StitchArtist(tm) from Embrilliance is now available!

Click here to read about StitchArtistI am very proud to have been part of the team that created this new software for Mac and Windows computers.  I have been beta testing this program for well over a year and I can actually say that I enjoy “digitizing”.  Those that know me have always heard that I prefer to edit existing designs and that was because my experience with digitizing software in the past entailed a lot of work.  And for me, machine embroidery may be my job, but that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult or not enjoyable.  When something becomes tedious, I find something else to do :-)

So, I have always shied away from creating my own designs – that is until now.  To read about this program, please visit this page:

Stay tuned – I am working on an in the hoop project using StithArtist and hope to post it later today!  For those that like In the hoop embroidery designs and want to create your own – are you in for a treat!

Big Embroidery with a Small Hoop – Take a class and see how to do this!

When you have an embroidery machine, you can embellish almost anything.  And just because you have a specific size hoop, this does not mean you have a limit or restriction on the size of the embroidery.  Once you become comfortable with rehooping and creating larger layouts with precise alignment – the size of your hoop is no longer an obstacle but rather a creative tool.  I invite you to my Craftsy class (see the link below for a discount!) and see how easy it is to “Go BIG” with your embroidery!  All the projects were done on the Babylock Sophia II with a 100mm x 100mm (also known as 4×4) hoop – yes, even the final project shown below which is almost 8″ x 12″ and has become a beautiful art piece in my bath!  So if you are wishing that you had a bigger hoop – we all do no matter what machine we have – why not check out this class and see how easy it is to stitch BIG embroidery design layouts with any size hoop! copy

Splitting Embroidery Designs for the 5×12 (130mm x 300mm) PES hoop

Multi-position hoops are pretty awesome if you want to expand your embroidery area and do bigger designs on your machine without rehooping.  LOVE this for names and border designs like an embellished yoke of a shirt!  So you get this bigger hoop and you try to send a 5×12 design to your machine and — nothing.  No big design no nothing!  So what’s so great about this hoop if you can’t use it?

What the hoop allows you to do is hoop once and you stitch designs in each position so that when complete, you have a big design.  Yes, you can attach the hoop to the machine and simply stitch designs in the hoop to create a scene or name moving them using the machine layout functions.  But it is so much easier to use software to do this.

So if you have a larger design that you want to stitch in this hoop, it needs to be split into sections that fit your 130 x 180mm design area – approximately 5×7.  To split a design you need to use software.  There are various programs out there that will do this – I use Embrilliance Essentials because it really is as easy as 1-2-3. 

1. Choose Hoop from Preferences.

2. Open Design and it will show up in the hoop -size, add lettering, whatever you want to do.

3. Go to File > Save Stitch file and the software splits and saves the design file for you into sections that fit your machine.

See it in action – click here

Click here to see how easy it can be to split embroidery designs for this hoop!

Click here to see how easy it can be to split embroidery designs for this hoop!

No fiddling with assigning stitches to hoop flags or moving stuff because the software needs to have complete colors in specific spots or any other “technical” thing for you to worry about.   The Essentials software takes care of all the “technical stuff”.  You just need to be created and create the design layout you want.  Save the file, load each to the machine in the order & position instructed in the TXT file and start stitching.  The TXT file even includes the color break information from the original Large design layout. 

Like I said – super duper simple! 

Until next time – Happy Stitching!   Lisa

If this idea on easily splitting designs intrigues you – you can get more information on Essentials by clicking on this graphic and link:

Click Here for information on all of the affordable easy to use Embrilliance products!

Click Here for information on all of the affordable easy to use Embrilliance products!

Saving cut files for the Cameo, Scan ‘N Cut, & more for embroidery designs

Create with fabric cut using Silhouette Cameo - Essentials will save the cut files from your appliqué embroidery designs!

Create with fabric cut using Silhouette Cameo – Essentials will save the cut files from your appliqué embroidery designs!

I had mentioned in an early post that there was a simpler solution on the horizon for creating cut files for machine embroidery appliqué designs.  Well it has arrived!  The current version of Essentials software has some pretty nifty features and functions for existing appliqué embroidery designs and I just finished the video showing a quick overview of these functions.

