“Cat in the Bag” Embroidery

Hubs surprised me with an adorable Gray Tabby kitten back in September. Well, ever since that fateful day I’ve turned in to one of “those” crazy cat ladies… What can ya do?

For those of you who also fall in to “that” category you know the drama that takes place when you have to take said furry friend to the vet. It’s not a pretty picture! I don’t know what it is about crates… but cats freak out just by the sight of them. Our little Loki was no exception. I saw something on Pinterest about a “friendlier” way to transport your kitten to the vet.

It’s Cats in the bag!

I was intrigued by this and I went ahead and purchased one for our Loki.

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Embroidery: It’s not that bad…

As you may have surmised, today’s post is a little different πŸ™‚ Today, I venture into uncharted territory… And it features the new Embroidery only machine from Janome.


Let me set this up by saying that my best friend Vicky is a shift manager at Starbucks. This is a double-edged sword for me as 1.) I’m addicted to coffee and this fact only enables that addiction. And 2.) I can get coffee ANY time I need it! πŸ™‚ You can see how this might be slightly conflicting…

Word has gotten around that I do a bit of sewing and Vicky’s Manager asked me to embroider all her baristas’ names onto their holiday aprons. Embroidery terrifies me! The machine does all the work for you, sure. But, logistically speaking, it’s kind of a nightmare! Setting everything up takes time and patience and I don’t possess either of those qualities (is “time” a quality???).

I typed up a reasonable yet competitive estimate for her… to my dismay, she approved it.


Box O Aprons
Box O Aprons

This is happening whether I like it or not…


Did you count the names? It’s 17! I had to do 17 aprons. I’m not ashamed to admit I was scared to death. Embroidering on a sample while I’m demo-ing a machine to a potential customer is one thing. When I’m being commissioned to embroider on real garments for a major corporation… that’s a different story all together. The pressure’s on!

Per the request of Starbucks, I used white thread (ExquisiteΒ is my go-to!) and I marked the aprons one inch from the top seam and one inch from the left side seam of the apron.

I used chalk; comes off super easy.

The last letter of the name had to be right on the edge of those measurements. I’m still shocked I managed to pull it off!

Templates make all the difference! The grid marks on the hoop template match the grid marks on the edit screen of the machine. As long the baristas’ names are the same (on the machine grid/template grid), the embroidery will be exactly where you want it to be on your garment. Make sense?


Hooping is my least favorite part of the embroidery process. The placement of the Baristas’ names made me hoop the apron at its thickest (the strap). Can you see it? Not only is the strap thick, the name is dangerously close to the edge, so the apron couldn’t be hooped “centered.” It was quite tricky. One apron actually came unhooped in the middle of embroidery!! I had to stop the machine, rehoop it, and backtrack the stitches a little bit.


The Janome 500E has different hoops than other Janome Embroidery machines. That little black knob on the right side of the picture is where the hoop fastens in to the embroidery arm. You slide that black knob down, line up the holes to the corresponding metal knobs and boom! It’s hooped. If I can do it, anybody can! #EasiestHoopingEver


Plus, this is embroidery only (in case you forgot), so the bed of the machine is quite large. This gives you a stable platform for larger garments/cloths. If you need more room, though, it comes with an extension table.

The names took 3 to 6 minutes to embroider. It was the marking, measuring, hooping, stabilizing, and fretting that took up most of my time. In a way, I’m glad I was “forced” to do this because now I’m not as scared of embroidering as I used to be πŸ™‚ Also, I got to know this machine very well during the day-long process, which will only make me a better/more relate-able salesman (how can I say something is easy to use if I don’t know from personal experience?).

To see this machine in action, I’ve uploaded my very first video. I make a cameo appearance at the end. It’s only 1:04 minutes long and it’s super, uh, not-professional πŸ™‚ I uploaded this for my friend Gema, more than anything. She’s been begging me to do a video and, uh, here it is! πŸ™‚

Better videos to come πŸ™‚


Embroidered Blanket

Don’t let the title deceive you… I did NOT embroider this:

IMG_3780One of our vendors at Job #1 gifted this to us for Christmas. It is a most awesomely comfortable and perfectly fine microfiber/fleece-ish blanket. It would be just wonderful in my new house.

But I’m not digging that logo… no offense to our vendor. I dug around my stash of felt and fleece. Surely I could cover it up somehow.

My stash of felt and fleece πŸ™‚

I grabbed black first.

This black fleece looks grey next to the blanket… not gonna fly for me.

Hubs’s favorite color is purple, maybe I could use this felt instead…

Not wide enough… go figure

This is not going very well thus far, so I reverted back to my normal stash of scraps and found a combination I like very much, actually.

Ta- da πŸ™‚

I think the plaid will compliment the purple quite nicely, so I sewed them together and trimmed most (not all) of the excess plaid material on my cutting mat.

