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.

Tea anyone?

My BIL (Jeff’s bro) got married this past weekend up in Birmingham, so my mom and I headed up Friday morning to hit a few stores sans kids. Jeff brought the kids up Friday after lunch. We had a fabulous weekend with all the wedding festivities, spending time w/ family and in Birmingham in general. It really is a neat place (with SO MUCH SHOPPING) and I left feeling that I really need to visit the Ham more often. It’s only about an hour 15 minute drive from my house. I waste more time than that in carpool on any given school day. We are so happy to have a new addition to the family and hope to visit them in B’ham a lot! ­čÖé

My favorite place that I have found lately is Harmony Landing in Homewood (also on Facebook). I have always loved At Home in Homewood, and HL is right next door. I LOVE At Home, but sometimes when I go in there I feel like I would have to bulldozer my house and start over to get “that look”. It’s very cool and chic and restoration hardware-ish (if you’ve ever seen their book,imeancatalog. ┬áHarmony Landing is more realistic for me (and my budget) and a lot of their pieces are original and different but still fit in to my home. Anywho… I went in looking for a piece to go on a blank wall in our kitchen and left with said piece + this bench to go in front of the windows in our kitchen. I’m now in the market for some pillows for the bench!

This was our kitchen BEFORE. On our now blank wall we had cabinets on top and bottom (on the left). I sure don’t miss all that oak…

Here is after, and for the past 10+ months I’ve been searching (patiently) for something to go here.

Here is my Harmony Landing find. It’s sort of hard to tell what it looks like at night. Our kitchen is a lot of taupe + the dark stained island and dark kitchen table/chairs. The new pieces are a good mixture of both taupe and a little dark plus some other colors thrown in there too. Luckily we had 2 cars in B’ham. We made it home with both pieces and all 3 kids.

┬áI am also now in the market for something to go on top of and ON the “cabinet” we will call it. I have a little credit with a couple of artist friends so I’m hoping to cash in here soon. (p.s. replacing these knobs with something darker too). Maybe ┬álamp too?

┬áMoral of the story… if you are in Birmingham check out Harmony Landing in Homewood. I saw a couple of coffee tables that looked neat so I’m hoping to go back with my July house budget! If you are in Homewood also eat at Urban Cookhouse ~ yummy! There is also one at the Summit near PB (Pottery Barn).

This week we have been recovering from our weekend in Birmingham and I have also been finishing up a big order of the Sweet Tea/Unsweet Tea ribbons (see this post). I was able to knock out 4 at a time using my fast frames and sticky stabilizer (from Sewingmachine.com ~ commercial backing). After each ribbon I would center on the next ribbon and start sewing again. This is Bobo font from Monogram Wizard Plus and I cut my ribbon about 20″ long. When finished I “singed” the ends w/ a lighter (or “fire” as my little ones would say). As you can see I wrap my fast frames w/ the sticky stabilizer (see bottom of frame) and pin the ribbon in place so it won’t move. The sticky peels right off, leaving no residue on my frames (several people on FB commented as to how clean my frames were).

Here is a shot of doing it the WRONG way! A) my sticky and ribbons are on the wrong side of the fast frame and B) the fast frame is upside down. I had to redo the whole thing.

Fast Frames have a “dip” on them, so when you attach the frame to the “arm”, the dip slants downward so the frame is actually even with your arm.

I use fast frames mostly for bags and things I can’t hoop!

┬áHere are my completed 24 total sweet and unsweet tea ribbons. They are really easy to do, but are also time consuming in that you have to cut all your ribbon, pin it all in place on the sticky, sew each ribbon, remove the ribbon and remove the excess sticky in between all those letters (on the back), singe the ends of each ribbon, etc. I’m glad to finally have them all done!

┬áThis particular order is for my husband’s god mother who saw them at the wedding shower we went to and immediately put in an order for 8 sets. This weekend she upped it to 12 so I spent most of yesterday finishing up! The ribbon is 1.5″ black grosgrain ribbon from Hobby Lobby (1/2 off, of course).

Have a great rest of the week! I’ll be sampling new designs tomorrow!

Applique on a Towel

I’ve been asked a few times what I do/use to applique (not monogram) a towel (=terry loopy fabric). I was doing an applique on a towel today, so here you go!

First, I iron on “Iron-on Tearaway” stabilizer. This happens to be Sulky brand, but any will do. I iron it on and it sticks long enough for me to hoop. As you can see on the corners, it doesn’t stick much, which is a good thing when it’s time to remove it.┬á

┬áOn top I use (and hoop) a water soluble topper. This particular stabilizer is by Pellon and I got it at Joann. I have always used Sulky Solvy, but they hardly carry it at Joann anymore so I got the Pellon which works fine. Again, any water soluble topper will do. I don’t do a TON of towels (or blankets, etc), so it’s not something I keep in bulk. So I have iron on tearaway, then towel on top, then “Solvy” on top and all 3 are hooped.

┬áThis is actually the corner of a wrap-around towel “sarong”, so I didn’t mark my center. I simply hooped the bottom corner where the applique was to go and started sewing. This is a Dotty “A” from Embroidery-Boutique. This particular A is 5.81″ wide X 6.63″ tall, so it is big. This applique alpha also comes in other finishes (vintage, zig zag and satin). So here I have done step 1, which is the marking stitch. It stitches right on top of the water soluble topper (aka Solvy).

┬áSince I’m doing an applique and using fabric (with Heat N Bond Lite on it), I’m going to remove the water soluble topper INSIDE the A only. That way the fabric with HNBL on it will be flush against the terry towel. This will come in handy when I’m done and am ironing the finished applique A. I started by poking a hole with my scissors and most of the “solvy” was removed by pulling it away inside the stitching. If it won’t pull away so easily, then just trim inside the stitching with your scissors. These are scissors that came with one of my machines.

Remove all of the Solvy inside but leave it outside the stitching, which will come in handy when you are doing the satin stitch. If you’ve ever monogrammed a towel with no Solvy on top you may know what I mean (I am guilty!). The satin stitch may or may not sink in to the terry loops. The applique fabric helps, but stick with Solvy too just in case.

I’m now ready for some fabric.

Ironing my fabric so it’s nice and flat.

Ironing my HNBL on to my fabric.

Peel away the HNBL paper which will leave the shiny HNBL layer on the back side of the fabric.

I’m now ready for step 2, the tackdown stitch.

I am now ready to trim around the tackdown stitch.

I use Gingher 4″ curved scissors (from Joann). I’ve also heard that Havels work well. I trim closely around the satin stitch. The HNBL helps it to be a “clean cut” as you can see.

I also removed the little triangle inside the “A”. I am now ready for the satin stitch. You’ll notice the Solvy is still around the applique.

Ready for step 3, the satin stitch.

Sewing complete!

I now unhoop the towel and pull away the water soluble topper (aka Solvy) around the A.

I also remove the tearaway from the back. It pulls away very easily! Remove it from around the A as well as inside the A.

My applique is done and ready to iron. This will “set” the HNBL and fuse the fabric to the towel.

Here is the finished product! This is a graduation gift for a customer.

This is the ever-so-popular Hobby Lobby fabric I found several months ago (and bought 1/2 yard of). It’s no where to be found that I know of!

Here’s the packaging for the “Sarong”. Bed Bath and Beyyyoooonnnnddddd for $19.99 ~ always take a coupon! It’s a nice gift for any girl going off to college.

I hope this helps! As always, this is my way, not the only way! This seems to work well for me so I thought I’d share. Have a great day!

p.s. I forgot to mention this is a Durkee 9×9 hoop that I used! Check out Helpful Posts to read more about the Durkee hoops.┬á