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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Technicos:Embellishing a Tee - Machine Embroidery and Stabalizer

Woven stabalizer below
Film stabalizer on top
Then the top part of the hoop nests in
The part that attaches to the machine is beneath the tee
As I've mentioned in a past Enchanted by Sewing podcast , my machine embroidery is not accomplished using the latest, snazziest machine model. I use a Husqvarna Iris, which I purchased as one of the lowest end embroidery models about nine years ago. I bought my machine in August, as I'd been told this was traditionally a time when sewing machines are discounted. True? Maybe! Well, I'd always wanted a machine with this kind of capability and the somewhere around one thousand dollar price tag on this machine was possible because I'd made a little extra money the previous year. Husqvarna may consider this a budget-oriented machine, but for us it was a big ticket item.

My machine uses cards - no digital downloads. Those cards are no longer available for purchase from the manufacturer (a nine year-old machine is practically an antique these days). I found that out when I finally decided to break down and buy an additional card (I had one that came with the machine, and one that I had purchased for $150 when I bought the machine.) Luckily I found a few cards on EBAY for $50. I bought three. Would even more designs be fun? Would I like to be able to download digital designs or maybe learn to digitize my own? You bet! 

But am I satisfied with what I have for the time being? Yes. I don't spend my life, or even most of my sewing time, embellishing. So I am satisfied with what I have, and enjoy doing a little machine embroidery. I've also found that I enjoy repetitively stitching out certain designs like this dragonfly.  I can turn it different directions and make a bigger or smaller version.

I've also learned how to do machine embroidery on my tee shirt projects without getting the knit fabric stuck and gummed up under the needle (though I seam to recall it makes a pretty neat noise when this happens!).  

Here's what I do....

1) I hoop the back of the project with traditional stabalizer. Sorry I don't known what kind that is. It's the regular somewhat stiff, heavy kind I use for a woven cotton or linen. 
2) I put my hoop bottom piece below that sheet of for-wovens stabilizer, 
3) then I add my tee shirt. 
4) On top of the tee - and before I fit the top of the hoop in- I lay a piece of film-type stabilizer. 
5) The smaller hoop piece (it nestles inside the back/bigger hoop part that fits onto the machine) goes on top of that. Then I screw it in place and away I stitch. No more stuck needles and gummed up projects.

I hope this will help me and others
Locate this film stabalizer that tops off my tee shirt/knits
machine embroidery projects
I found my stabalizers at a Sewing Expo, at a booth that specialized in only that kind of product. I've noticed that sometimes it's hard to locate stabilizers in fabric stores, and when I do the clerks, even those who are also sewists, may not know about these products. So I plan to start taking better notes about what I've purchased the next time I get a chance to talk to a knowledgable vendor. If you know of links that explain what to choose and when, please post them or email them to me EnchantedBySewing  AT

Taking a tee-shirt beyond the basics with embellishment like machine embroidery, is one of many things that keeps me....
Enchanted by Sewing!

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