Everything Applique 2013

Yes, it’s May 21st and barely 7:00 in the morning and I’m doing a blog post. I’ve been a little busy the past few weeks preparing for this past weekend’s 2013 Everything Applique Conference up in Birmingham. I was in the BJCC probably 18 minutes last Friday before I was stopped by someone who reprimanded me for not doing any blog posts recently! So sorry ladies! The weeks leading up to the conference were quite stressful. Preparing to teach at a conference expecting 1500 women filled me with anxiety. Rounding up door prizes and sewing 28 samples sucked the life out of me. Did I mention we celebrated 6 birthdays, Mother’s Day and an anniversary this month too? Oh yes and my 3 children have all been wrapping up school for the year. You know how that goes … end of the year parties and programs, teacher gifts, etc. Mallory’s dance recital is tonight and both boys have been playing soccer two nights a week. Cue the violins.

It has been C-R-A-Z-Y!! But…… as with last year’s conference, I came back excited about applique, eager to get back to what I do and anxious to BLOG about it all. I came away with lots of great blog ideas! Several reasons why sometimes I take a break from blogging are: 1) lack of time to sit down and blog (i.e. letting Facebook suck 3 hours out of me instead of blogging), 2) lack of material or finding pictures or ‘stuff” to blog about, and 3) thinking ‘no one reads it anyway’. The first two are fine excuses, but the latter is evidently not true. I had tons of people tell me they read my blog at some time or another and that they actually LEARNED from it! Thanks to all of you who do! It keeps me going!

Now on to the pictures! Last year Jeff went with me to EAC and took lots of great photos. This year he stayed back to wrangle the kids, so I was solo and did a terrible job of taking pictures. Here are a few from my classroom. BTW, I taught 6 hour long classes and each class held about 85 folks. Much to my surprise, all but the last class were at max capacity with ladies sitting on the floor. I went in assuming everyone was a pro and no one needed my Basics of Applique class. Evidently there were a lot of newbies in attendance so they all hit my class. Thank you all! Everyone was great!

Here are my design samples, which turned out to be a huge hit. As most of you know, I sample each and every design we list at Applique Cafe. I like to make sure they sew right and that all the steps are correct. If I don’t have a t-shirt on hand, I hoop medium cutaway stabilizer (2 layers) and sample on it. I then trim around the applique, punch a hole in the sample and group them together in rings by category. I used these in my classes and also had them on my table at the Meet & Greet Friday night. Everyone seemed to enjoy thumbing through them, and I heard lots of people who do craft shows or home parties say they were going to start showing their designs this way as well.


My class was “Basics of Applique“, so I briefly went over thread, stabilizers, etc. and then we stitched a shirt from start to finish in each class. The threads shown are Isacord and Exquisite brands, both my go-to threads for embroidery. The stabilizer rolls are all from Sewingmachine.com (commercial backing). I love them because the prices are fantastic and these rolls last a long time!


Here’s where I stitched each shirt for each class. Exciting stuff huh? I brought my own crusty Shark iron and my Heat N Bond Lite smathered  ironing board. BTW, I have TONS of samples to sell at some point.


We got to use this sweet Brother PR1000 10 needle. Everything was a little rushed so I didn’t get a lot of time to play around with the machine and see what all it could do. I have a PR650 and found it was similar in the programming.


Here are a few of my samples I displayed in my classes as well as Friday’s Meet & Greet “party”. I had a whole suitcase full of samples and will at some point sell them off. The cute ruffle pants are from Doodles Boutique! These are our Popsicle Trio, Girly Frog Face, Mini Giraffe and Snorkel Fish designs, all available at Applique Cafe of course.


Here is one shot of my display table from Friday night. Like I said, I was bad at taking pictures so I snagged a few off of the EAC Facebook Page. Check out all the albums from the weekend on the page! The cute pink dress is from Blanks Boutique and that’s our Lollipop Trio design!


Here are the Digitizers from the EAC and we were presented with these cool wooden initials (available at Mint Julep Monograms). From L to R are yours truly, Emily (App Alley), Karen (App Market), Kathy (App Corner and Mrs. EAC and Koral, the fabulous EAC planner extraordinaire.

