Fill in the Blanks – Oh, the Possibilities!

Fill in the Blanks

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!

Need a last-minute gift for a birthday or holiday, but there is no time for shopping?  Not to mention that your mind just goes blank?  That may not be a bad idea after all!

There are many pre-made “clean slates” perfect for embellishing with machine embroidery.  T-shirts, sweatshirts, and linens all come to mind – and all are easily found in many local stores.

Pillow

A plain white pillow case can easily be turned into a special holiday or wedding gift by releasing the hem,

embroidering a design, and re-stitching!

Design: #135 “Squiggle Flower #4” from Sulky Embroidery Club

Garments

A beautiful cashmere scarf would be well appreciated and, when monogrammed, becomes a lifetime treasure.

Original monogram design

Don’t limit garments to just t-shirts and sweatshirts – look at other items to add a fashion statement to.

Blouse design: Janes White Work from Graceful Embroidery; Sweatshirt: Eagle Head-Toile A8372 from Embroidery Library

Obviously, all pre-made items can be used as originally intended, but with a little creative thought, some items can be stitched together to quickly make larger gifts.

Hankerchief

A handkerchief can be embroidered and simply be an even more lovely and special handkerchief…

Design: Janes White Work from Graceful Embroidery

Or, a larger handkerchief could serve as a nightstand topper.

Stitching two or more together creates a table runner!

Design: “Pumpkin Scrolls” from Graceful Embroidery

Napkins

Napkins also make great gifts as is…

but, they too, can be seamed together – or in this case, butted up against each other to create larger table linens.

Most machines offer a variety of joining stitches, a stitch that will “bite” into one side of a straight line and then jump over and “bite” into the other side.

Large tablecloths can even be made from joining linen napkins – and the best part is that it can be made by embroidering a square at a time!

Designs Janet Sansom’s Georgia Collection

Helpful Hints

Now that you can see the potential in using blanks, both as they are meant to be, and, possibly, expanding original intentions, let’s explore a few helpful hints to ensure successful embroidering!

Since pre-made items come in a variety of fabrics, materials, shapes and thicknesses, there is no “one size fits all” advice.  However, it is safe to say that almost all pre-made items cannot, or should not, be secured directly in an embroidery hoop.  It might be due to its material – like this straw place mat.

Or due to its size or thickness, such as a pot holder.

Sulky to the rescue!

Fortunately, Sulky® has many choices in stabilizers to solve any dilemma that might occur during the hooping process.

There are two types of “sticky” stabilizers, which allow pre-made items to be secure in a hoop by firmly pressing it directly on to the hooped stabilizer:

Sticky+™

Sticky+™ is an easy-to-tear stabilizer, perfect behind larger designs and especially appliques.

It holds the pre-made item in place, yet easily peels away from the stitched area.  It is the first choice for most commercial embroiderers.

Sticky Fabri-Solvy™

Sticky Fabri-Solvy – a water soluble stabilizer that is perfect for projects where the back should look as nice as the right side of the project. Once again, the item is securely held for stitching, but after the excess stabilizer is gently pulled up from the fabric and cut-away, any remaining stabilizer disappears after rinsing.

On projects such as the potholder, matching bobbin (Sulky PolyLite™) and top (Sulky 40 wt. Rayon) thread color was used.  Compare the two potholder photos.  Hard to tell front from back, right? Hint: check out the hanging loop.  (TIP:  If you are giving a potholder that is going to be used and not just a decorative item, be sure to use only Sulky Cotton Threads for embroidery.  Cotton has a higher melting point than either rayon or polyester.)

Needle selection is dependent upon the material being embroidered, however, Topstitch needles are perfect for machine embroidering, especially since they can be found in larger gauges which are helpful of pre-made quilted items.

Heavy, thick items, such as the pot holder, was stitched with a 100/16 needle, while the bib was stitched with a 90/14 one.  For knits, use a Ballpoint embroidery needle in proper gauge for fabric weight.  (And a real plus for some of us – they’re easier to thread!)

