Choosing the Right Stabiliser

When tackling a new machine embroidery project it is always important to have the right equipment and material on hand. We have already discussed the importance of choosing the right needle, but now we are going to delve further into the use of stabilisers. For those of you who have done a little bit of research online, you will have seen a lot of advice leaning towards using test samples to zone in on the right stabiliser for your project. The overwhelming number of stabilisers on the market however, may make this an impractical starting point for those unwilling to kick their families out to make room for machine embroidery supplies. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t use test samples of material and stabiliser once you have a better idea of which kind to use. Using test samples is also a great way to find out if stabilisers work well together as sometimes using a single heavy duty product is less effective than using two lighter products.

Different Kinds of stabiliser

There are essentially four kinds of stabiliser that that can be used for in-the-hoop and hooped machine embroidery designs. These are cut-away, tear-away, heat-away and wash-away. These are all best suited to certain kinds of designs or materials, and will usually have usage advice on the packet.

machine embroidery equipment

Cut-Away

Cut-away stabilisers are only partially removed once a machine embroidery design is complete. The excess stabiliser is as the name suggests, cut away, leaving a section over the design to aid in holding it together. This is a great stabiliser when the material being used is particularly loosely stitched or hand-knitted. It may also be a good idea to use this type of stabiliser for designs that may be subject to daily wear and tear like clothes or bibs. The big drawback for cut-away on some designs however is that the stabiliser may be visible and therefore not ideal for every situation.  Another variety of cut-away stabiliser available is a soft mesh stabiliser.  They are great where the stabiliser will remain but you want a soft finish.  An example of this would be a quilt in the hoop design.  

Tear-Away

For machine embroidery designs where it is undesirable or impractical to have any residual stabiliser on the finished item, a tear-away will be preferable over cut-away. Once a design is finished, these are carefully torn from around the stitches. It is very important to test this style of stabiliser before use, as certain brands and heavier duty products don’t tear as easily as others or tear while in the hoop. The last thing you want to do is create a beautiful design only to have stitches come loose when removing the stabiliser. It may also be a good rule of thumb to use multiple lighter gauge sheets than one heavier gauge as they will be easier to tear and can be removed individually. We use tear- away stabiliser in most of our zipper purse in the hoop designs as the stabiliser needs to be removed from the zipper opening.

Heat-Away

Essentially heat-away stabilisers should be used when the other three kinds wouldn’t be effective (If the material isn’t washable and too delicate for tear-away or cut-away). It goes without saying that this method isn’t usable for materials that will be damaged by heat, although most won’t be damaged by an iron. There are two kinds of heat-away stabilisers, one that will be removed completely and one that will offer extra support to the project while losing any excess visible stabiliser. Both kinds are removed with an iron, and it is important not to use steam in the removal, as the stabilisers can be water soluble once melted and may embed in the material. We have another blog which explains this process in more detail here. Also a youtube video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7covxAfbPws&feature=youtu.be.

machine embroidery, machine embroidery designs, in the hoop, christmas, bauble, mylar

Wash-Away (soluble) 

Finally we have wash-away stabilisers, which can be used effectively for a wide range of machine embroidery designs and are perfect for delicate and mesh fabrics. There are a number of wash-away stabilisers that come in the form of a spray that can be applied to a material and hardens like a resin. These can be great for uneven materials that would leave gaps with a sheet style stabiliser. They can also be some of the most versatile stabilisers on the market. The big drawback for wash-away with certain projects is of course their method of removal makes them completely impractical for any design that will need continued support post-wash. We use this type of stabiliser for all our ornament type in the hoop designs.  It is preferable to use over tear-away in this situation as tear-away can leave a fine edge of stabiliser remaining which may be seen on the completed project.

machine embroidery, machine embroidery designs, in the hoop, christmas, bauble, mylar

Try it Out

I hope this has shed some light on the different kinds of stabilisers available. Remember to always read the usage advice on the packet and try test samples before beginning any machine embroidery design project.

Sweet Pea Sew-a-long Challenge -August The Winners

machine embroidery in the hoop 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.

machineembroidery design in the hoop

MONTHLY WINNERS WILL RECEIVE

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

Either

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).

THE WINNERS

machine embroidery in the hoop sew-a-long winner

 

machine embroidery in the hoop sew-a-long winner

 

machine embroidery in the hoop sew-a-long winner

 

machine embroidery in the hoop sew-a-long winner

 

machine embroidery in the hoop sew-a-long winner

 

machine embroidery in the hoop sew-a-long winner

Congratulations to everyone who participated in our August Sew-a-Long Challenge, we saw hundreds of beautiful creations using our Home Cushion, Table Runner design and each and every one of you should be very proud.

