Happy 2013!!

 Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year ladies and gents!! It was a looonnnngggg…. Christmas break. My kids were out of school for well over what seemed like a month 2 weeks. We had a very relaxing break and school has now started back for 2 out of 3 (3rd starts back tomorrow). It’s nice to have some routine and normalcy back. Jeff was off work for a while over the break too, so we got lots of new designs done. Here are the ones just listed today, and I’m quite fond of the Carrot Trio and the Loopy Giraffe (if I do say so myself). These are all featured on our home page!

bunny 4 300-horz

This past week I did some work for a local clothing designer (PBJ ~ Pieces by Jola). She brought over a couple of Blanks Boutiques shirts which are great! She was very specific about the location of the applique (1″ to 1.5″ below the neckline). I’ve never paid much attention to this with the way I hoop and do my shirts, but I snapped a picture yesterday so I thought I’d share. The idea is for the applique NOT to end up on the belly area of the shirt, which happens if you hoop too low. So, for these I marked my center from armpit seam to armpit seam (which is usually an even number – 14″, 13.5″, etc). I also made a mark on my shirt around 1″ from the top neckline. I then moved my needle to the top placement on my machine (should have taken a pic of this) and got it as close as I could. Here I’m using a Durkee 9×9 hoop which is great for multi needle machine users. It allows you to do a 5×7 design that might fill up a 5×7 hoop PLUS a name underneath!


Here is the finished product, and as you can see the shark‘s top fin is probably about 1.25-1.5″ below the neckline. I love this design! I use Monogram Wizard Plus “Tipsy” for the name Aaron.


I also did this girl shirt with our Seahorse design. Again, good placement of the design on the shirt and I love these SIMPLE one fabric designs. They stitch out so quickly and easily! Jola is a clothing designer, so she has certainly made cute bottoms to go with these tops! Below I used Monogram Wizard Plus “Party Time (aka Curlz)” as my font. Again, a Blanks Boutique top. The shirt seems really LONG in this photo. It was a size 6 and the wind was blowing!


In my last post I showed you this cute Old Navy hoodie dress Mallory got for Christmas. As I was outside taking new design pics today she decided to get in the bushes and pose. I love this dress! It’s super soft and I love the colors. She wore white cableknit stockings and some matching pink sparkly Keds to school today with it. I would love some orange leggings but haven’t found any yet. This is Monogram Wizard Plus “MC Center” font which is a new favorite. It’s a “sister font” to Master Circle which is more of a rounded monogram.


I love this girl! She was actually taking a break from playing soccer with her brothers and 3 other boys from down the street. She’s going to be TOUGH!!


I mentioned in my previous post thread colors, so today I decided to do my reds. I was going to take some pics with some of my red polka dot fabrics, but I was afraid that would be too confusing and lead to too many questions! I use #3 and #4 90% of the time, probably because they are 5000M spools. Here they are L to R:

1. Exquisite ES213 ~ this one is borderline burgundy

2. Exquisite ES3015 ~ I would say a deep red

3. Isacord 1904 ~ Again, deep red, but not too dark (I probably use this one the most)

4. Isacord 1704 ~ I would say cherry red

I get my Exquisite thread from www.kenssewingcenter.com and my Isacord from www.sewingmachine.com! I would say 2 and 3 are very similar being different brands.


Mark your calendars if you are “local” ~ I’ll be doing a class at Beth’s Heirloom Sewing in Wetumpka, AL on Saturday, February 2nd! I’m planning a trip up there maybe this week to make some notes and start working on what I’d like to teach/share. The class will be held that morning from 9:00 to 11:30 AM and will cost $35. You can find Beth’s on Facebook ~ HERE! More info will be in their January newsletter or you can call them for more details!

Feeling Crafty!

I recently “ran out” of my blog hosting services from when I switched over to WordPress (from my old Blogger blog). Meaning I paid a big fee to have it converted over which included a year or so of hosting. I am now paying monthly, and I HAVE GOT to start posting more to justify that money. With that being said, I vow to do better! School starts in a couple of weeks and this year I will have 4 mornings free (a few hours each morning) with the 5th morning having only 1 child at home, so I *think* I will have more free time (ha ha we know how that goes).