Design positioning is also important on pre-made items.  Take the time to mark center design position on the item and then line up machine needle position to it.

Even though the sticky surface of the stabilizer will secure the item for stitching, if your machine offers the function of basting a box around the design, it is helpful to use it.  Not only will it secure a top stabilizer (Sulky Heat-Away Clear Film™ or Sulky Solvy™) if needed,

but a “fix box” also provides a visual of design placement prior to embroidering.  If your machine doesn’t have a fix feature, and you find you need more “sticky” to secure the “unhoopable” item, you can use Sulky KK 2000™ to add extra sticky to the stabilizer and/or the wrong side of the item.

Two suggestions that are universal when machine embroidering on pre-made items:

  1. Turn the speed of the embroidery machine down by at least half.
  2. Monitor the stitching process.  Many pre-made items, when hooped, present with a lot of extra fabric or parts, which could easily fall onto the stitching surface and get caught in the stitching process – possibly damaging the machine.

Build a stash of blanks by shopping sales to find quality “blank canvases” to keep on hand all year long!  I’m just saying…

“Blanks” may just become your new best friend!

Design: Sulky Embroidery Club’s 684 “Owl”

Featured designs are available on the following websites:

Show us how you #SewBetterWithSulky – follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and share your photos using hashtag #SewBetterWithSulky 🙂




Make it Personal! Machine Cross Stitch Journal Cover

Make it Personal

Machine Cross Stitch Journal Cover

Finished book size: 8-3/8” x 6-5/8”

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 my girls were little, I volunteered in their classrooms.  I remember an elementary school project, which I was so fortunate to participate in:  Helping young authors turn pages of their original stories into a book!

Together, we wrapped cardboard in gift wrap, folded the story pages in half, and hand-stitched down the center to bind these precious thoughts into history.  To this day, I have my daughter’s book and she is now 35 years old!

Preserving thoughts…documenting events…capturing expressions…are well appreciated by us in simply remembering special times.  However, it is invaluable for our future generations in understanding the lives of the loved ones who came before them.

Sulky’s new “Wordplay” designs unleash a flood of inspirations!  These whimsical word-play designs, created by Ursula Michael and digitized by Marcia Manning of Lickity Stitch, manage to capture the best expressions within each theme!  And there are usually a couple of designs to choose from within a theme.  Plus, the designs are applicable for a variety of projects besides the featured book!

Tote bags:

Throw pillows:

Or every design can stand on its own as a framed picture!

Even though I chose to do a “Christmas Book” – tis the season – many other designs offer unique book cover ideas to document a variety of notable occasions.

So let’s get started!

Gather Supplies:

17” x 13” piece of Osnaburg fabric – Osnaburg is a 100% cotton utility fabric resembling coarse linen, is a perfect canvas for cross-stitch.  Place the fabric on true grain by pulling threads, until one fiber travels the full length of the piece.  This establishes the “straight edge” to begin straight cutting.

8-1/4” x 13-1/4” of Christmas themed cotton fabric

90/14 Topstitch needle

Stabilizers:

Threads:

#1348 Christmas Tree Word Play Word-Play Design 16.4 count – Available at  www.sulkyembclub.com

Cardstock folded in half like a folder for the cover, along with paper for inside pages.  Paper can be computer paper, specialty paper, card stock, or themed scrapbook paper.

Jute thread (optional)

How to make it happen:

Fold the piece of Osnaburg in half, and hand-baste along the fold, establishing the fabric center.  From the fabric center, hand-baste a vertical line 3-1/2” to the right.  From the bottom edge, hand baste a horizontal line 6” up.  The intersection of the two lines is center design placement.  (Shown above.)

Hoop a piece of Sulky Sticky+ Stabilizer, with the gridded release sheet side facing up, and still intact.

Lightly score the paper inside the hoop and remove it, exposing its sticky surface.

Smooth the fabric, right sides together, along the vertical center, matching the intersecting basted lines with center markings on the hoop. Helpful Hint:  If the hoop is squared on a quilter’s mat, the grid lines will be visible underneath the Sticky+, making it easy to keep the fabric straight in the hoop.

