Off Center?

 I hope everyone is having a great summer! We are in denial over here that SCHOOL starts back in 2 WEEKS. In 2 weeks I will be crying over enjoying my very last day of summer 2013. I have mixed emotions as I do every year. On the one hand, all 3 of my children will be at the same school on the same schedule. But… my youngest also starts REAL Kindergarten which makes me a little sad. Not looking forward to getting up at the crack of dawn and doing carpool twice a day. But… we are already getting up sort of early (see later part of post) and entertaining them all day can be exhausting. Looking forward to the routine. Not looking forward to homework X 3 and all the tears that first month or so which I like to call the adjustment period. You know.. the “I can’t BeLiEvE you are making me do homework when it is so pretty outside!!!” (lots of drama and tears)

Anyway… I have been doing a little work the past 2 weeks. This morning I had on my to-do list a Baby Elephant onesie with “Blake” underneath. I did a post a couple of years ago about designs that are centered, but have features that make them APPEAR off center. It’s not a design flaw. It’s just that some designs have tails, noses, trunks, vines, etc. that throw the main part of the design off center while the entire designs itself IS, in fact, centered. Here is a great example!

This is my screen in Sew What Pro, and as you can see, the elephant is centered and the name is centered underneath. (p.s. I used Monogram Wizard Plus “Kazoo” font) So everything is centered, but because the main body of the elephant is to the right a bit, the whole thing appears off center. The name needs to line up more with the feet of the elephant to make it appear centered.

center 2

I kept Blake centered, and moved the elephant to the left. Even though the elephant is now NOT centered, it appears centered because the name and feet line up more. I could save this as is and stick it on my machine to sew, but my machine is going to center the whole thing again so it will turn out off center. Are you confused yet?? Before I save a design, I press the CENTER button in SWP one last time, and had I pressed it it would have shifted this whole design to the right and then Blake would have been off center (to the right). So…….

center 3

I thought… why don’t I add something to the design that I won’t sew, but that will make and keep the design centered on the onesie. In the previous blog post I mentioned, I added a word or name underneath and then centered the applique and did not sew the name or word underneath. Today I thought.. why not add a “.”? So as you can see below, I added a dot (MWP Motif SySerif 26) to the right. My name and design is “centered” looking on the screen so it will appear centered on the onesie. The dot is also last in all of my steps, so I will just skip it!


Here is the finished onesie. As you can see, the name Blake is centered and the legs of the elephant are centered over the name, therefore the whole design appears centered on the onesie!


I also did a backpack today so I snapped a few pics to share. This is your typical Jansport backpack. I used a seam ripper to remove the Jansport label (which did not “go” with the cute hot pink backpack). It took me all of 3 minutes to get the label off.


Here it is after I removed the label. A lint brush took care of the loose threads.


This picture is a smidge blurry but I covered where the label was with our Frame Patch 5 (minus the inner patch) and MWP Party Time monogram. Keep this in mind when you are out backpack shopping! I also did this last year with some mini designs ~ see this post!


We have also been working on new designs, and this is a Mini Applique Pumpkin I did on a onesie the other day. Mini designs are great for onesies & baby gowns.


And now to the reason we are getting up early… we added to our family last week! Our kids have been b-e-g-g-i-n-g for a dog for the past few years. We kept saying “when Mallory is older” “when Mallory is 5”. Well, Mallory turned 5 in February so they put us under some serious pressure. We were able to put them off until August so that we could enjoy our vacations this summer out of town, and I found this little girl while at the beach a couple of weeks ago. All of the kids were out of town last Thursday when I picked her up, so Jeff & I were able to enjoy {and prepare} her for a couple of days with no kids. Browder got home from camp Saturday morning and was shocked and surprised when he saw her! The other 2 got back Sunday afternoon and were also shocked and surprised! They LOVE her, although I think the newness is wearing off a bit. She is a Maltese and we named her Maggie (or Maggy as Browder spells it on Instagram). She is teeny tiny but has already grown since we got her!

