Wrangling Water Soluble Wrinkles

There are so many fantastic uses for water soluble fabric type stabilizer, particularly when you are stitching in the hoop projects and freestanding applique projects.

But have you ever come home from the store and get your stabilizer out of the bag only to find it looking like this? I have even bought it by the bolt and had it wrapped like this. Wrinkles upon wrinkles. Now what?

Wrinkles are bad for both stabilizer and fabric. Stabilizer is the foundation for good embroidery. If it has wrinkles in it, the design can shift and registration will be off, possibly ruining your project.

Even though fabric type water soluble stabilizers appear rather delicate, pulling on them won’t release the wrinkles.

Believe it or not, you can iron fabric type water soluble stabilizer!

Be sure to use a medium-warm iron without steam. Even the slightest drop of moisture will disintegrate the stabilizer. If you have been using steam just prior to ironing fabric type water solubles, use the iron on another fabric first to be sure the steam has completely ceased.

Gently press the wrinkles from the stabilizer. It will be perfectly flat and ready to hoop for more successful embroidery projects.

Embroidery Pops on Black

Embroider bright colors on a back background and you have a project that pops.

Finding true black fabrics are key to bump up the contrast. Kona makes a 100% cotton broadcloth that is a bit heavier than normal quilting cottons.  If your black fabric is on the thin side, you may want to add interfacing. Shape Flex is a good choice and it is available in black.

Applique, like these trendy tulips by Blue Stitch Sky, provides more real estate to contrast with the black background.

Thicker lacy designs, like this one from the paisley quilt collection by C-Some-Stitches, are really beautiful when embroidered on black.

The bullion rose doily by Ace Points  would make a stunning decorative pillow. Even though it is a freestanding lace design, it could be stitched on fabric.

This flower monogram, by Dainty Stitches, jumps off of the fabric, almost glowing against a crisp back background.

Softer designs, like the multi-colored Rippled Butterfies by Ace Points

and the tonal floral mandala from Kreations by Kara, look quite dimensional.

Designs like the Khokhloma neck ornament by Art Embroidery can give, even a standard t-shirt, a touch of elegance.

Stitching any of these designs with a 30-weight cotton thread will separate the embroidery from the fabric even more.


Add Interest With Variegated Thread

Variegated thread can add interest and appeal to your embroidery designs, especially when combined with decorative stitching.

Most thread manufacturers produce variegated thread. Some are tone on tone, variations of the same color, while others are combinations of several different colors.

The satin stitching around the outside edge of the heart mat project ( crazy patch heart by Kreative Kiwi) was created with variegated thread in shades of pinks and purples. Because most thread variations repeat every inch, the satin stitching often looks striped (above left). This project added decorative stitching over the satin stitching (above right) which really changed the entire look of the variegated thread I used.

The coloring became much more subtle and quite lovely.

Variegated threads are available in polyester, rayon, and cotton blends, as well as in different weights like 30, 40, and 12 weight. The type and weight will depend on the specific project.

What is your favorite way to use variegated thread?

Embroidered Rotary Cutting Case

The scissors case project was so cute I decided to make the matching rotary case. It is part of the Biscornu 2 set from Artistic Designs.

They could not be easier to stitch and it is all done in the hoop. Sew the front first, then hoop new stabilizer (I used water soluble fabric type) and stitch the back. Before finishing satin stitches around the outside edges, you will be instructed to place the front over the back. When everything is done, just rinse the water soluble stabilizer away for gorgeous pieces that will be the envy of your sewing and embroidery friends.

I changed the color combination of the rotary case slightly from the scissors case and liked it so much, I created another scissors case to match. The rotary case also works for fabric scissors and even the double curved embroidery scissors and duckbill scissors.

I had intended to add a monogram, but got carried away and did not add one. You could easily add one when embroidery on the front piece is done, and before the back of the front piece is attached.

Here are some monograms that would fit nicely on either of the cases:

Antique Rose



Check out hundreds of other fonts here.


Painter Tape: Your New Notion

Sometimes, you need tape to hold pieces in place while embroidering, especially with in the hoop projects and quilting projects. If you do not want to use spray adhesive or glue stick, painters tape works wonders.

Painter tape works well because it holds items in place, yet removes easily without damaging fabrics, batting or stitches. If you stitch through it by accident, it easily tears away.

Many projects embroidered in the hoop require separate pieces that are attached to each other before the finishing stitches, like the scissors case that is part of the Biscornu 2 set from Artistic Designs. Glue stick helped hold the pieces together while the tape kept the top edge from catching on the machine.

Other projects, like the  Valentine Mug Rug, by Omas Place require layers of fabric and batting to be quilted in the hoop before being embroidered and then joined to a backing fabric. Using painters tape helps keep layers secure and flat, so that they do not fold under and stitch wrong.