Firmly press the fabric into the stabilizer, keeping it taut and wrinkle free.

Secure the hoop on the embroidery machine, matching the center needle position to design center.

Remove the stitched basting lines.

Slow the machine down by half, and stitch a “fix box” (basting box) around the design.  Although this step is optional, a basting box serves as a second method for checking that the fabric is straight in the hoop, and that the design placement is acceptable. 

Once you’re satisfied, stitch the design.  Cut the jump threads after each color change, before proceeding to the next color.

When the embroidery is finished, remove the hoop from the machine.  While the fabric is still hooped, use a pin to score through the stabilizer outside the fix box and remove the piece from the hoop.

Using the fix box as a guide, fold the embroidered fabric in half, wrong sides together, 1/4” to the left of the fix box.  From the fold, measure 8-5/8” to the right, and straight cut. From the bottom of the fix box, measure down 1-1/4” and straight cut.  From the bottom cut edge, measure up 10-3/8” and straight cut.  Press under a 1” hem on all four sides.  Miter corners. 

Cut the cardstock 6-5/8” wide x 8-3/8” high and fold it down the center. Check that the fabric cover fits the cut cardstock.

Cut a piece of Steam-a-Seam2 Fusible Web the same size. Fold the fusible web in half, leaving the protective paper covering on one side and removing it from the other to expose one sticky side.  Tuck the cardstock folder inside.  Keeping the folder folded, first fuse one side and then turn it over and fuse the other side.  This permits the fusible enough “give”, allowing the book to close.

Remove the release sheet from the folder’s front cover section. Position the folder behind the wrong side of the embroidered tree using the creased hem lines as a guide, but don’t fuse yet.

Turn it over to confirm proper placement. Helpful Hint: If you’re not pleased, gently lift the fabric from the sticky surface and re-position it. Once satisfied, smooth the front in place, keeping it taut and wrinkle free. Iron it to fuse in place.

Turn the unit over and continue to cover the back.  Once again, keep folder folded.

Turn under a 1/2” hem on all four sides of the lining fabric, mitering corners.

Cut a piece of Steam-A-Seam2. Peel the paper away from the sticky side, and cover the back of the cardstock folder.  Helpful Hint:  Expose only half of the sheet, securing it before removing the other half.  Keep Osnaburg hems free.  Secure the Osnaburg hems to the stabilizer making sure that the iron only touches the 1” fabric hem allowance.  Center the lining inside the cover and fuse. 

Using Cotton+Steel Thread by Sulky, hand stitch the edges of the lining to the Osnaburg hem with a slip stitch.

Cut the inside paper to size.  Use as many sheets as desired.  On the fold, cut 6” x 7-3/8”.

Align the folded paper inside the folded cover.  Open the book, and machine stitch with Cotton+Steel Thread, using an elongated straight stitch (about 8 stitches per inch).

Optional:

Wrap the bound edge with a piece of jute and tie into a bow.  Pages can be left blank for the receiver to fill in, titled to encourage thoughts; or, if talented with a computer (which I am not), pages can be first printed and then bound into a holiday Christmas book.

Machine Cross Stitch Journal Cover




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!




Let’s Make It Waterproof! Plus the Giveaway winners! (We All Love Free Stuff)

When it comes to gifts, monogrammed items are always a favorite. Here in the south, we monogram everything from shirts, purses and jackets to shoes, lunchboxes and umbrellas.

The problem is, once you have embroidered anything that is supposed to be waterproof, like a rain jacket or umbrella, the holes that were made by the needle for the embroidery are no longer waterproof.

Have no fear! Sulky Stitch ‘n Seal is here!

Stitch ‘n Seal is a wonderful cover-the-back stabilizer that you apply after the stitching is finished to reseal the holes made by the embroidery.

Monogram Your Lunchbox

To show you how it works, and show you how to embroider on a waterproof item, here is a little tutorial on how to embroider on a lunchbox (BTW – it’s super easy).

