Pipeline Update

Every project that is currently “in-work” but has not yet been finished will fall under this umbrella.

Fitting Artwork To Sized Pieces

Posted by on Oct 2, 2016 in Education & Instruction, Project Review | Comments Off on Fitting Artwork To Sized Pieces

Fitting Artwork To Sized Pieces

In the Corvo Embroidered post, I mentioned 2 posts at least which were coming at you. This is one of them! Finally. Here I will detail how I went about making sure the finished embroidered piece was exactly sized and placed so that the pattern could then be assembled. Fortunately, this particular challenge was made significantly easier because I had a blank canvas to work on. Essentially, I had an entire cow hide that I could embroider on and then draw the cut lines to ensure everything was positioned perfectly. The next challenge, which you’ll eventually see, is doing the exact same process on a finished dress! But regardless of whether I’m dealing with a raw pattern piece or a finished garment, the first step is always to obtain accurate measurements. And I do mean ACCURATE!! Preferably with lots of pictures. I asked the pattern maker to send me a picture of her pattern pieces with a ruler next to the pieces. I also specified these shots MUST be straight on – no angles at all. If she had to stand on her table or put the pattern on the floor in order to get a straight on, no perspective-skewed full shot of the piece, then this is what had to be done. Fortunately, she very handily got me what I asked for and sent me this picture: From here, I had to scale the artwork to fit the known measurement in the picture – in this case, the ruler. I know that ruler is 18″ tall by 2″ wide. I have the CorelDraw graphic arts software, but Illustrator works fine too. I’m sure there are others out there, but which one particularly that you use doesn’t really matter. What is important is that you use something which allows you to scale the image until one section of it fits the target dimensions. What I did was draw a rectangle on the program’s drawing board sized to 18×2. Then I positioned that box overtop of the ruler and then literally just scaled the image until the image of the ruler was sized to exactly the target box. To confirm the sizing, there are 2 options and I did both because of the whole “measure twice, cut once” adage my engineer father taught me. First, I measured all the edges of the pattern piece as it appeared on my screen and compared those with the measurements that I asked the pattern maker to supply. Perfect! Then I printed out a tiled version of the artwork across multiple pages (this involved printing to PDF, then tile-printing that), taped the tiled pieces together and then re-measured everything. Again, perfect. Now it was time to fit the artwork to the piece. Essentially, this was easy. I dropped the artwork into the program’s window and scaled it to fit, positioning it exactly where the pattern maker had outlined. It required a little bit finesse, but I got it to fit like a glove. In the above, you can see a couple of purple outlines — these are the planned hoopings so I know how to digitize the artwork for multi-hoop piecing, and exactly where to place my join points. You can also see the planned embroidered goldwork edge that will frame the finished vest piece. Including this also allowed me to plan how to finish the artwork edging. Along the way, double check everything. Triple check even. This establishes good habits on that front so that when you move on to fitting artwork to finished, sewn garments you know everything is good to go by the time you actually...

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Corvo Embroidered

Posted by on Jul 25, 2016 in Conventions, Project Review | Comments Off on Corvo Embroidered

