Category Archives: Machine Embroidery FYI

Anita’s Playhouse Embroidery Party



Have a blast learning new techniques in our hands-on team sewing environment.


A brand new full color catalog, an exclusive $500 value CD with 9 design collections, plus the event projects and more, with a tutorial book! All for a total value of $699 for just attending.

WHERE      Humble Sewing Center
19333 Hwy 59N, Suite 105
Humble, TX 77338

WHEN       March 6 & 7, 2015

FEE              79.99   (Early Bird Special  69.99 thru 1/31/15)

How to Sign Up
Call 281-446-1818, stop by the store to sign up or register online at

Embroidering the Embossed Towel

FinishedTowelEmbroidered towels look great in your powder room or bathroom. They also make great gifts for showers, weddings, house warmings, birthdays, or the holidays. It is easy to embroider the towel if you follow a few easy steps.

Look at your towel. Most towels have a band on the front, and some on both front and back. Usually, there is a label on the back of the towel. Your embroidery should be on the front.

For the best results always mark where you want the embroidery to be placed. I learned that eyeballing the placement never works.  The embossed embroidery design is 4″ x 4 1/2″.  Always use the smallest hoop

1. Measure the width of your towel. My towel is 15 1/2″ wide.

measure 2. The bottom of the design is placed 1/2″ – 1″ about the band, if the towel has one. If the towel does not have a band, place the design about 3″ from the bottom of the towel. Since my design is 4 1/2″ high, the middle of the design is 2 1/4″. My design is 1/2″ above the band. Measure 2 3/4″ above the band and mark with a + or use a positioning sticker.  You can mark your placement with a water soluble pen, air erasable pen or friXion pen.  The center of the + is where the needle should penetrate the towel before starting the embroidery; the + lines show vertical and horizontal alignment. Note: Don’t use a water soluble pen, if you use heat n’ gone topping. The use of an iron will permanently set the mark.



3. Always use the smallest possible hoop for your embroidery. It saves on stabilizer but more importantly, provides better stability during embroidery.  I like to use Floriani Stitch and Wash Tearaway. Cut a piece of stabilizer about 1″ larger that you hoop. Place it in the hoop and tighten the hoop screws so that it is taught. There is no need to over tighten the screw.

InHoop4. Lightly spray the stabilizer with temporary spray adhesive. I like 505 because it does not leave a sticky residue on my needle when embroidering. Stray by putting your hoop into a box or trash can to minimize spraying all over the place.

5. Select a thread color similar to your towel. Wind a bobbin with the same thread so the back of your towel is not covered with white bobbin thread. If you embroidery machine uses a different bobbin case for embroidery change your bobbin case. Insert the bobbin and thread your machine.

6. Turn on your embroidery machine and open your design.

7. Place the towel on the hoop. Use the template that came with your embroidery machine to position your towel in the middle of the hoop. Reposition the towel if necessary.


7. Place the hoop on the embroidery machine. The design should be near the center of your hoop. Move the design around as needed. Lower the needle so that it penetrates the embroidery mark or sticker. Raise the needle.


8. Remove the position sticker if you used one. Place a water soluble topping or heat n’ gone on the embroidery area. Use a piece of Floriani Pink Embroidery Tape to hold the topping in place during embroidery. I sometimes use blue painters tape to hold the topping in place.


9. Embroider the design. Remove the towel from the hoop. Tearaway as much stabilizer from the back as possible. The remaining will wash out. Pick water soluble stabilizer from the top. Use a spray bottle to remove stubborn parts. Use an iron to remove heat n’ gone.

Enjoy your towel!

Embossed Towel

As I mentioned, I am traveling in our RV.  Maybe traveling is not the appropriate word at the moment, since we are spending the next 3 months in Clermont, Florida.  We are a few miles from Disney World which has been one of our favorite places for many years. My sister-in-law came to visit from New Jersey. She is staying for 2 weeks. She enjoys sewing as much as I do, but has not done any machine embroidery. In our travels to the local quilt shops, we satowelw a towel with an embossed letter. I told her that I could make that. So we bought hand towels to embroider. I bought one. We don’t need many in the RV. Rose bought six, 2 for each of 3 daughters.

Back at the RV, I created the “embossed design” using Florian Total Control/U. I had 4 designs to create, A, G, F, and V.

I embroidered the towel using my Janome 9900.

Below is a link for the instructions on how to create the monogram using the Floriani Total Control/U software.

