Monday, March 16, 2015

Sketch It In Stitches: the basic outline sketch

The best part of using embroidery digitizing software is the freedom you have with a tablet or track mouse to sketch in stitches!

If you put all the rules of digitizing aside and sketch (or trace) an inspired image with wild abandonment, the results can be very rewarding.

In some software packages, there are fabulous sketching/drawing tools where you first create your artwork, perfect the sketch and then apply the stitches.  Art and Stitch is a perfect example of this type of software. You can get an idea of how this works in their tutorial videos.

A shortcut in sketching with Bernina software is the Blackwork Run tool. This auto tool eliminates the jumps quickly and efficiently.

Brother and Babylock have simple drawing tools in the Design Center of their software packages. Once you have your image drawn with the tools, and ensure that all lines connect in stage 3, it's a click of the outline tool in Stage 4 and the drawing is complete.  5D and 6D have wonderful sketching tools. Janome MBX has easy to use drawing tools for sketching. The list goes on.
What you do need to consider is the length of the running stitch! 
It's important to use longer stitches when sketching to keep them from sinking in.  Think of your own sewing machine and how it sews the running stitch with the lengths 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5. Pick your length by the weight of the thread and the needed space to keep the stitching smooth. There are a variety of stitches available once you have drawn your outline.
Think about the type of outline stitch you apply. In most instances the basic running stitch is perfect!
For a smooth outline, a simple running stitch is preferable. Bean and Triple stitches are heavier and can create more issues with the thread rippling the fabric due to length and thread density. Consider a lightly applied column stitch with feathering for shading effects to be done after creating the sketch. All software packages have an easy way to change the stitching order.

Learn more about sketching in stitches, Artistic Digitizing: from Inspiration to Stitch.

If you are currently enrolled in this class, remember you can always use the 30 sec. repeat, post questions directly to me at the point in the lesson where you need help, share screen shots of where you are and receive personalized answers based on your software.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Feeling lucky with machine embroidery!

March is around the corner.   I am up early having a cup of coffee before attending a conference which begins at 8am.  By the time you read this, I will have been all over social media checking in.  Craftsy questions answered, tweets done, and a new free design for a limited time made available to Facebook fans on the CookiescreationsWebsite Fanpage.

Which designs?

  • ITH Mug Rug 5x7 to the left


  • 8x8 Pillow front declaring your skill over luck in the crafting world.
It's amazing how much can get done in just a couple of hours with the clock ticking away at a deadline. But what isn't done?

The moulage! a.k.a. stupid blouse pattern. Yes, I'm still taking the class (week 6) and finally decided to start over.  It needed too much adjusting (which I did complete). I had my husband pin it and there is very little ease! (No surprise in how he pinned me in.) 

I began to wonder about the sizing of the pattern overall.  I remeasured the sewing lines and armholes and went down a size. Forget that chart on the package. It's not accurate enough for what I want. Mind you, I did stitch all the adjustments to the larger one before making this decision.  

When I return to Atlanta, I will be busy stitching up the completely new one.  Wish me luck! I will line up all the weeks and have Ron take photos... it's a comedy of adjustments.

Have a great weekend!  Cookie

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

#2 Working on my embroidery blank with pattern sewing and drafting...

Still working on my embroidery blank!

I'm in week 4 out of 10 in a pattern making class in Atlanta.  Each week, we (classmates) show up, have fittings made to each of our basic pattern revisions, and stitch up a new and improved version.  Learned some faster sewing tricks from the instructor, and enjoying the camaraderie of those who love sewing.

This is number #2. Before stitching up #3 that has a much needed front view adjustments, and I am backing into rooms at this point. I am scrutinizing the back though it passes class inspection. The left side and right side are not hanging correctly.  The darts are off, there are wings at the lower hips, the sleeve material is greater than the armhole space, seam lines are off.  Center back seam is okay.  Fisheye darts and side seams need help.

Can't really judge the upper back fully as the sleeves are part of the rippling.  The upper back curve is correct from a side view. That was achieved by slashing the pattern - very good lesson! Better to learn it in person than in a book.

I asked for outside opinions and thank you to those who shared their expertise with me. I remeasured the arm holes and adjusted the seam under the sleeves pattern for #3 pattern. I asked the instructor for her thoughts on extending the fish eye darts straight down instead of a curve outward. I also requested wing removal at the sides, last night. She really understood that I do not want fake curves and I wouldn't pick out a blouse with that look either.  Looks great on people who have those curves, but I don't. It's a personal preference.  I will put up #3 this week, while I stitch #4.

I spent the weekend watching two very good classes on pattern making and sewing. See previous post. I stitched up pattern #3 after asking friends to chime in based on their own experience. Adjusted the sleeves and I went to class. Discussed the concerns of #3, wings etc.

