Posts Tagged ‘machine embroidery’

5 Must-See Tutorials For Getting Started In Machine Embroidery

Machine embroidery is pretty neat.

I’m not just saying that. Really. This stuff is awesome, and there are lots of folks out there who think so. However, there are lots of misconceptions out there about what it is, what it’s for, and how you do it.

One, it is NOT just for your Great Aunt Bitty to embroider pictures of cats on things. Sure, she can do that too. Cats are all the rage these days, just ask the internet. Also, it’s not dark arts wizardry, thought you might be forgiven for thinking that the first time you tried to get something to stitch out correctly. Embroidery machines are neat little gizmos of technology that sometimes take on a personality of their own when embroidering your favorite designs, and ESPECIALLY when embroidering on your favorite shirt. If you just grab one out of the box and hope for the best, you and your machine may have issues. Plus those suckers can be complicated beasts to set up sometimes.

So for your ease and enjoyment, here are 5 easy tutorials if you’re just starting out that should make your journey a bit more pleasant, and stop you from throwing that magic technology out a window the third time it eats a design.

5 Must-See Tutorials For Getting Started In Machine Embroidery

First up, we go old school UT! Yup, this is one of the first tutorials I ever did (and that’s our old studio… so pink!) and it’s all about how to set up an embroidery machine. All embroidery machines are different, but it covers some basics of what it’s like getting that shiny new toy out of the box, and the first steps to setting it up. It breezes over some of the embroidery basics, so for that, I’d really recommend…

5 Must-See Tutorials For Getting Started In Machine Embroidery

This tutorial on machine embroidery basics. Once you’ve gotten a little more familiar with your machine, you need to understand some very important things like proper stabilizers, hooping techniques, and proper fabric choice to really get solid results out of this cool technology. This is an absolute must read for anybody just starting out.

5 Must-See Tutorials For Getting Started In Machine Embroidery

Next is for those moments you feel like defenestrating your machine. (That means throw it out a window… word of the day!)

Gotten your machine all set up, followed all the instructions, and you’re still getting terrible results? Well, this tutorial all about preventing shifting and gapping in designs should help. I hope for you sake your stitch outs aren’t looking quite as bad as that example above, but if you’re getting wrinkled fabrics and edges that don’t line up, try out these tips for getting great looking embroidery every time.

5 Must-See Tutorials For Getting Started In Machine Embroidery

For a little extra finesse, try using templates to perfectly line up your designs! This tutorial teaches you how and where to get your templates, and then easy steps for using them to get perfectly aligned designs. We use templates quite a bit in our tutorials, so it’s pretty handy to know to print and use them when the time comes.

5 Must-See Tutorials For Getting Started In Machine Embroidery

Finally, if you’ve learned to set up your machine, know a bit about stabilizers and hooping, figured out how to get a template, AND you haven’t thrown your machine out a window yet, congrats! You’re well on your way to becoming a seasoned embroiderer. Now comes the fun part… experimentation! Check out this tutorial for design hack ideas, basically super easy ways you can change up designs to get totally unique results and make them your own. It’s everything from changing up colors to specialized threads. The design is just the beginning… what you do with it is a whole different thing!

Got all that? Great! Welcome to the world of machine embroidery. If you’re looking for more ways to get started, there’s a whole section dedicated to it in our tutorials. They go beyond the basics and start talking about specialized tips like for stitching perfect freestanding lace to using applique designs.

Good luck! Your machine will thank you for it. No matter how cool a word you think defenestrate is.

Urban Entrepreneurs – Susitaika

I love that we have so many international stitchers among Urban Threadsters, and it seems like a lot of them have a very entrepreneurial spirit. This week’s Urban Entrepreneurs feature comes all the way from Finland, with the awesome and punktastic stitching of Laura Lipponen from the online store Susitaika. We’ve seen Laura’s work before, when she took the amazing plunge into digitizing her own work. She’s since taken on her own business, both on Etsy and on her own website.

Today Laura joins us to talk a little about her online store, and shares some of her self-modeled embroidered wares…

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What started you into embroidery?

My path to embroidery starts with my love of making my own clothes. When I was a kid, I made some curtains into cool tops. Got teased at school, OF COURSE. But still kept my individual voice like a boss.

I wanted to make clothes, but my mom’s Singer and I – we did NOT get along. So I begged for my mom to buy me a new machine. (Actually, the Singer DID have some sort of a fault that even a repair guy couldn’t do anything about it – they would’ve needed a new part, but since the machine was so old and that particular part had the tendency to break, nothing could be done.)