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

The Winners Video ( click image to view)

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

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

echidna banner logo

September Sew-a-long starts September 9

The September sew-a-long will start September 9 ( Australia time)

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

CLICK IMAGE BELOW TO JOIN

 

machine embroidery design sew-a-long

machine embroidery design in the hoop

Machine Embroidery Twist on Sashiko Quilting

Sashiko

Sashiko was a style of functional embroidery developed in Japan and used as early as the 17th century, which was very popular with the peasant class. Traditionally the style features geometric white patterns on darker, usually indigo cloth.

Japanese Folded sashiko - quilt.jpg

(sashiko pictured here recreated “in the hoop” using an embroidery machine) https://swpea.com/products/japanese-folded-sashiko-quilt-4×4-5×5-6×6-in-the-hoop-machine-embroidery-design.

Purpose

The Sashiko style was used predominantly to mend clothes with patches. The quilting of the clothes made them more durable and warmer for the harsh winters peasants would have to deal with outside of estates and castles. It could also be used to turn clothes beyond repair into bags, hats and cloths for cleaning. If necessary it could be utilised to quilt an entire outfit, changing it from indoor summer-wear to winter-wear.  It was important for the working class to repurpose material in this way due to its scarcity, as textiles could not be mass produced, and even once they could be, were often too expensive. In this way, the poor in Japan could get the most use out of cloth very valuable cloth as possible.

The other purpose behind Sashiko was, of course, to make the clothes more aesthetically pleasing. It is an example of a group using their limited resources to best effect, and creating beautiful patterns without using the expensive new silks that the ruling class of the time had access to.

Design Aspects

Sashiko which means little stabs, was usually created using white thread on top of dark indigo cloth traditionally. This was due to the fact that dyeing cloth brighter colours was more difficult and more expensive than darker shades. Laws were eventually brought in stopping any lowborn individual from wearing bright colours, further restricting the colour choice along with a superstition that indigo deterred insects and snakes. When designing modern Sashiko of course it is possible to use any colours but for those wanting to stay traditional white thread on dark blue is the norm. As previously stated the designs created using the thread were geometric shapes used to make peasant clothes more aesthetically pleasing while still serving a purpose. The designs are created using a plain running stitch.

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Image source: folkfibers.com

Material

The material used was loosely stitched and originally made from hemp and linen. Eventually peasants gained access to cotton which was better quality but still loose enough for the embroidery. The thread used was strong cotton whenever possible and hemp before this was available.

Sweetpea Embroidery Design

We are able to replicate these beautiful 17th century designs with our embroidery machine these days, rather than painstakingly with a long thin sturdy needle like the Japanese who originally designed them.

Here’s a quick sneak peak on how the sashiko quilt is recreated “in the hoop”.

Embroider the Sashiko.

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Take your second piece of fabric and fold it in half length ways wrong sides together.

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Place your Fabric onto the hoop, matching the fold up with the little indication marks we stitched earlier and the raw ends towards the bottom right corner of the block. Tape your fabric in place and stitch down.

 

Now use that same stitch down line as your placement line for your third piece of fabric. Lay the fabric wrong side up on the hoop with one edge crossing the placement line by about 1cm (1/2”) and with the excess towards the top left corner of the block.

 

Stitch Fabric down.

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Continue following the full instructions provided with the download from swpea.com and the final result will look like this. To find the design click on this link https://swpea.com/products/japanese-folded-sashiko-quilt-4×4-5×5-6×6-in-the-hoop-machine-embroidery-design.

Japanese Folded Sashiko Quilt5x5 6x6 7x7 in the hoop.jpg

 

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.

Composition

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.

Point

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.

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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. 

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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.

https://swpea.com/collections/tote-bags/products/yolo-tote-bag-6×10-8×12-in-the-hoop-machine-embroidery-design

 

 

How to insert a zipper in an “in the hoop” machine embroidery zipper purse

Learn how Sweet Pea uses these steps to insert a zipper in the hoop.

“In the Hoop” embroidery designs can sometimes be daunting when inserting a zipper. I know that I thought I would struggle with inserting a zipper in the beginning. At Sweet Pea we strive to encourage more and more people every day to conquer their fears, such as, inserting a zipper into a machine embroidery design such as a zipper purse. We’ve made a few free “learn to do in the hoop” designs that guide you through all the steps with clear instructions on how to insert the zipper and completely sew a fully lined zipper purse.

I thought to myself “Why not write a quick blog to let you in on our Sweet Pea secrets relating to all our machine embroidery projects that include inserting zippers into designs such as purses”.

If you want to follow the steps for an actual design download one of our original free learn to do in the hoop designs on our website https://swpea.com/products/learn-how-to-do-in-the-hoop-free-puppy-purse-4×4-5×5-6×6

Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Designs – how to insert a zipper in the hoop using these simple steps!

