Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why do I sew dog scarves?

 Why Dog Scarves?

I use to think walking was grabbing the dog leashes and hitting the trail for 20-30 minutes 3 times a week.  Reality check - nothing like a yearly check up to make one assess health goals.

As sewing, and embroidery enthusiasts, we tend to do a lot of sitting. Next time you are sewing up a marathon for an hour, get up and take a break. Take a walk around the block, stretch your spine in 6 directions or  touch your toes, better yet do all three. This can really help to keep your back in shape for sewing and "life"!

So why dog scarves? I refuse to purchase "walking clothes" so basically my morning outfits are sadly lacking. However, because  my multi sized poodles walk with me all the time and they look adorable in scarves.  It is that simple. The scarves do not untie because they slip over the collar.  Plus, they can be used to send a message for support on topics you believe in. I use two 10" quilt block squares, thread, pattern, scissor, a sewing machine and 15 minutes is all you need to cut out several. You can make 4 or more in an hour easily. You may want to add an edge foot to make topstitching extra easy.  There are videos on the CookieSews YouTube channel showing how the edge foot works.

It's this simple: Cut out two pieces with pretty sides together, pattern available.

Stitch together (using matching thread) leaving area open noted on pattern for turning. Turn right side out and with edge foot topstitch four sides other than of top of scarf. Sample uses white thread  for photographing,otherwise it would be blue. Although contrast thread is pretty, if your machine does a nice straight stitch.

Fold top of scarf down on fold line indicated on pattern:

Stitch top of scarf down, in correct position shown on pattern, to form casing for collar to easily slip through.

Now all edges are professionally top stitched with no openings to be hand stitched. Yay! Slip the collar through. It's reversible! (Using a pink collar for ease of viewing but trust me in the real world, Stella would protest and insist on her blue collar. Someone has to look good on the walk!)

Stella after walking! Her minimum  is 5,000 steps daily.
New world order with scarves:  poodles must now trot to keep up our faster pace walk for 45-60 minutes  to be included in the 10,000 steps, daily to benefit us!   Yoga is not just for class time and is now a daily event. Weight bearing exercises are not all equal and having a trainer get you started is better than wasting time at the gym.

Adding a step app or device really is constant motivation.  I would love a Samsung with the watch and Dick Tracy approach but my budget says Fitbit Flex.  And let's face it, I go everywhere with my phone so I do know what time it is.

Back View
Although I refuse to purchase fancy walking clothes, good supportive shoes really do make the difference in comfort now that walking is no longer a poodle march for lawn and garden ideas. Make a few scarves for your favorite pooch.

This particular pattern works for 9" to 16" dog collar sizes. But you increase the printout percentage for larger collars  and reduce it for smaller ones.  It's that easy.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Part 4: Appliqué Machine Embroidery Designs - How to get the fabric patch template:

Sometimes appliqué designs are sold without having paper templates furnished for the fabric "patches".

How to create templates for cutting out fabric patches is our topic today.

You can open any purchased embroidery design in most digitizing software packages and have access to the stitching layers of the design.  Note some embroidery editing alone softwares may offer the ability to delete design objects. Check your software manual, if the design appears to be locked. Normally, there is a work around.

You can create the fabric template easily for your die cutting machine. By deleting all the layers of an appliqué design except for the running stitch outline used for placing appliqué fabric patches. Often I demonstrate tips using Brother PE Design NEXT or Bernina's Version 7. In the video, I am using Art and Stitch PLUS  to demonstrate that these methods work with most home embroidery softwares.

What if you don't own embroidery software, now what?

If you don't own embroidery digitizing software and the design you purchased doesn't furnish a fabric cutting template, you still can work around that.

Place an old needle in your machine, no need to use a good one for this.

Hoop a piece of paper or even cut-away stabilizer

Fast forward through the design using the built in layout tools in your machine to arrive at the the placement outline for fabric on your machine.

Stitch it without thread or if your machine requires thread you can actually hold the end of the thread to keep the tension on the discs so the machine will run without being threaded.  Or simply stitch the outline on paper with thread.

For the Scan N Cut, its back to kindergarten for the technique as you simply must connect the dots with a fine tip black marker and proceed as usual.

For a different type of die cut machine, scan it into your computer in a 1 to1 ratio saving it into the needed format. Then import it into the associated die cutting software based on the brand's requirements.

Remember to replace the sewing machine needle with a fresh new embroidery machine needle for the actual stitching of your design on fabric.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Part 3: Stitch on with techno savvy where embroidery, die cut and sewing machines meet!

In recent videos loaded to YouTube/CookieSews, the focus has been on creating perfect fabric patches with your die-cutting machine to be used with machine embroidery appliqué designs.

Stitching out a design is useful to test the idea and ensure it works. It does so flawlessly.  After the test stitches out well, then it is ready to be used on a project.

The sample on the left is a hemstitched towel purchased from Mark towel for placement of the design. Hoop with water-soluble stabilizer and embroider appliqué design. The purple ribbon was stitched over the hemstitch area using the edge foot.  It gives the towel a casual feel and adds color connection to the embroidery design.