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Here’s a shot of me Friday night.


Here are a couple of shots of me teaching my class on Friday and Saturday. Evidently I explain things with my hands? Not sure what I was saying here… Probably something super intellectual.

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 Here is a shot of the General Assembly Friday morning or afternoon. This is just part of the room. It was filled to capacity with 1500 women (and a few men too). Gobs and gobs of great door prizes were given away, including 6 machines (and I mean nice machines ~ PR650c and a fancy serger to name a couple).


 Overall it was a fun filled great weekend, which is now a bit of a blur to me. 2 days of fast paced, high anxiety, fun and sharing with little sleep. I also survived on granola bars and peanut butter crackers for 2 days because that’s all I had time for. Thank you to all who made the trip, who took the time to come to my classes, and also to everyone who encouraged me or just took a minute to introduce yourself and say “HI”!! I look forward to EAC 2014!

Like I said, I came away with some great blog post ideas too, so I will get on those asap. We have a dance recital tonight, Kindergarten party in the morning and Browder finishes school on Friday. His birthday is Saturday as well as the wedding of a great college friend (and Memorial Day weekend). Monday morning will officially be SUMMER!! Have a great week!

New Wholesale Blanks!

Happy Wednesday! I hope everyone is feeling better than I am. We live in Montgomery, AL, so the weather is “cray-cray” as they say. One day it’s 30 degrees and the next it might be 80. We’re back to pretty cold and cloudy today so my sinuses are a mess, I can’t breathe and I haven’t slept in 2 nights. I’m a little jacked up right now on DayQuil and Starbucks so pray I sleep tonight!!

I did some shirts last week and had to share this one. This customer of mine is very specific and EASY and this was her idea, not mine! She wanted a double circle with this cute Tricycle fabric in the middle. I’m guessing she has pants or shorts to match. Sorry the photo isn’t great, but you get the idea. I just merged 2 circles together in Sew What Pro. Getting the size right was a little tricky and luckily it worked out with the tricycle.


Super cute fabric! I thought I had some to tell you what it was, but I can’t find any and my customer has already picked up (it was her fabric). I’m guessing Fabric Finders?


I think in the past I’ve done something similar with this fabric (below) using a rectangle patch and one of the cars, buses or bicycles. If you have fabric similar to this and can’t find the right design to match, consider using your fabric in a patch!


Jeff & I went to a friend’s 40th birthday party this past weekend, and the theme was 80s & 90s. It was HILARIOUS! The music was great too! Jeff rounded up his outfit and sporto-rolled his old jeans, and I hit Walmart (yes, Walmart) for most of mine. I hate you can’t truly appreciate the banana clip in my hair! My top was neon pink and actually glowed in the dark. Did we really dress like this?? We are headed to an 80’s Prom party next weekend so that should be fun too. I found a dress on Etsy and can’t wait to get it. Think MAUVE, huge puffy sleeves and a huge bow across the back!


Now on to a NEW BLANKS supplier. I got an email a week or two ago from Blossom Blanks based out of Birmingham, AL. Jenny offered to send me a few blanks to try out and I got them yesterday. They are really cute! I was going to do a few samples on them and post then, but decided to go ahead and post some photos today. A little info on Blossom Blanks ~ they are a family owned business based out of Birmingham, AL and at this time they are strictly wholesale (business license and sales tax ID required). Their shirts are 100% organic cotton and very soft. With any cotton there is some shrinkage and their sizing accommodates for that. Right now they offer long sleeve tees for boys and girls and onesies (long sleeved). They are taking pre-orders for short sleeve tees for boys and girls (ruffle) and onesies and also baby gowns (late February) and girl angel sleeve tees (March). They only offer white at this time but intend to add color as they grow! Check out their website for their Gallery of photos and for more information!

Here are my pics, and again, it’s a little cloudy today so take that into account!

This is the girls ruffle long sleeve tee.


This is the boys long sleeve tee.


This is the long sleeve onesie.


Here are some closeups of some of the detail on the tees and onesie.

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Again, check out Blossom Blanks for more information! You’ll find a size chart and can get pricing information as well as see photos of some cute kids in these blanks! They are also on Facebook.

