Friday, March 25, 2011

Aquarelle Fonts

I love digitizing fonts for embroidery. Why? Because the ones that come with most embroidery software programs are real snoozers. I mean, they are usually boring and juvenile. So I search out cool fonts online, download them, and digitize them.
This is my latest embroidery font for sale, it’s called Aquarelle or in some places, Passions Conflict. The latter is sure a sappy name. (Y0u can download this true type font by clicking here.)
aquarelle font maren pillow (4)
I am super duper careful when selling my digitized fonts to call them alphabets, and not fonts. Why? Because each letter has to be sold individually. To spell the above name, ‘Maren’, you have to open 5 files—M-A-R-E-N and use appropriate software to combine them into a pleasing pattern, save the file, and then send that file to your embroidery machine via USB drive or connected cables. I’ve had MANY customers buy my “alphabets” and then quickly email me and ask how they install that font in their software so that they can just type the word “Maren” on their keyboard, and voila, it will come up! I tell them, it’s impossible unless you buy software that costs close to a bazillion dollars to digitize any true type font.  Still, I get those emails whether I call it a ‘font’ or an ‘alphabet’.
You can skip this paragraph if you want, but I’m gonna tell you what is involved in digitizing a font. First, you open the lowercaes letter “a”.  Then you make it 1” tall, then you watch an animation of it being ‘stitched out’ in case the computer’s default is something really wacky. I would say 5% of the time it is wacky, which means I have to completely re-draw the letter myself, which takes a while. Then I save this file as “lowercase letter a  aquarelle”. Then you’ll do this 25 more times for the rest of the alphabet. Then 26 more times for the uppercase letters. Then you’ll repeat the 2 more times for 2” sizes and 3” sizes. In the end, you’ll have digitized 156 files. This takes hours. Then I have to sew up some samples, make any necessary tweaking to the digital files, photograph my samples, and edit the photos.
Now it’s time to convert these 156 files from Bernina’s proprietary file exentions of .ART so that all other machine users can use them. I sell in .ART, .DST, .HUS, .JEF, .PES, .SEW, .VIP, and .VP3.
Phew, I’m tired just typing it. It usually takes me a week or two to do all this. And then I sell the digitized files for cheap—llike $5.75 cheap. (It’s all about having a high turnover and low profit margin baby.  At least that’s what they tell ya the first day of business school in college) Some alphabets I have sold over 200 times….some only 10 times. I hate it when the latter happens.
aquarelle font maren pillow (2) copy
Either way, I love how this Aquarelle font alphabet turned out. The above pillow is for a teenage girl….I hope it’s grown up enough for her, but still uber cool. The below pillow also used the Aquarelle font….this pillow is now in a local furniture shop for sale here in Utah Valley. I hope it finds a good home.
family forever (2) copy

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Meringue Designs on Facebook

branches monogram (6) copy2I finally have a Facebook page for Meringue Designs. Click here to “like” Meringue Designs.
The goal is to post photos of work in progress, coupon codes, embroidery tips, and anything fun and exciting related to sewing/embroidery.  So join me!
Pillow on the left features my Branches Monogram design. Yum.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Digitizing Peonies

peonies2 (1) copy If you have Bernina Designer’s Plus version 6, then I’m gonna show ya how to make my peonies design. If you don’t, you can probably make it with modified instructions in your own digitizing program……or you can buy it for $5 bucker-oos by clicking here.
Of course, this may mean nothing to you if you don’t have an embroidery machine. But if you do….and it’s 4am and you can’t sleep because you are an insomniac like myself, then you might as well get creative instead of being angry that you’re awake at 4am on a Saturday morning. A sad life indeed.

Use the icon called “Freehand Embroidery—Open Object.”
peony digitizinga
Digitize some curvy satin stitch lines—kind of look like macaroni don’t they? You’ll want to digitize satin lines .10” of an inch. Enough to fit into an imaginary slice of pie, like below. The black pie shape doesn’t really exist, I just drew it to show you what I mean.
peony digitizing1
Now you need to select all by using the standard Windows function: Ctrl+A. Then click on the wreath icon (see black arrow below) and choose the design to repeat 5 times. (You can choose more than 5, just play around. Sometimes I go up to 12.) This will duplicate your selected design(s) 5 times into a wreath pattern. Move your mouse around until your designs are close, maybe even touching, like below.
peony digitizing2
Once you have them in a pleasing pattern, click your mouse to finish the design. Looks like a peony now, doesn’t it? I am obsess with the wreath tool. So very many of my designs are digitized using it.
peony digitizing4
This next step is optional, but I think it is essential. There will be a lot of jump threads to clip unless you run the design all together. So select the entire designs (ctrl-A) and click on the “blackwork run” icon, see below. Then click anywhere in the design for your starting point. I usually try to click a central part of the design.
peony digitizing3
double peony largeSave your design. Then if you want, you can duplicate the design, layer them on top of each other, and manually remove the underlying overlapped design, clicking on them and deleting them. There will still be some overlaps and that is fine. You can always choose to remove any overlaps if you want with the “Remove Overlaps” icon, but it isn’t totally necessary and this design isn’t very dense. Your double peony should look like this to the left.