Corvo Embroidered

Been a while since I’ve posted anything here, but that does not mean I’ve been lolly gagging about. Far from it. I’m working very hard to build up the embroidery side of my business, and while the majority of that is aimed at business clients, there are still plenty of truly fun and creative things I get asked to do. This one has far and away been the most fun!! I’ll be cross posting this particular post not only here but also on my DW Embroidery blog since it will be total brag. The rest of the posts in this Corvo series will be essentially post-mortem, covering all the mistakes I made and the lessons I learned. So if you want to learn from my mistakes on how to create multi-hooped goldwork embroidery directly onto leather so that that the finished piece is exactly sized for the pattern it needs to go on, then stick around here. Those posts will be right here since they are sewing/embroidery education posts and not necessarily marketing posts. What am I talking about? Some friends of mine (Brayton and Amy over at Legendary Costume Works) were working with Rebecca Dominguez (pattern maker extraordinaire for the movie and tv industry) on an assignment which needed some embroidery. I was recommended since I’m familiar with working with leather and I’ve also worked with metallic thread. The assignment they were working on was to make the promotional outfit for the upcoming game “Dishonored 2” with the main character of Corvo. It was his outfit that they were making. I am thrilled and proud of the final product for which I played my part. The finished outfit was officially unveiled at E3 in Los Angeles when it opened on June 14, 2016. Now I did not got to the event, but I have friends who did and they were kind enough to snag some photos for me. Above is the entire outfit, with the black leather vest which I embroidered peaking out from the under the brown hooded over vest. I used one of Dishonored 2’s promotional pictures as the featured image for this post, so you can see how pretty much exact to the vision of the character the final project came out to be. Here is it from another angle. I just love Rebecca’s ability to work asymmetrical designs! I’m so going to have her create initial patterns for me from now on. I’ve learned the hard way that while I can make patterns, it’s just not fun for me. She loves making them. Problem solved! But I digress. I asked Rebecca for a picture of the black leather under-vest so the embroidery could be seen better in its entirety. She sent me this picture. To reiterate, the only part of this project that I did was the embroidery onto the leather pieces. The actual assembly was done by the parties cited.   The filigree work is embroidered directly onto the leather. The edging work was embroidered onto black material which was then stitched/glued into place. I’m not exactly sure how Rebecca ended up fitting the gold metal edgework into position, but it is exactly form fitting to the contours of the pattern – no bias cheating here! Overall, it looked AWESOME!! And boy did I learn a whole lot about working with metal on leather. Fun!!! The end result? SEXY! You have a job for me? Bring it! I want more of this. I think I’ll break down the rest of the posts I want to do into two. The first one will be how I created...

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Easy Matching of Embroidered Pieces

Posted by on Nov 19, 2015 in Education & Instruction, Pipeline Update | Comments Off on Easy Matching of Embroidered Pieces

Easy Matching of Embroidered Pieces

There are a variety of different Block-Of-The-Month quilts available which are composed of individually embroidered squares. The example I’m using for this tutorial is the one from HoopSisters for their 2014 offering called Jacobean Journey. I’ve talked a bit about this here, but it’s mainly a color test. The first few months of blocks form the inner core and it’s pictured here while the second set is pictured here. I’ve now finished embroidering all the core blocks and I’m about to start embroidering/piecing all the border sets – starting with the inner. Before I proceed with more embroidering, I decided to assemble the core in its entirety. Above I’ve laid out the part that was already assembled and now I’m fitting the new squares into place following the diagram. Of course, Wedge my trusty Sewing Room Helper just has to be present to make sure I get everything right. I’ve already assembled about 20 some blocks before this point, and I’ve learned through trial and error how to line these things up for the best end result with minimal effort. As I’ve said before, I’m a lazy sewist but I’m also very demanding – so I want it as perfect as I can get it with the least amount of effort. Everything I do is therefore an experiment in figuring out the best way to do just this. I came up with a system that works really well for me, but it never really crossed my mind to share it. A friend was helping me assemble these, and in the time that I put together a series of 8 she was still struggling to put together the first pair. Rather let her continue the exercise in frustration, I showed her my process. She followed it and on the first try, near perfection! Suddenly it dawned on me that this might be something that would be worthwhile to share. So here it is, my method for joining embroidered quilt blocks. Step One. Identify the blocks that have to be joined and visually confirm that if these were aligned perfectly the design would look continuous. If your blocks have a basting stitch around them, and this one definitely does, I’d recommend removing it before starting. If you choose not to, that’s fine but make sure that you IGNORE the basting stitch when it comes to trimming and aligning the blocks. Again, IGNORE the basting stitch. It is not the edge of the block – the embroidered pattern is what defines the edges of the block. Step Two. With the blocks laying right sides together and oriented correctly, put a pin through the corner stitches on one block, then align the pin with the corner stitch on the next block. You’ll push the pin STRAIGHT through. This is an alignment pin, not a basting pin. Again, do NOT try to use this pin to secure the corner. Push the pin straight through. Step Two Continued. Repeat the process of pushing a pin straight through both blocks aligning the design together by matching the ends of the stitched design. You’ll do this along the entire length of the side to be sewn. Once you do this a few times you’ll find this is actually a very fast process. Again, push the pin straight through. Step Two Finished. When you’re done, it should look like this. See all the pins are straight up and down?  (for the most part) Before proceeding, especially when you’re first putting this into practice, you might want to double check the alignment by carefully opening the aligned blocks. The stitched design and fabric...