Last week was our last family vacation of the summer. We spent the week in Perdido, FL and for the most part spent some fun time with the whole Gulledge family (Jeff’s parents, sister and bro and their spouses and the kids’ cousins). It was so much fun! When I say “for the most part” I mean that we got a couple of days w/ Jeff’s bro and his new wife and several days with Jeff’s parents. We stayed the whole week. Here’s a pic of the kids on our last night. Mallory has on one of my favorite Applique Cafe designs ~ Loopy Flower. Garrison is about to start Kindergarten while Mallory will do Pre-K 4 and Browder is going in to 3rd grade (sob sob where did my babies go?)

 Here is what I have been doing the past couple of days. Wednesday afternoon I met my mom half way and she took all 3 kids for a few days so that Jeff & I could have a “break” (which translates to me monogramming for 2 days). Yesterday I was super lonely. Today Jeff & I met for lunch and then I ran several much-needed errands, which was nice to be able to do ALONE! Not to mention I treated myself to my last pedi of the summer. Anyway, these are super duper cute backpack laundry bags brought to me (graduation gifts) to monogram. My customer found these at Marshalls (try TJ Maxx?) and I think they were like $8.99/each. I know Bed Bath and Beyond sells them too but maybe only in black?

Drawstring at the top. I took these photos quickly before she came to pick them up yesterday so sorry they aren’t great.

Backpack ~ great for toting to the car to head home from college to wash all those clothes. I didn’t measure these but they were nice and big!

 I also monogrammed this long sleeve polo for my customer’s daughter. I have seen these a lot as bridesmaids gifts ~ the girls wear them on the day of the wedding (button down shirt is usually a plus). I have done several of these for the same customer for her daughters and I think they are cute! On a couple of them I monogrammed a very small block straight-across monogram on the top of the pocket (like a man would wear), but on this one she wanted the full circle swirly monogram (I used Monogram Wizard Plus “Master Circle” which is my favorite monogram font). Just an idea!

 Last night and today I have been monogramming 14 towels for my new sister in law. All the same font and 2 different colors so pretty easy, but time consuming! Luckily these are “set it and forget it” type items so I was able to multitask while they sewed.

This is Monogram Wizard Plus “Victor” font.

 I did have some trouble and I was so anxious to share this because I’ve seen this complaint a lot on one of the Facebook groups. You may have had this happen before? I did “FILL STITCH” on the towels and had trouble with some looping. After changing needles (literally replacing the needle), switching the thread to a different needle (on my 6 needle), cleaning my bobbin case AFTER changing my bobbin out and then doing a different color towel using different thread and having NO looping, I determined it was the spool of thread! I did a tension test and everything while trying to determine my problem.

 This is a 5000M spool of thread (a brand I use ALL THE TIME). I noticed that as it was coming off the spool it was twisting some, so I honestly think it was the thread. Today I went to a local quilt store and found an Isacord 1000M spool in the same color and finished the towels without a single loop. So….. if you have problems with looping, it MAY be your tension or any of the other issues I ruled out, OR, it may be the thread. Maybe it wasn’t wound on the spool correctly? I don’t know, but I’m going to try it again with regular appliques or satin stitch and see if it just doesn’t like fill stitch monograms.

 Now on to my crafty segment! I have been on Pinterest forever. I’ve tried a few recipes and spend hours upon hours each week just checking who’s pinned what without every DOING anything. We are going to Birmingham tomorrow (Jeff & I) to shop a little and have lunch with Jeff’s bro and his new bride (whom I monogrammed all the towels for). Several months ago I pinned a Christmas ornament made with a wedding invitation. SO… I stuck their wedding invite in my drawer and finally today made the trip to Hobby Lobby to get my supplies. I got 2 different size ornaments because I wasn’t sure which size I needed. After trying the bigger one, I went with the smaller one and everything fit great! I’ll keep the bigger one for some other project. With sale prices and coupons I spent less than $7. These look glass but feel more like acrylic. Also, I bought them individually but they did sell them by the box as well and also in a few different shapes (great for vinyl).

First I used my el cheapo Fiskars paper cutter I got from Walmart and cut the invitation in to strips as best I could, trying not to cut off any of the lettering.

I then wrapped each strip around my (Applique Cafe) pen, making it curl.