Don’t forget that our Applique Cafe sale ends tomorrow (Thursday, 1/24)! We listed 5 new designs yesterday shown below.

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 Also, have you heard there is going to be a 2nd annual Everything Applique Conference this year? The date is set for May 17-18th in Birmingham, AL again. Follow the page on Facebook to keep up with all of the class information, registration info, etc.


My Favorite Things

I had a couple of people ask me what was in my “Favorite Things” giveaway basket at the Everything Applique Conference this past weekend. I hope these are in a somewhat logical order, but if not, you’ll get the idea! I’ll also try to reference where everything came from. First of all, here is a picture of my door prize ~ Applique Cafe’s “Favorite Things” basket. The basket, or Angled White Beverage Tub, came from Target. If I knew how to use my vinyl cutting machine, I would have adorned it with lime and/or pink polka dots! The cellophane basket bag came from Michael’s and the Raffia came from an Etsy store. I also used hot pink crinkle cut paper filler from Caffco Floral Outlet. (I had a lot of fun doing door prizes). The AC stickers came from Zazzle.com!

The winner of my basket, Demonica, posted this photo on Facebook. If you’ll remember my last post, she rode from New Orleans to Birmingham on a TRAIN! I just think that is so awesome and fun! She said it was very relaxing and gave her some quality time away from the family to rest and do a little work on her laptop (in the sleeper car). I honestly had no idea you could ride a train anywhere, so it’s even cooler that she rode a train to come to the Everything Applique Conference!

Now on to the basket… I included my go-to stabilizer, 12×12 and 8×8 2.2 oz precut medium cutaway stabilizer squares. Both of these came from Sewingmachine.com. Check out all of their “commercial backing” and you can narrow down your search by the type of stabilizer you are looking for (cutaway, precut squares, tearaway, etc.). Click HERE for precut squares. They come in a variety of weights, but I like the 2.2 oz, as it is not too thick or heavy. I have used 2.5 oz as well and it’s not too heavy either. Their commercial cutaway also comes on the roll, but the squares are really convenient.

As you can see the 8×8 squares are perfect for the 4×4 hoop. (This is my Brother PR650 4×4 hoop)

The 12×12 squares are great for the Durkee 9×9 hoop and also the 5×7 hoop. Check out this post for more info on the Durkee Hoop, which is compatible with most multi-needle machines.

You can use the entire 12×12 square for your 5×7 hoop, or cut a few inches off before you hoop.

 Now on to Sulky KK2000 spray. This is a temporary spray adhesive that I use to “stick” my cutaway stabilizer to the inside of my shirt before hooping. It keeps the stabilizer in place so I am able to hoop my shirt. I also use the 99 cent tape measurer from Hobby Lobby! I keep one in my purse as well ~ you never know when you’ll need to measure something. When I do a shirt, I measure from armpit seam to armpit seam and mark my center. This distance is usually a good even measurement (14″, 12.5″ etc).

 Spray adhesive can build up and make things sticky, so I recommend spraying it OUTSIDE. My sewing room is right by our front door, so I walk out on the porch and spray my stabilizer over the bushes. My bushes might be sticky, but at least my carpet isn’t!

 My shirt is inside out, I’ve sprayed my stabilizer with spray adhesive, and now I stick the stabilizer to the shirt. Turn it right side out and I am ready to hoop! The Sulky KK2000 spray is temporary, so when I am finished appliqueing my shirt, it pulls right off so that I can trim the excess stabilizer around the design. See this post for more info on hooping.

 Also in my basket: Schmetz Embroidery Needles (75/11) and an air erasable pen. I use the air erasable pen (from Joann or any sewing store) to mark the center of my shirt (or bib, or towel, etc). It disappears with a little time, or you can also squirt water on the dot and it’ll go away. A wet Q-tip works as well. If I am marking the center of a dark item, such as a navy blue t-shirt or a fluffy blanket, I use a straight pen. Chalk would work as well. You may notice the lint buildup in the clip on my pen. I have had this pen since I started doing applique about 5 years ago!

