Tag Archives: applique

Stitches from the Road

My husband and I are traveling in our RV with our two Bichon Frise dogs, Sammy and Morgan. Since living in an RV means that space is small. I had to make some decisions on what I could take with me on the road. My Babylock Ellisimo Gold is just too large for the RV so my Ellisimo Gold is waiting at home for my return.

After 6 weeks on the road, I was ready to embroider or quilt something. But, I did not have my machine with me. I decided to buy a new machine that would be more conducive to RVing. I selected Janome 9900.  It has a maximum embroidery area of 6.7″ x 7.9″ (170xx x 200mm), and the embroidery unit is small. It fits on the back of the machine and opens to the rear. The machine has a 9mm stitch with will be nice when I use decorative stitches. The 9900 has a maximum embroidery speed of 800 stitches per minute. With 200 stitches, 6 one step button holes, 175 built-in embroidery designs and so much more.

I’ve had my new Janome 9900 for a week now, and I love it. I’ve done some embroidery, after digitizing the designs, and am making a Christmas themed throw pillow.  Below are pictures of the embroidery designs that I created.  The letters are appliqué designs with a bean stitch inside the satin outline which adds a uniqueness to the design. I used a true type font for the ho and HO. I drew a funky H and created the ornament using a circles, lines and a hand drawn ornament topper. I will provide instructions on how to digitize the designs in a subsequent post as well as instructions on how to create the pillow.


HOhoHO pillow

In the meantime, happy embroidering, happy quilting, and Happy Holidays. If you are in the market for a nice sewing/embroidery machine, consider the Janome 9900.  The staff at Humble Sewing Center (Sew Vac Outlet) will be glad to demo this awesome machine.

Stay tuned for subsequent posts about my HO ho Ho pillow.

Happy Stitching…

Prize Drawing Winner & T-Shirt Quilt News

Hi!  Hello! Howdy!

2 quick things:

First things First:  I just drew the winner’s name for the  Applique Heart Monogram Alphabet

Our winner is:

World’s Greatest Grandmother – Helen Alexander!!!!

Helen, Your designs will be emailed to you shortly!

Now, for those of you who keep track, Helen Taylor won the last give-away.  This is not the same Helen!  (And even if it were, you’d just have to trust me, ‘cuz I don’t peek!)

Second things Second:  Many of you recently voted for the T-shirt Quilt to be our first sew along.  So far, I have posted up to step 3.   I just wanted to check in with you to see who is actually ready for step 4?

With this question, I do not mean:  “Who is interested in reading step 4?”

I mean, “Who is waiting on me to get busy and post step 4 already because you’ve got a T-Shirt Quilt to finish?!”

Please let me know by posting a comment here.

Thanks for reading!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

T-Shirt Quilt Part One: Preparing Your T-shirt Blocks

Hi and welcome to part one of our T-shirt Quilt Sew Along!

Before we get started, I want to take a moment to go over our quilt’s dimensions.

#1 If you use the recommended 12 blocks that each start out as 15″x15″ squares, and if you use the recommended width of sashing to frame out each of your 12 blocks, (sashing details provided in Part Two of our sew-along)  the finished quilt will be about 54″ wide by 70″ tall.

#2 You are welcome to make your 12 quilt blocks whatever size you prefer, just keep in mind it does affect the finished size of your quilt.

Preparing Your T-shirt Blocks

The first thing you need to do is take a minute to read through this entire post before you cut anything!

For part one of our sew along, you will be cutting out your 12 t-shirt blocks by following the steps below.

  1. The first thing you will do is mark and cut out your 12 squares of light weight fusible stabilizer.  I like to make a 15″x15″ template out of poster board and use this to draw the squares onto my stabilizer.  I know it’s a time eater to do it this way, but it’s the best way I’ve found to not run short on my stabilizer…

    Might be a little difficult to see, but I used red marker to draw 12 squares onto my stabilizer and then I used my rotary cutter to cut them all out.

    2.  After your stabilizer is all cut out, the next thing to do is to cut open the side seams of each t-shirt and separate the shirt fronts from the shirt backs.


3.  Once all your shirts are split, press them to remove any wrinkles.  Note:  If your shirt has graphics, do not lay your iron directly onto the graphics.  (They might melt!)  To prevent melted graphics, use a pressing cloth when ironing.

4.  After your shirts are pressed, take one shirt and lay it wrong side up.  Lay one square of the fusible stabilizer on top of your shirt with the glue side of the stabilizer touching the wrong side of your shirt.  Position the stabilizer so that it is over the area that has the graphics on your shirt and use a pressing cloth to fuse the stabilizer in place.  Repeat for all 12 t-shirts.

