Saturday, December 21, 2013

Butterfly Embroidery Machine Details

I have been asked a few questions on the machines I use to embroider different designs.  I have a bunch of different machines, but for today, I am going to show you my 15 needle machine. The machine is the Butterfly 1501B/T which I bought about a year ago.  This is the same machine that I brought to BronyCon and had at my booth (and hope to do again this year).

The machine has 15 needles, so it can do designs with up to 15 colors without needing to change thread.  That means the Lunar Guard and Sapphire Shores can be done without changing colors, but designs like Cadence and Shining Armor require them.  Doing more than 15 colors is a pain because the process to switch colors takes a good amount of time.  On my PE770, I can switch a color inside of 5 seconds while it takes about a minute on the Butterfly.

The Butterfly has several features that make it well worthwhile over a machine like the PE770, Dreamweaver and the PR series machines from Brother.  The Butterfly has 15 needles so the colors don't have to be changed between colors.  It will auto-cut the thread when the design calls for it and switch to the next color automatically and continue on.  Often, I only have to touch the machine every 45 minutes to change out the bobbin. The Butterfly will also sew way faster than those other machines, topping out at a true 1200 stitches per minute.

The PE770 will sew about 90% of stitches at 350 stitches per minute even when set to 650.  Same with my ULT 2001 and 6800PRW.  The pantograph (the part that moves the fabric being embroidered) can only move so fast on those machines, so unless the stitch is really small, it will be sewn at 350 or slower.  On the Butterfly, 90% of stitches are sewn at the speed you set the machine which can be anywhere from 100 to 1200 stitches per minute.  I generally sew around 750 because past that, my house starts vibrating in time with the machine.  It will start slowing down when the combined horizontal and vertical speed are farther than about 25mm.  Here's Braeburn's mane and hat being sewn at 800 stitches per minute.

The Butterfly machine has a built in LED light, and I added another to the front from Allstitch which helps if I have all the lights in the house off. The different lighting options help quite a bit depending on what I am embroidering.

Those are the different lights; front, back or off.  The hoop that you see is the largest hoop that the machine can do which is about 12" by 18".  The Butterfly can use hoops from about 90mm to 400mm wide.  I have a decent collection with 90, 120, 150, 180, and 210mm circles along with some rectangles.  The most popular hoop that I use is a 300mm by 300mm hoop which allows a maximum embroidery size of about 250 by 250mm (about 10")

The pictures of the machine don't do a good job of scale, so here's a picture in comparison to a SE400 100mm hoop (max size for the SE400 or 6800PRW

Howabout to a PE770 130 by 180mm hoop; the maximum size for a PE770

Believe it or not, the entire PE770 machine itself will fit in the hoop for the Butterfly machine.

 The PE770 will fit lying down, but it won't fit under the head of the Butterfly machine, so I can't take a picture like that. It's a big hoop; the Butterfly machine can embroider really big designs.

The Butterfly machine also has a very small throat. it is about 1.5 inches across, so it can fit inside of purses, bangs and the like.  That makes it much easier to embroider weirdly shaped items.

The machine is also open under the throat, so long or bulky items can just hang down.  This makes it super easy to embroider blankets and jackets that just won't fit in the throat of a PE770 or other home machine.

The bobbin is vertical instead of horizontal on the Butterfly machine.  The bobbins are standard type L, which can be found prewound pretty much everywhere or can be wound manually. I generally use prewound ones.

Each bobbin is good for about 45 minutes of embroidery.  The bobbin case for the Butterfly machine only costs about $4 vs the $35 for the bobbin case on the PE770 or SE400 (they use the same case).  The bobbin case on the Butterfly and the others both last about the same amount of time; roughly 200 bobbins before needing to be replaced due to wear.

The Butterfly machine has a color display like the higher end home machines.

It has lots of buttons that do lots of things.  I don't even know what some of them do, but they look cool and they beep when you push them.

I also have a 270 degree hoop for hats, though I don't make many of them.  I have them for about $13, and for some reason they aren't all that popular.  Hats are pretty annoying to hoop, but they come out great.

