Why You Will Fall in Love with Machine Cross Stitch!

Why you’ll fall in love with Machine Cross Stitch

(like we did!)

 

Guys… we still can’t get over how amazing Machine Cross Stitch embroidery designs are!  We recently added two new designers to the Sulky Embroidery Club (where you can find hundreds of unique downloadable designs!).  These designers are Marcia Manning of Lickity Stitch Designs and Ursula Michael.

We adore Marcia’s whimsical Christmas tree designs, her adorable Monster Alphabet, and her most recent camping and Christmas designs are too funny.  And wait til you see Ursula’s fun word play designs! There are tons of designs to choose from and we could rave about them for days, so why don’t we just show you a few!

Monster Alphabet Designs:

Aren’t they adorable?!  You can purchase all 26 letters or buy them individually!  HINT: $195 if sold separately – combo price $90 – now only $54!  

Each Monster Alphabet Letter fits 4×4 and larger hoops.  Designs come in 10 size/densities. 22-2 count, 18-2 count, 18-4 count, 16-4 count, 16-6 count, 14-2 count, 14-4 count, 14-6 count, 11-6 count, and 11-10 count.

Monster Alphabet Pillow:

Ellen Osten stitched out a few letters from Lickity Stitch’s “Monster Alphabet” onto a pillow, which gave us a chance to really capture the amazing detail in Machine Cross Stitch designs:

Wine Word Play Machine Cross Stitch:

 

Wine Word Play Design

Thankfully, Ellen also recently stitched up a couple of wine bags (blog tutorial coming soon!) using a couple of word play designs.

You can also buy this design in a collection (and save money!) “Vibes and Embibes”: $76 if purchased separately – $60 combo price – sale price now only $36!  

Original designs by Ursula Michael and digitized by Marcia Manning of Lickity Stitch Designs.  Designs come in multiple size/densities.

Hug a Teacher Word Play:

Ellen stitched up one more awesome project (blog coming soon!) for us – a journal cover using one of Ursula’s wordplay designs “Hug a Teacher Word Play”:

Buy the Work Word Play Collection!:  $90 if sold separately – $72 combo price – now only $42! 

There are so many more designs to choose from!

Right now all Machine Cross Stitch combos are 40% off the combo price, making them up to 60% off if purchased as separate designs! 

We’d love to see what you create!  Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and share your projects with #SewBetterWithSulky for a chance to be featured! 🙂

Happy Sewing!




Machine Embroidery Series – FREE Baby Blanket Tutorial

free-tutorial

pamela Cox headshot

This series is written by guest blogger, Pamela Cox. Pamela is an expert embroiderer, designer, digitizer and all around wonderful girl! We are so happy to have her contributing to the Sulky Blog!

Baby Blanket Directions

Approximate Finished size: 40”x 32½”

Life has been good to us, especially if we can afford an embroidery machine; not that we didn’t have to work hard to make this happen!  However, we still must be, not only “in a good place” with our lives, but possibly in a “better place” than many others. We have the ability to create many beautiful items while uniting our love of sewing with the technology of computerized, machine embroidery.

“Now” may be the time to share our skills with those less fortunate than we are.

blanketPlease consider making a blanket and donating it to PROJECT LINUS, an organization which collects and distributes hand-made blankets to children in need. Just as the Peanut Character, Linus, loved and needed, his security blanket, these hand-made blankets represent “love” to children of all ages and helps them feel safe and secure during stressful situations.

label

Use your sewing talent to make a difference!!   This “easy-to-do” fleece baby blanket is a fun, learning experience.  It does not require expensive materials (You can shop sales) but, trust me, the finished, donated blanket will be forever treasured by a young child.

Stitch this blanket, or one of any size – perhaps one for an older child – and donate it to a local chapter in your area.  To find a chapter, go to Project Linus’ home page.  I promise, not only will a child treasure your gift, but, by giving, you also receive a gift; a gift that cannot be expressed by words, but one that is a wonderful feeling of spirit.

supplies

Supplies:

Fabric:

1 yd. fleece and 1 yd. flannel
Sulky® Stabilizers: Tear-Easy™ and Solvy™
Sulky KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive
Needle: 90/14 Ball-point embroidery needle

Thread:

Sulky®- 40 wt. Rayon for embroidery
Sulky®- 40 wt. PolyDeco or Cotton + Steel Thread by Sulky for construction

Embroidery Design: #292 Dragonfly – Available from the Sulky Embroidery Club (It’s free to join!)

