On the Go! FabricPlate FREE Webinar

On the Go! with Janet Lutz of Row by Row Experience® and Debra Gabel of Zebra Patterns

Join us for this FREE Webinar!


Tuesday June 13, 2017

at 9:00 pm EDT

Featuring: Michelle Umlauf, National Educator Representing Sulky of America, and Special Guest – Debra Gabel, Owner of Zebra Patterns and Art Director of Row by Row Experience

Duration: One Hour

Cost: FREE!

Project Description: On the Go! FabricPlate™ Doorhanger

In this FREE 1 Hour Webinar you will be walked through making a fun appliqued door hanger for your sewing area by Debra Gabel featuring Debra’s famous FabricPlates™ that have been collected by quilters all over the world! You will learn Debra’s no trace and no reverse applique technique.

You will be able to download a FREE Pattern for the project that you can print at home. This project is great for beginners and the techniques demonstrated may be new for the experienced quilter.

-Meet Janet Lutz owner of Calico Gals in Syracuse and the Row by Row Experience®
-Meet Debra Gabel owner of Zebra Patterns and Art Director of Row by Row Experience®
-Brief shop tour of Calico Gals and explanation and facts and figures of RxR
-Studio tour and explanation of the applique FabricPlate™ project
Demo of Project, tips and techniques

Please Join Us! Tell your friends, too! 

After the webinar, until midnight get 30% off All Soft N Sheer Extra and Totally Stable Stabilizers…. and more!

Can’t make it? You can still sign up and receive everything that’s included with the webinar AND watch the recorded webinar at your convenience anytime in the future!

Got Thread? FabricPlate – made exclusively for Sulky!


Earth Day Featured Artist: Laura Pifer from Trash to Couture

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day is an annual, worldwide event held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. This week we highlighted two of our Eco-friendly products, Sulky Rayon Thread and Sulky KK 2000 Temporary Adhesive Spray. Both products demonstrate that you CAN have a great product, while still being eco-conscious.

Also in the spirit of Earth Day, we wanted to feature Laura Pifer, founder of Trash to Couture. Laura has reinvented the way we see fashion. With her innovative DIY projects she is teaching her viewers how to up-cycle clothing into creative, trendy looks. Her refashioned designs are not only eco-conscious, they are absolutely adorable! We met with Laura to discuss Trash to Couture, her vision for the future, who inspires her, and much more….

What inspired you to start Trash to Couture?

I was running my own clothing line, and I saw firsthand how wasteful the fashion industry can be even in my own little studio.  I did my best to approach my business as sustainable and Eco-friendly as possible. I handmade every garment made to order.  I used recycled packaging and up-cycled materials whenever possible.  I bought my fabric from local, small businesses.  At that time there wasn’t much information on sustainable brands so it was something I was doing because it felt right.

I ended up closing down my clothing line.  I was young and didn’t understand how much help I’d need with the growth my brand was getting.  I did everything on my own from running the online shop, customer service, marketing, design, pattern making, sewing/construction of the garments, photography, modeling, and shipping, etc.  It got to be too much and all while being at home raising my 2 babies at the time.  WHOA! I think back to that time, and I must have been crazy.  I kind of quit cold turkey.

After a couple of months off from sewing, I really missed the creativity and joy it gave me.  I’ve always wanted to start a blog where I shared sewing tutorials on how to refashion and up-cycle clothing into fashion-forward looks.  I wanted something to inspire me and others to get creative all while being Eco-conscious. Hence, Trash to Couture was born.  I remember one of my first tutorials was where I transformed a t-shirt into a dolman-style top.

What is your mission statement?

I hope to inspire a less wasteful approach to fashion through sharing my refashion DIY tutorials. I want viewers to see they don’t have to sacrifice style and creativity to live consciously.

Who inspires you?

Laura sporting an up-cycled men’s shirt turned dress, with youngest son, Louis

My children are my main source of inspiration. There is nothing better than when my kids get inspired to create art because I’m sewing. Nothing fulfills me more than when I make something special for my kids that they enjoy.  We design and sew their Halloween costumes every year, and they’re “famous” that time of year at school for the costumes we come up with. I also love making booties for my baby every couple of months. He has the biggest feet for such a little guy and we can’t find any that seem to fit. I up-cycle his brothers old fleece pajamas and call them Louie’s Booties (his name is Louis).