Total cost of the machine was about $10k with the options, hoops and other stuff I have needed to do embroidery.  Overall, I am pretty happy with it.  It has broken a few times but I have been able to fix it without much of a problem.  Next time something on it breaks, I'll have to do a post on how to fix it.

Monday, December 16, 2013


A few months ago, I embroidered some cutie marks on to fleece for Toni from Sugar Tart Crafts for her MLP costumes which you can find here.  We also had a bunch of conversations about different sewing things.  This is dangerous because I get extremely verbose.  Emails that are pages long... Oh goodness. Today, I found a present waiting for me

So many yummy cookies, and the recipes are on her blog too, so you can make them yourself.  Oh my goodness, these are so yummy I'm going to eat every single one and no one can stop me!  Bwhahahahaha! So excuse me, I need to go eat a few.

Happy Hearth's Warming Eve everyone!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Random Embroidery & Business Questions Answered

I get lots of questions from people on all aspects of what I do.  Everything from Customer Service to Shipping, to how to embroider.  Here's some answers on some of the quick questions I have gotten recently.

Embroidery Questions

What Embroidery program do you use?
I have used quite a few of them over the years and have found for me, Embird offers the best software for the lowest cost.  I haven't found any software that is better than Embird, at any cost.  Having said that, I have not used all embroidery software that exists.  I have heard good things about SophieSew, but I haven't been able to buy a copy.  From what I understand, you can only get it with purchase of a new embroidery machine.  When I figure out how to try it, I will probably post a review.

What Stabilizer do you use?
I use a lot of different stabilizer depending on what the fabric and design is.  Stabilizer is the unsung hero of embroidery and can cause so many issues if used incorrectly.  I personally use 2 sheets of S-18 (1.8oz) and one sheet of HD (3.2oz) when making patches. For towels, fleece or Minky I also use a sheet of water soluble Solvy on the top to hold down the nap in addition to the S-18 and HD.

 What Needles do you use?
Home Machines: HLx5 Titanium Sharp Point
Commercial Machine: DB K5 titanium Sharp Point
Size for both: 75/11 with 120d/2 & 40 weight thread

What thread do you use?
Polyester and Rayon have a good rivalry going on right now in the embroidery world. Rayon used to be the only thread type that mattered due to high luster.  In the last 10 years or so, some advances in Poly have made it so Poly thread is now just as vibrant.  My personal preference for patches is Poly because it melts under a blowtorch instead of burn, which happens to Rayon.  My machines also seem to prefer Poly and break a lot less.  However, I do use Rayon for some colors because not all colors can be had in Poly.

I spent a while (and too much money) trying out lots of different thread brands.  My first set was from a company called Kolors which used very similar thread color numbers as Marathon.  So even today, I tend to match back to a Marathon number when I colormatch and document what colors to use for a design even when I don't always use Marathon.  I also use Madeira, Robinton Anton & Isacord.

The cost of thread isn't that much of the final cost of the design, so don't skimp on thread.  For example, I have complete sets of CTS & Threadart colors.  Both are junk and shred in my machines quite often.  The difference in cost for 1 patch is very small between using the cheapest (CTS) and the most expensive thread (Robison Anton or Isacord).  The cost isn't worth the hassle for the extra few minutes it takes to keep re-threading the machine when it breaks.

This is what I currently have. If you need to pick 1 brand to start out with and do not want to test, pick Robinson Anton or Isacord.
Robison Anton Polyester  - Nearly Complete Set
Isacord Polyester - Nearly Complete Set
Marathon Polyester - Complete Set
Madeira Polyester - Complete Set

I also have fill colors from other brands that are not available in the 4 brands above.  These are from Royal, Salus, & Ameth among others.

Have used these next 2 brands quite a bit, but they don't even come close to the 4 above.  These are not recommended unless you have way more time than money.   Neither will sew at all in my commercial machine without breaking roughly every 30 to 90 seconds.  My Brother machine can handle some colors of the Threadart without constantly breaking, but the majority of colors constantly break for me even in my home machines.
Threadart Polyester - Complete Set (Not Recommended!)
CTS Polyester - Complete Set (Not Recommended!)

How much thread do you use?
It depends on the design, but my recent average is around 300 yards per 4" patch.

