Cork Bottom Monogram Tote in 14 Easy Steps

DIY Monogrammed Cork-Bottom Bag

in 14 Easy Steps

Whether you need it for the beach, going to class, a game-day tailgate party, or to carry your latest sewing project, this tote is a perfect size and is always in style. I have made several of these as gifts and the recipients always love them. They always comment about how the cork bottom gives it just the right touch of sophistication. The best part is they are so simple to make!

DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom BagDIY Monogrammed Cork-Bottom Bag

Supplies

4 Fat Quarters or 1 yard of fabric

2 pieces of cork fabric cut to 18″ x 4-1/2″

2 straps, each 57″ long

Clover® Wonder Clips

Fabric Marker

Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer Extra™ or Sulky Fuse ‘n Stitch™ Stabilizer for extra stability

Cotton+Steel® Thread by Sulky or Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Thread

Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread for the machine embroidery

Sulky Cut-Away Plus™ Stabilizer

The Monogram –

  1. I used Interlocking Vine Satin & Filled Alphabet from SWAKembroidery.com. I made sure the center of the monogram was 9″ in from the edge, and about 7″- 9″ up from the bottom. That is your preference; you decide where you want the monogram to sit on the bag vertically, but centering it horizontally is pretty important.
  2. I used Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread in the top and bobbin and I used Sulky Cut Away Plus because the this design is pretty dense (heavy and thick).

DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom BagDIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag

Directions

  1. Cut 2 fat quarters 18″ x 15-1/2″ for the outside fabric (be mindful to keep the monogram centered); and cut the other 2 fat quarters 19-1/2″ x 18″ for the lining. The 2 cork pieces should be cut 18″ x 4 1/2″ DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  2. Pin the straps in place, 3-1/2″ in from each of the sides. DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  3. Use the Clover Wonder clips instead of pins (you can’t pin the cork because the holes from the pins don’t go away); and with right sides together, sew the cork piece onto the bottom of the fabric (the 15-1/2″ bottom) with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  (Hint:  Place the flat side of the clips on the bottom, as shown below, for easier stitching.)DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom BagDIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  4. Press the seam towards the fabric. Surprisingly, the cork fabric acts very much like regular cotton fabric. I did use a medium temperature on my iron but I probably could have used high heat and been fine. As always, test before you ruin a project!
  5. Topstitch the two sides of each strap, and leave 1/2″ unstitched at the top. Be sure to backstitch at the start and end of each stitching line.DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  6. Place the front and back pieces right sides together, and sew the sides and bottom together with a 1/4″ seam allowance.DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  7. Box the bottom corners by laying the corner out, match the side seam with the bottom seam, and measure in 2″ from the corner.DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  8. Mark the line and stitch. Be sure to backstitch.DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom BagDIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom BagDIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  9. Now for the lining! I stabilized my bags by fusing Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer Extra to the lining pieces of the bags. For extra stability, use Sulky Fuse ‘n Stitch. Sulky Soft 'n Sheer Cut-Away embroidery stabilizer is permanent, textured, non-woven nylon that is ultra-soft next to skin. Sulky Fuse 'n Stitch Embroidery Stabilizer is a firm, crisp, heavyweight iron-on permanent stabilizer that is ideal for projects that need extra stiffness and retained support.
  10. Sew the two lining pieces, right sides together, along both sides and across the bottom, with a 1/4″ seam allowance.   Box the bottom the same way you did with the outside pieces. DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  11. Fold and press 1/2″ down on the top of the lining (folded over so the wrong sides are touching). DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom BagDo the same with the outside piece (this is why you didn’t sew the strap down that last  1/2″ at the top).  NOTE: If you bought Nylon straps, be careful with the iron, they could melt (ask me how I know 🙂 ).DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  12. Turn the outside of the bag right sides out, and put the lining inside.
  13. Carefully clip the top edges together matching the sides seams. This is also your chance to do a reality check – the lining with the outside – and adjust if one is bigger than the other.DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  14. Topstitch the lining to the bag about 1/8″ from the folded edge. DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom BagDIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom BagDIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom BagDIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag

You are done! Enjoy your new cool bag.DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag




DIY: Kraft-Tex Paper Fabric Tote Bag

DIY: Kraft-Tex™ Paper Fabric Tote Bag

 



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!

Tote Bags have become a lifestyle necessity. In fact, we depend upon this casual bag for everything from carrying groceries home, to heading off to the beach!  Bags embroidered with specific themes can even help us stay organized by knowing which bag to grab when heading to a music lesson or off to the gym.

The birth of tote bags began with being environmentally conscientious. To embrace this concept, let’s create a bag which is strong enough to withstand repeated usage, yet pretty enough to make a fashion statement!  For this tote, renewable materials such as 100% cotton fabric and thread will be used, along with Kraft-Tex™, a plant-based, hybrid material. Kraft-Tex is not only “earth friendly”, but this product provides an exciting new outlet for creative expression.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Kraft-Tex is a paper product that performs like fabric on many levels! The paper can be kept stiff, much like a light-weight cardboard, or softened by washing it.  Although it must be treated as a “non-forgiving surface”, Kraft-Tex feeds through the sewing machine effortlessly and can be enhanced with machine embroidery.

Tote Bag Directions

Preparation:

Note:  Read through the directions and assemble the materials prior to beginning the project.

Pre-wash, dry, and press all material, including Kraft-Tex – although you may want to pre-cut the necessary pieces, making it easier to put into the washing machine.  Cut pieces slightly larger than the required final sizes.  Re-cut to the true measurements after washing.  Both 1/2” and 1/4” seams are used throughout this project and are specified.

