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  • Machine embroidery converters: comparison

    Converters is a small but pleasant bonus from the embroidery software manufacturers. A converter is a small app that allows users to watch, scale and save machine embroidery files in a variety of formats. Besides the aforementioned functions, some of them have additional options.
    For example, they allow you start/finish the embroidery designs, remove the short stitches and change colors. Some apps even have a simple in-built stitch editor.
    Judging from the information on the official websites, all converters also include a stitch generator that is a part of their "older brothers" – machine embroidery editors. This feature enables the apps to recognize not only the machine embroidery files but also the native ones. That is, the converter is able to open an object file that was created in the embroidery editor by the same manufacturer. An inbuilt stitch generator will recount the stitches every time you make some changes.
    Not all converters are alike. I use converters a lot because I often work with the ready files. Sometimes it is more convenient to use more than one. Looking back at my article on how to choose machine embroidery software I decided to write a review for every converter that can be downloaded and/or tried for free.
    To make everything I said more clear, I suggest you consult these:
    Download the trial version of the Wilcom TrueSizer converter here. Register and use the Ambassador on the official website.  Register and download My Editor on the official website or  Download a free trial version of MelcoSizer. Download TESViewer for free on the official website or  Register and download an old Coats EDV converter, My Editor analog with fewer possibilities. The last two are based on WingsXP.  In the table below you can see the parameters I used to compare converters. 

    The conclusion offers itself when you look at the software capabilities. No explanation needed. A lesser known free MyEditor converter outshines all the others. Bravo. However, MelcoSizer comes a close second. 

    Interchangeability of the threads in machine embroidery: Uncovering the myth

    Original text by: Marina Belova
    Now that I've come close to creating cutwork and lace, I encountered a serious problem: how does one choose the right type of thread for such projects? Should I select the threads according to the design or, on the contrary, to select the design according to the particular threads?
    I've noticed before that threads identical in composition, but of different brands lie down in different ways, and the embroidery has a different look. The embroidery will look completely different if you just change a spool. On the weekend I embroidered a cutwork design using the Chinese cotton thread #30. And after the test run the bridges seemed rather untidy.

    And the reason was not only the embroidery sequence I'd created. I set a very low density; as for the bridges, I made them a bit too thick, but it was not critical. It was how the threads performed, the way they lay down on the fabric or a water soluble stabilizer, that was the matter. It didn't dawn on me until I had remembered that I had once embroidered a simple design with different types of threads and that the result had vividly demonstrated me the contrast between their quality. Chinese cotton thread on the left and German on the right:

    So I decided to make a comparison for my own benefit, to learn how different types of threads I owned performed with different stitch parameters — the threads that could be potentially used for cutwork and FSL.
    Here are the threads I picked out for the test:

    I'll name them for you.
    The upper row from left to right:
    WonderFil Chinese cotton thread #30 Gunold German cotton thread #30 Fufu's Taiwanese polyester #40 WonderFil Chinese rayon #40 The lower row from left to right:
    Amann German polyester #40 Gunold German rayon #40 Rheingold German metallic thread #40 Nitex Chinese metallic thread #40 I made a very simple embroidery sequence for all of them (the density for cotton threads was 20% lower than that for the ordinary ones):

    I embroidered different colors in the same order as the spools on the photo above. And of course what I got was an embroidery of varying quality; the difference was especially noticeable before I washed away the water soluble film and cleaned the fabric:

    Here is the fabric already washed and dried:

    As you can see on that photo:
    2 of the cotton threads gave different performances not only in bridges, but in satin columns around the openings. German threads made thicker bridges and very smooth columns. One might think that the density for this type of thread can be lowered even more. As for the Chinese threads, they were a disappointment in all cases: they didn't lie down smooth, and they made uneven bridges.
    Metallic threads seem to have given the similar performances.
    Taiwanese and German polyester threads were different, too — the German one made slightly thinner and looser bridges with less luster, which was good, because I don't like my cutwork to gleam.
    Chinese rayon thread gave an atrocious performance — it broke all the time, especially on bridges, though the end result looks better than the one embroidered with German rayon thread. German rayon thread made loose and ugly bridges.
    So in the end it all amounts to this: no matter however much the manufacturers overpraise the quality of their goods, the crucial point will always be the look of the embroidery and the usability. And you'll always have to set the design parameters according to the thread you have. To my own personal regret.
    Maybe the bobbin thread is a partly responsible for that as well? Perhaps, someone could suggest the other influences on the quality of the embroidery in our case?

    Decorating a kitchen: an embroidered pot holder

    Decorating a kitchen: an embroidered pot holder
    Not only will an embroidered pot holder protect your hands from scalding but also make your kitchen look lovely. In the course of our collaborative projects, the participants are required to embroider any of the kitchen or table textiles of their choice. No need to do something complex, as one can always make a pot holder.
    An embroidered pot holder. Materials
    Sole-colored cotton, 2 pieces Printed cotton, 1 piece Tearaway adhesive stabilizer Upper thread Underthread Scissors Cotton lace Padding material
    An embroidered pot holder. The making process
    I used two sole-colored pieces of different fabrics for the embroidered part and for the back part of my pot holder, with a binding. I could have cut the front and the back parts out of the same fabric, as it would look more natural if the whole thing was white. But I didn't have the necessary amount of white fabric, and therefore, I supplemented it with beige one.
    Let’s embroider a design first. Stabilize your fabric and hoop it. Select your threads (I do it beforehand, and sort them in the order of sewing), and start the embroidery. While the machine is going, you can make yourself a cup of coffee, pausing occasionally to change the thread.