Before I give you that link let me first talk about the purse shown to the left.  I’ve been reading about all these people who were embroidering monograms on straw floppy hats they had gotten at discount stores like DollarTree.  Ours did not have any but they did have these really cool circular placemats in all sorts of bright colors.  I picked up a few thinking I could bring out the Puffy Foam from its stash in my closet and try my hand with a swirly monogram.  Before I forget – this alphabet collection is from Rivermill Embroidery and stitches out LOVELY!

And then I thought about trimming those appliqué pieces in the hoop on a textured rather stiff surface like this straw placemat.  Yeah.  I’ve been doing this long enough to know there was not enough wine in my house to calm my nerves with that project! Even with my favorite Kai Scissors! But I knew Embrilliance was working on creating the cut files so I waited a week or so until I got the test version and HOLY SMOKES!  Embrilliance, Cameo and machine embroidery appliqué designs is a winning combination.  I’m in heaven.

And sure I can rather quickly create the cut file in the Studio software and double checking to make sure that it is the exact size and shape to match the embroidery design – but that’s only part of what makes this triple combination so perfect.  In Essentials, when you combine two designs together and over lap them, the Remove Hidden Stitches (RHS) function kicks in when you save the stitch file.  The software AUTOMATICALLY looks at the overlapped area and removes the stitches from the first design on the bottom during the save process.  And what is even better, is that this process is only done in the stitch file – what you will send to the machine.  Your original working file still has the complete designs.  Yes, if you want to tweak things and change them up, no need to start over – simply open your working file (has the BE extension), make your changes, and resave to the stitch file.

One of the potential lumps in an overlapped appliqué

So that’s all fine and dandy with traditional embroidery designs….but yes… this is also possible with appliqué designs – OR if you mix and match appliqué and traditional embroidery style designs!  In other software programs, and I’ve been doing it for years so its nothing new, you would have to open the combined designs and use the stitch editing function to select and delete those stitches underneath.  Again, not hard to do, just extra steps.  And you have to be careful with appliqué, is that you don’t want to remove the placement and material stitches when you start deleting things – then you get into trouble at the machine.

But what Brian Bailie of Embrilliance has done is developed a way for us to go in and tell the software “hey this is an appliqué design.  It has running stitches that are used to mark where the appliqué fabric goes, hold the appliqué fabric in place so you can trim around it, and then finish it off with a satin or other decorative stitch.  So now that you know that, Mr Essentials Software Program, when I choose to overlap these designs, you need to think of the region enclosed by the appliqué position running stitch as “filled with stitches” not this empty white space.  I want you to remove anything that is underneath just like you would if it was a filled stitch design”  Hey – I talk to my software and computers all the time so this does not seem like an unusual conversation to me :-)

comparison of puffy foam vs none

Now removing the extra satin stitch from overlapped designs may not be that impressive to you.  So you have a little bit of overlapped satin stitches – eh no big deal!  Well you haven’t stitched with Puffy Foam yet have you!  This hit me when I was trying out colors on placemat number 1…the letter S does not have foam under the letters and looks rather choppy.  I was going for a tropical look so not only did the teal colored finishing stitch give me the pop I was looking for, but placing the puffy foam on top of the appliqué fabric and having the finishing satin go right over it really helped it stand out and make a statement.

And because I was using Essentials software, when I stitched the letter S first, where the designs overlapped, the satin had been removed — so there was no shiny bump in those areas – the satins were gone.

I use the Puffy Foam made by Sulky – it tears away very cleanly without pulling the stitches.  No I have not tried craft foam – I have enough of the original in my stash to host kindergarten arts and crafts day for a month so there is no need for me to try anything else.  Hey, it was on sale and its not like it will go bad!

Seriously, my stash has been in development for years.  I have been challenging myself to use fabric in my stash first so it has been shrinking – not as quickly as I would have liked, but its a work in progress.

