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.
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 🙂
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.
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
No matter which Embrilliance program you are using – the free Express mode with BX files, Essentials, AlphaTricks, Density Repair Kit or Enthusiast – its super easy to save the designs you have created. I even show you how to overcome the most common error of “the design doesn’t show up at my machine, why?”
I’ve recently joined a few new embroidery groups on Facebook that are machine specific. I’ve found the conversations quite interesting, the projects are just as adorable as ever, and most of the people are looking to their online community for answers, tips and tricks – just like I was back in the 90s! So this blog post is dedicated to all those starting out. Thanks for turning back the clock!
So – the “Basting Box”
What is she talking about – we’re embroidering not sewing! Some machines have a function built into them that will baste a design. What this is, is a long running stitch that can go in a box shape at the border of a design OR around the entire hoop. This will stitch first, before the design stitches. Software programs like Embrilliance Essentials allow you to add a basting box to an existing design. This is handy if your machine doesn’t have this function. If you don’t have software yet – I’ve provided a link here for a 100×100 basting box in the PES format so that you can actually try using one and see if it works for you.
Link to zipped file Zipped_BastingBox_4x4.zip
I’ve found the basting box so useful, that it is part of every single design I stitch and can’t imagine not going to Utility > Basting Box before I send a design to my machine. Here are the reasons why:
- It is a long running stitch that attaches the stabilizer to the fabric. When using adhesive stabilizer it is an extra safeguard against fabric shift.
- If you are using a topping, and I use a topping on every single embroidery design as well, it holds that in place.
- You don’t need to use pins as your extra set of hands in the hoop
- Doesn’t matter what color thread you use – I normally use the first color in the design because I’m lazy. If you want use a thread color that blends into the background fabric, if you are multiple hooping a design and the basting box is covered by stitches or you miss clipping some, it will be less noticeable.
- It takes less time to stitch a basting box than to drag out Peggy’s Stitch Eraser to fix an oops. This goes right along with “measure twice, check it one more time, then make the cut”
In the software….
It would be easier for me to show you how to add the basting box using Embrilliance Essentials, so I created this short video and posted it to my youtube channel. Please feel free to subscribe to LisaSewBubbles on youtube if you would like to have a notice sent to you when other videos have been posted!
If you don’t have software….
If you don’t yet have software I included a link to a 4×4 basting box earlier. What you would do is simply load this to your machine as a design and stitch it first. Then while the hoop is still at the machine, stitch the actual design. It would be just like the following, except you have two designs, not the basting box in the design. Consider the basting box to be color 0 – – – just saved in its own file.
At the machine…
So this is what happens at the machine. I have loaded my design that has been saved with the basting box added (watch the video above if you missed this part). You will see that the first color is the box – I normally stitch this in the same color as color #2, the first actual part of the design.
I hoop my stabilizer – adhesive stabilizer or in this case a simple tearaway with Mettler Web Bond sprayed on – and place my fabric in the hoop. If I was “hooping” a child’s t-shirt for example, I would hoop polymesh stabilizer (my favorite for knits), spray, turn the shirt inside out for easier placement in the hoop and tape it, clamp it, pin it out of the way. I normally do not pin to the stabilizer in the hoop simply because I find that with smaller hoops I have to “man handle” the stabilizer too much and that can stretch it or cause shifting…resulting in not so stable foundation.
I’m ready to go to the machine – so I attach the hoop and float my water soluable stabilizer on top and stitch color #1 – the box – which attaches all three layers in one step. Nice and stable.
Now I stitch the rest of the design…
I decided to come upstairs and finish the blog post so the design is not yet finished! I will be updating this post with the zip file link in a few minutes.
Once the design is done, I will snip the basting bobbin threads from the back side to remove the basting stitch using my Kai 5100C scissors. Remove the top basting stitch and pull the WSS away from the design. I then take the design out of the hoop and if I had used polymesh or cutaway stabilizer I would use my Kai 5135C curved scissors with the slightly blunted tip to trim the cutaway really close. I normally trim my jump stitches at the machine (using my Kai 5130DC double curved scissors that are super sharp and go over the hoop. If I hadn’t I would trim the jumps BEFORE I removed the washaway on top – simply because if its easier to trim jumps with the WSS there and then it’s cleaner to remove it without the jumps possibly catching on the WSS.
Hope this now makes some sense.
If you are interested in getting more information on Essentials or any of the Embrilliance programs, please click on this link to be taken to their website!
If you’ve read my blog, you know that I have been having way too much fun with the Embrilliance software programs these days. Besides being able to use the same program on my Mac and my PC (no need to learn yet another program) I really enjoy the simplicity and natural order of how the programs look and feel. Stuff like the radio buttons to switch between Metric and Inches are right there at the top left menu bar. I mean it sounds like such a small thing. I sometimes feel alone in my happy little round number metric world when it comes to embroidery. But to quickly switch between measurements – bam! – it’s a really big thing for me to not have to go to some hidden preferences setting to switch to inches to help a friend who feels more comfortable in inches.
