Tag Archive | embroidery machine

Spa Towel Robes for Bride and Groom

This post involves machine embroidery, but these spa robes can be made without it.IMG_3413

When a guy coworker announced he was marrying his long-time girlfriend, I thought that Bride/Groom spa robes would be pretty cool gifts. I got the color choice from his mom’s suggestion and I chose a very “renaissance” style of embroidery pattern because he and she costume-up every year for the Texas Renaissance Festival. He’s a big gamer too with one of those fantasy wizard games in that time period (don’t ask me, I have no idea which one).

I chose towels in a medium weight and followed this YouTube video for how-to. These are not difficult to make, however it’s in the details of whether it’s a successful project or not. Like making sure when it’s worn that the towel’s enclosed end-seams or manufacturer’s tag are to the inside, the Velcro is placed correctly (I had a Fail here on my first attempt of the groom’s) and the right/left closures for his vs. hers are proper.

I used 12” of ¾” non-roll elastic inside a 2” casing. I made sure that the manufacturer’s tag was either inside the casing or cut off in the case of the groom’s.   From center, measure out 10 inches in each direction and pin. IMG_3378Then fold down a 2 inch casing to the inside of the towel, and sew a casing between the pins and insert the elastic. IMG_3379I used a stretch-stitch (lightning bolt looking stitch on today’s machines) to sew each end of the elastic. It may not have been truly needed for stretch purposes, but the stitch is super strong and that is needed.IMG_3368

Then stitch down the remainder of the casing from the ends of the elastic out to the ends of the towel and pivot stitch up to the top of the towel to enclose the ends. I cut his to 25” prior to creating the casing to wear around the waist.

Here’s where details come in to get this right. On hers, the front fold is right-over-left. His is left-over-right. If you’re not sure, take a look at RTW shirts and note the button placement on the front bands. I used 12” of sew-in Velcro and placed it ½” in from the end of the towel.  I used white Velcro for hers and black for his.IMG_3408For the Velcro, the trick is:  Hers: Velcro goes on the right inside upper and left outside lower of each end. His: Velcro goes on the left outside upper and right inside lower of each end.

When I cut the groom’s towel shorter, I did serge the long cut edge because of fraying. IMG_3377And the left-over towel became batting for a Halloween wall hanging and extra little hand towels for me!IMG_3410IMG_3411

And that’s it! Really, they are that simple. And then embroider any pattern to customize.IMG_3369

Resizing Digital Embroidery Design Files

One of the “newby” assumptions I made when I first got my Brother-PE770 Embroidery Machine was that any and all PES design files would work with the machine.  Brother (and Baby Lock) embroidery design files are in the PES format and I quickly figured out that all machine brands have their own format.  So I went blindly along buying cool PES design files.  However, when I attempted to transfer those files into my machine using the USB drive, the machine couldn’t “see” the files.  They simply wouldn’t show up on the screen.  “Whaaaat?  Where the heck are they???” Commence hair pulling…

I went digging through the User Guide and it only mentioned that the hoop size on the PE770 was 130mm x 180mm.  OK…so?  What it DOESN’T say (Brother, please take note) is that files larger than the hoop size cannot be used on the machine.  Maybe they think it’s intuitive?  I dunno but I was very frustrated until I figured it out.  So the files had to be resized.  I’m a techy kind of girl so it shouldn’t be a problem, I’d need some software – and I didn’t want to pay for it.  🙂

Well.  I’ll just say that not all embroidery software is created equal.  There’s a lot of freeware out there and some of them are very good at some things, and not so good at others.  And most are a real PITA to use.  What I came to require was 1) The software should resize without screwing up the stitch density or making the design all wonky; 2) The code shouldn’t look like it was written in Windows 98; 3) It would actually work on Windows 7; 4) It needs to be user friendly; and last but not least, 5)It should be FREE!  After much searching the interweb, lo and behold in an embroidery user forum the search was over:  Welcome Wilcom TruSizer!

This software is so up-to-date (I’ve already received software updates from the company…for the Free version no less!) and it’s very user friendly.  It looks and operates just like Word in Microsoft Office so it’s super easy to use.  And check THIS out!  They also offer a mobile version – for free – so you can resize images on the go!  Ha!  How cool is that?  It downloads very cleanly without any hidden malware/spyware (frequently found in freeware) or extra advertising crap. It puts a handy icon on my desktop too.  Mind you, it’s for “resizing” only.  While limited in scope, it’s VERY good at what it does.

The rest of this post is image heavy because I’ve written IT tech manuals before and if you don’t show every single step, I’ve found that users tend to get lost and then my email blows up with nasty-grams saying “YOU DIDN’T SAY TO…or YOU LEFT OUT A STEP!”.  So sorry if you’re up-to-speed with the whole File/Save As concept.  No insult intended.

I’m making my feline-loving friend a wall hanging for her birthday from the Cats Meow collection from Lunch Box Quilts.  After dropping a significant amount of cash on this collection, I discovered that nearly all of the embroidery files are sized bigger than my hoop size so my machine can’t see them.  So I had to resize them all.  I’ll show you how I resized Felix – a very cool cat!  To see the details in the images below, click on them and they will be big enough to see everything clearly.OrigSizeHeightBox

After downloading the software from the link in the company name above, double click on the TruSizer icon on your desktop.  No, my home screen isn’t screwed up.  I wanted to hide some icons from y’all.  🙂WilcomIconThere’s a single splash page you have to click through.  Click OK.WilcomSplashPageTo get your original “too-big” file, go to the menu in the upper left corner and click File/Open.FileOpenThen navigate to where you have your embroidery files stored on your computer.  Note that the software defaults to the .EMB format.  If you don’t change the format to PES, it won’t see your files.DefaultEMBFormat

When you click the down arrow by the EMB File Type, a ginormous list of possible file types pops up.  I highlighted the PES file format.OpenPESThen I navigated to the original Felix file and clicked Open.  Isn’t he cool?  OrigFile-TooBigOnce the image shows up on the screen, you have to Select the image by clicking on it.  Once you do, you’ll see some little handle boxes around the image.  Under the main menu bar, there are Property boxes.  See how the height is more than the allowable 180mm for my machine? (highlighted in blue below)

OrigSizeHeightBoxMake sure the padlock is locked and then change the largest offending number to a number that works in your machine.  OrigSizePropertiesPadlock

I changed my height to 180mm and hit Enter.  See how he resized perfectly. No distortion at all.ChangeHeight

When I save my files, I do a “Save As” so I don’t destroy the original file and then give it a unique name so I can tell the original from the new.  So then in the upper menu go to File/Save As and go through the routine of changing the .EMB file to your file type.


I normally use the new dimensions in the file name so I can tell it will fit in my machine and differentiate it from the original.FelixSizeNameSo back to the embroidery machine I go to retrieve Felix.ScreenUSBThe image below is from before the resizing and it couldn’t see Felix. There’s 9 files on the USB stick, but it only sees 8.NoFelix

Then after resizing, there’s Felix!  The machine sees 9 files and there he is!FoundFelix

But of course the proof is in the stitching.  I think he turned out great!  I’ll do some final trimming of the jump threads and he’ll be ready to go!FelixFinished