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Embellisher

Christy | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Does anyone have the new Baby Lock Embellisher?  I’d like to hear what you’ve been doing with it and any tips and resources.  I also understand that Bernina has come out with a new foot that does the same type of thing.

thanks! 

Replies

  1. Liana | | #1

    Chris,

    I have the Embellisher, and it's great.  So far, I've just been fooling around with it and practicing, although I did do a "trial" project, a scarf, that you can see here. http://www.pbase.com/lianasews/embellisher I am hoping to use it for embellishing garments, and have some ideas for a coat, skirt, etc.  I think you will think of a lot of things that you can do with it, if you begin putting it into the equation when you are planning a project.  Here is an interesting Russian site. http://www.yaga.ru/e_works.html?0

    I haven't seen the Bernina foot, and I have heard there are other companies who will be coming out with the same type of foot thing.  The only thing I've been told is that you will be running a lot of fibers/lint through your machine, and even though they attempt to close off the bobbin area, the tiny fibers tend to sift through.  IMO the amount of "stitching" that is done (up and down with the needles) and the pressure generated is more like that of a serger than a regular machine, and I would worry a little about the extra use.  It could be great though.

    1. Christy | | #2

      Hi Liana.  This is Christy--I met you on Sewzine.  Do you mind if I pass your address for pictures on to my sewing machine dealer?  She is trying to find examples of the use of this type of machine.  Guess it's pretty new to everyone here.

      Your scarf looks great!  I note that the manual (such as it is) recommends fabrics with some texture.  Have you tried other types of fabrics than the polarfleece and, if so, what tips might you have?

      At least one day this weekend will be devoted to playing with this machine.  My dealer gave me a few examples of things she tried--some nubby yarns looked particularly good, and she fanned some of them out, so they aren't just linear.  I also noted that the reverse side can also look very good, depending on the effect you might want.

      Keep me posted on what you are doing.  Love your picture site!

      Christy

      1. FitnessNut | | #3

        So, if I understand correctly, the embellisher is a device for attaching/sewing on yarn or other trim??? This is very interesting. I've checked on Bernina's website and can't find any reference to such a tool. Do you know what it is called or any other information?

        1. Christy | | #5

          Sandy, the Baby Lock Embellisher sort of "meshes" fabrics together.  It's based on a hand technique used in felting (or so I assume!).  Mainly, the idea is to use for embellishing without having to use thread.  Also the effects are very different.  The embellisher uses a number of needles and punches through the fabrics to mesh them together.

          Check out the two sites Liana mentioned.  Her experiments are great.  The Russian site is incredible, but hard to tell exactly how they did what.  I understand that this type of machine has been available outside of the US and is used in Japan, Russia and Europe.  If anyone finds more sites with examples, please post!

          All I know about the Bernina is what my dealer mentioned.  She just said that they have come out with a new foot and attachment to do something similar.  You might contact your local Bernina dealer.  My dealer said Bernina was demonstrating it at some show she went to recently.  I hope I remember all this right--I don't have a Bernina, so didn't focus on this part.

          Christy

          1. FitnessNut | | #6

            Thanks for the info, Christy. I did check out Liana's site, but not the Russian one. Very impressive work! I'll have to ask my Bernina dealer about this. Fortunately, she also carries Baby Lock, so she may know exactly what I'm asking about ;-)

          2. Christy | | #7

            I spent part of today experimenting with my Embellisher.  Liana, you are right that the materials used need some "texture" to mesh together.  A loose weave does work too.  If you look closely at the embellisher needles, they are like little reverse fishhook barbs, so they catch the fabric and loop or mesh it together on the way down and slip out on the way back up.  But some things that won't work as bottom fabric will work as top.

            I think the most sucessful bottom fabrics will be those with texture and a weave that will hold up to the holes being punched through it.  On the other hand, top materials really should be something that is "transformed" by the punching process.  Almost every yarn I've tried works, some more dramatic than others.  But some are also transformed from what you like into something that's not as nice and, consequently, should probably be couched with stitching rather than using the embellisher.