Like so

I’ve never ironed felt before, so I wasn’t sure how horrible this might turn out. Guess what? You can iron it! Good-bye wrinkles. I pinned the material to the offensive blanket corner and sewed it down with a straight stitch on ourΒ Janome 8900.

IMG_3791Then, I sewed in the “ditch” between the plaid and purple:

I’m pointing to the previous stitch I sewed πŸ™‚

For my next trick, I put the material right side down so I could stitch around the curvature of the blanket corner.

IMG_3794Of course, after that, I cut the excess plaid and purple felt off leaving enough of an allowance to “bind” the material around the edge of the corner. We can’t have raw edges. Not cool.

…I prolly should’ve left a little more material on the edge for this. Oops πŸ™‚

As you can see, I just folded it over by hand and stitched it down. This material is pretty thick: there’s the blanket, the existing blanket binding, my scrap material doubled up & folded over, and this machine sews through it like it’s butter! I love this machine. Truly.


Not bad πŸ™‚

I’m not crazy about that double stitch thing going on… I thought about putting a funky decorative or satin stitch in there to cover it up but, alas, laziness prevails.

At home in my new living room.



Blankets are meant to be used, not just for looking pretty.

…so I used it and it did not disappoint.

It’s a keeper!


“Rainy Day” Burp Cloths: Part V

4 burp cloths down, 1 to go. This is my final installment in my Rainy Day series for using up your scraps πŸ™‚ I was so inspired by BC #4, I decided to do a little more embroidery for our last burp cloth today.

Simply, I did baby Cheyenne’s monogram.


Just like the one yesterday, I embroidered this with tear-away stabilizer.

To use up some more of the multi-floral print I had in my stash, I decided to sew a strip to the top and bottom of the burp cloth.


The strips were pretty narrow, so I thought I’d use a super “Satin-y” applique stitch to eliminate the raw edges (as opposed to folding them under and straight stitching them). Plus, every stitch on every BC so far has been different… why break precedence now?


Lovely πŸ™‚





5 burp cloths from a set of 5 cloth diapers, which I spent $5.99. The fabric cost me nothing, nor did any of the supplies used in the making of these. It seems like only yesterday I shared these with you… Let’s recap, shall we? πŸ™‚


All different and unique… Yet they look like they “go” together in a set; just the look I was hoping to achieve. Let’s just hope Jess and baby Cheyenne like them.


Wanna hear something really sad? I STILL have a ton of scraps left over! I’ll have to see how I can use them up in another project.

In the meantime, I’d like to know which burp cloth was your favorite. Tell me your vote in the comment section. I’d love to hear from you πŸ™‚

“Rainy Day” Burp Cloths: Part IV

We’ve made it to #4 in my series for getting rid of your scraps. The vehicle in which I’m getting rid of said scraps is via my friend Jess’s baby shower. She requested “cute” burp cloths. Let’s hope her definition of cute and mine line up because, well, I already have them done πŸ™‚


Remember alllll these scraps in my stash? (That’s not even all of it…) For BCs #1, #2, and #3 I’ve pretty much just stuck with the hot pink floral and brown polka dot fabrics. But you’ll notice that I have all these other floral fabrics too. I’ve had this box of scraps for years, people. Years. I really need to use them up. I hate just having crap loads of fabric laying around and not use them.Β  I can’t handle clutter. They gots ta go!

I did a “suicide” action with the white floral and multi-floral prints. I cut them into more manageable strips and sewed them together.


If ever materials did not “match”… πŸ™‚ Sad thing is, I like un-matchable fabrics together. I do. I’m not a matchy-matchy person at all. The middle multi-floral print is the same one I used for the Owl’s nose in BC #2 so that’s my rationale for “tying” them together. BC #5 tomorrow will incorporate this print even more. So, it’s all good. Don’t panic.

Trim the uneven edges and sew to the BC.


Say what? You see right. I’m “hooping” this burp cloth… I’m going to embroider! I struggle with embroidery but I’m struggling even more trying to figure out how to make this BC less “grandma” looking πŸ˜€

On my Horizon Memory Craft 15000, I selected a scripted font and “wrote” out Baby #4’s name πŸ™‚


Fasten in the hoop, hit the “Start” button. Watch. Enjoy. Go get a coffee… the machine does all the work.



Again, the “gauze” like material of the BC is a little tricky to work with. I put 3 layers of medium weight tear-away stabilizer on the underside of the hoop. I put 1 layer on the top. On towel like material like this you really can’t use too much stabilizer. The threads can disappear in the material defeating the point all together, right? Since it’s tear-away, I can rip it from the embroidery like it was never there to begin with.


See? Tear-away stabilizer comes off easily but helps the stitching look great. On a burp cloth, baby Cheyenne doesn’t want her soft face to rub up again thick and permanent interfacing. Not good.


There’s some residual stabilizer… just pick it out or use some water to loosen it up. On another note, see the stitching on top of the floral fabric? It’s a quilting stitch. So far, I’ve used a different stitch for each burp cloth. This is the first one with embroidery. Stay tuned for #5 tomorrow.