How did you get started in the sewing/designing world?

Laura’s homemade prom dress she made from upcycled materials. That’s a curtain top, denim skirt, with ruffles made from the curtains as well! So great!

I remember always being interested in fashion, even at a young age.  It really started with Barbie; I wanted to make clothing for her.  As I approached my teen years, I wanted to sew my own designs that I was sketching orthinking about.  When I saw sewing offered in middle school, I was thrilled. From then on, I was making clothing pieces whenever possible. My mom would bring me to the thrift store where my sister and I would get things to refashion. I wore some ridiculous things to school. I’d have a t-shirt with a denim waist as the collar… or redesign one of my dad’s old shirts. Street style before it was cool.

Do you have any professional training or were you self-taught?

I was trained by the teacher at my school who was a master seamstress herself.  By my senior year, she created a class specifically for me to sew whatever I’d like. That was probably because I’d hurry up and finish the initial project and then start sewing my own designs.  It was my favorite class.  I’m still so grateful to this day for having sewing offered in my school and a teacher that let me create without restrictions.

From there it became just trial and error of learning from the process of doing it over and over. I now have a couple of mentors I’ve connected with that always offer me advice and help when needed and vice versa.  I think sewing is a never ending skill to be learned.  There are so many different channels: different types of garment construction (wedding, active wear, couture, ready to wear, tailoring, costumes, etc.), quilting, crafts…I mean we really could go on. So I always feel there is more to learn, and that’s exciting to me!

What are your other hobbies?

Running was actually my first love. I was one of the best prep runners in the country coming out of high school in track and cross country. I chose to focus on athletics over design and went to the University of Colorado. I do still run but not at the level I used to.  Now I run more for the serenity of it because it helps my mental and physical well-being.  I also enjoy photography, which go hand-in-hand with running a blog and designing.

What is your vision for the future with Trash to Couture?

I really enjoy what I’m doing now which is working with creative brands to design original content. I would like to continue and steadily grow to have a larger platform of partnerships with brands that share Trash to Couture values.

Right now I’m working on a project with Sulky using Sulky 40 Wt. Rayon Embroidery Thread and Fabri-Solvy Stabilizer.  Kelly of Sulky really inspires me to try things I would never think you could do with machine embroidery.  For example, currently I’m embroidering with lightweight textiles like tulle and organza. I’d initially be intimidated by embroidering with these, but Sulky has products for all types of projects and Kelly’s expertise is the perfect combo.

Laura working on her latest project: Embroidery on sheer fabrics with Sulky

What is your favorite Sulky product and why?

It really depends on what project I’m working on. Right now I’ve been using the Fabri-Solvy water soluble stabilizer. To be able to embroider directly onto it, and the stabilizer disappear with water is pretty cool. You can create free-standing embroidery or use it for the finest of fabrics like tulle, knit, and organza.

Sulky really opened up my eyes to what you can do with embroidery. The threads are top notch and the stabilizers Sulky offers are innovative. I think they’ve really changed what you can do with embroidery. I used to think machine embroidery was something you’d do on medium-weight fabrics with heavy iron-on stabilizer, but now I’m free motion sewing my own sketches right onto my clothing!

We love meeting people like Laura, who are living an eco-conscious life.

Want to see more of her awesome DIY projects? Visit Trash to Couture here. 

In-The-Hoop Projects and Photo Frames – A Better Way (& a Valentine’s Day Gift!)

By Guest Blogger:  Patti Lee, Vice President, Consumer Relations, Sulky of America

I have fallen in love with in-the-hoop projects.  Yes, the first prototype of each project takes some extra time; but once you’ve done the first one, they become easier and faster.  My favorite thing about in-the-hoop designs is that when you’re done, you’re done.  There is usually very little finish work once it is out of the hoop.

I made this one into a fridge magnet with a self-stick magnetic strip.



Get this FREE from Embroidery Library until Feb. 28, 2017

Click here to download the free “Hearts Abound” In-the-Hoop Frame Project.  (Note:  Fits in a 4 x 4 hoop.)

Just like with the Sulky Embroidery Club, you will need to sign in or register as a new account (which is free) in order to download this great design.  This design will be free to you from January 25th through July 31, 2017.