When stitching bias strips together, press seams prior to laying the unit on top of the template to mate with the next segment.

When joining the patchwork pieces, depending upon your sewing/cutting skills, it may be necessary to re-square the joined pieces.  Take the time to check, and if necessary, take off the minimal increments needed to square the piece.

If you’ve never worked with Kraft-Tex, please take the time to review Sulky’s recent blog post Kraft-tex Paper Fabric for this material.  It will afford a wealth of information!

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Supplies:

100% cotton fabric 45” wide:

  • Fabric A:  1/3 yd.
  • Fabric B:  1/3 yd.
  • Fabric C:  1 yd.

Kraft-Tex:

  • 2 pieces:  5” x 12-1/2” – top panels
  • 1 piece:  7-1/4” x 9-1/2” – embroidered square
  • 2 pieces:  1-1/4” x 15” – strap accents

Thread:

90/14 Topstitch Needle

Sulky Sticky+™ Stabilizer

Sulky Embroidery Club design #1048: Poppies – (Download for free here)

Download the free Pattern Templates here.

Painter’s or Masking Tape (optional)

Quilter’s cutting mat, ruler, and rotary cutter (optional)

 

Prepare Patchwork Segments:

  1. Machine embroider the 7-1/4” x 9-1/2” piece of Kraft-Tex:

To mark the design placement on the unforgiving paper surface, begin by drawing a “+” on a small piece of painter or masking tape. Place the tape’s crosshairs centered on the width of the Kraft-Tex piece, and 4-3/4” up from the bottom edge.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Hoop Sulky Sticky+ Stabilizer directly in the embroidery hoop, with the shiny, paper-side facing up.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Lightly score the protective paper with a pin and peel it away, exposing the stabilizer’s sticky surface.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Firmly press the paper onto the sticky stabilizer, matching the tape’s crosshairs with the hoop’s center markings.  Note:  Hoop centers may not be actual true centers.  Make sure your hoop is assembled with these marks showing correctly.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Transfer the embroidery design to the machine.  Match the needle center position to the design center.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Once satisfied, remove the tape and embroider the design using Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Thread. Slow  the machine down to at least half-speed.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Gently tear away the excess stabilizer from the embroidery.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

  1. Decorate both 5” x 12-1/2” panels of Kraft-Tex:

Establish a 45° diagonal line with a quilter’s ruler.  Lay a piece of painter or masking tape along the ruler’s edge.  It is not important where the initial line is established within the rectangle; only the angle is important.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Choose decorative stitch(es).  Your creative thoughts may travel to using just one, or a combination of two, as shown; or possibly including many different stitches.  It’s all good!

For the first row of stitching, guide the edge of the presser foot along the edge of the tape, which establishes the 45° angle.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

There is a wealth of aids available on the market to assist in uniformly spacing rows of stitches.  Feel free to use any of these aids. I chose a quilting bar guide.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

The bar travels down the middle of the existing stitched row, placing the next row of stitches on the same angle, and keeps rows equally distanced from each other.

Cover the entire surface of the Kraft-Tex panel.  The example shown alternates stitches #31 and #46, Mode 2 on a Janome Memory Craft Professional 6500, spaced 1-3/4” apart.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Since the front and back top panels are separated at each side by a fabric panel, mirror imaging or matching rows is not a consideration.  The only criteria when stitching the second panel is to maintain the same stitching pattern and angle.

  1. Cut cotton fabrics referring to Fabric Key graphic presented:

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

  • Fabric A:

Cut two strips:  3” x 12-1/2” – accent strips

Cut two pieces:  5-1/2” x 12-1/2” – bottom panels

Cut two pieces:  4” x 16-1/2” – side panels

  • Fabric B:

Cut two strips:  4” x 23” – straps

Bias panel patches:  Refer to the template for required lengths.  Cut 5 bias strips each 1-5/8” wide, and longer than its placement position on the template.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

  • Fabric C:

Cut two panels:  12-1/2” x 17-1/2” – front and back lining

Cut two strips:  4” x 17-1/2” – lining side panels

Cut one piece:  8-1/2” x 14” – inside pocket

Bias panel patches:  Refer to the template for required lengths, and cut each strip longer than its placement position on the template.

Cut four strips:  3-3/4” wide – upper right and lower left corner strips for both front and back panels

Cut three strips:  2-3/4” wide – middle strips of front and back panels

  1. Stitch Fabric B/C bias strips together to form both front and back panels:

Lay the cut strips out in their proper places on top of the template.  Starting at a corner, stitch strip B to C – right sides together – making sure that edges extend well beyond the rectangle’s border.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Once seamed, press open, and position the piece on top of the template to mate with the next segment.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Continue in this same fashion until the entire rectangle has been stitched.

Place template on top of pieced fabric rectangle.  It is not important to match the actual seams, but rather to match the 45° angle of the bias strips to the template.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Cut the rectangle for the tote bag back panel.  Repeat the process for the smaller front panel.

  1. Make the straps:

Fold the fabric in half, right sides together.

Stitch the long side with a 1/4” seam allowance, leaving both ends open.

Press the seam open, and turn right side out.

Press the strap with the seam running down the middle of the back side.

Re-shape the ends of the Kraft-Tex 1-1/4” x 15” strips, using the provided template.

