Monday, June 8, 2015

Lesson - Reverse Applique Digitizing

There are quite a few software programs out there for digitizing and they all have their little quirks.  I was talking with one gal who showed me a BEAUTIFUL reverse applique quilt she did.  It was stunning.  But it was a very frustrating stitch out for her.  She asked my assistance to see if I could get the same end result without the constant stopping and trimming she needed to do with each portion of the applique.  You see, she used a shape, used the automatic Applique feature on the shape and then duplicated the shape into a circle.  The result that each shape stitched the double stitch, asked you to trim out the fabric, then did the satin.  One at a time.... Oh my! Six times removing the hoop.  Yep, this needed fixin'!   So, of course, I had to take the challenge on!!

Pot Pinchers are on hold until I complete this project! 

So, here we go.  Lesson 1 :  Reverse Applique Hearts Quilt Block

The first thing we want to do is plan the final size of the block. I'm going to plan on the final hoop size of a 200 x 200 mm.  There are a couple of layers to build, but if we take our time and do it this way, the final product will be quite delightful! 

So, Open your software and start a new design with no picture.  To get started we are going to create a custom hoop 60x60mm to put the heart shape into.  This cool option just makes it easy to make sure the components (layers) are all the right size for the final embroidery.  Just to let you know, I tried 50 which was just too small, 70 which was too big for what I am looking to do.  So trial and error until you become familiar with sizes and hoops.

So, click through until you find yourself in the draw window.  Here I am setting my line size to 3mm, border is blue and fill to green.  Select Shapes and number 32 which is one of the three heart shapes available.  I like this one because it will give an extra 'look' of a star when the embroidery is complete. 
Here is my shape, have fun making yours! 
The temptation here will be to use the Create Tab, select a satin border and choose the applique feature the system will do automatically for you.  BUT that is what caused the issue of removing the hoop to cut out the fabric 6 separate times.  That's a little too many start and goes for me!  So, what we want to do is create a Double Stitch Layer and save it as an EDO file, then do the same for the satin area. 
Here is the Double Stitch Layer.  Select the double stitch tool, click in the green area and click ok. This will create a double stitch right on the dividing line between the green and the blue. If we leave it there, the satin stitch won't be able to hide it.  So, on the film strip, select the double Line and on the Edit tab click the select all.  Adjust the size of the heart until all the stitches are well inside the border line just like I have below.  By the way, I did remove some round points and turned some of the square points to round.  Remember to hold down the control key and click a Point to turn it from a circle to a square. I needed to do this at the top and bottom points of the heart. 
Let's save this file as an EDO file AND then Export it as an Embroidery. When you export, remember to keep it in the 60x60 Hoop.  I called my file DoubleStitchHeart.edo
Just to make quick work of the next step, let's do a Save As on this EDO file and call it a different name.  I called my file SatinStitchHeart.edo.  Now that we are working on this new file, we need to remove the Double Stitch from the file and create the satin.  Now I know that we 'could' have just selected the properties on this Double Line and changed it to a satin line, but when I did that the next step really goofed up the points of the heart and the end result was a broken needle because of too many stitches in those points!  So, please go ahead and delete it!
The next tool to use is the Continuous Column, the first button - Satin.  The satin line we are looking for will be a 3mm wide with a density of 3.  So, we will use the border to guide us while making the continuous satin column.  The first picture below shows half the heart done.  To get started click on the button to activate it, then click on the outside of the border and then click directly across from it on the inside of the border.  Continue by clicking on the outside, then inside all the way around.  I have stopped at the bottom point, but you should continue all around.  Meet the last stitch to the first and then right click.  Notice the way the angle of the line changes at the point.  This is to make sure there are no overlapping or piled up stitches on those points!
Here is the way it looks when complete.  I have two sections in my filmstrip, you may only have one. 