Tip: Pre-wash the linen and patch fabrics for shrinkage prior to making the towel. It took less than 2 minutes to stitch that ribbon into place. 

If you are ready to stitch out your design, here the a list of supplies for the sample project:

  • Linen towel:
  • 3/8" ribbon: same length as the width of towel plus 1" to tuck behind on each side as a finish
  • Ice cream design patches created in Part 2 of this series.
  • 2 pieces of lightweight wash away stabilizer to be hooped with the towel
  • Two spools of thread for the scoop plus ice cream cone
  • Bobbin filled with white or cream thread to match the towel
  • Sewing thread to match ribbon color
Need more info on how to use the edge foot?  Link for edge foot "how to video" 
The next post in this series will be how the appliqué featured design stitches out and why. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Part 2: How to use your embroidery software generated template for die cut machines like Scan N Cut...

Now that the videos are all running smoothly for the how to portion, this post picks up where the previous one leaves off.  I am still working with a template from a design that is digitized in home embroidery software. Later posts will cover purchased appliqué embroidery designs.

You should have a template printed out from digitizing software following the steps mentioned in the blog post of May 27, 2014. Review the steps and watch the video on how to create the perfect template.

Tips to get you started:

See video in previous post for print template settings.
  • Print out using a 1:1 ratio and set to realistic view in digitizing software to avoid having a jump thread on the template. (One less miscellaneous line for the die cut scanner to pick up during this next set of steps.)
  • If your die cut machine or die cut software can create outline images from solid black shapes, a laser printer is ideal.  Ink jet is still ok just be sure it is not producing streaked images. If it is clean the cartridges of the ink jet printer.
  • Apply a fabric appliqué backing following the manufacturers directions to prepare the fabric prior to cutting. If you are not using a Scan N Cut, you still need to do this step for the Cricut, etc!
Let's go straight to the video to see how I use this template method in the Brother Scan N Cut. 

It's so simple, and you will become addicted to this like I am! Grab your machine, embroidery design template, cutting blade set to 4, spatula, fabric with appliqué backing applied, scanning mat, teal and purple standard mat and give it a try!

What if you own a manual die cutting machine?

 Here are the basic steps for those using appliqué templates from Accuquilt or Sizzix, etc. Select the die and cut it out using solid colored paper. You could use the actual fabric with backing but a paper template makes it easier to see for digitizing. Use a scanner set to a 1:1 ratio  to get the shape to the computer. Open it in the embroidery software in the exact size of the physical die cut selected. Create your appliqué design in the software. Be sure to apply an appliqué backing prior to cutting out your fabric patch!

What if you own a different die cutter than the Scan N Cut?

 If you use a different brand die cut machine then your template is created by using a 1:1 ratio with a computer scanner and keeping the same size in the embroidery software. Bottom line: scan the appliqué drawing in the exact size you want to embroider in. Bring in the same jpg you scanned in a 1:1 ratio into die cut software that is created specifically for your die cut brand.

Next post in this series will be creating appliqué patches with the die cutter for existing embroidery appliqué designs that you have purchased! Subscribe to the blog to stay informed of new postings automatically.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Part 1: Fabric Die Cuts for Machine Embroidery with the designs you digitize yourself...

A few video techno hiccups later, and everything is up and running... but too much down time creates over thinking! (Originally published May 22, 2014, edited and revised)

I kept rethinking how I wanted to approach this topic for those of us who love embroidery designs and own die cutters also.  I realized that there are different entry points into creating appliques for machine embroidery designs: (1) Designs you make yourself (2) Designs that you purchase.

Within those two topics, do you own software for digitizing machine embroidery designs?
Do you own software for sizing designs in your specific cutter or do you have the Brother Scan N Cut? I own the Brother Scan N Cut and love it.  I also have a Cricut Expression and assorted software.

I have divided this subject in an attempt to offer help in small servings!  This first one is 8 minutes and it will apply to any embroidery digitizing software as it only requires that you have a running stitch and satin stitch. (An optional tackdown stitch is nice like the V or blanket motif stitch but not an essential tool.)

The first video is for those who own embroidery digitizing software and a die cutter and already know how to digitize an applique. This is how my own designs fit perfectly with the die cut patterns I create. It's an overview of creating the design from  the filmstrip but if you need technical digitizing help, that can be found in Digitizing Machine Embroidery Designs on Craftsy. See the Butterfly Lesson in that specific Craftsy class. Coupon discount provided here in blog posting. The ice  cream cone graphic is available, at this time, on my Fan Page on the Freebie Projects, see icon located under the Cover Page photo.

First video that shows how I create machine embroidery appliques which makes them work well for die cutting. This video was revised to ensure it plays louder than the original.

The next post will have a video showing how to use the print out in the Brother Scan N Cut. Then we will move to a related topic which is how to create the die cut from someone else's applique design. Plus more posts with support videos to follow now that the software situation has been corrected on our end.