Monday, November 23, 2015

Hooded Towel to Make a Gift Set!

This is the first Christmas gift-making season that I have my embroidery machine in my crafty arsenal!  Like many people I know, everything we see in stores becomes a potential for customizing, monogramming, or embroidering in some way.

Thinking of the kids on my list this year has had me thinking of what I can embroider for them.  No matter what, I do still remember being a kid at Christmas, though, and no way am I just giving a garment for Christmas.  (Opening clothing was the worst when I was a kid!)

So my solution is to combine embroidered items with toys to make fun gift sets.  My first set is for my little niece.  I was told that Ariel, who she calls "Mermaid," is one of her favorite characters.   I picked up an Ariel bathtub doll and paired it with the hooded towel I appliqued, personalized and sewed for her to make this gift set!

I found the embroidery file for this character on the French Frills website. The coolest thing about this company is the awesome little private customer Facebook group they have where they have tons of files with instructions for all kinds of things from the classic hooded towels that is the hallmark of their site to hats to stockings to hooded blankets.  You can go to their business Facebook page and message them to be added to their secret group.

I found a great video that showed me how to self-line the hood so that the backside of the embroidery is hidden and it is absorbent and comfy for kids.

French Frills has their own YouTube channel for how-tos as well for learning how to attach the hood to a towel (although it is basically matching the center of the hood to the center of the towel and sewing in place).

What makes all of this more fun in my opinion is that you can personalize it for the specific child it is going to.  I simply added my niece's name, but there are all kinds of add-ons available, especially if you are open to using files from other digitizers as well.

The font I used is Ballerina from Itch2Stitch.  It has become one of my favorite fonts!

Then I just folded the towel up in thirds and then rolled each side toward the middle and secured with ribbon.

The most fun to me is the presentation.  Several French Frills' customers have posted using cake boxes to package their hooded towels.

I found this box at Walmart sold as a pack of two in the cake decorating department.  This is a window cupcake box (without the insert).  This one is 13.25" x 10.25" x 4".  Many are buying them in bulk at Amazon or BRP Box Shop.

This is the label for the boxes I purchased at Walmart.
I will be wrapping the boxed towel and the doll together and voila!  One gift is done!  Only eleventy-billion to go!

Links Shared in this Post:

In the event that you are wondering....This project was done using a Brother PE770 embroidery machine, Embrilliance Essentials, a bx embroidery font file, Heat N Bond Light to fuse the applique fabrics to the towel, Metro embroidery thread, tear-away stabilizer, water soluble stabilizer for topping, sharp Titanium needle with embroidery eye, and a pre-wound white bobbin. The appliqued face fabric is crepe; the hair fabric is flannel.  For links to where I buy all my supplies as well as general embroidery info, check my machine embroidery page on this blog, or click here.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

ITH Hand Sanitizer Case for PocketBacs

It's that time of year when we have to come up with lots of inexpensive gifts for gift exchanges.  We usually try to find our best deals on Black Friday but, this time, all the stores are doing early sales. For a ballet class gift to exchange that my daughter needed, we found a clearance dance bag at Claire's.  We needed to add something to it to make it a $10 gift so we picked up a sale PocketBac hand sanitizer at Bath & Body Works and I made a case with my embroidery machine, a simple Brother PE770.  

The case itself is a file from Bows and Clothes.  Using Embrilliance software, I added a file from Embroidery Boutique for the mini ballet shoes. I added it after the first step in the hoop.  

I had vinyl that looked like sequins in my stash.  The file required that the fabric used be something that does not fray so vinyl is perfect.  A PDF with directions is included in the embroidery file.  Once all the stitching is done, you have to cut the tear-away along the stitching so that the case opens!  I will admit that that part threw me for a second! I was very glad I had used black tearaway and black bobbin thread.  All the tearaway must be removed from all the stitching, but it is surprisingly fast and easy to do!

I used a Kam snap to complete the case.  This is a project where having a hand-held snap-setter is required.  The space is too tight for a snap press to work.  I used hardware from Mikri to allow it to be attached to the dance bag.

Links shared in this post:

  • Case for Bath & Body Works hand santizer.  This is made entirely in the hoop on an embroidery machine:  click here.
  • Bath & Body Works PocketBac hand sanitizer:  click here.  
  • Mini ballet shoe filled design: click here.
  • Swivel lobster clasp:  click here.
  • Embrilliance software:  click here.
Thank you for checking my post today.  For a gallery of my embroidery projects, links to my supplies, and videos I used to learn to do machine embroidery, check out my Machine Embroidery page on this blog, or click here.  A gallery of my paper projects can be found in the Paper Project Gallery page, or click here

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

October Stitching!

