Project Review

Ideally, as a project is underway it’ll be posted under Pipeline Update. But when it is completed and I’m doing a review of everything I’ve learned while making it, then this is where it goes. Not every project review will have associated pipeline updates talking about it though.

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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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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Velvet Mantel Scarf for Christmas 2013

Posted by on Feb 9, 2014 in Project Review | Comments Off on Velvet Mantel Scarf for Christmas 2013

Velvet Mantel Scarf for Christmas 2013

One of my co-workers at the Sewing Cafe is a major machine embroidery fan. She doesn’t really sew, but she loves to embellish or make simple projects which feature the embroidery. In late November she brought in the Dec issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine. There was a project featured that was a very nice mantel scarf which spelled out stuff like “NOEL” or “JOY” or whatever you wanted. She made one and it was so cool I decided that would be the main Christmas gift project for the year. Alas, I never do anything the easy way. I have to pick the most difficult thing I can imagine. I wanted to do the gifts on velvet! Yay velvet! I went to Oregon Patchworks, found the designs and bought them. Then I went to the local fabric store and found some velvet. The front of the velvet felt great, the backing for the velvet … not so much. But it’s a mantel scarf, no one will be wearing this, so that it’s crappy feeling on the back should be fine, right? … Right?? As I was to learn later, oh how not-right that was. Here’s the finished piece. I made two of these, and this is the second. I had the same problems on both of them, and ended up being so absolutely disappointed with the actual piece that I just could not give it as a gift. I sent one to my brother and told him that I made this, and he could have it but it’s really for use in that formal greeting room which no one uses. Put it on the fireplace way in the back. It looks GREAT … from a long distance away. First, the successes. I decided, rather than trying to do any sort of hem on this thing, I would instead use a serger to do a 3-thread rolled hem using wooly nylon as one of the lower looper threads. I was so proud of myself for successfully taking my 936 off the standard 4-thread overlock and onto the 3-thread rolled hem stitch and then BACK! And it all worked! I was so ecstatic I ran around the house with arms up chanting “Uh Uh Uh!”. My family thought I was nuts. Overall, the rolled hem looked great and worked like a charm. Not only was it the first time my serger came off the default stitch, it was the first time I had ever used wooly nylon. Total win. I was looking for some really nifty fabric to use for the lettering, but couldn’t find anything. I decided to get creative. I bought white flannel, then used my 6D software to create an all over fabric motif using snowmen and angels. I then embroidered the flannel with a shiny white rayon embroidery thread. I love the look of tone-on-tone embroidery! That came out pretty good. It’s a small detail you’d never see until you were right up on the thing, but the embroidery thread helps to break up the light so that when you’re looking at it straight on there’s some visual interest which enhances the overall look, rather than fighting with it. I did do some tests with different colored threads, but colored embroidery was just too visually overwhelming for this particularly piece. And now, for the not so successful. That O in the picture above looks pretty good, yes? Yeah, well that was seriously doctored to get it into a passable format. The problem was NOT the design. That was digitized pretty well. The problem was that I was...

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SFVQA Block Party for Oct/Nov 2011

Posted by on Oct 16, 2011 in LiveJournal, Project Review | Comments Off on SFVQA Block Party for Oct/Nov 2011

This is a nifty geometric block in which they wanted to use fall colors offset by white. I found enough colors, since I don’t really have much of a quilting stash, but I’m sure how “fall” they are. Here’s the finished piece: I was very pleased when even M took a look at it and said that my matching was getting better. Overall, there were only 3 rough spots but they are very minor. See the red circles in the below 2 photos to see where the alignment is not perfect, then go back up to the top photo and see if it’s such a glaring error that it detracts from the piece. I personally didn’t think so, and while I’ll continue to strive to make sure that the seams match up perfectly I’m not going to sweat each and every single one. Afterall, these blocks are my practice blocks — not only in terms of practicing the sewing/matching, but also with color play. As an aside, I made a vest for M which included welt pockets. I still need to do a post-mortem for that, but this piecing practice really helped me work those better. Still definitely need a lot of welt pocket practice, but getting better! Found a quote I’ve fallen in love with. I say it a lot when I working on stuff. First I have to get it right, THEN my aim is ultimately the second one. heh “Amateur’s practice something until they get it right; Professionals practice something until they can’t do it...

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