  • Have all of your cut pieces of fabric for the zipper panel ready.

  • Hoop tear away or soluble stabiliser in the hoop. 

STEP 1 Stitch the zipper placement line onto the stabiliser.

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Place the zipper right side up centred on the line, with the pull hanging past the side of the hoop. The zipper will be too long but this can be trimmed later when you trim the seam

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Tape in place with sticky tape or masking tape.

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STEP 2 Stitch the zipper to the stabiliser.

Remove the tape.

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Fold fabric A in half and iron flat.

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Fold fabric B over one inch on one of the longer edges and iron flat.

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You should now have 2 pieces of fabric that look like this.

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Put the batting inside the folded pieces of fabric A and B.2627

Place the folded edges of fabric A and B (right sides up) meeting on the centre of the zipper and tape in place.

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STEP 3 Stitch the fabric down. This will run along the edges of the zipper and will avoid the middle of the zipper.

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STEP 4 Stitch again with a triple stitch to strengthen the seam.

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(Make sure the zip pull is going to be within your stitching of the border before sewing the outline as shown. Otherwise you won’t be able to open the zip later.) Remove only the first piece of tape and bring the zipper pull into the middle of the panel. Once you have moved the zipper pull, you will need to put a piece of tape back down.

STEP 5 Stitch the border around the block.

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Remove the tape.

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Before you embroider further make sure you move the zipper pull more towards the right hand side of the panel but away from the seam.

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STEP 6 Embroider the words “Owned by this Dog!”

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Turn the hoop over so the wrong side is facing up.

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Fold fabric C lining over one inch on one of the longer edges and iron flat.

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Place on top of the hoop right side up with the fold in line with the centre of the zipper which you can see through the stabiliser. Tape in place so it doesn’t fall off when you turn the hoop back over.

Turn the hoop back over so the right side is facing up.

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STEP 7 Stitch the lining to the back of the hoop. When the machine foot gets close to the zipper pull you might have to pause the machine and move the zipper out of the way.

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Remove your work from the hoop the side with the zipper is now complete. Easy. Now you can continue to finish your Zipper Purse.

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Continue all steps and you will end up creating a cute little zipper purse.

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Hopefully this has shown you today that inserting an “in the hoop” zipper in a machine embroidery design is a technique  that can be accomplished using our easily followed simple steps.

2017 SEW-A-LONG CHALLENGE-SEPTEMBER – the WINNERS

Welcome to Sweet Pea ‘s

2017 SEW-A-LONG CHALLENGE

CLOSED

ALL OUR TIMES ARE IN AUSTRALIAN TIME ZONE

https://countingdownto.com/countdown/sweet-pea-september-sew-a-long-finishes-30-september-2017-countdown-clock

 

 

 

Fabulous Prizes provided by Echidna Sewing Capalaba Brisbane

Join us for the next 3 months of fabulous sew-a-longs

Each month we will release a new sew-a-long design

machine embroidery in the hoop 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

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MONTHLY WINNERS…..

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

Either

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)

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Each monthly sew-a-long will run for 3 weeks

Each Month’s sew-a-long design will be revealed 2 weeks before the sew-a-long starts.

July sew-a-long Starts July 10-July 31 (Australian time)  NOW CLOSED

August sew-a-long starts August 10-August 31 (Australian time) -this will be suitable for 4×4 hoops NOW CLOSED

September sew-a-long starts September 9-September 30(Australian time)

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 September sew-a-long ‘ THE WINNERS’

 

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link for sew-a-long design :

https://swpea.com/products/rainbow-dresden-cushion-or-placemat-5×7-6×10-in-the-hoop-machine-embroidery-design

 

This is a design for a cushion in the hoop.

Designs for the 5×7 and 6×10 hoops are both included.

The cushion takes twelve hoopings and the blocks are joined with your sewing machine.  The backing is then attached with your sewing machine.  There is about 8cm of hand sewing or gluing required.

Finished dimensions are –

5×7 – 33cmL x 33cmW x 8cmD (13” x 13” x 3”)

6×10 – 48cmL x 48cmW x 8cmD (19” x 19” x 3”)

To be eligible for the competition

SEPTEMBER SEW-A-LONG RULES

 

INSTRUCTIONAL YOUTUBE VIDEO : https://youtu.be/J2DY3yg-QWc

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Sweet Pea is based in Australia so all times and dates are in local Australian time….

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Discount code for the September sew-a-long design can be found in the pinned post of the sew-a-long group.

Do NOT share the discount code nor file with ANYONE, if you know someone who wants to join please send them here to join us.( It is illegal to share or on sell our design files)

prizes provided by

machine embroidery in the hoop design sew-a-long