Have you ever done an in-the-hoop project using a tear-away stabilizer, and the stitch density just wasn’t supported by a tear-away?   Or when you tore the stabilizer away, some little fuzzies remained?  Or you used a white tear-away stabilizer on a darker fabric, so it showed even more?  Yes, you can get the marker pens out and do some touch-up, but sometimes the colors just don’t match well enough.  After all, we have 333 solid colors to choose from here at Sulky.  And then, with metallics, it’s even more challenging.

So, my personal preference is to use Sulky Fabri-Solvy for my in-the-hoop projects instead of a tear-away almost all of the time now. I love being able to give a truly personal gift.  So this last Christmas, I made this In-the-Hoop Christmas Bell Ornament from Embroidery Library. In fact I made a bunch of them.  It can be an ornament for the tree (adding a ribbon), or you can place it on a small plate stand, or add a fridge magnet on the back.

Here’s how I did it using Fabri-Solvy instead of a tear-away.  You can do this for any of the frames including the free Valentine’s Day Frame.


  • Embroidery Machine with a 5 x 7 hoop for this particular design (a larger hoop could also be used, but  then I would use 2 layers of Fabri-Solvy Stabilizer)
  • Schmetz® 14/90 Topstitch Needle (with metallic threads)
  • 1 – 7” x 7” piece of fabric (front)
  • 1 – 7” x 7” piece of fabric (back) I used the same fabric front and back.
  • 2 – 7” x 7” pieces of Sulky Cut-Away Plus™ Stabilizer
  • 1 – piece of Sulky Fabri-Solvy™ Stabilizer about 2” larger than your hoop
  • Sulky Original Metallic Thread 142-7007 Gold (this is the small size spool)
  • Sulky Prewound Bobbin – Tan
  • Sulky KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive
  • 8-1/2” piece of ribbon (if it will be a tree ornament)

(This was a tribute to a very dear friend, Carol Ingram, who we lost just before Christmas last year; and also a surprise to our Knit Night Group, so I didn’t want to post this before Christmas.)

I used Sulky Original Metallic 143-7007 Gold for this project.  I used a king size spool because I made over 15 of them, but you could use the smaller 142-7007 spool for just a few.  This project was digitized for metallic thread, so it stitched flawlessly and I never broke a thread until my needle got dull (remember, I made 15 of just this version alone).  But even though it was digitized for metallic thread, I slowed my machine down some.

I used a Tan Sulky Prewound Bobbin, and it matched pretty well on the back and was not as stark as white would be.  Sometimes I used the metallic in the bobbin for the final satin stitching, too.

If you look at the Color Sequence Sheet that comes with the project, it has 7 color stops, but all the same color.

Download and print the really great instructions for making the project and templates here: http://www.emblibrary.com/EL/elprojects/pdf/pr1191.pdf

(Note:  You do not have to have embroidery software to do this project.  Hooray!)

Follow those instructions for this project.  I have added some tips and hints here, and include the specific differences using Fabri-Solvy (which are pretty minimal, really.)

I used a Christmas shirt box as my spray station for KK 2000:

Here are the changes when using a water soluble stabilizer instead of a tear-away. 

  1. Obviously you would hoop the Fabri-Solvy (I used one layer for a 5 x 7 hoop If you use a larger hoop, I would use 2 layers).
  1. After color stop #4, do any additional lettering you choose on the ornament, names, dates, etc. (optional). Then remove the hoop from the machine.  (DO NOT REMOVE THE DESIGN from the hoop).  With a curved scissors, carefully trim the Fabri-Solvy from the center hole, leaving about 1/8” remaining.

  1. Dampen a wash cloth with HOT water (just the area of your finger – you don’t want it dripping wet or even overly wet.  You don’t want to get any wetness on the rest of the Fabri-Solvy).  With your finger, gently rub around the hole and the remaining Fabri-Solvy is instantly gone.  HINT:  If you accidentally get some water or wetness on the remaining Fabri-Solvy, just patch it with a larger piece than the hole with Sulky KK 2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive.

You will repeat this same removal technique when the ornament is completely stitched.  (See photo later on.)  That’s it.  Everything else is the same as in the .pdf instructions.