This busy summer meant that I didn't have much time for crafting so I am so excited for October and a little more time that can be spent in the craft studio!  I got back into the zone a couple of weeks ago with a class with Reen Wilcoxson, owner and designer for Embroidery Garden.  Embroidery Garden is a company that specializes in in-the-hoop embroidery projects, including fully lined and zippered bags and 3D stuffed animals.  It gave me an opportunity to just make something (which is so freeing) and it reminded me how much fun this is!  

I made this simple bag in class.

This is available to purchase on her website:  click here.  It is super easy to match stripes because of the way it is cut at the very beginning!

Last weekend, I shifted into high gear and decided to get my daughter ready for Halloween.  She typically has one costume for trick-or-treating and a second costume for ballet class.  The trick-or-treating costume has to be warm; the ballet costume has to be one she can dance in.  Once we were able to use the same costume for both, but usually it just doesn't work that way.  Since my kiddo loves dressing up, Halloween, and putting together characters, she has fun with this and prefers two different ones.  This year, her ballet Halloween costume is Minnie Mouse.  

Because all the photos of Minnie showed the edge of her bloomers...

...I thought making a crinoline would duplicate the look but be easier (and more fun!) for dancing.  It has been many, many years since I made a crinoline, but I remembered that the key to make this easier was to stitch the ruffle placement lines onto the slip first.  This means that no thread tacks or marking is needed!  I also zig zag onto a cord (I use perle cotton thread) to make gathering a cinch!  Cutting the netting was super easy by folding it into fourths and using my rotary cutter to lop off each section.  Instead of grosgrain, I find that fold over elastic is more comfortable to wear.  I used my nifty Kam snaps as a closure for the crinoline.  

The skirt and crinoline were cut from Simplicity 3836.  The skirt is a short, circular skirt with a waistband and zipper.  It only has to fit at the waist so this was really fast and easy to make.

She is wearing her required leotard, tights, and shoes.  The headband is one we bought at Disney World.  The gloves belonged to my grandmother that I had in my stash of stuff.

I gave myself the day to do the costume, but it really only took a couple of hours so I spent the rest of the day making up projects my daughter had requested when I was busier during the summer.  She uses her iPad to look at my embroidery files online that I have pinned to Pinterest.  (For info on how I have created an online "catalog" of my embroidery files and have organized them by type, theme, and vendor, check out my Organize With Pinterest page, or click here.)

Info about these designs:

Next, I made a toddler top for my little niece.  Her mommy is expecting a new baby next month so I barely got this done in time!!  

I am not gonna lie: this project put me through changes!  I got the opportunity to deal with bird nesting.  I got the opportunity to struggle with metallic thread.  Then, as if that wasn't enough, I somehow bumped my machine and the final step, stars, stitched in the wrong places, including on top of some of the text.  I figured no one would know so I tell on myself just in case you buy this file and wonder why mine looks different!  The file is from A Stitch On Time.  The thing to know about this company is that some files are instant download, some are emailed to the customer, and some require info because they are customized.  I *think* this one was an instant download.  

The headband was purchased with the satin covering.  I added the bow and spikes I made.  The ribbon used is 1-1/2" wide.

Next, I found an inexpensive fleece baby jacket and added a Halloween image to it for my little nephew who just graduated to the 3-6 months size!  This is a Garanimals brand jacket.

The little vampire is from Embroidery Library. continue telling on myself...I greatly reduced the size of this file because I had purchased it to fit my 5x7 hoop.  That works just great with Embrilliance, but I should have used the Density Repair Kit (which I also have in my Embrilliance suite) because this design was bullet-proof (as can be the case with Embroidery Library designs sometimes anyway)!  It was so dense, that it shredded and broke the thread when it tried to stitch the fangs!  

I don't exactly adore the way they chose to fill in the face color, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the what they did the hands on this design!  And I love the hair.  

The text for the name is the block font that is built in on Embrilliance.  It's the one that comes up when you add text if you don't switch it to a different one!

I also embroidered a dress for his big sister, a second-grader. 

I didn't want it to be creepy.  I went with a fairy tale Halloween look, all the way to the monogram.  I was inspired by a photo in one of the embroidery Facebook pages, but I moved the carriage to the top and switched the name to a monogram.  That switch to a monogram was really for safety as most people where I live don't put kids' names on their clothing or backpacks so that strangers won't know kids' names.  (They also aren't into monograms much either so we will be trendsetters with this.  hahaha).  

I loved this font because it had a fairy tale look to me.  This is Carson from Itch2Stitch.  I also really loved the way it stitched out with the beautiful satin stitch.

The carriage is from Applique Corner and I just loved it.  I added another "C" from Carson on the applique in my software.

And back to Embroidery Garden, I made her Owl Stuftie for my daughter.  This was an easy, easy project.  The entire project is made on the hoop using the step-by-step directions that come in the file. 

