“Assembly Line Prep”

Each year about this time I begin thinking about what I will be sewing for the holidays.  The optimum word here is “thinking”.  I am rarely pulled together enough to actually start sewing for the holidays this early.  This year though, in honor of National Sewing Month, I decided to put my thoughts into action and started working on the embroidery parts of my projects.  Once those are complete, I can then put the individual projects together, assembly line style.  I have already had two requests for table runners and one request for some floor pillows for a very small apartment that really doesn’t have a lot of room for much furniture!  I haven’t exactly designed the table runners or the floor pillows yet but I do know what embroidery designs will be used, so I began the process for the table runners by using a large piece of material supported by batting.  One reason I love working on table runners is because I am able to use up all of my left over batting from other larger projects.  I sprayed the batting with a high quality temporary fabric adhesive and then smoothed the fabric down onto the batting, preparing for a standard hooping.

A standard hooping for design number 3.

(Please remember to never spray fabric adhesive on the fabric itself.  It will, most likely, leave a very nice stain that will never come out.  Only spray the batting.)  Each Christmas tree design is 20,102 stitches with 4 color changes which at 100% speed, took exactly one hour each to stitch out using my 200 x 200mm hoop (8” x 8”).

Make sure the embroidery arm is able to move freely!

Stitching like this on a large piece of material actually saves material in the long run since you can hoop the designs so much closer together than if you cut the material for each individual hooping.  If you decide to try this technique, remember to make sure the material and batting is light and does not interfere with or hinder the embroidery arm.  Once all of the trees were finished stitching, I cut them out using a squaring ruler and my smaller 28mm rotary cutter.

All four trees when finished with the embroidery.
Each tree was cut out using the 8.5 x 8.5 inch squaring ruler.
When squaring up blocks, I prefer to use my 28mm rotary cutter rather than my larger 45mm cutter. I find it gives me more control.

Remember not to erase the alignment marks you made until after you have finished squaring up the blocks.!

The alignment marks you made to center your embroidery in the hoop will also allow you to center the embroidery within the squaring ruler. Don’t erase them too soon!

As you can tell from my cut marks, my trees did not line up on the large piece of fabric.  They didn’t have too.  Because of the material I was using the trees only had to be individually straight in their own block.  Once the blocks had been cut, they were steamed and the alignment marks were erased.

Remember, your blocks only have to align within the hoop, not on the larger piece of fabric.
All four blocks: steamed and squared up!

When all that was done, I added seam sealant to the back of the embroidery where all of the thread knots were and I put them into a zippered storage bag to keep them clean until I am ready to use them.  Time to start the next embroideries!