery, but as a programmable sewing minion that can be instructed to embroider, applique, piece, quilt, create cutwork, make lace, and sew, you start to see some new capabilities and interesting options!  I have been throwing myself into techniques and software and one of the most surprising things has been the piecing and quilting I have been able to do, all on the embroidery machine.  This "in-the-hoop" style of quilting can create some really unique quilt blocks.

I started to investigate the idea of quilting with an embroidery machine with files from Sweet Pea (my first project was a pillow- click here), but the sheer number of Anita Goodesign files, in similar sizes with their "Mix and Match" files meant that I could combine designs, and using my Embrilliance Essentials and Enthusiast software meant that I could borrow and merge and delete stitches between the files!

I used four of the blocks on the left to create the design on the right.  
For this project, I wanted to do a table runner for my kitchen.  I needed something that would be small enough that no one would eat on it at the table (a pet peeve of mine), but that was large enough to be seen (to make the time investment worth it) and that could serve as a decorative way to protect my table from hot dishes.

For my design, I chose a square block from the Anita Goodesign file called Anita Goodesign Double Wedding Ring Quilt...



...Then I chose a scalloped block from Anita Goodesign Anita's Anniversary Quilt Premium Collection that I wanted for my ends. (Those scalloped ends are THE REASON I wanted that file!)  The problem is that the quilting didn't match my square block above.  My solution:  I used the quilting from the matching block in Double Wedding with the scallop shape from Anita's Anniversary file!  This was so easy with my Embrilliance software.  I simply deleted the step on the scalloped block that had quilting and then selected and copied the quilt stitches I DID want from the second block and used copy and paste to merge it.

I removed the scrolly quilting design.  Then I copied the quilting design from the second block and pasted it on the first one.  The finished block had the features I wanted.  It was scalloped and it matched my square block.

In addition to design benefits, putting the files through my Embrilliance software means that I get a more user-friendly version of the stitching steps and a full size template, if I choose to print it.

I started the sewing portion of the project by prepping my fabrics.  The way this works is that I cut the base fabrics and batting ahead of time, then use strips of fabric to do the folded fabric steps. I iron the fabrics with starch to keep them crisp.


My personal goal was to change thread only a couple of times to make it easy to do.  The only thread that will show is the satin stitching and quilting stitches.  Unlike hand-quilting, I wanted to use a contrasting color so the quilting would really show up.

The square block starts with batting placed and trimmed and then the base fabric placed and quilted.


Next, the center contrast is placed, stitched, trimmed and quilted.


Then the piecing begins: (1) the file stitches a placement box, then (2) the fabric is added face-down, then (3) the seam is stitched, then (4) the fabric is folded back, then (5) the tack-down is stitched.


I keep it in the hoop the whole time and only trim the ends after each tackdown. This file will stitch two folded fabric pieces at a time.  I did find that as soon as one was done, I needed to stop the machine, adjust the second fabric, then continue the stitching. Once it was done, I removed the hoop and trimmed all raw edges of the pieced fabrics in preparation for the satin stitching.



I continued the process with satin stitching and the end pieces.  I trimmed the block to 1/2" on all sides using my Omnigrid Quilter's Ruler.  The lines on this see-through ruler make it easy to match up the stitching lines with the lines on the ruler.


I stitched twelve of these blocks and then used my regular sewing machine to stitch them together.


This is what the back looks like at this point.


Next, I stitched four scallop blocks, using my altered block that I merged in my Embrilliance software.  I used the same process of stitching and trimming the batting, adding the base, stitching the pieced fabrics using the folded fabric method, and quilting.  Two were stitched together for each end.



The way that I stitch all the blocks together is to match the corner stitches, the satin stitches, and the center of the seams.  The Anita Goodesign instructions always say to simply match the edges since all the blocks have a 1/2" seam, but really, the elements need to be matched for the blocks to form correct points.

I fold back the corners to match, making a square on the stitching and pinning in place.


I fold back to match up the satin stitching.