            Embroidery thread works well and, though not too exciting, could get you embroidery effects that sort of resemble hand embroidery that would be fast to do.

            I did try cat hair. Hey, why not?  I have three cats and, believe me, they mainly eat, sleep and grow hair!  Cat hair embellishes really great!  I also trimmed off some fur from leftover mink pieces and that works neat as well.  You couldn't use leather or natural fur with the leather backing, as the embellisher will just punch holes in it and not mesh.  But "free fur" works fine and you can actually get some painterly effects from it.  Angora rabbit fur would probably be super.

            So, thus far I think it will be easy to find base fabrics (fleece, most wools, etc.) that will hold up and mesh on the bottom, but we will need to think "outside the box" for the top materials. 

            Any more ideas?

            Christy

          3. FitnessNut | | #8

            I could donate tons of dog hair ;-)

            Seriously, have fun experimenting!

          4. Christy | | #9

            Sandy, I just played more with my embellisher today and just posted some other notes on my observations.  It is really a lot of fun, but it is definitely a different kind of machine than a sewing machine.  It actually sort of makes a new fabric for you.  To make the best use of it, I think you want to embellish with things that get transformed by the punching process.

            Christy

          5. Liana | | #10

            Chris,

            Sounds like you are really going to town!  I love the cat hair idea.  I have a never-ending free supply of that too.  Did you comb your cat to get it, or just pet the cat while you're working?  That would be handy, and with one of ours, it would probably work very well!

            Unfortunately I spent the day caulking cracks in the driveway instead of embellishing.  I did sew a little this evening.

          6. Christy | | #11

            Actually, I petted my sewing chair (one of their favorite places to sleep when I'm not occupying it)!  I then took the hair and arched it into a half circle and embellished it in place.  Success with that led to trying the mink hair, etc.  I know people spin dog hair. If you get big handfuls of fur from grooming your cats, that would work well.  Mine are sort of cream colored, so their hair looked wonderful on a dark background. 

            I found that some home dec fabrics, torn or cut into strips, will embellish much like more expensive yarns. 

            I'm sure you're going to have fun with this.  I haven't even gotten to something ambitious as a scarf yet.  Maybe next weekend (too much "paying" work to do this week).

            Keep "punching"!

            Christy

      2. Liana | | #4

        Hi Christy,

        Nice to meet again!  I don't mind if you give my photo address to your dealer.

        I've tried various fabrics, and I've found that, as the manual says, natural fibers work the most easily, but the most important factor seems to be loft.  There has to be enough "depth" of fabric for the top piece to be able to be sqooshed down into the bottom one enough to hang on.  The fibers need to be able to wrap around each other enough to cling.  Polyester fleece is obviously not a natural fiber, but it does have depth, and free fibers for clinging.  I tried tropical weight wool, and although it is a natural fiber, and wool has free fibers for clinging, it's such a smooth, and fairly thin fabric, that things just peel right off of it.  Then again, silk organza will cling to things pretty well, probably because of its relatively loose weave.  You can also texturize it without adding anything to it, just using the embellisher on the plain fabric.  It gives it a slightly smocked effect, although if you do too much, it quickly looks holey rather than smocked.  Your dealer's right about the nubby yarns.  They're really fun, and any yarn works pretty well.  Also, decorative threads can be applied, and it's easy to sort of make little piles of thread and attach them for a different effect.  I just bought some yarns yesterday to try adding to a wool herringbone for a skirt.  I don't know if I'm going to end up with some very interesting garments, or a lot of weird stuff.  No way to tell yet I guess!  You will have a wonderful time playing I'm sure.

        Thanks for the kind comment on my picture site.  I recommend it to anyone who wants to post photos/scans of their work, as the resolution is so much better than most sites that there is no comparison.  It's very reasonable too.

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