Saving a Cut File in Essentials from an appliqué position shape

Saving a Cut File in Essentials from an appliqué position shape

So I saved my cut files just like the video shows – on the Applique Position tab, you choose Save as CutFile and in the Save as dialog choose which format you want to save to.  Now just so you know, a cut file is not a stitch file…and its not really a graphics file.  But I am so happy that the folks at Embrilliance figured out take the stitch file information and translate that in such a way that the cutting machine can create a shape that fits inside the stitched shape!  This is an exclusive feature that is being patented.  On top of that, there was a lot of conversations and working behind the scenes with the folks at Silhouette in order to actually create the Studio file.

And the software will also save an FCM file which is what is used by the Brother Scan ‘N Cut (SNC)  – save this file to a USB stick, put it in your SNC and pull it up to cut right there on the screen!  The other two formats are more universal – SVG and PLT.  If you have a cutting machine that uses or imports either one of these formats this is what you will want to save to!  The SVG format is super popular among those in the scrap booking industry.  No.  Just say No….I have to tell myself No every so often that I do not need to know more about scrap booking….I fear it can be just as addictive as machine embroidery and my stash does not need to go in that direction :-)

So a lot of work went into making this easy to use function – so glad that we get to benefit from their hard work!  So are you interested in seeing the software in action with this neat feature?  Here is the link to the youtube video:

Check it out.  If you already own Essentials the update will be available (if it hasn’t been posted yet) from their website under the download link.

Yes this software works on either Mac or Windows and if you happen to own both computers, you can install the program on both without extra cost.

If you don’t own Essentials and it looks like something you might be interested in, why not check it out?  I don’t work for the company – I’ve been an independent educator for machine embroidery for well over 17 years.  However, I am an Embrilliance affiliate because I believe that this company offers an excellent product for the price and I am impressed with the innovative thinking that goes behind all the features and functions that are added to the programs.  12 built in fonts that stitch out well at various sizes, monograms or multiline text capabilities, resize designs with stitch recalculation by either pulling on the corners of the design to make the design “that big” or type in an accurate size, merge designs, remove hidden stitches, work with BX fonts so you can type names using fancy alphabets, sorts colors, converts to your favorite thread brand, print templates and color change sheets, split for the basic multi position hoops, switch between metric and inches with a simple button at the top of the screen, add a basting box and more — all this in one program with an easy to use interface.

ANYWAY – I’ll get off my soapbox for now :-)  Have a great week – happy stitching!  Lisa SewBubbles

Click Here for information on all of the affordable easy to use Embrilliance products!

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Chatting with Lindee Goodall about Machine Embroidery SCHTUFF!

Every so often I find myself thinking “how on earth did I get here?” I’m not talking about physical location – although I’m sure I would still be wandering around download Houston if it wasn’t for GPS.  No, I’m talking about how I went from studying mathematics in college to teaching machine embroidery software.  During one of my “pondering moments” I thought that it might be fun to “interview” others in this wonderful world of machine embroidery and see if our journeys were similar.  Not having done something like this before, I thought it would be fun to start with someone that I have admired for a long time with whom I kind of knew that we came from similar backgrounds.

So I sent my dear friend Lindee Goodall a message on Facebook – it was one of those spur of the moment thoughts that was more of a “do you you think this is a good idea?” and because Facebook is so instant, all of a sudden the concept went from idea to “I’ll send you the questions by email” within minutes!  Facebook is super fast like that – if you thought email was instant, holy smokes we can jump between 6 different topics and projects in a matter of sentence fragments :-)

Those of you who do not know of Lindee can find her official biography on her website But I wanted to expand beyond that to give you a glimpse into our friendship and relationship with machine embroidery.

Lindee: You know Lisa, you and I have similar backgrounds. We were both programmers and I really think creating embroidery is very similar. You want a design that sews efficiently and doesn’t jump around all over the place, in programmer speak, no “GOTOs.”

Lisa: Spot on with that analogy!  Last thing we want to do is watch the machine dance all over the place weaving a web of jump stitches!  So, what was your first thought when you saw your first home embroidery machine?