 I then just put each curled strip in to the ornament (the top pops off). I tried to place the strips with their name, etc where they would show. I put the top back on, attached the heart charm (the Pinterest photo used a sea shell) and then tied my ribbon on. I used 1/8″ navy organza ribbon for the hanger and 5/8″ navy organza ribbon for the bow. Their wedding color was navy, hence the navy ribbon. In the Pinterest photo she used white and cream ribbon. I honestly couldn’t remember while at Hobby Lobby whether the invitation was more white or cream, and then remembered NAVY was their color so I went with navy! Anyway, I thought this was a cute little personal gift and I hope they like it! Finally, all those hours on Pinterest paid off!

 As a follow up to my Mini Embroidery Design post, I have another technique to measuring your polo type shirts for mini or other designs. A blog reader emailed me her trick ~ she said she measures from the top seam of the arm down to the armpit seam. On my shirt it was a little over 6″. I then stuck a pin where the middle was and then measured from the button placket to there.

A pretty even 6″ so my initials or mini design would go where my pin is! This is a great “rule of thumb” for measuring and much more scientific than my post! Thanks for the tip!

I apologize for this post being all over the place! I guess a random post is better than no post! Have a great weekend!

My Favorite Things

I had a couple of people ask me what was in my “Favorite Things” giveaway basket at the Everything Applique Conference this past weekend. I hope these are in a somewhat logical order, but if not, you’ll get the idea! I’ll also try to reference where everything came from. First of all, here is a picture of my door prize ~ Applique Cafe’s “Favorite Things” basket. The basket, or Angled White Beverage Tub, came from Target. If I knew how to use my vinyl cutting machine, I would have adorned it with lime and/or pink polka dots! The cellophane basket bag came from Michael’s and the Raffia came from an Etsy store. I also used hot pink crinkle cut paper filler from Caffco Floral Outlet. (I had a lot of fun doing door prizes). The AC stickers came from Zazzle.com!

The winner of my basket, Demonica, posted this photo on Facebook. If you’ll remember my last post, she rode from New Orleans to Birmingham on a TRAIN! I just think that is so awesome and fun! She said it was very relaxing and gave her some quality time away from the family to rest and do a little work on her laptop (in the sleeper car). I honestly had no idea you could ride a train anywhere, so it’s even cooler that she rode a train to come to the Everything Applique Conference!

Now on to the basket… I included my go-to stabilizer, 12×12 and 8×8 2.2 oz precut medium cutaway stabilizer squares. Both of these came from Sewingmachine.com. Check out all of their “commercial backing” and you can narrow down your search by the type of stabilizer you are looking for (cutaway, precut squares, tearaway, etc.). Click HERE for precut squares. They come in a variety of weights, but I like the 2.2 oz, as it is not too thick or heavy. I have used 2.5 oz as well and it’s not too heavy either. Their commercial cutaway also comes on the roll, but the squares are really convenient.

As you can see the 8×8 squares are perfect for the 4×4 hoop. (This is my Brother PR650 4×4 hoop)

The 12×12 squares are great for the Durkee 9×9 hoop and also the 5×7 hoop. Check out this post for more info on the Durkee Hoop, which is compatible with most multi-needle machines.

You can use the entire 12×12 square for your 5×7 hoop, or cut a few inches off before you hoop.

 Now on to Sulky KK2000 spray. This is a temporary spray adhesive that I use to “stick” my cutaway stabilizer to the inside of my shirt before hooping. It keeps the stabilizer in place so I am able to hoop my shirt. I also use the 99 cent tape measurer from Hobby Lobby! I keep one in my purse as well ~ you never know when you’ll need to measure something. When I do a shirt, I measure from armpit seam to armpit seam and mark my center. This distance is usually a good even measurement (14″, 12.5″ etc).

 Spray adhesive can build up and make things sticky, so I recommend spraying it OUTSIDE. My sewing room is right by our front door, so I walk out on the porch and spray my stabilizer over the bushes. My bushes might be sticky, but at least my carpet isn’t!

 My shirt is inside out, I’ve sprayed my stabilizer with spray adhesive, and now I stick the stabilizer to the shirt. Turn it right side out and I am ready to hoop! The Sulky KK2000 spray is temporary, so when I am finished appliqueing my shirt, it pulls right off so that I can trim the excess stabilizer around the design. See this post for more info on hooping.

 Also in my basket: Schmetz Embroidery Needles (75/11) and an air erasable pen. I use the air erasable pen (from Joann or any sewing store) to mark the center of my shirt (or bib, or towel, etc). It disappears with a little time, or you can also squirt water on the dot and it’ll go away. A wet Q-tip works as well. If I am marking the center of a dark item, such as a navy blue t-shirt or a fluffy blanket, I use a straight pen. Chalk would work as well. You may notice the lint buildup in the clip on my pen. I have had this pen since I started doing applique about 5 years ago!