Center the Kraft-Tex accent on the fabric strap, both in width and length.  If needed, hold in place with painter/masking tape.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Stitch the Kraft-Tex accent to the fabric strap with Sulky 30 wt. Cotton in any chosen decorative stitch. (The example shows a Triple Topstitch, Mode 1, stitch 5; Janome Memory Craft Professional 6500 stitched 1/8” in from edges).  You may want to choose a very simple stitch though, since you need to make that curve.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Leave a long thread tail at the end, and pull the top thread to the back side.  Hand-tie a couple of knots, and then thread the tail into a sewing needle and weave the ends under a few stitches

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

before cutting to make a neat underside.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

 

Construction –

Front Panel:

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Stitch the bias square to the embroidered Kraft-Tex using a 1/2” seam allowance. (Using the numbers in the above diagram, stitch 1 to 2)

Fold one fabric A accent strip in half to create a flange, and baste it to the top of the joined squares within the 1/2” seam allowance. (Stitch 3 to the newly joined 1 and 2)

Stitching with 1/2” seams, add the top decoratively-stitched Kraft-Tex panel and then the bottom fabric panel. (Stitch 4 to the top and 5 to the bottom)

Back Panel:

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Fold the remaining fabric A accent strip in half, and baste it to the top of the pieced bias rectangle, within the 1/2” seam allowance.

Stitching with 1/2” seams, add the top decoratively-stitched Kraft-Tex panel, and then the bottom fabric panel.

Side Panels:

Using a 1/4” seam allowance, stitch the side panels to the back sections on both sides.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Stitch the front and back panels together at the side seam.

An optional, but suggested step, to reinforce seams:  Press the side joining seams towards the side panel center.  Topstitch 1/8” from the seam on the side panel, using Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Thread.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Fold the bag at side panels, matching the front and back seams.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Stitch a 1/2” bottom seam.

Make bottom gusset:

Inside the bag, push a finger up into a bottom corner.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Flatten the bottom seam into the side panel,

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

matching the seam to the center of the side panel.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Work the fabric to make an isosceles triangle; a triangle which has two equal sides.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Once satisfied, pin in place and stitch along the seamed line at the base of the formed triangle. (That’s the top line in the picture above)

Press the triangle flat and then crease along the seam, pointing the triangle in the direction of the bottom seam.

Repeat for other side.

Optional:  Tack corner triangles into the bottom seam with a few hand stitches.  This keeps the bag’s shape during repeated washing cycles.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Add a strap to the front and back panels:

With right sides facing each other, and raw edges matching, place the outer edge of one strap 1” away from a side seam towards bag center.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Stitch twice: 1/8” and 1/4” down from top edge

With the length of the strap hanging down into the bag, bring the other strap end up to stitch to the other side of same panel.  Make sure the strap is not twisted.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Attach the remaining strap to the other panel in this same fashion.

Leave the tote bag inside out.

Lining:

Make a pocket:

  • Fold the pocket piece with right sides together, making it 8-1/2” x 7”.
  • Stitch three sides with 1/2” seam, leaving an opening on one side for turning.
  • Cut the corners on a diagonal, and press seams open.
  • Turn right-side out and press.
  • Topstitch the pocket to one panel. Folded side of the pocket is 6” below panel the top edge and centered in width.

Attach the side panels using 1/4” seams joining front and back pieces.  Leave an 8” opening in the middle of one side seam for turning purposes.

Press seams open.

Stitch 1/2” bottom seam checking that the pocket opening is facing to the upper edge of the fabric tube.

Make the bottom gussets as described above. (Note: the long line is the stitching line). Since seams have been pressed open, stitch “in the ditch” at the base of the triangle.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Press the triangle towards the side panels.  Optional tacking was done by machine for the lining since it will not be seen.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Put it all together:

With the tote bag inside out and the lining right side out, drop the lining into the bag, matching side panel seams.  Right sides of each unit will be facing each other.  Have the pocket panel (lining back) facing the non-embroidered bag back panel (although it’s not crucial where the pocket is inside the bag).

Keep top raw edges even, and pin at fabric sides to hold in place.  If needed, use clips or masking tape to hold fabric to the top Kraft-Tex panels.Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Stitch along top edge using a 1/2” seam, keeping the straps straight down inside bag, so only the top-edge of the strap is caught within the seam.

Pull the lining straight out of the bag.Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Reach into the lining through its side opening, grab the tote bag, and begin to pull it out through this hole.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Don’t be afraid to bend the Kraft-Tex.  Once the bag begins to emerge, it becomes easier to pull the remaining fabric through the opening.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

When the bag is completely freed, the entire bag will face right side out.  Close the lining slit with hand-stitches.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Tuck the lining down inside the bag, pushing into the bottom.  Push the lining gusset into tote bag gusset – squaring up the bottom.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Allow the lining to roll over the stiff Kraft-Tex top edge, enhancing the overall bag design with a fabric “binding”.

Press lining around the entire top, creasing the edge.

Stitch “in the ditch” on the fabric side-panels.

DIY: Kraft-Tex Paper Fabric Tote Bag

Kraft-tex Paper Fabric is environmentally friendly, useful, fashionable, plus extremely versatile!

Be creative!  Select your own fabric colors, mix or match thread choices, and experiment with decorative stitches available on your sewing machine.  Just have fun and enjoy the process!




How to Root for Your Favorite Team

How to Root for Your Favorite Team

Embroider Buddy Edition

Football season is upon us and it’s never too early to get your kids rooting for the (obvious) winning team!  Whether you’re a “Cheese-head”, a Dawg, or a Gator, it’s time for your kids to be a part of the tradition – and what better way to get them in the team spirit than with Embroider Buddies?!

