Machine Embroidery on a Vest Part 2


To combine the design elements and size them to fit on the pattern, I loaded an image of my pattern pieces into Art Canvas in my Bernina Designer Plus software and then went straight through to the Embroidery Canvas so that I had the pattern pieces as a backdrop. This was easy because I had used Valentina software to draft my pattern, and was able to export a vector file of the pieces.

If you have an E pattern on a PDF, you could use the Windows Snipping Tool to make a jpeg to import. The PDF pattern pieces will probably be randomly placed to save paper when you are printing, so use edit bitmap to crop out the individual pieces and save them, so that you can rotate them and position them as you would like.

If you are working with a paper pattern, you could scan the pattern, but it is a lot of work to do the whole pattern and then line up all the pieces. You might just want to scan the areas that you plan to embroider.

It is a good idea to check that your pattern pieces have been loaded at actual size. I used the measure tool and checked several of the measurements to be sure. My pattern did not have seam allowances, so if yours has, remember to allow for them.

This is what my screen looked like after I had arranged the designs on the pattern.


I got a bit carried away, and didn’t end up doing this much embroidery, but at least I knew my designs would fit on the vest. The next thing was to see what I could fit into my hoops and make templates so I could position the designs on to the actual vest. Stay tuned for the next post.

Machine Embroidery on a vest Part 1

The top front embroideries.
The top front embroideries.

I’m working on a vest for a workshop I’m running in October, and as I haven’t posted for a long time, I thought I would share the process with you. There will be a few posts about this as I work through the process.

I was running out of ideas for things to put my embroideries on. There are only so many bags, towel toppers, table runners etc. that a person needs. I originally trained as a dressmaker/pattern maker so decided to revisit those skills and start making some garments with a view to embellishing them with machine embroidery. I decided to draft my own pattern and have discovered Valentina, an open source pattern making software. This software is not for the novice, you do have to know how to draft patterns, and have some understanding CAD type drawing programs. However the software is very poweful and is actively being worked on with the roadmap of new features looking very promising. The advantage of working on the computer to create my patterns is that I don’t have to have a wardobe full of blocks/slopers that become obsolete if I gain or lose weight. I can also use the same designs and simply enter someone elses measurements to create a pattern for them. Comment below if you would like to hear more about this software.

Rose PatternHaving made my pattern, I was now ready to decide on the embroidery. As usual I wanted to digitize a new design. The Antique Pattern Library has some wonderful old embroidery books available as PDF’s with a Creative Commons-Non Commercial-ShareAlike license. I found this design on the cover of Motifs Pour Boderies, a DMC publication. Using the Windows Snipping tool, I saved a .png copy to load into my digitizing software. I digitized various sections of the design so that I could re arrange them to suit the vest. I kept it simple by doing the whole design in satin fill. In the next post, I will talk about how I arranged the design and sized it to fit the vest pattern.

In the hoop Owl


In the hoop projects are very popular. They require little or no other sewing once the embroidery is completed. My latest addition to my STORE is a toy OWL. The owl is embroidered, up to the last colour. Then another piece of fabric is laid over the embroidery and the last colour is stitched. This is both the construction line and the cutting line. After removing from the hoop the owl is cut out just inside the cutting line. Excess stabiliser is removed and the seam allowances are trimmed and clipped where necessary. All that is left to do then is to turn the owl through the gap in the seam, stuff it and then slip stitch the opening closed. This owl has been very popular so I am going to follow up with some similar toys. Keep an eye out for them.

A cute toy for young and not so young.

Use as an ornament and choose your own colours to match your decor. Make several to create an impact. If making for a child use their favourite colours. This owl would be a good product for craft markets and stalls at fairs, and as with all my designs you are free to use it  for this purpose. I only ask that you do not sell or give away the actual design file.

To find the design for this owl click on Store on the menu at the top, Click on Single Designs and then “In The Hoop”. Then Click on the picture of the Owl for more details regarding formats and size etc.

Machine Embroidery Cut Work Bat Stamp


Embroiderers have been using  cut work to embellish fabric for centuries.  Lace like designs are created by cutting away areas of the fabric and then stitching around the raw edges of the holes with various embroidery stitches to both decorate and prevent the fabric from fraying.  The process became a lot quicker with the introduction of embroidery machines. While the stitching was taken care of by the machine, the holes still had to be cut by hand. Now even that is taken care of with special chisel like needles that chop out the shapes. No longer do we have to remove the hoop from the machine.

