Urban Threads: Machine Embroidery

The past few weeks,


I’ve been reacquainting myself with my embroidery machine. I have the Brother Designio embroidery machine.


and I’ve been enjoying it immensely.

I hadn’t touched the machine in about two years.


A few days ago, I adjusted the tension on my Brother embroidery machine.

Initially, my stitch-outs were looking like this bunny, and in some cases, it was worse,

like this reindeer, however after making a few tweaks to the bobbin case the embroidered designs are now stitching out correctly.  Additionally, I swapped my sewing needle to a 75/11 and now the stitch out is much smoother. I need to remind myself to check my tension after a few stitch outs just to ensure that everything is working perfectly. Now that I think about it, it would be smart to take it apart and to clean it also. Earlier this week, I did open up my machine and was able to remove lint and a few strands of trapped thread. Now that everything is stitching out nicely, I have plenty of works in progress (that I’ve accumulated since making the tension adjustments) to complete. All the designs featured were bought at Urban Threads.

In other news…

I’m slowly making progress on the knit blanket I’m creating for my daughter.

This will be the fourth knit blanket I’ve created this year. Three queen sized blankets and one king size blanket. I’ve used worsted weight wool for all the blankets, so no… these blankets can’t be knit in one day. I’m a fast knitter, the majority of the blankets I’ve knit have taken a little over a month to complete.however, this one is taking the longest, but to be fair a few weeks have gone by without me knitting. My left wrist still is giving me issues and so when that happens, I don’t knit.

Tambour Embroidery: And so it begins…

Yesterday, when I arrived home from work, I was thrilled to see that my  small tambour embroidery frame had arrived.

Small Tambour Embroidery hoop

I did not have a chance to set it up last evening, since I was hanging out with my daughter most of the time; however this morning, I made that a priority after the all important things like feeding my daughter, getting ready for work were out of the way.

The above video shows how to make a basic chain stitch. Normally tambour embroidery is done on fabric that you can see through. Actually, I can with the above fabric that I’ve chosen. If it is an issue, I’ll chose a fabric where the holes are more visible.

The good news is that it looks like I’ll be practicing tambour embroidery later today. Yes! I can’t wait.

Tambour Embroidery

You know… I promised myself I would slow down on the new crafts, but here I go again learning something new. Well, to be fair embroidery is not new to me and it’s something I’ve been doing since I was about eight years old. However, in the past, I’ve always used a embroidery needle. Until now.

A little backstory…

I am surrounded by some lovely, talented enablers in life and online. Some of my online pals, from an advanced sewing group I’m a member of, got me a new way to embroider using a tambour needle. I checked out a few videos and noted it was faster than the embroidery needles that I’m used too and they used that needle to do the same type of embroidery that I’ve been doing for years.

Embroidery Needle
Embroidery Needles

Of course, that got my attention since I love incorporating embroidery onto various items and so I’ll be learning a new way to embroider. I’ll mainly be using the tambour needle for beaded embroidery. I love adding beaded embroidery to various items, my favorite being clothing. I have a few pieces that are very intricate. The most tedious piece I have is a maxi gown made solely of beads. That took me over a year to complete.

Tambour embroidery hook
Tambour embroidery hook

Since I already love beaded embroidery, I did not purchase one item to see how I would like it, I bought everything I needed to make my transition to tambour embroidery as easy as possible. The tambour needle was the first purchase, because I can’t obviously do tambour embroidery without a tambour needle, right?

Professional Tambour / Embroidery Frame
Professional Tambour / Embroidery Frame

I also purchased a large hoop, like the one shown in the video. This is perfect for large beading projects.

Lacis Tambour Round Frame
Lacis Tambour Round Frame

However, I also wanted a much smaller embroidery hoop that I can use in my lap, and so early this morning, I ordered the small Lacis Tambour round frame. This will be perfect if I want to carry my project with me. I most likely would bring it when visiting the BF, at his home, and he’s watching something that I have no interest in, such as baseball. I don’t watch a lot of television. Days, weeks and months can go by before I turn on the TV. The BF is already fascinated with my knitting, so I’ll be interested to see what he thinks about my tambour embroidery.