And most people could care less about a detail like that ease of use feature – but just think. If they took that much time in their planning of their software from a user interface point of view for the little things, the big things, the things that matter just have to follow suit. The first program I got started with is Essentials — what a great name! Think about the top 5 things you do in machine embroidery software every day. I like to look at my designs, find the one I want to stitch and customize it – to be honest after the very first design I stitched, I don’t think I have ever simply loaded a design as is to the machine and hit start. After the first one, it was – OK that was fun – NOW what can we do to that design! I’m a “onesy type of gal” – each project is unique in its own right 🙂
So using the Merge stitch file, I can look at all my designs and choose the one(s) I want in my layout. Now I can have some fun with customizing! Essentials lets me resize (and recalculates the stitches). I can overlap designs — eek, but I used to have to careful when I did that because stitching two designs on top of each other makes one DENSE section — but not with Essentials! It will automatically remove the stitches from the one underneath in a smart way so there is no gap. And you don’t have to do anything for this to happen! Just save the design!
How about adding some text? There are built in fonts that can be scaled up and down – you can create multiline text without some silly character limit! Its got enveloping so you can shape the fonts into monogram style. You can even create circular or arched text! Now you may have seen some digitizers like Jolson’s, Rivermill Embroidery, Lindee G Embroidery, Great Notions (and new ones coming on) offering designs in the BX format? This means that you can add new custom fonts to the program with a drag and drop of the BX file onto the program. So you can use that zebra applique curly font to create a design that says LISA by simply using the lettering tool and selecting this font you added. Wicked simple – the letters are all lined up, and you can adjust spacing/layout just like a built in font. Now I said applique, right? That would normally mean you would have to stitch out each letter in whole by itself – not with the smart color sort in Essentials! Utility > Sort Colors and BAM! sorted on the save.
All of these functions and more are part of the Essentials program — just enough of fun customizing tools so you can make your design unique to you, send it to the machine and start percolating on the next project! And don’t get me started on the other programs! Holy smokes I can get side tracked for HOURS creating new designs without digitizing a stitch 🙂
A friend of mine was asked what software she thought was the best and I think her response was SPOT ON! The best software for YOU is the one that you use to get the job done so you can start stitching. So if you have software and you aren’t using it, ask yourself why? Does it feel like a really awkward first date when you open the program? Maybe its just not the right match for you! We all learn differently and what makes sense to me may not make sense to you and vice versa. If you don’t have software – be sure that you check out what’s available to you – make a list of what YOU find to be important features. What do YOU find to be essential? Ya never know, maybe you and Embrilliance Essentials are a compatible couple 🙂
Now there are few companies that let you return software – its just not part of the industry standard. Embrilliance broke all those rules with a 90 day money back guarantee. They want everyone to be happy and say so right on the first page of their website!
And to offer some warm up savings on their Facebook page, they are now offering a coupon code for the month of January and told everyone to share it and spread the word! Use FB114 for the coupon code in the shopping cart to get the savings. So I’m doing my part 🙂
Here is a shortened link to the website – checkout the programs, the user’s forum, ask questions via Contact Us.
Stay tuned next week — I talked about stabilizers last time and got to thinking what else is part of the “underside” of embroidery? No I’m not talking about underground secret societies! Think about your bobbins….that’s where we’re going next!
Until next time – Happy Stitching!
As I am getting ready to write this week’s blog, I realized that I forgot to post this one! Silly me — too much going on this summer with wildfires in Colorado, visitors and traveling! No worries – here is the post on the kitty bowl placemats that I created from a bargain I got at the Dollar Store!
First the designs are part of an adorable set of applique kitty designs that were purchased from A Design by Lyn. I brought the designs into Embrilliance AlphaTricks and added lettering using imported fonts. This technique is shown in the following video I created and posted to the BriTon Leap YouTube channel.
Once the designs were created and saved, I was ready to stitch them onto the placemats. As I mentioned, these were a real bargain at the Dollar Store. If they were $1 a piece, that would be a bargain, but these for 5 for $1 so they really were a great deal. I know, five is an odd number for a set of placemats, but for my purposes I wasn’t using them as a set so I didn’t care that the dye lots were quite off in each color. In addition to the colors being a little off, they were not the most on-grain or squared up placemats! Using a template for placement was necessary and printing is available in the Embrilliance programs.
So once I had my crosshair marked I was ready to stitch the design. This is an applique design, so it stitched the placement line for the first applique fabric section. I used a bamboo felt for the kitty body and held it in place with a quick spray of Mettler Web Bond adhesive spray – remember less is more so a quick spray goes a long way!
Trimming away the fabric from the stitching line is a BREEZE using the Kai 5130DC blunted tip scissors. The bend in the handle goes over the hoop very easily. The blunted/polished tip stops the point from shearing the base fabric and like all KAI scissors, they are sharp all the way to the point!
So, that’s the stitching part of the placemats! For more information on the software used, please click on my link here in this blog post.
