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Isn’t it amazing what thread can do? 

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Did you see the Crazy Quiltin’ table runner featured on the cover of Designs in Machine Embroidery?  This beautiful project was made using Eileen’s latest book, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine and also a free Floral Embroidery design from Designs in Machine Embroidery.  If you missed out on the free Floral design, you can download it by clicking here.

This afternoon I had the opportunity to stitch additional designs from the Floral designs collection.

First I used a pale blue fabric and then colored using Copic markers.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I stitched another sample.  The look is completely transformed on white with a golden colored thread.  Quite elegant!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I found a light gray fabric next and used red thread.  This sample makes me happy.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Last I stitched the same block on black fabric with a jewel toned thread color.  It was begging for embellishments—so I added some crystals and other accessories.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Isn’t it amazing how changing the thread color and fabric can transform the look of a design?

There are other designs included with this design collection… I combined the border design and a single flower to create this block.  Then I colored elements using Copic markers.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I wondered what would happen if I continued combining, mixing and matching…an original block!  Using embroidery software I merged the Swirl design with the border design to create the block below.


Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

These 5 embroidery designs are free with the purchase of a 1 year subscription for $19.97 (US) or $28.97 (International).  Begin a new subscription or renew your subscription and you can start enjoying the designs.  (Not to mention—you’ll enjoy plenty of inspiration and education in every issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery.)



Here’s your assignment this week: When you get a new embroidery design how do you test it? Change Fabrics? Change Threads? Or both? 4 random names will be drawn and will each receive a $25 gift certificate to BFC Creations!BFC Creations


The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:Who is your favorite advertiser in Designs? One random comment will win a one-year subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine. The winner is: Gina P. – “I love Urban Threads!”




Related posts:




  • Lynette

    I like to try different color threads.

  • Cathy

    I like to test on same type of fabric and color I plan on using to see if I like the colors, of if I need to change them.

  • kathy

    I usually test on the same project and try to match the thread to the coordinating fabric or trim

  • Belinda Germain

    I rarely test a design, i haven’t had a problem yet!, just lucky, I guess! But I usually choose other colors than what is in the design.

  • Ginger

    I sometimes test the design, but usually trust the digitizer! Sometimes I might change colors to match fabrics chosen, but try to go close to what is on the design!

  • Cindy

    I like to use bar mops to try out designs. If all goes well they make a cute and easy hostess or thank you gift. If not, I get to use them!

  • Judy

    I like to try both, change the thread and fabric,

  • Barbara McKenzie

    I do most of my color testing in my software. Then I can fine-tune it on a stitch-out. Sometimes I just trust the software…..

  • Pam

    I use different color threads. I need to get more creative trying materials and emphasing different parts of the design.

  • Shirley Clark

    I never go by color charts. I always pick my own threads to go with whatever I’m putting the design on.

  • Marilyn Kirby

    I test using a fabric similar to what I want to use for a finished project, but switch colors all around. I really like the idea of using bar mops!

  • Jean

    Normally I use different thread colors than the design calls for and often test on black fabric to get the most thread color pop.

    • Denise Holguin

      I’m the same way– black fabric seems to make everything look so striking.


  • Gail Beam

    I usually just trust the digitizer and stitch the design right on the project. I will often use different threads, unless it is a design such as a horse or a dog that requires special colors for the design to stitch out correctly.

  • Jan

    Normally just changing thread colors to suit my taste and project.

  • JudiC

    I adjust the colors in my software to colors I have in my thread collection. I always test a design on a fabric of similiar color & fabric mostly to test my color choices.

  • Le floch, Anne

    I get so excited I use it right away, no testing. I know that’s not good. I was disappointed only once when I used different colors.

  • Dottie

    I don’t usually test a design–too anxious to jump right in and stitch! But seeing all these wonderful variations makes me think that I may need to start.

  • Pauline

    I have learnt the hard way!!! – so now I always test sew a new design not just for accuracy but also as it gives new idea son how to use it

  • Laurene

    Test it on similar fabric but use my own color choices from the threads that I own.

  • Linda Turner

    I usually make something with the design on a piece of fabric that would work for a pillow, a bib, or a part of a garment then I use it for my project if I like it. I have always heard “there are those that test and those that wished they had”! By the way, I loved all the ways you changed out the design with threads and the pen. Very creative and inspiring! Thanks!

  • Kim

    Test it on the same fabric if possible.

  • Donna G.

    I test on the same or similar fabric as the project using different color threads.

  • Bonnie Gray

    I need more time to play. Very informative blog.Thank you.

  • Judy graczyk

    I keep old towels, tees, and a variety of fabric squares in different colors to test out color and the digitizing. I can then change up if the designer’s colors don’t work on the background color I have chosen.

  • Darlene Bares

    The designs i buy i always change thread colors but i need to get more comfortable in taking designs apart and changing them. Really enjoyed this blog.

  • Allen

    I too use old towels and sheets to test on and rarely use the designs recommended colors of fabric or thread.
    Generally my finished projects are done on black fabrics with polyester and/or metallic threads combined. And since I usually make multiples of evey design (to get the most out of the designs cost) I’ll switch up the thread combinations to make each item unique. So far this system has worked well for me and the recipients of the finished projects!

  • Nancy Weber

    I usually do not test designs before using, especially if I know the designer is reputable. Also depends on the item I am embroidering on. And I usually change up the colors to suit me anyway!

  • Pam Carter

    I usually test designs on the fabric I am going to embroider on. Before I embroider, I usually bring up the design in my embroidery software and do color testing there because I can see the design in 3D which gives me a good indication what it will look like embroidered on my fabric. Plus if I really get creative I can take a picture of my fabric and import it into the software to test my color choices!

  • Valerie

    I almost always change the fabrics. And very often change the threads.
    Hadn’t thought of Using markers though.

    • Denise Holguin

      The markers are so much fun. I encourage you to try them sometime.


  • Darlene

    I test on the same type fabric to make sure my stabilization is correct. But then I experiment if I really like the design and hope to use it elsewhere. Different fabrics, different threads, different colors…and morphing in my software!

  • Sandy Roberts

    I almost always choose my own colors, but I may use the colors suggested by the digitizer as the basis for choosing my own. I usually buy designs from digitizers I trust and have rarely had a problem with quality, so I usually test on a fabric I plan to use in a specific project, as well as auditioning the color combinations to be sure I’ll be happy with the finished product.

  • Marti Morgan

    I usually don’t test until I am ready to use the design – which is a problem, because I get the design and may never use it! I do use the suggested colors unless I am making something that I want to coordinate to.

  • Royce Zook

    I only test by using the fabric and colors I intend to use on my project. Likely will never use the same colors as in the original design. The result of the test may induce changes in plans.

  • Donna Klug

    I usually play around with thread colors once I have decided on the fabric. It’s all a creative process. If it’s not workin, I will modify the design or change fabric.
    Isn’t this a fun hobby? It’s great for those of us who are artistically challenged!

  • Rhonda Ekblad

    I test and modify on fabric. Love the designs you come up with.

  • Lola Gerhard

    I like to make samples on the fabric I am going to use. I make 3 or 4 samples changing thread colors to see which looks best on the fabric. Most times, I like the colors or similar colors that the designs list.

  • Sharon R

    I have probably stitched out designs as listed more often than not, but for some really important projects I will often stitch out on the same fabric I’ll use for the project. I have a few go-to designs that I will experiment with, usually changing colors, or going monochrome like your 2nd sample (although never with a gold thread, that looks so elegant!) I like the suggestion to test on bar mops.

    • Denise Holguin

      Hi Sharon,
      I wish I could take credit for thinking of the gold thread! In some previous blog posts about color, several readers suggested gold thread. I couldn’t resist trying it out with these designs! Great suggestions from everyone!


  • Karen

    I have very little time to embroider so if my first one does not work the project many not get done.