As far as embroidery needles, I use 75/11 needles for everything. Some people use ballpoint needles and some people change out their needles for various projects. 99% of the time I am doing samples or tshirts so this is the type of needle I use. You can get Schmetz needles from Sewingmachine.com, Joann (I stock up when notions are 50% off) or most any sewing store. Steve (Sewingmachine.com) recommends Schmetz, as they are the oldest needle company around. Basically they have been making needles for a long long, long long long, time!

Bobbins ~ for my Brother PR650, I use the Fil-Tec Magnetic Core Bobbin. A box of 100 is $28, again at sewingmachine.com. I recommend any prewound bobbin, as the tension is consistent and it’s fast and easy to change out your bobbin. These were not in my basket since I didn’t know what kind of machine the winner would have, but I’m including them in my favorite things!

 Heat. N. Bond. Lite ~ check out this post on why I love this product!! You can buy HNBL by the bolt, in a box, on a small 3 yard roll, 15 yard roll, etc. Some people buy it at their local Walmart, but I have not seen it in Montgomery. You can buy small packages at places like Joann or Hobby Lobby. Sewingmachine.com sells it as well. I used to stock up at Joann when notions were 50% off, but lately I have not been able to find any there. Wonder Under is another fusible product you can use, but I use and recommend HNBL.

Instructions ~ very easy to use!

 Another item NOT in my basket, but still one of my favorite things (and a necessity in applique). The iron is your friend! I have a Shark iron. It’s not fancy and yes, it leaks water sometimes. Iron your shirts, iron your bibs, use the iron for your HNBL, iron when you’re done. IRON!! Do you get hoop burn? Squirt with water from your iron, iron over the hoop burns. They are gone! I see photos on Facebook a lot and it looks like someone took a picture of a t-shirt from the dirty clothes basket. Ironing can make all the difference in your appliques, your pictures, etc! I hate to iron my own clothes, but ironing is so important when doing embroidery and applique.

 Scissors ~ I did include 4″ curved Gingher scissors in my basket, as well as a 2-pack of Fiskars fabric-cutting scissors. I use the Ginghers in the applique process only to trim the fabric around the tackdown stitch. I use regular fabric-cutting scissors to cut fabric, to cut stabilizer, to cut ribbon, etc. You can never have enough scissors! p.s. I got my Ginghers at Joann and you can usually catch them on sale or use a coupon.

The Ginghers are great for trimming closely around your applique! The curved end helps you to NOT cut a hole in your shirt (been there, done that, got the t-shirt)!

 As you can see here, I trim very closely. I do this with the help of a) the scissors and b) the HNBL on my fabric makes trimming easy and CLEAN! This design is ready for the satin stitch!

 There were also a few fabrics in my basket. I typically buy 1/4 yards of fabric since a little goes a long way when doing applique. I LOVE polka dots, ginghams, stripes and small florals and prints for applique! These are all my GO-TO fabrics, as you can probably see in my design sample photos.

 You can’t beat good ginghams, and try to avoid the cheap thin ones. Fabric Finder brand ginghams are great!


 One more item that I should have included in my basket but didn’t have time to get… a REAL thread chart! This is the Isacord real thread sample thread chart. I also have the Exquisite (formerly Poly-X from Kens Sewing Center) thread chart and use them both. We all know the color print charts are impossible to match as well as the color square on your computer screen. These charts are usually $10 each and are well worth every dollar when you are searching for thread to match that funny colored peach dress.

 Another tip that I NEED to do ~ mark, circle or underline the colors you have on the chart. That way if the sticker comes off of the top of your spool of thread (which happens to me all the time), you have a record on your chart of which colors you have and like!

 I did include a few spools of thread in my basket ~ Isacord 5830 is my favorite lime (it’s hard to find and only comes in 1000M as far as I have found)! I also included a hot pink, yellow and turquoise. Demonica also got an Applique Cafe Gift Certificate in her basket! (Hint Hint: Mother’s Day is 2 weeks away)

There are probably a few more things I consider my favorite things, but that was about all I could fit in the basket! If you have any questions please comment or email me ~ rosemarygulledge@appliquecafe.com! A lot of these things were discussed in our class, Applique the Right Way!