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5 Favorite Timesaving Habits

Even though the days are getting longer, it still makes sense to try to save as much time as possible when working in your embroidery studio. These five tips have saved me countless hours, I hope you find them helpful.

  1. Stock up on supplies. Nothing slows you down more than running out of the right materials for the project. Always have a variety of stabilizers and threads on hand. Take advantage of store sales and buy in bulk if necessary.blphoto1
  2. Pre-cut stabilizers to fit your most popular hoops. You’ll have a stack to go to whenever you’re ready to hoop.
  3. Consider purchasing extra hoops in your favorite sizes. This way you can prepare the next hooping while the first one is stitching. My number one go-to hoop is the 5” x 7”. I have four of them and I still believe they were worth the investment.
  4. Plan your project by using embroidery templates and target stickers. Mark the placement of the embroidery on the item with the target stickers. When you’re interrupted during the embroidery process (and who isn’t?) you’ll know where you left off.
  5. Test your designs! Stitch a sample using the same fabric/stabilizer/design/thread combination. Make adjustments to the variables before tackling the final project. Keep a towel, knit t-shirt, or cotton blouse on hand to test different designs. For specialty items, shop at thrift stores to find similar-fabrics. blphoto

Of course, once the towel or t-shirt is covered with designs, it’s time to start a new one. Starting a new one never seems to a problem for me, I save mistakes for that chore. Unfortunately, I have plenty of inventory!



Here’s your assignment this week:

Now that summer is here, do you find time to stitch? Or do you trade your stitching time for an outdoor activity? Post your comments and one lucky winner will receive a $25 gift card good for the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

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

What was your favorite childhood game?  Post your comments and one lucky winner will receive a $25 gift card good for the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

The winner is:  Judi C:  “My favorite childhood games were kickball & softball. We had a big open field in our neighborhood & all the kids would play together until dusk almost every night. No competition just plain fun. Thanks for bringing back the memories everyone enjoyed as kids :o)”





  • Jacque Lindsey

    I continue to stitch – it is my therapy. After a hard day at the office nothing is better than coming home kicking back and creating something fun. To me it is relaxing and something I love to do.

    • Denise S

      Putting everything back where it belongs after at the end of each sewing day, makes things easier in the long run for me. Organize, organize, organize.

  • Linda Hannappel

    I always find time to stitch. I belong to a group that meets on Wednesday night while our husbands have a meeting. We bring machines, cutting mats, or whatever!

  • priscilla c

    I continue to stitch. I hired a young boy to help my husband do yard work so I can stay inside and play.

  • Pam Seigl

    I love to find time to sew 365 days of the year. I have a few weddings threw the summer months so there is no time to waste.

  • Casie

    Both! There are days when it’s so hot I want to enjoy the ABC in my sewing rooms. Other days, nothing will keep me off the back of that motorcycle, winding through mountain roadways.

  • Stephanie Bowley

    Love to stitch my days are tied up at the pool and my nights at the machine.

  • Heidi Halvorson

    I find stitch time a little bit here, a little bit there.

  • Barb Baumgart

    I continue to stitch all summer. We live in a condo and have limited our outdoor work to planted pots, which require low maintenance. I have a lower level walkout sewing room with a 12 foot door wall and a beautiful view to the woods. I watch the wildlife and sew/embroider, my two favorite pastimes.

    • eileenroche

      Sounds wonderful!

  • Marietta Walker

    I sure hope to find mire time to stitch. We bought an RV and I hope that gets me stitching on the road too!

  • Belinda Germain

    I like to sew something every day. I NEED to downsize my possessions, but I WANT to sew!

  • Laurie Watkins

    Since I can no longer play in the garden, that leaves all my free time stitching

  • Susan

    I play to play in the pool with my grandson in the morning, and teach him how to sew/embroidery in the afternoon – My idea of Paradise!!!

  • Carrie

    I make an extra effort to make time for stitching and sewing at least a few hours every day. I love it too much to trade it for other things.

  • Kim Watson

    I will continue stitching. It helps to keep me relaxed

  • Terrie

    I have “Camp Granny” several times during the summer. During “Camp” I teach my 9, 10 & 11 year old granddaughters to sew and monogram. They get to take home whatever they make. Last summer, the oldest granddaughter spent her time making gifts for her mom’s birthday and items to donate to a local charity. The younger two are making rag quilts for themselves.

  • Karina Tansill

    I do both and at the same time. We have a deck outside the master bedroom so on days I want to sew but also be outside, I carry my machine and supplies out to the table on the deck. That way I don’t feel like I am missing the beautiful weather by being inside, and at the same time I am embroidering up something while enjoying our woods and creek.

    • Mary

      Love this outdoor idea. Especially for hand work!!

  • Linda Campbell

    i stitch all through the summer months. I don’t do well in the heat so I stay in my air conditioned sewing room and enjoy the sunshine out my window but stitch in the cool inside.

  • Dottie Kirkwood

    Summer is the best time to sew/machine embroider as it is so hot here. Wouldn’t make it without air conditioning. LOL

  • Sylvia

    I am an older student returning to college. I have the summer off school and I have a new embroidery machine. I love the idea of practicing on thrift shop items and towels. Thanks for the tips. I love them! I plan to use my machine all summer. I’m already thinking about the holidays.

  • Paula Close

    On the weekends I sew in the mornings and go outside in the afternoons . Because I work nights I take a nap in the morning and sew in the afternoons. I sure wish I had more time to sew.

  • Susan Novak

    I definitely find time to stitch. I don’t care for the heat of summer weather anymore, so it’s a good excuse to stay in the A/C and sew!

  • Linda Pratt

    Love being outdoors during the Spring and summer, but I could never leave “Bernie” alone and unused !!!!! My machine is my friend for all Seasons

  • Nancy

    Trying to stitch more this summer.

  • Amelia Godissart

    During the Summer I spend some of my time in the pool and sew in the evenings or on rainy days…

  • Peggy Schroeder

    To save time in the embroidery room, I had my handy man take off the door and put a piece of pegboard painted to match the door on the back of it. I then hung all the hoops for my two multi needle machines on it. They are out of the way, yet I can see at a glance where the one I want is located. I have not been doing much sewing, have had surgery, but hope to find time to sew more during the summer. My friend and I were going to make one Christmas gift a month, now we think we will try and finish one thing a month from our stash. Now it is June, and we haven’t done any of it! Is there hope for us?

    • eileenroche

      Hi Peggy,
      I wish you a speedy recovery from your surgery!

  • Kathy E.

    I do find time to stitch during the summer and it feels more relaxing to me since I have more free time. I am a teacher and during the school year (August-May/June), I can spare few moments with my sewing machines. During the summer, when it’s hot and stinking humid outside, I’d rather be sewing than doing anything else!

  • Cassandra Hammond

    Even though the days are longer and the sunshine is welcome after winter, I find it is much easier to sew/embroidery in the summer. Love making shorts and dresses that stitch quick.

  • Frances Powell

    I try to do both. This summer I will be stitching more because I have a huge show coming up in October. Between that and orders, I will be very busy.

  • Diane Cockman

    There are times I stitch almost all day. Then when it cools off, go and do whatever outside. On other days do in the mornings outside while it is still cool and when it gets hot return indoors to embroider and sew.

  • Eugenia Motin

    Start in January each year to embr FSL ChristmasTree ornaments for all the family & friends {numbers over 50} Each year they were done in white ….this year they are all being done in color… and i love the new look! hope the recipiants like this new kind as much as i do… Have the balance of summer to finifh all of them.

  • Dina Salsbery

    I continue to stitch, just not as much. Once summer hits, it gets too hot to work outside anyway so I may as well stitch!

  • Lillian K

    I sew most every afternoon in the summer because it is too hot to be outside in Texas.

  • Linda Coburn

    i love to do both. If it’s really hot I stay in the air conditioning and stitch. When it nice outside I enjoy the beauty and gather inspiration for my next project.

  • Kristi Dennis

    I still will stitch. I even take my machines camping with me. It is so relaxing to have my machines with me.

  • Sharon R

    I have to make an effort to stitch, we have an acre that always needs something done, and I’m supposed to be studying for a certification.

    Your comment about keeping a good supply on hand struck home with me today, I’m sitting in an airport, on my way to oldest granddaughter’s graduation, with only 1 of a 4 piece set. All for want of 2 zippers in the right size/color combo. Will finish and send them next week, but I should have been more prepared.

  • Sara Seagrist

    I find summer is a great time to learn new sewing techniques. I even combine sewing production with learning by listening to webinars, including DIME Perfect Embroidery Pro, while I’m sewing!

  • Gail Beam

    I am an indoor person, so of course I find time to sew.

  • Susan F

    I still stitch! I LOVE to work in the garden, and we put a lot of time into our yard, but I do not like to be outside during the “high sun”, so I do my outside work early in the day, then my sewing and inside stuff after that, then I’m outside again by late afternoon and I spend my evening out there too!

  • Glenda Marsh

    I’ll stay inside & sew any day! Although I’m a Master Gardener, in our TX weather, I’d rather be sewing. Even on a hectic day, I believe in Nancy Zieman’s philosophy of taking 5, 10, 15 minutes to sew even if that’s all you have.

  • Paula Hendrickson

    I continue with almost the same hrs in my sewing rm. I need to feed my creative side (or should I say addition!) or I end up feeling restless and out of sorts.

  • Susan Secore

    I continue to stitch throughout the summer months. I live in Florida so I prefer my air conditioned sewing room to the heat outside. It is a great time to get a head start on Christmas gifts.

  • Kathleen Hartley

    I do spend more time outdoors. It inspires me to work in the garden to do more things that have to do with nature and stitch things with vegetables and fruits on it, for example. Of course, if the weather is not cooperating and it is too hot or wet outside, then I jump at the chance to spend the extra time in the sewing room.

  • Jane

    My sewing group manages to get together several times a month, regardless of the season!

  • Ellen

    I stitch in the summer a lot. But living in south Texas it is sometimes too hot for outside activities. Therefore I have lots of time to sew and embroider.

  • Barbara Rebman

    I love to spend my free time reading on the patio during the summer months. I must admit that I do most of my sewing and embroidery during the colder months of the year


  • Bev Crabb

    On beautiful days I take my machine out to the screened in porch…..perfect summer sewing!

  • Lorena

    I don’t tend to sew as much in summer. My sewing room is an un-air conditioned attic and it can get pretty stuffy. My garden, backpacking and biking call to me!

  • Elizabeth Kuntz

    I still stitch something everyday whether it’s sewing a garment, quilting or an embroidery project (of which I always have one going). I get so much joy from it!

  • Barbara

    I’m trying to spend more time sewing and, therefore, have found it necessary to do more organizing. You are so right! Not having things organized sure cuts down on progress. Sewing and creating is so much more relaxing that constant “treasure hunts.”

  • Becky

    A happy divide that favors my embroidery machine over a riding mower. I feel that I need a little time each day to learn more about my embroidery software so I can do the best embroidery that I can; although it is kitten season and one weekend I had 4 cats and the next weekend I had 12 cats and I just have to spend some time with them.

  • maureen mcgraw

    I love being outdoors and sewing so I do both. I have a large patio umbrella, a picnic table and power. My machine goes out with me and I sew on my table. all my necessary sewing supplies come out in a big basket with handles. I sit in my director’s chair and enjoy the best of both worlds.

  • Leona Christensen

    I embroider and quilt in the wee hours, 2-4 am. I sleep for a few hours, then go to my sewing room for some stitch therapy. I return to bed for a couple of hours before I begin my workday. My stitching time is quiet and very precious to me.

  • Rachel price

    I continue to stitch. My business has flourished tremendously. I have always continued stitching in the summer…just another time of the year. But this year we have just sold our house, and moving to another state has made me put the embroidering aside for now. Having been given less than 30 days to close makes it hard to pack and embroider. I am so glad that I have completed all my orders. Now to the next chapter. Start all over again our new state, and home. Looking toward to adding new customers to my business plus continuing to serve my present customers with mail orders.

  • Sarah Williams

    I always find time to stitch…..I would much rather be inside my cool home, than out in the hot sun!!

  • Toni

    It is the dreaded – shhhh – housework that suffers more than usual as the garden takes over. Never the sewing time, that is just too precious…

  • Sue

    As a school teacher, I can’t wait for the summer to get started on all of those projects I have been dreaming of all year!

  • Pam K

    I try to get chores, errands etc. done in the morning so I can have fun stitching in the afternoon.

  • Linda A

    I continue to stitch, stitch and stitch some more. I put any stitched problems to the side. I get a glass of iced tea and take the problem outside and I remove the stitches or remedy the problem. Fortunately, I don’t think I’ll get a sunburn this summer.

  • Barb Grant

    Stitching does take a little bit of a back seat in the summer. I do fit it in though. There are still gifts to make and items for the grandkids. Being in the Northeast with the winters so bad, I just have to take advantage of the outdoors as much as I can.

  • Nancy Weber

    I am not an outdoor person so I continue to stitch. It is my therapy and I try to do something in the sewing room every day.

  • Barbara Frangella

    I stitch all year long. I am retired and live alone so sewing is like my buddy, I take breaks and have lunch on the patio, water flowers and let my dog out then back to what I love…creating.

  • Jean

    I get up early to sew,before I go to work

  • Carol Coleman

    I stitch during the summer because not much of an outdoor person and can’t stand the heat. I like for my grown children to be surprise to see what I done since they don’t come out and they think I am doing nothing but watching tv.

  • Ivalyn

    I continue to stitch….birthday items and church items (baptismal stoles)

  • Shari Thorley

    I used to spend every spare minute sewing, no matter what the season, as it was my profession. My kids were raised at the foot of my sewing machine.
    Now in retirement…….HAHAHA…….I do both gardening or sewing when the urge hits………A LITTLE BIT OF THIS……..A LITTLE BIT OF THAT!!!!!!

  • Barb

    I love the outdoors….but I have to get in at least an hour of sewing in…somehow it makes everything “right”

  • Bonnie Gray

    I do have a hard time in summer finding time to sew. We have a boat so we like to get out on the water every chance we have and my machine can’t go with us!!

  • Anne

    I have an 18month old sk finding time is always hard. But she loves being outside so we go play and I am teaching her how to garden (right now it is pulling flowers off plants and throwing handfuls of soil LOL). I find if I can do the outdoor stuff while we are also having playtime, I still have about the same amount of indoor time to spend on embroidery/sewing 🙂 So it works out! 🙂

  • Judie

    We just moved to a condo and I have the most gorgeous sewing room with big windows and lots of space. I can’t wait to spend time stitching. Summer heat is not in my comfort zone so I am looking forward to the final organization of my new sewing room and lots of projects!~

  • Linda SK

    I still try to find time for stitching but sometimes the sunshine wins out! We played kick the can a lot!

  • Susan

    No way would I give up stitching. I remember one summer sewing while also
    enjoying the lake view from my window. I proceeded to the picnic table outside and continued sewing with my machine plugged into an outdoor outlet attached to a treel.
    Sooo much Fun!

  • Carol Draeger

    I am a early riser so I at least get a couple of hours a day in before everyone else gets going.

  • Carol jenks

    I sew on Friday nights with my best friend. I love to embroider and just purchased a Bernina 16 needle machine. I sew every chance I get and ofte times dinner is a wee bit late. I try to sew some even day.

  • Doree shandera

    I continue to sew, sometimes feeling guilty I’m not out in the sun. I find it such a peaceful thing to do

  • Shirley Clark

    Now that my grandson’s wedding is over, I’m trying to catch up on a few little projects. I may take a day or two off here and there, but I never really stop stitching. I love machine embroidery!

  • Valerie

    I still manage to stitch after dark, or when it’s cold, rainy,

  • Sandy P

    I’m not an outdoor person and have a brown thumb so summer doesn’t effect my embroider time.

  • Brenda Melahn

    With crazy cool weather thus far, I haven’t had to “choose” but next week expected to be in the 90’s … I plan to be outside in the morning … stitching in the afternoon. PLAN is the key word here 😉

  • Carolyn

    With Daylight Savings Time I have more time to sew and play/work outdoors because it get dark later!

  • Saundra Romanus

    I work during the day so I mostly embroider at night. My two Dachsunds know when I am going to my sewing room. They each have a bed in there and they run up and jump into their beds! It’s like – “Mom’s sewing so this is where we stay!”

  • Pam

    I make time to stitch everyday! I find it “my” time to go in my sewing room and be alone with my creations. It’s relaxing and I get so lost in time when I am stitching.

  • Amy

    Summer does seem to be busy for some reason and I don’t even have kids. If I’m not able to be in my sewing room, I use this time to get caught up on embroidery magazines and work on my laptop to organize my designs.

  • Jodie Hickman

    I continue to stitch especially on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We go to lake on a lot of weekends in summer, but I have a sewing machine there if I’m working on an outfit.

  • edith goss

    I have an outside gazebo from Cosco with a plexi top roof all screen in and this become my sewing room for the summer I have two table out there and use the hot tub for cutting and when it get hot I jump in the pool this way I can be outside and sew to my hearth content

  • Jackie

    I tend to spend most of my time outside during the summer months. I figure gardening is a bit like quilting with all the colours and different plants I’m just making larger blocks with a time limit on their viability. I do also look at as many quilting magazines and books/patterns as I can to line up projects for the colder weather.

  • Paula Watson

    Even with the beautiful summer weather, I get into my sewing room every chance I get! Summer fun things I embroider are floppy hats, T-shirts for the grandkids and beach towels. I am currently working on monogrammed patches for baby clothes so my friend can change a design from a simple monogram to a football or baseball shape.

  • beth daniels

    I have more time to sew. I have machine embroidered a fleur de lis on a t-shirt, monogramed some towels for a relative, finished sewing a binding onto a quilt and now that quilt is finished. Made a tee and a pair of shorts.

  • Pat Beyer

    It gets hot and humid in Oklahoma. So I am inside in the AC. I can look out to trees and the lake so it makes me happy also. I want to do so much and I keep adding projects!!!

