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    Needle types for sewing and embroidery machines

    The correct choice of needle type depends on the type of work you want to do and kind of fabric you use.
    Fabric type and needle diameter
    The number in the name of a needle denotes its thickness (diameter) in hundredths of a millimeter or an inch. The greater the number, the thicker is the needle. Some manufacturers may specify two numbers for one needle, e.g. 100/16 and 120/19. This means that the needle size is given both in mm and in inches.
    An 75/11 needle is 0.77 mm in diameter
    An 80/12 needle is 0.82 mm in diameter
    An 90/14 needle is 0.92 mm in diameter
    An 100/16 needle is 1.02 mm in diameter
    Fabric type and needle number:
    highly stretchable knitwear, cloth with added lycra and other elastic materials – 65-90 size needles;
    lightweight fabrics for shirts, blouses – 60-70 size needles;
    thin fabrics (batiste, chiffon, crepe-de-Chine, etc.) – 80–90 size needles;
    cloth, coarse calico, fabric made out of synthetic fibers or cut fibers, for costumes – 80–90 size needles;
    lightweight woolen fabrics and heavyweight synthetic wool, denim – 100 size needle;
    heavyweight woolen fabrics – 110 size needle;
    coarse cloth, beaver fabric, burlap – 120 size needle;
    heavyweight and extremely heavyweight materials (leather, tarpaulin, etc.), for which the needles should be selected individually. Needle number may vary from 100 to 200, depending on the fabric thickness.
    Needles may be marked not only with numeric characters but also with letters that denote their application areas, i.e. fabric types and embroidery techniques.

    Types of needle points for sewing and embroidery How to read and understand needle markings
    H — universal needles. The needlepoint is slightly rounded; these needles are intended for non-tricky materials, such as linen, coarse calico, cotton, etc.
    H-J (jeans) — needles for dense fabrics. Being sharper, they will come handy when sewing thick materials such as denim, twill, tarpaulin, etc.
    H-M (Microtex) — thinner and sharper Microtex needles. They are used for piercing microfiber, thin and tightly woven materials, rain slicker fabrics, coated or not, silk, taffeta, etc.
    H-S (stretch) — needles for stretchable fabrics. These have a special edge that almost excludes the possibility of skipping stitches while stretching the seam. A round point pushes the yarns apart without damaging them. These needles are used for sewing medium weight knitwear and synthetic elastic fabrics.
    H-E (embroidery) — embroidery needles. These have a small eye and a slightly rounded point. Besides, these needles have a special scarf that, along with other elements of a needle anatomy, helps to prevent damage to the fabric or threads. They are intended for decorative embroidery, for which special embroidery threads are used.
    H-ЕM – needles for sewing and embroidery with metallic threads. They have a big polished eye and a groove to prevent metallic threads from splitting. Numbers 80 and 90. No 80 needles for thin fabrics. No 90 needles for denser, heavyweight fabrics.
    H-Q (quilting) — quilting needles. They are tapered, with a smaller eye and round point in order to prevent skipped stitches and holes on the fabric. These needles are commonly used for decorative stitching.
    H-SUK (jersey) — round point needles. They easily separate the yarns and go between them, thus avoiding damage the fabric. They are ideal for thick knitwear, jersey and knits.
    H-LR, H-LL (leather) — needles with a cutting point for leather items. They penetrate fabric at an angle of 45° towards the seam. As a result, you get a decorative seam with slightly inclined stitches.
    H-O – wing needles. They are intended for decorative seam stitching and hemming with