  1. Grab some Sulky Sticky +, Sulky 40 wt. Rayon thread, and your machine embroidery hoop.

  1. Hoop the Sulky Sticky + with the release sheet side up (It even says ‘hoop this side up’ on the release sheet).

  1. Use a pin to score the paper release sheet and then peel it off to expose the Sticky +.

  1. Stick the lunch box (or whatever you are embroidering to the Sticky +. Be sure to measure and center the lunchbox so you get your monogram in the right place. Press it firmly to the stabilizer so it is secure and won’t come up during stitching.

  1. Secure the hoop in the embroidery machine and stitch away!

As a side note, this is the exact same process I used when I monogrammed this umbrella (above).

  1. Once the stitching is finished, remove the lunchbox from the Sticky + and peel away any excess. If you can’t get it all peeled off, it’s okay. It will be secured under the Stitch ‘n Seal anyway. Position the Stitch ‘n Seal over the embroidery, being sure to cover all the stitching holes.

  1. Because of the material the lunchbox is made of, I used a pressing cloth to fuse the Stitch ‘n Seal in place. You don’t have to use a pressing cloth usually. With the umbrella, for example, I just pressed directly onto the Stitch ‘n Seal.

And you are done!

The Contest!

12/12/17 Update: Thank you all for entering in this contest! You all have great ideas for how to use Stitch ‘n Seal. Our winners are Roxanne Sposato and Adrian Renee Brown. I can’t wait to see your finished projects!

What waterproof item would you like to embroider? Tell me in the comments and I will pick a couple random winners and send some Sulky Stitch ‘n Seal. Share this post on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest with the hashtag #SewBetterWithSulky to increase your chance of winning!

Happy Sewing!




Machine Cross Stitch – Christmas Place Mats

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!

Whether you are looking to add something beautiful to your Christmas table or looking for a great gift, these machine cross stitch Christmas place mats are perfect!  They are elegant without the elegant price because they are made with Osnaburg fabric. Osnaburg is a loosely woven utility fabric.  It resembles coarse linen, but at a much lower price point.  The thicker fibers, which are woven in a simple basket-weave pattern, make it easy to create the “run” needed for weaving ribbon into the fabric.

Osnaburg is 100% cotton and must be washed, dried, and pressed prior to using.

It must also be square-cut, on-grain, not only for the pulled runs to appear straight, but also to achieve more of an authentic, hand-done cross-stitched effect.  To place the fabric on true grain, pull threads across the width of the fabric until one fiber travels the full width of the fabric, from selvage edge to selvage edge.  This establishes the “straight edge” to begin straight cutting.

Gather Supplies:

Osnaburg fabric for each placemat:

  • 19” x 13” front
  • 16-1/4” x 10-3/4” back

Note:  1-1/2 yards of Osnaburg fabric along with 4 yards each of two ribbon colors will yield 4 placemats

1 yd each of 2 complementing colors of 1/8” wide satin ribbon

Sulky® Soft ’n Sheer™ Stabilizer

Sulky KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive (optional)

Thread:

Needles:

  • 80/12 Schmetz® Topstitch
  • 70/10 Microtex (optional)-fixing function
  • 100/16 Wing Needle (optional)-hemstitch

Rotary Cutter, Quilter’s Ruler, and Cutting Mat (optional, but very helpful)

Lickity Stitch™ Cross Stitch Embroidery Designs by Marcia Manning

There are ten designs available in this exclusive cross-stitch exhibit of Christmas trees, and each one is available in various stitch-count formats.

In other words, each individual design is available to be stitched in various sizes and density depending on the chosen stitch count.  Additional stitch-counts are available for each design other than the ones shown. To better understand the stitch-counts and sizes, check out the tutorial on the Sulky Embroidery Club site.

Osnaburg’s weave is about 25 threads per inch. Design #5, count 22-2 has been chosen for this place mat, lending the design to a petite-point, cross-stitch look.

How to make it happen:

Begin by pulling threads on the 19” x 13” piece of Osnaburg fabric.  Measure over 2” from the left side of the rectangle.  Select one vertical thread and “catch it” with a pin.

