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how do you deal with poor results

maggiecoops | Posted in Machine Embroidery on

I spent 3 days stitching out a rose design on a 45″ square cloth, 1 rose design repeated on the corners of the cloth making 4 individual designs . Each design measured approximately 12″ x 10″ and was positioned so the centre axis of each one followed a 45%  angle. I had used vanishing marker to draw my cross hairs for the placement on the fabric, and a soft lead pencil to mark the cross hairs on the stabilizer as I was using the no hoop method.  The designs stitched fine, though one did misalignment because my silly cat decided she liked the fabric twitching and grabbed it.. I hemmed the cloth and realized the soft lead pencil on the stabilizer was showing through the fabric so I laundered it.

The fabric around the designs puckered up like they’d tasted a mouthful of lemon juice.  Before I laundered the cloth there were no puckers, after I laundered it the designs looked like they were gathering up the cloth. At first I thought it was the stabilizer that had shrunk maybe, but later decided by choosing to angle the design along a true bias instead of on the straight was the cause. Now I’m left with a look alike cheese cloth with 4 bouquets of roses and a hole in my gift list. I’m tempted to send it to the bin in the sky, what would you do with a disappointing design?

Edited 12/15/2007 3:01 pm ET by maggiecoops


  1. User avater
    clairezbo | | #1

    well, Maybe you could cut the rose out??? and put it on something else????

    1. maggiecoops | | #2

      I did look at that as an option and as I have a plain white duvet cover, never used, thought I might Applique the individual roses, 3 in each design, to the cover. The leaves, ribbons and other elements wouldnt transfer well. For now it has to reside in the FPD pile until I have time to come up with a workable solution. I'll redo the cloth for my freind, but next time put the design on the straight grain. I tried posting an attachment, but just can't past error occured message. The link shows the design, I only used the large one with the ribbon.


      1. User avater
        clairezbo | | #7

        I can see why you are upset. The roses are beautiful. They are much to beautiful to use as a cover for your machine, unless you'r machine is in your livingroom. I don't do this kind of work, but I can certainly appreciate the time and love that went into that cloth. Keep thinking!!!!!!!

        1. maggiecoops | | #8

          Hi Clairezbo, I think what has upset me most is, I now don't have time to get another one done for my friend by Christmas. I have ordered a Damask pre made cloth and napkins which I will give her as a New Years gift instead. I'm going to use Gloop (my wash away film dissolved in water) to prevent any stretching on the bias, and Romeo heavy washaway stabiliser to back it. I'm hoping the extra tight weave of Damask will be ok, it's what the stitch out on the K.O. Designs site is stitched on. It's the first time I've had cotton pucker the way it did after laundering it, and as it's a table cloth it has to be washable.  I tried pressing the puckers out, starch, masses of steam, pressing it damp/dry. It just doesn't want to play nicely. If I hadn't pre washed the fabric I would have said it was cotton shrinkage, at first I thought the stabiliser had shrunk, but it's never happened before.The only thing left was the angle the design sat at, a 45 degree diagonal, oh well, our mistakes are the best learning tools there are, so fingers crossed the next one will be ok.

          1. Pattiann42 | | #9

            Please let us know how the stitching works out on the damask.  A second look at the ad and the one shown does look like damask.


            PS:  Make sure kitty is napping when the machine in stitching.

          2. maggiecoops | | #10

            I'm used to my cat trying to grab my knitting yarn, but I didnt expect her to pounce on the fabric, though with hindsight it was no different from yarn waving around. If she grabs again, she'll be fur trim for a collar!!

            I will let you know how it goes, I would post pictures but I haven't been able to upload any as yet. I have tried numerous times.

      2. MaryinColorado | | #12

        Those designs are beautiful!  I am sorry for all the frustration with your project!  We can all relate to how you feel!  I wonder if you might make quilted pillow covers or a throw that would mask the puckers in the quilting? 

        Thanks for the website!  I love thier designs!  Any special tips regarding ordering from them for US customer?  Mary

        1. maggiecoops | | #13

          Hi Mary, you need to make certain you get a design that fits your hoop in the right format. They don't offer a resize option if you ordered the wrong one by mistake. Their designs are wonderful, I'm re-doing mine now on a good quality Damask and the stitchout so far is perfect. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed in case the gremlins are around, read this and interfere. I don't think I'll get it finished in time as I have 12 napkins to embroider as well and finish a few other bits before travelling to my daughter's home for Christmas.