Business Questions

How much does shipping actually cost?
This is one of the questions I get pretty often.  Shipping is one of the things where some businesses put in profit or end up losing money.  Shipping cost stinks, but is a necessary evil.  Here is my actual cost for shipping 1 patch in a bubble mailer (my most often used shipping method) and the breakdown.

#000 Bubble Mailer : 10 cents
Self Adhesive Label: 12 cents
1 sheet of paper: 5 cents
Shipping Tape: 2 cents
2mil patch baggie: 2 cents
USPS Postage: $1.64
Lost Package Replacement: 54 cents
Total per package cost: $2.46

The lost package replacement may be confusing if you haven't shipped a bunch.When a package goes missing because the postman was a MLP fan or Derpy gotahold of it, that means I have to send another.  the cost on that replacement isn't $1.95, it is $1.95 plus the cost of the patch (about $5.40).  This happens about 7% of the time, so the lost package cost is ($1.95+5.40)*7% or 54 cents per shipment.  Of course, this package also has another 7% chance of getting lost but doing trig to get to the cost of shipping a patch is overkill.

The reason I charge $2.16 to ship a patch is because some patches can be shipped in a regular envelope.  The cost in a regular envelope is lower at $1.44.  Averaging the 2 out comes to within a few cents of $2.16 with my balance of sales.

That's all the questions I have time for today, more to come.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Picking an Embroidery Machine - Part 1

It is that magical time just before Halloween where procrastinators like me want everything embroidered for their costume, and the early planners want to know how to embroider names on to Christmas stockings.  I get a ton of questions around this time from folks looking to get a sewing machine or an embroidery machine for the first time.  That means I get to write a blog post to answer questions!

Sewing Machines

There are tons of blogs and sites out there where you can read about all the different sewing machines and why one brand is better than another brand.  You can also find rants about one brand or another brand of sewing machine or how the users of Machine A are new to sewing and how experienced sewers use Machine B.  This annoys me actually, because out of the many, many sewing machines I have had or used, I never actually ran across a bad one.  I'll probably get some flack for this, but sewing machine functionality hasn't changed much since the first time a motor was stuck to a Singer in the very late 1800's, and an electric conversion on the hand cranked Singers became widely available in the 1920's. (some other time we can argue about vibrating bobbins vs. rotary hooks or chain stitch vs lock stich. Anyway, When you are picking out a sewing machine, below are the steps I suggest when you are trying to figure out what machine to buy. To be fair, this same process can be used for buying pretty much anything, and I use it all the time; from buying a car to buying lunch.

First and foremost, set your budget.  Keep in mind that a more expensive machine is not necessary a better one, so to get the most for your money, you don't need the most expensive machine you can afford.  If you have never done your own sewing before, you have the very first choice that can effect the whole process:  Do you want to go 'all in' or do you want to 'try it out' before investing in being able to sew your own stuff.  If you are 'trying it out' to see if you like sewing, you probably do not want to start with an expensive machine that you will not use after the first weekend.   When making your budget, make sure to include enough for thread, needles, and bobbins.  If you do not have any thread currently, I suggest that you put aside at least $100 for thread, needles, & bobbins. After a few months of use, you will also need to have some money in your budget for maintenance items such as machine oil, so save about $30 for those maintenance items.  They are not needed at the same time as the machine as the machine will usually have a decent selection when you purchase it.  Later on you will probably also want a sewing cabinet, thread storage, and lots of little things that make sewing easier, but are not strictly required.  Keep in mind that you will probably spend every penny that you set aside at some point, so setting a budget is easily the most important step.  If you are 'trying it out' I suggest a minimum budget of $180 with a machine in the $80 range, but if you are planning to do sewing for a while, I suggest a minimum of $350 with $150 spent on the machine itself, $100 for thread and such, and set aside $100 for later for the things you determine you can't do without such as a sewing cabinet.

Now that you have your budget set, you need to decide what are the most important features for the machine to have.  Some features will be 'must haves' for you, while others will be 'would be nice'.  For example, most of the higher end machines will have a button hole setting which makes button holes a snap to make.  But buttonholes can be made just fine using other stitches on the machine, it will just take longer.  If you plan on making a ton of button holes, a button setting is probably a 'Must Have'.  Spend the time now to figure out the features you need and want, and put them in a list when you go on to the next step.  This will help narrow down the machines to a manageable list.