Gently pull up on this thread, noticing that the fabric begins to gather.

Pull this single thread out of the woven fabric – the entire 13″ height of the fabric piece.

The first fiber removed from any “run” is the hardest to remove.  It will break…and it will break several times.  However, the continuing thread length is easy to spot further down in the run since the initial weave of the fabric has been distorted.  Use a pin to pick up the frayed end, and continue to gently tease the gathers along this same thread line.

Remove adjacent vertical threads until an 1/8” wide run has been created in the fabric.  About four or five threads will need to be removed.  However, since the woven fibers of Osnaburg are not uniform, sometimes you may have to remove more or less threads. It is important to do a reality check on each run before moving on to create the next run.  Start to weave a strip of ribbon into the run.

The run should easily accept the ribbon, allowing the ribbon to lay flat.  Use a yarn needle or a dental floss carrier to make weaving easier. Magnifying glasses may also be helpful.

Once the width of the first run has been established, measure 1/4” from its side towards center of the place mat.

Pull a thread and begin the process of creating a second run.

After the two vertical runs have been made, repeat the process in creating two horizontal runs.  Begin by measuring up 2” from the bottom edge and selecting a horizontal thread to “catch” with a pin.

Pull the proper number of threads for the first run, measure up towards center 1/4” and pull threads for the second run.

Once the four runs have been created, press the fabric keeping all runs straight and perpendicular.  Steam may not be your friend here.

Mark the design placement on the fabric by basting lines to indicate the design center.  Please Note: Measurements for the design center will vary, dependent on the chosen design and also on the chosen stitch count.  

Check the design’s height and width, and divide that number in half.

Measure from the edge of the run closest to center.  Since the design measurements are very close to 5” x 6”, and the stitches should not contact the open fibers of the run, divide 5” x 6” in half and even add 1/8 to 1/4” to those measurements for a bit of extra space.

Printing a template true-to-size is another method of ensuring proper placement of a design.

Hoop the fabric….(technically, only the stabilizer will be hooped).

Secure a piece of Sulky® Soft ’n Sheer™ Stabilizer in the proper size hoop making it as “tight as a drum” as possible.

Fold the fabric back exposing the basting lines on the wrong side. Match the intersecting basting lines to hoop center. Viewing a grid underneath the stabilizer will help to keep fabric straight in the hoop.  (Hint:  The center marks on your hoop may not be a true-center of the hoop.  Use the marks on your hoop.)

Attach the hoop to the embroidery arm, and begin the process of matching the design center to the center needle position on the embroidery machine.

If an exact positioning function is available on your machine, check the lower left corner of the design to ensure that the stitching will clear the pulled thread runs.

Fix the fabric to the stabilizer (a basting function found on many embroidery machines).  Use a 70/10 Microtex needle for this step.  Although it will require changing to a larger needle for embroidery, this fine needle will make smaller holes when fixing.  The fixing box will also serve as another check-point, not only that the design clears the runs, but also that the fabric has been hooped straight.

Change to the Topstitch Needle; slow the machine down to half-speed and begin to embroider the design.

Monitor the stitching process, and cut the jump threads as they occur.

Once the embroidery is complete, remove from the hoop, and clean up the back by trimming long jump threads and excess stabilizer.

Press the top, keeping the runs straight and perpendicular to each other.

Begin weaving the ribbon through the runs starting with a length of ribbon several inches longer than the run. Use a simple basket weave of going over six threads and under six threads, or however many threads you choose, for the full length of the run.

The first run is the hardest to weave since the fibers need to be counted.  The second weaving goes much quicker since you just match the in and out spacing of the first run, alternating the up/under pattern of the two ribbons.

After the four runs have been filled, press the piece once again.

Re-cut the front, beginning 1-3/4” on the outside of the first run on the left.

Measure over from this edge 18”, and straight cut.

Measure 1-3/4” down from the outside of the first run on the bottom, and square cut.

Measure up 12-1/2” from this cut edge, and square cut the top.

