Candy Cane Huggers & Holders

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I usually wait until December to put up the Christmas tree, but when Aunt Sallie called and said she’d be passing through and stopping by the next day, I had an immediate change of plans. Aunt Sallie is the family queen of holiday décor. It would be the only time she could share a little holiday cheer, she had said, and as I looked around and saw no sign of Santa, I panicked!

I was able to drag the table top tree out of the basement and give it a good dusting, but the ornaments were in a storage area where only my husband could reach.  And even if I could get the boxes off their shelves, I wondered about the condition in which I’d find them, recalling my haste when storing them away. I contemplated this little dilemma, igniting my inspiration with a bit of sugar from a candy cane, while cleaning up my sewing area.  I found a couple of samples and decided it was a shame to tuck nice embroidery into a shoebox.  Then, with a candy cane in one hand, embroidered star sample in the other, I recalled seeing similar ornaments that hold candy canes.  Yes!

As the clean-up mission continued I managed to find a few more embroidered samples that would work fine for ornaments and stitched out other holiday appliqué designs on felt I had in my stash, and then I embellished each with whatever I could gather up in the craft room.  I admit some of those that I made may have been improved, had I more time.  Some I didn’t add back pieces to and others could have used a ribbon or some sort of pop, but in the end, I realized all was well when I saw Aunt Sallie smile.

These ornaments can be made quickly, depending on the sewing time of the designs you choose and the amount of embellishment that you desire. In general, each can be assembled within an hour’s time and they can be created from scraps of felt and other fabrics that you might already have in your stash. I’ve used appliqué designs in this project because they usually have a satin stitch column outline that works well for the edge of the ornament, but any design could work if you use a little imagination. The designs featured in this project require either a 4 x 4” or 5 x 7” hoop. The first five steps are the basic instructions, followed by steps for each of the 10 designs.

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Materials

  • 1 square of craft felt suitable for each ornament
  • Fabric pieces to cover areas you plan for appliqué
  • Cut-away stabilizer
  • 40 WT Threads; variety of colors for each design
  • Fabric or felt glue
  • Ribbon or cord for each ornament that requires a hanger
  • Misc. trims, gems, beads, stick-on stars, dry glitter, and/or glitter glue
  • 10 Candy Canes

Designs

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Step 1:1-Step

Gather the materials. You will need pieces of felt large enough to hoop and stitch each ornament design. If you have felt pieces large enough for the design but not enough to hoop, you can hoop an adhesive type stabilizer and lay the felt on top for “hoopless embroidery”. Use a heavy weight tear-away or firm cut-away. Find those bits and pieces of ribbons and trims in your stash that need a purpose and other materials for embellishment.

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Step 2:

2-Step

Embroider the designs. I used designs that are digitized for appliqué but it isn’t necessary to use fabric pieces in all areas intended for the appliqué. If you choose to use appliqué, the machine will stop after sewing the placement line and you can either set in your pre-cut piece that has been lightly sprayed with adhesive or backed with an adhesive stabilizer, or you can lay a piece of fabric to cover the area, and then stitch the cutline (the next color digitized in the design). When the machine stops stitching that color, trim away the fabric up to the outside of the stitches and then start the machine again and finish sewing the design.

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Step 4:

4-Step

Cut out the designs (fronts) and backs for the ornaments. You can cut as close to the border stitches as you prefer, but take care not to cut the stitches. Keep a bottle of Dritz Fray Check handy to dab on any stitches accidentally snipped. To be safe, leave a margin of about 1/4” to the outside of the stitches all around the design by first measuring and marking. For the Polar Bear I used my hem gauge and a ball point pen, marking dots around the outside, and then connected the dots before using a scissors to cut out the ornament. The Poinsettia was trimmed up close to the stitches very carefully with a small hand scissors, and then I pinned the front to another piece of felt and used a craft knife to create the back and cut out the holes for the candy cane (the holes for holding the candy canes should be cut on back pieces before they are glued in place). You can leave the stabilizer in place and it will add to the firmness of the ornament, but you may want to trim away the very outside up to the stitches to avoid any poking out of the edge. Attach the backs to the fronts with a thin line of fabric or felt glue around the inside edges.

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Step 5:

5-Step

Decorate the ornament. The hook of the candy cane is used to hang the candy cane huggers, but the candy cane holders will need a hanger of some sort. I cut a piece of ribbon about 5” long, folded in half and then I used a couple tack-down stitches to hold in place. You could also use a good dab of glue to attach the ribbon, but you will need to wait until it dries to continue working with the ornament. I used red Zazz glitter glue to seal the outside edges of the Poinsettia. For the Christmas Tree, I applied yellow glitter glue to the front edge and sprinkled multi-colored dry glitter on top of the glitter glue to add more sparkle.

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Step 6:

6-Step

Gingerbread Man Holder: This cute design actually includes a heart on each side of the gingerbread man, but those elements were unnecessary for this project. I chose to delete them from the design before it was stitched, but if you don’t have an editing software program, you can let the hearts sew and simply cut them out of the final ornament. I decided it was fine without adding a back piece to it. A ribbon was attached for a hanger (as shown in Step 5).

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Step 7:

7-Step

Poinsettia Hugger: This was stitched on the red fabric with green appliqué added for the leaves, and then the entire ornament was backed with red felt. Holes for the candy cane were cut prior to attaching the back to the front (as shown in Step 3). Red glitter glue was applied on the outside edge to embellish and it also hides the white cut-away stabilizer that is sandwiched between the fabric front and felt back. Note, the metallic gold thread that was used for both the berries and inside petals ran beautifully for these elements.

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Step 8:

8-Step

Snowman Holder: This was stitched on one piece of white felt and it has no back. After stitching I carefully snipped a hole inside the satin stitch ring at the top for the 11” long ribbon used for the hanger. I chose to leave a 3/8” wide margin around the outside to better support the area where the hole is cut at the outside of the elbow for the candy cane. A pink, red or blue felt with a white appliqué for the snowman may have been a better idea to help the snowman stand out, so I added polar white Flower Soft particles to highlight areas of the snowman. Dots of red glitter glue were dabbed in the center of the elements of the snowman’s scarf.