Embossed Monogram

Next post: Instructions on how to embroider the towel.

Heart Towel Applique

Hello!  Thank you for stopping by!

This post includes a tutorial with tips on doing applique and embroidery on a tricky item such as a towel.

Recommended Supplies anytime you are embroidering on a towel:

  • Water Soluble stabilizer – to be used as a topper
  • Self-adhesive wash-away stabilizer – to make it easier to hoop your towel

For those of you who like to jump to the punch line, here’s some photos of the finished towels that were completed during our MONTHLY machine embroidery club at Humble Sewing Center.


It’s been a while since I’ve written up a tutorial so, I’m feeling kind of rusty here!  Below you will see a step by step list of “How To’s” and I’ll include a photo whenever possible.

  1. Find and mark the center of your towel.  I use a straight pin to mark my spot.


2.  Lay the towel open and (if possible) use a template to help you decide where to place your design.  I used a software called Monogram Works to print a template with a cross hair in the design’s center.  I cut a hole out of the center of the template so I could mark the towel with a fabric marking pen.


3.  Peel the paper backing off of the self-adhesive water soluble stabilizer.  Lay the stabilizer on the table with the sticky side face up.  Lay the inner hoop on top of the stabilizer and then adjust the stabilizer so that it is taught on the hoop.  Yes, the stabilizer is sticking to your hoop and will leave a gummy residue.  You can rinse it in warm, soapy water afterwards if preferred.  In the meantime, you have hooped only the stabilizer and provided yourself a sticky surface…


4.  Next, lay the towel upon the hoop and apply gentle pressure to make it stick to the hooped stabilizer.  I like to use the plastic template grid that came with my embroidery machine to help me line things up in the hoop.  Believe it or not, there’s a hoop hiding under that towel!


5.  Remove the plastic grid.  Remove the paper template and any straight pins from your towel.  Use the toggle feature on your embroidery machine to make sure the needle is lined up with the center of your embroidery design (the cross hairs you marked your towel with.)

6.  At this time I will show you the next steps of this particular design in a brief series of noted photos.  Tip:  Be sure to lay a piece of water soluble topper on TOP of the towel before you begin embroidering a design onto a towel.  The topper keeps the embroidery threads from sinking into the towel and disappearing as well as preventing the towel loops from getting entangled in your needle and embroidery foot.  The topper is then torn away and also rinsed away as needed.

The tack-down stitch for this heart shaped applique has been stitched and the word Love & decorative swirl has also been stitched before trimming away the excess fabric.

The tack-down stitch for this heart shaped applique has been stitched and the word Love & decorative swirl has also been stitched before trimming away the excess fabric.

We removed the embroidery hoop from the machine but we did not remove the towel from the hoop.  We then used duck-billed applique scissors to trim away the excess fabric.

We removed the embroidery hoop from the machine but we did not remove the towel from the hoop. We then used duck-billed applique scissors to trim away the excess fabric.

Next, we returned the hoop to the machine and placed a layer of water soluble topper on top of the towel.  We resumed stitching out the design.

Next, we returned the hoop to the machine and placed a layer of water soluble topper on top of the towel. We resumed stitching out the design.

Here's a picture of a finished design with the topper still in place.

Here’s a picture of a finished design with the topper still in place.

Here's Cheryl, tearing away the topper.... what a great job!

Here’s Cheryl, tearing away the topper…. what a great job!

When the design is completely done stitching, remove the hoop from the machine and peel the towel away from the stabilizer.  Cut the excess stabilizer away from the towel.  This will rinse away the first time you wash the towel.

When the design is completely done stitching, remove the hoop from the machine and peel the towel away from the stabilizer. Turn the hoop over and cut the excess stabilizer away from the towel. This will rinse away the first time you wash the towel.

Lastly, pin and stitch a decorative trim or ribbon to the bottom of your towel.

Lastly, pin and stitch a decorative trim or ribbon to the bottom of your towel.

Yvonne used a pre-ruffled ribbon and chose a contrast thread and triple zig-zag stitch to attach hers.  Cute right?!

Yvonne used a pre-ruffled ribbon and chose a contrast thread and triple zig-zag stitch to attach hers. Cute right?!

Thanks so much for reading my post!

Have a great time on your next project and hope to see you soon!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny  🙂

Bling and Embroidery… What a combination!

Bling and Embroidery!

Bling and Embroidery!

Awesome Monogram!

Awesome Monogram!

