Now that you have some of the basic things down pat (right?), we can move along to some other things, like the fun stuff with ME and sewing! This selection will include a simple project I think everyone will not only enjoy doing, but giving as a gift as well.
First and foremost we are going to discuss some of the tips, tricks and hints I have been talking about. Let us take for example just getting ready to do this project we are going to do today. What is the first thing you do? Do you first look at the field on which the embroidery will be going? Or do you first find a design to put on "something"? OK! Here's the scoop, we all want to have more time to do our craft, am I right? Yep! I thought so! So here is a list of things to consider when working on any project.
The first thing you should do is look at the item you have chosen to do the embroidery on, while looking at it, just for kicks, let's go ahead and find the exact center. Second, what design(s) have you chosen for it? Again, for the heck of it, let's go ahead and re-size our design(s) and move them to either our card or machine ( whatever you do for your brand of machine). So, now we are ready to begin sewing,right? Not quite yet.
Next let's go ahead and check the needle and if necessary, change it. Now prepare your colors on your Thread Pilot or if you are changing them one at a time, place them all to your right within easy reach. Prepare all of your necessary bobbins (this project will likely take two), place them within easy reach of your machine. Now do your test sew, and because I only had one of these I used a piece of cotton fabric, as I only wanted to make sure the re-sized design sewed out properly. Once this is done to your satisfaction, save the design to the machine for safe keeping. This will hold all the settings you have created with your test sew. Once the test is done and you are satisfied with it, remove it from the hoop, then prepare the hoop for the actual stitch out,and set it up ready to sew.
What the test sew should have told you is (a) what type of stabilizer (b) is the design big enough for your item (c) how long it took to complete (d) what colors to use (e) was the needle type working well with the design (f) Was the proper speed working well with the design. Now I know this doesn't sound like much but when you put it all together, it is more that you think,
By now you have already completed for the project, (1) the item prepared and already centered for your design (2) your thread colors set up on your Thread Pilot (3) your design(s) re-sized and moved to your machine (4) sewn out with your test sew (5) the stabilizers chosen (6) needle type (7) made any necessary changes in the design, needles and stabilizers (8) prepared the hoop for the actual project (9) saved it to the machine (10) wound your bobbins (11) moved everything where you need it to be for the actual project.
Now you are ready to sew the design to the actual project. By doing all of this as you go along, it will save you so much time, instead of going back and doing them later. When you do that, you are actually performing the same tasks twice!
This is called "Time Management". It is very important in everything we do, especially if you are still a working person and have little time to sew as it is. While working in the factory I learned really fast how to make the most of the time available to sew. You see, in doing this type of sewing everything is based on time. How long does it take for each step you are performing, and how many can a person do in an hour. By watching ourselves, and how we do certain things, we can improve on how we do them. The best way to do this, short of videotaping yourself, is to keep a written journal of the steps you take when doing your ME or sewing. Just number the paper from 1 to 25 and jot down each step as you do it, to complete a project. Once you have it in writing, it is easy to see how many steps it takes you to complete this project and what you can do to save yourself some time. There is something about having it in writing that makes you aware of the steps you have made to get the most out of your time. Many of us spend more time getting ready to sew than actually sewing, me included at times! (We won't go there!)
I stack all items within easy reach, most of the time I don't even get up from my chair, except to do a thread change. I clip the thread as close to the Thread Pilot as I can and still get it into the tension spring, then tie the new color to the previously used one, then pull all of it through to the needle, thread the needle and start again. Rather than having to completely re-thread every time I have to change a color.
I keep all of my stabilizers at the right of the machine and have them low enough that I can cut them from the wall unit. All of my thread is behind the machine, but the frequently used ones are at my right hand side. All of my scissors I keep on the right of my machine, as well as the bobbins I will be needing for the project, and my Sidewinder. Extra needles in the right hand drawer, as well as the screwdriver I use for my hoops and needles. The trash basket is also to the right of me within easy reach to discard anything I need to. If I am sewing multiple items, I keep them to the left of me so I can grab them easily. the main thing to remember is keep everything within easy reach and close proximity of your machine, without getting too cluttered. As you all know , though this is only a small part of the tips and tricks i was referring to, not necessarily a shortcut but more like training yourself to be more aware of what tasks you are performing and how you are completing each one.