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If you have any puppy training tips, please let me know! We are crate training her to sleep and potty training her to go outside. The tee tee part is going well with only 1 accident (that I have FOUND). The poo poo part is a bit more challenging. Those are NOT raisinettes we keep finding all over the rug. She likes fabric! We try to keep her busy and entertained with her toys.

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Mallory gave her this little stuffed pink puppy, so they took a nap earlier today.

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The kids LOVE her!

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This is where we found her the other night after she first met Mallory & G and had all 5 of us swooning over her. This is the back corner of our den behind the chair. She is precious, and hopefully the potty training and sleeping-all-night will kick in. Again, any tips? Email me!!

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Feeling Crafty!

I recently “ran out” of my blog hosting services from when I switched over to WordPress (from my old Blogger blog). Meaning I paid a big fee to have it converted over which included a year or so of hosting. I am now paying monthly, and I HAVE GOT to start posting more to justify that money. With that being said, I vow to do better! School starts in a couple of weeks and this year I will have 4 mornings free (a few hours each morning) with the 5th morning having only 1 child at home, so I *think* I will have more free time (ha ha we know how that goes).

Last week was our last family vacation of the summer. We spent the week in Perdido, FL and for the most part spent some fun time with the whole Gulledge family (Jeff’s parents, sister and bro and their spouses and the kids’ cousins). It was so much fun! When I say “for the most part” I mean that we got a couple of days w/ Jeff’s bro and his new wife and several days with Jeff’s parents. We stayed the whole week. Here’s a pic of the kids on our last night. Mallory has on one of my favorite Applique Cafe designs ~ Loopy Flower. Garrison is about to start Kindergarten while Mallory will do Pre-K 4 and Browder is going in to 3rd grade (sob sob where did my babies go?)

 Here is what I have been doing the past couple of days. Wednesday afternoon I met my mom half way and she took all 3 kids for a few days so that Jeff & I could have a “break” (which translates to me monogramming for 2 days). Yesterday I was super lonely. Today Jeff & I met for lunch and then I ran several much-needed errands, which was nice to be able to do ALONE! Not to mention I treated myself to my last pedi of the summer. Anyway, these are super duper cute backpack laundry bags brought to me (graduation gifts) to monogram. My customer found these at Marshalls (try TJ Maxx?) and I think they were like $8.99/each. I know Bed Bath and Beyond sells them too but maybe only in black?

Drawstring at the top. I took these photos quickly before she came to pick them up yesterday so sorry they aren’t great.

Backpack ~ great for toting to the car to head home from college to wash all those clothes. I didn’t measure these but they were nice and big!

 I also monogrammed this long sleeve polo for my customer’s daughter. I have seen these a lot as bridesmaids gifts ~ the girls wear them on the day of the wedding (button down shirt is usually a plus). I have done several of these for the same customer for her daughters and I think they are cute! On a couple of them I monogrammed a very small block straight-across monogram on the top of the pocket (like a man would wear), but on this one she wanted the full circle swirly monogram (I used Monogram Wizard Plus “Master Circle” which is my favorite monogram font). Just an idea!

 Last night and today I have been monogramming 14 towels for my new sister in law. All the same font and 2 different colors so pretty easy, but time consuming! Luckily these are “set it and forget it” type items so I was able to multitask while they sewed.

This is Monogram Wizard Plus “Victor” font.

 I did have some trouble and I was so anxious to share this because I’ve seen this complaint a lot on one of the Facebook groups. You may have had this happen before? I did “FILL STITCH” on the towels and had trouble with some looping. After changing needles (literally replacing the needle), switching the thread to a different needle (on my 6 needle), cleaning my bobbin case AFTER changing my bobbin out and then doing a different color towel using different thread and having NO looping, I determined it was the spool of thread! I did a tension test and everything while trying to determine my problem.