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Step 9:

9-Step

Christmas Bear Hugger: I added a back piece to this ornament because I wanted the candy to be placed vertically and the embroidery wouldn’t allow cutting candy cane holes through the stabilizer. Additional embellishment didn’t appear necessary, though you could add gems or glitter to the eyes for a bit of sparkle.

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Step 10:

10-Step

Merry Christmas Holder: This design was likely digitized with the intention of using it for a gift tag; slip a ribbon through the “button holes” to tie on a package or around a bottle of wine. Simply embroider the design, cut around the outside of the border and snip the centers of the button holes, and then attach a ribbon to hang.

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Step 11:

11-Step

Star Hugger: I stitched the design on red fabric and cut-away and attached a red felt back with a thin line of glue at the edge. The holes for the candy cane were cut into the back prior to attaching it to the front. I used a template made from shipping cardboard to mark a circle around the embroidery. Yellow glitter glue sprinkled with dry multi-colored glitter was added around the outside edge and a stick-on star was added to the center.

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Step 12:

12-Step

Christmas Tree Holder: White felt and cut-away were both hooped and the design was stitched as an appliqué by adding the plaid fabric after the placement line was sewn. Holes for the candy cane were cut into the stabilizer (as shown in Step 4). Yellow glitter glue with dry multi-colored glitter was added around the 1/8” margin left at the outside of the border stitches. A ribbon was tacked to the back for a holder. A stick-on star was attached to the ribbon at the top of the tree and gems glued on for added sparkle. Note, this design is pictured on the product page at EmbroideryDesigns.com with the plaid running horizontally and vertically; I chose to angle the plaid to offer the illusion of garland.

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Step 13:

13-Step

Santa Claus Hugger: This was stitched on white felt and a red appliqué piece was used for the hat. An option for this design is to also use a white piece of fabric like polar fleece for the appliqué that is digitized in this design for the beard and cap tassel. A white felt back was cut and holes cut for the candy cane about an inch apart and the back was attached to the front. No embellishment was added.

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Step 14:

14-Step

Gingerbread Man Hugger: Stitched on tan felt and a back with pre-cut candy can holes was attached with a thin line of glue at the edge after the stabilizer was trimmed away (as shown in Step 3). I chose to add polar white Flower Soft particles to the embroidered snow and a dab of red glitter glue to the nose and yellow glitter glue to the stars on the ornament.

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Step 15:

15-Step

Polar Bear Hugger: This was stitched on white felt and cut-away stabilizer; no back piece was necessary. I cut a 1/4” wide margin around the design (as shown in Step 3). Holes for the candy cane were cut and no additional embellishment seemed necessary. If preferred, you could add a bit of black or silver glitter to the nose and paw pads, or add embellishment on the scarf. You could also choose to stitch on colored felt and add an appliqué piece of white polar fleece or similar fluffy fabric for the body of the bear that was digitized for appliqué.

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Step 16:

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Decorate the tree!

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With a little thought, most any design can become a candy cane hugger or holder.  Let your imagination have some fun! You may even already have a few embroidered test samples that were screaming for a purpose and what better way to put them on display!

You’ll find these instructions and many more to help you decorate for the holidays archived in the Projects at EmbroideryDesigns.com!

~ Till next time, keep on stitchin’!

Bonnie
CSR & Design Support Team EmbroideryDesigns.com
Digitizer Moonlight Design Embroidery Digitizing
Images © 2014 EmbroideryDesigns.com – B. Landsberger

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TP Holder & Other Thing Sling

 

finalI haven’t much storage space in my small bathroom so I keep my extra toilet paper rolls in the hall linen closet, which is not the most convenient, especially for visitors when the roll runs out.  Keeping an extra roll of TP on the vanity or on the back of the throne presents a situation of possible splash accidents, like when my cats get in a mischievous mood.  This quick project is the perfect storage solution, and it will be most appreciated by guests who won’t experience an awkward moment if the roll runs out.

I used two different remnants of 42” wide, 100% cotton Timeless Treasures prints.  You can use a heavier fabric, such as for upholstery that will hold up well for daily use, but considering the holder will likely be laundered routinely, I would avoid any fabric that you must dry clean.  To reinforce a lighter fabric, I used a no-show poly-mesh cut-away, but you can use any flexible stabilizer between the panels as long as it also supports the embroidery, like an iron-on stabilizer or a 1.5 OZ tear-away.

All it takes is less than a half-yard total for the two panels and ties necessary for each holder. The length of the toilet paper core, determines the yardage, and the amount of slings that you want to make determines the necessary fabric width.  The circumference of the toilet paper roll that you generally use determines the length of each holder. If you create only one sling using the same print inside and outside, you would likely get by with about 8” of fabric that is 42” wide.  A 3-sling holder requires a 64” fabric width. (If you plan to make more than one 2-sling holder, you can reverse the measurements, using the yardage for the length of the holder and cut about six panels 6.5” wide and six strips 1” wide for ties from 1 yard that is at least 42” wide to create three 2-sling holders.)  This pattern is for creating one 2-sling holder.

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Materials

  • 2 panels of fabric, 6.5 x 36” each
  • 2 strips of fabric, 1 x 30” each for ties
  • 1 sheet 6.5 x 36” stabilizer: iron-on, tear-away or poly-mesh
  • 40 WT thread
  • 12 beads (optional)
  • Gems to embellish (optional)

Embroidery Designs:

Rippled Butterfly Heart by Ace Points  SKU: AP01-APE1637_001

http://www.embroiderydesigns.com/productdetails/Ace-Points/1/APE1637_001.aspx

Rippled Butterfly & Flowers by Ace Points  SKU: AP01-APE1662_004

http://www.embroiderydesigns.com/productdetails/Ace-Points/1/APE1662_004.aspx

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Step 1

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Test sew your designs and create a template by marking the inside edge of the hoop, then cut along your mark line.  This is a good time to make note of possible problems.  My sample shows how a tail of green was tacked down by the yellow in the left flower. Be sure trimmers are turned on or if you are stitching with a machine without trimmers, you should stop the machine after the jump to trim away the excess tail.

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Step 2

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Gather your materials, determine the measurements and cut. This pattern calls for the sling to hold the standard size roll that measures about 4” from the top of the core to the bottom of its core.  To be sure that the sling will hold your favorite brand of TP, measure the length of its core and add 2.5” and the sum will determine the width of the panel.  Determine the length of the panels for a 2-sling holder by measuring the circumference of the TP roll, double that number and add 6”.  Cut two panels of fabric accordingly; my two cut panels measured 6.5 x 36”.  Cut two 1” x 30” strips for ties.  Alternately, you might also use ¼” wide ribbon for the ties.

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Step 3

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Pre-assemble and mark.  With a roll of TP inserted in each sling, assemble top panel to the inside with stabilizer on the outside. You can also accomplish this with the fabric right side out, but I prefer to hide marks whenever possible.  Pin and mark between the two rolls where your final center seams will stitch (approximately 8 ¼” up from the fold); this will not be at exact center because you need an allowance at the top of the holder for top seams. Determine and mark an X at where you believe the center point of the embroidery design should be.  Un-assemble and use two pins crossed on the right side to mark each design center, matching up the pins to your marks on the stabilizer.

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Step 4

tp-4

Pin the templates to the right side to help placement when hooping, matching up the center of the design to the crossed pins; a roll of TP will help judge whether designs will be centered.  Hoop around where the template is pinned and then remove the template, line up center on the machine, and then remove the pins and stitch. Note: I included a margin of stabilizer on each side to accommodate the size of the hoop I used and it’s cut away after the embroidery. If you use a smaller size that allows hooping all fabric securely, this excess margin of stabilizer is not necessary.

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Step 5

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With right sides together, pin the inside and outside panels together and sew a 5/8” seam around each side, leaving an opening at one end.

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Step 6

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Trim corners and turn.  Use the blunt end of a knitting needle to help push out corners.  Press.

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Step 7

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Create ties.  Fold and press each long edge to meet at the center, and then fold and press in half along the length.  Pin and sew a narrow seam, stitching close to the edge.

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Step 8

tp-8

Fold the stitched panel in half, right sides out, and pin at top. Fold the ties in half and place the folded ends between the two sides of the panel, in about 1” from the top of the holder. Pin and stitch a narrow seam at the top edge. Stitch another seam about 3/8” down from the top seam.

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Step 9

tp-9

 

Tie to a door knob or clothes hanger with rolls of TP inserted to double check where the center seams should be. Pin and stitch two seams across the center about 3/8” apart.

 

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Step 10

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Optional: Add gems where preferred, fastening with Gem-Tack or other fabric glue.  Thread the ends of the ties through beads and knot the ends.

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The finished “thing sling” is pretty enough for Aunt Sallie’s visit and handy enough for everyday use.  A great storage solution and organizer, it can also be used in the kitchen for tucking away towels and gadgets, tied on a bed post to hold a book, hang from a door knob to organize toys, or use in any room to hold just about anything that fits in the sling. ~ Till next time, keep on stitchin’!

Bonnie
CSR EmbroideryDesigns.com
Digitizer Moonlight Design Embroidery Digitizing
Images © 2014 EmbroideryDesigns.com – B. Landsberger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scented Pillow Tablet Stand

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Want to kick back and read a book or watch a movie on your gadget? Need a helping hand while you munch on popcorn? After struggling with my Kindle Fire’s leather case to sit at a comfortable angle, I discovered the perfect solution that works beautifully for me – the pillow tablet stand. This handy little resting place works great for phones, pads or tablets and readers of all sizes. Best of all, this is a breeze to make!

The pattern consists of one 12×18” piece of fabric sturdy enough for stuffing and everyday wear. If you want the stand to have a flexibility like a bean bag chair that can somewhat mold to the form it’s holding, or to the form where it’s resting, such as your lap, the stand can be stuffed with sand, beans or crushed walnut shells. Or if you want a more firm stand it can be stuffed with fiberfill. But keep in mind, if you use a lighter stuffing, you must also add some type of weight like a rock to keep the stand anchored; and if a rock is used, it’s best to pad the bottom of the stand with a piece of cardboard cut to fit as a base. I preferred to use the crushed shells I had left from the Nutty Pillow-Style Pin Cushion project, so no weight or cardboard base was necessary.

Now, if you’re not allergic to nuts the only thing bad about crushed walnut shells, as I discovered, is that they acquire a stale odor when stored in an air-tight plastic tub. I was aware that the odor would eventually dissipate, but I didn’t want a stinky stand in the mean time, so I added a tablespoon of Gain® Fireworks Scent Enhancer that quickly neutralized the stale odor along with adding a lasting, lovely scent to the room. I then realized, no matter what you use as a fill, a fresh scent from laundry aids like a dryer sheet, or perhaps a few dried sprigs of lavender or other potpourri will create an excellent air freshener. It’s also easily replaced in the future if it’s stuffed into the front “pillow rest” where it can easily be opened and stitched again. (Next time, with this in mind, I might try a Velcro fastener to close the front end.)

When something is this simple, I can’t help but add embroidery somewhere. I stitched on a few small flowers but it didn’t seem to be enough. I wasn’t happy with the button I’d first used to embellish the back side and by the time I’d decided to add more embroidery it had already been assembled. What to do? My solution came in the form of a 3D freestanding lace (FSL) design. If you choose to do the same you will find more instructions for FSL in my blog post What Makes A Design FSL?

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Materials

  • Fat Quarter or ½ yard of cotton fabric
  • Tear-Away stabilizer
  • Optional: 1 button, about 3/4”
  • Optional: heavy water soluble stabilizer for Free Standing Lace embellishment
  • Stuffing: 6 cups crushed walnut shells (or 1 bag polyester fiberfill with rock or other weight).
  • 2 plastic shopping bags (unnecessary if using fiberfill)
  • Rubber band
  • Optional: 1 Tablespoon Gain® Fireworks or other scent booster
  • 40 WT thread

Designs:
Flower by Creative Design – Free Design SKU: FES01-CRE2000212

3D Flowers by Wind Bell Embroidery SKU: WBE01-WBE0350A_010
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Step 1:

1-Step

Gather materials and choose thread colors. Cut fabric to 18” long and 12” wide. Do not count the salvage in the measurement, but it can be left to secure the seam, as explained in Step 4. Stitch a sample of the small flower design to use as a placement template; mark around the inside of the hoop prior to removing the hoop and cut away excess to create the template.

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Step 2:2-AStep

Mark design placement as seen in the illustration at right. If you’d like to embroider on the front pillow rest find the center of the fabric about 9” from each side, and up about 2” from the end. If you’ve chosen to make a larger or smaller size stand, you can determine a balanced placement on the back of the stand: with right sides together, fold lengthwise (matching up edges of print; do not include salvage). Pin a few places along the length and along the back side, and then turn right side out for a general idea of how it will be assembled. Lay the sample template on the fabric where you want the flower to stitch, fold back the template to find the approximate center, and then mark the spot, using chalk, pencil, crossed pins, or Target Stickers. Turn and remove pins. Measure from the fabric printed edge to the marked design center, and use this measurement to mark placement for the opposite side.

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Step 3:

3b-Step

Pin the template so that the center of the design is positioned over the marked X. The template should be pinned on the mark in the direction it will stitch. Hoop fabric with one sheet of stabilizer, and place the hoop so that the template is sitting inside. Remove the template and embroider design. Do the same with the remaining designs.

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Step 4:

4-Step

Stitch bottom seam. With right sides together, match up the printed edges and fold the salvage over to create a secured seam; this will add protection against wear and keep any loose fill or weights you may have used from pushing through the stitches. Press, pin and stitch a 3/8 ” seam to close.

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Step 5:

5-Step

Stitch back seam 5/8″.

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Step 6:

6-Step

Turn and lay open with the bottom seam at center. With the no seam side up, fold down the back to the shape of a diamond as seen in image.

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Step 7:

7-Step

Stitch the bottom flap. Fold the outside tip of the diamond to the inside about half-way to meet at the diamond’s center and mark along the fold, and then stitch along mark. My seam resulted about 2” from the outside tip.

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Step 8:

8-Step

Fill one shopping bag with 6 cups of crushed walnut shells or other heavy fill like craft sand and close top with a rubber band, leaving enough room in the bag to allow movement of fill and flexibility. Trim away the top of the plastic bag, leaving about a 2-3” excess; set the portion that is cut away to the side. If you would rather use fiberfill, no bag is necessary, however, at this point you will need to add a rock or other heavy item at the center bottom to add weight and keep the stand stable.

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Step 9:

9-Step

Stuff the filled shopping bag into the opening of the stand with the top excess of the bag tucked up into the back top tip. Push it in as far as possible and pin about 3″ up from the open edge to hold back the stuffing while sewing the closing seam; pin along open edge to keep one side from shifting while you work and if preferred, mark a line as a guide where you will stitch.

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Step 10:

10-Step

Stitch the closing seam. Setting an object under the filled part of the stand will help as you guide the bag slowly to stitch the seam. Stitch another seam across about ½” away from the closing seam. This will result in the ditch where the bottom of the tablet rests.

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Step 11:

11-Step

Make the plastic bag filler for the front pillow rest. Cut a rectangle portion about 14×6” from the plastic you had set aside. Lay across the area to be stuffed for the resting pillow. Spread about ½ cup of filler across the strip. If you want to add a scent, sprinkle about a tablespoon of scent booster across the top. Wrap and tape on each end to encase the fill. Roll the remaining plastic bag up and tape together with the first plastic roll; cut away the excess. Or you can alternately stuff with fiberfill.

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Step 12:

12-Step

Fold in the ends of the stand, leaving 2” from the outside closing seam to the fold and press. Stuff and stitch to close along the edge.

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Step 13:

13-Step

Fold up and tack the flap to the bottom back of the stand and add button to create a holder for a tablet stylus.

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Step 14 (optional):

14-Step

Stitch the 3D FSL design on a heavy water soluble stabilizer like Badgemaster. Rinse and lay on a paper towel to dry. Lift the smaller section of petals just a little with your finger tip to keep them from sticking to the paper towel and they will naturally curl upward as they dry. Assemble the two sections of petals with a dot of fabric glue. Tack the assembled 3D flower to the back of the stand with a few stitches; you can also add a few dots of glue to help hold it in place.

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15-Step I also discovered that the flap makes a mighty fine place to tuck a stylus – a plus for me, because that’s something I’ve been known to lose in the popcorn bowl.Till next time, keep on stitchin’!

Bonnie
CSR EmbroideryDesigns.com
Digitizer Moonlight Design Embroidery Digitizing
Images © 2014 EmbroideryDesigns.com – B. Landsberger

Paisley Pocket Table Runner

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With Mother’s Day approaching are you looking for an easy-sew gift idea?  I love this one, based on the Classic 10-minute Table Runner pattern.  It goes so quickly, I couldn’t resist adding embroidery and gems. Leave it to me to turn minutes into a few hours, but well worth the results!

First, if you’re not familiar with this sewing pattern, you may want to take a peek at one of the YouTube 10-minute Table Runner videos available online to get an idea of the actual assembly. There are a variety of items you can create with this simple concept of stitching two panels together with a total of four straight seams. It’s just a matter of the size you cut the fabric to produce a table runner, as well as arm chair covers, placemats, napkins and whatever else inspiration brings.

Time for sewing is quick, but you will need about 5-6 additional hours for this embellishment, depending on the design that you choose and your placement and hooping technique. I used a design by Pat Williams, a beautifully digitized paisley pattern that took very little time to stitch, but placement and hooping was a bit tricky using my old school measure-and-eye-ball method. I have to admit, the job would have gone a bit faster had I accurately measured and calculated, and then marked the center or used Design Magazine’s Target Stickers available at EmbroideryDesigns.com.

My first thought was to decrease the size of the design slightly to sit nicely balanced in the corner areas of the bottom panel when using the yardage suggested for the 10-minute Table Runner panels of 1/3 yard and 1/2 yard. I could then also use the Baby Lock 5 x 7” hoop, which I felt might accommodate hooping all of the fabric of the corner. I decreased the design hastily, not noticing until after the sew-out that resizing caused the special stitches to disappear, defaulting back to a satin stitch. No, that wouldn’t do. Those beautiful special stitches were relevant if I wanted the design to match the paisley fabric pattern.The image at left has been decreased only 7% and the original size in the final sew-out is at the right.

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In the end, I decided to use the Tajima Neo and the 8” round hoop, securing one side to the stabilizer with a pin.0-hooped2 The size of the design and the measurement of the item you choose to create, will determine the actual placement, but the only thing necessary to achieve balance is to mirror the design appropriate for the corner and make sure that the outside of the design is sewn on each corner the same consistent distance from the two edges.

The length of the fabric determines the width of the table runner.  The width of the fabric determines the length of the table runner.  The fabric width of both panels must be exact.

After washing and drying the fabric, double check the fabric width of each panel for shrinkage, and if necessary, trim to the same measurement. If you don’t check for shrinkage and wait to trim after the embroidery is in place, you will no longer be able to adjust the length so that the ends will meet for a seam, though fortunately when the ends are turned up to create the pocket the inside seam is hidden. If this does occur, you could add on a strip of fabric to extend the top panel. You can also create a longer table runner using the same idea, by doubling the panels and sewing them together along one side, resulting with a seam at the center of the table runner.

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Materials:

  • 15” paisley print cotton fabric 45″ wide (top panel)
  • 1/2 yard solid cotton fabric 45″ wide (bottom panel)
  • Poly mesh cut-away stabilizer for 4 hoopings
  • 40 WT thread
  • 3MM gems
  • Gem-Tac or similar adhesive for adhering gems to fabric
  • Needle nose pliers or gem fastener

Design: Bluework Paisley Corner embroidery design by Pat Williams
Size: 4.89″ x 4.94″ Stitches: 8881

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Step 1:

1-step

Create a sample on same or similar type of fabric prior to stitching on the final garment to be sure that you are using the best stabilization. I use two sheets of the lower cost tear-away for testing, which has proven to be sufficient when I plan to use one sheet of poly mesh cut-away on the final garment. Examine the sample and make any adjustments that the sample reveals is necessary, such as correct the tension, clean the bobbin case, change a dull needle or change to a different size needle more appropriate for the fabric and thread weight. As well, if there is an excess of oil from over oiling or it has built up while the machine was idle awhile, the excess will likely be eliminated while stitching the test-sample, and prevent the possibility of soiling the final item (note, my sample reveals a few spots of oil). After stitching the test-sample, mark a guideline around the inside edge of the hoop, and then remove from the hoop and cut out along the guideline.

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Step 2:2-step

Use the sample to judge placement on the final sew-out. Fold the corners to match up at the inside edge at the center of the panel. Lay the sample on the folded corner with the design placed in the direction it will be stitched. Measure the margin between the fabric edges and the design edge to determine the same measurement you will use for placing the design on each corner. I determined my margins best at 2” between the design and the top of the pocket and 1.5” between the design and center seam. Mark the center of the design with chalk or use a Target Sticker. If you prefer, pin the sample in place to use as a guide when hooping.

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Step 3:3-step

Double check placement after the first element has sewn. For the mirrored design, set the sample into the hoop with wrong side facing up. Fold back the sample until you can see that the matching element on the stitching in progress is mirrored as accurately as possible from the same point. Finish the run and remove from hoop.

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Step 4:4-step

Trim away the poly mesh stabilizer near to the edge of the stitches at the outside edge of the design. One reason I choose to use poly mesh cutaway on light weight fabrics is because, unlike tear-away, there’s no chance of stitches or fabric distortion when it’s removed, and when a standard cut-away is used, the cut edges are often revealed on the topside of the embroidery. Poly mesh is strong, yet flexible, and thin enough to remain undetected.

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Step 5:5-step

If you have chosen to use a different design that would result in a different size, you may need to re-calculate the yardage of fabric to cut for the top panel. To do so, fold the finished embroidered ends to meet at the center where it will be seamed. Measure the length of the completed embroidery. In this project it measures about 10.5” and I wanted the paisley pattern to exceed the boundaries of the design. As well, I planned a 1/2” seam along the sides, so instead of using the classic pattern’s recommendation of 1/3rd yard, I cut the top panel to measure 15”.

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Step 6:6-step

To make sure that the two panels will assemble properly with the embroidery balanced, lay it out and fold in the seams, finger pressing to create a guide while pinning and stitching. Then, follow the 10-minute pattern: with right sides together, pin if preferred, and stitch the length of both sides. Turn right side out and press. Fold lengthwise with the top panel to the inside and stitch a 1/4” seam at each end. Turn both closed ends by reaching to the inside and pulling out the corner where the end meets the sides to create the V-shaped pocket. If desired, top stitch down the center of the pocket to create two pockets or tack down near the top of the pocket by attaching a button to keep it in place when the pocket is draped over the edge of a table. Press the finished table runner.

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Step 7:7-step
Attach the gems to the design where desired. I work over a tray lined with a dark piece of fabric that helps see the gems and keeps them from scattering. Use a small drop of glue and set the gem in place. Do not push on the gem, which will cause the glue to push out, leaving very little glue below the gem. If a small excess occurs as seen in this example, do not try to clean it away; if you use a quality adhesive like Gem-Tac, it will dry clear. Let dry 24 hours. Press with the embroidery side down for 30 seconds on a medium setting to heat-set the glue.

This small table runner can adorn the center of a dining room table, a coffee table or draped over a smaller table so that the pockets can be used to tuck items like a remote control.

8-step

Add a decorative border using one of your machine’s special stitches or attach a tassel on each end. Dig into your stash of trims, buttons and ribbons and let your imagination have some fun!

Wishing everyone a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Bonnie
CSR EmbroideryDesigns.com
Digitizer Moonlight Design Embroidery Digitizing
Images © 2014 EmbroideryDesigns.com – B. Landsberger

Embroidered “Beauty of Autumn” Apron

apron1

The leaves are turning vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow, indicating it’s nearing the end of the harvest season. Pumpkins are ready for baking a few pies for the upcoming holidays, and while the chore can create a mess, the kitchen apparel need not be dull. A festive apron will keep clothes flour-free, and just the right print will cheer up the scene.

An apron panel “Beauty of Autumn” that also includes a square for making a pot holder, can be found with a quick online search.  The print is obviously quite popular and understandably so. The colors are bright, the panel is easily assembled, and most inviting to the embroiderer, the print and fabric lends itself quite nicely to stitches.

So, in my quest to refresh my seamstress capabilities, I purchased my panel and found the perfect embellishment at EmbroideryDesigns.com from an abundant variety of pumpkin designs. I decided to embroider only the pocket, but there are plenty of areas on the apron to decorate, if your imagination insists. Depending on your skill level and preferred working speed, the complete project takes about 5-7 hours (or more if your imagination gets carried away) and all skill levels can consider it easy.

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Materials

  • “Beauty of Autumn” Apron & Pot Holder Panel Fabric by Grace Pullen for South Seas Imports

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Design: PUMPKIN by Great Notions  SKU: GN01-16409

*More designs to choose from for your project at EmbroideryDesigns.com.

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Step 1:

step1

Stitch a sample to test the design, as well as the colors.  My first run revealed that the light orange thread I had chosen for the highlights didn’t offer enough contrast so it was back to the editing software for a quick check of which color might be a better idea. I decided on a gold that matched the print in the apron. The sample also revealed that my bobbin was in need of clean-up, as seen at the bottom of the pumpkin where the bobbin thread pulled to the top.

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Step 2:

step2

Cut out the pocket square, leaving as much fabric as you can.  This will help keep the fabric hooped taut during the sewing. Ideally, the entire panel could be hooped for the embroidery, but I find it best to work without the extra bulk when it isn’t necessary, whether it’s on a commercial single-head or my home machine.  Hoop with a sheet of stabilizer and stitch.

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Step 3:

step3I was very pleased with the results of this design, as it sewed smoothly and resulted in a beautiful, flexible sew-out and not a “bullet proof” embroidery. But I was not happy with the placement.  The pumpkin seemed a bit detached from the printed vine, so I decided to add a couple of leaves.

If you want to do the same, but haven’t the editing software, you can search through EmbroideryDesigns.com for a similar leaf design, or you could sew a few “vine lines” manually to fill in the open space and give the pumpkin more of a visual connection, or you might simply place the pumpkin design closer to the printed vine loop at the top right.

step3a I opened the design in Embrilliance Essentials and selected all of the colors of the leaf. Then I copied and pasted the leaf into a new design window.

step3bI pasted the leaf element again and flipped it horizontally.  After placing each pasted section, I deleted the top curl and duplicated a small curl to place near the center.  I also decreased the size of the two leaves about 10% so that it would fit nicely in the space available. I didn’t bother adjusting the color sequence for each color to sew once, because it was for one run, but more important, it assures that the veins of the leaves will sew where they should. The veins sew immediately after the fill of the section they sit on.  If they sewed much later in the design, the fabric could shift and the veins would sew out of place.  I then saved the design, re-hooped the pocket square and stitched.

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Step 4:

step4Remove the excess stabilizer or all of the stabilizer if you prefer.  I used a poly mesh stabilizer that is as flexible as fabric, and with my history of wearing holes in apron pockets, I chose to leave most of it and create a layer of protection.  I trimmed away the excess at the top and bottom to remove possible bulk and zigzagged the raw edges.

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Step 5:

step5Stitch the pocket to the apron.  The process of lining up the print on the pocket with the print on the apron is a bit tricky.  Be sure to follow the recommended seam allowance, iron the fold before placement and pin in place prior to sewing.

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Step 6:

step6

Finish sewing the rest of the apron.  I used my cutting mat grid as a guide while pinning to help keep a straight hem, and I cut a couple of notches in the curve to remove the stress; this allows the hem to lay neater.  To turn the ties, I used a knitting needle by pushing the flat head against the stitched end and worked it through until I could pull it right side out.

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final

And now to get at those pies! If you don’t want to flour up that pretty embellished apron, there’s plenty of pre-made pie crust options available at the grocery store that work just as well. Make the job even easier by using canned pumpkin puree and follow the tried-and-true recipe on the label. Whether or not you’re a pie maker, you can wear your new apron for other Autumn kitchen time, such as carving a Halloween Jack-O-Lantern. After the ghosts and gremlins are gone, puree and freeze the pumpkin in ice cube trays for smoothies later, and don’t forget to roast those seeds!  Till next time, keep on stitchin’!

Bonnie
CSR EmbroideryDesigns.com
Digitizer Moonlight Design Embroidery Digitizing

Images © 2013 EmbroideryDesigns.com – B. Landsberger

 

What Makes a Design FSL?

bookmark2Freestanding lace, known as “FSL”, is a design that is embroidered on water soluble stabilizer, and when completed the stabilizer is washed away leaving the stitches free standing, as if they had been tatted or crocheted.  There are many designs, such as this bookmark, that have been specifically digitized for FSL by skilled digitizers and available at EmbroideryDesigns.com.

There are also designs that look like they could be used for FSL, so beware!  If they are not specifically digitized for FSL, they usually result in a frazzled mess.  How can you be sure?  Well, if FSL is not listed in the design title, believe it is not for FSL! Then again, there will always be those very occasional designs that might work okay for FSL, if only because they were by chance digitized correctly.  When a customer recently asked if one of our Free Designs, Sweetest Heart ATG01-ATG-Val-01, could be used as FSL, I couldn’t resist testing the design.

Sweetest Heart by Ann the Gran – EmbroideryDesigns.com

The page does not describe the design as FSL, and being a digitizer, I could see it would likely not hold up well, unless it sewed the foundation grid in a proper path.  I could have run it through a slow redraw on my software to confirm my suspicions, but I decided to stitch it out to experiment and find just what could be done with this pretty little heart design that has received 5-star reviews. 

First, I chose the water soluble stabilizer from what I have in stock;  a choice between a light-weight or heavy-weight stabilizer.  I started with the lighter weight, using several layers, which is often sufficient for an appropriately digitized FSL design, but I stopped the sewing when I could see that the sewing path was not building a foundation to accommodate FSL. My curiosity led me to try again.  I switched to one sheet of the heavy weight stabilizer and completed the design. 1-2

Fresh out of the hoop, the design appeared okay, but a closer look revealed the areas near junctions that were beginning to pull away.

step3

I dared to continue with the usual procedure by cutting away the excess stabilizer and then I let it soak for a minute in a dish of lukewarm water.  I was surprised to see how well it was holding up, until I began rinsing the design under the tap.  The stitches began to fall apart from just the water pressure. Final results: not so pretty.

step6

Now, you might think I would give up at this point, but I just had to try it for FSL one more time using three layers of the heavy-weight stabilizer, wondering if I don’t rinse all of the stabilizer away, whether the design might stay “glued” together enough to be used for something that won’t get handled often, such as a holiday ornament.  The test once again proved negative, and even without much rinsing there was unraveling occurring at various junctions.  But, being that I am one who hates to toss anything, I did manage to salvage what I could by hand stitching the vulnerable gaps together at the junctions and polished it off with a bead and a bit of ribbon. It’s now suitable for perhaps the back of the Christmas tree.step7

Then I decided to try the design as recommended by one of the reviewers who stitched it on organza to create a window dreamcatcher.   I used organza (non-silk) with two sheets of heavy-weight water-soluble stabilizer, though I believe now that one sheet may have sufficed.  The excess stabilizer was cut away without cutting the fabric and not a stitch unraveled under the tap.

8-9

The results of the organza lace were quite pleasing and it now awaits my construction of the dreamcatcher – a project that I promise to finish and share another day.organza

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So, what design can you use to create freestanding lace?

An FSL design must be digitized with a foundation of non-stop lines that build a strong grid in order to avoid the fiasco of unraveling when the stabilizer is rinsed away.  When a design is created specifically for FSL the product pages at EmbroideryDesigns.com will include “FSL” in the title, such as the bookmark design: FSL Butterfly Bookmark D by Pat Williams.PW-D

The steps to create a finished bookmark with this FSL design are few and the design sews beautifully!  Time to create the bookmark actually depends on how creative you wish to be. My project took only a few hours because the design is skillfully digitized specifically for FSL, and it sewed beautiful!  I used one sheet of Badgemaster water soluble stabilizer, simply because it’s what I have in stock.  Howeverthis brand is not always available or easy to find.  The digitizer, Pat Williams, recommends, I find the freestanding lace works so much better when sewn on two layers of a water soluble backing, such as Floriani’s Wet N’ Gone, OESD Aqua-Mesh or Sulky Fabri-Solvy.”

Following are the steps I used and you can also find instructions for this bookmark at EmbroideryDesigns.com.

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Materials:

  • 2 sheets Sturdy heavy-weight water soluble stabilizer
  • 40 WT thread – your choice of color
  • About 30 seed beads (or other decorative beads or gems)
  • 1 pearl-like bead about 3 MM
  • 10-12 inch strand of ribbon 1/4″ or 1/8″ wide

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step1

Step 1: Hoop stabilizer and sew.

Step 1: Hoop the two sheets of sturdy heavy weight stabilizer in a hoop of at least 5″ x 7″. The stabilizer must be hooped taut and you must use a heavy weight stabilizer for the best results. Sew the design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Step 2: Remove stabilizer.

Step 2: Remove stabilizer and let dry.

Step 2: Remove from the hoop. Cut away excess stabilizer from around the outside of the stitching and place in a dish of lukewarm tap water for a few minutes. Rinse under tap water. Block (adjust and shape stitches) on a paper towel and cover with another paper towel. To avoid the design from curling and losing its shape, rest something heavy like a cold iron on top and dry overnight.

 

 

 

 

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Step 3: Decorate!

Step 3: Decorate!

Step 3: Decorate by sewing the beads where you desire with the same color thread as the bookmark. Use the small pearl-like bead for the head of the butterfly. Tuck the ribbon through the top hole at center of design, pulling through about halfway. Lace each end of the ribbon in and out, through the middle and bottom holes, with both ribbon ends tucked through to the back of the bottom hole of the design (as seen in image). Tack ribbon in place with a couple stitches at the back and bottom of bookmark.

 

 

 

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So there you have the bad and the good of FSL.  Use the right design and the right materials, and you’ll create a precious treasure.  We have many FSL designs to choose from that will help you create bookmarks, decorative trims, holiday ornaments and so much more!  Come browse our collection of FSL Designs at EmbroideryDesigns.com and find your next project!

Remember, your comments or suggestions are always welcome.  If you have tried this project, I’d like to hear what you have done!  You’re invited to comment here or please share your ideas in a review on the design project page.  Till next time, keep on stitchin’!

Bonnie
CSR EmbroideryDesigns.com
Digitizer Moonlight Design Embroidery Digitizing

Images © 2013 EmbroideryDesigns.com – B. Landsberger

 

Memorial Day Centerpiece

finalLooking for a way to perk up your Memorial Day celebration? This project is perfect for a colorful centerpiece at your BBQ party that will make your guests smile! As I was making this, I also considered placing one of the skewered shapes in a memorial bouquet, or even using just the shapes to dress up the fridge by fastening a magnet on the back.

You can use the suggested designs or some of your own favorites.  Or you can choose from the patriotic designs now a part of the Memorial Day Sale at EmbroideryDesigns.com!  The project can be completed in a 3.93 x 3.93″ sewing field and by all skill levels, if you have the available materials and time.  It will take about 8 hours, depending on how many skewered shapes you decide to make, as well as the sewing time necessary for the designs you choose to use.  Keep in mind that the materials used are my suggestions and measurements in this project are close, but approximate.  You should choose your patriotic designs, gather up your choice of materials, and make adjustments to your own needs and imagination!