Today, I wanted to make a couple of new samples for the store. I’ve been quilting so much lately that I decided it would be a good idea to try something new.

Since embroidery has always been a favorite of mine, I decided to monogram a tote bag. We have some really nice tote bag blanks in the store that make great items to embroider. I selected one with a zebra print and red trim. Red is my favorite color. Since I have what I consider hard to monogram initials, MMA. Not because embroidering the monogram is hard but because the letters are not always the best looking in many fonts. A’s are often funny looking and the M is usually so wide that it doesn’t fit well with other letters.  After trying many fonts, I decided on Curlz MT. The A looks like a cursive A with nice curves. The M is not overly wide and works well with the A.

With that decision out of the way, I decided to digitize my monogram using Masterworks III.  Masterworks has 156 built in fonts. Any number of which would work well for my tote bag, but it was a reason to digitize my own.  One of my future blogs will be on how to digitize true type fonts for perfect embroidered lettering. With the digitizing complete, I embroidered the bag matching the tread color to the bottom of the bag.

The monogrammed tote looked great. But since Bling is my second favorite embellishment, I used the Artistic Crystal Software to add come Bling around my monogram. In the Artistic Crystal software, it is very easy to open an embroidery design and using the autoborder tool create a border around each letter 2 mm from the edge of the embroidery. Next, you assign crystals to the line and make any adjustments so that no crystals overlap. Then, it is off to the Silhouette cutter which cuts a crystal template. Once that is finished, the template is pulled off of the cutting mat, and placed on a backing board. From there, the template is placed into a tray, the crystals are poured on top and a brush is used to move the crystals into the holes. When the holes are filled, transfer tape is place on top. Brushing on top of the tape causes the crystals to stick to the tape lifting them from the template when the tape is removed.  Now it is off to the press.

With the monogrammed bag in hand, I carefully placed the transfer take on top of the embroidered monogram lining it us so that crystals outline the letters. Then press for about 45 seconds using a pressing cloth on top. Try to remove the transfer tape, if the crystals lift up,  press again. Do this until the tape lifts off with all crystals remaining on the tote bag. Using the pressing cloth again on top of the crystals, press one more time. Let the bag cool. Then brush your hands over the crystals, they should stay in place.  In the end, I liked the bag so much that I bought it and made another for the store sample.

Finished. The tote bag looks awesome. Stop by the store to see a demo on how you can add embroidery and/or bling to your life. You will never be the same once you do.

Happy Embroidering and Blinging,


Patchwork Tote Bags Created at Embroidery Club

Happy Spring! And, what a wonderful spring day it is. As I am sitting on my back porch, I am catching up on the blog. I wanted to post the pictures of the Patchwork Totes that we created in Embroidery Club.

We started at February’s club where we started to embroider the 16 blocks needed for the Anita Goodesign Project – Patchwork Tote. Since we had so many blocks to make, we did not get all of them finished in one night. Everyone was asked to finish their blocks at home and come back at the end of March with the finished blocks and their sewing machine. It was time for the assembly of the bag.

We decided at class to change the bottom of the bag. My original one has a rounded bottom, but flat bottom seemed better for a more useable bag. Everyone decided to use the flat bottom idea.

The bags were all finished by the end of the evening so everyone went home with a completed tote. And, they were awesome.  The color combinations and the selection of embroidery designs made everyone a unique work of art.

It was such fun to make the bags. If you have an embroidery machine with a 5×7 hoop, be sure to get the Anita Goodesign Patchwork Tote design collection. You will be so happy with the bag that you make.



If you make a tote, let me know, I would love to post a picture of your tote on our blog.

Next month, look for samples of the Thread Catcher.

Have a great “sewing day,


Sign Up for the Next Embroidery Club Meeting – Click Here!

How to Transfer Embroidery Designs to your USB Stick

Hey! Hi! Hello!

It’s been a little while since I’ve added a post of my own.  I hope you are all enjoying the Skirt Sew Along with our wonderful Stacie!

(The t-shirt quilt sew-along is kind of on hold for now – Sorry ’bout that!  Please be patient with me!  I promise that I won’t leave you hanging too much longer….)

Ok, so today I’m sharing a very brief, 2-part video clip, in which I demo how to transfer embroidery designs from your design CD over to your USB stick.

Before viewing, I have 2 disclaimers:

#1 I used my husband’s iPhone to film this, so it’s a skinny screen.