This pattern quest started because I switched to a Mac computer and I couldn't run my original Wild Ginger PMB software.  Latest version of Wild Ginger will run in bootcamp on a Mac with Windows 7/8.  I still want to understand how all the adjustments come to fruition. But I am hopping over to get the latest PMB. My body double is staring at me with doubts. Need hubby to take photos.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Researching the project before you begin...the moulage

Happy Valentine's Day!

Enabler Alert:  Craftsy Classes are up to 50% off this weekend!

The project that went astray continues... "THE REDEMPTION!"

Invaluable! Clear and concise. 
After beginning my moulage, and embracing that the teacher, (Deanne Smith), knows best for the first one, I decided to research all different approaches.  I learned that basic measurements are approximately taken in the same manner. Great discoveries made while taking Pattern Making Basics. Several instructors define the moulage as a second skin which molds to your body.  Once perfected, you would add ease for the sloper.  The sloper would become your basic pattern.  I thought it was interesting that there is variation into the approach of where to stand when measuring someone (to keep the person at ease). Some suggest  standing to the side of the person you are measuring. Other professionals feel that standing to the back is best. Nearly all experienced tailors say to keep talking when measuring, as a distraction.   At the end of the day, this is my walk away learning tip:  do what works best for you in the moment.

I went ahead and created the second one (ouch) with a zipper and sleeves inserted.  Sleeves, thanks to the armholes, really do take up excess fabric in front.  It is good to put a zipper closure on the center line to prevent any distortion. Forget that the pattern has cutaway darts, leave the fabric there. The teacher is right, the teacher is right, the teacher is right...   Remove them when it is all perfected!

Step by step stitching assembly!
So now my third one (ouch, ouch) requires a slight bust dart adjustment.  That is what I was told to do.  I am doing it.
I learned how to slash the back of my pattern. I followed the instructions to the letter. Thank you Deanne Smith! I can now back my way into any room with a perfect fitting moulage.  As long as I don't turn around, I am golden! So that is the goal of #3: fix those bust darts. I will ask hubby to take a photo of me backing into a room for the next post! You'd know that back anywhere!

Here's my tip for self preservation in challenging stitching moments:  it is nice to take a break and sew a mini project in-between large "units" of a more challenging project.  (I learned about units in the Classic Tailored Shirt and it has helped). At ASG this week, I had a chance to make origami fabric flowers.  Lots of fun, and it was amazing how Lucretia and Lisa kept us on task.  Yes, I did it step by step per their instructions. 17 of us, and they turned out nicely!  Now I am going to spend Sunday, working on my moulage.

My true goal:  I want an artful blank that fits well to embellish with machine embroidery.

Happy Valentine's Day,

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Let's catch up and perhaps you have been here: sewing, crafting and embroidery projects that go astray...

I took five weeks off from blogging to do related business tasks: paperwork, store project samples, a business revamp and to prepare for a fashion design class I am currently taking called "Moulage". I have been adding free Valentine machine embroidery designs on Facebook during this "post-less period" so check it out if you haven't collected any of them. It's on the Free Designs link tab.

Here's how my moulage first attempt went:
Impressive right?  This is not a reflection of the instructor who is teaching the class.  It does show how important it is to follow instructions step by step according to your teacher when doing the first of any new project.  
  • Forget what other skills you have used in the past.  
  • Forget what other experts have told you. 
  • Forget the shortcuts you know.  There REALLY is a good reason to do DARTS her way.  There may REALLY be a DIFFERENT way to mark sewing lines plus a more PRACTICAL seam line for adjustments later on.  
I know that one should follow the steps in the same order of the presenter until completing the first project. I know that I can change things up later to shorten steps, if desired.

I threw that wisdom out the window as I embarked on a fashion sewing adventure:

I destroyed the first pattern by not paying attention to my teacher's instructions which was to appliqué in the darts that I had cut out (that's a story in itself - I will skip that here).  

My Rowenta Professional iron quit in total disgust and it put me in time out.  I am smiling while typing the words "time out". My dear friend, Carol, saw the  photo and innocently asked if I gave the iron time out?  No, it gave me time out.  Clearly, I needed to be humbled and be more compliant with the sewing universe.

Tips for the Seamstress, Embroiderer and Crafter when your project goes astray:
  • Laugh when everything feels out of sync including your mind! 
  • Stop what you are doing and take a break to do something else.  

This is my something else:  I am laughing at myself while posting to the blog and perhaps this will save you from making a mess of a new project. If you need help with using sewing feet be sure to check out my videos at YouTube/cookiesews

I am officially back to posting... however, now I am going back to the sewing studio with a second pattern to be drafted according to the instructions by my teacher!