Press under 3/4” on all 4 sides.  Open back up.  Fold and press the raw edges in to meet this 3/4″ crease.

Cover the back of the place mat with the 16-1/4” x 10” piece of Osnaburg inside the hem lines.  Lightly spraying the back side of the smaller piece with Sulky KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive will help to keep it in place, smoothly behind the front.

Fold the hem over the back piece, mitering the corners.  Pin the hem in place, and secure it with a machine stitch of your choice.  This can be a straight stitch, or any number of decorative stitches.

This method of finishing a place mat allows the back to look as precise as the front.

machine cross stitch christmas place mats





Handmade Gift Ideas from “Trash to Couture”

Hi there, Laura here from Trash to Couture!
Need some inspiration and ideas for your handmade gifting this year?  No worries, Sulky and I have got you covered. Not only are handmade gifts a sentimental gesture, they’re also fun to create.  Below we have 4 DIY gift ideas you can make for just about everyone in your life.
Get the details below :

DIY Ornament:

  • Hoop using Sulky’s Fabri Solvy – I usually do 2 layers.
  • Use a free standing ornament design. I used a star from my Brother SE machine.
  • Use Sulky’s Metallic Thread and metallic needles.
  • Embroider away!
  • Place in water and let the magic happen as the stabilizer disappears.
  • Once it has dried, tie a string to hang.
DIY Free-standing Jewelry:

DIY Monogram Beanie:

We monogram just about anything in the South and it’s the perfect way to customize a gift like this essential winter beanie. 

Other ideas to try:

Monogrammed Camera Case

Handmade Gift Ideas From Trash to Couture

DIY Hoop Art:

I love embroidered hoop art, it’s such a fun and cute way to add some artwork to your walls.  It’s also easy to customize, which makes it a great gift idea – like this cactus design here. It’s perfect for hanging right above my sewing machine!
Check out this DIY Embroidered Wall Art for more.





Cork Bottom 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




Easy Peasy Game Day Scarf (Seriously, sew easy!)

Easy Peasy Game Day Scarf (Seriously, sew easy!)

Football season is finally here! It is one of the reasons I love fall. My little town in North Georgia is a true “Friday Night Lights” town and I wouldn’t be a true southern girl if I didn’t love college football as well. Overall, the temperatures in the south in the fall are perfect and, many days, you can still wear shorts and t-shirts to games – but the nights do start to get chilly.



This prompted me to make some cute and ridiculously easy scarfs for those chilly fall football nights.

Supplies

The Easiest Directions Ever

  1. Embroider your school’s ‘saying’ (i.e. Go Canes, Go Noles, etc.) about 8″ above one end of the scarf, centered. I did this by folding the fleece in half, long ways, and then measured up in order to be able to hoop the fleece centered. I hooped 2 layers of Sulky Tear Easy, the fleece, and then one layer of Sulky Heat Away (you could use Solvy, too).
  2. Stitch out the embroidery. I used the same thread in the top and bobbin.
  3. Finish the edges one of three ways:
    1. Serge the edges with a serger. You can do this in the same contrasting color you used for the words or in a matching color. Serger Hack: If you only have one spool of the thread you want to use to serge, wind three bobbins. On a small project like this, it is enough thread to go around the scarf.
    2. Sew the edges using one of the overlocking or decorative stitch on your regular sewing machine.
    3. Turn the edge under and sew. 
    4. Okay, I lied. There is a fourth way. You could do nothing to the edge. It’s fleece. It’s not going to fray. I personally liked using my sewing machine and the overlock stitch best.

Helpful Tip: I want my corners to be round so I used a plastic plate and chalk to mark the curve and then cut the shape. I folded the scarf in half so I could cut both ends at the same time.

That’s it! Really! I told you it was easy. So go make a scarf and cheer on your team. 

Easy Peasy Game Day Scarf (Seriously, sew easy!)

Visit the Team Spirit Shop for Embroider Buddies and team thread colors.

Happy Sewing!




DIY Tote Bag: Kraft Tex Paper

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!




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!