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Alignment and Placement Embroidery Tips & Techniques

Blog Tour Finale

Wow – what a fun two weeks! We’ve given away a dozen books over the past two weeks and have received tons of comments and questions. My hat is off to all of our blog tour participants. Here’s a look at the stops:


Hoop Sisters


Think Crafts


Indygo Junction


Hope Yoder




Riley Blake


Machine Embroidery
& Digitizing


Nancy Zieman


Sealed With A Stitch

I hope you make these blogs part of your weekly web visits. I know I’m always on the lookout for inspiring ideas and fun techniques and I’m sure you’ll find them on these great bloggers.

I loved learning what embroidery tasks you find the most challenging. It seems placement and stabilizers top the list of troublesome duties. And I’ve struggled in those areas too. In fact, that’s why we invented the Perfect Placement Kit because 10 years ago, I didn’t have a clue on where to place an embroidery design on a garment! Under the guidance of Deborah Jones, we selected 15 items that embroiderers commonly decorate – shirts, linens and home accessories.

Perfect Placement Kit

Then we made templates of the items – a clear plastic template of a napkin corner for instance. The napkin corner template is universal and will work on ANY napkin! I just place the template on the napkin according to the guidelines printed on the template, then insert a Target Sticker into the hole. To be honest, it still amazes me how perfect every set of napkins comes out because I remember it like yesterday when my ‘yuck’ pile was higher than my good-to-go pile!

Perfect Placement Template

As far as stabilizer, there are so many products and brands available, it is confusing! I still get confused and I wish you could buy stabilizer like you can buy fabric using the touch and feel test. I shared this with one of Hope Yoder’s blog readers:

Always approach an embroidery project with common sense. Knit fabrics are unstable – they stretch! So control them with a cut-away which is a sturdy, strong and permanent material. Woven fabrics are more stable and tear-away stabilizer is sufficient. Tear-away comes in different weights and some rip cleanly while others leave a ‘fibery’ edge.

Sheer fabrics require stabilizer that can be permanently removed by water or heat, fiber content will tell you what direction to take.

Big, bulky impossible to hoop items need a stabilizer that will hold them under the needle – think adhesives here. You can turn any stabilizer into an adhesive by using temporary spray adhesive. Don’t be overwhelmed, use common sense and know that there are no stabilizer police. If it worked for you, then it’s fine.

I’ll share more information on placement and stabilizers in upcoming posts but for now – I have a mountain of sewing to tackle! Tell me what was your favorite project in 2012 that you created and you could win the final giveaway of Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Steps.

I have a Valentine’s Day gift from my friends at Craftsy. Click here to receive special pricing on all Craftsy classes.

Here is your assignment for this week:

Tell me what was your favorite project you created in 2012 and you could win an autographed copy of Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Steps and the Sew with Nancy DVD.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Tell us what Valentine’s Day projects you have in the works. One lucky winner will win a $25.00 shopping spree to!

And the winner is… “I’ve been making ITH Valentine heart coin bags for my grandchildren.” – Merron Kay S.

Congratulations Merron Kay. I’m sure they will love them!

Related posts:




  • Susan Wilson

    My favorite project in 2012 was making end of the year gifts for my grandson’s daycare classmates. The school’s mascot is a Wolf, and I appliqued a wolf paw print and embroidered the name of their school underneath. Everything was done in the school’s colors. I thoroughly enjoyed making them, and the applique using my embroidery machine was a breeze.

  • Vicki L

    My favorite project for 2012 was a Christmas stocking I embroidered for my first grandchild! He was born on December 16th. I had the stocking ready, embroidered his name and birth date on it with a cute reindeer. My daughter took pictures of him in the stocking and used those pictures for her Christmas cards.

  • Peggy Schroeder

    I am having a hard time deciding which is the favorite project. There were some that when I finished, I thought they looked great and were fun, but I guess it would be the blankets I did for my grandkids for Christmas. I put their names on throws, one side was faux sherling, and the other was a faux suede. They were very difficult to do, as they were large, heavy, and worst of all, SLIPPERY! But the reason they were the favorites was the look on their faces when they opened them! They all liked them, and it made all the frustation worth it. I hope to find something just a
    little bit easier to embroider on for them this year!

  • Donna Street

    I really enjoyed putting apple and pear appliques on the blank blocks of a quilt that I made, using my embroidery machine to do the machine applique. It was my best project of 2012.

  • Carol Jenks

    My favorite embroidery project for 2012 was a pair of cowgirl boots for my first great granddaughter. They were super fun to make from the embroidery to sewing them together. She is definitely going to be a cowgirl, no doubt about it, as her mother is a horsewoman.

  • usairdoll

    My favorite embroidery project was a snowman quilt.

    Thank you for a neat giveaway and a chance to win.


  • Gail Beam

    My favorite projects were the swimbags that I made for my grandchildren.

  • Karen Frank

    My favorite project was a kleenex case with all enclosed seams by 5 Star Fonts. I made many, along with credit card cases, large sunglass cases, etc. I donated all that I made to our church to raise money for our church roof fund. I had so much fun making them all!

  • Linda Burwick

    My favorite embroidery project(s) were fleece baby blankets for my new granddaughter and great niece. I embroidered their first names, using a fancy floral first letter and plain script for the rest of the name. I then appliqued a heart, large enough to surround the lettering, on the back. The applique covered the back of the embroidery stitching so it would be soft against the babies’ skin. They were really nice when finished.

  • Berenice

    I made 150 FSL crosses & horses that we tied my daughter’s business card to for her to hand out at her youth organization’s state convention in Florida & Tennessee. Crosses because she will be escorting and giving a tribute to the Christian Flag at our convention here in California, horses because the state mascot are mustangs. I had never made a single FSL item until I started these. I must have crowed when the first one came out perfect! (I framed that one!!) Now I have to finish another 150 for the Cali girls!!

    • Clem

      where did you get the fsl horses? my 5 year old grand daughter is into horses and this would be a great zipper pull for her… thank you

  • Bonnie

    My favorite project was an ITH clutch. I have been making them for my friends birthdays.

  • Laurie

    I made two ring bearer pillows for my two nephews weddings I made the first pillow with embroidered flowers. In the colors of the girls dresses. I embroidered the flowers in brown and gold organza and the pillow was a beige silk dupion. The second pillow I made was white silk dupion with white organza flowers. I had so much fun making the flowers on my embroidery machine using the large hoop 71/2 x 11 1/2 . The flowers took no time at all to make. The brides really like them too!

  • Becky

    My favorite thing to make this year, so far, is a fairly simple tote bag. A few weeks ago I was in the fabric store and noticed a young mother with her little girl. The little girl had on a pair of cotton batik pants that were red with deeper red hearts on them. Since I like batik fabric I just had to comment on her pretty pair of pants. Her mother told me that the little girl ( eight years old) had made them herself and in fact just finished them earlier in the day. The little girl beamed when I praised her on her accomplishment and the fact that she was learning to sew. Her mother told me that she was taking a sewing class and that her next project was a green blouse. Since I do some machine embroidery I decided to surprise her with a tote bag to carry her sewing in. I made her a red quilted tote bag with her name on one side and a huge spool of thread on the other side and got a piece of the same red heart batik fabric and made the lining. A week later when I contacted her mother and asked to meet at the fabric store the little girl was delighted. I told her mother that it was wonderful that she was encouraging her daughter to learn to sew and that hopefully I helped to reinforce that encouragement to sew and learn a lifetime of happiness and skill that was productive; so the simple red quilted tote with the heart batik lining is my favorite. Thanks for a chance to win. I love all embroidery and sewing educational material.

  • debbie

    Everything that I make and finish is given away, so I think my favorite embroidery project is a little purse that I made and finished for me. It is just big enough for my wallet and keys. I used an applique design on the flap and downsized it and didn’t use the applique portion of the design for the corners. It’s something I use and enjoy every day.

  • Pam M

    So hard to choose – the towels, the dwarf hats, the cover of the Prep school’s Guinea Pig Journal, the embellishment on Mum’s shirt – but I think my favourite was putting personalised names on some very cheap Christmas stockings as a favour for a friend who was taking two box-loads of donated reading books to children at a disadvantaged school in the Seychelles. Although the stockings were poor quality (and rather garish for my taste) the names gave them some real zing and character. They looked great. As a bonus, I was able to play in my software creating the names; taking the time to find fonts that suited this name or that. Great fun! And the recipients loved them, apparently.

  • gayle

    I made in the hoop gift bags for all my family out of my Christmas stash. On a cream homespun I embroidered a Christmas redwork design and the persons name and the year 2012. I then stitched the square onto the giftbag with large running stitch and then fringed the edges. They looked so gorgeous.

  • Cheryl

    I had two favorite projects in 2012. First, I made decorations for my grandson’s Eagle ceremony: red, white, and blue ribbons with the twelve Scout laws embroidered on both sides of them and a banner embroidered with pen-and-ink eagle sketches. I also did a custom sweatshirt for my granddaughter who is a gymnast. She gave me a list of words and phrases that had special meaning to her as part of her training. I used a cute font and embroidered them all over the shirt in a random pattern. Both projects were easy and fun and had a lot of meaning both to the kids and to me.

  • Pam

    My favorite project was creating a table runner using the circular attachment on my machine. I then used the technique to teach others how to use the attachment on their machines. It was great to see how others loved learning something new.

  • Wendy Stocum

    I have two favorites because they ended up being so special to the people who received them. I made my daughter her own “Princess Elizabeth” sheets with all the Disney Princesses embroidered along the top and she gets upset when I have to wash them. The other was a monogrammed sweatshirt for my mom who also has a embroidery machine but does not make much for herself. It was great to give gifts that I made and watch them be enjoyed so much.

  • Chris V.

    I think the project I liked most in 2012, that I completed, was the Snowflakes for Sandy Hook. They were all free standing lace and ready to hang. I just felt like I helped a little.

  • Jo-Ann Sutherland

    My most favorite project for 2012 was making my self 2 pairs of pajama bottoms .I never make my self anything and I have enjoyed wearing them 🙂

  • Rosalyn

    My favorite project is the one that I just finished. There have been many, from sweatshirts for a group of youth I work with, pillowcases with applique on them, T-shirts for Grandchildren and burb clothes. Always looking forward to the next project.

  • Betsy

    My favorite project last year was a baby quilt with embroidered alphabet squares. I had never made a quilt with embroidery on it.It was on my to-do list for quite a while and I was so pleased with the final results.

  • Michelle H

    My favorite projects last year were the only 2 I actually completed! LOL They were tote bags for my granddaughter’s American Girl dolls that also had a sleeping bag for the doll in them. I am a newby at embroidery so I would love to win this book so I could learn more

  • Clem

    My favorite projects were the sweatshirt hoodies I did for my grandson and granddaughter. My 3yr old grandson loves vehicles of any kind so I embroidered his hoody with a car on the back and a small one on the front shoulder, and my 5yr old granddaughter is into horses so I did a cute horse on the back and a horse head on the front shoulder. They loved them.

  • Linda

    My favorite gift(s) that I made were the appliqued personalized totes filled with matching tissue covers and zipper bags for my sewing sisters.

  • Sherrie Lilly

    My favorite project in 2012 was the Hoopsisters mystery quilt this summer. I made it in colors that my husband likes with the intent that it would be for him. He covers up with it when he is watching tv but the puppy growls at him ( I think the puppy thinks the quilts is his).

  • Patty Schrock

    My favorite project for 2012 was Baby samplers for my two newest Grand babies and a “catchup” one for my 5 year old Granddaughter! She asked for one when she saw her new little brother’s. I didn’t have my machine when she was born! We had to make one with a princess theme. She is my little imitator because she wants to sew like Grammy Patty!!!

  • Anne Marie Reilly

    My favorite project was a traditional fleece baby blanket that had very cute baby animals on it accompanied by a burp cloth that featured a cute monster. Monsters were the theme of the baby shower as well as the nursery for the new baby.

  • Carol Seavitt

    Making PupPets. They are a cute toy for dogs or kids!

  • Beth R

    I love doing FSL suncatchers – but then, FSL ornaments and doilies are not far behind!

  • Agnes B. Bullock

    Knights of Columbus wallhangings for my husband and the priests at our parish in Ohio, and the Catholic prayers wallhangings that I made for the priests

  • Shirley

    My favorite was making in-the-hoop embroidered Christmas ornaments out of felt. I enclosed one in each Christmas card I sent. The felt was economical and on sale, as well as the craft felt squares, so I had a lot of colors to work with for the background. I also bought some really nice in-the-hoop designs from Embroidery Library on sale, so the end result was not only inexpensive, but I felt like a kid with a new giant box of crayons and coloring book, LOL!

  • Mary Haggenmaker

    My daughter is a reachers aide at a school in Southern Maryland. The school was designated as a Blue Ribbon School for 2012 by the. U.S. Department of Education They were given permission to make copies of the logo that declares this so they printed out copies of the logo and put them all around the school. My daughter thought it would be nice if they had a special one on the podium in the place they use for meetings, My daughter asked me if I could make the school an embroidered logo. Well I digitized the logo and the stitchout was 13 x 13 inches. She sewed the logo on to a large piece.of fabric and attached it to the podium with velcro, The school principal was thrilled and I received a lovely thank you note.

  • Linda W

    My favorite project for 2012 was a Halloween activity book for my granddaughter.

  • Karen

    I did a set of monthly towel toppers, bath towels and sheets as a wedding gift.

  • Jo

    My favorite project was a frog cuddle blankie. It turned out really cute. it’s only about 30″ x 20″ and the toddler I made it for can drag it around every where and loves it. The cutie frog face from Embroidery Library looked really cute.

