The Intermediate Embroiderer’s Bucket List

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The Intermediate Embroiderer’s Bucket List

Last week, I posted the Embroiderer’s Bucket List for newbies. If you missed it, click here.   Many of you commented on the list – some of you have already checked off all 10 items while others promised to work through the list. Here’s a new list for those of you who are ready to move on to more challenging machine embroidery tasks.

  1. Embroider a t-shirt.  Placement is crucial when placing a design on the left chest. It should sit fairly high on the chest as you want to avoid the bull’s eye effect on the bust point. Also, embroidery that drifts close to the sleeve seam and/or armpit is very unprofessional. Use Designs’ Perfect Placement Kit left chest template for added insurance.
  2. Embroider a sweatshirt.  Bulky sweatshirts can be cumbersome when hooped so tame it by turning it inside out and resting the bulk of the garment above the hoop. Plan the embroidery placement, fuse polymesh stabilizer to the wrong side of the design area and turn the garment inside out. Hoop the design area and ‘open’ the shirt to expose the design area. Carefully attach the hoop to the machine.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

  3. Edge Embroidery- try a border hoop, you’ll enjoy the simplicity of the clamp-style hoop. Plan your designs close to the fabric/garment edge and stitch away!
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

  4. Appliqué.  When I teach across the country, I’m always amazed to learn how many embroiderers haven’t tried an appliqué design. Now’s the time – I’ll bet you’ll love how much impact appliqué adds with just a little effort.
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

  5. 3-d appliqué.  It literally pops off the fabric. It’s fun, eye-catching and quite doable. These pretty little winged creatures adorned the first cover of Designs.
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

  6. Stitch a border with evenly spaced designs. Learn how to plan the whole layout, and then adjust as the stitching proceeds. Measure the length of the fabric, measure the design, divide by a manageable number (this is the number of repeats) and mark the fabric. Start stitching, then continue to check the placement after you add each design.
  7. Stitch a matching set of napkins. You would think monogramming a set of napkins would appear on the newbie bucket list. But it’s actually a fairly tricky project. First, you want all the napkins to match and you really don’t want to purchase 3 or 4 extra just to get 6 that look alike. Since the monogram is normally placed close to a corner (either on-point or straight) it can be challenging to hoop. Just ask my Stitching Sister, Marie Zinno, she created these gorgeous napkins.
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

  8. Embellish the back pocket of a pair of blue jeans.  You only get one chance to do this right so it’s imperative to set your self up for success. First, measure the pocket and select a design that fills the space. Second, fuse the pocket shut so that you’ll be stitching one layer of fabric – not two. Here’s a popular Designs cover from the past.
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

  9. Design a layout for a skirt.  A skirt is a large (usually!) blank canvas. It’s the easiest garment to flesh your design skills on because a basic a-line skirt has straight seams, one horizontal hem and minimal tailoring features. You’ll learn how embroidery draws the eye to the figure – sometimes that’s a good thing sometimes not!
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

  10. Create buttonholes with your embroidery machine.  Let your embroidery machine do one of sewing’s most daunting tasks – buttonholes. All you have to worry about is marking the placement of the buttonholes and the digital file will take over the rest – making perfect duplicates, taming bulky layers of fabric and providing clean, crisp stitches. I’ve shown you how to do this in a previous post – click here for details on buttonholes.

    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Thanks for reading!

Reprinted with permission from Eileen's Blog.

Comments (1) -

chunsaker50 9/22/2012 2:27:56 PM

I just got my first Eileen's Blog. Thank you for sharing all the wonderful information. I've been digitizing and machine embroidering 14 years and I just learned 2 great tricks...buttonholes and zippers. I'm so excited to try them.  God Bless You for sharing your knowledge!

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Keeping It Simple - Framed Corkboard Makeover

Keeping It Simple - Framed Corkboard Makeover

I love browsing garage sales to see what bargains I can find.  Recently, with my granddaughters’ bedroom makeovers in mind, I perused some local sales and came home with a few things I knew I could transform into some adorable, and useful, accent pieces for them.

First, I decided to alter an old (and very ugly) framed corkboard into a darling embroidered board for pictures and notecards.  In my excitement I forgot to take a before picture, but imagine an old, green, peeling frame that held  corkboard pieces that were covered in stickers and tape.  It was in desperate need of a little TLC and creativity. It cost me 50 cents.  And as a bonus the girls got to make some glittery clothespins one hot afternoon.

Here is the final décor piece:


What you’ll need:

-an old frame

-corkboard cut to fit frame

-spray paint

-fabric cut to fit corkboard (I cut mine 5” longer and wider than the corkboard)

-40 wt. embroidery thread

-embroidery design of choice (you can download the butterfly below.)

-tear away or cut away stabilizer


-various ribbons cut to fit across corkboard plus at least two inches

-pins, paperclips, or clothespins (We painted ours with glue and added glitter)


 Here is what you do:

1.       Spray paint the frame in your desired colors (I did 3 coats).

2.       Find the center of your fabric using your preferred method.  I simply folded the fabric in half lengthwise and pressed a small crease in the center.  I then unfolded the fabric and folded in half again, this time widthwise, and pressed another crease in the center.  When the fabric is unfolded you will see that your two creases intersect providing you with a visual of the center point of your fabric.

3.       Choose your embroidery design, print a template and pin this to the center of your fabric.

4.       Hoop the stabilizer and fabric making sure to roll and pin the extra fabric as needed so that it stays out of the way while embroidering.


5.       Load your chosen design into your machine. (you can download the butterfly below.)

6.       Slide the hoop into your machine, center the needle and remove the embroidery design template.  If using a lightweight design it is a good idea to match your bobbin thread to your chosen embroidery thread colors rather than using plain bobbin thread.  Embroider the design.

7.       Remove the hoop and cut away any excess stabilizer.

 8.       Fit the embroidered fabric around the corkboard and staple to the back.

 9.If using a frame with two openings, as I did, cover the second corkboard with fabric and staple as well.

10.       Lay your ribbon as desired (I put mine horizontally) and staple to the back.

11.       Add pins or clips as desired to hold your photos or cards.

A great accent piece for their new bedroom.  We should be done painting today or tomorrow.  Next time we hope to begin to show off a few Pottery Barn knock-offs that will be completed using the embroidery machine.  In the meantime enjoy the butterfly design. 

Take care,


Butterfly (138.2KB)
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