Sweet Pea Sew-a-Long Challenge – JULY ‘The Winners’


machine embroidery design Tassel bag sew-a-long

Each month we will choose a 1st Place , 2nd and 3rd Place winners ( plus 4th, 5th and 6th)

At the end of the 3 sew-a-longs we will have a total of 18 monthly winners.

We will put the 18 winning entries to public voting on October 1st, 2017

The GRAND PRIZE WINNER will be the entry that receives the most votes by 5pm October 3rd 2017.

Grand prize winner will be announced on the website, Sweet Pea Facebook groups and notified by email

Machine Embroidery Designs Tassel bag



1st Place winner will receive: http://www.echidnaclub.com.au/shop/echidna-embroidery-thread-boxed-sets/H-STARTER-Thread-Set From Echidna Sewing . PLUS $100 Sweet Pea gift voucher

2nd Place winner will receive: http://www.echidnaclub.com.au/shop/echidna-embroidery-thread-boxed-sets/H-15BONUSSET From Echidna Sewing .PLUS $50 Sweet Pea gift voucher

3rd Place winner will receive: http://www.echidnaclub.com.au/shop/embroidery-cutaway-tearaway-washaway-topping From Echidna Sewing .PLUS $25 Sweet Pea gift voucher

4th, 5th and 6th place winners will receive a Sweet Pea design of their choice.

All place winners will be judged on the best photos submitted. Judges decision is final. This is a competition of skill.

All place winners will be announced on the website, Sweet Pea Facebook groups and notified by email.

And the GRAND PRIZE WINNER will win


A BROTHER /F440E- embroidery Machine valued at $1499 AUD (Australian winner only – due to shipping legislation)

OR $1000 (Australian Dollars ) Sweet Pea gift voucher (for non Australian grand prize winner)

machine embroidery design Tassel bag sew-a-long



Machine embroidery design in the hoop sew-a-long winner


Machine embroidery design in the hoop sew-a-long winner


Machine embroidery design in the hoop sew-a-long winner


Machine embroidery design in the hoop sew-a-long winner


Machine embroidery design in the hoop sew-a-long winner


Machine embroidery design in the hoop sew-a-long winner

Congratulations to everyone who participated in our July Sew-a-Long Challenge, we saw hundreds of beautiful bags created and each and everyone of you should be very proud.

Winners please contact us at sweetpeanash@gmail.com and let us know your mailing details. Thanks 🙂

machine embroidery in the hoop sew-a-long winners YouTube video

The Winners Video ( click image to view)



The Fantastic prizes supplied for this sew-a-long are from the wonderful people at Echidna Sewing.

Check out their great range of Brother Embroidery Machines and online shop at

machine embroidery in the hoop design


August Sew-a-long starts August 10

The August sew-a-long will start August 10 ( Australia time)

The Sew-a-long will be held in the same group as we had for the JULY Sew-a-long.

Sweet Pea AUG Sew-a-long Ad Sponsored by Echidna FB
Click image to join sew-a-long group

Choosing the right needle for machine embroidery

Choosing the right needle for a machine embroidery project doesn’t have to be a daunting prospect. Many an embroidery enthusiast may have avoided becoming a hysterical mess while attempting to purchase needles if they had just done a little research beforehand. There are a few little tricks that can help you choose a needle whether it’s your first project, or if it’s a style of design or type of material you have never used before.

Needle Size

Sometimes too much emphasis can be put on needle size when it comes to machine embroidery. The most important things to take into account when choosing the size of your needle are what the material you are working on will be, and how intricate and dense the designs will need to be. In some ways choosing a needle size can be likened to choosing the right paint brush in the way that the smaller the needle, the easier it is to produce more intricate and delicate designs. You wouldn’t cut in your skirting board with a paint roller and you wouldn’t use a large needle to embroider closely packed designs or small letters at the risk of them overlapping. This makes smaller needles excellent for wedding embroidery designs or word embroidery and larger needles good for applique embroidery.

