Sometimes clients don’t have the original image file for a design. In this case, he had the original embroidery to work from. I just took a picture of the design and measured the dimensions and digitized it from there. It was a little tricky because the stitching was distorted from wear and tear and faded. I think it came out pretty good for being a copy of stitches. I think the size could use some tweaking though. I think it came out too wide.
Most of what I love about my business are the interesting challenges that my clients provide me. Some of my favorites include sewing things out of the ordinary, like the AstroTurf dog bed that I make last year. Some others have been requests for embroidery on things that weren’t necessarily made to be embroidered on. Such as this car dash cover. Not only was the piece itself daunting but the embroidery they wanted on it was rather complex. This was for one of my regular clients. He does boat and auto upholstery and now offers his clients custom embroidery because he knows me. We’ve been working together intermittently for a few years now. I always welcome his projects because they challenge my sewing and embroidery skills. These one-time creative projects are the best part of my business. If I had to sew the same thing all day I would probably loose my mind.
So here is the embroidery project I had this week. This is the finished piece all ready to go. It is the dash or some cover for part of a vehicle.
This is the set up I had to create just to be able to embroider this giant car cover thing. I raised my ironing board to it’s highest high then place my table top ironing board and my sleeve board on top of that to add extra height. Off on the right side, on top of the filing cabinet, I placed my sewing tote with my hoop master shirt board on top of that. This thing was not just large, but extremely heavy as well. If I had let it hang it would have surely broken my machine.
This is the amazingly complex design I had to digitize for this project. I love getting to stretch my digitizing muscle. I’ve mentioned before in past post about the digitizing process. There are not many resources for learning how to digitize embroidery and the software is extremely expensive. I’ve spent the last 6 years teaching myself through trial and error. So when I get projects like this force me to think outside the box, it helps keep my skills sharp. This design was over 30,000 stitches and had 12 color changes and 7 different colors.
While it was stitching I had to watch it constantly for the almost two hours it took to stitch the design. This was due to both the complexity of the design and the rig I had to keep the giant piece of material in place on the machine.
There were a few things that went wrong with this design that I will change but it looks good enough that a non-embroidery person will probably not notice. The darker gray (pewter) color I chose for the outer wreath is too dark for one. If I stitch this design again I would probably use to pewter where the black is in the wreath and a medium gray for the pewter color. The wreath just feels too dark. I also accidently put the pewter over the yellow part of the center emblem instead of the black that was supposed to be there. That happened because for some reason I thought I could save myself a thread change by replacing two of my standard threads that were already on my machine. But I forgot the design required black as well as the pewter. Both the silver accent lines inside the central design and the thin black line the wraps the bottom of the central design are way too thin. These were all 0.02mm thick and they should have been at least 0.05mm. As a result, the different patches of color are showing through in some places. The most annoying thing I messed up was the stabilizing of this design. Half way through the centerpiece the whole thing started to bow really bad. I had to add two additional layers of heavy stabilizer to compensate. I forgot about the density of the design needed a very firm platform. That did the trick and the rest laid flat. However, I had to press the center with my iron. I placed it on a block of wood and used my wooden clapper to sandwich it in between too hard surfaces once heated. That allowed the fabric under the bulging piece to lay flat.
Overall, this project came out alright. It’s not my best work. Some projects are like that, they just don’t want to get made and will fight you the whole time. This project was definitely a fussy project. Everything from the embroidery file not wanting to load in the machine to the wrong thread color to the thread breaking more times than I could count and for seemingly no reason. But I made it work and I think the customer will be pleased.
Most people come to me with shirts or jackets or the occasional blanket to embroider. Yesterday I got this rush job from a repeat client I did 40 shirts for sometime ago. These are some industrial work aprons for some of his worker. They need to go out first thing tomorrow so I’m here at my shop getting these done. It took a bit of creative finagling to get this particular apron into my embroidery machine. I really didn’t want to have to make a patch for them. I settled on using the ever amazing Fast Frames System! This awesome hooping system has saved my life multiple times! I was lucky enough to get them with my machine. They are great for tricky, hard to hoop items. Basically it tricks your embroidery machine into think that the largest hoop is in the machine. Then it has smaller centered attachments of varying size to hoop the items.
However, even with the fast frames system I still ended up having to open one side of the pocket I was trying to embroider on. I couldn’t find the middle size hoop attachment so I had to use the larger one, which was just a little too bit for the pocket to move freely while embroidering.
Most people think that they can just upload a graphic picture into some embroidery software and viola it’ll stitch out on an embroidery machine. NO. That’s actually very far from the truth what digitizing embroidery is. Essential digitizing embroidery is like tracing over an image with stitches. The software does a lot o the work. Back in the day when machine embroidery first started people had to manually punch every single needle hole to create the stitches. Modern day software figures out a lot for you. In this short video you see how I’m working on digitizing a very large logo. Basically tracing over the image with stitching. There is a lot more that I have to do to it than just lay down stitching. There is a lot of trial and error that I’ve gone though figuring out what kinds of settings do what and how what you see on the screen really looks on fabric. It’s a very complex process. Over the last four years I’ve taught myself embroidery digitizing because there are not a lot of options for learning how the pros do it. I’ve watched countless tutorials online with all kinds of software. I’ve read my embroidery software’s manual multiple times. I’ve learned a lot about digitizing but there is still so much out there I could learn and am looking to learn. Here’s is a tiny glimpse into what digitizing looks like. For those wondering I am using Bernina Embroidery Software v6.
Okay so this was my second attempt at this custom logo for a customer. This happened in two places last time. I went in and fixed the design as best I could but there was still an odd line I couldn’t get rid of. That line turned into that gap when I stitch it out. I was so frustrated because I knew it had to do with my digitizing. I read thought the book I got “Digitizing made easy”. There was a section on stitch length that really help. Plus I went in and changed my start/stop positions and that eliminated the weird line (gap) problem. I didn’t bother finishing the design once I saw the gap. Why waste thread and time.
I’ve been having such a hard time getting this embroidery machine to work for me it was time to enlist some help. Since my Bernina dealer keeps cancelling my software classes I had to opt for self teaching.
After reading both books from cover to cover I’ve gained new knowledge and was able to fix several issues that I was having when stitching out some of my designs. The first book Machine Embroider with Confidence should have been given to me with my embroidery machine! It was just a rehash of all the stuff I had spend the last 8 months researching and finding out on my own. The second book, Digitizing made easy, was not as comprehensive as I wanted but it was more than helpful with the digitizing process. Again another book I wish I had had months ago when I got my software. Either way I highly recommend these books for first time machine embroiders!