Happy Stitching! Lisa
In a previous post about lining up two or more designs in Embrilliance Essentials, I provided a zipped file with the alignment lines in it. This did get me thinking….”wouldn’t it be nice if there was a library available of various types of alignment stitches right in the program?” I happened to mention this to Brian Bailie and I would say within 5 minutes he sent me this file and said “will this work?” So we did some tweaking and and testing to make sure there were no serious issues on my computers and we are now ready to let you guys test it if you want!
So how do you get this library of alignments? Download the Alignments.BX file from this link. YES, if you have AlphaTricks or have seen the video, you know exactly what a BX file is! Its like a design file with an installer included in it. This is why when some of you asked “how do I convert my designs to the BX format” – – it really isn’t a format per se. A BX file can contain a pre-mapped alphabet collection OR a set of embroidery designs OR…oh wait I can’t say anymore 🙂 You’ll just have to wait and see what Embrilliance has in store for you!
Here is the download link: Alignments.bx file
So, you download the BX file. Open Embrilliance Essentials and drag and drop the BX file onto the design page. You’ll get a nifty little window saying that the alignments have been added to your library, just like this:
So now you go up to the little gear button – where you would normally get your built in library designs – and from the pulldown menu at the top choose Embrilliance Alignments and you will see the new files available in the library:
You can add these to your designs just like you would any of the library files! If you want a center crosshair to stitch in the center of you hoop first (to put a cross on the stabilizer at the center of your hoop) insert the cross and make sure it stitches first! You know I love to use alignment lines to line up designs because they are the most accurate from a mathematical point of view. If you have a 36″ ruler on a table – it is really obvious when it is not straight because it is so long. If you have a toothpick on the same table – it could be off and you wouldn’t know it because its too small. The “points of reference” of the yardstick are 36″ apart – a toothpick is maybe 2″ apart? BUT ANYWAY – I digress 🙂
Because there are many different types of alignment objects that people are familiar with, we put a whole bunch of them together in this library – you choose which you like to use to get the best results! And yes you can resize these in the software.
Now, please know that we are providing them as a BX file today so you can try them out and give us feedback at http://www.Embrilliance.com and click on Contact Us. Please do not post a question on Facebook or this blog if you want it answered quickly by someone in support! I have no idea if wordpress will tell me if there is a message here in a timely manner and I would hate for you to think I was ignoring you!! The Embrilliance team wants to hear from you if you are having issues so that they can be addressed before the next update comes out! Because YES the plan is to include this file in a future update — unless everyone hates it :-O
So – here’s to lining stuff up! Look for some future posts that talk about using my favorites!
Until next time, happy stitching!
I simply love SewExpo in Puyallup, WA. It has traditionally been my first event of the year and this year is no exception. What’s different this year is that I have some exciting news for those of you that LOVE machine embroidery! You might remember me as “Lisa from Buzz Tools” well I’m trying something NEW this year!! YES, I’m “re-inventing myself” at SewExpo as Lisa SewBubbles — still hooked on machine embroidery software, still having fun with embroidery software, still JUST AS ADDICTED to machine embroidery as all of you :-)….and this year, with all the change in my life, I thought maybe I would go a little crazy in my one-needle class (#1090) Machine Embroidery Embellishment.
Normally I provide a handout in class – the class notes stapled with coupons and goodies (I do like to follow the rules because I so appreciate the volunteers!!).
This year because I’m here at the show as Lisa Shaw – Machine Embroidery Software Specialist – I thought I might just go a bit “crazy Daisy” — I have a new puppy called Daisy and she is an embellished canine as you will see! Some of my friends who are digitizers and have worked with and supported me over the years have really gone above and beyond for me this year. We have put together a CD containing over 20 professionally digitized designs, some projects, tips and tricks! I think its priceless, but it is at least worth $75 just for the 20+ designs. Everyone that attends one of my classes is going to get this CD as my gift to them! Yes, this is in addition to the handout that is normally stapled and I will figure out a way to staple this all together — because I may bend the rules but I don’t break them 🙂
AND WAIT there’s more! Sheesh I feel like a Ginsu knife commercial! You all know that I love machine embroidery and believe that the computer is supposed to help us be creative not be an anchor dragging us down. Well I’ve found new to me software that is easy, and fun, and affordable AND will run on a Mac or a Windows Computer – yes you’ve heard that right! Affordable and will run on either a Mac or a PC — I know I couldn’t believe it either so I had to try it out for myself. And because I am so excited about these programs that – I am giving away a free copy, a $45 value, in each of my seminars. I told you, I am going CRAZY DAISY this SewExpo! I might even wear zebra stripes on Friday!
So what have you got to lose? Worst case scenario you get to take a 40 minute break, get a CD of designs, spend some time with me in the classroom and learn a little bit about what you can do with machine embroidery software.
If you have a Mac and always heard that you have to use Windows to do machine embroidery – let me show you otherwise!
Even if you are just thinking about joining our addiction — whoops I mean thinking about getting an embroidery machine – or better yet, you have an embroidery machine and the embroidery unit is still in the box…yes, I’ve met a few of you over the years 🙂
Sign up for my one needle class, Machine Embroidery Embellishment#1090 and see what this is all about.
Can’t wait for SewExpo 2013 to begin — this will be a stellar event!
all my best, safe travels! Lisa