Lindee: My first embroidery machine was very small and we had to drive from Cincinnati to Dayton to get it. I read the manual in the car on the way home (no, I wasn’t driving!). Actually, I read it twice it was so small. I ran into the house, unpacked the machine hooked it up to my computer and loaded the software. I sewed out half of one of the two designs that came with it and thought, “Oh yeah, I can do this” and started looking for some clip art to digitize. Fortunately I picked something fairly easy, a cat. Then I spent a lot of time digitizing. My software was very crude and my initial thought was “this takes a LONG time!” Never-the-less, I was hooked and fascinated. I had to figure it out.

My machine came with 3 primary thread colors. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and there wasn’t any information available back then. I spent a lot of time trouble-shooting, a skill all good programmers have. I amassed numerous huge notebooks of samples with notes. You’ll see something similar in my Craftsy class and I’ve included my tracking form with the course materials. I had created that form in a databases (my second love after digitizing!) and then I just printed the form for my binder.

Lisa: We have seen your gorgeous digitizing created by your original artwork starting with your first company, Cactus Punch.  Do you have other artistic outlets?

Lindee: It’s funny, but if you walked through my house without seeing my studio, you might never know I did embroidery because it seems everything I do is a “sample” for an event. Well, ok, I do have some embroidered garments but most are still from Cactus Punch designs. I do miss my artists!

I do have several paintings in watercolor and oils hanging about. One of my watercolors won a blue ribbon in the county fair many years ago. I used to do a lot of a hand embroidery and there are several projects out on display as well. I also used to do a lot of ceramics. Had the kiln and everything. I graduated with a BA in Art so my hobbies have always been creative even though I didn’t have many “art” jobs

We all know you as a Mac person which intrigued me from the first time we met – Mac & embroidery made perfect sense to me given all the advertising & graphic arts I had worked on in my past life was done on a Mac and then I was like “huh?” when every program that came out was for the PC. I know you reluctantly ran windows for some tasks.  How did you start in digitizing – was your first program the Pfaff Mac software or did you start with a windows based program?

Yes, I’m afraid I am somewhat of a Mac snob. My first program was Pfaff Mac software that I bought with my 1475 the year before I bought my first embroidery machine. That software only created decorative stitches. The POEM or Huskygram I bought in 1994 also had Mac software. I remember remarking to one of the tech people for that machine that the software felt like a beta version and that someone said, “Let’s ship it anyway.” His jaw dropped open and he said that’s exactly what happened. This software was extremely basic, no compound fills or satins. I didn’t use it for very long, maybe a month or so.

I ended up buying the DOS version called CS2, which was a subset of a DOS version of Wilcom. It was very manual. It did satins and fills but running stitches had to be punched one stitch at time. Very tedious!

I began researching professional software when I realized I was really hooked. At the time, there were two options: the pro version of the “beta” software I was using and Punto. Punto would connect to my POEM and also had a trial that you could test that did everything but save, sew, and print. I found Punto to work very naturally for me because it has tools like Adobe Illustrator. At that time I was working for an ad agency as a multimedia developer and I did a lot of my own graphics. I still use Punto to this day. I have found it doesn’t work like any other digitizing program and although there are now more powerful programs, I’m just more efficient in Punto. Also, it works on my Mac.

Wow, it sounds like you were “hooked” pretty quickly…

My pace into machine embroidery was pretty rapid. Bought my first embroidery machine in September, professional software the following June, and my first multi-needle machine arrived in October.

If you are thinking about digitizing there are a lot more choices now. If you’ve outgrown what came with your machine then by all means look for something else. Also, if your software is too hard and you’ve given it a fair shot, don’t let it stop you from moving on to something you will use.

I know you have always had forward thinking when it comes to what’s possible in machine embroidery…What is the most unique material you have embroidered on – and why did you do this?  We all know these are expensive machines, so there must have been some rationale in thinking “how can I embroider XYZ without breaking the machine?” or did you just go for it and see what happened?

