Back to the Basics: Using Machine Embroidery – Tips for the New & Experienced

Happy Holidays!  I can hear your machines humming all the way from here in Little Washington!

When you finally sit down tonight to rest, I thought you would like to read my three easy back to the basics tips. These are very simple, but sometimes they are the things that I forget in the mad rush to get things done! Hopefully, these will help everything run smoothly for your machine in the final weeks of the year.

(Disclaimer:  I am not an authority in any way but have been working with machine embroidery for over 15 years.  Most of what I have learned has been from trial and error, from friends in the industry, and from my local sewing shop.)

  • Always stitch out a new design on a test swatch of fabric, similar to the actual item you plan to embroider. This can save you from a costly mistake on your last pink tote, or grandmothers’ linen handkerchief.

 

  • Thread Quality – If you are going to splurge on anything in your embroidery supplies – trust me that this is where to do it.  I did not believe it at first, but it does make such a difference with every machine – from the top of the line down to the very basic.  There are times when you have to use what you have but when you are purchasing for a special project or for a customer – choose the best that you can afford.  The money you spend on a cheaper thread is a waste of time and money!

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  • Did you know that there is a different needle for knit, linen, and canvas? It was one of those things I learned when I first bought my machine but sometimes forget-  choose the right needle! When a thread keeps breaking after the third time of rethreading the machine, stop and ask yourself when was the last time I changed the needle? Or, am I using the right needle for the fabric that I’m sewing on?
    • We use Organ Needles in our warehouse and I use them at home as well.  The most important needle change to me is using a Ball Point needle for knits! This makes a huge difference in the finished product.  Every needle company has a chart for their needles – print it out and use it!

 

  • Connect with others! Whether you are doing this as a business or as a hobby-join with others on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.  I have great friends that I have met through social media that have lots of experience in lots of different areas. One of the great things about machine embroidery is that there is always more than one way to approach a project and most likely someone has figured a way to do it!  Always ask your support group because you too will one day figure out a way to monogram that odd-shaped project that will help someone else down the road!

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I love to follow Embroiders and Embroidery Designers on IG & Facebook!  A few of my favorites are Apex Embroidery, Deshler Designs, Bowen House Embroidery, Wildwood Stitchery, Shuler Studio, M.Stuart Monograms, The Lettered Hen, Herrington Designs, Southern Stitched Designs, Katie Gardner, Busy Bee Gift, Herrington Designs and Monogram Mary.

If I am not following you please tag me here and share your favorite monogram tip!  I would love to follow you.

My hope for you this busy Christmas season is no broken needles, smooth thread and beautiful monograms for you, your loved ones and customers!

Merry Christmas and Happy Stitching!

Rae Marie

 

 

 

Three tips to make your photos great!

A little glimpse into our world of photography at MSC and some simple tips that you can use for capturing great photos of your own.

I am going to share with you 3 techniques that I use when shooting.  Photography is a content practice of thinking outside the box, challenging yourself to move (literally) outside your norm.  This practice will keep your photos aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

  • Rule of Third- this rule is magical. Go out of the norm when positioning your object in your frame.  Divide your frame into 3 equal sections and position your object on either outside lines.  Using this rule also allows you to have images that will be great for marketing material, for adding text.

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  • Angles- I challenge you to go beyond your normal line of sight. Kneel down and shoot object angling lens upward, grab a step stool and shoot object angling lens downward.  This allows you to capture an image from a different view.  One angle that has become crazy popular is the birds-eye view (aka as flat lays).

 

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  • Negative Space- we are sometimes wired to think more is better but sometimes less is more. Capture those small details that may get overlooked by detraction.

 

Black and white dalmation Henry looking handsome with his red and turquoise crab bow tie collar.

 

Dark tortoise necklace on white mannequin.

Stay tuned for more photography tips and tricks as this is just a pinch of information but will make a big impact with your photography and easy to achieve when taking pictures on your phone or camera.

We want to see your fabulous photography by using these techniques, stay social and tag us #mainstreetcollection.