If you want to add a ribbon for hanging, you will do so now before you stitch color stop #5, and it’s shown in the .pdf instructions that come with the project.  I used a 8-1/2” long piece of ribbon. (If you changed the order of stitching because you added the lettering, be sure to go back and select color stop #5 before you start stitching again.)

Follow the .pdf instructions to add the photo.  Don’t forget to insert a matching bobbin at this point.  I did use a bobbin wound with metallic for some of them that I wanted to be especially pretty, but the tan on the backside wasn’t too bad with the tension on my particular machine.  TIP:  Be sure to wind your bobbin slowly with metallic thread.

Tape the photo in place with double-sided tape. If you’ve added a ribbon, be sure to keep it out of the way when you re-attach the hoop to the machine. To ensure this, I also taped it to the top of the hoop with regular Scotch® Magic™ Tape (not double-sided), shown by the arrow in the photo below:

This shows the final stitching completed from the wrong side with the ribbon taped out of the way.  (Notice that on this one, I did use the metallic in the bobbin, and it is really is pretty.)  Final stitching in progress:

When complete, remove the project from the hoop, and trim the stabilizer away just like you did for the center hole, leaving about 1/8” remaining.  Lesson learned:  Before trimming…Remove the tape holding the ribbon and re-tape the ribbon tightly onto the back of the ornament.  Why?  Because I accidentally cut a ribbon, and that is not an easy repair.  (You’re welcome!)

Repeat the washcloth process for removing the 1/8” or so remaining:

Be sure to check out all the other wonderful in-the-hoop Christmas ornaments and year-round frames too.

DIY Tassel Necklace – It’s Super Easy!

In case you are like me and need a couple more gifts, here is a fun and quick gift you can make.



These trendy necklaces can be made in any color you want, and you can get them done fairly quickly. Here is what you need:


  • Beads – I picked mostly glass beads with a few natural stone and painted beads thrown in. I got 3 necklaces out of each 112-inch string of glass beads.
  • Bead Stringing Wire, .024 in – I bought 30 ft. since I knew I had a lot of necklaces to make. You need 34″ per necklace
  • Connectors – I like the triangle ones, but the round ones would work just as well.
  • Crimp Tubes, 2mm – The bead stringing wire said which size crimp tube to use.
  • Needle-Nose Pliers – This little guy is great because it crimps the crimp tube down and cuts the beading wire.
  • Scissors – to cut the thread, and to cut the clear string the beads are sold on.
  • Wooden Skewer – You can use a pencil, chopstick, even a candy cane. You just need something to hold the tassel while you are making it.
  • Index Cards and a Rubber Band – For winding the tassel.
  • Threads – I used a variety of threads. Sulky 40 wt. Rayon, Sulky 12 wt. Cotton, Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Blendables® and Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Solids


To get started grab the stack of index cards and rubber-band them together (I used about 10 cards); then choose which thread you want to use to make the tassel.tassle-necklace-1

Begin wrapping the thread around the card stack.wrap-aorund-card-beginning

Keep wrapping until you are happy with the tassel size (remember that you are only seeing half the tassel on top of the card).


Take a piece of thread and feed it under the threads that you wrapped; then tie it off to hold all the threads together.


Now slip the skewer under the threads and gently pull them off the stack of index cards.


Take another piece of thread and begin wrapping it around all the threads close to the top.


Wrap several times and then tie it off. You can either cut the ends after you’ve tied off, or you can smooth those two strings down into the tassel.


Cut the loops at the bottom and set the tassel aside. Don’t take it off the skewer until the bead part of the necklace is ready.


Now for the beads. I cut a piece of beading wire 34″ long and strung the glass beads onto the wire. Here is my time-saving tip. Leave the beads connected together on the clear line they came on and just feed the beading wire down next to the other line. You can string all three of the necklaces before cutting the clear line. This means the beads don’t roll around everywhere and you don’t have to feed them all on one at a time.



Once they are strung, use the crimp tube and the needle nose pliers to crimp both ends of the wire together. Be sure to cut off the excess wire. Your necklace will end up about 32″ long.

Now it’s time to add the tassel. Get your connector and open it up with the needle nose pliers.


Put the connector through the top of the tassel while it is still on the skewer. The skewer will help you maneuver the connector through the threads.