I’ve embroidered on wood, metal, paper, leather, artificial flowers, and fish net. I once saw embroidery on a condom but haven’t tried that myself.  I’ve also embroidered on fabrics I would have never considered sewing with because they were too difficult.

I would guess the fishnet required the most thought. It was a very open net and it was for a shower organizer. I layered it between two pieces of Solvy taking care to arrange the mesh evenly. Then I misted it down thoroughly with a water bottle and let it dry. I used organza as the stabilizer so essentially I was stitching on the organza. It worked best when the embroidery was an appliqué but I also tried full-stitch designs and those worked too.

I think the biggest issue is how do I get it in the hoop rather than worrying about breaking the machine. I figure if the machine can sew through my finger most anything else I stick in should be fine.

Being an independent business woman in this industry is a double edged sword – we get to do what we love every single day (outside of the yucky bookkeeping and paperwork and such) but what we love to do has become “a job” which can sometimes take the fun out of it.  We see many new embroider-ers opening Etsy stores to sell their creations – do you have any advice on how to keep the fun in the job?  

 Well, Lisa, to tell you the truth it is discouraging to see all these embroiderers giving away their work. It really degrades all embroidery in my opinion. And you’re right, some aspects are definitely more fun than others. Ultimately I think the fun comes from whether this is something you are truly passionate about or whether it’s just a lark. This is my twentieth year digitizing and when I start getting down about the business, I go digitize something. For me, it’s like meditation, especially with lace or complicated redwork. It takes focus and I find it relaxing. I’d be in bliss if I could just digitize and let someone else do the embroidery!

I do have to say my husband, Bill, does help with the paper work but I still do all the techy & design stuff like maintaining the shopping cart, creating packaging, writing blog posts and everything else that goes on.  I’m sure you’ve seen those graphics of “what people think I do and what I really do.” One day a drew up a flow chart of how that relates to me. The “what I really do” was so long it was almost overwhelming! It still may end up as a blog post one of these days.

 Are you a perfectionist when it comes to embroidery?  

 I would say I’m a perfectionist but I guess really I strive for excellence. Absolute total perfection in embroidery with every stitch properly tensioned and in the exact place is unreasonable. There are some things we have to compromise on and there are also things I classify as “embroidery facts of life”—those uncontrollable things that just happen.

So what’s your main thought when it comes to digitizing? Do you do a test sew?  I know there are different types of test sews, especially when you are creating the design yourself vs creating a project using “tested” embroidery designs.  Some digitizers stitch the design out using the colors on their machine just to see what the design will look like (push pull angles etc).  

 I don’t digitize at top speed; I digitize with care. I’m reasonably fast but not as fast as I think I should be; quality is more important to me. I don’t use auto digitizing. And absolutely every design is test sewn! I’d never send a design out without test sewing. My husband Bill does a lot of the sewouts but I do test all the appliqués and I test them with fabric. I also sew the embroidery on my projects.

When testing, I look for efficiency. Does it sew in an orderly manner? Are colors duplicated that could be combined? I also watch for registration. I test on a multi-needle so I watch for missed trims. I program trim commands into the design and if I missed a trim function and there is a travel stitch, then I probably missed adding the tie stitches. I watch to see that underlay is consistent where possible.  When the design’s done, I visually inspect it carefully. I lay it down on a flat surface and run my fingers over it to see if there are lumps. Sometimes these can’t be avoided like very small eyes stitched on top of another layer. Larger eyes can have the under layer cut away but tiny dots can’t and isolated tiny dots on the surface must have tie ins and tie outs that make them even thicker.

I do watch a virtual sew out before ever sending the design to my machine to check for any potential problems. Virtual sew outs are no substitute for the real thing. A digital file is not embroidery! Embrilliance Essentials is a great tool for anyone to use to watch a design sew on screen.

I use “real” colors because we scan all our embroideries and then crop away the fabric for the images on the website and packaging I might not do that with a redwork design and just leave it rendered. I sometimes wonder about the sites that only post images of their designs from their software. Did they actually ever stitch them?

Sometimes I edit because of an actual problem and sometimes I edit because when I see it sew, I think of a way I’d rather do it. It’s a very basic design indeed that only has one way of being digitized!