Now here is the project I promised you all! I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to one of our Central Florida Gals, so:
Introducing Norrie and her Laundry Hamper/ Diaper Stacker! Norrie brought this project to the luncheon we had, and I thought it was really cool and different, not something everyone would think to embroider on for sure! The good news is that it has a dual purpose, it can be a laundry hamper or diaper stacker. It would be really awesome as a personal baby shower gift, or just to give to your kids to entice them to clean up their rooms! ( yeah right) I would also imagine that it could be used to store toys in as well - you could even personalize it for them.
To complete this project you will need:
1 Mesh Type Pop-up Laundry Basket
Ann The Gran's Happy Animals Design Set
1 Piece of Ann The Gran Water Soluble Stabilizer/Adhesive Back
1 Piece of Ann The Gran Water Soluble Stabilizer for the toping
The first thing to do is to turn the laundry hamper inside out. I made the design larger with Catalog Express, so it would better suit the size of the embroidery field. Now cut a piece of Ann The Gran's Water Soluble/Adhesive Back and put it on your hoop by peeling the backing off part of the way so you can attach it to the bottom of the hoop. Lay it on your work area and then pull the rest of the backing off so as to attach it the rest of the way on the hoop, making sure it is a snug fit on the hoop, with no wrinkles. Cut off the excess stabilizer, making sure it fits snugly on your hoop and won't slip in any way. Next lay your laundry basket onto the sticky surface and smooth out gently with your hands to attach the two together. Now lay on your piece of Ann The Gran's Water Soluble Stabilizer and fit your hoop together, making sure it is smooth and gently smoothing it with your hands. (I will be honest with you, you may need the help of someone depending on your hoop type to help you tighten the hoop) Snug your hoop together as tightly as you can without stripping the screw; it must be fairly tight or it will pop out of the hoop. You are now ready to position it on the machine and lock it in, being careful not to pop the hoop. I also slowed my machine speed down as I thought it would aide in the stitching out so as not to jar it too much and pop the hoop. I used a "Sharps" needle because of the type of material it was being sewn on.
This is what it should look like after hooping it. (Photo courtesy of: Norrie)
I then began stitching the design to the basket.
Once it got started good I then was able to take a bit of a break until the color change.
(Photos courtesy of T. Alcumbrack)
It was not too bad clipping the threads, and changing colors, at least not as bad as I first thought. Thanks to Norrie for supplying me with the directions and some photos so I knew how to do this project.
All you do when the design is complete is to turn the basket right side out. Here is the finished product, a cute and lovable Kangaroo and Baby! Perfect for a diaper stacker!
It was an enjoyable project that is easily completed in an hour or less by anyone from beginner to seasoned ME'er! I purposely chose a design with very few color changes, as I think with this project it is much better with having to reach inside the basket to clip threads and do colors changes. I found Ann's Designs a joy to sew as well, they had only one time I actually had to trim a jump thread. Thanks Ann for designing the animals to sew out with few jump threads. Ann always makes it so easy for me to do a project!!
A special Thanks to Norrie for her idea, and the use of her photos and directions. For taking the time to do this so I could feature her in this blog, she is a very busy lady so for her to do this was extra special for me!
Suzy's Tip Of The Week! By keeping your sewing room clean, it is a huge time saver! I like to clean up after every time in there, that way I know where things are when I return to it. Not having to look for everything when you begin is a big time saver as well. You can actually start your project instead of having to clean up before you begin. I know if you are like me you would rather be sewing than cleaning, but trust me it is worth the effort!
Remember to kiss someone you love today!
Selvage: The edge of a piece of fabric, to prevent unraveling and is cut off before you start sewing. It also provides information about the fabrics such as design, manufacturer, colors in the fabric and the direction of the design or pattern.
Hem: a finished edge, usually folded under and stitched also referred to as the bottom edge.
Notch: On a concave curve, to make clips to allow for flattening the seam
Til Next Time>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Happy Stitchin!