    Needlepoint types decorative stitches. Needles of this type have wings of varying width. Wings can be located on one or both sides of the needlepoint. Using them in places where a needle penetrates the fabric several times will enhance the decorative effect.
    H-ZWI – a twin needle. It is two needles bound together with a holder. It is intended for decorative stitching and pin tucks. Also hemming the edges of knitwear items (there will be a zigzag on the wrong side). These needles come in three sizes (70, 80, 90) and three types (H, J, E) only. The distance between the needles in mm (1.6, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 4.0, 6.0) is indicated on the package. The higher the number, the greater the distance. 4.0 and 6.0 needles can be used only for stitching straight lines.
    H-DRI – a triple needle. Only comes in two sizes (2.5, 3.0). This needle works in a way similar to H-ZWI. One should use stitches specially designed for such needles. If one chooses a wrong stitch, a needle may break and damage the machine or traumatize the embroiderer.
    Topstitch – special needles for decorative stitching. They have a large eye and a large groove for a decorative thread (in order to be visible on the fabric, it must be thicker than a standard one) to easily pass through. If you need to stitch a line with loosely spun threads, this is the best needle for that. Sizes 80 to 100. For lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight fabrics.
    Needle shank may be color-marked.
    blue color denotes a needle for denim;
    purple – a Microtex needle;
    yellow – a needle for knitwear;
    red – an embroidery needle.
    Needle types and purposes Needle type Needle design Purpose Needle # Universal130/705 H
    Normal point, slightly rounded For almost all types of textiles, fabrics, and knits 60-100 Jersey/elastic
    130/705 H-S
    130/705 H-SES
    130/705 H-SUK Ballpoint Jersey, knits and elastic fabrics 70-90 Leather
    130/705 H-LL
    130/705 H-LR Cut point All kinds of leather, faux leather, plastic, film, oilcloth 90-100 Denim
    130/705 H-J Very slim point Densely woven materials (denim, sailcloth, work clothing) 80-110 Microtex
    130/705 H-M Very slim point Microfiber fabrics, silk 60-90 Quilting
    130/705 H-Q Slim point Stitching, quilting 75-90 Embroidery
    130/705 H-E Big eye, ballpoint Embroidery on all kinds of natural and synthetic fabrics 75-90 Metaphil
    130/705 H-MET Big eye Sewing with metallic threads 75-90 Cordonnet
    130/705 H-N Small ballpoint, long eye Stitching with thick threads 80-100 Wing
    130/705 HO A wide needle with wings Openwork, hemstitch 100-120 Twin-wing
    130/705 H-ZWI-HO   Special openwork effects 100 Twin
    130/705 H-ZWI Distance between the shanks: 1403 / 1404 QE / 1405: 1.0/1.6/2.0/2.5/3.0/4.0  1405 also: 6.0/8.0 Elastic materials hemming, edge stitching, decorative seams 70-100 Triple
    130/705 H-DRI Distance between the shanks: 3.0 Decorative work 80

    Machine embroidery consumables: what and how to use: Stabilizers

    No high-quality machine embroidery is possible without a stabilizer. Various manufacturers offer a gazillion of stabilizers for any taste and budget. Beginners sometimes feel lost in the midst of it all, now knowing which ones to purchase.
    Let’s try and figure it out.
    Stabilizers can be divided into two types: toppings and backings. Backings are intended to shoulder the load during the embroidery in order to avoid puckering, while toppings are used to prevent stitches from sinking – for example, on piled fabric or loosely-knitted items, – and also partly shoulder the load during the embroidery.
    1. Tearaway stabilizers
    These stabilizers are made of cellulose or pressurized paper. They are the ones used most often.  They are either hooped together with the fabric or separately, with fabric placed upon it and stitched to hold it in place.
    Tearaway stabilizers vary in density, measured in g/m2. There is a common belief (a wrong one) that one should pick a lower-density stabilizer for thin fabrics, and higher-density stabilizers – for thick ones. The more support a fabric needs, the denser should be the stabilizer. For example, it’s better to use an 80 g/m2 stabilizer for a capricious satin, while for the dense linen or denim fabric 40 g/m2 will be enough.
    A high-quality tearaway stabilizer should be easily removed after the embroidery; when crumpled, it becomes soft and flexible, and in water, it should split into separate fibers.
    For me, at this particular moment, the best tearaway stabilizer is an 80 g/m2 Rainbow Doklas, also a tearaway stabilizer by Vilene; the one by Gunold is not so good.
    2. Adhesive tearaway stabilizers
    They consist of a tearaway stabilizer with a sticky side. They are attached to the fabric by ironing without steam.
    These stabilizers are intended for holding in place elastic and stretchable materials so that they don’t spread out during the embroidery. Are often paired with a simple tearaway. An adhesive topping prevents the fibers from stretching, and a tearaway backing shoulders the load during the embroidery in order to avoid puckering.
    Density and quality requirements for such stabilizers are the same as for the ordinary tearaways. Vilene stabilizers have a good reputation.
    3. Water-soluble stabilizers
    These include fusible interfacing and films of varying density.
    Fusible interfacing is used:
    ⦁    for cutwork and lace;
    ⦁     for 3D embroidery;
    ⦁     where the wrong side should look neat;
    ⦁     for the embroidery on netting, etc.
    Density also varies. A high-quality stabilizer should be easily dissolved in water, leaving no traces. It is the one most often used as a backing.
    Water-soluble films can be thin (20 microns) or thick (about 80 microns).
    Thin films are used as a topping for piled fabrics (velour, velvet, fleece, terry cloth, etc.) or loosely knitted materials (jersey, knits) in order to prevent stitches from sinking.  They are easily torn away after the embroidery, and the rest can be removed by a slightly wet sponge