Once all the sewing steps are complete, the excess fabric is trimmed off and the owl is turned, stuffed with polyfil, and the bottom opening is slip-stitched closed.  The finished owl has a pocket on the back that is perfect for placing a note or gift card.  When I took the class earlier in the month from Reen, she told us that she NOW likes to use poly mesh stabilizer instead of the tearaway that the pattern calls for.  As a person who has made several in-the-hoop stuffed toys, I can tell you that the poly mesh makes a HUGE difference.  So I am passing that tip to you too!  I also did not use the Heat N Bond Lite for the applique.  I always use it for garment appliques or for anything that will be laundered, but this project never will.  I didn't see a change in not using it on this owl.  

So that was the result of my binge sewing and all brought on by a simple and fun class!  I am looking forward to stitching for Christmas next!  And I have an upcoming paper crafting retreat so that might help me get my paper craft on again!

Links shared in this post:
All of my embroidery projects are done on my Brother PE770 and all designs are put into my Embrilliance software before taking to my machine to stitch out.  For info on where I get my stabilizers and other tools and supplies, check out my Machine Embroidery page, or click here.

Thank you for checking my post today!  

Monday, July 27, 2015

Digitizing a Custom Snap Tab Key Fob with Stitch Artist

I received Embrilliance Stitch Artist earlier this month and have been learning some of the many features by watching videos. The first project that I have figured out myself and have shared on the embroidery Facebook groups is a custom snap tab design.  After posting it, I was asked by stitchers on two groups how I did certain parts so I am sharing all my notes here.  This photo tutorial explains how I use True Type Fonts with bean stitching to create snap-tab-style key fobs and tags.  Near the end, I also share my notes on doing this with a purchased font.   I highly recommend watching the BriTonLeap (official Embrilliance YouTube) videos on the Stitch Artist playlist before doing this. They are very helpful for explaining so many of the basic controls and features.

I will preface this whole tutorial by saying that I am really, really new to Stitch Artist and these are just my notes on what I have figured out.  There are most probably better ways to achieve this, but as a newbie, this is what I have to share.  I highly suggest being familiar with your embroidery machine and having had the experience of stitching out professionally-designed snap tabs before doing your own because it helps to know what the normal, standard snap tab design is all about.  Free ones are available on Facebook pages for Buggalena and Bean Stitchers.  I have links to my materials and any sites I reference at the bottom of this post.

I start by opening Stitch Artist in Embrilliance.

I originally drew a tab shape with points after measuring my hardware so that I had a shape that was 2" by 5/8", but I soon realized that the easiest way to duplicate this project with a set "tab" top was by saving an image that I could trace each time.  I took a screen shot and saved it.   (If you don't know how to do a screenshot, you can learn how to do that on a PC by clicking here to access a post I did that includes that info.)

With this saved, I can then select the image button to bring the picture to the virtual mat and have my own standard size that fits my hardware every time.    

I find my image that I have saved and click open.  This will just give me something to trace easily.

The captured image appears on the virtual mat.

I size it by grabbing the lower right sizing handle and I drag it diagonally until it is 2" tall. That handle will enlarge both the height and width proportionately.  This will make a tab that is 2" x 5/8".  (After it is stitched and trimmed, it will be 3/4" which is the size of the inside dimension of my 1" swivel clips that I will be snapping these around.  The tab can be sized to anything.  For instance, I will be making them larger for luggage tags in the future!)

Next,  I add text.  I click the Add True Type Art button.  This allows me to choose any font on my computer to make a name.  (There are other ways to add lettering but this is how I did it for this example).  I can always add new system fonts by going to sites like Dafont and installing them.  (If you need info on how to do that, you can click here for instruction from a post I did related to paper crafting.)

The TrueType Art box opens.  I type in a name and select a font.  I hit OK...

And the name appears on the screen as an outline.  I size using the handles and rotate.  (The blue dot allows for rotation).  I move the name to the right location using the picture of the tab as a reference. 

I fill the TrueType artwork using the Satin Column button.  

The letters are filled automatically but I can still adjust the satin column stitching and the outline as I want.  In this case, I did not.

The dotted red lines show me the jump stitches that will happen upon stitch-out.  I click on the first letter to see the red and green bowtie icons.  The green bowtie will be where the machine will start stitching this letter.  The red bowtie is where the stitching will end.  I move the bowties so that the end of one letter's stitch-out is very near where the next letter's stitch-out will begin.  

I have moved the green bowtie to where I want the stitching to start for the name.  The red is where that letter will stop stitching.

I can see that I will want to move the start of the letter 'a' near the end of the letter 'C' to shorten that jump stitch.

I can see that the line (now black) between the 'C' and the 'a' is short.  I can see that the 'r' needs to have its start and stop changed too.

I continue this for each letter all the way to the end of the name.