 

It’s the best of both worlds – they get a soft cuddly new stuffed animal, and you get the pleasure of knowing they’re headed in the right direction in life!  Embroider Buddy stuffed animals are not only adorable, but are extremely simple to customize.

Plus, if you’re like me (yes, I can still appreciate a nice stuffed animal – especially if it has my team’s colors on it!) you can just embroider one for yourself!

How to Root for Your Favorite Team

Tutorials

We’ve got free tutorials on the blog for how to embroider on these fun guys – like this Christmas-themed tutorial here.

You can also download an Embroider Buddy Tutorial here.

Share your Projects!

Can’t wait to see what you all create (and what teams you root for!).  Be sure to tag us with #SewWithSulky or #SulkyThreads.  If you haven’t already, like us on Facebook and our other Social Media platforms for more inspiration, helpful tips, & to always be in-the-know about all our great sales!




Introducing: Machine Cross Stitch

Introducing: Machine Cross Stitch

to the Sulky Embroidery Club

 

Machine cross stitch gives you the unique look of counted cross stitch with the ease and versatility of machine embroidery. We have added over 100 machine cross stitch designs to the Sulky Embroidery Club from two of the most popular cross stitch designers: Marcia Manning of Lickity Stitch Designs and Ursula Michael with her famous Word Play Designs.

If you like the look of Cross Stitch designs, especially Word Play, but do not have the patience or desire to hand stitch them, then you will love these Machine Cross Stitch Designs from Ursula Michael.  Here are some of her Word Play Designs:

And for you cat lovers… you will adore Ursula’s “Cats on Quilts” series:

We have also fallen in love with Marcia’s monstrously cute alphabet designs:

 

Here are some things you need to know about these new designs:

  1. With each design you purchase, you will receive anywhere from 5 – 12 different size/density design files. These means you do not have to pay more for the same design if different hoop sizes. All hoop sizes come with the purchase of the design.
  2. You can treat this like any other Embroidery design and put them on lots of different fabrics. You are not limited to counted cross stitch fabrics.
  3. When it comes to words and fine detail, Machine cross stitch is crisper and words can be read more easily. This is really noticeable in Ursula Michael’s Word Play designs.
  4. There is a tutorial that includes a free machine cross stitch design to try and gives you lots of details and hints about stitching out these fun designs. Get the Tutorial here: sulky.com/mxtutorial.zip

We know you will fall in love with these designs like we have! Can’t wait to see what great projects you all come up with!

Happy Sewing!




Fashion Flip: Turn $6 Jeans into $100 Jeans

Fashion Flip: Turn $6 Jeans into $100 Jeans

Like most women, I love to shop. I also love keeping up on the latest fashion trends. If nothing else, it gives me something to talk about with my two middle-school-aged daughters! The problem is my taste in fashion far outweighs my clothing budget, so when I saw these jeans for almost $100 on one of my favorite websites, I got really excited.

Why you ask? Because I knew that I could make jeans with that look! You know all those fancy-dancy decorative stitches on your machine that you look at, love them, but have know idea when or how to use them? These jeans are the perfect place to let your decorative stitches be the star of the show.

The first thing I did was head over to Goodwill® to find the perfect pair of jeans for the project (my kids and I call it Goodwill hunting).

Check out my adorable pink cutting mat from Havel’s Sewing!

These jeans were a good fit, soft and a nice color of denim. The best part, however, is they were $6 bucks! Score! So, I brought them home so I could do a Fashion Flip on them.

After washing them, I cut off the bottom seam.

I compared the picture of the jeans I was copying to determine how and where to do my stitching. I estimated that I needed to cut the bottom of the jeans off at an angle to make these sit a few inches above my ankles.

I kept the part I cut off to use for my stitch auditions. If you counted up all the decorative stitches I have on all the machines in my sewing studio, I probably have no less than 3,500 (OK – That might be an exaggeration, but it’s a lot, believe me). So auditioning is a must. What is even better is I can audition directly on the denim that is my final project.

So I picked out some beautiful threads for the stitching. I decided to go will Sulky 30 wt. Solid Color Cottons for all the stitching. 30 wt. is my go-to thread weight because it is thick enough that it stands out nicely, whether I am using it for decorative stitching or quilting; but it’s not so thick that it steals the show. Because I am almost always using 30 wt. thread, my machine is already set up with a topstitch needle.  You’ll need at least a 90/14 Topstitch needle for this project.

I proceeded to test several stitches that I thought would work, in several of the thread colors, until I was confident that I could stitch enough lines on the jeans for the project. Now let’s prepare the jeans.

I measured up the inseam about 11″ and marked with a white chalk pencil. Then, I measured the outside seam about 5″ and marked.

Next, I drew a diagonal line connecting the two marks. This is my guide for the first line of stitching. Now let’s pull out the seam ripper! For this project, it’s best to use a seam ripper with the little red ball on the short end.

You are going to need to rip up the outside seam a few inches above where your white line ends at the inseam, so the jeans can lay flat for stitching. You can do that from the inside, like the picture above, or….

From the outside. I recommend doing it from the outside. Put the little red ball in the seam, hold the two sides of the seam taunt and rip up away from you. If you have a nice sharp ripper, you should be able to do the whole seam in one or two swipes. Once you rip open the first seam, do the same thing with the serger seam. If you do all of this from the outside of the jeans, the serger threads will all stay together and you don’t have a bunch of little cut thread pieces to clean up. By keeping the little red ball inside the seam, you won’t accidentally cut your fabric, just the thread.  (Did you know that is what that little ball is for?)