Do you have any suggestions for those who are learning to digitize when doing their test sews?  How about a tip for someone stitching a design for the first time on a new fabric?

 I think all digitizers should sew their own designs out until they have a good mastery of digitizing. Watch every stitch sew. Notice if there are any ways to improve efficiency. Do you need to adjust colors? Sometimes I’ll sew a design out several times just to get the right colors. I always the list the colors and brands I used in the sewn sample. Color makes a huge difference in a design.

I think you should always test a design before sewing it. Maybe I’m paranoid but I know how many things can go wrong! Do test on the same or similar fabric (including color) with the stabilizer, needle, bobbin thread, and thread colors you plan to use. Also, be sure to hoop on grain; don’t just throw the fabric into the hoop willy nilly. Watch the design sew and notice if there are any problems. After sewing, check the design for any gaps or other registration issues and for tension problems. I’d rather spend the extra time on test sew than mess up something bigger.

People used to tell me all the time they never tested Cactus Punch designs because they knew it would sew right. Even I tested them before sewing on a project!

Do things ever slip by? Sure! Sometimes it happens during conversion. I do try to color the designs in the actual thread colors so you’re most likely to see the “right colors” in PES and VP3. Sometimes if the shades are too close and I’m converting to a format with a more restricted color palette, those colors get converted to the same color and the machine won’t stop. That’s why I recommend always downloading the DST. For one thing, that’s the design I actually sewed. It’s also the format I sew on my BabyLock and Viking. Many machines can read a DST and if yours can’t you should have some conversion software.

 When you digitize a design, do you have a particular execution plan in mind?  For example – do you create the design for a particular weight thread, fabric etc?  I see in your blog posts/newsletters that you do try out different things and give feedback (like snowflakes with the metallic thread newsletter post).  Are you always thinking “what if I…?”

I don’t always have a particular execution in mind but when I digitize designs for my collections, I do pick things I like. Right now I have a set of bobbin work that I need to make the final sample for so it does need a particular thread weight. Actually, the designs have been done since January and the project is the final hold up!

Mostly I digitize for 40 wt thread because that weight is the most popular and works well in most home machines. Using heavier or thinner threads may require some adjustments and if embroiderers aren’t aware, they won’t get good results and will likely blame it on the design. I want people to have successful results with the least amount of effort. Another reason I don’t often use different sized threads is that it requires too many adjustments on my multi-needle and I’m not willing to do that. That machine is very finicky.

Digitizing for 40 wt means the design will work well for popular brands of poly and rayon in those weights. Cottons tends to be either a little heavier or thinner. Some metallic threads may not run well in a standard embroidery design, which is why I really like the Softlight Metallic threads. They are smoother and softer and run like rayon. Also, I’m not a big on a lot of glitz for myself and these threads are more refined, not so garish.

I’ve been really amazed how well the Softlight works. For years I taught (and was taught!) that you can’t stitch short stitches in metallic thread but you really can with Softlight. There’s a free collection you get when you sign up for my newsletter that has composed of motifs with very short stitches and I stitched all those samples in Softlight.

Softlight Thread:

 Speaking of thread – you have a new Craftsy class out – CONGRATULATIONS!  You must have quite a bit of experience with different threads.  Who is this class geared towards?  the experienced embroiderer who wants to try new thread types or the beginner who doesn’t understand all the choices?

 Thanks Lisa! As you know from personal experience, doing a Craftsy class is a lot of work but the Craftsy people are amazing! My class is called Thread Savvy: Stitch Flawlessly With Any Thread. It is in the embroidery category and the class applies to hooped embroidery, free motion embroidery, and decorative sewing machine stitches. Beginners need to know which threads to use to start out. Poly? Rayon? Why? What kind of bobbin thread and why? I know there are some people who use sewing thread for embroidery but the only place I think it might be appropriate is for sewing seams for in-the-hoop projects. More adventurous embroiderers might like to know what other choices are available and how they can use them, such as whether tension adjustments need to be made or whether a different needle should be used. There are a lot of fun threads out there and you may not find them at your local dealer. You definitely won’t find them at the chain fabric stores!