          I think the problem with my first one was the stabiliser was that bit too strong for the fabric. I know that sounds strange but a close weave cotton isnt as prone to stretching as a poly cotton mix and I used a backing I'd use for poly. This time I'm using a lighter weight medium backing. It's not as thick and so far on 4 stitch outs of the large design in a 15 x 22 inch hoop it's doing a wonderful job. Theres only another 2 large roses and 6 of the medium rose designs to do.

          K.O. offers free designs every now and then which are well worth downloading. They had a very nice 4th of July design recently so it's worth checking the site regularly. I have also got their  Wild Rose set and the Lily set. Take a look at their tips and hints pages, especially their "break the limit" page, it shows you how you can stitch one of their special break the hoop limit designs.  Their combining designs page is good as well,

          I don't know which machine you have, but if it doesnt have a scissors function you could be trimming jumps. I have a feeling the designs were digitised for machines with the auto trim function which my domestic embroidery machine doesnt have. I hadn't thought of quilting the original stitch out, I could do that and then put a plain banding of satin backed crepe around it about 5 or 6 inches deep in a toning colour to the roses, and make it into a table topper or knee rug. Thank you Mary for that, if I ever work out how to upload a photo to this site I will take photoes of the result.

          Have a really wonderful Christmas good company, and masse of chocolate goodies..

          love mags

          1. MaryinColorado | | #14

            I have the Husq/Viking Designer 1 with ancient software which I hope to upgrade in 2008.  Wow, you have a humongous hoop size!  I am so jealous!  It would be great to do jacketbacks.  What machine do you have? 

            Thanks for the info about that sites' designs, I will be careful when I order to get the right ones.  Thier designs are really nice, I especially love the roses.  The only free one I saw was a witch so I will watch for others.  Have you tried the lace or coasters? 

            I am so glad to hear that you're having better luck this time!  You must be racing to get it all done.  You could give her part of the gift with a printout of what's to come.  I've done that in a pinch.

            Godspeed on your trip and have a safe and blessed Christmas!  Mary

            oh, and lots of chocolate too! 

          2. maggiecoops | | #15

            Hi Mary, I have 2 industrial single head 12 needle embroidery machines, and a  Janome 10000 ugraded to a 10001 combined sewing and embroidery machine, a nice machine wth a good stitch quality but only an 8 x 5.5 sewing field. Before I bought my industrial machines I used to split the big jacket back designs and use alignment lines to  do multi hooping stitchouts.  I used Embirds Editor for the splitting as it's such a good one.  I have to confess though it is nice just to hoop up a 12 x 12 inch hoop or the big sash hoop and do a straight stitchout without doing all the design splitting, though I still do it to keep my hand in. I've never tried a K.O. Designs lace design, I like the Sue Box lace designs http://www.suebox.com/ they stitch out consistently brilliant. I've made several FSL crochet cloths with designs from Scrigbys that are a dream to stitch, wash beautifully and actually look like crochet if you use standard sewing thread. http://www.scrigbys.com/embroidery/index.php . Dainty stitches is another site that has FSL designs that stitch nicely http://www.kemp-emb.co.za/freelace.html another site http://www.astitchahalf.com/  and another http://www.stitchdelight.com/  these are mother and daughters sites. I mustnt forget a very talented lady, http://www.skeldalehouse.com/  and of course the beautiful, makes you drool lace of http://www.zundtdesign.com/Collection.htm  their designs are just so well digitized they really are worth every cent of the cost. Trouble is you need a mortgage to purchase a stash of their designs. One Christmas I made 12 FSL bowls and coaster sets for freinds and family which made me feel justified in spending the money on the design set. I use my Janome for the FSL as it's got such a nicestitching quality and besides I was using the other machines to do table centres or cushion fronts.

            You've given me 2 good ideas now, a print outand maybe 1 napkin I could get away with, and she wouldn't mind waiting for the rest as she knows how busy I've been and how my torn muscles have prevented me doing all I wanted to do.  MMM maybe I should give every one a print out for Christmas, perhaps not they might see through me.

            The free design on KO, they have two on offer, the halloween witch and a clown, you need to click on design 2 and it will show up.

            love mags.

          3. MaryinColorado | | #16

            Thanks so much for all the great sites, once again, you are the greatest!  I emailed a copy of your post to myself so I don't lose them. 