    Thin film is used on its own when embroidering lace.
    Vilene interfacing materials and Gunold water-soluble films have an excellent track record.
    4. Heat-away stabilizers
    Are used in a way similar to the water-soluble, with the fabrics that can be damaged by water (velvet, natural silk and so on).
    Termofilm Consists of a heat-away film. It’s operating principle is similar to the water-soluble film’s. It is placed on top of the fabric with its grainy side facing down. Iron without steam, moving in circles, will easily remove it. During this, the stabilizers leftovers are rolled into balls that can be brushed off later.

    Thermogaze A fusible material used a base fabric for creating lace or as a backing. When heated by an iron, disintegrates into tiny fibers that can be removed by a brush.

    5. Filmoplast
    This is an adhesive stabilizer, intended for embroidering of the items and fabrics, which cannot be hooped (leather, fur, small ready items).
    Filmoplast is hooped separately with a sticky side facing up. A protective layer slightly bigger than the embroidery area is peeled off, and the item or a piece of fabric is attached onto it.
    One of the disadvantages of this kind of stabilizers is that Filmoplast takes effort to remove.
    My recommended basic set of stabilizers for beginners:
    1. Tearaway stabilizer of a varying density, 2–3 m each
    2. Tearaway adhesive stabilizer, 1–2 m each
    3. Water-solubles and films, 1 m each
    Others are bought on demand, depending on the money available.
    Other machine embroidery consumables
    Puffy is a puffed up foam used to add volume to the machine embroidery designs.

    Temporary spray adhesive Necessary for temporarily gluing the fabric to a stabilizer, such as cutaway, or the appliqué material to the main fabric. 
    An adhesive should be sprayed onto a stabilizer, not the fabric, in order to avoid stains.
    Starch spray Used to stiffen thin or flowing fabrics (chiffon, batiste). A starched fabric is easier to hoop. Sometimes it allows embroidering without other stabilizers. As a result, the embroidery stays soft and flexible.
    “Clean backing” is an adhesive interfacing material, used to cover the wrong side of the embroidery out of the aesthetic reasons. It is ironed from the wrong side after the embroidery has been completed.
    I hope that this article will help the beginners to make their first steps or broaden the horizons for the more experienced embroiderers in the colorful world of machine embroidery.
    Easy stitching to you all!
     

    Machine embroidery consumables: what and how to use: Needles

    For a home embroidery machine and embroidery designs, it is recommended to use special machine embroidery needles and also needles for metallics. The needle number should correspond to the thickness of the fabric on which you embroider, i.e. the thinner the fabric, the smaller the number.
    Always use needles for metallics when embroidering with metallic threads. Due to these needles having a slightly bigger eye and, the metallic thread doesn’t grate against them so much, thus reducing the risk of notch appearance, which in turn leads to looping or thread breakage. Better to run the machine at a low speed when embroidering with metallics.
    Needles by a German company named Schmetz are well-known.

    For knits, one is allowed to use needles for jersey and stretchable fabrics.
    Needles with wings, or winged needles, are used for the openwork-like embroidery. Wings make the microscopic cuts in the fabric. Not all of home embroidery machines are suitable for this embroidery technique.
     Titanium-coated machine embroidery needles deserve a special mention. Thanks to the highly durable coating, the service life of these needles exceeds the service life of the ordinary ones by several times, and the risk of breaking the needle during the embroidery is significantly lower. Schmetz manufactures such needles.