Now slide the tassel off the skewer and secure the tassel to the beads.


Pinch the connector closed.


Lastly, give your tassels a haircut so they are all even across the bottom.


Viola! Your necklaces are done.


Make one in every color to keep for yourself or give as gifts.



Machine Embroidery Series – FREE Baby Blanket Tutorial


pamela Cox headshot

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

Baby Blanket Directions

Approximate Finished size: 40”x 32½”

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

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

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


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

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




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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Download the embroidery design and transfer to the embroidery machine.

Here’s How to Mark The Design Placement:

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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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


Press the seam open with just the tip of the iron


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


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


Gelatin Printing on Cut-Away Plus

katrina wright artist statement (1)

This blog post is written by guest blogger Katrina Wright.

Katrina is an amazing fiber artist and a member of Sulky’s Designer Endorsement Program. See more of her work on her website KWFiberart.com



Gelatin PrintingHave you ever wanted to dabble with designing your own fabric?

Sulky Cut-Away Plus™ makes a great foundation, or substrate, for surface design techniques that are normally reserved for 100% cotton PFD (Prepared for Dye) fabrics. It retains colors well and maintains a soft hand so the possibilities are almost limitless!

Today, I’m going to show you how to monoprint on Cut-Away Plus with acrylic craft paints. I warn you…if you try this yourself, proceed with caution….this can be ADDICTIVE!!!!

First, let’s go over some terminology. Monoprinting, as the name implies, makes one unique print, compared to other forms of printing which allow for multiples of the same image. Any smooth surface, such as glass or acrylic can be used for the printing plate. For this technique, the plate is made out of gelatin.

You can purchase gelatin plates, ready to use, or make your own, which is what I prefer to do. There are all sorts of recipes available on the web, but I use one that includes glycerin so it doesn’t require refrigeration (here’s the link to the one I use). I bought my glycerin and gelatin on Amazon to cut the price down. If you want to try this technique, I encourage you to research the options and pick what works for you.

Here’s what I used:

Sulky Cut-Away Plus
Home-made gelatin plate
Foam brushes
Hard rubber brayer (not absolutely necessary, but definitely helpful)
Acrylic craft paints
Foam texture sheets, sponges
Wooden stamps
Baby wipes
Paper plates for paint
A piece of parchment paper to protect my work surface
Water for thinning paint and cleanup

In the picture below, you can see that I have my gelatin plate on the parchment paper on my counter. Sheets of Cut-Away Plus are cut and ready to print while my paints and foam brushes are nearby.

pic 1

I wet a foam brush so that it had enough water to drip a few drops on a paper plate. Next, I squirted some paint on the plate and blended it with the brush.

pic 2

Then I started brushing the paint on the gelatin plate. When you try this, don’t be afraid to mix some colors together. Have fun! Thinner coats of paint will dry more quickly and your brush strokes will be more visible.

pic 3

I continued brushing on the paint until the top of the gelatin plate was completely covered. In the picture below, you can see that I chose lime green and turquoise paints to blend together across the plate.

pic 4

Now, it’s time for the first layer of printing! I gently placed one Cut-Away Plus sheet on top of the painted gelatin plate. I used a rubber brayer and rolled it gently across the surface to ensure a good print. You can also use a rolling pin or just pat the Cut-Away Plus evenly with your hands.

pic 5

Now for the surprise! Starting at one corner, I gently lifted the sheet from the plate. You can see that some areas of the plate had more paint than others. Don’t worry! The randomness adds depth and texture to the print.

pic 6

At this point, I could have cleaned off the plate with a baby wipe and started from scratch to make another print, but I didn’t. Instead, I decided that I wanted a “sister” print and repeated the process with the left over paint I had on the paper plate.  Even though, I used the same colors and process, the results are different. That’s the beauty of monoprinting!

pic 7

Now, I had a decision to make. How many layers did I want the print to have? That answer may vary from project to project. The more colors and textures you add, the more depth your print will have. I decided to keep layering on the same sheets of Cut-Away Plus and rather than cleaning the gelatin plate off, I brushed on some white paint.

pic 8

Next, I used some embossed foam sheets I have and gently pressed them on the top of the gelatin plate.