After I change all the letters' stop and start points the way that I want them, I work on the outline of the name and tab.  I click on the Draw With Points button.

I begin to trace my drawing of the tab.  I start at the botton and use the control key as needed to make straight lines or curved lines.  Whenever I make an error, I use my keyboard's backspace button to remove the last point or points.  Once the tab is drawn with points, I start outlining the letters of the name, leaving a little space.

Once I travel all around the name and am close to the point where I started....

I click the Close-Open Outline button.

And now my name and tab are outlined by a closed shape.

I no longer need that picture of the tab so I look over at the Objects window to the right...

And click on the word 'Design'.  This only selects the picture, not the outline I just drew.

I click the delete button on my keyboard and the design picture is removed.  I am left with just the stitching of the letters and the drawn outline.

I can click on the outline if I see something that needs an adjustment and move the line by moving the points.

Next, I change my drawn outline to a stiched line by clicking the Run button.


I click the Run tab on the Properties box to get options for my run.  Next to the top Type, I select:  Bean.  For length, I chose: 3.2mm.  For the second Type field, I choose "3-passes." 

At this point, I have letters that will stitch and an outline, but I want to make a fabric placement line. I do that by adding a basting box.  I click Utility then "Baste Design" (NOT Baste Hoop).  

Embrilliance automatically makes this the first stitched out element.  It is only temporary, meant to use to hold the fabric in place.  

Next, I think about that bean stitch and where I want to start and stop the stitching.  I don't like it when the stitching starts and stops on the tab.  Somehow it tends to "show" to me.  I like it near the bottom.  Since the lettering will also end near the bottom, it makes sense to use it for a starting place.

This is where I have moved the start and stop bowties.

I look at a virtual stitch-out to check my work.

I am happy with this. Note: this design is in two colors even though I will be stitching in only one color because I want the stitching to stop so I can place a piece of vinyl under my hoop before the bean stitch is done.

I save and print it.  (I like a print out to use at the embroidery machine.) I move the file to my machine and stitch out the basting box and lettering.  (I hoop black tear-away and plan to float the vinyl I am using for the top of my snap tabs.  I am using black vinyl for my finished back).  

I only have planned for one basting box in my file.  I know where my fabric will be placed on the hoop based on the print out but I can stitch the basting box to use as a fabric placement on the stabilizer and then stitch it again to hold the fabric in place by manually doing that on my machine if I want to.  I allow the lettering to stitch out.  I remove the hoop from the machine....

I use a textile spray and tape to put a second piece of vinyl on the back of the hoop to cover the back of the stitches.

I place the hoop back in the machine and allow the bean stitch to stitch out.  Once complete, I remove the basting box.  This is the front.

This is the back.

I trim around the bean stitch and add a Kam snap and hardware.

For info on how to apply a Kam snap, click here.

I wanted to try a snap tab with a purchased font too.  I have tons of those and choose Stitchtopia Mayah.  Again, I bring in the image of the tab top.  Then I click the Create Letters and type in the name.  Stitchtopia has .bx files for all of the fonts they sell so it is very easy to make this name.  I adjusted the letters so that they were touching like script.  

The kids in our family call my mom Gaga.  

I follow the steps above to create an outline, remove the image, and add a design basting box.  I made the length of the bean stitch on this as 4mm, just to experiment.

My stitch-out made me think of the options for using this technique for making custom luggage tags. 

To explain this outlining bean stitch, this was also a 3-pass bean stitch, but I stitched it before adding my vinyl backing so I re-stitched it after the backing was placed.  

I hope these notes are helpful to you!

Links to products and information shared on this post:
  • Embrilliance Stitch Artist:  click here.
  • BriTonLeap (Embrilliance official Youtube channel) Stitch Artist video playlist:  click here.
  • Dafont site for free fonts to add to your computer:  click here.
  • Marine and glitter vinyl, metal swivel lobster claw clasps, and Kam Snap source (MikriWorld):  click here.
  • Kam Snap installation video:  click here.
  • Black tear away and black pre-wound bobbins (World Weidner):  click here.
  • Stitchtopia Mayah font:  click here.
  • Buggalena closed Facebook page for free designs in their files:  click here.  Buggalena also has a website with great designs to purchase:  click here.
  • Bean Stitchers closed Facebook page for free designs in their files:  click here.  The Bean Stitch also has a website with great designs to purchase:  click here.
Name snap tab that I created with Stitch Artist and a ballet snap tab from a file I purchased from The Bean Stitch.
Thank you for checking my blog post today.  For all of my notes on machine embroidery and Embrilliance, links to my resources, and photo links to my previous embroidery-related projects, check out my Embrilliance and Embroidery page at the tab at the top of the blog or click here.  For my paper projects, check out my Paper Project Gallery or click here.

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

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