    Machine embroidery consumables: what and how to use: Threads

    Finally! You’ve become a happy owner of an embroidery machine.  The euphoria from the purchase is gradually cooling off, and a whole array of questions arises before the new master. What to do next? Which threads to use? Which needles to use and how not to lose your way in a huge variety of stabilizers? In this article, based on my own experience, I’ll tell you what’s what and indicate issues you should focus upon in the first place and the ones that can be left for later.
    Threads
    High-quality threads guarantee a long life for your new helper. Let me tell you straight away: you should not use sewing threads for machine embroidery designs. Machine embroidery threads are polished in a special way so that very little or no noil appear. (Noil clutters the mechanism, thus reducing the lifespan of an embroidery machine). I must admit that some embroiderers use the ordinary sewing threads and, what’s more, advocate for such usage. Well, everybody should decide for themselves. For me, this is unacceptable, because an embroidery machine costs far too much to risk its health by using threads of low quality. The embroidery threads fit into several categories.
    1. Rayon threads
    These threads are made of rayon. They have a strong sheen. The embroidery is softer than the ones made with other threads. But there are also disadvantages. First, a sheen given by rayon threads in not always appropriate (for example, in the embroidery on men’s clothes). Second, rayon can be weakened by chlorine, therefore, items embroidered with rayon threads must not be bleached. Third, when using a water soluble stabilizer and then dissolving it in water rayon threads lose some of their luster and the embroidery becomes dimmer. Almost every manufacturer has an assortment of rayon embroidery threads. I can recommend Gunold Silky threads, because they are good for their money. On the other hand, the threads made by several Chinese manufacturers have left a very unfavorable impression. Better to spend a little more and embroider comfortably than to use cheap threads and have to deal with persistent thread breakage and knots.
    2. Polyester threads
    Polyester embroidery threads are practically as good as rayon ones, and in some ways even better. Their sheen is more restrained, they are chlorine-resistant and are compatible with water-soluble stabilizers. There are well-established threads by Amann (Isacord), Gunold (Poly) and Madeira, although the last ones are rather pricey.
    3. Cotton threads
    These threads are matt-finished, thus helping to imitate hand embroidery. This is of vital importance for vyshyvanka (a Ukrainian traditional embroidered shirt), cross stitch, embroidery on men’s clothes and so on.

    Due to these threads being rather thick, it is recommended to run the machine at a low speed.
    Polyester threads with cotton sheath, like the ones made by Amann (Rasant), are a good alternative. They combine the durability of polyester with the matt finish of the cotton threads.
    4. Metallic threads
    These are essentially durable polyester threads with a metallic sheath.

    Special needles should be used with metallic threads. Do not cover large areas with them, because they leave miniature notches, and may lead to loops and thread breakage in future.
    Other types of embroidery threads
    This type of threads includes acrylic threads that imitate woolen embroidery, various fluorescent threads that glow at night, like Glowy by Gunold, chameleonic threads that change their color in the sunlight, etc.
    I’d like to place the embroidery underthreads into a separate category. These are the ultra-thin threads that are reeled on a bobbin. They make the wrong side of the embroidery soft without adding weight.
    For a beginner, I’d recommend to first purchase a basic floss palette containing 2 or 3 shades of every color + monochromatic colors + underthreads, and then add the necessary colors on demand.