I really cover a lot of territory on threads, needles, tensions, and the 10 tips for getting great results with metallics work well with any thread. I demo how to modify density on any design either at your machine or in software using Embrilliance products. I love that Embrilliance programs work on my Mac!

If you’d like to learn more about specialty threads then use this link for special pricing!   Craftsy class, Thread Savvy: Stitch Flawlessly With Any Thread:

 When it comes to thread at the machine, do you clip at the spool and pull thru the machine?  

Good question. It’s better to clip the thread at the spool and pull it through so you don’t end up with “thread snot” caught inside the machine where you can’t get it out. On my multi-needle, I clip at the spool and tie on the next thread and pull it through like you would on a serger.

The machines I use most have automatic thread trimmers. They pull the threads to the back and trim them leaving a short tail. I’ve had people who are neat freaks trim the tails flush with the fabric and then complain the stitches are falling out. The tail is security! Here’s another tip: if you are embroidering letters and trim between each one, only do it on the front. Apply a dot of seam sealant to keep the stitches secure.

If your machine doesn’t have automatic thread trimmers, then for best results you should leave a short tail on the front and pull it to the back. Truthfully, I never did that. I trimmed close on the front and left a tail on the back. Also, trim any jumps at each color change so you don’t sew them into your design.

 What are some important features you like on embroidery machines? Do you have any suggestions for those who are looking at getting an embroidery machine?

  I definitely want a machine that will read the common formats from a USB stick without some proprietary formatting. And I want to be able to organize my files into folders on the stick.

I want hoops that are very secure. Some of the newer machines with really large hoops jiggle. If you’re looking for a new machine, attach the largest hoop and put your finger opposite the attachment, wiggle it and see if it is stable.

 So what “new feature” would you like to see incorporated in a future model – oh wouldn’t it be nice if…..!

 I’d really like a machine that could magically manage tensions for perfect stitches every time with an anti-birdnesting feature. I think it would be cool to have one of those jet-threader things like on the Baby Lock sergers on my my multi-needle machine.

I really have a longer list of items I’d like to see in my digitizing software since that is where I focus most of my time!

 I’m right there with you on those tension and anti-birdnesting features!  Sign me up!  Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to chat with me about machine embroidery!  I know that I enjoyed finding out a bit more about you and think others will find your expertise not only useful but interesting!

For those interested in getting more information and the special pricing on Lindee’s class at Craftsy here is the link!

Lindee’s “online residence” is at

Craftsy classes on sale!

If you are not familiar with Craftsy or think its just about sewing and machine embroidery, you may want to check it out!  The classes available span all sorts of artistic endeavors from cake decorating to gardening to water color painting or photography.  Of course, my favorites are those with Sewing & Embroidery, but what fun to take a class on a new topic- just to try it out!

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How I create a cutting file of my Appliqué embroidery design for my Silhouette Cameo or Brother ScanNCut

I love that there is a way to cut fabric shapes for appliqué that is as simple as printing a document or pressing the copy button on a photocopying machine. Technology may be a bit frustrating at times to grasp, but once you do, man do the ideas of “what can I try next?” come flooding on in.  So when I got my Cameo, I knew I had to find a way to create the shapes for my appliqué embroidery designs – the exact size so there would be no trimming at the machine.

Original designNow, I will tell you a secret….all these steps are going to be completely obsolete in a few weeks.  But in the meantime, this is how I get a cutting file that matches my embroidery appliqué design.

Embrilliance Print PreferencesHere is the sample design open in my software – on the right I see the two design objects for the lettering and the frame.  At the bottom right I see the color breaks in the design.  I use Embrilliance Essentials and this program has a nice function of being able to print a selected color.  For those with a Brother ScanNCut, all you need to do is make this choice in your printing preferences, select the color of the run stitch, print, scan and cut.  BOOM how easy was that?!


