February Project Planning

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2013 was to blog about one embroidery project per month. January kind of blew on by, but I did finish up some other projects in the sewing room….and although I didn’t write about them, they have prepared me mentally to take on this challenge starting in February AND more importantly cleaned up the sewing dungeon a bit so I could start and finish these new monthly projects.


February Project

So what have I selected as my February project?  This awesome unisex messenger bag! http://www.sew4home.com/projects/storage-solutions/freespirit-rowan-1010-series-unisex-urban-shoulder-bag-tula-pinksalt

It has both large and small “canvases” for embroidery embellishment and I get to practice some of my sewing skills with different fabrics to create the finished project.  I just LOVE Tula Pink’s fabric line, but I’m not going to use it in my project for a couple reasons.  First, I don’t have any in my stash and I’d really like to continue my success in using some of what I already have.  Second, I want the embroidery to be the showcase of the project, so I need to make sure whatever fabric I do choose it doesn’t overwhelm the stitching.

So the first step after printing the instructions was to browse through my design stash looking for inspiration.  Most of the time I start with the design in mind and work the project around that.  Make a purse or jacket that follows the style or theme of the design I want to stitch.  This time I was working out of my comfort zone and going from project to finding the design – it was a challenge to make this change.  But challenging myself is what 2013 is all about for me so I embraced it and had fun perusing my design stash.

This was so easy to do with the Embrilliance Thumbnailer program in front of the TV!  Once you install Thumbnailer, all of your designs show up as pictures in Windows Explorer. Like how cool is that!  I made a folder on my desktop called “Possibilities” and then just browsed my design stash.  When I found something that looked like it had potential, I just hit CTRL+C on my keyboard when the design was selected, clicked on the folder on my desktop and hit CTRL+V and in popped a copy of the design.  This was just part of my process that I thought I would share with you!

So during the Fringe Series Finale on Tivo (I think they ended the series very well by the way) I collected 36 designs in my “possibilities” folder.  During this week’s episode of Bones, I made my decision and I kind of thing that these two tv shows kind of had an influence on my choice!  I was really gravitating towards techie designs that I could take apart and customize into new groupings and this is the one that I selected:

I thought it was kind of cool and there were a lot of elements I could work with from the key to the swirls to the gears.

Besides the “style” of the design having an impact on my decision, I like to open the design in Essentials and look at the object components of the design.  To do this, click on the down arrow next to the design in the object pane and this expands the design into each of the color breaks.

By doing this, I could see that the digitizer planned this design to stitch in a particular order for layering and most of the elements were complete – the key, the swirls and some of the gears. I don’t want to work too hard to make the design unique to me, so I look for these key features.

Also key is running the stitch simulator to see how the design is going to sew.  How much underlay is there?  Am I going to need extra stabilizer when I break this apart?  Luckily, because this is not a majorly dense design, I will not be interrupting the foundation stitches so the integrity of the design will be intact and I will use the stabilizer based upon my fabric choice.

So what are my next steps? I have a routine that I follow – right or wrong, it’s mine – and that’s what we will follow here in this blog 🙂  So my first step, before I even start working in the software is to print a template of this design on a heavier weight paper and I mark the center crosshair and trim closer to the outside edge of the design.  I sometimes print on transparency film, but heavier weight paper is my choice today.  Not card stock, but what I got on sale is 24lb presentation paper.  Its just a little heavier so that it can handle the manhandling I might have to do trying to plan my embroidery.  I start with a copy of the original just to get an idea of the size of the design and see how the components might work on the pieces.

So now I have to select my fabrics, read the instructions and decide which pieces are going to get embroidered.  Once I decide this, I make notes on my instructions AND cut those pieces 1-2″ bigger in each dimension and this will depend on the fabric I select and the test sew that I stitch of this original design on that fabric. Yes I do a test sew because I need to know how much pull/shrinkage their might be once I unhoop.  I will get more into that once I select my fabrics!  So that is all for today!  Will catch up with you again once I do.

Until then, happy stitching!


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