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Sew much to do about nothing…

December 14, 2011

With the kitchen renovation at a standstill (last mentioned here), I didn’t have much to do last night.  When I stepped into the dinning room to tidy up all the floor tiles we picked up over the weekend (found here), I noticed the cream napkins on my silver chargers.  I had been meaning to monogram those darn things for the past 2 years, but just never got around it.

With no appointment TV scheduled for the night, I decided to put my sewing machine to work.  About four years ago I upgraded my standard Singer sewing machine (which I got for my birthday in college) to a Brother SE-350 sewing/embroidery machine.  This baby does everything I could ever imagine.  I actually started a small embroidery business a few years ago.   The napkins kept starring at me (or maybe I kept starring at them), so I decided to get ‘er done.

Everything I embroider first starts out as a design on my computer.  I have a program called “Embroidery Fonts Plus” that allows me to template all my projects.  For this specific project, I wanted a monogram that would incorporate both Ryan and I.  After messing around for awhile, I came up with this design:

I then size the design and transfer it into a file that I can convert on an embroidery website, the one I use is  On this website I upload my design and it automatically converts it to a file type that my Brother sewing machine will read (PES).

I have a special external drive, called PED-Basic, that copies the files onto a digital card that slides into my sewing machine.

With the file copied onto the memory card, the machine can read the file.  On the touch screen of my Brother sewing machine I can also do slight alternations such as size and position.  The next step is finding the right stabilizer and needle.  Stabilizer is the material beneath that keeps the fabric in place while sewing.  In this case, I used Sulky brand Sticky+ Stabilizer.

Because this is a sticky material, there is no need to hoop the fabric.   When the sticky stabilizer is secure in the hoop, I score lightly in an ‘X’ pattern and remove the back.

Below is the napkin measured and adhered in the hoop.

The set-up process in machine embroidery is the most time consuming part.  Once the fabric is in place and the hoop installed, I can hit start on the sewing machine!

You may think the machine does everything all by itself, but it takes human attention to tread, thread tension, and bobbin to make sure the embroidery goes as planned….otherwise it can result in disaster, which has happened to me more than once ten times!

This pattern took approximately 10-15 minutes to sew due to the thickness of the lettering.  It turned out exactly as planned.  I love my new dining room personalization!

Four down and four to go…our dining room table seats eight!  The cream napkin looks great with the grey embroidery against the silver chargers and grey walls.  (I had thought about going lime green to match the adjacent living room, but felt it was better to stick to neutrals…

P.S. I updated the post on “Fascinated with Fascinators” with pictures of the company Christmas party!  Check it out here.


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