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Hoop Along - Applique Part One

top barWelcome everyone to the first Hoop along blog post. The hoop along is an ongoing, online embroidery class. Over a span of several months we will stitch, discuss and demonstrate a wide variety of embroidery techniques, such as applique, cutwork, in-the-hoop patchwork, endless or continuous embroidery, etc. You don’t have to sign up or sign in. Just visit my blog each week for the next installment. And if you miss any weeks, just click on the hoop along tag and all the blog posts will pop up.

We are starting off with machine embroidery appliqué. I have to say that this is one of my very favorite embroidery techniques. It looks beautiful and stitches quickly. Fabric adds texture and detail to the overall design that you just don’t get with only fill and satin stitches.

For the beginners, appliqué is simply the process of stitching a piece of fabric onto a background fabric. In this case it’s being done in the hoop, by your embroidery sewing machine – sounds easy right? Well it is, especially since we are going to do it together, step by step. There are several different types of appliqué such as satin stitch, blanket stitch, shadow, Madeira, etc. Check out my Etsy store for examples of each of these types of appliqué.

The first design in the hoop along is a satin stitch appliqué, a beautiful large poppy, pictured below. Click through the slideshow to see all the embroidery designs included:


You can purchase the Applique Poppy design from my Etsy store.

Purchase the poppy design and stitch along with me. I’ll send you a zipped file of the appliqué poppy embroidery designs via e-mail within 24 hours of receiving your payment. The zipped file contains embroidery designs for the 4”x4” (100x100mm) Standard hoop, the 5”x7” (130x180mm) Design hoop and the 10.2”x7.9” (260x200mm) Large hoop 2, in the following formats:

.EXP, .HUS, .PCS, .PES, .SHV, and .VP3

Not all of the designs are included in all of the file formats. Some of the embroidery formats have embroidery design size restrictions. And some designs are specially set for specific hoops.

The download also contains an embroidery design spec sheet, including design size, stitch count, number of color changes and order of colors, basic embroidery appliqué directions and a design placement guide for the 4”x4” (100x100mm) Standard hoop, and the 5”x7” (130x180mm) Design hoop.

Here’s what you’ll need in way of supplies:
Cotton solid for the background fabric
(Choose a medium weight cotton, linen or denim)
Three shades of red, pink, yellow or white
(Poppies come in a variety of colors, so choose your favorite)
Tear away stabilizer
40wt rayon thread in desired colors
Embroidery bobbin thread
Temporary adhesive spray
Bent embroidery scissors or snips

supplies_1The background fabric should be medium weight to slightly heavy. Use fabrics such as quilting cotton, linen, denim, or other medium weight fabrics. We used slightly heavy linen in bright white.

Poppies come in a variety of colors, so choose your favorite. You can use a variety of fabrics for the appliqué areas; fabrics such as quilting cotton, silk taffeta, fine cotton knit, etc. We used quilting cotton in three shades of red for our appliqués. Also don’t feel that you have to use only solids for the appliqués, prints can work beautifully depending on the print. I used print for the appliques in the Notepad Organizer and the Messenger Bag. I used silk taffeta for the Pillow Wraps. 

We're using tear away as the stabilizer. The stabilizer is going to keep the fabric from puckering and becoming distorted during the embroidery process. After stitching, any part of the stabilizer that is not covered with stitches is removed – it just tears away (hence the name).

So get the poppy design, grab your supplies and join me over the next couple of weeks for the embroidery tutorial.


Simple Zipped Bag

pencil_caseI mentioned last week that I made a zipped bag for my niece Erica for her eye pencils. Little bags or pouches like this are very easy to make even for beginner sewers; and no pattern required.

Here’s what you need:
9” zipper
Two 9 1/2” x 5” strips of cotton print
Two 9 1/2” x 5’ strips of lining fabric
Cotton thread to match

Here’s how:
Setup your sewing machine for regular sewing. Attach the zipper foot. Select a straight stitch and set the length to 2.5mm. Sandwich one side of the zipper between the cotton print and the lining fabric, with right sides facing and stitch together.


Pull the two layers to the right side and press. Sandwich the other side of the zipper tape in the same way and stitch .


Open the zipper at least 3/4” of the way.


