Fathers and Dads and Daddies and Grandpas and Poppies, oh my!

This one's for you, Daddy
When I was small we didn't have a lot of money. Sometimes I don't think we had any. As time went on my parents incomes improved. But they didn't really change their lifestyle very much. Oh, the year I left for college they did carpet my bedroom (which had become my sister's room) and installed central air conditioning. But basically they lived the same simple kind of life they always had. They were saving for their retirement. In 1980 my father fulfilled his dream by moving to a golf club community in Wildwood, Florida. The children and I followed soon after, which is how I ended up in Orlando. Eighteen months later I held my father's hand as he breathed his last breath. All that saving and planning and he barely had a chance to enjoy it. 

I think of my father almost every day, but especially on March 5, which was his birthday, and on Fathers' Day. It's probably a Southern thing for grown women to still call their fathers "Daddy" and I did that terrible day and I will always think of my father as Daddy. I was thinking of him as I worked on the Fathers' Day project here. He never did get to meet his great grandchildren. He would have gotten such a kick out of them!

A year after my father died I met Bill, and a year after that Bill and I were married. What a prince of a man to marry a woman with two teenagers! Bill became the father my children needed and is the only grandfather their children have ever known. I think about him on Fathers'  Day, too, and this project is for him.

Grandpa's All Stars
This isn't a difficult project, but you do need some embroidery software, some graphics software, printable fabric and a printer. I used Alphabet XPress, PE-design, Photoshop, Bubble Jet Set, satin fabric, a Canon printer and KK 2000 temporary embroidery adhesive. You can use any kind of printable fabric, available at many craft and fabric stores. I just happened to have prepared fabric with Bubble Jet Set a long time ago and really needed to begin using it.

Create your lettering
I used Alphabet XPress with the alphabets Athlete and String Bean (string Bean is included with Alphabet XPress). First I created "ALL STARS" and saved the file. Then I created "Grandpa's," imported the ALL STARS file, lined them up the way I wanted them and saved that file.

Assemble the design
You need some stars and I know just where to find them! Go to the Celestial Page on the Free Designs section. Download the 4th design in the 6th row. When you unzip the file you'll find a bunch of stars. Choose the one that's a satin stitch outline.

Open the saved lettering in your embroidery digitizing or editing software. Import or merge the star and duplicate as many times as you need for the All Stars in your family. You may have to reduce the size to fit them all in. If so, be sure to use the method that corrects the stitch count. Arrange the stars in a way that is pleasing to your eye.

When all the stars are arranged, draw a running stitch just inside the border of each star.  If you're smarter than I was you'll do this for the first star you import or merge and then duplicate and arrange both parts. I was about half way through before I realized that I could, or should Confused , have done it this way to save some time. Use a color that you can see. Those will be the placement lines for the appliqués. Of course you don't want to stitch the alignment lines on top of the satin stitch and you don't want to stitch them in block, or whatever contrasting color you used so that you could see what you were doing when you drew them. So the next step is to rearrange the design parts, putting the placement lines before the satin stitches and changing the color to match.     



I've used garnet and gold, the colors of my alma mater, Florida State University (Go, Noles!). Of course you'll use whatever colors you like, even orange and blue if you really must.

Create your stars
After you've saved the design, save it again with a different name (so you don't shoot yourself in the foot and overwrite the design you've just created). Now delete every part of the design except the running stitch placement lines. Change the color of the lines to black. Print this design. It will be your template to create the stars and your pattern to cut them out.

I'm afraid you're going to have to be on your own as far as creating the pictures. Your graphics software and your ability to use it will vary. This is the way I did it in Photoshop and the same way you would do it in PaintShop Pro, Photoshop Elements or Corel PhotoPaint. I scanned the printout 1:1 so that the stars would be the correct size. Then I used the magic wand tool to select the inside of the first star.You'll know it's selected when you see the "running ants" around the perimeter.I dropped a photo on it and resized the photo until I could see most of the face. Then I pasted the photo down and erased the part that wasn't inside the star. I did this by reversing the mask (selected area) and deleting. I repeated this for each star. I had to be careful that when I resized the photos no parts of them were overlapping other photos. When I was finished, I printed the page on the fabric I had prepared.

Time to stitch!
Now comes the really easy part. First iron the fabric onto some light weight fusible stabilizer of  interfacing. This is just to give it some body so it will be easy to cut and so that the edges won't fray. Now cut out your stars, spray the backs with temporary embroidery adhesive and put them aside. Hoop the t-shirt or whatever you're going to put the design on. Some dads don't or won't wear t-shirts so you might want to make a pillow or wall hanging instead. Turn on your machine and load the design. When you come to the place where you've just stitched the placement lines, stop and put your fabric stars in place. The temporary embroidery adhesive will hold them down. If you have to remove the hoop, be sure to take it off and put it back on very carefully so you don't knock the design out of alignment. Now finish stitching. That's about it. I'll bet you can come up with several variations on this theme, Mom's School Bus with the children's faces in the windows, Grandma's garden with the faces in flower centers, etc. If you do, I'd love to see pictures.

