Thursday, August 21, 2008

Machine Embroidery Tips

I ordered my threads today for the peacock bag. I'm slowly understanding the machine embroidery world of designs. Here's what I've figured out:

1. Check Your Sizes. I almost ordered a 9 inch design by accident. My largest hoop is a 5x7. Also check if your design is too small..or has enough designs that are in scale to one another. I ordered a set thinking they were different sizes and they weren't. There are no exchanges or refunds in this world.

2. Check Your Format. Janome runs on JEF. Before ordering make sure you buy the right format. Now, if you screw up and have a spiffy software program you can convert designs, but I don't. I've found that a lot of "freebies" only come in certain formats.

3. Know What You Want. People are out to get you to buy their stuff. They offer freebies, discounts, special pricing for joining their groups/newsletters, and funky sales ideas. It's almost like watching "QVC" all day long. LOL. It's really easy to fall into the trap of buying things not because you want them, but because they hype it up. Hmm..don't they do that with fabric too? LOL

4. Back Up Your Designs. If your computer crashes, you are out of luck. I copy mine to CD and label the discs. I have some on a USB drive as well. Actually; someone on the Janome group had a great idea of backing up all your personal stuff on a USB drive in case of emergency and you have to leave your house ASAP.

5. Don't Be Afraid To Try New Things. I fell in love with the peacock design on the purse but had to decide if I wanted to try the purse. I took the risk because the design was on sale and I liked the design of the purse. The site had 2 other peacock designs on sale as well, but I knew they weren't for me. There are TONS of purse patterns out there, but I liked this one.

6. Check The Quality Of The Design. It might be a stunning design, but if it seems "off" it might be. 99% of the designers I've used are incredible and I haven't had a problem. I have been to other sites that have been plain awful.

I love sites that show examples of their work and work from other people. As a newbie, it boosts my confidence and gives me ideas of what to do with a design. I'm not so much interested in freebies as I am with workable projects. The peacock purse had directions, thread lists, and actual pictures of the purse. While the designer figured I knew what I was doing when she wrote the tutorials, having pictures is wonderful.

7. Print Out Templates. I have a 3 ring binder full of print outs of the designs in their sizes. It helps me plan out a pattern and I have instant access to designs. Yes, it takes time and space but it really helps.

8. Organize. I'm still working on this one. I know they have software out there for organizing down to the tiniest detail but at this point, I can't afford them nor do I need it. However; if you stick everything under your embroidery file, it's easy to lose things. I do have subfiles and that helps some. This is where the physical template binder helps. I can be more anal there.

I find that organizing by designer helps more than organizing by subject. Then within the designer you can put in flowers, quilt blocks, etc

9. Join The Groups/Newsletters That You will Buy From. With everyone wanting your attention it's easy to join everything. I've had to scale down to the sites that I do want instead of everything. There's no point having someone that you don't want, emailing you every day to buy their stuff. Joining up with some groups has let me find sites that I would never find on my own.

10. Buying From Different Sites. I've found that designers are on several sites that are like being in a shopping mall. Each "mall" has different payment types and offer different types of "rewards" and clubs. Some "malls" I don't like so I don't use them. Designers have their own site but belong to "malls". I watch the specials from each "mall" and buy that way to get the best deal for me.