    Interfacing, Filmoplast, Solufix and machine embroidery threads

    Using high-quality stabilizers is key to making high-quality machine embroidery designs with a variety of stitches, appliqué and other sewing techniques.
    Because fabrics tend to stretch during sewing or embroidery, a stabilizer is placed under the fabric.
    There are several types of stabilizing materials:
    Tearaway stabilizer, made of fibers that tear easily. Use it when embroidering on woven fabrics. On completion, tear the stabilizer away. Small leftover bits on the wrong side of the embroidery won’t get in the way.
    Water-soluble stabilizer – looks like a film but dissolves in water. Place it on top of the fabric to be embroidered.
    Tear-resistant cutaway stabilizer. This one is ideal for the designs with large stitch count and density, multipart embroidery appliqué, as well as logos and inscriptions. On completion, trim the extra bits.
    The adhesive stabilizer is used when it’s impossible to hoop the embroidery or the hoop will leave traces (velour, for instance).
    FILMOPLAST® – a multi-purpose non-woven material.
    The most convenient stabilizer to use: embroider without hooping. So, no traces on a delicate fabric. It has a sticky side and provides good support for open-mesh and knitwear fabrics, while also enhancing the look of the embroidery. It is perfect for embroidering small parts of the item which are impossible to hoop. Also, you can embroider baseball caps without a cap frame – simply stick them to FILMOPLAST® and push the start button.
     
     

    Types of stabilizers in machine embroidery.

    There are two types of stabilizers: toppings and backings.
    A top stabilizer (topping) is used to prevent stitches from sinking into loosely spun and textured fabrics. Use a top stabilizer when embroidering on knitwear, velvet or velour to help stitches to stay in place. A top stabilizer won't prevent fabric from puckering. For this purpose, use backing.  For laces, the backing is used as a base fabric.
    Machine embroidery stabilizers (interfacing, etc.) in our shop.
    Backing
    Backings are special, primarily non-woven materials, that provide support and stabilize the fabric during the embroidery, prevent creasing, distortion, and stretch. They are put under the fabric being embroidered.
    There are several types of backings: tearaway, adhesive, cutaway, water-soluble, heat-away.
    Tearaway stabilizers
    Tearaway stabilizers usually consist of paper of varying density (thickness).
    Tearaway stabilizers are good for most natural fabrics and give only a temporary support. This kind of stabilizer is easily removed and can be successfully used in cases where the wrong side will be seen (towels, plaids, scarfs and so on). It is also widely used with non-transparent fabrics of fair colors, with thick and densely woven fabrics made of natural fibers (denim, for example). Not recommended for any kinds of knits.
    Adhesive stabilizers
    These are glued to the wrong side of the item, thus giving it stability.
    There are several types of adhesives:
    An ordinary adhesive stabilizer with glue on one side. The item is attached to it with an iron.
    Adhesive paper with a sticky side covered with a protective layer. This paper is necessary when embroidering tricky fabrics: velvet, cashmere, leather, which are better not to be hooped. And also for the items that are hard to hoop: collars, cuffs, small details.
    An adhesive paper is placed in the hoop with a sticky side facing up, then the protective layer the size of the embroidery area is removed, and the item is placed on top. Having embroidered the item, tear the paper away. Example: FILMOPLAST®.
    Cutaway stabilizers
    Cutaway stabilizers (backings) are used for stabilizing highly stretchable fabrics and provide constant support during the embroidery. One needs them to embroider a machine embroidery design with a lot of stitches, in order to avoid fabric distortion, preventing the appearance of bulges or concavities (the effect stays even after several washes).
    A cutaway stabilizer is always thicker than a tearaway. It consists of a non-woven fabric made of long fibers on the basis of polyester or rayon. The way the fibers are arranged in a stabilizer defines its purpose.
    If the fibers are mainly single-oriented, it stretches and tears in this one direction. Therefore, to stabilize the fabric properly you need to use 2 layers of backing, positioning them perpendicularly. There are backings of varying density.
    Bonding short fibers (polyester, rayon, cellulose) together by solvent treatment, you'll get a non-woven fabric of high quality, which is soft like a tearaway stabilizer, has a smooth surface and does not stretch in any direction. This stabilizer can be of varying density and just one layer of it is sufficient. It is considered the best embroidery stabilizer because it does not add extra volume to the embroidery and does not show through the fabric.
    Among the cutaway stabilizers, one should note spunbond – a thin, very soft material that resembles a waffle. USA Poly Mesh or No Show Mesh stabilizers. This kind of backing is good because it does not stretch at all, providing support all the time, and is not visible through the fabric. It comes in various colors and densities. It is used for knits.
    Solvent stabilizers
    Solvent stabilizers include a water-soluble fabric-like stabilizer and a water-soluble film of varying density. They are used for stabilizing the embroidery when it is necessary to remove the backing without traces. For example, organza, transparent fabrics, FSL, and cutwork.
    Water-soluble stabilizers come in two varieties: textile interfacing materials and films
    100% polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) stabilizers Both are dissolved in water. Time of dissolution depends on the temperature of water. Approximate valued by Gunold:
    20 °C about 3 min 25 °C about 2 min 30 °C about 1 min 40 °C about 15 sec In real life, water-solubles are not so easily removed, and it takes more than one round to get rid of it completely.
    The intended purpose of a water-soluble film depends on its thickness:
    Thin (20 microns) Used as toppings for lightweight fabrics.
    Medium (35 microns) are used for textured fabrics (velour with and without pile, velvet, fur and loop fabrics). When embroidering small details and letters on textured fabrics the film should be placed on top for better results.
    Dense (80 microns) are used as a base fabric for so-called 3D embroidery, FSL, chevrons, cutwork, and as a stabilizer for the fabrics where the wrong side should look good, also for transparent fabrics.
    Heat-away stabilizers
    They are used when it is necessary to stabilize the fabric, which shouldn't get wet and you need to remove the backing leftovers. They can be successfully used for creating FSL, as well as water-soluble film. They are removed with a very hot iron (no less than 120°) through the paper. Under no circumstances should steam be used with fusible stabilizers.
    Upper stabilizers (toppings)
    These are necessary to prevent the stitches from sinking into the pile, loops, fur and other materials of that kind, also with loosely-knitted fabrics. Gelatin-based toppings are widely known because they can be easily solved in water. This is what is called a water-soluble film.
    There are two types of water-soluble film: thin and thick (dense). Thin film is used practically with everything, thick one – only with high piles.
    Next kind of stabilizers is a fusible stabilizer. They are used in cases when the fabric cannot be washed, and therefore, the use of water-soluble film is not possible.
     