Preparation:

Pre-wash and dry all the fabric per the manufacturer’s directions. Press flannel by folding right sides together.  Press one side up to 1” from fold (so you don’t make a crease).  Turn fabric over and repeat.  Re-fold flannel so the wrinkled strip is flat still having a flannel backing to press into.  This method allows the fabric to be pressed without flattening the fuzzy nap.

iron

Lay fleece fabric, right-side up on a large flat surface. Cover the fleece fabric with the flannel; right-sides together.

pin-blanket

Pin the flannel securely, keeping both layers wrinkle free.  Place pins well inside the cut edges of the fabric and in a horizontal position since the fabric sandwich will be folded in half for cutting. Fold the fabric in half matching the flannel edges as closely as possible: usually the flannel fabric at 45” wide is smaller than the yard of fleece at a 60” width.

fold

Using the folded side as a guide, straight cut one side of the blanket. It is always helpful to line a large square ruler along the folded edge, butting the longer ruler into it.  This ensures that 18” along the fold is used in guiding the “straight side cut”.  Repeat for the other side.

cut-side

Straight cut the final, wider side.  Depending on available widths of rulers, several may need to be incorporated to help check and re-check the straight cuts.

cut-top-edge

The more accurate the first side cut is, the easier, and more accurate, the others are.

slide-ruler-w-graphic

Round the corners: Using a piece of Tear-Easy™, cut an 11” square. Using a 10” dinner plate, or a larger bowl, as a guide, trace a “gently curved” pattern template.  Label and save this pattern for future blankets

template-w-graphic

Pin the pattern to the fabric corner matching straight edges and cut Repeat for the other side.

round-corners

Download the embroidery design and transfer to the embroidery machine.

Here’s How to Mark The Design Placement:

Remove the pins from one corner of the blanket to expose an area of about 10” from the curved edge to the flannel fold.  Leave all other pins in place, including replacing those that might have been removed in cutting the curved corners.

expose-corner

Fold the corner of the fleece fabric in half, matching the two straight sides of the blanket:

match-sides

Mark this fold either by hand basting a line or pinning. Cut a 4” square from a piece of excess stabilizer (I save some of the larger scraps just for this kind of thing), and fold in half both ways.  Draw a line to mark centers. Lightly spray the template with Sulky KK 2000™ Temporary Adhesive

mark-corner

Lay the “template” on top of the fleece matching the template center to the corner fold. Visually place the top of the square low enough to leave a ½” seam allowance and a comfortable space for decorative stitching. The template’s top edge should be 2-½” to 3” from the top curved edge. Secure a piece of Sulky® Tear-Easy™ as tightly as possible in a 120 x 120 mm hoop.

hoop-blanket

Lightly spray the wrong side of the fleece with KK 2000™ Temporary Adhesive and press it firmly into place matching template centers to hoop centers. Here are some additional tips for getting great results:

  • If the hooped stabilizer is placed on a quilter’s cutting mat, the grid lines are visible through the stabilizer.
  • Fold the corner down creasing the template in half.  When doing so, make a mental note of vertical center.
  • Match the folded fleece edge to hoop’s center estimating vertical placement.
  • A 100mm hoop will accommodate the design, however the slightly larger hoop affords room to line up the machine and centers, as well as creating extra stabilizer surface for securing the fleece.

Cut a piece of Sulky® Solvy™ larger than the design by at least 1” on all sides and lightly spray with KK 2000™ Temporary Adhesive. Place the hooped fleece on the machine and match the needle and the design center.

needle

Once satisfied, remove the template and cover the fleece with the piece of Solvy™ sprayed with the KK 2000.

If desired, machine baste the top stabilizer in place (a feature found on many embroidery machines). Stitch out the design. When the embroidery is completed, snip the basting box stitching (if you did this) from the wrong side, avoiding the possibility of cutting into the nap. Gently tear the top stabilizer away from the design.

remove-solvy

Turn the blanket over and gently tear the back stabilizer from the design. Finish the blanket by re-pinning the embroidered corner.

repin-corner

Stitch a ⅜” seam allowance leaving a 5-7” opening along one side for turning.  Clip the corner curves

clip-corner

Press the seam open with just the tip of the iron

tip-of-iron

Turn right side out and crease the outside seam by pulling the seam out with a pin. Press on the flannel side with a terry towel underneath the fleece. Once again, only press the seam edge.

edge-of-iron

Hand stitch opening closed. Choose one of the many decorative stitches your machine offers and stitch around the entire blanket to keep the seamed edge flat during washings.

decorative-st




Embroidery on Blankey Buddies!