Pinning on both sides of the satin stitching will keep one from sliding to the side of the other.  Even with a walking foot, I find that they will not stack properly unless I pin in this way.


I want the elements to match so that the seams of the blocks are not as prominent as the pattern stitched to make the design.


I used my Steam Fast Steam Press to make the sewn-together blocks as flat as possible.  I wanted the seams to be perfectly flat without any rounding.  I smoothed it out on top of my backing and trimmed it to size.

Next, I added a label to the back.  This was just a silly idea I had after looking at quilt labels.  I just thought it would be nice to have the year this was made.  I plan on doing lots of projects and giving some away and wanted a nice, extra touch...something that set it apart from things I buy for my home.

This was done using an applique patch from Planet Applique and merging with a label I bought from Urban Threads.  I removed the word "from" in the banner using Embrilliance Enthusiast by lassoing around the text.  Then I merged in the year using Itch2Stitch Teeny Font.


 I stitched-in-the-ditch to combine the quilted top to the backing.  This is why Anita Goodesign suggests a busy print for the back:  to hide that stitching.  I used my walking foot with clear thread in the bobbin.


I matched the backing to the quilted top and trimmed to 1/4".  This is a difference from the Anita Goodesign directions.  To do this, I used a Fons and Porter Quarter Inch Seam Marker by Omnigrid. Because it is thin, it is easy to move around the curve.




From this point on, I used traditional quilting finishing techniques that I learned in a Craftsy class I took called Finishing School: Edges and Bindings.  I loved this class, taught by Mimi Dietrich, and because of the format they use, I can go back again and again to be refreshed on how to do things.  I love Mimi's style of teaching and her sweet personality.  I know that sounds silly, but if you are like me and used to Youtube for info, it is a joy to finally start learning by watching professionally produced classes with experts in their fields.  She is the first person to really get me excited about using quilting clips.  I originally bought a small pack of Clover brand clips at a local quilt shop around here.  They were super pricey so I was excited when someone pointed me to UrBest clips.  I got 100 for around $9.  They look like the Clover ones in every way except price.

I clipped the backing to the quilted top to hold them together.  Per Mimi's instruction, I stitched within the 1/4" seam allowance all around the outside edge.

I made double-fold bias binding using her instruction and stitched it on.  Her tips and tricks made all the difference and I loved that I could stop the video and use the 30-second repeat as needed.


My favorite trick of hers in the class is a no-math, no measuring way to cut the binding to the exact size needed, stitching diagonally to finish without bulk.


I pulled the folded edge of the binding to the back and hand-stitched in place.  I recently saw a Fons and Porter video where one of them said that hand-stitching is a way to bond with a quilt that has been made by machine.  I liked that sentiment so hand-stitching it was!

So my runner was finished!  Here, it is pictured on my green counter. It finished at 36" long, but the length and width are completely customizable by using larger blocks (if you can use larger hoop sizes), altering the size in embroidery software, or adding more blocks.  I have a Brother PE-770 so I always make the "D" size block which finishes under 5".  I am in love with the rounded ends and the quilting!  This is a total of 16 blocks.


I wanted it to go with my red serving pieces, colorful plates, green counter, and crazy patterned Roman shades I made a million years ago.  I love this size for keeping hot dishes off my table and to add a little pattern to the setting.


So you know what I think?  I think it would be fun to put together four of the scallop blocks to make round trivets that match for the other dishes I would have at a setting!  Adding it to the ever-growing list!

Buying Guide and Links in this Post
(some of these are affiliate links-I hope you will use them):
Thank you for checking out my blog post today.  To see my embroidery page which lists all my resources, links to my other embroidery posts, links to videos I watched to learn, and a million other helpful things with regard to embroidery, click here.

To see my paper projects, check out my Paper Gallery.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Personalized One-Zip Bag for Ballet Gift


We just wrapped up another ballet recital over here.  My daughter's ballet school does a full ballet each year (in lieu of a regular recital) where all the girls have a part, from the tiny 5-year-olds all the way to the high school seniors who dance the starring roles.  This year was Sleeping Beauty and the first year my daughter and her class danced en pointe.

