I was in Sewing Utopia the other evening. You are probably familiar with that magical place where everything runs smoothly.
The Loop-de-Loop designs from Embroidery Online were stitching like a dream. The digitizing quality is superb. And to make things even more dreamy, I was at the height of efficiency, running not one, but two embroidery machines in my EmbroideryLand, USA. I’m so blessed to have access to plenty of resources at the office. At this rate, I’ll finish sooner than later!
I finished the letters and took my stitch-outs to the store to audition frames.
Plan ahead! Go ahead and use those coupons that come in week after week from the craft stores! It’s an obvious tip but oftentimes when you’re in the middle of a project, like I was, you don’t have time to shop around for the most affordable frames available. Your favorite craft retailer with those nifty 40% or 50% off coupons are great for stocking up on frames. Pick a size and style that you’ll know you can use easily—white, black or even wood grain. Go with a standard stock so you’ll be confident they will be available time and again. Every time you get a coupon in the mail, your inbox or through an app, pick up a frame. Before you know it you’ll have collected enough frames to complete a project.
It was at the store that my Utopian world vanished. (Insert dramatic sound effects here!)
Do as I say, not as I do! (the ongoing series!)
Excited with my stitched letters, I got to work by adding the rick rack and buttons on a sample before heading to the store. It was a masterpiece! My friend Dianna will love this! But when I went shopping for the frames, I realized to my great disappointment that I trimmed the fabric too short. Gasp! I flipped through each of my embroidered samples at the store. By my estimation, two samples were cut too short.
I returned to my not-so-sewing-utopia armed with more fabric. This time I cut the fabric to fit the frames. I won’t make the same mistake three times.
I’m reminded of that saying: measure twice, cut once!
I think I’d change it to: measure twice—then cut and stitch once!
While I didn’t have anything to measure when I first began the project, it’s important to plan ahead. Allocate enough fabric around the embroidery so you have options.
After stitching all the white rick rack, on my yellow samples, I reached for the green rick rack to stitch on the orange samples. It was at that point I made the unfortunate discovery that the rick rack widths were not the same. I didn’t have enough of a single color to use for all the samples (not that I wanted to rip out my newly stitched rick rack). Nor did I want to make a trip to the store for rick rack. Downtrodden, I took my samples to my trusty adviser – who also happens to be the Creative Director for the magazine – Sam Solomon. He said the difference in widths is too minuscule for it to matter. Besides, we can call it creative license! (I will admit that when I photographed this shot below, the difference really is minuscule! It’s funny how monumental it felt at the time.)
When you start getting weary from making a project, remind yourself the gift is always about the recipient. Think about the person and what they mean to you when you are making the project. I certainly did when I was re-stitching the two letters. I consoled myself thinking—Dianna has had some long nights and weekends working. This project will be worth it! I surprised her by placing the frames in her office while she was in a meeting. I’m not sure who was happier—we were both smiling from the experience!
Also hiccups along the way, like my “rick rack” width disaster – can seem monumental when you’re in the middle of the project. But step back to look at the matter from a different perspective. If possible, get feedback from others – and exercise your right to be a whimsical, creative designer. Improvise, problem solve and have fun!
Whether you have a friend, family member, coworker or someone else you want to thank—do so in an action-oriented manner. Taking the time to make something specific for that person shows you appreciate them enough to sacrifice your time for them.
Click here if you missed Part 1 of this blog post. Part 1 goes through the software steps for adding the decorative stitching.