    Making a stylish summer bag by hand

    A summer bag is a necessity for every girl. You can make a stylish summer bag out of a plain linen fabric. A simple design and a fair-colored fabric will make it fit for every occasion

    Such an accessory will look equally good in the office and on the beach. It harmonizes with a business suit and a simple tunic.
    Originally, the bag and the following masterclass were intended to showcase a  flower machine embroidery design from our collection. A fake flap immediately beneath the zipper and a pocket with a metal clasp will be used as a decoration.
    These last two elements are made of a machine embroidered fabric. Silk threads will give a beautiful glitter under the sun and in the artificial light of the lanterns.
    Materials:
     • 0.35 m of a thick cotton fabric (1.5 m wide);
     • 0.15 m of a printed fabric;
     • 0.35 m of a lining fabric (1.5 m wide);
     • 0.5 m of an interfacing fabric (1.5 m wide);
     • 1 metal clasp;
     • 1 handle with carabiner-style clasps;
     • 1 zipper with big size teeth (no less than 30 cm);
     • 0.25 m of a corded silk ribbon 1 cm wide;
     • white threads.
    Instructions
    First, you need to cut out the pieces of your future bag from the main fabric: front and back – 35 x 30 cm each; bottom part – 8 x 27 cm; pocket – 15 x 12 cm. From the printed fabric, cut out the rounded flap (27 x 12 cm) and a strip (19 x 5 cm) that will be used as a pocket decoration. Photo 3.

    Glue all the elements to the interfacing. This will make the bag thicker thus enabling it to maintain its shape. 
    Put a pattern piece on the sticky side of the interfacing fabric and iron it. Photo 4.

    Repeat with the rest of the pieces. You can leave the pocket and the decorative ribbon as they are. Photo 5.

    But the flap must be strengthened. Cut the interfacing close to the edges. Photo 6.

    On your sewing machine, sew the bottom and the sides of the bag together. Photo 7.

    You should get a template which will become the front side of your bag: Photo 8.

    Sew up the side seams. Photo 9.

    Pin and sew the side seam on the bottom of your bag. Photo 10.