Once the seams are ripped open, iron the two legs flat. (NOTE: This is why I used the chalk pencil and not a FriXion pen.)

Now it’s time to start stitching. I used 50 wt. Cotton + Steel® Thread by Sulky in the bobbin that matched the color of the jeans so I only had to change my top thread as I stitched the lines of decorative stitching. Start with a locking stitch, and then just stitch your rows!

I used the original picture as a guide for my stitches and color changes, but mostly I just kept stitching rows and switching colors as I liked. I stitched both legs exactly the same.

When the decorative stitching was finished, I used the same 50 wt. Cotton + Steel Thread by Sulky that was in the bobbin to stitch a line about 1/2″ from the bottom where I cut the jeans off, and then sewed the jeans legs back up. If you want, you can then serge the inside seam as well.

fashion flip jean embroidery

That’s it! They are done! What do you think? I might be biased but I like mine better than the pricey version, especially the $6 price tag.

You can check out another great Fashion Flip here, where I transform a $3 skirt into a $50 skirt with machine embroidery.

Happy sewing!




Kraft-Tex Paper Fabric


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!

 

Kraft-Tex™ Paper

All artists relish finding new methods in expressing individual creativity. Machine embroidery is not exempt from craving new inspirational materials. Welcome, Kraft-Tex™, an exciting product certain to stimulate the imagination.

kraft-tex paper fabric

What it is

Kraft-Tex is a paper product that performs like fabric on many levels.  Seriously! At least take the time to read about it, because it is amazing!

Available in several colors, Kraft-Tex can be purchased by the roll, bolt, or in sample packages of multiple colors.  It seems to be more easily available on the Internet (such as on C&T Publishing), but do check local craft or fabric stores.

Directly out of the package, Kraft-Tex looks and feels like a light-weight, sturdy cardboard. In this original state, Kraft-Tex offers many creative outlets such as block printing, drawing, painting, dying, etc..

Taking Care of Kraft-Tex

Since Kraft-Tex is a natural, plant-based product, much like cotton and linen fibers in cloth, it is WASHABLE!  I literally threw several large pieces into a washing machine, electing to use cold water. I then threw it into the dryer, setting it to the next to the highest heat. Pre-washing and drying softens the feel of the paper. Plus, the process gives Kraft-Tex a slightly crinkled texture, resembling leather.

Over time, Kraft-Tex continues to soften, stretch, and mellow with use – which are also leather-like properties.

This product cuts easily, but since it is paper, it will dull needles and scissor edges. So, it is best to designate a rotary cutter blade and needle specifically for working with Kraft-Tex.

Although Kraft-Tex does accept machine stitching, it needs to be treated as a non-forgiving surface.  Just like any paper or leather surface, every hole made by a needle or pin will remain…forever!  If necessary to secure straight edges while stitching, hold joining sections with clips rather than pins – or at least make sure that the pin holes are within the seam allowance.

Putting it to the Test

Since Kraft-Tex is advertised to “function like fabric”, I decided to put it to the test by stitching a seam in 100% polyester utility thread with a 90/14 Topstitch Needle, lengthening stitching to 8 stitches per inch. Contrasting thread was used for samples for ease in evaluating tension.

The sewing machine handled the material beautifully. Even seen from the wrong side, the seam looked perfect.

One question was: Would the seam hold under duress or would the perforated paper tear along the seam? Stress was applied to the stitched seam by pulling the paper apart and, I must admit, not too gently!  I really pulled at the seam!

Although the holes stretched (not surprising if you knew how hard I pulled) and became a bit more apparent when viewed up close, the stitched seam remained strong, secure, and held no matter how hard I tugged!

So, if nothing else, this material has already proven to be potentially valuable for all kinds of projects – from belts, wallets, coin purses, book covers, luggage tags, tote bags, coupon organizers, bookmarks, and even a key fob!  It would also be a valuable resource for Halloween costumes or theater attire, where a “leather” garment/accessory was required, but now could be made at a much lower price point.

What about machine embroidery?

Because I love to machine embroider, the big question for me is… Is this a suitable canvas for machine embroidery?

Considering most modern machines are capable of “machine embroidery” to some extent by employing the often overlooked decorative stitches built into sewing machines, I thought that was a great place to start.

The silky look of Sulky® 40 wt. Rayon provided a striking contrast to the faux leather, while the heavier Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Blendables® – #733-4108 complemented the rugged texture of a Kraft-Tex canvas.


Decorative stitches with space between entry points, or those which re-used the same hole, seemed to work best. Satin-filled stitches shouldn’t be automatically ruled out. However, remember that the closer the needle penetrations are to each other, the weaker the paper foundation will become.

Choosing the proper machine embroidery design for non-forgiving foundations is very important. Not only must every stitch matter by being part of the actual design, needle punctures cannot be too close together or the paper will tear.

 

Red-work, stippling, and line designs may prove to be a good choice. However, avoid line designs that include closely placed stitches.


Look at designs specifically digitized for paper or choose a line design that reuses the same holes to boldly define its shape.

You can find the entire Jumbo Fabulous Fern collection here.

Sulky Sticky+™ Stabilizer

Sulky Sticky+™ Stabilizer is the natural choice for Kraft-Tex embroidery since paper cannot be secured directly in the hoop.