While originally designed to make the embroidery of cut work designs easier, users of this technology are finding new uses for it in various art and craft applications. One such use is the making of stamps and or stencils. The needles will cut through a number of materials, and the foam sheets you find in craft stores are ideal for cutting out your own stamps, while stencils can be cut from a number of materials including template plastic and freezer paper.

Designs for use with this tool are becoming more plentiful, but you can create your own with software such as the Bernina Cutwork software. Here is a video to show you how to create a simple Bat stamp with the Bernina software and following is a video showing how the stamp is made on your sewing machine.  I chose a bat as at the time of writing it is not long until Halloween. This would be a great little project to do with children.

If you would like to buy the bat image to do this project, it is available here. It comes with a Black Cat image and is in the following formats:- .cdr .cmx and .jpeg.



The booties pictured on the header of this website were a the result of a project I did some time ago. There are several videos in the Version 5 playlist Under the Bernina Digitizing Tutorials menu item including “Booties and Bow” which will guide you through digitizing the bow for the booties. If you would rather just buy the design, it is available here. I have now put the artwork referred to in my videos in my new store under ARTWORK.

The pattern for the booties is a free download from this website

In the Hoop machine embroidered pincushion


If you read my Self Cover Buttons post, you would have seen the picture of the pincushion already. It was so easy to make I thought I would tell you how.

In the Hoop pincushion
In the Hoop pincushion


All you need is a design that will fit into a circle that is 127mm (5″) in diameter. I used Design 11 from my Metallic Splendour CD which I have released as a single design here.

You could also use my String Flower design.  Or you could just choose a design you already have.


String Flower machine embroidery design
String Flower machine embroidery design

Once you have chosen your design, open it in the editing screen of your machine or in your software if you prefer. If your machine does not have editing capabilities, and you do not have software, just make sure you stitch out the designs in the centre of your hoop, so that they align properly.

Now you can insert the free design I will send you if you request it below. This is a circle with a gap in it.

Stich out the first design and then lay a second piece of fabric, right side down, over the hoop. It is not necessary, but I then changed my thread to a construction thread in both the top and bobbin, as the circle will be the seam of the pincushion. Stitch the circle, and remove from the hoop. Remove the stabiliser and trim around the circle leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. Turn the pincushion in the right way and stuff firmly with polyester stuffing. Slip stitch the opening closed.

Place a button in the centre of the top of the pincusion and one in the centre of the bottom of the pincusion. I used self covered buttons embroidered with a design from my Covered Button Set. Stitch the buttons together with strong thread. I’ve been told dental floss works well, but I used upholstery thread. Pull the stitches tight so that the buttons are depressed into the pincushion.

Voilla! you are done. These pincusions make great gifts if you can bear to part with yours.

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Free Pincushion design

Please send me a free In the Hoop Pincusion design.

Self Cover Buttons


Many times when you are working on a project, the only thing preventing you from finishing it, is finding the right button.  If you keep a supply of self cover buttons in various sizes, you will never have this problem.  Make them even more special by embroidering on the fabric before you make them.  Self cover buttons can be used in other ways than as closures.


  • Use them in the centre of YoYos as a decorative accent to add to bags or cushions, or as hair facinators or trims on hats.
  • Remove the shank before you put the button together leaving a flat back. You can then glue on a brooch pin, or how about a magnet for the fridge?
  • Use them on cushions to give that luxurious over stuffed look, or centre them in a pin cushion.

I’m sure you can think of lots more. Comment at the bottom with your ideas.

I have put together a set of four designs which I used in the examples shown here.

Self Cover Button Ideas

The pin cushion also features a design from my Metallic Splendour CD and the Mini Rose has been made into a brooch.  You can get this design set for just $2.00 AUD  HERE
There are 2 sizes for each design except the Mini Rose, which only comes in the large size.
The small buttons fit covered buttons 19mm (1 3/4”) and 22mm (1 7/8”)
The large buttons fit covered buttons 29mm(1 1/8”) and 38mm (1 1/2”)

Perhaps you would like a free design to try.    You get the 2 sizes detailed above in the following formats :- ART 4-6, DST,  PCS,  HUS,  VIP,  VP3,  EMD,  PES,  XXX & JEF

Just complete your details below the picture and I’ll send you the design.

Free Smiley Button embroidery design

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Please send me a free Smiley Button design