Posts Tagged ‘machine embroidery’

Diving Into Digitizing – A Newbie Digitizer’s Experiment

As Urban Threads grows, now and again we get to add to our talented team of digitizers and artists. Our most recent addition is our pink-haired digitizing queen Bonnie. She came into this with a lot of artistic talent to begin with, so her experience of diving into the strange and technical world of digitizing as an art is a fascinating one. The rare peeks into the world of digitizing often come from those who have worked in the industry for awhile, but what’s it like facing this unique technology as a total newcomer?  

Bonnie gives us that peek by sharing a fun personal experiment she embarked on when she first started, and shares her insights as to what it was like to work through the weirdness of how machine embroidery really works when you’re totally new to the medium…

New UT digitizer Bonnie

New UT digitizer Bonnie

When I first started digitizing I felt overwhelmed and amazed by the beautiful designs that were on the Urban Threads site. How was it even possible to paint with stitches? I was learning the science of the process, but I wanted to experiment with the art of embroidery. My dogs Hopscotch and Possum were my first choices to work with as inspiration, but the design needed to be as unique as they are…

It was obvious that embroidered dogs in space suits were the only possible thing I could do.

I found some great photography references for space stuff and started looking through the painterly designs on the Urban Threads site to see how the light-stitching effect was created. I wanted to plan how I was going to create shading, and I studied how the filled areas were layered to create subtle regions of color while keeping the stitch count low. The trick seemed to be finding the right density so that there were enough stitches to visually fill the space, but few enough to leave the fabric and layers of color beneath peeking through.

This really is an artistic process and it felt like learning a new medium. Technically, I was not officially doing this advanced type of work at the time, so this was all about fun experimentation!

UT digitizer Bonnie shares her experience of diving into the strange and technical world of machine embroidery digitizing as a total newcomer with a fun experiment. See what it's like to work through the weirdness of how machine embroidery really works when you’re totally new to the medium…

Early sketch ideas

UT digitizer Bonnie shares her experience of diving into the strange and technical world of machine embroidery digitizing as a total newcomer with a fun experiment. See what it's like to work through the weirdness of how machine embroidery really works when you’re totally new to the medium…

The most important part of course – dogs in spacesuits

I created a few loose sketches of how I wanted the cockpit of the spaceship to look. I decided I was going to flip the first design and just change some details to save time and make them look symmetrical. Then it was time to turn them into stitches…

UT digitizer Bonnie shares her experience of diving into the strange and technical world of machine embroidery digitizing as a total newcomer with a fun experiment. See what it's like to work through the weirdness of how machine embroidery really works when you’re totally new to the medium…

The on-screen digitized designs in Wilcom

I had to first choose a few shades of gray to work with so that I could blend them from dark to light, just like painting. It became quickly apparent how difficult this is to manage while keeping the number of color changes low. When you are painting, it doesn’t matter how many times you go back and forth between colors to add more shading. When embroidering, the progression from one color to the next needs to be planned out so that as much of each thread color is stitched out at once as possible before moving on to the next. The freedom of moving from place to place within the embroidery design as you would with a painting is also lost, because each time you move from one area to another it creates a trim. This requires planning as you move throughout the piece, making sure each area of color has a way to connect to the next. This was difficult for me because my artistic style is extremely spontaneous. Creating the painterly style of embroidery was more like building a complex puzzle than pushing color around with a paintbrush.

UT digitizer Bonnie shares her experience of diving into the strange and technical world of machine embroidery digitizing as a total newcomer with a fun experiment. See what it's like to work through the weirdness of how machine embroidery really works when you’re totally new to the medium…

After digitizing a few layers of open fills (the same technique used to create the painterly designs), I added touches of lighter colored satins to add shine, and imply a light source outside of the window. That is usually my favorite part of working on any piece of art — making things look shiny! In addition, by choosing a dark fabric to act as part of the design, I was able to leave the stitching light, and work mostly on the highlights.

Not everything worked exactly as planned, but it was amazing to use my traditional art skills to blend colors and layers of embroidery. It felt awkward and challenging, but the excitement of the potential outweighed any problems I ran into.

UT digitizer Bonnie shares her experience of diving into the strange and technical world of machine embroidery digitizing as a total newcomer with a fun experiment. See what it's like to work through the weirdness of how machine embroidery really works when you’re totally new to the medium…

The final stitched versions

During the sewing out process I witnessed firsthand why we work so hard to limit the number of color changes and trims and why we make sure that there are not more stitches in a design than necessary. The best part was learning why people enjoy embroidery so much — it’s incredible to hold the finished product in your hands and love it!

UT digitizer Bonnie shares her experience of diving into the strange and technical world of machine embroidery digitizing as a total newcomer with a fun experiment. See what it's like to work through the weirdness of how machine embroidery really works when you’re totally new to the medium…

I learned so much more than I was expecting to during the creation of these designs. Drawing and digitizing them gave me a whole new respect for our artists and digitizers here.

UT digitizer Bonnie shares her experience of diving into the strange and technical world of machine embroidery digitizing as a total newcomer with a fun experiment. See what it's like to work through the weirdness of how machine embroidery really works when you’re totally new to the medium…

Plus, the little astronaut approved!