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When we went to the store to buy a new machine for me, they were getting rid of every Husqvarna Viking machine, they stopped carrying that label. I wanted a cool looking Bernina, but there was one sewing machine with an embroidery head (Husqvarna Viking Platinum Plus) that was on such a ridiculous sale price that my mom made me try it. And I fell in love! That’s when I was introduced to embroidery.

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Where did you first find Urban Threads?

I found UT on Craftster! Niamh had posted the fantabulous tute of the wood burning leaf image. To this day that is still my FAVOURITE wood burning project – such a beautiful picture. Not surprisingly I’ve embroidered that picture of the leaves a hundred times…

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What made you take the plunge into starting your own store?

My parents have had a business of their own since forever and I have many friends who have their own companies as well. It’s very common here in Finland to start your own business. So I did. Some of my friends told me they’d order stuff from me if they could deduct it in their taxes, and for that I needed the VAT number.

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What kinds of folks are your customers? Who do you hope to cater to?

Gothic chic and geeky types. I look for people with a sense of humor and a touch of the dark in their souls. People who understand writers such as Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. The kinds of people who I automatically feel are my friends.

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What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you began?

Errrms… I’m sure I just learned a lesson this week… Ohh, it might be scheduling things. It’s VERY important to have a strict schedule, so you can keep up with seasonal sales, the markets you’re going to go to sell at and all that. The more structure you have in your life the better. I love TO-DO lists and even painted a black board on my door so I can wipe things off when I’m done.

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Where would you like to see your shop in one year? Any fun stuff planned for the future?

I’m hoping that in a year I will be mostly done with school and can actually start providing myself with my business. At the moment I’ve had this problem of doing definitely too many things at once, so it has taken its toll. I’ve had two jobs on top of my own business and now I’ve had one job, business and school! It’s definitely been hard. But this summer anything has started to seem possible again. For a year I wasn’t so sure. But now I am! The thing that I’m looking forward most is that I’ve been talking about some cooperative things to do with some local artists. Kinda like your UT Labs.

I love the dark and punk attitude that Laura puts into all her wares, and the big possibilities for the future. With the guts to not only try digitizing, but jump into her own business, I’m sure the future projects and collaborations Laura takes on will be just amazing! If you want to grab some of your own gothic stitchy wares, check out her Etsy store or Susitaika.com.

Do you use Urban Threads designs to create one of a kind products? Want to see your story or your store featured here and join our gang of Urban Entrepreneurs? Send us an e-mail at blog@urbanthreads.com with a link to your store/website or attach sample photos, and you could be featured!

Nature’s Curiosities Quilt – Free Pattern

It’s about that time again, don’t you think? Time for what, you ask?

For another crazy Lab project dreamed up by the UT team! This quilted creation is once again the product of artist Caitlin’s crafty fingers and a design collection created by me, your resident Evil Genius. This new project features the lovely and light-stitching Miniature Menagerie machine embroidery designs. These pieces were created in the popular style first debuted in the Parisian Love Letter series (which you can buy here) but in this case were inspired by nature’s tiny wonders and the world of entomology. Butterflies, moths, dragonflies, and more enchanting insects were framed with light-stitching accents and elegant baroque style borders to bring the beauty of nature to life.

Once the designs were completed, Caitlin took them into her capable hands and crafted a pretty, naturally inspired quilt perfect for a picnic in the great outdoors, or just a splash of summery home decor. Below Caitlin talks a little bit about the process of creating the quilt, and then shares a very special bonus…

A new project from the Urban Threads lab, featuring a gorgeous quilt with new Entomology inspired embroidery designs. Includes a FREE pdf pattern to make your own.

I had been wanting to make another quilt using our fabulous embroidery designs for a while, ever since I created the Celestial Quilt at the beginning of the year. Recently I stumbled across a beautiful 1950s vintage baby quilt, featuring little applique flowers, and it inspired me to start a whole new project with the new entomology-inspired designs.

I loved how the nine-piece blocks framed the applique designs on the vintage quilt, so I designed my own larger quilt pattern to feature the new Miniature Menagerie series in a similar fashion. I imagined a big bright quilt that you would want to lay out for a summery picnic!

A new project from the Urban Threads lab, featuring a gorgeous quilt with new Entomology inspired embroidery designs. Includes a FREE pdf pattern to make your own.

