Finding Creative Places in Unlikely Spaces

Need a sewing and embroidery space that is just your own? These unique options show how you can get big results out of the smallest of spaces.

Need a sewing and embroidery space that is just your own? These unique options show how you can get big results out of the smallest of spaces.

If one of your resolutions for the new year was to spend more time on embroidery in your own designated space, you will love these examples of creative spaces in the unlikeliest of places.

These projects are also ideal if you are sharing your creative space with an existing guest room or family room. You don’t need much real estate if it is organized properly.

Armoires & Entertainment Center Makeovers

Entertainment Center Makeover by Remodelicious

If you are short on space, consider re-purposing an old entertainment center. Add a coat of paint, some baskets, peg board, and under-counter lighting for a cozy sewing nook. Typically, the main shelf pulls out so you can sew and go. Close the doors when you are done and everything is out of site!

Sewing Armoire by Kenneth Wingard

This armoire takes the sewing nook one step further with the addition of a drop-down table for even more sewing and embroidery space. The table folds up when not in use and the armoire closes up, keeping your machine and supplies under wrap. Nobody would guess what’s really inside!

Closet Spaces as Creative Places

Sewing Closet by Gwenny Penny

Often, all you really need is an under-used closet. You don’t have to be a carpenter to pull off this project. Use existing shelving and add a table top surface over purchased storage drawers. 

Craft/Sewing Closet by DiybyDesign Judy

This former storage room got a high-functioning makeover. Cabinets, a desk, and shelves make the most of existing space. The window even acts like a skylight of sorts. When you are done being creative, close the doors and the room looks tidy.

 Closet Office With Corner Desk by Sew Woodsy

This space is perhaps my favorite of all five. It takes the closet concept to a whole new level. The door-less corner closet acts as a recessed work and storage space, then wraps around the corner in a U-shape. That gives a lot of counter top area for hooping, ironing, stitching, editing, cutting fabric, and a computer station.

Follow the links above to see how each area was created. Which is your favorite?



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Machine Embroidery Resolutions for the New Year

Every year at this time, many of us make a resolution for the new year. It doesn’t have to be the traditional “lose weight” or “stop smoking” (although those are great ways to be more healthy). Why not resolve, right now, to learning more about machine embroidery?

Here are three New Year resolutions for machine embroiderers:

#1 Try a new technique

Patchwork Quilt Blocks 12 by Stitch Delight

What have you always wished you could do with your machine? It’s time to be fearless! What is the worst that can happen? We have plenty of project tutorials on the Secrets blog and our designers provide excellent instructions for all kinds of designs:

#2 Organize your files (finally!)

Classics by Louisa Meyer Originals

Tired of constantly looking for files that you know you have? It is so much more efficient to keep your embroidery designs organized in an orderly fashion. Secrets has a download of category folders that makes it easy for you to keep track of your designs once you purchase them.

#3 Make time (and space) to embroider

Kayla Floral Cutwork Doily by Art Embroidery

All skills need practice and mastering machine embroidery is not just about embroidering. You also have to find a space in which to be creative. That doesn’t mean that you have to add on a sewing studio (although that would be wonderful). Find a space where you can set up your machine and leave it, even if it is a closet.

You are more apt to spend time getting to know your machine, and actually using it, if you can access it without dragging everything out and setting it up every time.

What is your embroidery resolution?

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Winding Bobbins From Big Spools Without a Thread Stand

Sometimes you need to improvise. I’ll show you how to wind bobbins, or stitch from the big spools, even if you don’t have a spool stand!

I prefer to use Bottom Line by Superior Threads as my bobbin thread. It is virtually lint free and smooth as silk. Of course, it is more economical to buy thread by the 3,000-yard cone rather than the 1,420-yard spool. 

Without a thread stand, the cone doesn’t work well on a standard single-needle embroidery machine. It’s too large to fit on the horizontal thread pin and too heavy to spin on the vertical pin.

I prefer to wind my bobbins through the needle. I believe I get a smoother, more filled bobbin that way. Here is a tip on getting by without a separate thread stand.

  1. Place the thread cone on the table, below the traditional spool pin.
  2. Use an empty thread cone or spool on the rewind spool pin. Drape bobbin thread behind the cone or spool. That allows the thread to feed smoothly as if it were coming from the traditional position.
  3. Thread your machine with the bobbin thread.
  4. Oops, I skipped number 4!
  5. Thread the needle and make sure the thread flows under the presser foot.
  6. Wind the bobbin as usual.

Providing a clear path for the thread to feed off of the cone makes winding bobbins effortless, even without a thread stand.

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Great Gifts for Embroidery Friends

Want to make something special for your embroidery, sewing, and quilting friends? We have just what you need!

Whether you embroider, sew, quilt, or serge, the Embroidery Mat by Erina’s Designs is especially useful. With three front pockets, you will have everything you need, right at your fingertips. Ten embroidery designs are included for embellishing blocks as desired.

Know a frequent class participant? The ITH Sewing Name Tag by Sew Michell works as a name tag or a machine tag. Customize for guilds, seminars, and retreats.

On the go? Inspiration Mutz designed this handy Mini Sewing Kit for busy creative people. It’s made in the hoop and would be useful for hand and machine users alike.

If you know someone whose sewing room is their happy place, they will love this Happy Quilt Banner by Oma’s Place. It is pieced, quilted, embroidered, and assembled in the hoop!

These Glamour Bags by My Fair Lady would be as equally useful in the sewing room as in the dressing room. Keep scraps in the bin and notions in the bag.

Anyone would appreciate a Machine Cover. This one by Enchanting Designs provides several motifs for customization of machine covers and wall hangings. Keeping your equipment dust (and paw) free never looked so good!

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Is a Stitch Eraser on Your List?

Stitch erasers are nice but do you really need one? Read on to find out!

Recently, I decided to try using variegated thread on bushes in an embroidery project. The mistake I made was not doing a test stitchout. Variegated thread changes colors in certain increments, generally every inch. While I was hoping that the shrub would show shades of green, it actually stitched in stripes of green.

Stitch erasers are an embroidery tool you don’t even know you need, until you do. Then, they are a godsend.

Stitches are removed from the back of the embroidery. It takes surprisingly little effort. Just slide the cutting blade along the bobbin stitching on the back of the embroidery. Turn over the hoop and carefully brush the surface of the embroidery with your finger nail. Threads rake right off.

Although you can eliminate all stitches, I left some of the underlay since it would be covered by dense fill stitching anyway. 

Restart the embroidery that was erased, and you’d be hard pressed to know that there was ever a blunder.

You do have to be careful when using stitch erasers. Be sure to operate on a flat surface to prevent the embroidery from stretching in the hoop. Avoid over-use of the stitch eraser. A little big goes a long way and you can cut through fabric if you are not careful.

We all make mistakes. That doesn’t mean anybody has to know!

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