Something new to watch for in machine embroidery

Just imagine being able to modify embroidery designs without digitizing software

Just imagine being able to modify embroidery designs without digitizing software

For my last blog post for 2013 I’d like to share with you something new from Embrilliance machine embroidery software that I think is pretty exciting. And to top it all off, they are introducing this new type of embroidery design with some FREE design libraries.  Please continue reading – grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage because I’m going to get chatty and in the midst of all that chatter is going to be some useful information.  It might even spark some interest and ideas on what could be next on the horizon.  Don’t worry – you will get the links to the free stuff – but don’t you want to know why these designs are different than anything else out there?

And you really don’t want to miss out on the information about the FREE SOFTWARE that lets you play and save these designs to your embroidery machine.  Yes, you read that correctly – free software if you don’t already have Embrilliance….but I’m not going to get ahead of myself.  Did you get your beverage of choice yet?  I’ll be here when you get back!

As you see from the picture here, it looks like these are just your ordinary machine embroidery applique designs.  Well they are definitely not ordinary!  These are what we call “Moddies” or “user modify-able” embroidery designs.  I’ve been “modifying” embroidery designs for years with stitch editing software, what makes these so special?  Think about it…. you download an applique design and if you have a stitch file resizer you can make it bigger or smaller without too much trouble, you can move the pieces around like the leaves or petals, but you had better make sure you grab all the stitching lines when you move stuff else nothing will line up again.  And this isn’t always an easy task because applique designs don’t show a fill stitch in your editing software. Selecting all the pieces is not hard to do but you have to be careful and pay attention.  Sounds about right?  Well let me show you something cool……

First – what if yoFabric or noneu could see a fabric preview of the applique designs?  No, I’m not kidding and YES I said free software, hold your horses!  This was the coolest thing ever when I first saw it in EmbroideryWorks with the Accuquilt dies. (Embrilliance is made by the same company that makes the Designer’s Gallery software so if things look familiar….) Now you can have this function in the Moddies.  How cool is this to be able to actually see what the finished design will look like with a fabric preview!

Want to change the color of the fabric? all you have to do is click on the color chip for the finishing stitch (color #3 in your standard applique design) choose a different color and the fabric color is updated. The color chips I refer to are shown in the properties pane in the lower right hand side of the screen.

I saw this one feature and was sold but you may not be as easily impressed as I am ….so I will continue with the neat-o cool features of Moddie embroidery designs!

Your project - your choice!

Your project – your choice!

I’m not a huge fan of the “satin finishing stitch” for machine embroidery applique designs. I used to love to do machine applique with a blanket stitch way before I got my first embroidery machine.  It was too much work to get the satin to have a smooth curve so I stayed away from it on the sewing machine. Yes, the satin is forgiving because it covers the bloopers and raw edge so it is the finishing stitch of choice for most machine embroidery applique designs.  But for me, I love the E-Stitch and blanket stitch options.  WELL, just think if YOU had the ability to take that applique design and decide what type of finishing stitch it had!

Select the object and click on the Applique tab in the property pane (where the color chips were in the last picture).

YOU could choose to which finishing stitch to use on the selected object and YES YOU could choose to put satin on one and blanket on another!….and…you can choose the stitch settings like the width and length to match the size or look you are going for!  OK – now you have to admit seeing the flame applique with fabric looks pretty cool doesn’t it?  So much more visually descriptive than just lines of stitching, no?

all togetherSo what if you wanted to move some stuff around – like say add the leaves to the flower in different spots? or maybe take those petals on the flower and combine them to make a four leaf clover instead?  When you select the “object” in the object pane on the right top side, like the leaf for example, it is selected in the design page.  Look at the “color breaks” of this one object in the properties pane on the lower right.  HOLY SMOKES!  All three sets of stitches – the placement, the tackdown the finishing stitch – they are all selected at one time so you can move this little leaf all together wherever you want it in the design page!  OH and you see that little blue circle in the upper right corner of the selection?  That lets you rotate the selected object!  All together – at one time.  OH and see the black handles on the object?  That lets you resize the selected object — all together!

And just as if you were using a digitizing program and creating this yourself with stitch properties…..when you make these modifications to the “moddie design”….wait for it……the stitches are recalculated based on the new shape/size/properties you chose.  So YES, a shape with a blanket stitch going around the edge will actually have more perpendicular stitches added!  This does NOT happen when you simply resize an ordinary applique design with a stitch file resizer like BuzzSize, Embird or even Embrilliance!  This is a function of the design file itself that is activated and accessible in the Embrilliance software.  This happens because this library of designs are Moddies – the latest greatest thing to hit the machine embroidery world.

OK, I know you have heard enough from me about this and I’m sure you want to go play and have some fun 🙂  I did say the designs were free and that you could play with them in free software, so here are the details – I didn’t say here is the catch!  There is no catch!  This design library is free – the Express mode software is free and here is what you need to do to get it.

FIRST, if you already own an Embrilliance customizing program – Essentials, AlphaTricks, Enthusiast or DRK – all you have to do is download the BX file and drag and drop it onto your program and it will install the library files.

SECOND, if you do NOT have Embrilliance software you can still play with these designs using Embrilliance Express mode software.  It is a limited functioning program – it doesn’t have a serial number.  What it allows you to do is use BX files that you have – like purchased alphabet designs in the BX format become keyboard fonts or these moddie designs can be utilized and saved to a stitch file for your machine.

Click here to go to the Embrilliance website

Click here to go to the Embrilliance website!