Now that you have your feature list and you have several machines which will fit your budget, you need to decide on which of those is better for you personally.  For me, the 3rd most important thing is support from the seller. Research online and talk to other customers that have purchased from the seller if possible. See the kind of support that is given when something breaks or someone needs help.  Are they ignored and told to 'read the manual' or is the support personal or with hands on guidance? this step will usually weed out a few of the machines from the possibilities you have, or narrow down where to buy the machine.

Next up is research on the brand. I am going to get some more flack for this, but in today's world a brand doesn't mean as much as it used to.  For example, Singer used to be the only brand for sewing machines that actually mattered.  That changed about 15 years ago when Singer licened their brand and stopped actually making or designing the machines.  Their quality and support went way down to attempt to drive their profit up.  Now, a Singer is (to me anyway) at the bottom of the brand list.  Spending time researching a brand, determining who makes and designs the machines and listening to the folks that use recent machines of the brand is important.  This research probably isn't a deal breaker on a machine, but if you have several choices, this will help one or 2 machines come to the top of the list.

Embroidery Machines

Choosing an embroidery machine is very similar to choosing a sewing machine.  Set your budget, determine features, research the brand, and determine where to buy it.  However, unlike sewing machines, there are not a lot of places where you can get a real-world primer on doing embroidery and all the little finagley bits of stuff you need to do embroidery.  So I am going to focus on the features of embroidery machines and the non-machine little bits you will need to get started on embroidery. Up today is features! What features are critical on an embroidery machine?  There are probably only 3 that are deal breakers for specific machines.

The first one may sound a bit weird, which is do you want to sew on your embroidery machine?  A huge number of embroidery machines are embroidery only, you can't use them to do regular sewing.  If you already have a sewing machine, this won't matter.  But if dropped your regular sewing machine down a flight of stairs (which I did) or are looking at getting a new machine because you left the old one accidentally when you moved (which I did) then you probably want a combination machine so you can do both tasks.  You may also be space-limited where having 2 machines is a pain because you don't have somewhere to store both.

The second feature is how big the machine can embroider.  Technically, an embroidery machine can embroider infinite size if you take out the fabric, line it up, and embroider the next section.  In practical terms, getting the alignment correct is pretty much impossible once unhooping fabric.  With very few exceptions, that places an upper bound on how big you can embroider on any given machine.  Most entry level machines will have a maximum size of 100mm by 100mm (about 4" by 4").  This is enough space to go 3 letter monogramming, and it is also the most popular size you will find when looking for embroidery designs.  What I can tell you is that whatever machine you get, you will want a bigger hoop size the instant you embroider your first thing.  You will want to go bigger and bigger, and will be sad if you can't go to 5" or 6" or 10".  It doesn't matter what size you get, you will want a bigger one.  Having said that though, at least 90% of what I personally embroider is under 100mm.  Here is where I will make my first recommendation: get the biggest embroidery field you can afford, even if you think you will never use it.  Trust me, you will use it.  My biggest machine right now can do 12" by 18", and I still want a bigger one.

The last feature that is critical is if the embroidery machine supports loading custom designs via USB or something similar.  Lots of entry level machines will not support adding custom designs downloaded or bought elsewhere.  Some machines also require that you use a brand-specific loading device such as an embroidery card or something similar.  This adds additional cost for you, and more profit for the company making the machine.  If you plan on doing more than monogramming, you require a machine that can load custom designs.  If you plan on doing lots of custom designs, then you want a USB loading process for ease of use and low cost.

Those are the 3 things that will filter out the largest number of machines from a machine list.  Next up are features that are not required, but will make life a lot easier.

Automatic Thread Cutter - this will automatically cut the thread at the end of sewing a color instead of hand cutting it.  When sewing a design with 10 colors, cutting it by hand will get very annoying very quickly.  I highly recommend getting a machine with automatic thread cutting.

