sew smarter: use contrasting bobbin thread

sew smarter: use contrasting bobbin thread | www.thimblenest.com

When I first wrote about bobbins, I missed an important tip that I discovered while picking out several rows of pintucks multiple times this week (can’t wait to share that project, by the way!).

Maybe you’re working on a project where you don’t want to use any old bobbin color in order to sew down your bobbins–maybe you’re working with a lightweight fabric or the bobbin color is more visible on the right side of the fabric than usual. Consider using a contrasting bobbin thread that’s not a glaring opposite, either. Here’s why . . .

sew smarter: use contrasting bobbin thread | www.thimblenest.com

As I was picking out those pintucks I mentioned earlier, I wanted to pull the bobbin thread as often as I could to release large groups of stitches more quickly. The problem was, every time I set it aside or was interrupted, I couldn’t remember which side of the stitching was the bobbin thread. Then, I remembered that I’d been following my own advice and the bobbin thread was actually a light gray, as opposed to the light blue thread I was using on top to match the fabric. Once I started looking for the light gray (bobbin) thread to pull, my detested task passed in a flash.

sew smarter: use contrasting bobbin thread | www.thimblenest.com

Another instance where this trick might be handy is with basting threads. Often all of those basting threads get tangled up with the threads that are supposed to stay put, and it’s hard to sort things out. If you sewed with a different color of bobbin thread only while basting, think how easy removing the basting threads might be!

Do you ever use a contrasting color of bobbin thread for a specific purpose? Share in the comments!

P.S.–Have you subscribed to the Thimblenest Monthly newsletter yet? A free embroidery pattern, along with a variety of sewing-, embroidery-, and creative-related links land in your inbox on the first Sunday of each month. Join us!

 

sew smarter: how to use icons for freezer paper stencils

sew smarter: using icons for freezer paper stencils

I’ve experimented with freezer paper stencils several times now, and while a few of the better projects have shown up here on the blog a time or two, my stenciling skills are still very much a work in progress. One thing I do know, is that for me at least, choosing a simple design is crucial to getting an end product I’ll be happy with.

Shirts must have pictures around here–especially if I want them to be worn, so I oblige my customers as much as possible. Two weeks ago, in the throes of some last minute day-before-we-leave-on-vacation sewing (tell me I’m not the only one!), I hit upon a resource that I think will serve me well in the future. I only got one shirt stenciled pre-vacation, mind you, but I’ll be finishing up the rest soon using the process I outline below.

So, without further delay I give you: How to Use Icons for Freezer Paper Stencils.

sew smarter: how to use icons for freezer paper stencils | www.thimblenest.com

As I mentioned above, many icons have a clean, simple design which makes them the perfect choice for creating freezer paper stencils. There are many free icon sites out there to choose from; I went with FlatIcon because they popped up at or near the top of my search and I liked what I saw.

I found searching icon sites much easier than doing a Google image search because I didn’t have to narrow down the types of images I was sifting through. Most categories on the icon sites had a wide variety of options to choose from, but weren’t overwhelming.

sew smarter: how to use icons for freezer paper stencils | www.thimblenest.com

To begin, search for the category or exact object you’re searching for. I chose “camping”.

sew smarter: how to use icons for freezer paper stencils | www.thimblenest.com

 

 

 

 

sew smarter: how to use icons for freezer paper stencils | www.thimblenest.com

 

My search turned up 66 results–more than enough to choose from. I don’t know exactly how the user interface works on other free icon sites, but FlatIcon’s could not be easier. As you browse through icons, you can select icons to add to your download “cart” by hovering your mouse over the icon and then clicking “+”. You can add any number of icons to your download cart until you’re ready to exit.