A larger needle (110, 120) is more effective when working with heavier material, as a smaller needle (60, 70) can become warped or broken when a thicker or more durable material is being worked with. This will be used in conjunction with a sharp point, but more on that further into the blog. If you find yourself consistently working with the same kinds of material and rarely deviating it would be a good rule of thumb to go with one or two sized you find the most versatile.


Whether purchasing an embroidery needle, a new frying pan or even a computer there is one question that is universally relevant to making the right buy, durability vs expense. When talking about needle composition the two available are chrome plated and titanium. The titanium needles are the more durable of the two, and they are a must buy for any project involving very heavy duty materials like leather. Chrome plated needles can be used for most light to mid density material. When not working with heavy duty materials, titanium lasts longer than chrome before needing to be replaced but is often considerably more expensive. Some brands of titanium needles claim to last 5 times longer than chrome plated but these are quite often over 5 times the price, so it comes down to whether you as the buyer are willing to pay a little more for convenience.


The most common point used in machine embroidery is a universal point which is slightly rounded but still sharp. This as the name would suggest is the most universal and versatile of the 3 available. There is also a ballpoint needle that is used for knits. This type of needle does not cut through the fabric but slips through the weave to ensure a clean job without fraying or fuzziness. Finally there is a sharp point previously mentioned that can be used with a large titanium needle to work with the most durable materials and to cut through thin or delicate stabiliser without tearing.

The choice

In the end which needles you use directly correlates to what kind of designs, material and thread you use most. It is always a good idea to have a universal mid-size needle that can handle most jobs you throw at it, and then go from there. But one of the most important points to remember before buying an embroidery needle is of course… It has to actually fit. Some needles will only fit certain machines and you will need to check the specifications of the machine you will be using. If you have any questions that haven’t been answered here feel free to jump on the sweet pea facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/1376828489304731/ where a whole community of embroidery enthusiasts will be happy to share a wealth of knowledge with you.

These are the needles we use.


World Vision charity ” Worry monster zipper purse” in the hoop machine embroidery design



machine embroidery design worry monster purse

The Worry Monster machine embroidery design is Sweet Pea’s second charity design.

All proceeds from sales of this design will go to World Vision to purchase classroom furniture to set up schools in third world countries.

Every time we reach $480 AUD we will be able to purchase another set of classroom furniture.  We will show records that will verify we are doing what we say we will.

machine embroidery designs charity

The idea of the Worry monster is that children write down their anxieties and fears and the worry monster will eat them away!!

Of course it does not need to be used this way.  It is just a super cute purse as well!

Worry Monster zipper purse design ITH in the hoop machine embroidery design. The design is made for the 4×4 and 5×5 hoops.  Both sizes are included in your purchase.

The purse requires one hooping and the purse is completely finished with front and back lining and no raw seams.  The zip is even inserted in the hoop.  There is about 5cm (2″) of hand sewing or you can use fabric glue.

The finished sizes are:

4×4 – 9cm x 9cm (3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″)

5×5 – 12cm x 12cm (4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″)

Perfect for a child to put his/her money or toys in.

Very quick and easy to make.  Perfect for craft markets, gifts etc.

Full photo instruction and directions are included with your purchase.

It is our intention to offer you the best service always and for our designs to be the highest quality in the market.

Designs come in all formats except ART. Bernina’s can use EXP. Formats pes, hus, sew, xxx, jef, vp3, vip, mit, dat, dst, exp etc. All formats are included with your purchase.

SVG and FCM files are included for the Silhouette and Scan n Cut machines.

Instructions are included in English and German

machine embroidery designs charity

Donation updates —  Thank you all so very much for wanting to make a difference.

 as at 24 June 2017
We have been able to  purchase 13 Water pumps – ( @$561 each pump )
We have purchased 4 lots of Classroom furniture – ( @$480 each classroom of furniture)

This is Sweet Pea’s first charity design and is still available to purchase

machine embroidery design duck charity

All proceeds from sales of this design will go to Unicef to purchase water pumps for people who, at the moment, have to walk miles to collect it each day. Every time we reach $561 AUD we will be able to purchase another water pump. We will show records that will verify we are doing what we say we will.