I liked the idea of creating a soft place to spend time eating savory snacks and enjoying good company.  In this world, beautiful insects lived only as gorgeous embroidery on the quilt (and not as uninvited picnic guests), and there was always a sweet smell of flowers in the air. I wanted a quilt that evoked the warm days of summer!

A new project from the Urban Threads lab, featuring a gorgeous quilt with new Entomology inspired embroidery designs. Includes a FREE pdf pattern to make your own.

I tried to keep these summery feelings in mind while I worked on the project. I got a few helpful pointers from my quilter-extraordinaire mom about how I could accomplish the effect I wanted with the quilt blocks and embroidery, then I went to it!

A new project from the Urban Threads lab, featuring a gorgeous quilt with new Entomology inspired embroidery designs. Includes a FREE pdf pattern to make your own.

I took inspiration from everywhere while researching the quilt, but I especially liked this entomology illustration as color inspiration for when I went fabric shopping. I loved the weird greens and purples together with the cream and tans, but I wanted to keep the colors as soft and muted as possible so the embroidery designs could really pop.

I really like bright and bold color, so I put as much in as possible!

A new project from the Urban Threads lab, featuring a gorgeous quilt with new Entomology inspired embroidery designs. Includes a FREE pdf pattern to make your own.

What I love most about this pattern is its versatility. You can go through your fabric stash and easily start cutting squares out of your favorite colors to create the quilt blocks. If you want more structured, geometric color design, you can just as easily do that too!

The quilt fits the versatility of the embroidery designs themselves. They can be layered and grouped and sewn in so many different arrangements. For instance, in the photo above, the butterfly design is layered on top of the baroque corner, to make a larger, more delicate and detailed design. I really love the effect of the moon corners under the insect features. I was also really excited that I could extend the baroque corners using the baroque features, making a big and beautiful extra large embroidered corner. It’s so fun to create such embroidery effects through the magic of layering.

A new project from the Urban Threads lab, featuring a gorgeous quilt with new Entomology inspired embroidery designs. Includes a FREE pdf pattern to make your own.

Of course, no project like this is without its challenges. I ran into some trouble with my triangles and setting the quilt blocks on point. There are some more practical quilting techniques that I learned after I had already pieced my side triangle blocks together. Mainly that you should cut triangles using a particular math formula, so you have the appropriate 1/4 seam allowance on the diagonal. Quilting is very mathematical. We’re always learning new things with these projects! Sometimes the best way to create is just to dive in and experiment. It all turns out in the end.

All the same, next time I’ll be sure to do a little more research before I cut a million wonky triangles…

A new project from the Urban Threads lab, featuring a gorgeous quilt with new Entomology inspired embroidery designs. Includes a FREE pdf pattern to make your own.

Experimental crafting and quilting is always so much easier with a little help. I wouldn’t have been able to put this all together without the skills of my mom. My home is filled with amazing quilts she has made, and being able to call her and ask random quilting questions was a real lifesaver. She’s even working on her own version of this quilt pattern! It’s always great to pull a personal history of crafting into new projects like this.

A new project from the Urban Threads lab, featuring a gorgeous quilt with new Entomology inspired embroidery designs. Includes a FREE pdf pattern to make your own.

I am really excited about how this project turned out. It’s exactly the warm and summery kind of quilt I was hoping for, and really helps bring the Miniature Menagerie designs to life. Don’t be afraid to dive into a big project like an embroidered quilt. It’s not as hard as it looks, and the results are so rewarding!

Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Caitlin! Feeling inspired? Well, now for the best news. You may remember the last time Caitlin took to quilting, SO many of you requested a pattern of the quilt she created, and we thought there might be mutiny if we didn’t do it this time around. So today for the very first time, we’re offering a FREE downloadable pattern of a Lab project for you recreate in your own home.

To get your very own downloadable instructions to make your own summery quilt, click here, and of course, don’t forget your new Miniature Menagerie embroidery designs. Have fun, crafters, and as always if you make one of your own, be sure to share it with us!

 
This project is part of The Lab, a UT initiative to experiment, collaborate and innovate to see just what can be done with the art of embroidery.
 
Check out our other projects by searching for the UT Lab tag.

UT Tutorial – No Sew Workout Tee

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Got 30 minutes? You’ve got time to make yourself a new workout tee! Some bold embroidery and a few snips and ties are all that’s needed to transform an oversized plain tee into a chic embellished workout top. Get the tutorial here!