#2 In the video, we are transferring all the designs from the cd onto the USB stick – but that is not generally recommended.  You see, your USB stick is really not meant to “store” your collections of embroidery designs.  If you cram it full of 30 or more designs, your embroidery machine is going to take FOREVER to read your USB stick the next time you plug it in.  So, instead of bogging down your stick with hundreds of designs that you may not ever stitch out anyway, you may want to only transfer the designs that you are ready to stitch out right now.

And…..without further delay….da, da, DA!   Transfer Part 1 & Part 2 by:  StitchinJenny

I’m no computer guru, but I hope this helps!

Thanks so much!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny


Designs by Marje on Etsy

Hi all!

Tomorrow is our big day for part one of the T-shirt Quilt Sew Along!  I’ll likely be able to publish the post about prepping your t-shirts sometime in the afternoon so there’s still time to go and get your supplies.  Supply List

I’m looking forward to helping you make a nice T-shirt Quilt over the next several days!

In the meantime, I wanted to give a shout out for some new embroidery fonts that are available on Etsy.  These are created by Marje Agostini a fellow instructor and blogger here on the SewVac Outlet blog.   She did a great job!  Take a minute to visit her Etsy Shop.

Etsy is a great place to showcase and sell your hand crafted items and your embroidery designs as well.  For those of you who recently  attended the Machine Embroidery Business Seminar, Etsy is a good way to get your name out there and let others know about your new business.

Here’s a picture of Marje’s Fancy Monogram available on Etsy in letters A-Z:

The letters fit in the 4×4 hoop and are about 2 1/2 inches tall.  To see more and/or to get yours, just click on the image…

Fancy Monogram

Here is a picture of a letter from her Applique Heart Monogram set – just in time to stitch out a sweet Valentine’s momento:

Each of these letters will fit the 4×4 hoop and is about 3 inches tall.

To see more and/or to get yours, just click on the image….

Applique "Heart" Monogram Set

Way to go Marje!

If you’d like to learn how to create/digitize your own alphabets etc., you should attend one of Marje’s upcoming classes.

That’s all for now!

Let’s get Sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

Adventures in Machine Embroidery: Cut Work

Ok all you adventurous machine embroidery ladies!  It’s time to take our hobby to the next level!!!

Yes!  We are doing some Cut Work!

What is cutwork?

Well, for some reason, looking at cut work reminds me of stained glass windows.  But that’s really not what it is at all.

Cut work is embroidery on fabric that is literally CUT OUT during the embroidery process.  So, your finished project has artistic and deliberate “holes” that are surrounded by beautiful embroidery stitches.

Here are some pictures of cut work designs by Anita Goodesign and also one by Dakota Collectibles.  You can get these and other designs from Humble Sewing Center or order them online.

Check out the pictures and then take a look at my step-by-step adventure in Cut Work on a shirt….


Dakota Collectibles File # FL1520

Cut Work Shirt Tutorial


  • one shirt
  • one cut work embroidery design
  • embroidery machine and embroidery thread
  • curved, fine tip embroidery scissors for precision cutting
  • No Show Fusible Stabilizer
  • Self-Adhesive Wash Away Stabilizer

Step One: Choose a shirt

Step Two: If you have embroidery software, print out a design template to help you with design placement on your shirt.

Don’t have software?  If you aren’t ready to invest in a full blown digitizing software, I like to recommend 2 smaller software packages, depending on what machine you own.

If you have a Janome Machine, I like Digitizer Jr.  (You can get this at Humble Sewing Center or your local dealer.)

If you have a Babylock or other brand of machine, I like to recommend: Embrilliance Essentials  (This is a smaller package that was created by the same man who created all of the Designer’s Gallery software. He’s amazing!)  He even let’s you download a free trial to see if you like it:  Free Trial    I don’t know if the trial lets you print or stitch anything, but at least you can click around and see if you like the way the software works…

Moving right along….

Step Three: Peel the paper backing off of the self-adhesive stabilizer and hoop it with the sticky side face up.

Step Four: Place your design template on your shirt and mark the cross hairs with a sticker or pins to help you with hooping.

Step Five:

Once you know where the design will be, you can fuse a piece of the No-Show fusible stabilizer to the wrong side of the shirt.  Make sure you are fusing this stabilizer in the area that the shirt will be embroidered.  This stabilizer helps keep your stretchy shirt fabric from becoming distorted during hooping and embroidering.

Step Six: Turn your shirt inside out and place it right side up on top of the hoop's sticky surface. I used the plastic grid that came with my hoop to help me align my shirt in the hoop. If my way is totally confusing you, see below to find out how Nancy Zieman does it.