 This is a 5000M spool of thread (a brand I use ALL THE TIME). I noticed that as it was coming off the spool it was twisting some, so I honestly think it was the thread. Today I went to a local quilt store and found an Isacord 1000M spool in the same color and finished the towels without a single loop. So….. if you have problems with looping, it MAY be your tension or any of the other issues I ruled out, OR, it may be the thread. Maybe it wasn’t wound on the spool correctly? I don’t know, but I’m going to try it again with regular appliques or satin stitch and see if it just doesn’t like fill stitch monograms.

 Now on to my crafty segment! I have been on Pinterest forever. I’ve tried a few recipes and spend hours upon hours each week just checking who’s pinned what without every DOING anything. We are going to Birmingham tomorrow (Jeff & I) to shop a little and have lunch with Jeff’s bro and his new bride (whom I monogrammed all the towels for). Several months ago I pinned a Christmas ornament made with a wedding invitation. SO… I stuck their wedding invite in my drawer and finally today made the trip to Hobby Lobby to get my supplies. I got 2 different size ornaments because I wasn’t sure which size I needed. After trying the bigger one, I went with the smaller one and everything fit great! I’ll keep the bigger one for some other project. With sale prices and coupons I spent less than $7. These look glass but feel more like acrylic. Also, I bought them individually but they did sell them by the box as well and also in a few different shapes (great for vinyl).

First I used my el cheapo Fiskars paper cutter I got from Walmart and cut the invitation in to strips as best I could, trying not to cut off any of the lettering.

I then wrapped each strip around my (Applique Cafe) pen, making it curl.

 I then just put each curled strip in to the ornament (the top pops off). I tried to place the strips with their name, etc where they would show. I put the top back on, attached the heart charm (the Pinterest photo used a sea shell) and then tied my ribbon on. I used 1/8″ navy organza ribbon for the hanger and 5/8″ navy organza ribbon for the bow. Their wedding color was navy, hence the navy ribbon. In the Pinterest photo she used white and cream ribbon. I honestly couldn’t remember while at Hobby Lobby whether the invitation was more white or cream, and then remembered NAVY was their color so I went with navy! Anyway, I thought this was a cute little personal gift and I hope they like it! Finally, all those hours on Pinterest paid off!

 As a follow up to my Mini Embroidery Design post, I have another technique to measuring your polo type shirts for mini or other designs. A blog reader emailed me her trick ~ she said she measures from the top seam of the arm down to the armpit seam. On my shirt it was a little over 6″. I then stuck a pin where the middle was and then measured from the button placket to there.

A pretty even 6″ so my initials or mini design would go where my pin is! This is a great “rule of thumb” for measuring and much more scientific than my post! Thanks for the tip!

I apologize for this post being all over the place! I guess a random post is better than no post! Have a great weekend!

Mini Embroidery Designs

Good morning! Last week I had a customer email me asking about mini embroidery designs. It took me a week to get this post together but here it is! I took several photos of a shirt I did for my middle child, a couple of Polo shirts (kids) and then some adult polo type shirts with logos on them. If you look at all the pictures, you’ll see there is no rhyme or reason to where the design should go as far as “go to this button and measure”. Some shirts have 2 buttons and some have 3 (and some might have more). The only thing we can conclude is that it goes on the left breast area of the shirt (right if you are facing the shirt). It’s also always centered! That’s about it! You might google for more scientific recommendations but I say eyeball it, measure left to right and go for it!

This is a shirt I did last summer with our Mini Embroidery Dog. If you are like me, white shirts do not last around this house! This is the 1.5″ dog.

Here are 2 youth size Polo brand shirts, both size 7. As you can see, the signature Polo design is not located in the same place on both shirts! On the turquoise it looks like they measured from the bottom of the button placket over to the right side of the shirt. On the green, it looks like they measured from sort of in between the 2nd button and the bottom placket over to the right side of the shirt. Again, these are both the same size.

Below you see the breast area measures roughly 6″ from the button placket seam over to the arm seam of the shirt. The Polo design is roughly in the middle (3″).