I did not need to purchase beads, thread or the appropriate cloth since I already have plenty in my crafting supplies.

Take a look at the above video. Isn’t that amazing? I can do that with a simple beaded needle, but I’m still learning how to embroider with my tambour needle, so it’ll be some time before I develop the speed and accuracy needed to match what I can do with a simple embroidery needle.


A machine embroidered quilt

For the past several months, I’ve been mulling over the idea of making a quilt. I’m not new to quilt making, I have made them before. I do have a specific type of quilt that I want to make in mind… a machine embroidered quilt! Think about it, this will give me an opportunity to use my embroidery machine a bit more.

I decided on a creeptacular theme. Too bad, I didn’t start sewing on this earlier, right? If I had, it might have been ready in time for Halloween. I’ve already chosen the theme, creepy critters will be scattered about the quilt panels, with the center block having a very large and elaborate quilt design.

Embroidery.Creepy Doll_1 10.30.14


Take a look at the above embroidered panel. It’s a sample I created in October. As with all my embroidered items, I made note of the threads used and will be sure to stitch it out, within the exact colors, again.  The above design came from Urban Threads. They have similar designs as the one featured above, and I’ve happily stitched out a few. I have a feeling that many of their designs will find their way onto my quilt. I love their site! I won’t even tell you how many embroidered designs I’ve purchased from there.

I’m definitely familiar with quilt making, having make several for my Lutheran church. In fact, the quilting ladies were thrilled to see me. I was the youngest member. In fact the ladies constantly lamented how that young ladies my age had no desire to indulge in hand crafts. I’m not all that young, I’m 44, but they are all in their late 60s and above, with the oldest quilter being 94! To them, I was still a baby!

The only thing left to do, is decide on the fabric colors, choose all the embroidered designs that I want to include and of course… start sewing and embroidering.


Urban Threads – Voodoo Doll

All that glitters; tulle and a petticoat

Sewing Petticoat_3 11.30.14
Sewing through the hand basted tulle

When working with tulle, I usually hand baste first before I even think about doing any type of machine sewing. Why? Tulle is a slippery fabric and while I know you can use tissue paper to help with this, I still prefer hand sewing even if that means it takes more time. I love hand sewing, for me it’s therapeutic. I don’t need electricity to create something beautiful. Just the basic tools and time of course. 

Sewing Petticoat_2 11.30.14
Shimmery and slippery tulle!

How much hand basting are we talking about? It was a little over 50 yards of tulle, I hand sew fairly quickly, but that still was a lot. This petticoat has three layers of tulle, each layer was secured to the one above with the hand basted stitches. Afterwards, I went back and sewed those stitches with one of my sewing machines. In the above photo, I was using my Brother PC420 Project Runway.

My daughter loves watching the progression of her outfit. Since tulle can be slippery, I decided it might be best to have her working with fabric that isn’t as challenging. She readily agreed.


Sewing Petticoat_1 11.30.14

Yesterday evening, I added the embroidery. You can see the same picture with a different background here. The detail shows up much better at the one I’ve linked.

Sewing Petticoat Embroidery 11.30.14
Embroidery on petticoat

Here’s a close up of how it appears near the top of the petticoat. My daughter chose a simple floral design from Urban Threads. I believe I’ll finish the petticoat today. Later today, I’ll work on the dress, but for now I do believe I’ll take a tiny break. The elastic needs to be added to the waist and the actual petticoat needs a hem. For the tulle, I believe I’ll add a rolled hem, which means I’ll have to use my serger machine.


Would I have done anything differently?

In hindsight, I would have used chiffon for the actual petticoat, but that might not have been a great idea since I added the machine embroidered flowers? Well, it would have been doable, but I definitely would have needed a thicker stabilizer. I will be making other petticoats, the next one will most likely be for myself.


Urban Threads – Engraved Daisies