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Pipeline Update: “Nottingham Saddle Cover” pattern in development

Posted by on Aug 18, 2015 in Pipeline Update | Comments Off on Pipeline Update: “Nottingham Saddle Cover” pattern in development

Pipeline Update: “Nottingham Saddle Cover” pattern in development

Been a while! Life has been quite busy, including moving in some new directions which means much less type for blogging. While I’ve been blogging since 2004, I was still a bit taken off guard by just how much time it demanded. Apparently when I was doing all those post mortems (project reviews) along with pictures, I didn’t have much else to do and so it didn’t quite register just how time consuming it was. Ugh. Trying to grow two businesses at the same time is darn hard, plus all the other stuff I’ve got going on. My educational blogging took a serious back seat, but I’m alive and I wanted to send some updates on just what I’ve been up to. It took a while after the move to a different part of the state, but I’ve found a new horse back riding instructor who’s helping me go in new directions and isn’t in the least afraid to say “You’re going too slow!!” I’ve also got a sewing assistant who comes over once a week to help ensure that I’m getting stuff done. Best investment EVAHHHH! Because of her, one of the many projects off the “to do done when I can” pile and now in the active pipeline is this one: Create a “Medieval” Saddle Cover Pattern A friend of mine brought the above pictured item over to me and asked if I could re-create it for her. Being ever so speedy (not), I got right on that. I did make a muslin replica of it and then returned the original to her. The one pictured here is a stage prop from what I was told was Erol Flynn’s 1938 “Adventures of Robin Hood” but I couldn’t see it in the movie. Doesn’t mean it’s not there, just that I didn’t see it when I watched the movie. I have dubbed it “The Nottingham Saddle Cover“. It’s a saddle cover for a standard western saddle, allowing the rider to “transform” their modern saddle into a “medieval” saddle. In a perfect world, everyone can afford the real thing, but in a not so perfect world I think a saddle cover is a nice compromise. It’s also perfect for those like me who don’t have their own horse and therefore have no personal tack, but still want their livery or equestrian garb to work with their heraldry or whatever. Just to be clear, this piece is not intended as a historically accurate anything – it is a theatrical item. The gold velvet original one has no straps or anything to hold it on, other than the rider’s weight. My prototype also had no straps. The original saddle base was lined with heavy denim only, while I chose a combination of leather and a very heavy stabilizer with a cheap lightweight denim that I had in my stash. I was concerned about a number of things including: fitting over a standard western saddle seat sliding around under the rider ability to use the stirrups safely/without impediment experimenting with false pommel/cantle materials Once the prototype was assembled, it was time to give a test. I did not have a western saddle at home to make sure it even came close to fitting, so considering that, I was beyond happy with it for a prototype. Overall, it fit very well though it did have a couple of cosmetic issues which I’ve already marked down to fix. I’ll be adding a strap which can be tied under the fenders to keep the drape in position. Without a rider, it floated above the saddle but with a rider it...

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Gift Art Quilt Post-Project Review

Posted by on Feb 18, 2015 in Pipeline Update, Project Review | Comments Off on Gift Art Quilt Post-Project Review