Embroider onWe are all ooo-ing and aahh-ing (and a little bit of cuddling) over these new Embroider Blankies that we have in stock on our website!how to eblankie

We have this cute giraffe, Rory Lion, Blue Bear, and Monty Monkey.

lionblue bearmonkey

The best part is they are sew easy to embroider! Here is how:

Pick your thread. I used Sulky 40 wt. Rayon that matched the heart on giraffe's chest.

Pick your thread. I used Sulky 40 wt. Rayon that matched the heart on giraffe’s chest.

Get your hoop and Sulky Sticky Plus stabilizer

Get your hoop and Sulky Sticky Plus stabilizer

 

Hoop the Sulky Sticky Plus with the release sheet up. Score the release sheet and tear it off.

Hoop the Sulky Sticky Plus with the release sheet up. Score the release sheet and tear it off.

Put the hoop inside the Blankey Buddy and stick it down under the heart.

Put the hoop inside the Blankey Buddy and stick it down under the heart.

You may want to spray some KK 2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive on the Sulky Sticky Plus to make it extra sticky

You may want to spray some KK 2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive on the Sulky Sticky Plus to make it extra sticky

Spray KK 2000 to the back of a piece of Sulky Solvy and put over the top of the heart.

Spray KK 2000 to the back of a piece of Sulky Solvy and put over the top of the heart.

You want everything stuck down like this.

You want everything stuck down like this.

The 'handle' of your hoop should be sticking out the bottom so it's easy to load onto your machine.

The ‘handle’ of your hoop should be sticking out the bottom so it’s easy to load onto your machine.

You may need to use some clips to keep the extra blankey parts out of the way.

You may need to use some clips to keep the extra blankey parts out of the way.

Once you have loaded your blankey on the machine, be sure your letter is going to stitch out in the right place by using this button. This makes the foot 'draw' a square around the area where the letter will embroider.

Once you have loaded your blankey on the machine, be sure your letter is going to stitch out in the right place by using this button. This makes the foot ‘draw’ a square around the area where the letter will embroider.

Now you are ready to go! Embroider that blankey!

Now you are ready to go! Embroider that blankey!

Isn't he sweet!?!

Isn’t he sweet!?!

Now go here and order a few to embroider for yourself, a grandchild, friend for Easter or the next baby shower you are attending.

Happy Sewing!




Simple and Sweet Baby Quilts – Tutorial

 

SIMPLE

When I received this baby shower invite, I was ecstatic! My friend Vicki has wanted a baby for so long so and to hear the news that it was twins just added joy. I knew that I wanted the gifts to be special.

baby shower announcement

So I called my friend and Professional Long Arm Quilter, Donna Cusick, and asked if we could make some baby quilts for these two little baby boys. These are the quilts we made and here is how to make them for your next baby shower.

Supplies:

(2) 12-1/2″ squares from 3 coordinating fabrics for the front
1-1/2 yards of fabric for the back (We used Cuddle™ fabric)
Crib size batting (We used Warm and Natural®)
Sulky PolyLite™ thread for piecing
Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Blendables® for quilting
Sulky KK 2000
Clover® Wonder Clips
Sulky Tear-Easy™ (optional but I think you will want it!)

We wanted these quilts to be similar but not exact so we picked fabrics that would look good together and chose the 2 pinstriped fabrics that had also been used for the babies’ Taggies (tutorial here) to tie all the items together.

fabric choices

Once you have all your fabric cut, place 6 of the squares two-across and three-down in whatever order you like. You will have 2 squares left. Cut those in half. One of these you will use both halves of the square and the other you will use just one. This makes your quilt top look like a cut off 9 patch.

quilt top 1

We pieced ours together with Sulky 60 wt. PolyLite thread. I like using PolyLite for piecing because I know it is a strong thread that will hold up to the washing and heavy use that a baby quilt will get, yet it is thin enough that I know I’ll get really accurate piecing.

PolyLite-Grouping

Donna quilted these on her longarm, but if you are doing these are your home machine, just make your quilt sandwich using KK 2000 to hold everything together.

quilt top 2

I love the quilting motif and the thread that Donna chose for these. She used Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Blendables in Granite and Sulky 30 wt. Solid Color Cotton in Heron Blue for the blue and grey quilt; and she used Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Blendables in Bluegrass for the brown, green and blue quilt.

quilt top 3

Once the quilting was done, we carefully trimmed and squared the top and the batting so we could bring the Cuddle from the back to the front for the binding. I know Cuddle can be a challenging fabric to work with, but I love how soft it is and have found some tricks that make it a little easier to handle.

