Saturday, June 15, 2013

Why machine embroidery is like having a baby.........................

Oh my - yesterday was a day I would like to FORGET. Well not exactly because it was M's PROM!!!!!   AND the sashes got done. I delivered them to the banquet hall at 8:45 PM - they were presented at 10:00 PM. That is a BIT too close for comfort even for me!!!!!!!!!!!!

And what happened???  Well - M got on the prom committee and I am not sure how it happened, but we became responsible for making the sashes. After much discussion and an initial shopping trip to Fabricland to find satin, we ended up going downtown to Designer Fabric to get the satin. The fabric was excellently priced and we had FUN shopping at Designer Fabric. I have to remind myself that parts of this process were fun.

Then we (I) managed to get the satin cut and the sashes were made. As I mentioned earlier - sewing with satin SUCKS. It frays, it is slippery - it is unruly - it is just a pain to work with.

The sashes

If I had known that sewing the sashes was the EASY part - I might have quit then!!!!!!!!!!!

As I was working on sewing the sashes, I casually asked M how they were doing the lettering. OH MY GOD - they were going to use glitter glue or something. I COULD NOT bear the thought of them using glitter glue on my beautiful sashes. OH NO  - WE can embroider the letters on!!!!!!!!  

Now I am NOT an experienced embroiderer - but I know my way around the basics. BUT if I had more experience, I would have appreciated the amount of TIME involved in printing off all those letters and I would have personally gone out and BOUGHT the glitter glue!!!!!

Tried to get the letters on the computer and the software wouldn't work. After uninstalling the software (with GREAT difficulty), and then reinstalling (again with great difficulty) (I'm thinking this whole sash thing was a TEST!!!!!)

In total, there were 155 letters and each one seemed to take forever. I can't tell you because then you would certify me insane and we can't have that!!!!!!!!   Hey - there are some things I can NEVER reveal!!!

So why is machine embroidery like having a baby - well I should qualify that - I didn't say giving birth - I said having a baby. There is a difference.

Just bear with me and you will see why...................

The sashes need to be stabilized in order to be stitched. After doing the first two - I thought this is crazy - I won't have enough stabilizer and it is wasteful to hoop each one separately so, I invented this..............

After embroidering one of the words, I carefully cut out the sash from the stabilizer. 

Then I carefully pinned in a piece of stabilizer to fill the hole. Don't tell the machine dealers - I am sure they would have a fit if they saw this. But hey - it worked just fine and just like changing a diaper!!!!

Then using my plastic template as a guide, I very carefully pinned the sash in the right place on the stabilizer

Programmed the machine (OK - so I hit a button and it did it automatically) to stitch around the perimeter of where the lettering would go. Two reasons - to further stabilize the satin and to make sure I had the letters in the right spot before the embroidery got started.   Just like buckling the baby into the car seat!!!!

Used TWO different hoops to help speed things up a bit - here is the small hoop 
And the MEGA hoop  (a bit like having twins because there was now TWO  pieces of stabilizer that needed to be changed)
A finished sash  (ah - but NOT finished) - Oh no - that stitching around the words had to be removed and then the stabilizer had to be removed as well.  That was like cleaning up the baby before grandma comes to visit.

And let's not forget that you MUST keep a watchful eye on the baby because they can very easily get into trouble. Like the thread breaking, the bobbin thread running out, a needle breaks - you get the picture.

Watching the thread as it comes to an end. Yes - I had some trouble at the beginning and end of some of the spools - not all, so in some cases, I had to watch it and stop the machine just before it ran out. 
Here they - all cleaned up - ready to sew together to form the sash

At one point, I was ALMOST desperate enough that I almost asked DH to help take the stabilizer off, but then I thought - who am I kidding. He will likely cut the sash and then I am screwed!!!   But I did learn that there are TWO kinds of stabilizer. I was using tear away stabilizer and the cheap stuff I bought on sale at Fabricland was AWFUL - it did NOT tear clean, while the stuff I got from the sewing machine dealer was a dream. Lesson learned - if the price is too good to be true - it likely is NOT a deal.

And Mani - LOVED being PROM QUEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The floor around that area was a mess. No time to aim for the garbage pail. There were threads everywhere - I was just tossing them wherever!!!!!!

Went through almost TWO packs of needles. The darn thread would get caught and then break the needle. Hence the babysitting required. 

Almost EIGHT spools of thread

Numerous bobbins

What I really needed and would have helped was a BABY MONITOR. I was trying to do the garden at the same time so if the machine stopped - I had no way of knowing. Even though there was a lot of stitching - there was a LOT of downtime which is why it took so long.

And the worst part - I went WAY OVER BOARD on the sashes, but there was no turning back once I got started and I just had to plow through.  Oh well - Miss Bamford called me a supermom. I was laughing in the car on the way there. All I needed was a cape (made of satin of course) and I would have been set!!!!!!!!!!

Bottom line - I always do one big HURRAH for any school M has been at and this was it for High School.

The garden got done, the dress got done, M was HAPPY and that is what it is all about. Me - I am happy too, but VERY CALM through the entire process despite all the issues. I MUST be getting old!!!!

This was from a couple of days ago - even M got down and dirty in the garden.............

And in case you are thinking that Sammy is looking up in admiration..................

Nope - M has food that Sammy wants!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The second quilt basted (maybe I posted this already)

 On that note - I have tons to do today, including packing!!!!!!!!!!   And one last quilt and that table runner.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    (Twenty four hours left - thank goodness, I have been busy - no time to even contemplate what I am about to do!!!!!)



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