To get the Moddies, you will want to go to the Embrilliance website, click on the User’s Forum link in the left column and choose the SHARE! forum.  You will see a post made on Dec 24th 2013 by Lisa SewBubbles (that’s me) and you will want to click on that post.

I would highly ….no, strongly recommend that you read this forum post as well because it gives you even MORE information about how to install and access the designs…. with pretty pictures!  And once you read that forum post you will land right at the download link for the moddie library!

If you do not have Embrilliance customizing software and need to get Embrilliance Express mode, you will want to go to the downloads page on the Embrilliance website and select the download for your operating system.  Oh, did I happen to mention that this FREE software will run on EITHER a Mac or a Windows computer, just like the full versions!  Really cool stuff going on at the Embrilliance website!

Click here to go to the Embrilliance website

Click here to go to the Embrilliance website

This is what the Downloads page looks like – do not choose the demonstration version but rather select the program here.  When you download the program, install it and open the program, you are prompted for a serial number.  You get a serial number if you purchase the program so simply choose Done to close the serial number dialog box and you will be informed that you are now running in Express mode. It is a limited function program that allows you to use BX files you have purchased or downloaded.  You will do this each time you open the program when you are running Express Mode.

And just think of the possibilities with Embrilliance!  Using the moddie library design and Embrilliance Express mode, you too can create the following design in a few minutes.  All I have to do now is go to File > Save Stitch file as….save the design to my USB and put it in the machine to stitch.  How cool is that!

The sky is the limit!

The sky is the limit!














Until next time!  Happy New Year!  May 2014 bring you health happiness and lots of smiles.



Holiday Projects – getting organized

Once December rolls around I find that once again I know I have at least 50 projects I want to complete for the holidays.  And yes I also know that there will never be enough time in the days to get them all done.  But this year I have been trying to stay organized in many of the aspects in my life so I am thinking that maybe I can use technology to keep my creativity in check.

When I got Melvin the Mac, I realized the power of Evernote – it hit me like a bolt of fabric coming off the shelf.  Evernote is a free program that you can get for the Mac, PC, iPad and other devices. Oh yes, there are LOTS of free apps out there and sometimes “you get what you pay for” but this program is a GOLDMINE!  First, here’s the website – – where you can download the program and even access the web version from anywhere even on someone else’s computer if you are traveling.  Second, while you are installing stuff, you may want to make sure that you get the “Evernote Webclipper” for your browser.  It may be installed automatically, but I needed to install it for Firefox and Safari on the Mac.

Operation Organized Holiday!

Operation Organized Holiday!

So the first thing I did was create a “notebook” for my December projects.  I like to think of this folder as my corkboard where I have all my sticky notes, cut out articles from magazines, photos of stuff that inspires me.  This notebook will have everything in it that relates to my December projects.

For example, I know I want to stitch out the free standing snowflake designs from Lindee G Designs and use them as gift tag decorations on presents. Snowflakes match everyone’s holiday decor and if they attach a ribbon to the end they can even double as a bookmark.  I have one for my cookie cookbook – can’t imagine anyone who got this handmade gift who would not be thrilled. Its even something that they could “regift” as a gift tag on another gift! So to remind myself to stitch these out, I created a note called Gift tags and put a picture from her website (following the directions from the webclipper thing I installed).  Even though the purchased designs have instructions with them, I know myself quite well and again included the note that you need to stitch with TWO threads in the needle to get a better result – the one thread sample is too lightweight and hanging on my tree 🙂  You can type any information you want, insert any picture you have, there is really no limit.

Next I created a note about the personalized ornaments I wanted to make.  Got the idea from my friend Lyn of and thought of all the puppy dog owners I knew and wouldn’t it be great to make some personalized ornaments for the furry four legged friends in our lives! Do NOT shake your head at me 🙂  I know each of you reading this has added some project like this to their to do list at some time in your life 🙂 Fabric artists are giving people and love to share what they make.  I saw these designs and thought PERFECT.  So I made a list of the doggie names with check boxes next to each one and as soon as they are stitched I will check them off and go on to the next one.  And just so that I would remember the font and some of the settings I had used, I included a screen capture in the note.  Who knows, I might have to do this again next year and I’m pretty sure I will not remember what I had for lunch the day before nevermind what software settings I used a year ago!

Now what is really cool about this whole thing is that whatever I add or update on Melvin, it synced with my Desktop, my laptop and my iPad! If I had an iPhone it could be there too!

Susan O'Very Free DesignSo I’m browsing email and get a free design notice from Sealed with a Stitch on my iPad – don’t want to download it here but I do want to get it, so I make a note and add the webclip from her page as a reminder.  Remind me to get the design AND what I thought I might do with it 🙂

So just think, you’re in the store and see this holiday fabric that would be perfect to embroider and make holiday wine coasters.  Not something that is on your list yet but you can take a picture of the fabric with your iphone, add it to Evernote  (and I refer to Evernote as Lilly because she really is my personal assistant) with “wine coasters for the holiday party at work at Pam’s house”.  Next week when you find the fabric and go “I bought this for something” you can check Lilly and there is the idea! Better yet, when you wake up and head to the sewing room for 30 minutes and want to work on something but don’t know what it is you have to do, all I do is log into Lilly on whatever computer is handy and see what it is that I haven’t done yet or want to do. That’s the exciting part – you don’t need to do anything to get the information from one computer/tablet/phone to the next.  Its all done for you automatically – almost like elves!

So that’s my attack plan for staying organized this holiday season and hopefully get more projects completed and out of the UFO pile.  I feel confident that having Lilly with me, I can stay on track and get stuff done.  Happy holidays!