I’ve been experimenting with my new-to-me embroidery machine. Mostly thanks to @PrincessP, who created an awesome digital file for a Lettuce Craft patch. I started out with the tutorial from Urban Threads, and one of their designs for Crafty Merit Badges, specifically their Runs With Scissors patch. I used tear away stabilizer under the felt, then finished them on water soluble stabilizer, so they are completely freestanding.
Very nice! I like the water soluble look-- do you switch stabilizers before doing the outline? (all my patches either have a mane of little tearaway threads, or a tiny felt border outside the stitching)
It’s a Brother Innovis NQ 1400E. It formerly belonged to my neighbor, who had a side hustle doing personalized baby clothes, but she hadn’t used it in a year, and knew I was interested in replacing mine, which was bought in 2000. When I bought my old one (a Viking Rose that I still use for regular sewing, and is a total work horse), the technology was just starting to emerge for home stitchers. It developed and changed so rapidly, along with changes in computers in the last 20 years, that it was basically obsolete by 2007. You could only embroider set designs, that came on special disks, and were $50+ each for like 5-10 designs. If you wanted to use other designs, you had to buy their software for $2000+, and their separate drive, to write to a blank one of their disks (which was also astronomical).
This is pretty great. You can plug a regular flash drive into the machine, and embroider any patterns you can download or buy around the web. I’ve bought several from Urban Threads, but haven’t tried any other vendors yet. Now I’m looking into getting the smallest hoop, and the largest hoop, to add to the standard one that came with it, and the medium-large my neighbor bought. See, to stitch anything, you need to use stabilizer, and you need to fill the whole hoop with it. If I make 3" patches, in a hoop that’s 7"x9", I’m cutting and wasting so much stabilizer with each patch. Especially if the patch has a backing; then it uses a piece for the front, a piece for the back, and water soluble stabilizer for the whole thing. That’s lots of material in my trash bin after. If I use a smaller mini hoop, I’ll be wasting less materials every time.
So, since I had no real experience with making patches, I went with Urban Threads tutorial for making them. It has you stitch out your dieline for the front of the patch on one piece of felt + tear away stabilizer, stitch your dieline for the back on a second piece of felt + tear away, then cut them both out. Next you fill the hoop with the water soluble stabilizer and begin the real embroidery. It stitches another another dieline onto the soluble, and your front piece of felt on top with spray adhesive, and continue embroidering as usual. Once it gets near the end, you take the hoop off the machine, and put the backing piece of felt onto the back of the design with some spray adhesive, and then let the machine do it’s final round of stitching. The final round is tight enough that it basically perforates the water soluble around as it stitches, so it’s practically (but somehow not) falling out of the hoop when you’re done. Then I just take a damp q-tip and run it over the edges to get rid of the white edges of the water soluble, rather than soak the whole patch.
After patch making yesterday, I ventured into making coasters. Specifically a full (blue) moon, during our real life blue moon! The worked very similar to the patches, only with some black tear away instead of water soluble stabilizer.