Now, turn off your computers and sew something! Happy Fathers' Day to all the dads and granddads in your families! TTYL


Comments (12) -

travelbug1237 6/13/2008 12:12:16 PM

Oh Ann,

 Thanks for sharing such a poignant memory with us this morning.

Some of us don't have our dads living any longer either, but for those who do,

the WONDERFUL t-shirt project & instructions you laid out so clearly will

definitely be a  hit with those who still are alive.


What a lovely memory of your dad.   I know he knows how much you care.  And your husband is my idea of a real man, taking over for an absent parent is the highest act of love in my opinion.  

Just downloaded Alphabet Xpress and looking forward to working with it.

Your creativity is inspiring!  I have been a fan for so many years, thanks, Ann, for sharing with us!

BTW - Dad was a handsome devil, wasn't he (giggling).

I think this is a great way to display pictures of family members

jalcumbrack 6/13/2008 3:19:17 PM

Yes Ann,I still call mine "Daddy" as well. He and my Mom both are gone as well,he in 96 and her in 98.This is a wonderful project for those that still have their Daddy's though and I will use it for another project I have been thinking about for a birthday I have coming up.Thanks for the great idea !

Ann I enjoyed it so much thanks for sharing.


squaredancer73 6/13/2008 3:38:44 PM

You story brought back so many memories Ann, we too lost our Dad within the year after he had finally retired at 62 so they could enjoy winters in Florida, he managed to have one...we still have our mom though and she celebrated her 95th on Mother's Day, so we are blessed..Happy Father's Day to Bill, had the pleasure of meeting him in Orlando this past April...have a great weekend, both of you and your family..

designerlady 6/13/2008 4:28:07 PM

Ann, I too called my Father,, "Daddy" til the day he passed. He was 88 yrs. old and I  still remember him introducing me to the hospital staff as his Baby. I truly was a Daddy's girl. Your story brought a tear to my eye, Then when I saw your Daddy's picture, I couldn't believe how much he resembled my Daddy. With the horned rim glasses and that distinguished mustache and of course the shirt and tie. Years ago I referred my Daddy to my dentist and on my next visit to the dentist he told me that he really was impressed with My Daddy and couldn't get over that he wore a dress shirt and tie to have a dental check-up. Oh how we laughed at that. I always thought he was the most handsome man in the world. I still keep his picture on my nite stand along with my Son. Not only was he the Best looking Daddy, he was the BEST DADDY. I still miss him and love him. I know that he is watching over me... Happy Father's Day to all The Daddy's including my Hubby and Son.


tourlady522 6/13/2008 4:28:48 PM

Great Story and Project. Thanks for sharing with us. I too lost my dad a few years ago and still miss him. His Birthday was this week and I always say Happy Birthday to him on his special day.

What a beautiful story.  My daddy has been gone now for quite a few years, but like Marlene, I can't believe how much he favored your dad.  His hair wasn't nearly as white, but he wore the big glasses and had the mustache.  Mama said she never in all the years they were married saw him without it.  The year after he died, to console myself, I made a memory quilt from all his work shirts.  It took me the whole year, I sewed it and quilted it by hand and every stitch was a comfort.  Now every time I look at it I think of him and his huge heart.  I am ever so thankful that I was a Southern girl growing up with a "daddy".

Ann, thanks for sharing that memory w/ us. I still have my father. He is 88 years young. My mom passed away 34 years ago and he (and all of us) still miss her dearly. I am lucky that he is still with us and is in relatively good health. He has lived to see not only his grand children, but some great grand children, as well. He is a dear person and I enjoy speaking w/ him every week.

Kath :o)


I lost my father suddenly in 2001 with no chance to have a last goodbye.  I also met my husband 1 year after losing my father.  Father's day is still very painful for me.  While I do my best for my children to celebrate  in my husband's honor & for his father who is still living,I am left to my own memories of my father to enjoy since the people I am surrounded did not have the honor of knowing my father.  I have embroidered shirts for both my husband and father in law.  My favorite so far is one that says"Papa's Keepers" and has eight little fish(one for each grandkid) with each kids name swimming around the front of the shirt.  There will not be any shirts this Father's Day though, sadly, my machine is in for maintenance at the time.  Keep up the great work Ann, I love your website.


Please login to comment