Cuddle for binding

After trimming the top and batting, I cut the backing 2-1/2″ wider on each side than the top and the batting. I then sprayed the entire edge with Sulky KK 2000. This will hold the Cuddle in place far better than pins or clips! Just check out the difference between using the KK 2000 and using pins in this picture.

Photo Apr 29, 11 49 02 AM

I sprayed the KK 2000, then turned a 1/4″ edge under and brought the backing to the front of the quilt and stuck it in place. You may need to spray a few spots with a little extra KK 2000. Since this is a temporary spray adhesive that will dissipate with heat and time, you don’t have to worry about using it on a baby quilt. By the time the baby touches this quilt, the KK 2000 will be long gone.

Once all the sides are in place, just topstitch around the whole quilt! Shannon Fabrics, who make Cuddle, recommends using a 90 stretch needle, and that you lengthen the stitch length to 3.0. With Cuddle on the top and bottom, sewing may still be difficult, even with an even-feed or walking foot on your machine. Take a piece of Sulky Tear-Easy and lay that on the top and bottom of the quilt right where you want to stitch. This will give the feed dogs of your machine something to grab on to. I always keep the pieces that I have torn off of machine embroidery projects just for this purpose.

tear easy for cuddle

You may also want to use some Sewers Aid™ to help the needle glide through all the layers of Cuddle, fabric and batting.

sewers aid for cuddle

tear easy for cuddle 2

Once you have sewn the binding down, you can simply tear the Sulky Tear-Easy away!  (Tear the Tear-Easy towards the stitching.)

tear easy for cuddle 3

We washed and dried these quilts before giving them at the baby shower. This ensured all the KK 2000 was gone, and since we used flannel, the quilts shrunk up slightly with washing and gave them a softer look and feel.

mama with quilts

The new mama loves her quilts and they went beautifully with the other things we had made for her and her boys.

twin gift set

There is nothing more satisfying than seeing someone genuinely happy to receive gifts that were hand made with love.

Happy Sewing!




Tips for Machine Embroidery on Onesies

Tips

I have been all about baby lately! I have several friends that are having babies soon so I am making lots of baby things. I made a sweet blanket for one and Taggies for a set a twins. (Go here to check out the blanket and here for the Taggie tutorial). Next up, the onesies! I love seeing a brand new baby in a cute little onesie with a name or little embroidered applique on it, but let’s be honest, onesies are tiny and can be hard to embroider! Here are a few tips to make things a little easier.

  1. Hoop Size. Use a hoop that is about the same width as the onesie. This will help you with your placement and sizing the design or letters I used my medium hoop (5 x 7, I think). You aren’t going to actually hoop the onesie so don’t worry about it having to go inside the tiny little garment.

sticky + for onesie

  1. Sulky Sticky+. When it comes to Onesies, Sticky+ is your best friend. Hoop the Sticky+ with the grid release sheet side up. Score the release sheet with an X using a straight pen, then remove the release sheet. Now you are ready to stick the onesie to the stabilizer instead of trying to hoop it.

sticky + in hoop

  1. Turn the onesie inside out. Straighten the onesie out with the front facing down. When you are ready to place the onesie, figure out where you want the design to go and put that in the center of the hoop and stick it down, flattening out any wrinkles, but being careful not to stretch or distort the knit. Once you are happy with the placement, turn the onesie back the right way being careful not to unstick the front from the Sulky Sticky+.

inside out onesie

  1. Clover Wonder Clips to the rescue! Now it is time to turn the Onesie right side out again. Go ahead and turn it all the way, then gather up the edges and start clipping them out of the way. I love Clover Wonder Clips for this! They help keep the onesie away from the area that you are going to embroidery but they are not hard to clip on.

wonder clips for onesie

  1. Watch it stitch out. I have no idea why, I guess my machine just needs to be the center of attention, but if I am not watching it, it will mess up (she is a little diva!). But truly, when doing these tiny garments, it is best to watch. That way if your needle catches an edge that slipped out of a clip, you can stop it right away and fix the issue. Another tip: If your machine has the ability to baste your onesie down, that is a good idea, but I don’t have that feature on my machine.

watch it stitch applique

watch it stitch

  1. If it’s applique, follow the directions and use duck bill scissors. I downloaded this cute elephant applique from the Sulky Embroidery Club. When you download designs from the Club, they come with a PDF of the directions of how to embroider the design. It even tells you when to put down the applique fabric and when to cut it out! I love that! When cutting out appliques, Duck Bill Scissors are great. They protect your stitching line but still cut very close.

