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Friday, August 24, 2012

Pensamientos: Machine Embroidering Tee Shirt Creations

My machine embroidery setup is not totally modern and up to date. I bought my Viking Iris new maybe 7 or 8 years ago. I had to buy the embroidery designs on cards, not as digital downloads. When I bought the machine I only had the bucks to buy one extra card. There was also one that came with the machine. A couple of years ago I thought I would break down and buy another card and, guess what? I found that Viking no longer sells the cards, because this machine is now considered to be out dated.

I managed to find a few cards on EBAY. The good thing is that I have enough cards now (5 I think) to provide me with enough designs to keep me happy for several years. It's still sad that a sewing machine goes out of style with the manufacturer so quickly. Maybe in 5 or 6 years I will buy a used machine for embroidery that uses digital downloads, probably a machine that is just coming out now. I wonder what technology will replace that and make it impossible to get designs?

I like having the machine embroidery capability and enjoy stitching out the designs and choosing colors, but I don't spend a ton of time doing it. Sewing time is part of my recreation time and most of my sewing recreation time goes into sewing the actual garments. But I've been doing machine embroidery on tee shirts lately. I love making tees because

a) My time is well invested. I get a lot of regular, every day use out of them.

b) I can fool around altering patterns and re-cut inexpensive boxy tees for fabric to test out pattern alterations. I buy two of the same color (which I often find on sale for $2.50 each) and turn those two into one. That allows for darts, gathers, and any other goodies I come up with. These budget fabric test garments are highly wearable, they aren't just toilles. They help build my confidence for sewing tees when I buy a pricier knit, at Fabric.com or that great fabric store in Berkley Stone Mountain & Daughter.

When I machine embroider my tees, they really look like something special.

Technique: What works for me is to use two kinds of stabilizer. I put a regular stabalizing layer for knits underneath the hoop. Then I put the wash-away kind that looks like saran wrap on TOP of the hoop. That seems to work pretty durn well.

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