Gift Art Quilt Post-Project Review

It’s finally time to complete the Project Review for the gift art quilt that I created last year. You can see some of the Pipeline Progress reports on it here and here which talk about the design and early stages of the layout challenges as well as early embroidery techniques. The quilt featured a number of experiments in it, both in terms of quilting techniques as well as embroidery applications. I’m thrilled with the outcome of pretty much all of them!   Layers of Mountains. While I had a good selection of greens for the various layers of mountains in the background, when I was laying it out I realized pretty quickly that I wanted more .. but I really didn’t want to go get more. As I was pondering this, I glanced over at the stack of fabrics and saw the wrong side of one of my favorites. *ping* Of course! I’m not limited to using just the right side! So I used the wrong side of some to give more dimension and visual variety without using too many different patterns. Forests. In the background of the quilt, I digitized individual trees or small copses of trees. These were done with circular loops layered over top of each other and stitched onto netting. Once they were completely finished, they were then attached to the quilt layers. I already covered the particulars of this precess in another post. But the forsests in the mid-ground were huge clusters of trees, with not too many individual trees standing out sharply. I decided to expand on the successful approach used for the above individual trees which are in the way background. To give these closer-up trees a bit of visual variety and texture, I chose to literally chop up the fabric into tiny bits, contain those under a layer of netting, and then embroider on top. I picked different background fabrics for each of these clumps of trees, depending on the mood of the forest in the photos that I was trying to recreate. In the picture above, it was a darker forest so I went with one of the darker background fabrics. You can see the bits of fabric that were scattered over the top of the background fabric in the photo above. Over top of this is layered the fine net which held the bit in place. As they were embroidered over, with the vibrations of the needle repeatedly puncturing the material and the hoop moving, the bits were bouncing all over the place underneath their netting. The result was an unpredictable forest, random fabric poking through like wild leaves, and lots of character and shading. I loved the results!! I used this same approach for the bigger, individual trees in front of the mid-ground. Overall, I liked the effect. I think I did too much embroidering over the bit of fabric bits though, they didn’t quite have the full impact that I wanted on these individuals. It’s definitely an effect to keep in mind and try again for something else. Standing Stones. The school yard actually included Neolithic Standing Stones. For real. They were about thigh and waist high and made of a distinctive black stone.  I decided for these guys I wanted to have something a bit dramatic since they were the foreground of the quilt. Not only were they the singular most distictive aspect of the quilt, they also symbolized the rich history that the person I made this for was so very proud of. I really wanted the Standing Stones to reflect that vibrant character. I found the perfect fabric, but having flat stones just wasn’t going to...

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Halloween is coming! Time to break out those quilted placemats…

Posted by on Oct 4, 2014 in Project Review | Comments Off on Halloween is coming! Time to break out those quilted placemats…

Halloween is coming! Time to break out those quilted placemats…

I must admit, I sometimes entrap myself with my own way of thinking. In this case, I was stuck in the mode that I HAD to make my next post be the follow-up for the twin needle work posts. Namely, the utilitarian uses of the twin needle or no post at all. Wow. The name says it all. I was so uninspired by this that I just kept putting it off … and off … and off .. and … oh look! It’s been HOW many months since my last post?!? Still stuck in that mindset, I’ve been doing a lot of behind the scenes stuff like adding featured images to posts or making sure the picture links work at all (if you find a broken one, please help me out with a comment so I can track them down faster). It’s now approaching Halloween here in the US, and I am one of those folks who LOVE this holiday. ADORE IT! How much fun is this crazy time of year, eh? Besides, I’m in California, it’s finally cool enough to go outside again. Since I originally hailed from Massachusetts, let me tell you that there is a WORLD of difference between the two Halloween experiences. But I digress. Pretty pictures! That is what inspired this post and finally jarred me out of my own narrow think. This is my blog, and I love to be inspired. I love to be excited about things and I most especially love to share that excitement and possibility with others. So I posted a picture onto my Facebook page of a table runner I made for a class several years ago which came from a post here. Then I ran into the set of pictures I took as I made placemats to match! No post for those… Inspiration struck. The class at The Quilt Emporium in Woodland Hills, CA gave me the dimensions to cut to make the table runner, but I had all this material left over. I wanted to make some placemats. What to do… Here is the result of experiment #1! Pretty! For the back, I used something fun but basic. I loved how these turned out but the only thing I was not thrilled by was my choice of quilting. I used machine decorative stitching down the center of each braid. When I did another variation of the French Braid theme for the Thanksgiving placemats, I did stitching-in-the-ditch for them and boy was that gorgeous! My new set will feature this form of quilting.  While the decorative stitches were fun, they did not enhance the design but rather detracted from it. I learned from this project that, for me, the basis of any good quilting motif is that it must work to enhance the overall design or composition of the rest of the piece. A good learning lesson there! I created the pattern for this, made my placemats and promptly threw away my pattern. I’m finally realizing just much I do this. *headdesk* I’m now recreating the placemat pattern and making a new set of placemats in order to create the instructions. The variation pattern will also be done at the same time as well. They’ll be available as a PDF download. Interested? Just add your name to the newsletter page to be notified when both of the patterns are live. Anyhoo, another piece I was thrilled with was the mitered corners on the back side of these mini quilts. They came out so perfect this time, and considering the hideous mess that was my first attempt I’d say I learned it pretty...

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