Photo Apr 22, 12 06 35 PM

  1. Finishing touches can make all the difference. After the embroidery is done, unhoop the stabilizer, cut the jump stitches and carefully tear the stabilizer away. Be sure to tear towards the stitches so you don’t distort your design. I like to spray mine with a little of my homemade starch (recipe is in this post) because it is scented with lavender essential oil and then iron it flat. Now it is ready to be the best gift at the baby shower!

onesie done 1

onsie done 2

Do you have any tips for embroidering on tricky things like Onesies? If so, put them in the comments!

Happy Sewing!




Taggie Blankets for Baby Tutorial

Taggie Blanket

I love making things for babies and soon to be moms. Everything is always sweet, soft and truly appreciated. One of my favorite baby gifts, Taggies, also happens to be easy to make and incredibly popular with both the baby and the mom! I just finished up two Taggies for a set of twins due this summer. Here is how to make one for your next baby shower!

Supplies

1 – 18″ square of Cuddle™ Fabric
1 – 18″ square of flannel fabric
approx. 32 ribbons and/or trims cut in 4″ lengths (pick a variety of textures, colors and widths)
Sulky® 40 wt. Rayon Thread (for embroidery)
Sulky Prewound Bobbins
Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer
Sulky Poly Deco™ Thread
Clover® Wonder Clips

Taggies are great, easy, baby gifts. Start by picking 2 fabrics and cut one (1) 18″ square from each fabric. I chose white Cuddle fabric and striped flannel because I am making these Taggies for twin boys that will be born to a beautiful southern mama who has a simple yet elegant style about her.

taggie supplies

I knew she would want these new boys to have their monograms on their Taggies so I chose coordinating Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread and Sulky Prewound Bobbins in white (Have I mentioned how much I hate winding bobbins? Thank you Sulky for giving us prewound bobbins!). I wanted the monogram to be in the very center of the Taggie so I took the flannel fabric and folded into quarters and ironed it.

iron fold for center

This gave me some nice lines to use to line up the fabric in the hoop. I used Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer Stabilizer and hooped both the stabilizer and the flannel into the hoop. Because I am using a stripe, I had to be careful and really make sure I lined it up nicely. No one wants a monogram that goes downhill!

No judging me on my dirty hoop. I use a lot of KK 2000!

No judging me on my dirty hoop. I use a lot of KK 2000!  I could clean it, but you know..!

Because I couldn’t remember when I had changed my needle last in my embroidery machine, I went ahead and changed the needle. After stitching out the monogram, trimming up the stabilizer, clipping the jump stitches, and ironing the piece flat, I laid it on my table and began to clip my ribbons into place. Take your 4″ ribbons and fold them in half and clip each one in place, facing in, around all 4 sides of the square. A couple tips about the ribbons. Do not use pieces longer than 4″. If the loop is bigger than that, the baby could get their little hand in and get stuck. You also don’t want to put ribbons too close to the corners or you may sew them down when you are sewing the 2 pieces together.

ribbon clipping tips

I like to have a variety of colors, textures and widths to my ribbons to give the baby lots of interesting things to touch, see and taste. Yes, they will put this in their mouth, so be sure whatever ribbons you use, they can handle some wear and tear. Grosgrain, webbing, and satin ribbons work great. Once you have clipped all the ribbons into place facing in, baste them down. I used Sulky Poly Deco in white to for this. As I have mentioned, I expect this Taggie to get lots of use and I know the Poly Deco can stand up to lots of washing, pulling and sunshine.

clipping on ribbons

After basting them, add the Cuddle fabric, right sides together, and clip into place.

finishing taggie 1

Use lots of clips since Cuddle tends to stretch. I don’t usually have trouble with Cuddle when I am sewing on the wrong side, but if you do, take a piece of Sulky Tear-Easy™ and put that between the fabric and your machine bed. That way you have something for the feed dogs to grab onto. (For more tips on sewing with Cuddle, go here.) You can also use your walking foot (or even-feed foot) to help all the layers sew together evenly. Sew around all four sides, leaving a small opening for turning. Be sure you are sewing inside the basting line and not catching the ribbons when you are nearing the corners.

finishing taggie 2

After turning the piece, use several clip to close the opening with the raw edges tucked in and topstitch around the entire Taggie.

closing the opening

Tada! you are done and these babies have perfect little travel blankets that will also provide some great entertainment. Have you made a Taggie before? Do you have any tips to share? If so, put them in the comments below.

two taggies done

finished taggie close up

taggies finished singles

Happy Sewing!