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Embroidery Tips & Techniques

10 Household Tools for the Machine Embroiderer Part 2

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

10 Household Tools for the Machine Embroiderer Part 2

We received such a positive response from my recent blog: 12 Household Tools for the Machine Embroiderer that I decided to revisit this subject.

  1. JoAnn Connolly of Garden of Daisies Embroidery thinks craft foam and a cardboard carton are great reusable items to keep your hoops clean when using temporary spray adhesive. To get a custom fit, use your inner hoop as a template. Trace around the inside edge and cut the foam ¼” smaller than the traced line. Leave the foam “whole” so that it will cover the entire hoop when spraying.

    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog - Garden of Daisies Embroidery
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
    Place the hoop in the bottom of a deep carton. Place the foam over it before spraying. Pull the carton’s “flaps” in a bit, if possible when spraying, to contain the overspray. Make one for each hoop.

  2. Toilet brush – What’s a toilet brush doing in your sewing room? Scooping up threads from carpeting. When a pristine toilet brush is swept across the carpeting, the bristles easily grab all threads and even pins. Stash it under your sewing desk so a family member doesn’t use it for its original jobEileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  3. Rubber mallet –  A rubber mallet lets you apply force to grommets, snaps, rivets and the like without damaging the metal parts. Keep it handy in your sewing room.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  4. Needle nose and flat jaw welding pliers. Needle nose pliers are great for turning small items. I used them all the time when turning tabs for one of my Designer Handbags.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
    Welding pliers have a 3 ½” wide flat jaw that firmly grasps the corner of a stiffly-interfaced handbag. I don’t have to worry about damaging the fabric by stressing a small area like the needle nose pliers.
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  5. Toothpick. A toothpick is ideal for sewing on buttons by machine. Just place the button over the toothpick to create a ‘thread shank’ when using the button foot and the zigzag stitch with no stitch length.
  6. Lisa Archer from Pickle Pie Designs loves to use Scotch tape for their In the Hoop designs. It’s great for holding fabrics to your stabilizer while your machine stitches each step of the design.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  7. Rubber mat for hooping and placing under your machine. I like to use the lines on a cutting mat as reference points when hooping but the hoop slips all over the place on the sleek mat. To avoid this, I cut a hole in a rubberized mat so I can view the cutting mat behind it.  Make one for each of your hoops – you’ll be glad you did.
  8. Nylon cord: a cone of nylon cord is handy when creating ruffles. I like to zigzag (or couch) over the cord when creating long ruffled strips. Just make sure you don’t stitch on the cord.  The nylon glides through the stitches when the cord is pulled on one end.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  9. Baker’s Cooling Rack: after stitching lace on water soluble stabilizer, I rinse the lace and place it on a baker’s cooling rack. The air circulates around the lace and speeds the drying process.

  10. Starch – the original stabilizer. Don’t overlook the power of starch when preparing fabrics for embroidery. Soft, supple cottons and linens benefit from a generous spray of starch before adding additional stabilizers for hooping.

This week’s assignment:

We love monograms because you can immediately transform the look of a plain, ordinary blank with embroidered initials, cute words or phrases.  Just like fabric (and chocolate!) you can never have too many monogram designs in your stash to fit the occasion and the type of blank you want to embroider.  That’s why we are thrilled to offer this week’s contest.

Stop by the Embroidery Arts website, peruse the exquisite designs and tell us which monogram style is your favorite and what you would stitch using the designs.  THREE random winners will be drawn among all the comments posted on the blog to win a Coupon Code valued at $39.95.  You’ll be able to buy a complete monogram set!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog - Embroidery Arts Promo

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the question:

We’ve all heard the phrase, “it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread!”  What is your favorite feature on your embroidery machine and why?”

One random winner will be chosen to win a 1 year subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidery!

The winner is… Barbara!
“Wow!  It’s hard to say — my Brother Duetta does so many things to make embroidery fun, but the memory features (returning to the design after shutoff and stitch count) are the ones that help me most often.  Then there are the placement tools, the jump stitch cutter, the bobbin thread alert system — gosh, looks like I really CAN’T limit myself to one!”