It is also that time of year when we thank the teachers and teen helpers who assist during regular class instruction.  The helper in our class is a sweet and talented dancer named Rebekah.  Although our class takes up a collection for a group gift, we wanted to give her a little token of our appreciation individually.



I knew I wanted to use my embroidery machine to personalize the gift, but I also wanted to try a new technique after seeing a Craftsy promo on a new class called Zippered Bags with a Twist The One-Zip Way.  (At the time of publishing, there is a 50% off sale on all Craftsy classes!!)



If you look closely, you will see two things:  the zipper pull is a contrasting color and there's only one side of zipper tape, not the two sides you regularly see to make a zipper work!  I learned how to make this happen in the class!  I also just bought a collection of 100 zippers for $15 to play with on Etsy.


To make the bag, I just followed the instructions in the class, pausing as needed to complete each step.  I did do embroidery on the bag.  I debated and decided to do the embroidery after the flat panel was complete before the zipper was sewn and before the lining was sewn but after the fusible fleece was added.  Let me just say this:  next time, I will do the embroidery AND THEN add the fusible fleece.  It was a headache to do it the way I did it.

I used my steam press to attach the fleece.


Using my Embrilliance Essentials software, I merged a file from Urban Threads with lettering from Applique Corner to personalize the bag.  I added a basting box using the software as well.  I used the full-size template that I was able to print using the software to decide the exact placement of my design.  It was a little tricky because boxing the bag (by boxing the corners) meant that the front panel would wrap under, creating some of the bottom of the bag.


I hooped poly mesh (because it is thin and virtually invisible in every way so it does not need to be cut away).  I floated the panel over the hooped stabilizer.


 I placed the template in the hoop and then used the thumb tack method to perfectly place the panel on the hoop.

I center the design using the crosshairs.


I place thumbtacks on the back of the hoop, piercing up to the top so that the points of the thumbtacks are on top of the template.


Then I remove the template and place it on the prepared panel.  I pin the template onto the panel and then place it back on the hoop, making sure to EXACTLY place the points through VERY SAME holes in the templates.


Then I removed the template and voila!  Perfectly placed so that the center of the placement on the panel is in the center of the hoop and ready to stitch!


I continued with the class to complete the bag.


We filled the bag with chocolates and added a tag with a message from my daughter.  There was no time for a "pretty" picture with the bow and tag with candies inside.  This ballet is put together every year with the skills of the dance school owner/teacher and her only employee.  Parent volunteers make up the rest of the "staff".  That means that parents do costumes, lighting, sound, stage management, house management, stage hand work, sit with the kids, get them to their cues, handle props, take tickets, create the program, set up dressing rooms, make party tables with treats and healthy snacks in the dressing rooms, and encourage the dancers, handling various emergencies of varying degrees.  Basically under the management of the school owner, we do everything other than the choreography, direction, and teaching!   It is an amazing group of dedicated parents who love their daughters!  Next year, I will start earlier on gifts and surprises.  (I say that every year.)


Links to items and files mentioned (the Craftsy links are my affiliate links so I hope you will use them):

  • Craftsy Class 50% off sale:  click here.  Sale expires June 13, 2016 at midnight MDT.  
  • Zippered Bags with a Twist - the One Zip Way:  click here.  
  • 100 Zippers for $15.50 on Etsy:  click here.  
  • Embrilliance Essentials software:  click here.  
  • Urban Threads Sleeping Beauty embroidery file:  click here.  
  • Applique Corner Rodney font (1/4"):  click here.


To see previous year's projects for that year's ballet:

  • Beauty and the Beast - bracelets, paper flowers, cut paper boxes:  click here.
  • Cinderella - necklaces, glittered cookies, little boxes:  click here.

To see my my notes and resources for machine embroidery, you are invited to my Embroidery Page on this blog by clicking the Embroidery tab or click here.

To see my previous paper projects, check out my Paper Gallery or click here.




But wait! There's more! Click 'older posts' above!

But wait!  There's more!  Click 'older posts' above!