  • Carolyn

    I like to try everything on denim with different color threads. I love denim and will eventually make a denim quilt with my samples.

  • Dena

    Well I’m really really new to embroider machines. So I take mine to class and she is teaching us how to use the machine with different projects. I have also gotten some CDs with designs that I’m going to try out as soon as I finish my spare bed room that is going to be my new sewing room. Need a place for that expensive machine!! Can’t wait to do more with my machine!

    • Denise Holguin

      I think you’re going to enjoy using your machine! Have fun!


  • Lex Appel

    If I’m embroidering on an item that someone provided, or is not replaceable, I will test a design on a similar fabric first. I usually pick all my own colors, but reference the original colors.

  • Judy M

    I like to test the planed colors first to see if they work. Then I like to look at alternative fabrics and thread. I think I will try some embellishments now, bases on your post. I have an underused crystal tool that is begging to be released from its box.

  • Sara Redner

    I usually only test if I’m not familiar with the digitizer, so I get right to my project. I always print out the color charts, and I mark any changes on the print-out so I’ll know what I did the next time I use the design, especially if it turned out so well that I want to do another one exactly the same.

  • Debe

    If I’m doing something from a trusted designer & using the fabric & thread similar to the designer, I won’t make a test. If I am changing colors or if the project is important (can’t be duplicated) I will do a test, as I don’t want to potentially ruin the item I’m embroidering on.

  • Carol Myers

    To test designs I use felt, scrap denim or scarps of solid fabric I keep beside my embroidery machine. Most of the time I just say a prayer ,and do the design on my project. I do test thread colors with my software before I do the design to see which color I like best.

  • Karen W

    Like Judy M, I test before using someone else’s or an expensive fabric/item. I let the original design colors be my guide, especially for shading or contrast areas. I’ve found some digitizers are really good & have gotten away with not testing — IF I’m sure of the colors/fabrics I’ll be using. I’ve also used Sample Cloth (purchased from Nancy’s Notions — it comes on a roll) & keep those in a binder with any notes & printouts. That all comes in handy if I decide to use the design or individual elements at a later time. My memory isn’t what it used to be! :>)

  • Diana Hensley

    I usually choose fabric I like and corresponding thread. I do a sample to make sure I like the colors of thread with the fabric I choose. I like my finished product to truly be one of kind that represents me.

  • ca bliz

    I like to use either kona cotton or denim to test and if I may use the design for a quilt square I will test it with fabric,thin batting and a stabilizer in my 150×150 quilters embroidery hoop. I’ve got many great quilt blocks done this way.

  • Ann santistevan

    I usually buy one size and the resize to fit a project. Then change the thread to match the fabric or to what ever color suites the recipient.

  • Sally Hudson

    I test out on flannel = usually white – I’m always amazed how different the design looks when stitched out! You can really tell a good digitizer – every few jump st – and always a finished look.

  • Ruth DeShazo

    I often test the designs in colors of my choice on a similar fabric that I plan to use. Sometimes I change the size to fit the project that I am doing.

  • Joan Davidson

    I test designs with the fabric and thread that I plan to use in my project.

  • Debbie

    I like to starch my fabric if possible, before stitching out a pattern. With some websites I always use the suggested colors (maybe that is why I bought those!) but often I play with the colors until they match my quilting fabric!

  • Mark Daniel

    its look like so much old

  • Patty Sack

    I change the fabric first and the. I may play around with threads

  • Doreen

    I try and use colors I like so I usually change most if not all the colors in a design. For fabric I am trying to use what I have on hand.

  • Bruce

    What a beautiful project! Thanks for sharing it.


  • mark silva

    I choose me own Design, and the appropriate colors with it, For Design i visit websites like SBS Digit to get some wonderful ideas and Designs. For colors i choose with the Design

  • Nikki Jacobson

    Beautiful work…
    Just wanna know the spring name, and what needle size you use for.. thanks

  • Win Digitizing

    Nice, Thanks for the info

  • Nice work. Thanks for sharing it! will love to see more.