pic 9

I repeated this process around the entire gelatin plate with different patterns. The foam sheets pulled some of the paint off of the gelatin plate (which is what they are supposed to do) so I used those as stamps on one of my Cut-Away Plus prints.

pic 10

Next, I gently placed the other Cut-Away Plus print face down on the gelatin plate. This sounds tricky, but it isn’t hard to line it up on the previous print because you can see through the Cut-Away Plus. I rolled the brayer across and here’s what I found when I lifted the print:

pic 11

And here is the other one:

pic 12

The prints do look very similar, as they should, but they are not identical. One has more bright green that is visible, while the other is more pastel. The patterns are also in different places and have different saturation levels.

Even though I could have continued printing with the gelatin plate, I decided that I wanted to use some stamps to add some final depth to my prints. I pulled out some of my hand-carved wooden stamps and “interviewed” them for scale. I chose the circle stamp, so that it wouldn’t overwhelm my prints.

pic 13

I applied some orange acrylic paint with a sponge and stamped randomly across both prints. You will notice that I stamped off the edges of my print and that was on purpose. I like random patterns to really look random. When I cut these prints down, the orange circles will not be “fenced in” by the green square. Instead they will float off the page.

Here’s the first one:

pic 14

And the sister:

pic 15

I decided that they needed something else, so I used an empty spool as a stamp and some white paint for the final element. The physical texture of the paint on the Cut-Away Plus is amazing…almost like velvet! Here are the finished prints:

pic 16

Now what? What will I do with them?

Make a quilt? Probably not. Instead, I have thought about turning them into journal or needle book covers. I might even cut them up into squares and sew them back together for some added interest and use them as a background for a modern wall hanging. Oh, wait! I could use some Sulky 12 Wt. Cotton Petites and do some of my favorite hand embroidery stitches on them too! That decision will have to wait, because for now, I’m just enjoying the process. And if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make some more prints! 🙂

Quick and Easy Vinyl Placemat – Tutorial

placemat lifestyle 2

Finished oval size: 11-1/2” x 16-3/4”

As an added bonus to our Machine Embroidery Series, Pamela Cox has designed this wonderful tutorial for a quick and easy vinyl placemat. If you have never tried machine embroidery on vinyl, check out Pam’s blog post here and then try this great project.

Quick and Easy Vinyl Placemat


  • 12-1/4” x 17-1/4” piece of textured vinyl, Usually sold by the yard with the intention of being used as a tablecloth, this type of vinyl will have a fuzzy, very thin, batting/backing. (1/2 yd. of 54” wide vinyl will yield 4 placemats)
    90/14 Leather Needle
  • Thread: Sulky® 40 wt. Rayon or Poly Deco™ 40 wt. embroidery thread – your choice of colors for your design
  • Sulky Blendables® thread – choice of color for the accent border
  • Stabilizer:  Sulky® Sticky +™ – 1 yd. pack (#551-01) or precut sheets (#551-02) for small hoops
  • Embroidery Design: Flower accent from My Fair Lady’s Summer Stipple Collection-#15
  • Personalize name created using Ultra Premier+™ software from Husqvarna-Viking (or your software)
  • Painter’s tape

Plan a personalized design (here’s what I did):

In your software editing program, open design #15 from My Fair Lady’s Summer stipple collection:

original 15

Horizontally flip it and then rotate it to the left about 25°.  The goal is a “gentle curve” which works well on its own.  However, when combining the design with a name or phrase, the design “rotation” might be better presented at a slightly increased angle.

gentle curve

If an individual name or phrase is to be added, use your editing software or incorporate lettering available on your embroidery machine. Please note that the following instructions are based on using Ultra Premier+™ created by Husqvarna Viking.   Although steps may vary slightly depending upon your editing software, the concept remains the same:

In the lettering program, choose a simple line “Script” font: like “Valentina”.

Although this very sophisticated editing program offers many “word shapes”, by choosing to bring each letter in individually, to a design, exact rotation and placement is under your control.

individual letters

The end result is that “Abby” follows the contour of the design.  Even though the “stem” ends before the name does, the last letters within the name continue to follow the contour of the placemat.