    Once the embroidery is ready, unhoop the fabric and do the cutting. Natural fabrics, being heat-resistant, are preferable. My pot holder was a simple square one, with no bells and whistles. As for the batting, felt, wadding or drape cloth are most common, but if you don't have any of those, and you only plan to use the pot holder for the decoration, you may use polyester batting instead.
    Attention! Polyester batting is highly thermal conductive and has a low melting threshold.
    You’ll need to cut two square pieces, one sole-colored and one printed. Don’t use vividly colored prints; the fabric should not distract attention from the embroidery. It would be better if one of the colors of the fabric will match one of the main colors in your design.
    Out of the embroidered piece, cut out a pocket with seam allowance, so that the design is right at the center. Lay a piece of lace on top of it, facing into the right corner. Cut with allowance, in case it shifts during sewing, and you don’t want to rip it off.
    Prepare the binding. It is usually cut on a bias, but if you don’t have enough material, you may use a simple rectangle instead.
    First, I stitched the batting and the beige fabric for the back part of my pot holder. These are simple square pieces, no difficulties here. You may mark them for better alignment, but I did it by eye, and it came out fine.

    Then I stitched the pocket and the lace to the front part. I ironed out the edging so that it would sew easier, pinned the corners and carefully stitched along the edge. Now be very careful and make sure that the stitch goes along the top edge of the binding in one go and doesn’t slide down the lower one. If you set your machine at a low speed and keep steadying it along the way, it will come out fine. Be extra careful at the corners (alas, I didn’t manage to achieve perfection here).

    I don’t like basting and step-by-step stuff, all this dilly-dallying just doesn’t agree with me. But if you prefer to work that way, you can baste the thing first.
    Cut your binding a little longer than the perimeter of the pot holder; we’ll make the surplus into an eyelet. Your pot holder is ready! You may insert your favorite recipe into the pocket.

    Original text by Mary Stratan

    Clothes repair: How to move a zipper to another side

    Clothes repair: How to move a zipper to another side
    While sewing a pair of shorts or pants, a beginner tailor might easily, in the heat of work, make a mistake of attaching a zipper on the ‘men’s’ side instead of ‘women’s’ and vice versa. These shorts with a zipper on the ‘women’s’ came to me as the result of a young man’s hasty shopping. An unusual order resulted in a tutorial, which I’m now sharing with you.
    How to move a zipper to another side. Materials
    Shorts A sewing machine A zipper foot A spare zipper (if necessary) Threads and needles, scissors, a seam ripper How to move a zipper to another side. The work order
    This is how the shorts looked before I started working on them. I want to call your attention to the waistband; we’ll be making changes to it as well.

    A ready garment is not that different from a semi-finished one when it comes to preparation. You’ll need to get rid of unnecessary stitches and deconstruct the unit. Pick up a seam ripper and carefully deconstruct the whole thing. Don’t touch the cording or edge finishing made with a serger.

    Let’s proceed to the zipper. On the fly front guard there already is a line that will serve you as a guide for sewing a zipper. Baste the zipper to the wrong side. Install a zipper foot on your machine and stitch the zipper tape.
    Baste or pin the front fly extension to the other side of the tape and stitch. In order to prevent the pieces from getting nipped in the course of sewing, you may fold them in half and pin.

    On the right side of the garment, mark where the topstitch will run. Align the edge of the zipper unit with the edge of your garment. Stitch the parts together.

    Fold the zipper unit to the wrong side and topstitch along the edge from the lower to the upper edge. Edge stitch foot is your little helper here.

    Set the values according to your own taste. You can easily determine the stitch length by simply measuring it with a ruler on a ready item. Different embroidery machine models have different stitch settings; there is a lot written about them in the manual. It often has tables that help to quickly choose the right stitch and the values.

    Topstitch the fly guard along the drafted line. After that, join the free edge of the zipper tape and the garment.

    This is how my shorts looked like after I relocated the zipper. Stitch the lower part of the front seam under the topstitching line to the center point where the seams meet, one or two times. Join the parts with their wrong sides together, and topstitch on the right side (optional).

    All that’s left is to sew a waistband. In order to do it evenly, join the waistband and the garment, beginning at the center back. Evenly distribute the waistband, paying attention to where the side seams meet. If there are the belt loops, use them as guides. Stitch the waistband to the garment, then fold the waistband lining to the wrong side and topstitch along the lower edge or do the shadow seam. This will help to lower the burden on the first seam, and also to join the inner side of the waistband to the outer one.

    Sew the buttons back on.
    Compare the two photos. On the left are the shorts how they came to me, on the right — the shorts after I repaired them. This tutorial uses an unusual way of sewing a zipper.

    In the clothing repair shop where I saw it first, it was called ‘the quick one’ and was intended for speedy clothes repair.
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