(For the next two photos, I’m quoting the shirt hooping step from one of Nancy’s blog posts.  Here’s the link to the entire post:  Knit Shirt Makeovers)

“Place the embroidery hoop at the narrow end of an ironing board.  Next, position the T-shirt over the end of the ironing board. (See picture below.)  Match the neckline and center front to one of the Perfect-Placement Stitching lines and center front marking on the stabilizer. Gently finger press the shirt to the sticky stabilizer.”

Photo from Nancy Zieman Blog Post - Knit Shirt Makeovers

“Lift the back of the T-shirt to the top of the hoop, creating a nest shape. Reattach the hoop to the embroidery unit.”

Photo from Nancy Zieman Blog Post - Knit Shirt Makeovers

Ok, now we’re back to my instructions for the cut work shirt tutorial:

Step Seven: Once the shirt is hooped, make sure the needle is aligned with your target sticker or pins.

Step Eight: Stitch the first step of your cut work design and remove the hoop from the machine. Do not un-hoop the shirt!

Step Nine: Using your fine tipped embroidery scissors, cut out the fabric inside of the stitch outlines. Even cut through the stabilizers.

Step Ten: Turn the hoop over and use a piece of the self-adhesive stabilizer to patch the holes you cut. This is a very important step! Don't forget to patch those holes!!!

Step Eleven: Place the hoop onto the machine and finish stitching out the embroidery design.

Step Twelve:  Remove the hoop from the machine and un-hoop your shirt.  Trim away the excess stabilizers and use warm water to rinse away all of the wash away stabilizer.  Tumble dry your wet shirt.

Note:  If the embroidered area is stiff, you may need to rinse out the shirt again to remove the rest of the wash away stabilizer.  Once your shirt is dry, use a pressing cloth and press if necessary.

Look at my new shirt! By the way, this design is from Anita Goodesign Butterfly Cut Work Collection. I Love it!

My dog, Rilie, is very happy with the way my shirt turned out!

She's giving me her high five! What a sweet girl!

Thanks for reading!

I hope this helps you with your first try at Cut Work!

Let’s get sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

Onesie Conversion!

Look at what I made!

Today I refashioned a ready-to-wear onesie that I had purchased at Walmart for about $2.  I used my handy dandy embroidery machine and added an applique to the front of it.  I also bursted a few brain cells and created my own pattern so I could add a mock-wrap skirt to it.  The picture above is the fruit of my experimentation.  I’m looking forward to seeing this on my niece!

Here’s a close-up of the applique that I found for FREE online.  I’m sharing a link to the website where you can download this and other free designs as well as purchase tons of very cute ABC’s etc.

Note:   To be sure you like the results, you may want to stitch out a test one on scrap fabric first.

New Video Tutorial Coming Soon:  My hubby filmed me going through the steps of stabilizing, hooping, and stitching out this applique on a onesie.  I’ll be able to share the video as soon as he’s done editing etc.  Yay!

After I embroidered my onesie, I fused a stabilizer called Fuse So Soft to the back of the embroidery design.  It’s like a tricot fabric, but it’s fusible and this keeps the rough threads from scratching or irritating a baby’s delicate skin.  You can get it at Humble Sewing Center or order something similar online.

After the embroidery was all done, I used my self-drafted miniature skirt pattern and went to town putting this cute little frock together.  My skirt pattern is basically a trapezoid shape with a rounded bottom edge.

See?  My onesie has a mock-wrap skirt.  The overlapping flap is sewn in place near my contrasting chocolate band and there are no waist ties.

I assembled and hemmed the skirt before attaching it to the onesie.

I marked center front and center back and placed some alignment dots across the onesie’s front and back so I’d be able to pin the skirt in place and sew without too much fuss.

Can you see the placement dots?

To sew the skirt to the onesie, I turned the skirt inside out and inserted the onesie into the skirt so that center fronts, center backs, and side seams were aligned and fabrics were right sides together.  Then I pinned it to death and sewed all the way around.

       My friend’s Beautiful Daughter, Marian! I get to be Auntie Jenny! Yay!!!!

I know I didn’t share a complete step by step tutorial for this project this time, but I am sharing a link to a pattern by Vanilla House that is very similar to what I have done here.  See?  Just click the images to go to the Vanilla House website and order your pattern!


P163 One-zee conversions162frontcoveronly

That’s all for now!

Let’s get Sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny