DIY Embroidered Holiday Napkins

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It’s hard to believe it’s time to prepare for the next holiday dinner and for many of us Thanksgiving is going to roll right into Christmas much too quickly. Changing up the table decoration within a short time can put a dent in the fun, as well as the pocket book, but no need to worry if you can find a scheme that easily flows from one holiday to the next with items you may already have and make it new for each meal with a bit of embroidery.

I decided to create two different sets of napkins to coordinate with one set of placemats and I used fabric from my stash and a couple of Free Designs I had downloaded from EmbroideryDesigns.com. A harvest gold tablecloth is perfect for Thanksgiving and a light green tablecloth will brighten the table for Christmas, both which I have already in my linen closet, so my total cost for this solution is $0 with the exception of the original investment. But even if I had to purchase fabric the project would be low cost for one yard to make four napkins. Another option, of course, is to hit the dollar store for all items, including the napkins, and simply add a little embroidery to beautify, but considering I had the perfect fabric stashed, I decided it was time to put it to use and save a few dollars.

I had originally purchased the “linen-like” fabric for napkins and a table cloth I’d made 15 years ago, so I knew that it would work well for this project. Having found it in the remnant shelf so long ago, I can’t say exactly what type of fabric it is, though I know it’s not 100% flax or cotton and must be some sort of blend, because it launders well and dries with very little wrinkling. Back then the perfect backing to use for embroidery on this type of fabric was a heat and bond adhesive, but this time I decided to test out a sheet of Stick and Wash, a new product being made available soon at MyEnMart.com and I’m so very pleased I did! The results are remarkable as you can see when comparing both napkins after they were lightly pressed.

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The napkin on the right is one of the first napkins I’d made with the heat bond adhesive stabilizer along with a sheet of tear-away and even though it reveals a bit of puckering, I thought it turned out pretty darn nice back then. (We have come such a long way when it comes to stabilizers!) The napkin on the left is backed with Stick and Wash with the addition of a sheet of non-fibrous water soluble stabilizer (for hooping purposes only; you could also use a fibrous water soluble stabilizer like Badgemaster Aquafilm) and embroidered with a design that contains twice the amount of stitches, but there is absolutely no distortion to either the fabric or design – results that I can only credit to the adhesive water soluble backing.

Whether you use this particular brand of backing or one of your own favorites when stitching on napkins, I highly recommend an adhesive water soluble backing for an easy hooping process and the best stabilization that disappears in the wash.

This is a great project for all skill levels that takes only a few hours for each napkin, depending on the embroidery design you choose.

Materials for 1 Napkin

  • 18 1/2” square of prewashed fabric
  • Adhesive water soluble backing
  • 40 WT thread

Designs

Cross Stitch Rose by Annabel: SKU FES01-20140419148

Xmas Tree by Birketmosegaard: SKU FES01-20131128126

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Step 1

1-step

Gather materials and choose shades of thread colors that match those found in the placemat. The two designs I’m embroidering need three shades of green, three shades of red and one gold (colors that I used in the final sewing are not the same as seen in this image). As always, run a sample of the design you’ll be using. Normally I would stitch my samples on the same or similar fabric but I’ve already tested embroidery on this fabric (napkin at upper right) and know what backing it will require so I’ve opted to test color matching as well as the actual sewing of the designs on felt.

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Step 2

2-step

Cut the fabric to the preferred size and add 1/2” to be used for the hem. A standard size for a napkin ranges between 14-18” square. I cut mine to 18 1/2”. Use a sharp scissors or a rotary cutter together with a ruler to get the cleanest cut.

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Step 3

3-step

Pin and iron hem. Press the fold first at 1/2” using a hem gauge or ruler for accuracy and pin in a few places to hold until done with each side. Then fold in the edge to meet the inside of the fold and pin to stitch a ¼” hem.

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Step 4

4-step

Remove excess bulk from corners by trimming at an angle.

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Step 5 (OPTION to Step 4) 

5-step

If you prefer to take a little more time, you can neatly miter the corners by first pressing the corner inward and then fold and press the sides as shown in the images. Trim away excess fabric at the corner of the fabric that will not be hidden by the finished hem. You could also fold under the corner of the fabric, but this would add to unnecessary bulk and cause issues while stitching the hem at the corner.

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Step 6

6-step

Stitch a narrow hem. Sew slowly and continue to check the back side to be sure the edge of the hem is being caught by the stitches. When you reach a corner, you can either keep the needle down and pivot the fabric and then continue stitching the next side, or you can stitch to the edge, backstitch to lock, remove from the machine and clip, and then begin the next side at the edge, being sure to backstitch again, and continue forward, crossing over the previously stitched seam.

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Step 7

7-step

Hoop the stabilizer that will hold the embroidery. I used one sheet of non-fibrous Badgemaster as a “base” only because I don’t have enough of the water soluble backing to cover the entire hoop. You can do the same or you can also use a large sheet of the adhesive water soluble large enough to be hooped entirely. Before adding the sheet of adhesive water soluble backing I snipped and pulled away a bit at the edge of the top to help easily tear away the protective cover, and then after hooping I was able to rip away the cover all the way to the edge of the hoop in order to expose all of the adhesive. (Alternatively you can also use a sheet of tear-away with adhesive spray if the fabric will hold up well with the particular design you are stitching.)

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Step 8

8-step

Do not hoop the napkin. Lay the corner of the napkin over the hoop (with the bulk towards you on a multi-needle machine) and rotate the design to stitch appropriately. Press the fabric against the adhesive backing to secure and if preferred, pin at a few places close to the hoop.

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Step 9

9-step

Cut away excess up to the stitches at the outside of the design At this point, you could toss in the washing machine to remove the excess, but fast removal can be done by first soaking in lukewarm water for about 15 minutes and most of the backing will rinse away or brushed away with a soft bristle brush.

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Step 10

10-step

If preferred, embellish with your choice of trim around the napkin edge or add decorative stitching. I decided that the napkin with the tree design needed a little red to coordinate with the colors in the placemat. The red of the trim I had on hand didn’t match well enough so I opted to stitch a cross stitch edging over the existing stitches of the hem.

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11-step

You can have a lot of fun making napkins. Embellish a set for the most elegant moments and others that will bring the sweet giggles of children. Either way embroidery will brighten your holiday table and set the mood for much merriment and cheer.

~ Till next time, keep on stitchin’!

Bonnie
CSR & Design Support Team EmbroideryDesigns.com
Digitizer Moonlight Design Embroidery Digitizing

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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

tp-01

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

tp-3

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

tp-5

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

tp-6

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

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Step 7

tp-7

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

Towel Pull-Over Baby Bib

Pull-over Baby BibIn my “new Mom days” I had been given a pull-over bib that offered the best stain protection and clean-up was easy. I admit, at first I had thought a tie-on bib was more logical to avoid the “drippings” from finding their way into my baby’s hair during removal, but after I learned to roll or fold the bib from the bottom to the neckline to catch the lost morsels before pulling it over the head, I had a change of mind.  And the price can’t be beat! There are oodles of towels to be found at discount stores that come in bundles at a bargain. I found a 5-pack of microfiber hand towels for $3.85 and in a variety of bright colors cheery enough for gift giving, especially when embellished with a cute embroidery design.

Assembly time for each bib is about 5 hours for a medium-advanced skill level, along with the embroidery sewing time, which of course, depends on the stitch count of the design you choose to use. I combined two designs and the total stitch count came to 8959 stitches; 20 minutes sewn at a slow speed. I chose designs that were created with minimal coverage of line stitches at a somewhat short length to keep the embellishment flexible and easy to clean. I used a 40 WT thread, but if the design is not stitch intensive, a thicker 30 WT might even work better on terry cloth or microfiber to allow stitches to be seen through the fabric fibers. Although I used a rayon thread for this particular project, a bib might fair better when laundered in hot water if sewn with a polyester or cotton thread. Also, cotton terry cloth may be a wiser choice if the bib will get tossed in the dryer, because microfiber should be air dried to extend its life.

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Materials:

  • 1 hand/utility towel 16 x 19” (size and fabric type optional)
  • 1 strip of ribbing about 8” long for the collar
  • 1 strip of bias tape about 72” or the length of the bib edge
  • 30-40 WT. thread (colors optional)

Designs:

Rattle Monogram Frame by Adorable Ideas

Cross Stitch Lamb by Logopunch

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1-StepStep 1: Combine designs and test sew. Merge the two designs in your editing software, arrange the lamb inside the frame and save as one design. Test sew the design on sample fabric such as felt. If you are unsure of what colors you will use on the final garment this is the time to experiment. For this sample, I used most of the colors found in the color information that accompanies the design files just to test the results. I also chose to use a silver for the “wool” in place of the white so that stitches would be clearly seen against the white felt.

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2-StepStep 2: Gather your materials and supplies. If you don’t have a sewing or artist’s template, you will also need something to use as a guide for cutting the neck hole in the towel; a small 6” dish or bowl works well for the average baby’s head. You can also measure the circumference of your own child’s head for a tailored fit, and choose an appropriate size dish or other item for a template. I had serged ribbing on hand, but if you don’t, then you will need to fold a 3-3.5” wide strip of ribbing along its 8” length and serge or zigzag stitch the open edge. Note, a serged/zigzag edge isn’t actually necessary because ribbing doesn’t fray, but it does help speed the sewing while pinning and stitching to the neckline.

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3-StepStep 3: Fold one third of the top of the towel to the inside with right sides together, lining up the side edges, and pin to keep the fold in place. Lay the sewn sample in the approximate area where it is planned to be sewn to insure there will be a large enough sewing field. Set your template at the center of the fold, so that one half of the template is on the towel. I used a ruler to determine the half-way mark of the dish I used for a template. Also, be sure to measure from each side of the towel to the edge of the template to be sure the shoulders are of an equal length.

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4-StepStep 4: Mark the edge of the neckline around the plate and cut along the mark. Unfold the towel and pin at four cross-points to use as a guide for pinning the ribbing on evenly.

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5-StepStep 5: With right sides together, stitch a 1/4” narrow seam to attach ribbing to the towel, starting and stopping about 1/2” away from the tails of the ribbing. Match the ends of the ribbing so that the outside folds meet evenly and serge or zigzag once or twice to close the ends and trim away excess ribbing. Stitch to finish the seam between towel and ribbing.

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6-Step

Step 6: Choose the colors to use for the embroidery by laying them together on the towel. Do this in a well-lighted area to determine whether a particular shade will work well.

 

 

 

 

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7-Step

Step 7: Determine the center of the embroidery by folding the towel first along its length, measure to find the half-way mark and pin, and then fold along its width, find the half-way mark and pin. The center is at where the pins cross.

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8-StepStep 8: Hoop the bib with a poly mesh cut-away on the back and a water soluble topping. Rip away a bit of the solvy to expose the needle tops which will make quick removal easier. My bib is too short to be completely hooped in the 6.2 x 10.2” hoop, leaving about 1” of the bib un-hooped at the bottom, so I’ve made sure that the sheets of stabilizers are large enough to be completely hooped to help keep the bib taught and I pinned the edge of the towel to the stabilizer to help keep it in place (not seen in this image). Place the hoop in the machine and move the hoop until the needle is sitting over the point where the needles cross. After sewing begins, stop the machine, remove the pins, and proceed with sewing. If the design you choose begins sewing at the center point, remove the pins before sewing begins.

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9-StepStep 9: After sewing, remove from hoop. Cut away the backing up to the outside stitches, leaving about a 1/4” allowance. There’s no need to remove the backing at the inside of the design if you use a flexible poly-mesh. On the front, rip away all of the excess topping. To remove from small elements, use the tip of sewing scissors or a seam ripper to get it started and pick away the excess. Note, you can also wash away the excess, but drying the bib would increase time before finishing. Keep in mind any remaining topping will disappear the first time the bib is laundered.

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10-StepStep 10: Cut a strip of bias tape at a length that will cover the edges of the bib to leave an approximate 2-3” overlap. I used a 16 x 19” towel that required almost 6 feet of bias tape. I also used bias tape that is 1.5” wide which made it difficult to attach to the bib after folding over the thick microfiber, so I recommend using bias tape that is at least 2” wide or wider.

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11-StepStep 11: Trim the edges where necessary. More often than not towels will have irregular edges, if only slight, but enough to cause an uneven edge. To be sure edges come out evenly, examine and trim by using a ruler for a guide and cut with rotary cutter or mark and cut with scissors. Cut away the corners to enable pinning the bias tape easily and to create a rounded corner.

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12-StepStep 12: If you’re not lucky enough to have a bias tape helper or bias-binder foot (as I don’t) you will have to do as early seamstresses did. Fold the sides of the bias tape to almost meet at the inside center, leaving a small gap to allow for the thickness of the towel and press. Pin the bias tape over the edge of the bib, beginning and stopping at the center back of the bib. Stitch near to the folded edge of the bias tape slowly, making sure that you catch the tape on the underside. (The wider the bias tape, the easier that process is.) Overlap the end of the bias tape and tuck the end to the inside. Pin and stitch the seam to close.

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lastStep 13: The bib is now completed and can be laundered to remove any excess water soluble topping.

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If you’re a beginner at sewing, don’t fear giving this project a try. I hadn’t used my machine for anything but mending and embroidery for a couple of decades. I found it to be the perfect project that will either help you recall what you once knew or give you practice for those projects ahead, while at the same time, result in something quite functional and cute enough for that next baby shower!

~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.

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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.

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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.

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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