5.  Once all your shirts have a 15″x15″ square of stabilizer fused to them, you can use the stabilizer square as a guide to cut out each t-shirt block.  (I like to use my rotary cutter, mat, and ruler for this step.)

See pictures and frequently asked questions below:

Let the cutting begin!

Chop! Chop!


“Why do I have to fuse stabilizer to my t-shirts?”

I have found that if you take the time to  fuse a light weight stabilizer to each of your t-shirts before you cut them into quilt blocks, the blocks stay squared and do not become stretched out of shaped when assembling your t-shirt quilt.

“What if my shirt graphics are really close to the shirt neckline and won’t be centered on my t-shirt block?”

It’s really up to you.  One option is to leave it as is and just have a non-centered graphic on that particular block.  The other option is to do the following:

  • Fuse stabilizer to the area behind the shirt’s graphic design.
  • Carefully cut out the area that has the graphic design.
  • Create a blank quilt  block by cutting a 15″ x 15″ square out of a stabilized, blank, t-shirt or out of a piece of plain cotton fabric.
  • Use your sewing machine to center and applique the graphic design to your blank quilt block.

“I want to sew an applique to one of my t-shirt quilt blocks, but I don’t know how.”

Take a look at these step by step instructions and then experiment on some scrap fabric before you try it on your quilt.

1.  Once you have cut out your section of shirt graphic that you want to use as an applique, you should fuse Sewable Heat n’ Bond to the back of it.

2.  Once you fuse this to the back of your applique, let it cool and then you can peel away the paper backing.  Now your applique is a fusible patch!

3.  Next cut out your 15″x15″ blank quilt block and then lay your applique in the desired position on your blank quilt block.  Use a pressing cloth and fuse the applique in place.

4.  Set your sewing machine for a zig zag stitch or a decorative stitch and sew around the edge of the patch to permanently attach it to your block.  I used a satin stitch on mine.  Here are some recommended settings and also tips to try:

  • select the zig zag stitch
  • set the stitch width to 5mm
  • set the stitch length to .40mm
  • you may need to lower the thread tension a little to prevent the bobbin threads from showing on top of your fabric
  • if possible, attach an open toed presser foot to your machine

An open toed foot allows you see your stitches as you sew an applique so you can keep an eye on what you are doing.

  • When you first begin sewing, make sure the right hand swing of the needle is just to the right of the edge of your patch.  Begin sewing at the bottom left corner of your patch.

Just a picture to show that I began at the bottom left corner of my patch.

  • Sew to the first corner and stop stitching when you get to the outer edge.  Make sure your needle is down and on the right hand swing of the zig zag.  Raise the presser foot and pivot the fabric so that you can sew along the next edge of your patch.  Lower your presser foot and continue stitching.

  • Repeat the applique pivoting method for each corner of your patch.
  • When you get back to the beginning of your stitches, be careful to guide the fabric so that your stitches will be able to overlap and re-trace your beginning stitches for about 1/2 an inch.

I'm coming back to the beginning and I've got things lined up pretty well to re-trace my previous stitches. Yay!

  • I made sure my stitches overlapped in the bottom left corner of my patch and everything looks A-ok!

Nice Job!

Here is the 1st finished block of my T-shirt quilt!  Yay!

Now, I’ll take some time to do this for the other 11 blocks of my quilt…..

Oh, and another option is to do a machine embroidery design on your blank t-shirt blocks.

  • Fuse stabilizer to the wrong side of your blank block
  • Mark center front on block
  • Hoop the block
  • Stitch your preferred design in the center of your blank block

Well, that’s all for part one.  I hope you found this post helpful!

Take some time to get your 12 blocks all ready and stay tuned for Part Two:  Quilt Lay Out Tips and Preparing our Sashing Strips….

Let’s get sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

Machine Embroidery Tips for Perfect Applique

Sew Crafty Ladies!

The Sew Crafty Houston Ladies! Photo By: Laura Burlton

Ok!  I know I posted this picture just a few weeks ago, but I have a good reason!

#1 I’m really missing my time with these gals.

#2 Don’t we look great?

#3 I promised to talk about how I made this applique banner in a future post.

Remember?  Well,  we are presently in the FUTURE!

So, here is a “General” Tutorial for how I did this and also some great tips for making machine embroidered appliques!