Cute little duck zipper purse design ITH in the hoop machine embroidery design. The design is made for the 5×7 and 6×10 hoops. Both sizes are included in your purchase.

The purse requires one hooping and the purse is completely finished with front and back lining and no raw seams. The zip is even inserted in the hoop. There is about 5cm (2″) of hand sewing or you can use fabric glue.

The finished sizes are:

5×7 – 12cm x 17cm (4 1/2″ x 6 1/2″)

6×10 – 15cm x 23cm (5 1/2″ x 9″)

Perfect for a child to put his/her money and phone in.


How to take perfect photos of your Machine Embroidery project.

How fabulous is this July Sew-a-Long !

We are already beginning to see some absolutely fabulous Tassel Bags being made.

Today I thought I would share with you some handy tips in presenting your finished bag in the best possible way in the group.

Picking the fabric you use for the Tassel Bag takes time

We often hear and we agree as well, that picking fabrics for a project can take nearly as long as doing the project itself.

Picking the fabrics is possibly the most important part of the whole process, it doesn’t matter how well something is made if the fabric choices aren’t ‘spot on’.  Having said that fabric choices are a personal matter and what might look fantastic to you might raise other’s eyebrows, and that is perfectly fine.

…which brings me to the main point of this blog

We all put so much time and effort into making these projects, all the hours sourcing the right fabric and then the actual making of  it. We then and rightly so want to share all our efforts and show the world how wonderfully creative we are.

So why not ‘show off’ your project in the best possible way you can.

There is a time and a place for everything

and the time for doing dishes is not the place to be showing the world your precious Tassel Bag.


machine embroidery design photos
at least it is all colour matching I guess : /

Follow the light

apart from the very questionable location in the photo above, there is a distinct lack of natural light for the photo.

machine embroidery design photos
open your curtains to get natural light into your room

Feeling flat and inflated?

Ok so we have moved out of the kitchen YAY!   and found an area that is neutral ( maybe too neutral), BUT look at this sorry sight for a bag.

It is all scrunched looking and it is showing it’s bottom ( very unsavory).

PLUS is that a finger obscuring the lens? oh dear


machine embroidery design photos

Iron, Iron and Iron like there is no tomorrow

I  dislike ironing as much as the next person. In fact I have a whole room dedicated to ironing, the ironing goes in there and just stays in there. Kinda like an extra wardrobe 🙂

BUT I do iron my bags… well maybe not after they are fully completed. I iron as I sew. Ironing is recommended in all our design instructions and our Tassel Bag is no exception.

We gently remind you to IRON at different stages through the sewing process of the Tassel Bag BUT if you think you are being sneaky and skip those steps.. you will end up with a scrunchy looking bag. Not nice !

machine embroidery design photos

Before you IRON  the flap for the Tassel Bag it is a good idea to push the ‘tip’ of the flap out as far as you can.  We use a chopstick but any BLUNT object is fine.

machine embroidery design photos

Don’t be a plain Jane

We have moved out of the Kitchen and opened the curtains for natural light.  The table was just white and plain with a plain white wall behind it.

Be brave and inventive, we used a floor mat to disguise the plain table, it is neutral and doesn’t compete with the Tassel Bag.

If you have a beautiful garden ( we don’t at Swpea HQ) why not take your Tassel Bag out there and take a photo.

Remember, the only part of your garden that is seen is the teeny tiny part of it that is in your photo. You could clear a small patch of weeds and have your Tassel Bag proudly displayed in maybe the only weed free part of your garden, and NO ONE will ever know.

Same thing goes for if you take the photo indoors,  your room may look like a bomb has gone off in there but NO ONE will ever know if you just tidy and ‘stage’ a small little area for your Tassel bag photo shoot.

machine embroidery design photos

Now to address the bottom showing…

You want the bag to sit straight and firmly on your surface. The photo above showed the bag looking very messy with it’s bottom showing.