UT Coloring Contest Finalists

*UPDATE – Voting is closed! Winners coming soon*

It’s time… all through the month of May you Threadsters were playing with this design, in order to create your own colorful masterpieces for Urban Threads 5th Birthday Coloring Contest. Well the entries are in, and the top 5 finalists in each category have been chosen! First, our top colorful entries stitched up by an embroidery machine…

Machine Embroidery Finalists

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This dark and broody black and red sparkle creation was made by Miriam.

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This classic soft rainbow scheme entry was stitched up by Vicki.

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This coloring contest entry is by Juliane, inspired by yummy coffee and chocolate.

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This bright and bold coloring entry makes great use of a light colored outline, stitched up by inartwork.

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This neon inspired coloring contest entry was stitched up by Cornelia.

All those crazy colors! What fun :) Are you ready to vote? Take a good long look at each of these colorful designs, and vote for your favorite below. Voting is closed!

Katheryn De Benedictis - Create EmbroideryHand Embroidery Finalists

This blue and purple stitch-filled beauty was hand embroidered by Katheryn.

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This colorful rainbow crayon-tinted creation was stitched up by April.

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This hand embroidered coloring contest entry by Emily features beautiful variegated stitching on a faux wood fabric.

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This coloring contest entry by Brandy features lovely running stitch outlines mixed with light washes of watercolor.

Urban Threads Color Contest

This bold and broody design was hand stitched by confident soba using lots of lovely fill stitches.

Are you ready to vote for your favorite hand embroidery entry? Second voting poll is below. Voting is closed!

A big congratulations to our 10 finalists for making it into the top 5 of their categories! Also, a big BIG thank you to ALL of you who entered. We had a lot of entries into this contest. Want to see them all? Of course you do! Check them out in the slideshow below. Thanks for helping us make our 5th Birthday extra special!Did you vote once for each category? GOOD! Voting will remain open until this Friday at noon central time, and we’ll announce the final winners in the newsletter!

Coloring Contest Entries Are Coming In!

Entries for our 5th Birthday coloring contest are starting to pour in! I love the creativity that’s already coming out, including innovative coloring techniques with paint & crayon tinting, and totally wild color schemes! Take a peek at some of the entries we’ve already received, and click on each one to see more about it…

UT Coloring Contest ~Water color

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Sepia Tone entry for Urban Threads coloring contest

Flight of Imagination

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Want even more? Check out this flickr gallery of all the entries thus far, then go grab the contest freebie, check out the details, and get stitching for a chance to win a $100 UT gift certificate! Remember this contest closes  Friday, May 31, 2013, so get a move on.

May Flickr Roundup

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’” — Robin Williams.

That’s right, Spring is finally here! Lets party with the May flickr roundup…

Crazy Dog Lady!

Time Wrinker has posted some really sweet zipper pouches on the UT flickr group recently. She rocked out this crazy dog lady pouch so fast! I love the cute bone zipper pull.

Batty Bag

This is phenomenal! I love the style of the bag, paired with the sweet hanging bats. Shefightslikeagirl did an amazing job with this piece.

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Wowza! Pooka employed many beautiful hand stitching techniques to create this skeleton girl cameo. Her smart teenage daughter commandeered it for her room!

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Very cute monster key chain. Marylou has many more fun creations posted on the flickr pool. Check her out!

Embroidered Monk Bag

Becca made custom shopping bags to take to her local wool festival! I bet these knitting skully bags will look great filled to the brim with new yarn and other woolly delights.

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I love this veggie collage  pouch by Brandy. It would be such a great place to keep veggie seeds for gardening. Yay spring!

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There is a lot of awesome happening here. Jennifer hand dyed her threads! I love the metallic accents at the top also. Stunning work!

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I love this black on white leather clutch by MiaSpider. The lace accents pair nicely with the Victorian quilting designs.

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Another great Don’t Panic design, turned pincushion! I’m digging the amazing fuchsia baroque frame Meagan found for her piece.

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This gorgeous piece of jewelry was crafted by Anik! The asymmetrical way the lace lays across her collar bones is really stellar.

What a great embroidery party! A big thanks to everyone who posted their amazing creations to the UT flickr pool. Keep the creative magic coming, we love it.

Do you want to see your stuff featured in a roundup? Upload it to our flickr pool or e-mail it to blog@urbanthreads.com, and you could see your stuff on StitchPunk