If you want to see more about how we experiment with the medium of machine embroidery in often totally weird ways, you can also check out another project that our head digitizer Danielle and art director Niamh teamed up to make happen, called the Crane Wife. You’d be surprised how many techniques and new art styles we’ve discovered with off-the-wall experimentation like this!

Quick Pic – Pug Life

Inspiring ideas from customers!

The best and brightest chosen from images off facebook, flickr, instagram and more.

Living the Pug Life, from Quick Pics -The best and brightest ideas by Urban Threads customers from facebook, flickr, instagram and more.

This pic from Instagram user jess4276 made me chuckle. As she put it simply, “Molly is working on her embroidery project”. Truly living the Pug Life.

Fridays At The Office

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Our marketing rock star and general ringmaster Karline keeps favorite stitchouts from recent batches up in her workspace as inspiration. Clips make it easy to change out fresh designs. It’s a great reminder of the designs we love. Plus, free office decor!

Want more sneak peeks, office life, and behind the scenes? Follow us on Instagram at urbanthreadsemb

Fridays At The Office

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Everyone digitizes with a little bit of their own flair here. Bonnie has a particularity awesome decked-out digitizing hand, don’t you think?

Want more sneak peeks, office life, and behind the scenes? Follow us on Instagram at urbanthreadsemb

Color Inspirations – Twig & Mint

Try this unexpected Twig & Mint color scheme out on your embroidery designs.

This week, go natural with a twist using this Twig & Mint color scheme. A soft faux wood fabric sets off the natural tones of browns and soft oranges and berry reds, but the real charm is in the pop of unexpected mint. See how it compares to the original.

Which do you prefer?

Quick Pic – Laced Up

Inspiring ideas from customers!

The best and brightest chosen from images off facebook, flickr and instagram.

Laced up embroidered jeans

Janice Harris is working on a sew along called the Perfect Pattern Parcel, where you get a bunch of great patterns by independent designers. You support indie designers, and support children’s education through Donor’s Choose.  One of the patterns she made was these adorable pants, with the super cute “lace it up” accent stitched on the backs. Adorable!

You can see more about the project on her blog.

Get The Look – Emilio Pucci Wool Coat

Get The Look of this chic Emilio Pucci Wool Coat for hundreds of dollars less than the price tag by DIYing it with embroidery.

This Emilio Pucci coat was about $2,200, but it has already sold out. Yikes! You have to admit it’s pretty, but it’s not a price tag many of us can grab at. However, there is a DIY alternative that’s much more easily in the budget this year…

There is a very similar coat still available over at Forever 21 for about 50 bucks, and a quick search on ebay reveals quite a few more like it for reasonable prices. Really all you’re looking for with this DIY is a nicely- shaped olive trench coat. You can even update the buttons if the ones on the coat you find aren’t nice and shiny like these.

What you need is the coat… and some awesome embroidery.

Get The Look of a chic Emilio Pucci Wool Coat for hundreds of dollars less than the price tag by DIYing it with embroidery.

Let’s start with the shoulders. We’re only using two different embroidery designs, but they’ll be used multiple times, all in black. The embroidery you need is the elegant Cameo Mori and the Gather Ye Rosebuds design. The cameo in this case is stitched without it’s colored fill backing, to keep it just a little bit lighter and within our tone-on-tone look.

Get The Look of a chic Emilio Pucci Wool Coat for hundreds of dollars less than the price tag by DIYing it with embroidery.

Mirror your two rose designs and position them so they slightly overlap, like shown. Then the Cameo Mori (without it’s fill background, remember) is positioned on top, just barley touching the roses. This combined design is stitched all in black on the shoulder of the coat. If you’re curious about how to open seams and stitch on sleeves, check out this tutorial. Repeat this combined design on the other side.

What’s nice is that even thought this combined design is a bit denser than what we would usually put on apparel, the thick wool will hold up your stitches beautifully.

Get The Look of a chic Emilio Pucci Wool Coat for hundreds of dollars less than the price tag by DIYing it with embroidery.

Next, we’ll add a little more of those roses. Stitching the design by itself, position it so just a little bit of the roses and thorns peeks out from behind your lapel. Repeat this on the other side. If you’re lucky, hooping this part should be easy, and may only require opening up the lining a little bit.

Get The Look of a chic Emilio Pucci Wool Coat for hundreds of dollars less than the price tag by DIYing it with embroidery.

And suddenly, your trench is transformed into something glamorous and new! Sturdy enough to take you from the end of winter into a cool spring, a regular wool coat goes from military to chic with elegant and dark embroidery additions.

Get The Look of this chic Emilio Pucci Wool Coat for hundreds of dollars less than the price tag by DIYing it with embroidery.

Plus you saved yourself, oh about $2,150. If that’s not a steal I don’t know what is!

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psst… a little worried about opening up seams, and stitching on felt? There’s an easy design hack!

Stitch your design on black or similar colored organza as your coat. You can then applique it on to your coat without messing with hooping or opening up seams. You can see how we stitched similar heavy tone-on-tone designs on organza in this tutorial, and how we appliqued organza onto garments in this tutorial

Get The Look of a chic Emilio Pucci Wool Coat for hundreds of dollars less than the price tag by DIYing it with embroidery.

You can see above an example of how it would look with organza underneath, and you can still applique it on with chic contrasting shapes that just add to the overall look. It’s an easy way to get nearly the exact same result with a lot less of the hassle, and without risking that pretty coat!