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Alignment and Placement Home Decor

Dress up your kitchen or bath for the holidays

I often overlook one of the easiest ways to dress up the kitchen or the bath during the holidays. I’ve made a promise to myself to buy some new towels and stitch some really cute holiday designs this year. If you’ve been thinking about the doing the same, here’s some steps to make it simple. After all, not only do seasonal towels dress up your home, they also make great hostess gifts!

1. Buy quality towels with borders. They’ll look luxurious and will standup to repeated laundering. Towels with borders are easier to hoop than plain towels because the border is a natural alignment mark. In fact, I align the top edge of the border with the inside of my hoop and, voila! The towel is square in the hoop.

2. Use the right stabilizers for your hoop. Yes, you read that correctly – the right stabilizer for the hoop! If you’re using an industrial hoop (they are quite strong and rigid), hoop the towel and tear-away. Industrial hoops provide the proper grip for terry cloth and will hold both stabilizer and towel securely.

If you’re using a standard hoop (for a single-needle machine), you have some choices.

First choice: If time is on your side and you can launder the towel after embroidering, then hoop an adhesive water soluble stabilizer such as Floriani’s Wet N Gone Tacky. Remove the protective paper and position the towel on the hooped, sticky surface. Embroider the design then wash the towel.

Second choice: If time is not on your side (and it’s not normally on my side!), then use a combination of stabilizers. Adhesive tear-away in the hoop and a low-tack, iron-on, tear-away such as Sulky’s Totally Stable, adhered to the wrong side of the design area. Totally Stable protects the towel from the sticky, hooped stabilizer. Embroider the design, separate the towel from the sticky stabilizer and peel away the Totally Stable.

Third Choice: Hoop tear-away stabilizer and insert the metal frame of Magna-Hoop Jumbo in the hoop. Place the towel over the hooped stabilizer, place the acrylic frame over the towel and snap the magnets into the slots. The strong magnets of Magna-Hoop Jumbo firmly grip thick, terry cloth towels.

Top all embroidery on terry cloth with water soluble stabilizer. It adds lift to the stitches and keeps the loops from getting tangled on the embroidery foot.

3. Stitch designs that have been created for lofty fabrics. What does that mean? Generous underlay (often double the normal amount) permanently holds down the nap of terry cloth long after the water soluble topper has been washed away. You’ll be happy with the results.  Monograms and designs that are stitched with wide satin columns with generous underlay will stand the test of time and use.

4. Use a template to ensure the entire set matches. I use the towel templates from The Perfect Towel Kit or The Perfect Placement Kit every time I stitch a towel. Since I developed those templates, I’ve never had to buy extra towels just get six to match!

On the prior posting, I learned so much about why you read this blog. Thank you for your comments – they really guide me when I’m creating content! This week, I’m going to dig a little further. Please tell me your favorite Designs in Machine Embroidery project. Your voice matters – and I want to know what projects were hits or misses! Leave your thoughts and you’ll get a chance to win a Mini-Perfect Placement Towel Kit and a set of three holiday towels!

Our last blog discussion topic was why you read this blog.  Our lucky winner of the Designer Necklines is Mary Gordon.  She said…

“I enjoy your blogs and the quite frequently accompanying videos because they are so informative. Through both, I have learned a lot about placement, how-to’s (like placement advantages – no matter what size hoop you have), how to set the project up for the best effect and outcome. Your tutorials definitely get me thinking outside of the box and ending with an “I can do this” feeling and attitude. I have also “learned” how to do things as a project I might not otherwise have thought of or taken on in the first place. Keep up the good work – you definitely have a fan here and I read and view everything that has your name associated with it.   Mary”

Congratulations, Mary!

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  • Enis

    I totally love DIME. Its my favorite embroidery magazine and will continue to resubscribe for years to come. I also love just about every single project, but I think my all time favority is the Ladonna Tablecloth found in Volume 61. Its so beautiful and elegant. And, I also loved the Young At Heart vest in the same issue with designs by Urban Threads. Keep the wonderful projects and great tips and advice coming!

  • Shirley R

    I am a new Designs subscriber as of the May-June issue, so I don’t have a long history to draw from, but I really like to make useful, smaller projects for family and friends as little surprises, as well as projects for hostess gifts. My favorite project so far has been the Embroidered Towel and Towel Gift Bag in the September-October issue. I was pleased to see the additional information contained in your blog above. With this project, you can include as many, or few, towels as you may choose, depending on the occasion. I can see this project as a “hit” at our annual Christmas Celebration. Thanks for including this great project!

  • thank you so much!!

  • gloriawr

    I do finger tip towels often at Christmas and have not been able to keep the loops from pulling if I use a sticky stabilizer? Is your noted brand the best choice to keep this from happening?

    • eileen

      Hi Gloria
      The only way to protect the terry loops from the sticky stabilizer is to put ‘something’ between the two surfaces. However, that ‘something’ must adhere to the towel. If it doesn’t, the towel will not be secured in the hoop. Totally Stable by Sulky works perfectly for this task. It is the only low-tack, iron-on, tear-away stabilizer that I am familiar with. But there may be others that work splendidly. Just make sure the stabilizer has those three features: low-tack, iron-on and tear-away.