Bobbin Winder - An embroidery machine with a bobbin winder isn't as important as you may think at first glance.  First, the color of the bobbin thread doesn't matter as it can not be seen.  In general, it can only be found in 2 colors: black and white. An embroidery machine also eats up bobbin thread like there is no tomorrow, so you will be winding bobbins a ton compared to a regular sewing machine.  You will use so many bobbins that you will probably buy them prewound.  Prewound bobbins cost about $30 for 144 (a gross) with each bobbin having around 120 yards of thread for a total of about 17 thousand yards of thread per gross.  17 thousand yards of thread costs about $15 if bought in king spools. Then, add the time cost of winding it on bobbins (about a minute per bobbin) which for a gross would be more than 2 hours. Buying prewound bobbins for $30, or winding your own for around $15 plus 2 hours of your time; up to you.   For me, the choice was easy, I went prewound after winding about 30 bobbins, even back when I was buying them from a sewing store for about a dollar a bobbin.  Buying a gross lowered the cost to about 20 cents each. in all likelihood, you will not use a bobbin winder on an embroidery machine.

Multi-hoop capability - Some machines have optional hoops you can buy that will let you do larger than the maximum size that the machine can do normally.  For example, a 100mm by 100mm max machine may have a multi-point hoop available that will go to 100mm by 180mm.  The hoop has multiple points on it so you break an embroidery design up into pieces and sew it individually without removing the hoop from the fabric.  This fixes the 'impossible to align' problem I spoke of earlier.  The biggest gotcha here is that not just any design can be split, the design has to be built that way.

Stitch speed - Here's another option that doesn't matter much.  I have had a plethora of embroidery machines and different stitch speeds.  from 300 to 1100 stitches per minute.  The max speed doesn't matter much, because most machines can only hit their maximum speed on super small stitches.  For example, my SE400 has a stitch speed of 350 stitches per minute and my PE770 will do 650 stitches per minute. If I make Rainbow Dash, the total time on the SE400 is 59 minutes and only PE770 it is 54 minutes.  There is very little difference in the total time spent embroidering.

Compatibility on upgrade - If you are getting an entry level machine, there is the possibility that you will want to upgrade later.  Check if the accessories that your machine uses can also be used on the next few steps up of machine if you decide to upgrade.  The biggest expenses that won't move to a new machine easily is probably embroidery hoops, so if you upgrade you want to reuse those on the upgraded machine if possible. this is another thing to bring up with where you decide to get your machine; see if they have a trade-in policy.

I have only gone over a small fraction of embroidery machine capabilities, but this should help you get started.  Way more to come!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Rainbow Dash Costume

A few weeks ago, Toni from sugartartcrafts sent me an email on an absolutely adorable project; a costume of Rainbow Dash. I absolutely loved the way that Toni made the mane and tail especially. Her idea was to fulfill some of the requests she has gotten to make the costumes for others, and to use embroidered cutie marks instead of painting them on.  Here's RD!

Obviously, I thought this would be a great idea!  I love embroidery and when done right, is incredibly durable.  Holding up to playtime or harsh washing would be no problem.  Toni actually is a clothes designer, and it really shows with the thought and design on the wings, ears and tail. I jumped all over this idea because I love it when talented people fill a need in the community, and this is a big one!

Last week, I finished the embroidery of the fleece for her and she now has the entire costumes, just wings or ears available in her store on etsy here. she can even do spike! Seriously, this is insanely cute.  I also know that she can only make 9 of them, so if you want one I highly recommend ordering one immediately.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bringing a Embroidery Machine to BronyCon

How to bring a commercial embroidery machine to Bronycon, in 247 easy steps.

I wanted to bring my commercial embroidery machine to BronyCon so that I could do demonstrations and make random patches if I had time.  That meant I needed to move the machine about a thousand miles across the country, and hopefully not break it along the way.  The embroidery machine weighs more than 200 lbs, so there isn't a way for a single person to move it alone either.  I also don't have a truck with a bed, which meant it wouldn't fit inside my vehicle.  If I was going to bring it, I needed a way to have it outside my vehicle for the trip so it needed to be protected from the elements. I also needed a stand or something similar to put the machine on when at the convention since a regular table would shake to pieces.