Here are a few of Jeff’s shirts. I noticed on a lot of his shirts the logo is measured from the bottom or 3rd button.

Again, bottom button.

This one only has 2 buttons so this one is measured closer to the bottom of the button placket.

Jeff is a golfer. Can you tell? He has a ridiculous amount of golf shirts.

I hope that helps?!?!?!?! I don’t think you can go wrong as long as the mini design is centered between the button placket and the arm seam of the shirt! It REALLY depends on the size of the shirt and how many buttons the shirt has! Again, you might find more scientific info on the world wide web, but to me it makes more sense to look at the shirt and figure it out.

Now…. more on those mini embroidery designs. Every now & then I get an email saying “the outline of the design does not match up with the design. It’s “off” for some reason.” Believe me, I have been one of those customers. Years ago I did a cute embroidery fill stitched lion from another site and the outline of the lion was “off”. I didn’t realize several things about embroidery designs (where no fabric is involved). 1) when you stitch a fill stitch embroidery design, big or small, the stitching may ‘gather’ your garment even ever so slightly. Proper stabilizer is KEY! 2) the outline stitch of mini embroidery designs are computer generated, therefore they outline the design perfectly. The are computer digitized to outline the design (and not done “by hand”).

As you can see on this zoomed-in mini shark design, the outline is there and is actually on top of the outside of the design.

Here it is again, and you’ll see down below this next photo how that outline can appear to shift when you don’t use proper stabilization (or if your garment is wrinkled, has spandex or a thin knit).

I sewed the mini embroidery shark (2 sizes) on 1) fabric and iron on tearaway stabilizer (thin paper-like stabilizer) and also on 2) fabric and medium cutaway stabilizer. As you can see below, the iron on tearaway shark outline appears “off”, when above the outline is more on top of the outer edges of the design. This is because a) the stabilizer is not enough to support the thin fabric and 3,000+ stitches (on the larger shark). You have over 3,000 stitches in a span of a few inches. It’s going to gather your fabric just enough that the outline does not match up exactly! Even on the smaller shark, you have 1400 stitches in a span of about an inch and 1/2.

Here are the same designs on fabric and medium cutaway stabilizer. The outline matches up much better!

I have seen much much worse! I have seen fabric and sticky stabilizer and the outline is WAY off. On this photo you can see closer all of the fill stitch in the design. That stitching is back & forth, back & forth, etc. and will gather your fabric even ever so slightly. Knit fabrics or fabrics w/ spandex can even be worse!

If you are having this problem try different stabilizer! You might even try 2 layers of stabilizer.

Here is a new mini design (mini wiener dog not yet listed). This was done on 2 layers of medium cutaway stabilizer, and as you can see the outline lines up great!

Mini designs are a great way to jazz up those plain polo type shirts! If you are having any issues try cutaway, make sure your garment is ironed and if you hoop, make sure it’s nice and smooth. You can also stop your machine and leave off the outline. I hope this all helps and makes sense!

I also get asked a lot about merging font files in Sew What Pro. Here is a shortcut if you are unaware ~ if you click View, then Album Icons, the folder you are using with all of your font files (a file for each letter) will open up on the right side of your screen instead of the thread chart. You can then click on the letters you need and SWP will move them to your work screen on the left. You still have to arrange them and center the design, but it’s a little easier than opening the folder over and over again! Below is the Embroidery-Boutique Dotty applique font!

Most of you know I use Monogram Wizard Plus 99% of the time for my fonts, but if you are just starting out and are buying fonts off the internet to merge, then this might help! When you click on each letter, it will move it to your work area (and stack on top of the A in this case). You will then have to separate and arrange the letters.

Lastly, here is another great use of mini designs ~ they are great for onesies and baby layette items!

I hope you all have a great week! We are having a sale through next Tuesday, July 17th at Applique Cafe. All designs are 30% off. We already have several new designs for this week which will be listed ASAP.