Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Digitizing Machine Embroidery Fun

Heart River Homebrewers Logo I digitized for machine embroideryJust thought I would share with you an embroidery project I worked on recently. One of my son's friends wanted to get some personalized embroidery designs sewn onto some things for his dad's Christmas gift. I digitized the logo shown here on my Husqvarna Viking 4D Professional software program then sewed the designs onto garments for him. They turned out great. The garments should make a good surprise for his dad. Apparently he's involved in a club/group that likes to brew their own beer. This logo design was drawn/created by another club member. His dad should have fun showing off in his fancy new threads next time the group gets together. It was a fun project to work on.

Close-up view of serger stitching around the test badges.I've been embroidering and digitizing for quite some time, but I learned a few things doing this project. One of those things is that you don't always need to have all the automatic features of the program turned on. In fact, it would have been better on this project to click onto the Preferences icon and uncheck the 'Remove Overlap When Combining Embroideries' option. Had I done this earlier on in my test sewing I could have alieviated a bit of aggravation on my part. You'll notice the narrow black outline surrounding the red fill of the lettering. I wanted a slight overlap so the pull (compensation) of the fabric while it was being stitched didn't cause any gaps between the red fill area and the black outline. I went into the design manually several times to move the wire frames in the .can files in order to reduce a few small gaps that kept showing up. Then when I clicked the icon to 'Create Stitches' this automatic overlap feature kept undoing what I was trying to accomplish. So just a heads up to any other home-based digitizers out there: You might want to uncheck this automatic feature of the program at certain times.

You will notice I also changed the thickness on the black outline bordering the red letters. When I digitized this I did these letters manually. After the first test sew-out I decided to increase the black outline from 1mm to 1.5mm to see if a slightly wider border would solve the gap problem. Until I turned the aforementioned auto feature off I still had a gap because the program was eliminating the overlapping areas. It was pulling back the stitches from the red fill area underneath the outline to do this and I still had some gaps. Plus I didn't like the way the thicker black border was muddying up the look of the overall design. It was excessive. I scaled back on the border to 1.3mm and liked it better when I test sewed the sample. The other new thing I realized playing with those border widths was that even though I digitized each letter individually I only needed to reset the border parameter as it was a global setting and affected all the borders of each letter. At first I thought it would take a long time to change all the borders manually on every letter. I was excited to find the global setting are useful to make these changes very quickly. You will find this feature when working with the .can file in 4D Design Creator - under the Preferences icon, click onto the Border tab then change the 'width' setting in milimeters.

I ended up sewing several test sew-outs before I was satisfied with the design. That's okay though. I decided to play around with testing out some patch making techniques. I've heard there is a specialized machine used in industry to stitch around patches to create that narrow rolled-hem type stitch around the perimeter of patches. I used some of those test sew-outs with my serger to try to duplicate that look. I set it up for a two thread folded rolled hem and got a pretty good result. I might play around a bit more with the serger and do a few other stitches to try for better results. I threw in some buckrum as a base material under the fabric to create a stiffer patch with some of the test sew-outs. That material doesn't fold over with the rolled hem since it is so stiff. I want to try just a standard rolled hem to see how it compares. And I might even try a three-thread rolled hem. I know the edge won't really 'roll' either, but replicating the way the thread wraps around the edge of the badge is the effect I'm going for. On another project I already tried just incorporating a satin stitch edge as part of the embroidery design when making badges. You can see that previous badge project on these chicken bages. The edge treatment wasn't quite the look I was going for. And the satin stitch width was harder to control compared to just running the badges through the serger once the embroidery was sewn.

Today I got together with my sewing friend and did some more work on the Rattlesnake quilt. I've now got only four more paper piecing sheets left to sew. It will be nice to move on to the next stage of this quilt project. I'll need to peruse my stash to find the fabric colors I want to use for the corners on this quilt . . . soon, very soon.

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