What is your favorite tape for embroidery?

In the Hoop Heart Mat

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, this crazy patch heart mat by Kreative Kiwi is made of three pieces. It is quilted, embroidered, and assembled entirely in the hoop!

There are several sizes and wording options available, as well as files for using multiple colors of fabric in the piece. In my sample, I left off any wording and only stitched the quilting, seam embroidery, and edging.

Hoop a water soluble fabric type stabilizer and stitch out the first section. When finished, remove it from the hoop and trim stabilizer close to the edge stitching.

After stitching the second piece in the hoop, where indicated, butt the first piece up to the second. Be sure that fabric and batting are trimmed very close to the stitching lines. Use a glue stick to help secure the pieces in place on the stabilizer.

The pieces are tacked together with the next color stop and finished with decorative stitching over the seam. When finished, remove it from the hoop and trim stabilizer close to the edge stitching.

After stitching the third piece in the hoop, where indicated, butt the first two joined pieces up to the raw edges. Be sure that fabric and batting are trimmed very close to the stitching lines. Use a glue stick to help secure the pieces in place.

Tack the pieces together with the next color stop and finish decorative stitches.

Remove excess stabilizer and it’s ready to use!


Clasp Purse – fun to do – easy too!


Ursula from Inspiration Mutz has tried several ways before introducing the construction of a ITH clasp purse.

For this purse you will need a 10cm / 4in metal clasp with holes. Generally available from craft supply stores or from the net. Ali Express offers a worldwide reliable delivery service. If you click the image you will be taken direly to the correct product.

Construction is done in 2 hoopings, a back and a front.

Yes, there is machine stitching involved – but you simply sew from marking to marking – easy and straight forward.

Now the fun part starts. The clasp is attached to the fabric by hand sewing. Your first purse might take a little extra time and patience but once you have the hang of it they are finished in no time.

You can create the purse in many pretty colors, the flower design can be stitched over Mylar for that extra bit of bling !




School Glue – Who Knew?

We know adhesive sprays can create a mess and are bad when sprayed near your equipment but sometimes you need to secure pieces of fabric in the hoop.

Painter’s tape is really handy for keeping fabrics and batting secure when stitching in the hoop projects.

And adhesive water soluble stabilizer works like tape when patching holes in hooped stabilizer.

But did you know that you can use school glue sticks to hold down applique pieces or fabric that you float in the hoop?

The key is only using the purple kind. Yes, there are other fantastic glue sticks on the market, but I bought four of these for a dollar on clearance after school started.

School glue sticks work well, are temporary, the residue disappears, and they do not gum up your needle or thread. I used it to hold the front to the back of the Biscornu 2 scissors case from Artistic Designs when stitching them together in the hoop.

What tricks do you have for using adhesives in embroidery?

Valentine Mug Rug

Mug rugs are very popular right now and this one, by Omas Place, stitches up so quickly, you will be making them for all of your loved ones for Valentine’s Day!

Two mug rugs are included in the design set. Both are created entirely in the hoop. What looks like bias binding around the edges is actually four strips pieced in the hoop after embroidery.

There are hearts quilted on the front and the back uses an ingenious method of turn and fuse that requires no hand stitching.

I did not add the applique to my sample because my background fabric was pretty busy and the applique hearts would not stand out.

But stitched on a plain background, the applique hearts are so cute, I may have to make one of them too!

The files include a tag you can print that tells the recipient how to care for their mug rug. Add a mug filled with chocolates to the set, and you have a thoughtful valentine that can be enjoyed all year!

Troubleshooting Thread Nests

If you have embroidered for any time at all, this has probably happened to you: the dreaded thread nest. It starts out with a hair raising noise of grinding and thumping. One stopped, the machine reveals a nest of jumbled thread, most always underneath the hoop.

Most of the time, you will need to cut the thread to release the hoop and the resulting mess means lifting the stitch plate and taking the bobbin compartment apart, pulling loose threads, and brushing out the lint.

What causes a thread nest? Most of the time it happens because the upper thread path is not threaded correctly which causes a tension problem with the thread (and your head). Any time it has ever happened to me, the thread was either not properly strung on the take up arm or jumped off for some reason.

That is a simple fix. Just clip and remove the thread spool and thread the machine again. If the thread nests again, change the needle.

If thread nesting occurs above the fabric, it could be a bobbin problem. Clip threads and clean the bobbin area and be sure to clean under the bobbin spring. Dragging a business card through the spring helps clean out any lint or debris left behind.

Whatever you do, do not use canned air to clean your machine. It only blows fibers deeper into the machine. Use a small vacuum to suck out any thread and lint left behind.

How do you fix or prevent bird nests from happening in your embroidery?