I decided to make a 2 part stand/hitch combo.  The machine would sit on a platform that would go directly into the hitch mount on my SUV for the trip, then the platform would be lowered into a wheeled stand so it could be rolled around by one person.

First up, the platform.  It is built out of 1" by 2" and 2" by 2" square tubing with a 0.1875" and 0.250" wall thickness with some 0.1875 angle and flats on the 2 sides where the machine feet will sit.

There is a 1" tall edge to keep the machine from vibrating over an edge while in transit, which also adds some extra strength longitudinally.  There is no reason to have a complete platform since the platform and machine will have a complete cover, so the extra metal would just be wasted weight.  I also welded on 4 tie-downs so the machine could be strapped to the platform directly, and the platform could have a safety chain to my SUV to keep it attached in case the hitch pin came out or broke.

I used standard over-engineering when I calculated how to build the platform.  I took the weight of the stand and machine, then tripled it for the normal 3x safety margin.  Then, I doubled that value to provide for shock loading, such as hitting a huge pothole or something.  Assuming I did the calculations correctly, the platform bar will start to yield at 2,100 lbs at the farthest point. Yield means bend without returning to original shape.  Basically, this is the point at which it will break and the embroidery machine becomes a bunch of worthless bits and pieces of metal and plastic. This platform should actually be strong enough to have another car on it before the platform breaks.

Once the platform was welded up and painted blue, I started on the stand.  The stand is made out of the angle iron that reenforced the corners of the shipping carton the machine came in.  Horray for recycling!   The stand needs to support the weight of the machine plus the weight of the platform and be sturdy enough to not shake apart from the vibration of the machine while it was running.

2 casters are fixed and 2 are rotating so the stand and platform can be easily maneuvered.  The notch that you see in the stand is where the 2" square reciever tubepasses though.  The reciver tube acts as a handle to move the stand around.

This is the painted platform sitting on top of the painted stand.  This is what the whole thing will look like before putting the embroidery machine on the top.  The 2" square receiver tube had not been cut to size in this picture yet; roughly 8 inches was removed.

The plan was to have the receiver tube sit just a tiny bit higher than the receiver itself.  Then, use a screw jack to lift the back of the SUV enough to line up the receiver and hitch, then push the platform/stand forward into the receiver and put in the hitch pin.

It worked exactly as I had hoped, easily sliding in.  The screw jack was then lifted another inch to lift the platform off the stand, and the stand rolled out from under the platform.  This meant that no actual manual lifting had to be done at any point in the load/unload process.  The weight would be carried by either the stand or by the jack. Additionally, at all points in the process, there was at least single redundancy so that a single failure of the stand, platform, or hitch would not cause the machine to fall.  I then drove around with a refrigerator on the stand to test it to make sure it could handle some weight and not fracture.

Next up I made a cover out of blue duck cloth and waterproofed it.  I used a 108" zipper to attach the bottom to the top so that the entire bottom could be unzipped to help loading and unloading.  I used spring hooks to back up the zipper in case the zipper had any issues with hurricane force winds that are generated while driving (Always have a backup plan if one thing fails!)

I had some help lifting the machine on to the platform and stand the night before the trip to BronyCon.  In the morning, I lined up the platform/stand and hooked it up in the hitch.  For the first time the platform was holding the weight of the machine by itself.  I used a tape measure to measure the deflection of the platform to make sure it wasn't yielding, then attached the cover for the first time. 

This is where I had the first minor issue.  I made the cover a rectangle, and not form fitting to the machine.  This made the cover a bit longer than I wanted, so it would end up catching too much wind from under the car.  This wasn't a major issue since I planned on using 2 tie-downs all the way around the machine and cover, but the extra size of the cover made it look a little less 'professional' looking.  Oh well.

Off I drove to BronyCon.  I stopped at every other rest stop to check that the machine and cover weren't having any issues, and to check the tie downs in case any worked lose.  No issues were found on the entire road trip.  The platform worked just as I had hoped, and the machine arrived without being broken or damaged.  The only issue was the thread spools got really tied up from bouncing around even though I had them taped down.  I used the screw jack to lift the hitch and put the platform back on the stand (I had an audience watching intently actually) and wheeled it out to my booth. 