    Now, let's make a pocket. Fold the upper edge twice with the right side inside and stitch it. Fold the other sides and iron them. Turn in the edges of the decorative ribbon and stitch them. Run the ribbon through the metal clasp. Put it onto the pocket. Pin it. Stitch it to the bag. Photo 11.

    Pin the pocket onto the front side. Turn in the edges of the ribbon. Stitch it to the bag. Photo 12.

    Out of the underlay fabric cut out the parts of your future bag (except the pocket and the decorative ribbon). Photo 13.

    The underside is sewn in the same way as the front. Photo 14.

    Put the flap parts together with their front sides facing each other. Stitch them together, leaving a 7 cm clearance gap. Make incisions in the rounded edges. Cut the sharp corners close to the stitching. Turn it the right side out. Iron the clearance gap. Photo 15.

    Put the flap onto the front side of the bag. The distance from the upper edge should be 2.5 cm. Stitch it to the bag. Photo 16.

    Now, you'll make bag handle hinges out of the corded silk ribbon. Sew them onto the bag near the side seams. To make them more durable, fold the ribbon in two. Photo 17.

    Now, sew in the lining and zipper. Photo 18.

    Attach the ready handle with carabiner-style clasps to the hinges. Photo 19.


    A few words about the rules of creating monograms for machine embroidery

    Monograms are stylized initials of somebody’s name, surname or patronym. A monogram is a personal logo of sorts. Known since the 4th century BCE, monograms have a very long history.

    Embroidering a monogram is an excellent and popular way of creating a personalized gift. You can embroider on anything, including bath and kitchen towels, clothes, bed linen, handkerchiefs, pillows, lambrequins, bags and toys. These are just a few of the things that can be given as gifts.
    A thought struck me just now that there are common traditions one must stick to in order to avoid making a blunder. It turned out, there exists a monogram creation and usage etiquette. According to it, you need to know for whom the monogram is intended and to separate a person from a couple, a man from a woman, a kid from the betrothed. This knowledge will define the typography. In every case, there are nuances. Everybody knows, for instance, that monograms are always read from left to right and from top to bottom.
    A traditional way of creating monograms
    Choosing a font
    According to the tradition, all the letters in a monogram are capital and should be of the same type.
    Square letters are for men, slant handwritten letters – for women and married couples, and calligraphic script is for women only. You can read more on the topic in my article about Fonts. Types of monograms.
    The outer look
    In a woman’s monogram the first initial is a name, a small letter. The second is a surname. This is the biggest letter in the monogram. And the third initial is a patronym, again, a small letter. In a man’s monogram, the order is the same, but all the letters are equal in size. It is possible to omit the patronym in a monogram. If that’s the case, you first write the name, then the surname, the initials being equal in size.
    As a rule, a child’s monogram consists of only 1 letter.

    In a monogram for a married couple, the first, small, initial belongs to the wife. A big initial denoting a surname follows, then comes the husband’s initial – again, small. The levels at which the letters are placed, may be different.

    If a couple has double surname, these 2 initials are made big and positioned in the center. For household use, you might employ just one letter in a monogram – a surname.
    Naturally, there exist simple monograms, consisting of separate letters, and also of linked ones.

    Monograms usage
    If a monogram contains several letters, it is intended for official use. One letter is for unofficial cases.
    A modern way of creating monograms
    It’s XXI century now, many things have been changed and simplified, so now we have an opportunity of using any style we like, even the most bizarre. Yes, the way you like, not the conventional way.

    Choosing a font
    There is a great variety of fonts that can be used in monograms. Traditional types with serifs are still popular, but there are also the ones without; fancy fonts with excessive decoration in the form of flowers, leaves, berries in a so called “French style” are very common. And of course, one cannot forget to mention the convoluted calligraphic script, which is widely used to this very day. Men’s and women’s preferences in the character style have changed as well. Nowadays women prefer simple elegant fonts. One multicharacter monogram may contain fonts of different styles, in order to reflect the personality of its owner.

    The outer look
    Many women’s monograms of today consist of just 1 letter (denoting either a name or a surname), and men’s still have 3.