Secure Sticky+ in the frame with the release sheet (shiny, gridded paper side) facing up.  Gently score the paper with a pin.  Peel back the protective paper.

Press Kraft-Tex firmly to the exposed sticky surface.

Never having embroidered on this material, it was important to do a test sample. Fern design #26311 was a perfect choice.  The machine was threaded, both top and bobbin, with Sulky 40 wt. Rayon.  The machine was put to its slowest speed and a 100/16 Topstitch needle was used.


Knowing that this was just a test, after a short segment of stitching, the large 100/16 Topstitch Needle was changed out to a smaller gauge (90/14 Topstitch) to reduce the size of the penetration holes.  The speed of the machine was then increased to its next level.  The final experiment switched the rayon thread to Sulky 30 wt. Cotton.

Evaluate your test sample, noting what worked and, if necessary, what didn’t. Label and save test stitching-samples, referring to them for future project input.

The Results

Results: Both Sulky thread types stitched equally well, but each offered a different appeal for the design. The smaller needle gauge (90/14 Topstitch) was preferred.

The testing sample already inspired my first Kraft-Tex project. It will be a tote bag featuring a Poppy design from the Sulky Embroidery Club, stitched in Sulky 30 wt. Cotton, #733-1119. Three fabric prints will be used in a patch-work style bag, accented with additional Kraft-Tex panels. I can’t wait to share this project with you!




The Very Best Way To Ruin Your Machine Embroidery Project

When I first started doing machine embroidery it was with a machine that I had borrowed from my mom. I didn’t take any classes and I didn’t read the manual that came with the machine (sound familiar?). I just started pushing button and trying things out.

Needless to say, almost everything I tried came out looking awful. So to give you a good laugh (and hopefully you can learn from my mistakes), here is my list of how to ruin your Machine Embroidery Project.

  1. Don’t change the needle. A dull needle that has already sewn several thousand stitches is one sure-fire way to ruin your project and cause you great frustration in the process. You could get a lot of thread breaks and thread shredding with an old needle. Using the wrong needle size for the thread and fabric you are using can also ruin your project. Schmetz has a great guide (check it out here) that gives you a guide for which needle is right for your project. Sulky also gives needle recommendations for our threads on sulky.com and on the end of many of the spools!
  2. Just use whatever thread you have laying around. Not all threads are the same. Shockingly, the thread you can get 3 spools for a dollar at the checkout of a big-box store is not going to be the same quality as the ENKA Certified Rayon that is sold by Sulky.
  3. Don’t do a test sew out.

    Picture courtesy of dzgns.com

    I know you paid good money for the embroidery blank, t-shirt, or bag that you are planning to embroider on. If you like messing up and having to re-buy your blanks, by all means, just go for it without testing the design, the stabilizers, or the positioning of the design on the item.

  4. Don’t use the right stabilizer. This is probably the best way to ruin an embroidery project. If you just throw any old stabilizer in, no matter what type of design you are stitching or what type of fabric you are stitching on, I can all but guarantee you will screw up the project. Need some proof? check out these pictures of designs that were not stabilized properly compared to the ones that were.

    Embroidery with the wrong stabilizers.

    Embroidery with the right stabilizer

     

    If you want to know the right kinds of stabilizer to use, check out the Sulky Stabilizer Selector Tool.
  5. Heck! Don’t use any stabilizer at all! Once again, it’s probably the quickest way to screw it all up.

Truthfully, I don’t want you to have to make the mistakes I made so, please, change your needle! Use good quality thread, and by all means, use the right stabilizer. If you aren’t sure what stabilizer to use, check out our Stabilizer Selector Tool. 

Happy Sewing!




Christmas in July – Christmas Embroider Buddies

Christmas in July – Embroider Buddies

Do you want to know a secret? I love being the girl who always gives the perfect gift. I especially like it when I give the perfect gift to a child. The look on their sweet face, the big hug and the look of envy from every other adult in the room just makes my heart happy. This is why I often give Embroider Buddies as gifts. An added bonus is these guys can be personalized, and if you know anything about me, you know I love to personalize things!

Also, during our Christmas in July Sale, all of our Embroider Buddies are 15% off!

Embroider Buddies are super easy to do machine embroidery on, but there are a couple things you need to do to be sure they look great (They have to look great if you want your gift to be the envy of all other gift givers!). So I am stepping out the process for you here:

Supplies:

You need an Embroider Buddy, Sulky Solvy, Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer, Sulky Cut-Away Plus, Sulky KK 2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive, and Sulky 40 Wt. Rayon thread.

The Process:

 

Hoop two layers of Soft ‘n Sheer and one layer of Cut Away Plus, then spray the top with KK 2000.

Unzip the bottom of the Embroider Buddy and take out the stuffing.

christmas in july embroider buddies

(He is even cute flat!)

Stick his belly to the hoop. Be sure to center him so the embroidery will stitch out straight and exactly where you want it to be. Take a piece of Solvy, spray one side of it with KK 2000.

Stick the Solvy to the front of his belly. This will help the pile of the Embroider Buddy lay down under the stitching so you don’t get anything poking out between the stitches.

Now let’s chat about needle, machine foot, and thread. When I am using Sulky 40 Wt. Rayon Thread in both the top and bobbin, as I did with this project, I usually use a 90/14 embroidery needle. If you can’t remember the last time you changed the needle on your machine, then change it before you start sewing on this cute little buddy. Let’s face it, needles are cheap compared to the frustration, heart ache and overall angst of thread breakage, and the possibility of having to rip out stitches and start over because we tried to embroider this with a dull, worn out needle.