Pull the lining to one side and the fabric to the other. Pin the fabric sides together, with right sides facing. Repeat with lining. Stitch together, leaving a 2" opening on the lower edge of the lining for turning.


stitch_cornerLine up the side seam with the seam along the lower edge. Measure 1" in from the tip of the corner. Mark a line across as a guide; and then stitch across the marked line. Trim the point leaving a 1/4” seam. Repeat with lining.

Turn to the right side. Fold in the seam allowances on the opening in the lining, and then topstitch the opening to close. Tuck the lining inside the bag and press.

Fill and zip closed.


More Finger puppets


Last week I made a few finger puppets for my great niece Alexa. I started with a monkey, a pig and a little chick. Well she loved them and that inspired me to make a few more. So I added a dog, a bunny, a panda and a frog to my little menagerie. I know it’s a mish mash of farm and jungle animals, but these are the ones that inspired me.


anyway, as promised here is the pattern for all the finger puppets. So much fun to make and only very basic crafting skills needed.

Here's what you need:
Felt in a variety of colors: you can use wool or acrylic felt
Googly eyes
Craft glue
White flat button: pig's nose
Two black pearl beads: frog's nostrils
Pink pearl button: bunny's nose
1/2" white pompom: bunny's cotton tail

Here's how:
1. Print the pattern pages following directions below. Cut out all the pattern pieces from the felt.

2. Follow the color diagrams to position all the body parts. The ears are placed between the two body pieces. You can glue them on the back to hold in place. Glue the remaining body pieces onto the front. Set aside to dry.cotton_tail

3. Stitch the button nose onto the bunny and pig. Stitch the beads onto the frog as nostrils. Stitch the detail on the panda and the monkey.

4. Pin front to back with wrong sides facing. Select a seam/overcast stitch and set the stitch width of 3.5mm. Stitch together around the outer curved edge; leave the lower edge open.

5. Glue the googly eyes in place. Glue the pompom onto the back of the bunny. Let dry.

Have fun playing with your finger puppets!


Halloween Bunting

You know Halloween is just around the corner. This year we are decorating with a fabulous bunting. Retail members, click on the Retailer Login to login and download your October project and designs.

Bunting, banner, flag or garland call it what you will, basically it’s a string of flags used to decorate a room. Hang it in a doorway, in front of the fireplace, on the wall or where ever you need a pop of color. It’s a great way to bring in the season’s colors into any room. This year decorate for trick-or-treat night with this fun “Happy Halloween” bunting.


Our bunting is made using embroidery designs from Seasonal Bunting Embroidery Designs #sc074d. A group of three (3) design sets that you can use to make buntings for any season and any occasion. Each design set in this group includes a complete alphabet. You can spell out any sentiment, greeting or wish.

Additionally sets sc074d_large_flags and sc074d_small_flags include blank in-the-hoop flags. With the flag blanks you can make flags from cotton prints or with your own embroidery design as we did with the Witch motif at the end of the word “Happy” in our bunting above.

The witch design is from Scary Nights Embroidery Designs. It’s a set of four (4) fun Halloween designs. You can get them here.

Scary Nighs Embroidery Designs 223d  -  $6.00



Pencil Cases and Puppets

Lip pencil that is. This pretty bag is for my niece Erica. It seems she has lip pencils that just don’t fit the standard cosmetic bags I usually make for her. So a couple of days ago I decided to whip up a new longer bag. Already gave it to her and she loves it. It’s super simple but will try to do a tutorial, soon.


On Sunday I got a request from my great niece Alexa for finger puppets. She asked if I could make them while she was at school on Monday and then get them to her in the afternoon. I managed to negotiate a couple of extra days. She drives a hard bargain – did I tell you she is 5 years old?? Anyway she is cute as a button, so can’t say no to her. She is always so excited when I make stuff for her. And I get lots of hugs, so it’s well worth it. So here are the three that I made. I spent more time thinking about them than making them.


If I can squeeze some time in the next few days, I will try and get a little pattern done for the three. I have lots to do, the embroidery club the hoop along to name just a couple of things on the go. Anyway, loving doing all of it.


It’s another beautiful day here in Toronto. Hope the weather keeps up.