Machine Embroidered Banners 101

  • Decide how wide your finished banner will be.
  • Decide how large your letters will need to be.
  • Select the appropriate font and size from your favorite embroidery designs collection.  (I purchased an applique font online and chose the 5×7 hoop sized letters for this project)
  • Using your embroidery software, print out a template of each letter in your banner.
  • Using see through tracing paper, make a triangle template that nicely frames your letters.  Mark center on this template.
  • Using Embroidery Machine:  Hoop a 10″x10″ or larger piece of background fabric and applique a letter to it.    (see applique tips) Make sure you place the letter carefully so that you’ll have enough room to cut out your triangle!
  • Un-hoop the fabric.  Press if desired.  Lay your triangle template on top of your fabric, centering the appliqued letter within the triangle.  Pin the template to the fabric and cut out the triangle using pinking shears.  (If you don’t have pinking shears, you could just use regular scissors and hem your triangle to prevent unraveling.)
  • Repeat for all the letters in your banner.
  • Sew your appliqued triangles to a ribbon (I used 1″ wide grossgrain) and make sure you leave long tails at each end so you can hang your banner.
  • Enjoy!

A blurry closeup of one of my letters!

Machine Embroidery Applique Tips:

Recommended Stabilizers:  Floriani Appli-Kay Wonder or SewVac Outlet’s Fuse ‘n Stick

These stabilizers are fusible on one side and sticky on the other.  This allows you to hold applique pieces in place while you stitch.  I love it because it prevents shifting and bubbling in my applique and my needle doesn’t get gummy!  An alternative to the stabilizers would be a temporary spray adhesive that you use to spritz the back of your applique before you place it on the fabric.  This works, but I find that the stabilizer gives me more consistent results.

Seven Steps to Perfect Appliques:

Step One:  Hoop the fabric that you will use for your applique letter.  You don’t need a stabilizer beneath it – unless you’re using stretchy fabric.

Step Two:  Stitch the outline of the design.  Un-hoop the fabric and press if needed.

Step Three:  Lay your fabric with the design outline wrong side up so that you are looking at the back of your design.  Lay a piece of the Fuse n’ Stick or Appli-Kay Wonder on the fabric with the fusible side touching the back of your design.  (The fusible side is the shiny side.)

Step Four:  Fuse the stabilizer piece to the wrong side of the decorative fabric using a medium to high temperature setting on your iron.  (No Steam).  Start at a med. temperature and slowly increase until you get a good fuse.  Hold the iron in place for at least 3 seconds and then flip the piece over and press again on the fabric side.

Step Five:  Once cooled, cut out the appliqué design using the trace lines/ stitched lines.

Step Six:  Peel back the protective sheet to expose the sticky surface. **It is very important to let the applique cool before removing the paper.

Step Seven:  Hoop your backround fabric (use a cutaway or tearaway stabilizer behind it!)  and stitch the design outline one more time.  Now, position the sticky appliqué piece over the design outline and finger press in to place. *Press on the appliqué side and the fabric side for maximum bonding. Finish by stitching out the rest of your embroidery design, changing thread colors as needed.

Gift Give-Away Contest Update:

We only need 2 more winners!!!  Click the link to enter to win and find out what you get!  Contest Link

Let’s Get Sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

What does Hockey have to do with Sewing? Not much, but…..

What does Hockey have to do with Sewing?  Not much, but….  I just found some cool Hockey fabric today.  This occurred when I went to High Fashion on a Fabric Field Trip with friend, student, and blogger – Stacie, of http://www.staciethinksshecan.com/.

Look!  This is a close-up of the fabric I found! I plan to use it in one of those embroidered mugs as a gift for my husband.

My husband plays goalie....

What else does Hockey have to do with Sewing?  Well, I used my Janome Digitizer Jr., a purchased applique font, and my Janome Giga Hoop to embroider his player number on the back of his jersey.  See?

Can you guess what his favorite number is?

And, if you really want to know the truth of why I feel compelled to talk about hockey on a sewing blog,  Sunday night was the play-off game for his Hockey league.  Guess who won the Championship?

(Team Name: Bad Company) My husband is the one wearing blue gloves. He's 6'6" and almost as tall as me when he's on his knees. Photo By: Cameron Hagen

This victory is a big deal.  He’s been competing and shooting for a championship for a few years now.  Way to go, Gabe!!!

And, now for an update about our on-going Gift-Away:

We still haven’t reached 25 winners!   Hurry up and follow the “steps to win” so you can be in the 1st 25!!!

Steps to Win:

  • If you’re not already following, register to follow this blog by clicking on the link in our side-bar.
  • Then, contact me through making a comment on this blog post
  •  Let me know which item you want to claim – the key fob or the koozie
  • Let me know what name or letter you’d like me to custom embroider on your item
  • -Or- let me know if you want to receive it as a blank.  (A blank is an item that is ready for you to embroider yourself. )

I bet you want to see what you get, right?

Well, I decided to give you a choice between the two items pictured here.

As we add to our list of winners, I'll get these stitched out and make an announcement when they are ready for pick-up at HSC.

Click the Contest Link to see the updated list of Winners!  

Let’s Get Sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny