Friday, August 9, 2013

A Pocketful of Pens

I really enjoy creating machine embroidery designs, especially applique.  For those of you who aren't in the know about applique, it just means integrating fabric, or really, anything into an embroidery design.  In this design, I use both see-thru vinyl and denim as my applique materials.  It gives the design a realistic look.

Its kind of hard to see it in the picture, but the vinyl is appliqued over the glasses so that light reflects off of them and makes them look real.  When I wear my shirt, people often do a double-take to see what is in my pocket.

The first step is to create the design.  For this one, I used the real items as my pattern. I took a picture of the items I wanted to use in my design and imported the picture into my software.

Then it was just a matter of digitizing the design, something I've gotten pretty good at, if I do say so myself!  I create the shapes and then add the stitches. I have to think about the layering and what parts need to be stitched first, especially with applique.

Next, I write the design to a USB Storage device and load it onto my machine.  I have a BabyLock 6 Needle Machine which I love!  I can use the controls on the screen to position the design where I want it in the embroidery frame.  A little trick I have learned is to push the scissor button to drop the needle and see exactly where the center of the design is on the garment.

With the 6 needle machine, I can load up all of my thread colors so that I don't have to stop and change the thread every time there is a color change.  I try to digitize the designs so that the same colors stitch in the same step, but that is not always possible when layering the designs.

I stitch out the design until I get to the first applique.  See how the earpieces for the glasses have already stitched out, so they will be behind the clear vinyl like a real pair of glasses?  The circle in the center shows me where to put the vinyl.  I stop the machine after this circle stitches.

 Then I cut a square of vinyl a little larger than the circle.  My vinyl has been sitting in a box for awhile so it is wrinkled.  I put it under a piece of denim and iron on top of the denim so I won't melt the vinyl. Then I put my nice flat piece of vinyl over the placement circle. There's no need to secure it - the next set of stitches will do that for me.

 I push the start button and let the machine stitch over the vinyl.  I stop the machine after this stitch is done so I can trim the vinyl.  I use a pair of curved scissors and trim as close to the stitching line as I can, without clipping the stitches (or the fabric underneath).  With this design, I was able to do the trimming without taking the frame off of the machine, but some of my more complicated designs require me to remove the frame.

The next stitches cover the edges of the vinyl and then stitch the placement lines for the pocket.

For the pocket, I used denim. I just folded over the edge to make the top of the pocket, then placed a piece of fabric over the placement lines, matching the folded edge with the top ends of the placement lines. I sew the next line and then trim the denim as I did with the vinyl.

The final step is to sew the satin stitch over the edge of the raw fabric to keep it from raveling.

And there you have it!  A pocketful of nerdy accoutrements!  
Wouldn't this make a fun gift for a teacher, student, or co- worker?  You can put the design on a T-shirt or, leave off the appliqued pocket and put it on a dress shirt that already has a pocket.

I'm selling this design at my shop on Etsy.  If you know any machine embroiderers who might be interested, please pass along the link.

This is what it looks like on my dress shirt!  You can buy the watch design at my Etsy shop too!

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