I put the open toe, spring-loaded machine embroidery foot on the machine as well and, as I mentioned, I used Sulky 40 Wt. Rayon in the bobbin and on top.

When you load the hoop into the machine, be sure you lock the hoop into place. It is also best for his head to be to the left of the machine. Trying to embroider this with his head crammed between the needle and the machine would not produce the best results.

Be sure to check that all of his arms, legs, back, etc are out from under where you will be stitching.

Stay and watch it stitch out. If your machine is anything like mine, the second I step away she gets jealous and starts to mess up. For this kind of project, there are also times that I need to hold parts of the Embroider Buddy out the the way just to be sure everything stitches out cleanly.

It is also really fun to watch!

Almost hypnotizing…

Here is another tip for making this the perfect gift. When the stitching is finished, hit start and stitch over it one more time. Especially on things with any kind of pile, like the Embroider Buddy, a towel, fleece, the second layer of stitching really helps the embroidery to stand out. Think of that first layer of stitching as the crumb coat of a cake and this second layer is the one that will look perfect.

Doesn’t he look great?! Carefully tear away the Solvy on top, tearing towards the stitching and being sure to hold the body stable.

Unhoop him and then cut down the backing stabilizers so they will fit nicely inside the body.

Christmas in July Embroider Buddy

Add the stuffing back in, zip him back up and be ready to be the favorite gift giver at the party!

Look at that face! That face is what makes my heart happy.

Don’t forget… during our Christmas in July Sale, all of our Embroider Buddies are 15% off! We have so many great Buddies to choose from!

Happy Sewing!




Machine Embroidery Series: Cotton+Steel Thread & Embroidery Designs

Machine Embroidery Series

Cotton+Steel Thread by Sulky

& New Cotton+Steel Scout Embroidery Collection

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!

 

When was the last time you really got excited over thread?  If the answer is “Not for quite a while.”, the new answer is “Right Now!”

Proudly announcing the newest addition to the Sulky Thread Family…

Name: Cotton+Steel Thread

Born: 2017

Weight: 50

Size: 660 yard spools

Proud Parents: Sulky and Cotton+Steel, a division of RJR Fabrics

Sulky recently teamed up with a wonderful, funky group of designers, Cotton+Steel, to bring their unique awareness of fabric color into the world of Sulky Thread!

Cotton+Steel 50 wt. Thread is made from 100% Egyptian grown, Extra-Long Staple cotton.  It is spun in Egypt, twisted, dyed and finished in Italy, with the final winding in Germany.  This intense, quality-controlled manufacturing process produces a thread that flows effortlessly through the mechanics of the sewing machine.

Intended usage of this quality thread is for general sewing; piecing, quilting and garment making, especially since the thread collection is color coordinated with Cotton+Steel’s fabric line of RJR Fabrics.

And then along came machine embroidery….

Normally, an “all-purpose thread” is not employed to stitch out beautiful machine embroidery designs. Why would we even want another thread?  Especially, when within our immediate Sulky collection, we can select from a variety of threads: diverse in fiber content, colors and weights.

Let’s start with the available colors, which are young and unique, not to mention that they coordinate with an entire line of Cotton+Steel fabrics! Cotton+Steel Thread is available in an amazing variety of 100 lush colors of subtle shade differences. Plus, its 50 wt. filament is slightly thinner than a 40 wt. and slightly thicker than a 60 wt.  In other words, it provides new options in how an embroidery will look.

My first thought was, “How does it compare to “accepted/standard” machine embroidery threads?” I did a test sample and would suggest you do the same, because, although I did try to document subtle differences through photographs, there is nothing like true, visual results to appreciate all the nuances of all the threads.

I keep my stitch-out samples for future references documenting stabilizer, needle size, fabric content, and, of course, thread type – including color numbers.

Green Flower Bird by Sulky Embroidery Club

Design #657 – Green Flower Bird from Sulky’s Embroidery Club was first stitched in Sulky 40 wt. Rayon on Osnaburg fabric, a coarsely-woven utility fabric. Most embroidery designs are digitized to accept this thread weight.

Trying to stay close to the same color scheme, the same design was stitched in Cotton+Steel 50 wt. Thread, under the exact same parameters (same fabric, stabilizer, machine speed and needle size).  It stitched out beautifully with not one mechanical issue.

While still providing full coverage, the finer thread filament allowed the rows of stitches to lay next to each other with less overlap.  Also, the design was lighter in touch.  Cotton+Steel Thread offers a patina finish versus the satin-shine of Rayon, while still providing all design details.

The final stitch-comparison incorporated Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Thread.

machine embroidery series

Some details, most notably in the feet, are lost when embroidering a design originally intended for a 40 wt. Rayon Thread in heavier weights. However, in exchange, a “hand-stitched” effect is gained by the appearance of the thread sinking into the fabric, a matted finish, and creating additional depth to many focal points.

After evaluating the sample stitch-outs, it was obvious that Cotton+Steel Thread is a perfect choice for machine embroidery on so many levels!

 

Cotton + Steel Scout Embroidery Collection

Cotton+Steel’s first ever embroidery collection contains an assortment of 31 darling embroidery designs, reminiscent of old school scout patches.

Available at: Embroidery Online

Cotton + Steel Thread by Sulky Scout Slimline Collection

This Cotton+Steel Thread by Sulky Slimline contains all the colors needed to stitch every design in the Scout Embroidery Collection. This kit contains 26 660 yd. spools of the 50 wt. Cotton+Steel Thread by Sulky.