    If all 3 of the letters are of equal size, their sequence is changed: first comes the name, then the patronym, and the surname is the last.
    Personal monograms of 2 letters (name and surname initials) are possible. Both 2-letter (two names) and 4-letter (two names, two surnames) monograms can be used for the betrothed. The sequence of letters is not fundamental as it used to be. But those in the know advise following the tradition when creating monograms for bed linen, decorations and silverware. Monograms are often fit into a geometrical figure: a circle, an oval, a diamond, etc.


    Garlands of flowers, crests, crowns and wreaths of various kinds may be used as well.

    Apart from the initials, an entire name is often embroidered today – one should keep this in mind.
    The collection of ancient monograms, now in public domain, can be found on the Web and used as a starting point for your own creative effort. The only thing you’ll need to do is to follow the rules above.
    There is a huge variety of the already existing monogram templates. They can be incorporated into the average embroidery software.
    Some editors are even tooled for the creation of monograms only. Here you can find free monograms from the (Stitch Era Universal). You can see similar ones in any other editor, only chances are that there will be more of them there than coming from a free source.

    Well, they’re not the sharpest tools in the shed, but these monograms are better than nothing if you need to create a present.
    Read how the embroidery designs, monograms included, are usually positioned on an item.
    So, if you cannot draw or don’t like what you see in the free circulation, you can turn to a professional that creates various monograms to order. And if you need something simple to embroider it on an item, you can use a very handy application that has a built-in set of various fonts, vignettes, monograms, emblems and crowns.

    Color in machine embroidery. Basics

    Original text by Marina Belova 
    I wonder if anyone will ever argue that blending thread colors in machine embroidery is slightly different from blending printing colors or paints? But then again, even in painting, there have long been attempts to prove I.Newton’s classic theory of colors wrong. For those who are interested, there’s a book by Michael Wilcox called Blue and Yellow Don’t Make Green – go and read it.
    But let’s get back to the topic. All guides, books, and other information materials on color formation in machine embroidery are nevertheless based on Newton’s classic color wheel. For the sheer reason that you have nothing except them and your own experience to rely upon. Besides, choosing a right color with the help of the color wheel is much better than without it. Especially for the neophytes.
    That’s why I will take the liberty of touching on the subject of color in a machine embroidery design.
    Colors can be divided into 2 groups:
    Chromatic – the colors of the spectrum. Achromatic – white, black and all shades of gray. Let’s look at the canonical 12-part color wheel made of chromatic colors:

    It’s basis is formed by just 3 colors: yellow, red and blue (marked “I” in the photo). These are called primary colors, as they cannot be obtained by mixing other colors together.
    Secondary colors result from the intemingling of the two primary colors. In the photo, they are marked “II”. These are orange, green and purple.
    Tertiary colors are made by mixing two of the secondary colors (marked “III” in the photo). These are yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green and yellow-green.
    Also, there are such concepts as:
    Color hue – a property of color that defines its tone; we usually have separate names for them (lilac, magenta, etc.).
    Lightness – the shade of lightness/darkness. To get a shade you add some white or black to your source color. A mixture of color with white is called tint, and a mixture of color with black is shade.
    Saturation is the degree of intensity and purity of the color.
    Color temperature is connected to the idea of colors being “cool” or “warm”. On the basis of this idea, all colors are divided into warm, cool and neutral.
    There are several ways of creating harmonious color schemes, containing 2–4 colors, with the help of the wheel. For example:
    Mono – includes one color in different values. In this case, we only add shades and tints.

    Complementary – mixing of 2 (contrasting) colors on the opposite sides of the diagonal.

    Triadic – mixing of 3 colors that are located at the corners of the equilateral triangle:

    Mixing 3 analogous colors: Analogous colors are those that follow each other on the color wheel.

    Split-complementary: mixing 3 colors – two analogous and one contrasting.

    Mixing 4 colors: 3 analogous and 1 contrasting.

    Tetrad: mixing 4 colors arranged into two complementary pairs.

    Besides the ones above, there are other color harmonies that can be found in books and on the Web. The only thing left is to do is to practice, and don’t forget that the threads cannot blend together like paints. Also, the stitch types, stitch angles, textures selected will make their not so small impact on the end result.
    I’m curious if any software has algorithms helping to choose threads automatically, on the basis of the existing thread color palette, but using the methods described above?
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