  • Shelly Christensen

    I will spend more time outdoors but I’ll spend less time cleaning house before I spend less time sewing LOL…

  • Mary

    I use to sew everyday, even if only 20 minutes. really important for me!! Queen of UFO’s Doesn’t seem to matter to me. I am a true Oregonian. The rain is as important as the sun, which is ever changing in our valley. Have had some health issues. yso a lot of my sew time has become nap time. But I will get that changed soon. We have a condo at a mountain lake in Idaho. I will be going alone in a week with only my two little dogs. It will get me right back into lots of sewing!!!!

  • Karen

    I am about 10 feet under wedding dresses for the summer and beyond. I hope to make a quilt so I can try out my shortE.

  • Judy graczyk

    I try to balance both. After a hot day on the golf course I love to relax in front of the machine. The studio looks out into our woods overlooking the lake.

  • Susie Mackenberg

    I sew year round! Since I live really close to the Pacific beach, it’s basically the same weather all year long, lots of marine layer too which makes it very easy to spend all day in sewing room (you can’t see dust bunnies when it’s foggy) and pots of soup for dinner work year round.

  • Michelle H

    I usually spend more town outside enjoying summer weather but this year I have several projects for gifts to get done so I hope to do more sewing

  • Sharon

    Not being an outside person I continue to stitch. The seasons don’t really effect me although I do enjoy taking a sewing break out on the front porch.

  • Kristal

    I have promised myself I will spend as much time as possible with my kids this summer. Therefore, embroidering has taken a back seat. However, that doesn’t keep me from thinking up designs that I will try when they are back in school!

  • Robin Rhodes

    I definitely continue to stitch. It is my creative outlet and with the children home, I need all the outlet I can get!

  • Judy H

    Living on acreage in Oregon and with our short summers, I just have too many outdoor projects that require my free time. SEW unfortunately my love for sewing and embroidery has to be put on hold until our longer months of winter return. But during those wonderful long winter months, I am SEW happy playing in my hobby room for hours on end with no guilt! 🙂

  • Donna Collier

    I like to sew and embroider when I’m by myself and when I go to classes. But in the summer I have 2 grandchildren to keep occupied in the pool or reading or playing. They won’t be small forever. 6 and 10. School starts back Aug. 7 so I will be able to have my play time for 9 months then. In a few years they wont need me. But oh how I like to make shirts and sundresses for them. Right now I am learning to do some quilt blocks. Learned flying geese yesterday in a class..

  • lynda case

    I generally go to my sewing every morning and spend several hours there while my husband does the yard work or whatever is needed outside. I mostly do machine embroidery these days but have always felt the need to sew daily

  • Maureen

    I was worried that this would be the first summer ever that I haven’t sewn because I will be taking care of my 84 year old mother who broke her foot but she told me to pack up everything and bring it the 600 miles to her house while I keep her company. Now if I can only fit it all in the car! Of course I over packed and even brought three machines I can’t live without!

  • Debbie

    Summer time is when I have the time to sew=embroidery and try new projects b/c I am a high school teacher. I have so…many items from events that I have attended. Plus, all the ideas and the unfinished projects

  • Mary Wright

    I take care of 2 of my grandchildren 2 days a week this summer. Their ages are 7 and 20 months. While the baby naps I am teaching the other to sew and use the embroidery machine. I sew and embroider for three grandchildren on my other days and prepare for the next “sewing/embroidery lesson” for my Grandaughter Emma.

  • Linda Epting

    I am still stitching because customers are still wanting things done and I have a new grandson coming in Sept

  • Michelle

    Here in Las Vegas, where temperatures hover around 120° in the summer, I try to stay indoors when possible. It’s a great time to catch up on my embroidery projects!

  • Karen Poole

    I still try to see something everyday! But I try to incorporate the grandkids into the sewing fun!

  • Maureen

    Have started helping the 2 youngest grandsons work on their projects for the county fair. The 8 yr old is sewing an entry and the 6-1/2 yr old is making a quilt. This is the 2nd year grandsons have sewn for the fair. Their big brother 9-1/2 yrs old sewed last year too, but is trying to figure out what he wants to do this year. So top of my list is sewing with them. The 6-1/2 year old earned fat quarters for behaving and trying hard in school. Behaving while learning how to rolly cut is earning fabric for the backing.

  • Alice Cornelson

    I find myself sewing mostly and drifting outside to enjoy the beautiful weather or to help hubby when he needs me. I take my time sewing and embroidering which is all enjoyment and relaxation. Thanks, Eileen, for sharing your tips, ideas, and thoughts in the blog and an opportunity to win.

  • Cathy

    In the summer most of my stitching is orders, but sometimes I just need to be creative, so I make the time.