Mark your calendar!
Episode 109 of It’s Sew Easy will begin airing on May 25 at noon. Eileen Roche begins the show with a flower design featuring embroidery for an exclusive fashion statement. Then, Tricia Waddell and Katrina Loving demonstrate a reverse appliqué technique as an apparel detail. Lastly, Linda Augsburg shows how to make over a favorite t-shirt into a bag, tote, or messenger.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

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  • Mary Catherine Black

    I love the Aberesque Style as this is a favorite design of mine that I woul use for Linens, hankerchiefs and collars. It is very old english looking and a style that I love

  • Angi

    Love thr ideas

  • Karen Poole

    My favorite monagram from the mentioned web site is the candlewicking one! I LOVE candlewicking, it is fancy looking, somewhat old worldly, and you can still tell what letter you are using!

  • Baye

    I love Moderne! I’m doing some kid’s quilts and like that the letters are simple for doing an alphabet.

  • Bonnie Gray

    I like Moderne Monogram Set 3. Embroidery Arts does great work. When I first started machine embroidery, I didn’t have software and wanted to do our business logo on shirts for my husband. I found Embroidery Arts thru an ad probably in Designs magazine, sent them the logo and they digitized it for me. I am still using it!

  • Pam J.

    My favorite would have to be GOTHIC 5, i would use this to embroider towels for family and friends!

  • gayle Hill

    I love the Moderne 1, I would use this one a lot. The tool tips are great too.

  • pat baker

    Love the candlewick monogram, would use it on many things, like pillowcases and clothing

  • Gail Beam

    My favorite is the number 1 Applique monogram set. It would be so great for beach towels, totes, and sweatshirts. The applique aspect enables one to change the fabric and the look of the letters.

  • Kathy Martin

    I like the Arabesque Set 12. I think it would look great on a set of pillowcases!

  • Linda Coleman

    The Celtic Monogram is my favourite

    • Linda Coleman

      Sorry, forgot to put what I’d use it for. I would use it for placemats

  • Martine

    I love the Cutwork monogram sets, both set 1 and the XL. The XL would be nice on pillow slips, the smaller one for placemats.

  • le floch, anne

    I Like the arabesque 5 monogram. Might use it for the tablecoth I’m designing especially for the inauguration of our three-season porch!

  • karen

    I love the cutwork XL. it is so elegant.

  • Janet White

    I love the Teen and the Teen XL Applique. They can be stitched in the current trendy bright punchy colors. I plan to use them on my daughters quilted backpack and lunch box. Fun! Fun! Fun!

  • Rosalee

    Great tips, thanks “sew” very much!

  • Margaret Brantley

    I like Arabesque 8 and would use it on bed linens. Thanks for the great tips.

  • Joanna Mackintosh

    Wow, such gorgeous designs…..the romantic in me would go for Art Nouveau Monogram Set 1 ‘cos it’s just so pretty; the calligrapher in me (it is one of my many hobbies) would love Gothic Monogram Set 14 but the Mackintosh in me (my surname) leans me towards Arts and Crafts Monogram Set 1 as it’s in the style of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and I love it.

    As for uses, I regularly embroider polo shirts for my husband and I to wear while we’re riding our GoldWing so our names in the Mackintosh style under an image of our motorbike would be perfect.

  • Rhonda G

    I love the Lace 1 monogram style. Thanks for the great tips too.

  • Kathy M.

    I do a lot of monogrammed bath towels for wedding gifts for friends. When asked their preference, most choose Empire or something scrolly like that.
    For me personally, my favorite font is the Art Nouveau set #3. I just love the way that comes out on everything. I’ve done baby blankets, towels and hankies with that font! Love it!

  • Karen

    I like many of them, I think Cutwork 1 is a favorite. I would use on linens.

    • Your meals always look so good! I've never had brunswick stew before, but it looks great. It seems like a very thick stew. I think I would use the leftovers on a sandwich. 🙂

  • Rosalyn

    I like a number of the monograms, but the one I think I would use the most is Art Nouveau #3. This could be used on many different projects.

  • Sharon Aiken

    I love the Cutwork XL. I would use it for pillow shams.

  • Donna

    Hard to limit myself to one because as you said you can never have enough monograms. But if I have too, my favorite would be the Circle 4. I liked the multiple colors and that you could use it with bright colors for children’s items or kitchen towels, or more monotone for napkins, hankies, etc. I think it would look great with a little sparkle to it for christmas towels or banners as well.

  • Whitney H

    I love Circle set 6! I would make a bunch of monogrammed linens for our new home!

  • Carol Seavitt

    So many choices! The Diamond Monogram Set 3 has so many possibilities — shirts, large and small napkins, purses … love it.

  • Deb

    I like the Candlewick font for it’s timeless beauty. I’d use it for pillowcases & pockets.

  • carol

    I’d do tween for weddings- I have several coming up and I see some beautiful towels– or even a ring bearer pillow. I also love yoga. But I’d do it on dancewear.

  • Susan Wilson

    I especially like the Romanesque 1 design, and I believe it will be lovely on a set of nice bath towels.

  • Jamie Honley

    Hi All,
    I just love, love the arabesque7 XL, I would use this design on anything I could get my hands on, from towels, to bed linen. I think it would look beautiful on just about anything. Thank you also for all of the interesting information!!

  • Kathy

    I couldn’t believe all the different monograms. I especially like the Romanesque monopgram. I love to monogram pillowcase and this would be great on the border.

  • Terry

    I’ve been looking for a suitable monogram for a pair of beach towels for a soon-to-be wed couple going on a honeymoon to the Caribbean and love Embroidery Arts’ Diamond Monogram Set 5 for this purpose! This will be a great shower gift for them! Thanks for leading me there.

  • Cindy McCord

    Hi Eileen. Congrats on your wedding!! I really like the Arabesque XL Monogram. These would look great on napkins.

    • eileenroche

      Thanks Cindy! Hope you’re doing well.

  • Anne Rita

    I love the Arabesque XL and I think it would be great on a scarf. Great Christmas gift!

  • Gloria

    I think that the Arabesque would be beautiful monogramed on a handbag.

    • Buck

      pour les pâtes au citron j&;am#3i9e tellement la recette de Ducasse avec une crème parmesan citron que je ne fais que celle ci; je devrais en tenter une autre comme celle ci mais je n'y arrive pas…je suis addict

  • Liese

    I like the Moderne 4 set – the letters are clean and readable, and will work very well on some of the retro-type embroideries I have been creating.

  • susan w.

    Great timing… I am going to start the designer bag this week..
    I love your fonts.

  • Richelle

    I love all the Moderne styles.

  • Cathy Chalk

    You forgot about doorstops. When I am sewing, not embroidering, I put door stops behind the machine to raise it up just enough that I am not straining my back. This works great at retreats when the tables are not as ergonomic at what I have at home.

  • Janet

    I like the Teen and Teen XL Applique’. I would use for making Key Fobs, towels, purses and many other things. I love alpha’s of all kinds. Thanks,

  • Deb Ervin

    Wow those are some great ideas!!!!

  • Kellieann Austin

    I would choose Varsity. I have a 2 boys on high school sports and how cool to be able to make quilt with those letters. names, school name. could even be for college!

  • Angeles

    Diamond 3 is my favorite. It is very unique in design and it will look beautiful on decorative pillows and bath towels.

  • peg small

    Love my disney machine!

  • Sue

    Arabesque 8 was ONE of my favorites – liked so many of them it was hard to choose. I would probably use it to embellish pillows I am making to match the Double-Wedding Ring quilt I just sent off to the LAQ’s for quilting.

  • Lisa C

    Moderne Monogram Set 3 would be perfect for linens, towels, travel accessories… I could go on and on about this versatile style.

    • The Gaur incident is occurred when the Maoists has already joined the interim parliament and they are about to join the interim government. Those killed in the incidents are young cadres of the Maoist Young Communist League (YCL) which is formed by the Maoists as a tool to confront other parties during the constituent assembly election.

  • Paula Roney

    I love Modern 2. It’s very chic – not to fussy but it has great style.

  • Debbie Collins

    I like the Oval set 2. I’d use it on purses, towels, pillow cases. Very nice!

  • Nancy M

    I like the applique 2. Would be great for Kid’s stuff!

  • Patricia Thomas

    I always like to repurpose items if possible. That’s why having strips of stabilized left over after embroidering makes me feel like I am wasting perfectly good stabilizer. Therefore, I take an empty spool from a lint roller and wrap strips of discarded stabilizer around the spool and use it as a lint roller to pick up thread pieces from furniture, clothing, and carpeting. This serves two purposes – stabilizer doesn’t get wasted and it keeps the peace with my husband when thread clippings get out of control.