I am choosing to stitch out the double peony on wool for a purse so I am going to use my jumbo hoop with my Bernina 830 for an extra large stitch out. Love, love that jumbo hoop! Here’s the work in progress for my purse, see below. As a side note: the only part I hate about making bags is making the straps. They take forever and I simply hate all the ironing and top stitching involved. Blech.
peonies2 (2)

And here’s the finished purse. Loving it!
peonies2 (8) copy
Single peony on zippey pouch:
peonies (3)

Monday, March 07, 2011

Buttonhole Patches

buttonhole flowers and hearts (16) A few years ago I started making these little patches (flowers, heart, butterflies) with buttonholes in the center. My girls love them for their headbands, backpacks, etc.  Basically, anywhere we can put a buttonhole, they’ll clip on these little patches. I now offer these little patches on my website—flowers with 5 petals, flowers with 6 petals, hearts, and circles.
Here’s how I make mine. I’ve done it two ways. The first way is to use a stabilizer specific for badges or patches. I have used Badge Master by OESD but this stuff is expensive, so now I just used two layers of a tear away stabilizer because I always that on hand. I’ve never washed these patches, so I guess if you do you might not want to use tear away as the stabilizer underneath will fray away. But I have been using 2 layers of tear away stabilizer for a few years now and all of my patches have still held up really well.
buttonhole flowers and hearts (19) copy
I like to squeeze as many of these patches as possible into one hooping—more bang for my buck ya know?
Here’s how to make them:
1.  Hoop two layers of crappy tear away stabilizer, like Pellon tear away. (See below photo.) This is around $2 a yard at Joanns. It’s stiff and yucky, but it’s perfect for this application. (I have also used 2 layers of Ultra Clean and Tear by OESD or Badge Master by OESD.) If you really want, you can also hoop a piece of fabric on the bottom, but since you never see the back, I never do. Your choice.

buttonhole flowers and hearts (7)
2. The rest of the steps are like most applique projects, but I’ll spell them out anyway. Stitch out your first line, called the placement line. The sewing machine stops after stitching this line, anxiously awaiting your next step…..
buttonhole flowers and hearts (8)
3. Place a piece of heavily starched cotton over the placement line—make sure all the stitching lines are covered.
buttonhole flowers and hearts (9)
4. Stitch out the next line, un-clip your hoop from the machine (do not remove the fabric/stabilizer from the hoop!!!) Carefully snip away excess fabric and replace hoop.
buttonhole flowers and hearts (10)
5. Finish stitching out the design, which may just be a satin-stitch and then buttonhole, but in this case there are some dots and then the buttonhole is stitched last. This is my ‘flower 1 patch’.
buttonhole flowers and hearts (12)
Now hopefully you are like me and live your life by the mantra: minimum effort, maximum output. If so, then hopefully you packed in as many of these little designs into one hooping as possible. If so, then you’ll repeat steps 2-4 until it looks like this:
buttonhole flowers and hearts (14)
Skip this paragraph as it has nothing to do with this tutorial: Here’s a little side note: notice the heart buttonhole in the very first photo of this blog post—see how a ton of the underneath white bobbin thread has pulled up to the top? See how crappy that looks? This is my one complaint about the Bernina 830. When the machine needs to be oiled, this is what happens—there is no warning whatsoever, it just happens. Once I oiled the bobbin area, no more bobbin thread showed on my buttonhole patches, but still a-n-n-o-y-i-n-g.
5. Remove your stabilizer from the hoop and carefully tear away or cut away the excess stabilizer from each patch. If you choose to tear away the stabilizer you might still have paper “fuzzys” leftover on each edge. Carefully cut away the fuzzies. If you accidentally snip some of the stitching, no problem, put a big glop of ‘fray check’ on it and that will keep the stitching from falling apart. Cut each buttonhole open, and you are done!
Button these cuties in layers on headbands. (There are a million blogs out there that will teach you how to make these fabric headbands. Here’s one blog with a super fast tutorial.
headbands collage
These patches also give a nice 3-D effect on totes and purses:
buttonhole flowers and hearts (5)
And super cute on pillows as well:
buttonhole flowers and hearts (4)
I hope you found this helpful! Now go make some patches.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...