I do suggest that you change the thread color before you print to something with high contrast.  Black or Dark Blue or Brown for example will work quite nicely.  You can always change it back if you need to :-)

Since I also print actual size templates of my regular embroidery designs, I have gotten used to using the Print Preview when I am on my Windows computer – in case I forgot to uncheck this preference…. yup if you have nothing selected, nothing will print.  Using print preview reminds me right away to either change the setting or simply go to Edit > Select All then print again.  Always more than one solution to the problem at hand.

So that’s great for the ScanNCut, but how do I get something that my Cameo can use?  Like I mentioned – there are many different ways to accomplish a task – this just happens to be my way.  AND you’re going to keep an eye out on my blog, because in a few weeks I’m going to show you something that will make you flip!  And for those on the fence for getting a cutting machine – it could be what says “Go For It!” but let’s get started with the steps.

First, I again go to the Preferences and this time choose Grid and set it for 1 inch (25.4mm).  Be sure to apply and that the grid option is checked under the View menu.  The one inch grid is going to help us make sure we create the correct size cutting file.

Step1Next, I expand the appliqué design so I see all of the object breaks and select the running stitch for the shape.  It can be either the placement or the material – sometimes the material color will have a more detailed cut line so you will want to use that one.  If the appliqué has a “hole” in it, like the letter A – the placement may just be the outside line of stitching but the material run will also have the hole stitched so you can trim it.  So check to see which one is the best to use.

When I have this object selected, I check to make sure that I can see the line on screen.  If I can see the line, I’m ready to take a screen capture of what I’m looking at.  I use a program called SnagIt but there are many other programs out there.  You can even use the SHIFT+PRT SCR command in Windows which is on every windows computer.  If you do not have a screen capture program or don’t know how to take one, I recommend that you go to your favorite search engine and type in “how to I take a screen capture in Windows XYZ” where XYZ is the name of your operating system.  This will be the best way for you to find the best way for your to do this.

Cameo2The next step is to open this graphic of the embroidery design into the Studio software.  I have not upgraded to the newest version yet – not enough hours in the day!  But what you want to do is change the size of the picture of the design by dragging the handles – and matching the 1 inch grid of the graphic with the 1 inch grid of the studio software.  This is the key – the graphic must be the exact size in order to create the correct size cut file.

I can not simply type in the size because I don’t know what the size is.  The “size” that you type into the Studio software is of the entire graphic, not the stitch line that I want to create.  Using the grid was the simplest way that I have figured out to make sure that the picture of the embroidery design is the exact match so that the resulting cut file will work.  Getting the right size is the most important part of the information I want to give you.  I am in no way an expert in the Studio software!  I just know enough to get the job done that I want to do without too much work.

Cameo3Since I am not using the current version of Cameo Studio, what you see may be a bit different.  I use the freehand drawing tool to quickly click and make an outline that sort of looks like the shape I want.  Creating the perfect shape on the first pass is never my intention.  I use the node/point editing tool to reshape to create an exact match to the line of stitching.  I always find it easier to edit something than to try and draw it perfect the first time.

If you are not familiar with how to use the Cameo Studio software, I would recommend you check out the tutorials on the Studio website.

If you are more of a visual person, I would check out their youtube channel:

Now one might ask why I don’t use the tracing function.  When you bring in a low resolution image like a screen capture,  you get a message about not getting a smooth cut file.  Even if I brought in just the running stitch line – two problems exist.  One, you have a grid that the software will try to “trace” as well.  It doesn’t know you don’t want to cut the grid.  So if you trace the design, you’ll have to go back in and delete.  So using the grid technique to size the graphic to create the correct size doesn’t work well with the tracing function.

But like I said – there is always more than one way to get to the final result – you may find a better way!  I just hope that the information presented helps those that haven’t tried using their Cameo to cut appliqué shapes!  Have fun!

And don’t forget to follow my blog to get the exciting news I’ve been hinting about :-)  Seriously – its gonna be wicked cool and you don’t want to miss out on news!

Until next time – may your bobbins be full!

Click Here for information on all of the affordable easy to use Embrilliance products!

Click Here for information on all of the affordable easy to use Embrilliance products!


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