  • Colleen Bell

    Wow! So many monogram fonts and they are all so gorgeous. it was so hard to decide. I have always loved calligraphy and flourishes, so the Arabesque 3 would be my favorite. I can see it on on so many things. Thank you for sharing this website with us. It was a great find.

    • Colleen Bell

      Sorry. Specifically, I would like to put this monogram on our napkins and then a pillow for our bedroom. We have never had anything monogramed, so this is so exciting.

  • Terrie Pagel

    I simply can’t choose just one! There is no limit to using any monogram font. You can use them on anything your mind can imagine. I wish I had time and money to create all the things my mind can come up with when I shop for monograms and designs.

  • Helen Dyckson

    I think all the tools are wonderful. especially the foam blocks for your hoops. It prevents a real sticky mess.

  • Judith Frangella

    I really like the twigs they are so whimsical. Since I live in upstate New York I would incorporate them into an Adirondack quilt.

  • Ruth Robinson

    I like the Alphabet monogram set. I have a new GREAT Grandson and see many things I could use that on for him!!

  • Dee

    Couldn’t limit it to just one – Love the Five & Dime – simple yet beautiful – and also Cutwork 1 – elegant!

  • Penny Kitzmiller

    I love the cutwork XL and would use it on tablecloths.

  • Sandy waters

    I like the Teen XL Applique. I would use it on towels, pillowcases, maybe purses. It is a fund design and can be changed around with different material.

  • Barbara Rowlan Wong

    I love each mongram I’ve ordered from them. Stitch out beautifully. I’m in the process of making outdoor pillows and I think Circle XL would be my next choice. I especially enjoy the section on monograms in the movies and today I discovered they’ve added a new one since I last visited. Such a neat site.

    Also wanted to thank you for the tips. My favorite is the foam creations to prevent overspray. It will save me a lot of time. Thanks!!!

  • Rosalee Suchsland

    I love the Moderne pattern! I am pretty new and inexperienced with embroidery–I would love to try the best!

  • Lawana Whaley

    love the cutwork 1 designs… can see me doing those on my vintage styled work

  • Connie

    All of them, I want all of them!

  • Pam


  • Cecilia

    I like the Teen and Teen XL. I have 3 young granddaughters and think this would be great to use for them when they are older.

  • Cindy McCarty

    I loved this list of basic household items for the embroidery machine. The new ones for me would be the craft foam and cardboard to keep my hoops clean. Wow! When I started out with embroidery, I just got that spray all over the place. I also loved the scotch tape for holding things in the hoop and then the toilet brush for picking up threads? I love it, not that I would have threads all over the floor in my sewing room! ;^D

  • Betty Nebe

    I love Five and Dime. It displays well when used on the back of shirts. I am constantly asked to embroider sport shirts for various team competitions.

  • Cindi Dier

    I like the Diamond XL Applique … love putting this on little girl dresses and tops in bright fabric colors … in fact, putting it on my Grands’ swim coverups this week 🙂

  • Sue Duisenberg

    Teen monogram would be my choice. my granddaughters would love that one

  • Beth R

    I love the Avant Garde Monogram set 1 – I would make some table linens to use on special occasions.

  • Louise Moon

    I love the cutwork monogram. I’d love to make a summer tunic of white or icy pastel color with my initial L in cutwork as a trim on the tunic. I think the design could be run one up, one down, for a border at the bottom or one L and one R for a trim down the front, or it could be put on a top with a large ruffled collar on like a peasant top and the design could be on the collar running it different directions for the fun of it.
    Louise, MI

  • Peg Schmidt

    I find it more and more difficult to make decisions as I get older and I do find I am getting needier!! LOL I love and need all of them for they each are unique.

  • Tammie Wallace

    I think the Arabesque style is my favorite. I really like all of the swirls. I am fairly new to embroidery and would like to try embroidering on some towels.

  • Susanna

    My favorite is Cutwork 1. It’s just so delicate.

  • Carrie Burzan

    I really love the Arabesque 9 design. I would use the letter C to monogram and top that has a spot on the left side (must have dribbled coffee) –

  • Deb Bremer

    My Fav is Art Nouveau 3 and would make everyone in my family monogramed towels for the pool. Maybe this way when my grandkids came ovder they would pick them up off the floor! LOL! At least I would have good looking towels to pick up if not!

  • Enis

    I love the Candlewick alpha. So beautiful and delicate.

  • gratissex

    ur site is much useful to me! I will say thanks u very much to posting this awesome info!

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