Ok, now save this EDO file and Export this as an Embroidery and the real fun begins.  At this point you might have spent about 15 to 30 minutes creating these two files depending on how much you have used the draw window and the Continuous Column tools. 
Now we want to use 6D Embroidery Extra.  So fire up that Module - you can kick it off from the EDO file just created if you like.  Under the File Menu, choose Insert and select the Double Stitch Embroidery file you created in the first step above.  Move the heart so it is a little above the center of the block.  Then click on the Encore Tab.  Select Circle, set Repeats to 6 and make sure standard is selected (that is the three flags button at the top of the menu bar), then click Preview.  Move the circle of hearts so that there is about 3mm between them.  It will look something like this.  I am intentionally leaving some room outside the hearts for some extra decorations. 
Wasn't that easy????  Ok, now go to the File Menu again, choose Insert again and this time choose the satin embroidery file completed in step 2 above.  Again, move to the Encore tab, make sure the repeats is 6, preview, adjust so the that the satin stitches cover the double stitches. Then be SURE to set the color of the thread to be different than the Double Stitch!  Here is what my file looks like now.
Notice the cool Star shape in the middle????   I like that! 
Ok, the hard part is over!!! Woo Hoo!  Now for some little tips.  At this point, it is good to combine the files and then save this new Embroidery.  Let's do some checks to make sure the double stitch lines will be well hidden by the satin borders.
After you combine the files you see both colors in one place.  I have deselected the satin layer while hovering over it with my mouse.  That is how I can see the gold line and make sure that double is well covered.
Next we will add some embellishments and I will introduce you to Frames and SuperDesign tabs. So next let's click on the Super Design tab.  Select Flowers and then click on the down arrow to see more designs until you see the one highlighted below....  Set the size to 20 and the Stitch Type to Double, then click apply and the design will be added to the center of the Embroidery. Let's leave that right where it is. 
While it is active, copy and Paste a new copy of it.  Move that one a little above center and click on the Encore tab. This time set repeats to 4 and click Preview.  Move the flowers outside the heart area and then click Apply.  Click on the Home page and click Rotate 45 Degrees. Your screen should look like this one....
And last we will add a frame.  Click on the Frame tab and locate the frame per below....
Click Apply and adjust to your liking.  Make sure the frame is inside the hoop and not touching the hearts and flowers.  On the Home Tab, click on Combine again.  If you see three gold bars, make sure they are all the same color and then click on color sort.  The result should be like mine below.
Save this file and then Export it and transfer it to your machine for a test stitching.
So how do you test this out?  The first step is to Hoop a stabilizer, a light fabric and then a dark fabric all together.  At the first color stop, pull out the hoop and cut the inside of each heart exposing the light contrasting fabric below it. Be careful not to cut through the light fabric!!!
When done, put the hoop back and finish stitching out the Embroidery. The color combinations are limitless.  Make several and put them together for Quilt or Wall Hanging.  These will make cute pillows too!
I would love to hear from you if you decide to make one of your own.  If you have any questions, I am happy to help. I discovered some tips and tricks along the way and will gladly share.  I just didn't want to bore anyone with my bloopers!!!
Happy Digitizing, Dear Readers!!!  I will post pictures of my finished square very soon!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Oh, this thing called Blogging!!!

It's time, way past time, I suppose!  With much prodding and encouragement from my sister, Cathy (Cathy's Chatter Blog) here I am getting started....

Some cliff notes might be good to start with....

Years ago I had a home based business doing custom bridal dressmaking.  I look back now and think what nerve I had!  I was fearless for sure cutting into all that satin and lace without so much as a hand drawn pattern out of brown paper bags!  My first job was this really cute flower girl dress.  I was shown a picture of the bridesmaid dresses and asked to make a pint size duplicate.  They were pleased and after they walked out the door I sat down and cried in happy disbelief at the success!  Here are the pics from back in the 80's...

Seven years of proms and weddings ended quite quickly one day and my sewing machines went into retirement.

Fast forward to 2010 when my older sister invited me to go on the Vermont Shop Hop with her. Oh, my!  That was all it took.  Next thing I know I have a new sewing machine that did fancy embroidery stitching.  Two months later that brand new machine with fancy stitching got traded in for an even fancier machine - A Pfaff Creative 4.0!!  Now I was on a roll!  Except, that once you get into embroidery, you realize pretty quickly that an Embroidery Software is needed because while you might find some really cool embroideries to use, there is always one little thing you wish was different! 

By 2011 I was well on my way to digitizing.  I hope you enjoy my Digital Doodling!  I like Applique Embroidery and recently I have added font making and others.   I'm looking forward to making new friends, so please do drop a doodle of your own from time to time!!!