You can easily fix this by grabbing what ever you have at hand to ‘fill’ out the bag. Something like a large folded piece of fabric. Just make sure it is quite heavy and fold it to the size of the base of the bag. You can maneuver the folded fabric into the inside corners of the base of the bag to make it stand up proudly.

machine embroidery design photos
fold any large piece of fabric to the size of the base


machine embroidery design photos
push folded fabric deep into the bag, filling out the inside corners

Pretty as a picture

machine embroidery design photos

Plain Jane

machine embroidery design photos

Steady as she goes

Finally an important tip….   It is much easier to take a photo whether it be with a camera or a phone if you steady it by resting on something stable.

Here I am using just a box that was laying around. It will probably involve some bending to get to the level of your photographic subject but it will be worth it.

machine embroidery design photosmachine embroidery design photos

machine embroidery design Tassel bag sew-a-long


Join in the fun, win fabulous prizes


machine embroidery design Tassel bag sew-a-long

Coloring with Sweet Pea’s in the hoop , machine embroidery Designs

by guest blogger Rita Wetzel


machine embroidery design color colour in


Coloring is fun for all ages – young, old, and in between.  It’s one of the first creative outlets we have as young children.  More importantly, we can enjoy it well into our sunset years.

Because Sweet Pea has a wide variety of designs that lend themselves to coloring, I’ve started to explore the world of coloring on embroidered fabric.  I’ve learned a few things along the way about what works and, in some cases, what doesn’t.  I also know there is a lot more to learn.

Fabric and Preparation
Use 100% white or cream cotton fabric.  Wash and dry your fabric without any softener.  Press.  Embroider your design following the design instructions.

Test Sandwich
I’ve learned the hard way that it is always a good idea to have a test sandwich (stabilizer, batting, fabric) by my side.  I use it to test out colors/color combinations.  It is also helpful to see how the coloring medium will interact with the fabric — how quickly does the color spread, does the fabric absorb the pigment a lot or a little, etc.  For example, reds tend to run quicker than other colors — and remember that browns contain red pigment.




Different fabrics react differently with the same technique — colors will run more quickly on a loose weave fabric than on a tighter weave.  Each coloring technique reacts with fabric differently so its always good to test first before starting on your design.





Color directly onto the fabric with crayons and then heat set.

For kids, this is my favorite technique for a permanent finished design.






Watercolor Pencils
Coloring with watercolor pencils is by far my personal favorite. Shading is easily achievable by overlaying a lighter color with a darker one. You can use the sharp points of the pencil for smaller areas or fine details.  Color with the side of the pencil for larger areas and the background.

I prefer to spritz my design lightly with water and then color away. You can also color first and then use a wet brush to go over the colors.  Or you can even dip the watercolor pencil into water and then draw.  Experiment with all 3 techniques on your test sandwich to figure out what works best for you.

Heat set your finished design when it is completely dry.

Fabric Markers



There are a wide variety of fabric markers on the market.  You’ll need to decide on the tip size and on the number of colors.  Read the package instructions on whether or not to heat set.  The set of markers I purchased resulted in very bold colors.  They weren’t conducive to shading and combining.

On the plus side, I experienced less color running than other techniques.



Reusable Markers and Crayons
Reusable markers or crayons are great for kids to color on embroidered designs.  Once a piece is colored, simply throw it in the washer/dryer and you’ll be able to color it again.  Do not heat set unless you want the colored design to be permanent.  I also do not use batting in designs that I’m going to use with reusable markers because some colors, especially reds, may not completely wash out of the batting.

I prefer the reusable markers over reusable crayons as you can find a wide variety of colors, as well as, tip sizes.  The colors are also brighter and bolder than the crayons.  The little ones in my life love to color this way.  It’s a great rainy day activity.

Colored Pencils
Colored pencils can also be used to color in Sweet Pea’s designs.  Heat set.  You will notice that the colors will be lighter once the design is heat set.  If you want the colors darker be sure to press harder when coloring — do a color and a heat set on your test sandwich beforehand.