            Merry Christmas!  Happy New Year!  Mary

  2. jjgg | | #3

    Have you tried blocking it? Dampen the cloth, I would even put some spray starch on it, stretch it while pressing. Be careful not to scorch it while pressing, use a pressing cloth.

  3. Pattiann42 | | #4

    I keep all my oops and usually find a use for them.

    We try our best to match the fabric, stabilizer and needle to the design, but sometimes things can go wrong, including curious kitties. 

    Are you absolutely sure the position of the design was the problem?  Did you pre-shrink the cloth before you applied the embroidery?  Was the fabric suitable for the density of the design? 

    Were you using sticky back stabilizer or 505?  I like to "go hoop-less" whenever possible, but sometimes it just doesnt work as well as when the fabric is hooped.

    The design is beautiful and will make a lovely work of art.

    1. maggiecoops | | #5

      Hi Spicgirl, the fabric was preshrunk and enough threads per inch (400) for the weight of density the design has. I don't use a sticky stabiliser for the particular machine I was using, the hoop is too large. I use an industrial stabiliser, soft and strong 80 g , I mounted the fabric on the stabiliser as I do normally, a temporary film of quilters spray and then basting stitches. I use this combination for heavy density large designs. Until the cloth was laundered there was no puckering or wrinkling, the puckers appeared post laundery.  I think the next time I do it, I'll use either a 600 thread Egyptian cotton or cotton damask. I'll keep the puckered design and use it as a dust cover for my machine. 

      1. Pattiann42 | | #6

        Hi Maggie. 

        Thanks for the response, a lot of good info. 

        A dust cover for the embroidery machine is a good idea.  I bought hand embroidered textiles at a local flea market for the same purpose.  They are a constant reminder that "We've come a long way, baby"!


  4. samsmomma | | #11

    Sometimes you need to increase your pull compensation when stitching on bias, or lower your density.

    Had the fabric been washed before the embroidery was done? Sometimes the fabric shrinks and the thread does not..

    Do you have a product called Magic Sizing where you live? It can sometimes relax the fibers of the cloth so that you can press the puckers back out.


  5. Teaf5 | | #17

    I hope you can save your piece or re-use it somehow, but either way, you should keep a record of everything you used and did so that you don't have to repeat the experience a year or so from now! 

    I usually donate or recycle my disasters so that I am not reminded of them constantly, but I clip a small piece of the fabric, write down all the particulars, and put it in the back of my sewing notebook.  

    By keeping a record of my mistakes, I don't have to use precious brain space to remember them, but I can easily refer to the "mistake page" when I'm doing a similar project to avoid repeating them.

    1. User avater
      Becky-book | | #18

      Oh! what a helpful idea! as my memory ages and my machines get more complex, I am going to need a disaster page!! Hubby got me a small embroidery machine for Christmas! (Brother SE270D)doesn't have all the "bells and whistles" of a high end machine, but enough to keep me busy for quite awhile!Becky

      1. MaryinColorado | | #19

        Congratulations on your new machine!  Yeah!  Sew much fun is in store for you!!!  Mary

    2. maggiecoops | | #20

      Hi Teaf5, keeping notes is something I have always done as my memory is hazy at the best of times.  I never donate my mistakes, I use them as learning aides and start points for experiments. I'm going to use Mary in Col's idea and quilt it. The puckers that occured will be lost in the quilting, and I'll have an item I can use as a gift then, if it turns out the way I hope. If it doesn't, I'll have a padded knee blanket, so either way it wont be wasted. My test stitch outs and and aborted stitchouts I hang on to, then if I'm looking for something to utilise in a project they are part of my resource bank. I'm an ex teacher, so having a resource bank suited my hording instincts, and now I'm retired I'm finding I use an awful lot of the things in it. It's amazing how easy I find it to justify having stashes.



      1. MaryinColorado | | #21

        I too have kept my test stitch outs.  They are great for crazy quilting, Christmas stockings, sachets, doll clothes, pot holders, dresser scarves, etc.  One idea is to paint a wooden hand embroidery hoop, stitch the embroidered item to a netted backing after inserting lavender and other herbs, tie a ribbon to cover the screws and hang in the bathroom. I've also used them for tissue box covers, and those little purse size tissue packs, make them into patches, etc.  Sometimes I deliberately do test stitch outs on a large piece of fabric so it is more usable, then if I don't like it I cut it down to a small size.

        So many projects in my imagination, so few accomplished comparitively.  Mary

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