  • Veronica Boseman

    EVERYTHING! was my favorite. Can’t embroidery just one. 😉

  • Donna N.

    Lots of bibs, burp cloths and onsies for my newest grandson.

  • Judy Wentz

    I so enjoyed making 30 FSL Christmas angels for my family and close friends. I also finished embroidering the Hoop Sisters’s Goose Chase.

  • Lynn

    My favorite project was digitizing a snowflake ornament for the children of Newtown and offering it for free to all embroiderers.

  • Cecilia

    My favorite project was the queen size Turning Twenty quilt made with batiks and quilted on my home machine. It was made for my oldest daughter. I embroidered the label so that it would last a long time. Thank you, I’ve enjoyed the book hop.

  • Patty Sack

    I did the jacket back on a jeans jacket. I stenciled a wreath frame on it and then decorated it with embroidered flowers – both directly on the jacket and some that were embroidered freestanding and tacked on so their was dimension. Loved it!

  • NancyS

    I made 100% linen kitchen towels as Christmas gifts and embroidered each one with a different design that matched each individual’s personality. It was so much fun, and one size fits all!

  • Doreen

    My favorite project for 2012 was In The Hoop gingerbread people & snow people that I made for Christmas. They came out so cute! I also learned that in the hoop does not necessarily mean quick! Though I did follow instructions and stuffed them with small amounts of fill at one time. Normally I just cram it in because I want to be done with it. There was a noticeable difference and I will try and maintain my patience with stuffing in the future.

  • Brenda Conolly

    My favourite project last year was my daughter’s wedding dress. I digitized three-dimensional flowers which were then placed on the off-the-shoulder sleeves and at the waist. I also used some free-standing lace flowers and leaves. She looked absolutely stunning as she walked up the aisle on the arm of her father.

  • sue

    My favorite 2012 projects included embroidering ‘fairy bear’ blocks for a baby quilt for my niece who is having her first baby, making free standing lace angel ornaments for friendsand family members for Christmas, making cosmetic/toiletry bags for women in rehab suffering from PTSD, embroidering bibs and tooth fairy pillows for my cousin’s baby and babies in my husband’s office… guess it’s hard to pick JUST ONE favorite project! 🙂

  • Darlene Hanson

    My favorite 2012 project is a baby blanket I made for a new nephew. I embroidered 7 squares in a pirate – like theme. (fish playing in a reef, mermaids, jellyfish, islands, and a parrot plus one square that says: a pirate’s life for me). The other squares are printed material with ships sailing by islands. I then put the squares together with 1 inch sashing material that looks like wood planks, and hand-quilted it together with a drunken – sailor’s path to the embroidered treasure chest. The backing is fleece with pirate boys playing. The joy in making it was only surpassed by the joy on their faces when I gave it to them.

  • Dee Dickerson

    My favorite project from 2012 was a teddy Bear I made in the hoop. My daughter now 38 had a babay blanket she carried all the time even to college. It was literally in pieces !! mostly 4 x 5 inches .I had saved these saved in a plastic bag not sure what I was going to do with them. When my grandson was born I took these pieces and made a teddy bear using them for paw pads, belly,ears etc and minkie for the main parts .I am not a sewer but the in the hoop instructions were so easy . When I gave it to her and she realized what I had done , she cried ! Since he will most likely be my only grand child , it is a special gift !

  • Vicki B

    I have to admit my favorite project last year was the purse I made for my sister’s Christmas present, using your Designer Handbags! I love making purses and she said everybody loved her purse.

  • Paula Roney

    2012 was another great year in my sewing room. I think my favorite project was the Stipple Sea Shell quilt I made when my sister, aunt, mom and I had a week long sewing retreat at my sisters. What a great week of sewing, laughing, eating and shopping for new sewing stuff. We all completed a project and still had time for lunch with friends and a road trip to our favorite BabyLock dealer. I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings.

  • Donna G.

    My favorite was a quilt I made for my daughter. It was my first quilt and it turned out nice! Most important, she loved it!

  • LeAnne L

    My favorite was a queen-size French Braid quilt with long rows of designs in the separator columns. I gave it to my sister since my dogs’ toenails would have ruined the embroidery; and as much as I try, the dogs never stay off the bed.

  • Doreen

    My favorite project was converting an all hand stitched bunny felt gift card holder to all machine stitched. I used my fancy built in stitches for all the details. They came out very cute.

  • Carolyn

    I am constantly appliquing ladybugs on the butt of ‘my own dyed’ training pants. Little ones going through the bathroom training process seem to love them.