Square-cut a piece of textured vinyl 12-1/4” x 17-1/4”

Lightly sketch the rounded edge of the placemat in the lower left corner. Document the personalized design size.

actual size

Mark a “+” on a piece of painter’s tape. Mark the design center measuring  “in and up” from the lower right corner of the cut vinyl, taking into consideration the marked curve.  “Exact” placement is not a necessity, but rather a more approximate placement.  Final cuts are done after stitching, so there is a bit of “wiggle room”. However, make sure to factor in space for a decorative edging stitch (if desired).   This means that if the total design measures 2-1/4” x 3-3/4”, divide that in half, and add about 1/2” to “half the width and height”.  For instance, halved it would be:  1-1/8 + 1/2″ = 1-5/8” and 1-7/8″ + 1/2″ = 2-3/8” when marking the center of the design.

center placement

Measure in and up from penciled curve of placemat to locate design center based on individualized measurements.  Place the marked painter’s tape.

Hoop Sulky® Sticky+™, “tight as a drum” with the gridded paper side facing up in a hoop size which is larger than required for the design. Slightly score the paper with a pin inside the hoop’s frame, remove and discard paper. First match design center to hoop center as closely as possible.  (AN IDEA:  You could also use a piece of Sticky Fabri-Solvy for this marking.  Then if you forget to remove it before starting to stitch, no problem, it just washes away.)

hoop center fixed


design center

Then attach the hoop to the machine and adjust the needle center position to the design’s center.  Once satisfied, remove the painter’s tape.

needle center

Slow the machine speed down by at least half and stitch the design. Remove from hoop and trim any excess stabilizer deemed necessary. Remember, this is a fun, party or summer project, the backside is not terribly important.  Normally, Sulky Sticky+™ is extremely easy to remove and “tear-away”.  However, that fuzzy vinyl backing which is truly great for adhering to the stabilizer and great for actual embroidering pretty much negates the easy removal of the Sticky+ from the backside of the project. Square cut the placemat to fit the stitched design – vinyl has no grain, and although the design was “centered” as accurately as possible, it now becomes more important that the design shows as “squared”

square cut

Round off each corner:  Create a template by tracing an appropriately curved object, such as a cereal bowl to insure that each corner will mirror-image another.  (Hint:  You can measure diagonally from the point of the corner to your first curve to help you be more accurate on your other 3 curves.)

draw curveSelect a decorative stitch from those available on individual machines, to provide a “finished” look to the vinyl cut edge

A Sulky Blendables® – 30 wt. Cotton Thread adds a wonderful variation to any decorative stitch

placemat lifestyle 1

How quick and easy is this project?  How special would this be for a little girl’s birthday party when the guests are presented with their personalized placemat to take home?

Very special memories for all.

Looking For Last Minute Easter Projects? Here are Two

For #TBT I thought I would share with you two fun projects published last year.

Super Easy Easter Eggs!

I love these fun eggs and they can stay our all spring! Get the full tutorial here.


I also love this wonderful basket. Here is the tutorial for this one!

Happy Easter and Happy Sewing!

St. Patrick’s Day TBT

St. Patrick’s Day is just 3 weeks away! Are you planning a fun party, an Irish meal or doing any St. Patrick’s inspired crafts with you kids?


My girls love to ‘look for the leprechaun’. We usually color him, hide him somewhere around the house or in the yard; and once they find him, we eat candy or cookies. Simple but fun. Here are some fun leprechaun coloring pages.

St. Patty's Day mats header

Last year I made these St. Patty’s Day Placemats.

st patty placmat 6

They are quick and easy to make. The full tutorial is here.

We also have some fun St. Patrick’s Day Machine Embroidery designs in the Sulky Embroidery Club. As always, click on the picture to take you right to the place to purchase the design.

Kiss Me Im Irish

X Appliqued Shamrock

This one's FREE

This one’s FREE


Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Sewing!

Embroider Buddies – Tutorial


A few months ago, Sulky.com added these adorable Embroider Buddies.

moose eblion ebhedgehog eb

Aren’t they adorable?


Patti Lee, Vice President of Consumer Relations, made several for relatives at Christmastime and she was gracious enough to write a great tutorial on how the embroider on these little guys.

You can Download the Embroider Buddies tutorial here: Embroider Buddies Tutorial

You can buy these cute little guys here.

Happy Sewing!