Friday, December 25, 2009

My Tote Bag Mini Tutorial

When I started to work on the tote bags for my neighbors, I decided that I would take a couple of pictures. I was telling my sister Jodi what went into making the bags and I think it was a little confusing since she doesn't sew or embroider. It may look easy and quick but not necessarily so. With machine embroidery, I do like how you can embellish so many things. I hate the prep work involved with embroidery. I also hate sitting and babysitting the machine. Yes, some projects I can walk away or sit at one of the other machines and sew while the D1 is embroidering. But there are many projects that you have to be watching the needle at all times. Any time I have something turned inside out like the tote bag or onsies, I stay at the machine. Anytime I am embroidering on something thick or strange, like the tote bags, pet mesh, an insulated lunch bag, I stay at the machine.

The first thing that I need to do is to make my center of the tote bag. I want the center of my design to be about 4 inches below the top of the bag. I also want the design to be centered between the handles. I am using a water soluble marker. With the tote bags, I will be turning them inside out. It makes the job a little easier because you can see the fabric that you don't want to embroider and keep it out of the way. I am using a hoopless technique with the bags. This means that I won't be placing the tote in the middle of the hoop. I will put my stabilizer in the hoop then tighten the screw. A few reasons to go hoopless is so you don't get hoop burn on your project. I also don't want to hoop something thick as I might break or stretch out the hoop.

Because I won't be hooping the bag, I do need to do a few things to make sure that the tote bag is stable while it is stitching out. I also don't want it to shift away from the markings and cause my designs to be off center. After my stabilizer is hooped and marked, I spray some Sulky KK2000 on the stabilizer. This is a temporary adhesive. I also try to put straight pins in as long as I feel that the pins will be totally out of the way of the needle. The final stabilizing technique I employ is the use of the fix or basting stitch. This stitch will baste around your design perimeter. Ok, now that that is all done, time to do the stitch out.

The thing I wanted to show everyone is why I need to stay there. You can see that there isn't a lot of room and I have the back of the tote bag to keep out of the way. If you aren't paying attention and this fabric gets in the way of your design, it can be a bear to pick out. The needle is moving at a rapid pace and can put down hundreds of stitches in a minutes time.

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