How to Heat Set
To heat set, use a cotton setting on your iron.  Do not use steam.  Protect your ironing surface with a piece of scrap fabric.  Lay a clean paper towel down.  Put your design colored side down on the paper towel.  Press.  You will notice color and/or wax on the paper towel.  Change out the paper towel and press again.  Repeat until there is no more color or wax on the paper towels.

Sweet Pea’s Coloring Designs
Sweet Pea has a wide variety of designs especially made for coloring.  You will find designs for purses and pouches, table runners and placemats, mug rugs and coasters, wall hangings, and pen wraps.  Themes range from fairies to flowers to fish to cupcakes to dinosaurs to owls and more.  All are just waiting to be stitched out and colored!  You can find all of them here.

machine embroidery design color colour in

Great Color In designs



Link between the “Yolo” bag and the Red Hat Society.

Recently, a number of you may have encountered a file on Sweetpea that can be used to create an ITH (In the Hoop) tote bag embroidery design featuring a wild-hearted gal burning rubber on her rascal.

Recently, a number of you may have encountered a file on Sweetpea that can be used to create an ITH (In the Hoop) tote bag embroidery design featuring a wild-hearted gal burning rubber on her rascal. If you did manage to see this bag and thought to yourself

“Wow, it’s like they captured a snapshot of my carefree personality and laissez-fair attitude towards age restrictions, then turned it into a handy bag.” then you may want to head over to redhatsociety.com and get involved with some of the lovely ladies that requested the bag be made or visit our website swpea.com to view the bag. Continue reading this blog to find out more about the red hat society and a bit of history on why we decided to make this beautiful bag.

YOLO bag 6x10 8x12 in the hoop.jpg 

The Red Hat Society is a group for women of all ages (but particularly those over 50) who would like to attend activities with other women to make lasting friendships and enjoy some well earned time off! The society is open to women in both an online community capacity and also in the form of social groups that can meet up and enjoy activities together. Some of these ladies decided they would love to be able to make a bag in their colours and so the “You Only Live Once” (YOLO) tote was born. Using your embroidery machine the two panels, including a pocket on one side, are made in the hoop. 


These panels are then joined together using a sewing machine. The bag is named “YOLO” after the quote “you only live once” meaning “expressing the view that someone should make the most of the present moment without worrying about the future” (Oxford Dictionary).

Being part of the red hat society isn’t just about having great taste in applique embroidery designs though. The groups frequently enjoy lunch together, attend movies and plays, get involved in sporting activities and any other social activity you can think of all the way up to huge conventions.

The offline aspect of the Red Hat Society is organised into local social groups called ‘chapters’ which are headed by a ‘queen’, but the groups are a lot more democratic than other monarchies, where every member’s thoughts are valued. The online community is open to all ladies that want to join, as it isn’t necessary to be part of a chapter to become a supporting member. Joining gives a member access to 24/7 emotional support through chats on the website along with access to all Red Hat Society events, including the huge conventions. So even if there are no chapters in your area, or you aren’t ready to dive in with a group of new people yet, there is no reason you couldn’t become a Red or Pink hatter today.

The red hat’s and purple outfits (pink hats and lavender for under 50’s) are shades not often seen together and seem to showcase the women in this society’s ability to break the mould and not conform to social norms. In their pursuit of fun, friends and fulfilment they are giving the acronym YOLO new meaning.

If you wish to see the previously mentioned tote bag in more detail please use the following URL.




Using Kam Snaps

Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Designs

KAM snaps are a very quick and easy way to apply fasteners to a project.

They can made of a strong and durable type of plastic  or metal.

The requirements to make a Kam snap fastener are

. Kam Snap Hand held Pliers.(Hand held Pliers are fine for the plastic snaps and a table press for metal snaps)

. Kam snaps – either plastic or metal .

. Kam Dies – Dies are the pieces which hold the snap parts in place in the pliers and table press.  They come in different sizes to correspond with different sized Kam snaps/

. An Awl ( sharp tool for making holes in leather) or something sharp enough to make a small tidy hole

To fasten with Kam snaps. You need a set of snaps .

Each set has two halves.

One half has a cap with prong plus a ‘socket’ fitting.


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