Materials

  • Star Shape back and front:  2  9 x 9” panels of red medium-light wt. fabric
  • Round Shapes fronts:  2  8 x 8” panels of patterned medium-light wt.  fabric
  • Round Shapes backs:  2  felt pieces 4 ½” square
  • 40 WT embroidery thread
  • 1.50 OZ tear-away or cut-away stabilizer enough for 3 sew-outs
  • Print out of a star shape
  • Cardboard – a used shipping box works well
  • 15” gold decorator trim
  • 2 prepared trim 22” each, gingham fabric serged w/eyelet trim
  • 12” ribbon 2 MM wide
  • 6 small star stickers (stationary and gift wrap supplies)
  • Fabric Glue
  • Scotch ® tape
  • Needle and thread
  • Skewers – metal or wood: 1   17” and 2   11”.
  • Wide mouth vase 9-10” tall
  • Red, white and blue ribbon or decorating garland (stationary and gift wrap supplies)
  • 2 decorative USA flags

Designs:

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Instructions (click on images for a closer view; use back button to return):

Step1 Memorial Day 2013

Step 1: Set up designs in software.

Step 1: Merge designs for the star shape. Open the Flag Ribbon design GSD01-ICG350 in editing software. Select the entire design and copy. Open a new window. Paste the ribbon into a new window. Open the USA Heart 1 design SME01-US-189, select, copy, and paste it to the left of the ribbon in the new window. Then paste again to the right of the ribbon. Use a guideline to help line up the two USA Heart 1 designs evenly. Check size and decrease if necessary to fit within a 3.93 x 3.93” area, so it will fill the available space inside the star shape. Save the new window as one design in your machine format. For the round shapes, open the two designs, Red, White and Blue Flower DC01-HY0844 and American Star FES01-EMP200804003, in your software; adjust the colors, if necessary, and save in your machine format.

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Step2 Mem Day 2013

Step 2: Gather materials and sew.

Step 2: Gather materials and sew the three designs. Stabilize each design with two layers of 1.5 OZ tear-away or one sheet of cut-away cut to the same size as the fabric pieces being sewn to form a sturdy back. Remove the embroidery from the hoop. Do not remove the stabilizer.

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Step3 Mem Day 2013

Step 3: Create cardboard insert.

Step 3: Create a template for the star shape. Print an 8” star shape and cut out the star center using a craft knife. Use the template to mark and cut-out a star from the cardboard for the insert.

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Step4 Mem Day 2013

Step 4: Create the star shape.

Step 4: Assemble the star shape. With the stabilized back facing up, center the finished design inside the printed template and mark the star’s edge. Cut only the stabilizer away along the marked line, leaving the stabilizer intact in the center of the star. Then mark a cut-line about ½” away from the star’s edge on the fabric and cut away the outside excess. Make a small cut on the fabric at each inside corner of the star from the outside edge up to the stabilizer to allow folding back the fabric edge to lay flat. Glue the fabric edge to the stabilizer and clamp with paper clips or binder clips until dry. For the back of the star, use the cardboard star insert as a guide to mark the remaining 9 x 9” piece of red fabric. Then, mark about ½” away from the mark of the star outline. Cut the inside corners up to the star outline. Wrap the margin of fabric over the cardboard edge and secure with tape.

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Step 5: Attach trim.

Step 5: Attach the gold trim to the front of the star. Measure and cut a piece of trim for each side, leaving a ¼” tail past the point. Secure to the edge of the star with fabric glue, overlapping the ends of trim at the corners neatly; clamp with binder clips and let dry. Where the trim meets at each point, cut the excess of one piece of trim to end exactly at the point; overlap the longer piece over the shorter piece and wrap over the point edge to the back; glue to the back; clamp with binder clips and let dry.

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Step 6: Attach front of star to back.

Step 6: Finish the star shape. Secure the front to the back with a thin line of glue at the edge; clamp with binder clips and let dry. Be sure to leave an opening at the inside corner between the two bottom points to allow for the skewer. Push the 17” skewer through the opening between the back fabric and cardboard.

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Step 7: Add ribbon to American Star design.

Step 7: Begin the round shapes. Fasten the 2 MM wide white ribbon to outside edge of the embroidered American Star with a couple small stitches using the needle and thread. Stitch at the points and corners, folding the ribbon over after stitching so that it continues around the embroidered star neatly. It is not necessary to tack down the entire length of ribbon.

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Step 8: Prepare round front.

Step 8: Cut out 4” round cardboard inserts. Use a 4” see-thru protractor to mark a cut-line around the design on the stabilizer, centering the design by measuring between each point and the circle about ¾” or (20 MM). Cut only the stabilizer along the marked cut-line.

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Step 9: Attach front to insert.

Step 9:  Measure and mark a circle on the fabric about ½” away from the stabilizer edge and cut. Wrap the fabric back in gradual folds over the edge of the cardboard insert, spacing the folds about every ¾” so that the fabric lays smoothly along the edge; secure with tape.

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Step 10: Stitch on trim.

Step 10: Attach the prepared gingham and eyelet trim. Lay the strip around the edge, making folds about every ½ – 1” so that the trim lays flat and pin to hold in place. With needle and thread blind stitch between the fabric and the eyelet trim around the edge. On the back, tack down with a couple of small stitches at each fold.

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Step 10: Attach felt to back.

Step 11: Mark and cut 4” circles from the felt. Glue around the outside edge, leaving an opening for the skewer at the bottom and secure to the trim on the backs of the round shapes; let dry.

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Step 12: Finish and arrange in vase.

Step 12: Decorate the Red, White & Blue Flower design with the star stickers. Push the 11” skewers into each of the finished round shapes. If necessary, secure the finished shapes to the skewer with a small piece of tape. Fill the vase with marbles, sand or colorful fabric (red felt used in image).  Arrange in the vase with the decorative USA flags, ribbon and/or garland.

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I hope this project will help you celebrate the day as we remember with appreciation those who bravely fought for our freedom.

Till next time, keep on stitchin’!

Bonnie
CSR EmbroideryDesigns.com
Digitizer Moonlight Design Embroidery Digitizing