 

sew smarter: how to use icons for freezer paper stencils | www.thimblenest.com

sew smarter: how to use icons for freezer paper stencils | www.thimblenest.com

 

sew smarter: how to use icons for freezer paper stencils | www.thimblenest.com

 

When you’ve collected all of the icons you want in your cart, click the download arrow (next to “My Icons”). A new box will drop down giving you choices for the type and size of file you want to download. You will also be able to see all of the icons you will download in your cart. For the purpose of a freezer stencil I chose a PNG file, size 512px for all of my icons. Once you’re ready to continue, click the download arrow next to the PNG File button.

sew smarter: how to use icons for freezer paper stencils | www.thimblenest.com

 

Another screen will pop up, giving you the choice between a free download (along with proper credit reference code) and a premium license. Click the green “Free” button and your download should commence as it usually does with any other file you download.

sew smarter: how to use icons for freezer paper stencils | www.thimblenest.com

 

 

sew smarter: how to use icons for freezer paper stencils | www.thimblenest.com

 

Once your files have downloaded you will need to extract them from a zip file. These will remain in your download folder. If you think you will need the same files again later, I would recommend saving them to another file where you can easily find them. For example, I save the freezer stencil image I like in my “Sewing” folder in a file labeled “Freezer Stencils”.

After you’ve saved your files where you want them, open a program like Word, and insert the icon (the PNG file you downloaded) for your stencil as a picture into a new document. Print and proceed as you normally would when preparing  to freezer stencil.

sew smarter: how to use icons for freezer paper stencils | www.thimblenest.com

And there you have it–a new resource for freezer paper stencil images! Don’t say I didn’t warn you, but collecting icons is almost as addictive as collecting fonts!

P.S.–Did you find this article helpful? Stay up to date with the latest Thimblenest posts by subscribing to my newsletter, which is published on the first Sunday of each month. Subscribers receive a new free hand embroidery pattern each month!

how to transfer embroidery designs with a frixion pen

how to transfer designs with a frixion pen www.thimblenest.com

I’ve already written about one of my favorite ways to transfer embroidery designs to fabric; the method I’m talking about today–Frixion pens–isn’t high on my list, but it does have its place. Let’s dive in!

What are Frixion pens?

Frixion pens, made by Pilot and available in a wide array of colors and styles, are most notable for their “unique Thermo-Sensitive gel ink formula [that] disappears with erasing friction.” To the junior-high and under set this means invisible ink and secret messages are a reality. To the crafting world it means another removable marking option that competes with chalk and water-soluble markers.

Basically, you can use a Frixion pen to mark on fabric and remove it in a split second with the heat from your iron. Pretty cool, huh?

how to transfer embroidery designs with a frixion pen www.thimblenest.com

 

transfer methods frixion pen (1)

So, when I want to transfer an embroidery design using a Frixion pen, I first tape my design down on my rad 90’s light box (a window works just as well). Tape your fabric on top of that and you’re all set. (By the way, if you don’t have a light box and don’t want to stand at the window, check out the neat tip in this post for another light option–especially if a spendy lightpad isn’t in the budget–genius!)

how to transfer embroidery designs with a frixion pen www.thimblenest.com

Trace over your design with the Frixion pen; then remove it from the light source and you will have something like this:

how to transfer embroidery designs with a frixion pen www.thimblenest.com

Pretty straight forward and painless, right? For the most part, yes. Below are my pros and cons for using a Frixion pen.

Cons

  • The main drawback I see with using a Frixion pen really has little to do with the specific pen and more with the method. Plain and simple, I don’t enjoy using a pen or pencil of any kind to transfer my embroidery designs. No matter how sturdy the fabric is or how firmly it’s taped down, I still find that the fabric shifts and I have to compensate for tracing mistakes later as I’m stitching.
  • If, for some reason, you need to iron your embroidery before you’re done stitching, you run the risk of “erasing” your entire design. I’ve heard that you can restore Frixion ink by placing the fabric somewhere cold (like the freezer), but I haven’t actually tried this myself yet.

Pros

  • Frixion pens have a fine tip–you can trace just enough of the design to see it clearly without a lot of ink.
  • Availability–You can find these pens at any office supply store and on Amazon
  • Ease of removal–It really does take just one hit of heat from your iron, and all of that ink is gone!

So what about you? Have you used Frixions, and if so, what do you think? They’re not my favorite, but I’m glad to have them in my embroidery toolkit.

By the way, you’re getting a sneak peek at the first design in the upcoming Feeling Stitchy Summer-Winter Stitchalong that kicks off on Thursday! Hope you’ll join in the fun!

P.S.Do you need some new embroidery designs to try out those Frixion pens on? Sign up for my newsletter and get a new free design on the first Sunday of every month!