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Bits from Brian – June 2010

When you’re writing a column, sometimes you wonder if it’s too long or too short. Will your reader be interested? Will it capture their attention? Will it have enough coverage of the material. It’s always a balancing act.


And that leads me to embroidery designs, which often have the same issues. If a design is too large, it tends to draw your eye away from the garment and scream, “I can embroider.” That may be fine, especially if it’s just a smock that was on sale. But what if you actually want the embroidery to enhance, not overwhelm, the garment? Size and color matter. Unlike my literary efforts to educate and entertain, however, there is an easy way for you to control the size of your embroidery. By now you’ve guessed, I’m talking about SizeWorks.


SizeWorks is one of the handiest sewing tools we have, and it ranks right up there in usefulness with thread snips, pre-wound bobbins and stabilizers. Think I’m exaggerating? Well, maybe a little, but then maybe not. If you take the time to actually sew something, adding the right designs, in the right colors and at the right sizes are important to your final product. If you spend just a few minutes, you can make it look right.


                The first thing to do when placing embroidery on an item is to consider what size you want it to be. There are many ways to do this; gadgets for size and placement, printed templates, and a simple ruler can all help. One thing that can help is to take a piece of clear vellum and draw on it with a sharpie. (You do not have to be an artist – just rough in the volume or size in some simple shape.) Pin it to the item and take a step back. If it’s too big or too heavy, you’ll see it right away. I suggest making one a little bit smaller than you think you need. You may be surprised at your opinion of the size once you stand away from it. And it may even give you ideas for combining multiple, smaller, designs for an even more customized look.


                Before you actually sew the design, why not take a further step and print a template of the design? Again, pin it up, step back, and you’ll get a good sense of what your final project will look like.


                Along the same lines, have you ever noticed that the big difference between a jacket from a discount store and a couture store is about $80 worth of simple, elegant embroidery? Up the sleeve, over the shoulder, around the waist and cuff, etc. You’ve seen it, but probably wonder how to get a design that fits the areas on the garment. It seems that most of our design stash includes items of whimsy, or big, pretty, things that stand on their own from a design perspective.


                Rather than slap a lighthouse or a butterfly on another project, why not try a simple, elegant design that’s custom made for the project? I hear you laughing, “Yeah, but I don’t digitize, and if I did, I still don’t draw that well!” So let me recommend to you Floral Accents. It’s one of Designer’s Gallery Interactives, and we made it for just this purpose. The principle designs in the collection are the vines, leaves, French Knots, tatting , and stems. Using the controls, you can have custom-digitized designs for all kinds of projects. Here are some screen shots:





                Now, how can we put this all together? Is there some simple way? Well, as it happens, yes. Recently I’ve told you about MonogramWorks. And one cool feature of MonogramWorks is that you can combine designs together. Easily. Really! Also you can change colors in the designs. You can print out your templates. And you can even resize designs, with stitch recalculation, up to 25%+/-. But if you have SizeWorks on your system, it can resize and recalculate down to half and up to two and a half times the size. This means that it’s actually easy to get what you want for you project!


                To sum it up, the tools you have are made to help you create stunning, personalized, projects – ones that will have people asking, “Wow! Where did you BUY that?”

And isn’t that all we ask?

Happy stitching!



Posted in Brian's Articles and News 9 years, 11 months ago at 9:19 am.

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