  • Lesley

    This is the best blog about towels I have read, I am right into embroidering towels at the moment as they make great gifts, you can never have to many towels !!!!

  • Susan Spiers

    I enjoyed the video presentaion “Through My Window” from the book by Deborah Jones-Dimensional Machine Embroidery. I was already familiar with printing on inkjet paper, but adding machine embroidery to it is a great idea! Not just that, but adding machine embroidery on vinyl is really a unique construction when added to the embroidered inkjet fabric. This leads me to more ideas for this use! An apron, placemats, a childs bib, etc. What wonderful ideas & something very different. Keep those demenstration videos coming!!

  • Sue Anderson

    My favorite project from you so far was the monogramed night light that you taught at the San Antonio class last month. I also like all of the ideas for towels. I plan to make holiday finger tip towels as gifts. Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Judy Brennan

    Love your perfect placement templates. Got many when you were in KS. Great job. Makes it easy to find the just right place to put the monogram or picture. How did I ever get along without them!!

  • Cindy Davies

    I’m not clear on what a designs “mag” project is, but I really enjoy stitching lace in the hoop. Especially those in which you add a little material such as holiday ornaments. Thanks for your instruction. I have learned a lot.

    • Amanda

      Hi Cindy, we’ve modified the post to make a bit more sense.

      “Please tell me your favorite Designs in Machine Embroidery project.”

  • Darrellyn

    If I had to narrow it down to one favorite project it would be from the Vol. 53. Christmas Stockings. I really wanted special Christmas Stockings for my kids. Everything in the stores is so commercialized and if you want something personalized, well, grab your liquid glue and through some glitter on it. I really appreciated all of the design ideas for the Christmas Stockings, you didn’t leave us to glue and glitter in that issue! And you didn’t leave us to only one style of stocking! I also liked the Mantle Scarf and the personalized tree skirts they are a close tie for second. I like how you take projects and run in different directions, like with the Christmas stockings and give more choices than expected. Thank you for all of your hard work.

  • April

    I loved the article on personalizing Market Totes. I made one for me and one for my daughter’s teacher, which we stuffed with all sorts of goodies at the end of the year to make sure she was stocked for the year ahead. Loved how easy they were to embroider!

    • marie zinno

      Thanks April! Glad you liked the market tote article, they are a great product.

  • Denise

    I can’t wait until I receive my first magazine of Designs in Embroidery!! I am new at this and can use all the help I can get but I am excited about what I can make for gift! I have already done some shirts and towels but definitely could use help in the placement area.

    The embroidery blogs seem to say use the inexpensive towels because they are easier to hoop. When I show them to people they all say that would look great on a plush towel.How do you do that?? Any ideas??

    Thanks, Denise

  • Mary Rowland

    I love machine embroidery and even though I am still a newbie my most resent and most proud project I have done is a monogrammed shirt I did for my 84 year old father for his birthday, he like it so much that it made it cry. I used an anchor design and incorperated his enitial with it. I have never been prouder of a project.

  • Paule-Marie

    I thought the jeans make overs were great. Haven’t done them – call it lack of time with a full time job. Years (many, many of them), I embellished jeans with hand embroidery, then, when I got a Pfaff 1222, I used the decorative stiches (there were a total of 6) to shorten my jeans.

  • Ann Richardson

    Hi Eileen

    I am new to Designs in Machine Embroidery as of this month. I’ve been reading your blogs on the various ideas. I like the one on towels as I have a friend who is getting married at the end of this month and am knitting dish cloths and wanted to do a couple of towels to go with them. Thanks for the ideas!!

    I also like the suggestions for placement of designs on neckline designs. That would be fantastic. When I get paid next that and the towel placement would be the two purchases I plan to make

  • Gena Allen

    I attended your Stitchin’ Sisters event in Kansas City last month and was totally amazed!!! It was the best workshop I have attended. Not only did you provide us with an overwhelming amount of info, but you had it broke down for us with each project so it was as overwhelming. I also enjoyed they way you presented each of the projects and if someone in the class had already done or had it with them, you showed the whole class so we could see different ideas. Both of you were great about walking around to see if any of us needed help!
    I have been embroidering on towels, both bath and kitchen for several years. I especially am proud of the baby hooded bath towels I personalize after a baby has arrived, but your burp rag is even better. I came home and went right to the store to buy some diapers so I could play with the designs, showed one to some of my friends and have now sold almost a dozen! It is a great baby shower gift or if you give it after the baby is born, you can personalize it with the name right above the first line.
    Hope you come back to Kansas soon!
    Thanks again for such a great event!!!
    Gena Allen

  • Mary Heil

    I’m a new subscriber and haven’t even received the first issue yet. After reading all these posts, I can’t wait. There is so much to learn and it sounds like there will be something useful and/or fun in every issue.

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