When the show was over, I hooked it back up to my SUV for the trip back home, and I actually remembered to take some pictures this time!  Here's the machine sitting on the platform and in the hitch.  You can see the stand off to the right after wheeling it out of the way.  The cardboard cover is over the LCD screen for extra insurance.  As you can see, I learned from the inbound trip and removed the spools from the machine so they couldn't get tied up from vibration.

It looks like the machine is floating in mid air.  It looks scary, because there is a lot of money that would be lost of that 2" receiver bar bent or broke, and an embroidery machine bouncing down the highway and disintegrating as it does so is not exactly good for anyone. 

The machine was then tied down to the stand, and the cover was put on for the trip back home.  Again, no issues at all on the trip back home.  The platform and duck cloth cover held up just fine for the full two thousand miles or so.  Overall, I am extremely happy with how it worked out. 

Having the machine going in front of my booth lead to all sorts of questions along with a crowd of people watching the machine do its thing.  I actually only had time to make 3 commissions at the show, it was just too busy for much else.  I just had the machine doing existing designs so that folks could see how patches were made.  On the 2nd day, someone actually pulled up a chair and watched it make patches for a little over 2 hours. 

The stand and platform cost about $200 to make, and it made about $18 profit in patches over the 3 days, so bringing the machine was not what I would call a money maker.  But having it there and going lead to so many awesome conversations about embroidery, and the 2 or 3 hundred folks that stopped to watch it obviously enjoyed it.   I think it was definitely worth the effort to bring.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Sorry for not posting for a little bit, I have been preparing for Bronycon.  I will be at table 609 with lots of patches; please come by and say hello and ask any sewing/embroidery questions you may have.

I do plan on having my full size 15 needle commercial embroidery machine with me, so I can do demonstrations on how to embroider everything from patches to jackets to hats. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Mirroring a Design on a SE400, PE770, and other Brother Embroidery Machines

I have gotten a few questions on how to easily mirror a design on embroidery machines. Every machine I know of has a feature to do this, and I will walk though how to do it on a Brother Embroidery Machine. This sequence is pretty much the same on most Brother machines, foe example, the SE400, PE770 and 6800PRW all use these steps. The pictures below are of my PE770. First, you need to load the design from the USB memory into the machine by pressing the USB icon.

USB Button
 The next screen will display all embroidery designs available via USB.  I only have 1 loaded, which is this one.  On that screen, touch the embroidery design to select it, then the load to memory button.

1: Embroidery Design 2: Load to memory button

That will load the embridery design to the machine memory.  Note the direction of the butterflies in the 2nd color, how the top one is on the right. Now, you usually hit the sew button to start sewing.  But on to mirroring the design!  Press the Adjust Button

Adjust Button

Then the Layout button

Layout Button
On the Layout screen, you want to press the Mirror Button int he lower right.

Mirror Button

The mirror button will turn black to show it is selected.  Once selected, press the back button.

1: Selected Mirror button. 2: Back Button
Once back on the embroidery design, it will be set to mirrored. The first color that this design has is a circle, so the mirror has no effect ont he look of the LCD screen.  But you can see that the butterflies int he 2nd color of thread are now mirroed.


Now you are ready to sew as normal.  Happy Embroidering!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Toothless Eye Embroidery

I know it isn't MLP, but this is too cute. Here's a design of Toothless's eye from How to Train your Dragon so that you can have your own dragon to cuddle.

It is based on an original design by Tadstone. You can Download Embroidery Files Here.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Embroidery Comissions Open

Now that Las Pegasus Unicon is over, I can take some time to do some MLP themed commissions. You can find more information here. In a few days, I will also write up something on the Convention. In a nutshell though, I want to thank everyone who came by, it was a lot of fun seeing you all and talking about MLP and embroidery all day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Las Pegasus Unicon

I will be at the Las Pegasus Unicon MLP convention from Friday Feb 22nd to Sunday Feb 24th. I have a table, and have made a bunch of patches so that folks can pick them up without paying shipping.
Come on by and chat about MLP and embroidery with me. I look forward to seeing you there!