Yours truly,

Amber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make a Polka Dotted Pumpkin

This was a quick project that only took us about two hours including the drying time.  If you decide to try it, please share by tagging us @mainstreetcollection or use #MSCpolkadot.  We would love to see your pumpkin projects this season! 

Yes, we did and so can you!

Whenever my daughter is home from college we always have at least one art/craft project on the agenda and this Fall Break I was dying to take a drill to my pumpkins.  Caroline had volunteered at a children’s “Make It & Take It” art event at her college and said it was easy.  I figured if they could do it around kids, surely I could handle it.  So we did!

Here are the steps that we took and the items that we gathered before we began.

  • PUMPKIN (the bigger the better for me!)
  • Spray paint if you want a color & painter’s tape
  • Power Drill, Circle Drill Bit – 1 3/4″(Craftsman calls it a Hole Saw)
  • Newspaper
  • Knife and kitchen spoon to clean out the pumpkin
  • Safety goggles
  • Tape measure, pencil or Sharpie.
  • Tall pillar candle (4 to 5 inches tall)

Step 1: Wear old clothes and safety goggles because pumpkin bits and pieces will start flying when the drill hits that pumpkin. Definitely an outside project!

Step 2:  Wash pumpkin and let dry.  Put painter’s tape around the pumpkin stem to keep it the natural color. Spray paint your pumpkin on newspaper and let dry.

Step 3:  Cut a circle around the top of the pumpkin and pull gently on the stem to remove it from the pumpkin.  Clean out the seeds and pumpkin fibers. (SAVE the seeds for roasting!! YUM!)

Step 4:  If you want your polka dots to be uniformly placed on the pumpkin then use a tape measure and mark off where you want your polka dots placed.  We started at the top and placed a mark every 4 inches for the center of our polka dot.

(There are so many sizes of circle drill bits but I chose just one for my first time. I am definitely going back to get some other sizes so I can try another one with more random placement of the polka dots and sizes!!) 

Step 5:  We did re-spray paint a few areas of the pumpkin again after the drilling but it really is not necessary. (One of us is a perfectionist and one of us is not!)

Step 6:  We used a tall candle in the pumpkin to make it very bright. At first, we used a small votive candle and it did not give us enough light to brighten all of our polka dots so… I went back inside and found a taller, brighter candle.

This was a quick project that only took us about two hours including the drying time.  If you decide to try it, please share by tagging us @mainstreetcollection or use #MSCpolkadot.  We would love to see your pumpkin projects this season!

Happy Pumpkin Day!

Rae Marie

 

 

Meeting Pam Shuler…the artist behind Shuler Studio

In our corner of the monogramming world, we have recently enjoyed stitching out the Monogram Chic Embroidery Collection by Shuler Studios.  Classic, yet up-to-date is how we describe this two letter interlocking monogram embroidery font.  From our linen Weekender Duffle to our flange pillowcases to our Canvas Collection, we have loved it in every two letter initial combination that we tried.  And of course, we do have our favs!


One of the highlights of July 2018 Atlanta Market was meeting Pam Shuler.  And yes- we were honored to have Pam in the MSC Showroom!  I mean really…If you love monograms as much as we do, then you truly understand our excitement in meeting Pam.  Pam was so gracious, very sweet and oh so humble about her talent!

Like many success stories, Shuler Studios is a second career opportunity for Pam, born out of a passion for monograms and what she knows!  Pam’s mother was a monogrammer, (when monogram machines took up an entire room) and who monogrammed everything the family owned!  Remembering her mom’s old block, script and diamond fonts, Pam began to study fonts and the digital side of monogramming. We are so glad that you did!

Pam, we are sure that your mother would be so PROUD and AMAZED at all the beautiful places that your monogram styles are now appearing! Thanks for sharing your love of letters and monograms with us!

Check out our Canvas Collection, Fringe Guest Towels, and Throw Pillow Covers at www.gowhimsey.com.

For Retail shoppers, shop our Monogram It section of our website at www.mainstreetcollectiononline.com 

XoXo,

MSC