As far as embroidery needles, I use 75/11 needles for everything. Some people use ballpoint needles and some people change out their needles for various projects. 99% of the time I am doing samples or tshirts so this is the type of needle I use. You can get Schmetz needles from Sewingmachine.com, Joann (I stock up when notions are 50% off) or most any sewing store. Steve (Sewingmachine.com) recommends Schmetz, as they are the oldest needle company around. Basically they have been making needles for a long long, long long long, time!

Bobbins ~ for my Brother PR650, I use the Fil-Tec Magnetic Core Bobbin. A box of 100 is $28, again at sewingmachine.com. I recommend any prewound bobbin, as the tension is consistent and it’s fast and easy to change out your bobbin. These were not in my basket since I didn’t know what kind of machine the winner would have, but I’m including them in my favorite things!

 Heat. N. Bond. Lite ~ check out this post on why I love this product!! You can buy HNBL by the bolt, in a box, on a small 3 yard roll, 15 yard roll, etc. Some people buy it at their local Walmart, but I have not seen it in Montgomery. You can buy small packages at places like Joann or Hobby Lobby. Sewingmachine.com sells it as well. I used to stock up at Joann when notions were 50% off, but lately I have not been able to find any there. Wonder Under is another fusible product you can use, but I use and recommend HNBL.

Instructions ~ very easy to use!

 Another item NOT in my basket, but still one of my favorite things (and a necessity in applique). The iron is your friend! I have a Shark iron. It’s not fancy and yes, it leaks water sometimes. Iron your shirts, iron your bibs, use the iron for your HNBL, iron when you’re done. IRON!! Do you get hoop burn? Squirt with water from your iron, iron over the hoop burns. They are gone! I see photos on Facebook a lot and it looks like someone took a picture of a t-shirt from the dirty clothes basket. Ironing can make all the difference in your appliques, your pictures, etc! I hate to iron my own clothes, but ironing is so important when doing embroidery and applique.

 Scissors ~ I did include 4″ curved Gingher scissors in my basket, as well as a 2-pack of Fiskars fabric-cutting scissors. I use the Ginghers in the applique process only to trim the fabric around the tackdown stitch. I use regular fabric-cutting scissors to cut fabric, to cut stabilizer, to cut ribbon, etc. You can never have enough scissors! p.s. I got my Ginghers at Joann and you can usually catch them on sale or use a coupon.

The Ginghers are great for trimming closely around your applique! The curved end helps you to NOT cut a hole in your shirt (been there, done that, got the t-shirt)!

 As you can see here, I trim very closely. I do this with the help of a) the scissors and b) the HNBL on my fabric makes trimming easy and CLEAN! This design is ready for the satin stitch!

 There were also a few fabrics in my basket. I typically buy 1/4 yards of fabric since a little goes a long way when doing applique. I LOVE polka dots, ginghams, stripes and small florals and prints for applique! These are all my GO-TO fabrics, as you can probably see in my design sample photos.

 You can’t beat good ginghams, and try to avoid the cheap thin ones. Fabric Finder brand ginghams are great!


 One more item that I should have included in my basket but didn’t have time to get… a REAL thread chart! This is the Isacord real thread sample thread chart. I also have the Exquisite (formerly Poly-X from Kens Sewing Center) thread chart and use them both. We all know the color print charts are impossible to match as well as the color square on your computer screen. These charts are usually $10 each and are well worth every dollar when you are searching for thread to match that funny colored peach dress.

 Another tip that I NEED to do ~ mark, circle or underline the colors you have on the chart. That way if the sticker comes off of the top of your spool of thread (which happens to me all the time), you have a record on your chart of which colors you have and like!

 I did include a few spools of thread in my basket ~ Isacord 5830 is my favorite lime (it’s hard to find and only comes in 1000M as far as I have found)! I also included a hot pink, yellow and turquoise. Demonica also got an Applique Cafe Gift Certificate in her basket! (Hint Hint: Mother’s Day is 2 weeks away)

There are probably a few more things I consider my favorite things, but that was about all I could fit in the basket! If you have any questions please comment or email me ~ rosemarygulledge@appliquecafe.com! A lot of these things were discussed in our class, Applique the Right Way!