Available at: Embroidery Online

 

Medium Lovebird – Scout Embroidery Collection by Cotton + Steel

The Medium Lovebird design #80141-04 was combined with Happy Daisy design #80141-1.

The digitized floral center, suggestive of a button, inspired skipping over these stitches and embellishing the embroidered petals with layered buttons.  The trendy thread colors cried out for an inspirational accent fabric!

Fabric: Drill Cloth – a utility fabric much like canvas but of lighter weight

Stabilizer: Sulky Soft ’n Sheer™

Needle Size:  110/16 Topstitch

Cotton+Steel Thread colors:  Bird: 1046, 0640, 1119, 1296 and 0505

Flower: (center colors omitted) 1037 and 0567

 

Owl – Scout Embroidery Collection by Cotton + Steel

I loved the outlined Owl #80141-15, and pictured it on napkin corners.  Wanting a bit of color, design #80141-09 Cactus & Owl was chosen.  The cactus framed the owl perfectly. However, not wanting too many owls, the small owl perched on the cactus was omitted.

Fabric: Pre-made linen/polyester blend napkin

Stabilizer: Sulky Soft ’n Sheer

Needle Size:  70/10 Sharps for Fix Box

80/12 Topstitch for embroidery design

Cotton+Steel Thread colors:  1131 – Owl   1156,1815 and 1082 – Cactus

 

Medium Mustang – Scout Embroidery Collection by Cotton + Steel

I knew my granddaughter would love this graphic, Mustang design #80141-02, embroidered on a sweatshirt for her riding classes. Since I had only embroidered on woven fabrics with Cotton+Steel Threads, I thought it would be good to try a knit!  Stitching went flawlessly!

Fabric: Pre-made 50 cotton/50 polyester medium-weight sweatshirt

Stabilizer: Sulky Sticky+ ™

Sulky Solvy

Needle Size:  90/14 Ball Point Embroidery Needle

Cotton+Steel Thread colors:  1229,1295 and 1005

 

Sulky Cotton+Steel Thread truly inspires the use of color and, at times, may be the preferable choice for an application just as all the other members of the Sulky Thread family are.

One thing is certain: Sulky’s Cotton+Steel Thread has already earned a well-deserved place in our necessarily diverse Embroidery Thread Collections.




Machine Embroidery Series: Sulky Specialty Threads

Sulky Specialty Threads

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!

We have been exploring all types of Sulky Thread in our last few blog segments and have learned about individual properties and potential usage for 40 wt. Rayon, 60 wt. PolyLite™, 40 wt. PolyDeco™, and 12 wt. and 30 wt. Cotton Thread  (including Sulky Cotton Blendables® Thread) !  We have also been exposed to the creative possibilities of stitching, or accenting, an embroidery design in one of the many threads from the Sulky Metallic Family:  Original, Sliver™ and Holoshimmer™.  Now, we will talk about the other Sulky Specialty Threads!

Believe it or not… Sulky still has more types of thread that will quickly become a welcomed supplement to your thread collection!

Did you even know that light-activated thread exists?Sulky Specialty ThreadsAnd that it really does glow in the dark??

Sulky Specialty Threads

Sulky Glowy™ Thread is available in six pastel colors…

Well, until darkness sets in!  That’s when areas stitched with this specialty thread will simply glow!

The glow will last 15-20 minutes, depending upon how much prior exposure to light it had received.  The “glowing” property will persist through repeated washings as well!

The obvious usage for Sulky Glowy would be for spooky Halloween items. However, what about using it on a T-shirt that your child will wear to the July 4th fireworks?  The holiday evening starts off with the sun setting, but shortly turns to complete darkness as the fireworks start.  Your child begins the evening of fun wearing a cute T-shirt embroidered in pastel colors. Once the darkness settles in, their shirt becomes a reassuring way to quickly spot your child among their group of friends!

A small Glowy design can also offer a sense of nearness for a young child who is having trouble falling asleep. Embroider a pillow case with a cute design using Glowy simply with just a single star or a little heart.  It may be just the thing a young child needs in order to relax and help remind them that you are always nearby.

Sulky Polyester Invisible Thread

It is a great idea to have Sulky Invisible Thread, available in both clear and smoke, readily on hand. It is a very fine, flexible, polyester thread which can be used both as the top and bobbin thread (wind the bobbin slowly and only about half full). It is softer and much more heat tolerant than nylon counterparts; it will not melt with normal ironing through the polyester setting.  (Irons vary in temperature, so test first.)

Sulky Invisible Thread fulfills needs of stitching in the ditch, invisible appliqué and “hand-look” quilting/stippling, whether these applications are done on a regular sewing machine or as an “in-the-hoop” project on an embroidery machine.

Please remember that Sulky ’s priority is to have informed, satisfied consumers.  Therefore, Sulky offers a “Resources” tab on their website at http://www.sulky.com/resources/
So much information is immediately available to answer your questions and to offer sewing hints.  However, if you still have a unique situation, you can go to the “Ask the Experts” page at www.sulky.com/faq/ or send an email to info@sulky.com.

I hope the Thread Blogs have provided you with practical information about lots of different threads, and when one type might prove to be more beneficial over another. But my greater hope is that you have become inspired to “paint” your machine embroidery creations in more than one palette!

Sulky Embroidery Club

Design from Sulky Embroidery Club