I am Angela and I love to sew. I started sewing as a child and by the time I was a teenager I was wearing the very latest fashions to go out in. All me-made. I am passionate about reducing the amount of textiles sent to landfill, and encourage you to repurpose fabrics and clothes I started this blog in order to have a way in which to pass on my gained knowledge, and my professional knowledge to you, Sewing is empowering, you can save money by making items, make money by selling then, You can pass your knowledge on to others. What is there not to love? Interestingly I am a direct descendant of the Flemish weavers who came over to England in the 1300's. I find that fascinating especially as most of my family from as far back as I can trace are somehow involved in the manufacturing of fabric . . I have a degree in tailoring with a special interest in WW2 fashion.

Friday 4 August 2017

My first steps on my fabulous Brother Embroidery Machine

The Brother Innov-is NV 800E from Jaycotts.co.uk

In my previous blog post I told you about the functions of this wonderful machine and discussed what to look for when choosing a new machine.
Since then so many of you have asked me how I am getting on with it  so I thought I would update you.

This Embroidery only machine is from Jaycotts.co.uk and you can view it here Brother Innov-is NV 800E  Do read my previous blog post for more information about the machine
I do suggest that you speak with them before ordering if you are not sure which machine is right for your needs. They have years of experience behind them and can talk you through the benefits of each machine enabling you to make the correct choice.

It is important to mention that I  have never used an embroidery machine before but already I have learned how to change the suggested colours, it's easy actually, it's all done on the touch screen. I have experimented with combining patterns and have downloaded patterns from the internet.
So, with little or no knowledge and a fair bit of patience with yourself, achieving great results is very possible for everybody.

The machine itself is so easy to use, I think the trick is not to be frightened of having a go. It is amazing  and I sit there mesmerised by it.
You do need to read your instruction book before you do anything, and then still with instruction book to hand, plug it in.
The basics are easy to follow but take it gently, there is a lot to learn if we are to get the best out of this machine .

The work you are planning to embroider goes into the embroidery hoop, much like the hoops we use when hand embroidering. The only difference being that the fabric needs to be stabilised first, and of course this hoop is much larger and it fits into a sewing machine

This is the first piece of embroidery I did. I just let the machine run and all I had to do was change threads. You do have to keep an eye on the machine in case the thread breaks or the bobbin thread runs out, but the machine stops and tells you what is wrong.

This is my first embroidery finished. I feel that I pulled it too tightly when I was putting it in the frame because it puckered slightly when I removed it. It's all a question of practise at first. It takes time to get to learn something new. The only way to learn is to actually use it.
That is the best way to learn actually, we all make mistakes - and don't believe anybody who tells you they never do -it is how we learn and remember. Next time I won't pull it on the hoop so tightly. It's a question of balance I feel, too much and the fabric is pulled taught but springs back when the fabric is released from the hoop, too little and the fabric bunches, the stitches are uneven and you will probably break a needle.
Getting it right every time takes experience and I am in the same boat as you are in this instance

Anyway with a backing and some wadding and a bit of quilting on my normal sewing machine I can turn this into something useful. Glue the layers together with a temporary adhesive and then do some simple quilting to hold them all together.

With an edging of bias binding it is now a very wonky but pretty mat for my bedside table.

The next thing I wanted to practise was downloading from the internet. I found this little Angel and just had to put her on my bedding! As you can see there are a few loose  threads which need to be trimmed off yet. The machine does cut the thread after each colour has been used. The process of downloading onto a memory stick requires only a little bit of computer knowledge and there are instructions on how to do it easily available.
Brother Brother international has lots of free designs and there are plenty of other sites too.

One thing I found is that it is possible to mount items which are smaller than the embroidery frame by attaching them to the stabiliser with temporary glue and pins . Do make sure that your pins are well outside the embroidery area though!
There are a few different stabilisers to choose from and you do need a selection. This is a pocket and the fabric stretches a lot. After one unsuccessful practise I used an iron on interfacing on the back of the pocket and used a firm stabiliser in the embroidery frame gluing and pinning the pocket in place to make sure that it didn't budge
There are a lot of stabilisers on this link Stabilisers and I suggest that to start with you need at least some Filmoplast which is self adhesive and can be used to attach items which are smaller than your frame. This is what I used for the pocket at first, but it did not hold it firmly enough. It did however work perfectly on my little top which I show you how to make later in this post
The other product  you definitely need is some iron on tear away stabiliser. In time you can add to your collection as and when you need to.
There are other stabilisers available too such as ones which dissolve in water which i can think of many uses for, but  to start with just these two will suffice.
It is tempting for me to jump ahead and start to do more, but I am holding myself back quite deliberately in order to thoroughly understand each function before moving to another.
On the pocket I marked the grain of the fabric and also the centre point with tailors chalk before putting it in the frame so that I could position the embroidery in the centre of the fabric. There is a plastic grid which comes with the machine to check the positioning.

This is the design I chose. I changed the colour from the original blue to red to show up against my fabric .This screen shows you the embroidery area before you even start to sew! It is a simple process to change the position of the design

And this is is my finished pocket. It is going on a garment which I haven't even started to make yet, but I will show you when it is completed. The buttons have a touch of red in them and I wanted to echo that.

A simple top to sew and embroider

The next thing I wanted to try was actually making a garment . This is a piece of linen fabric , available from MinervaCrafts Linen fabric -there are linen blends available too. I have a linen blend from Minerva all ready for another project which is going to be a summer dress with embroidery scattered on it.
This pattern is a favourite go-to pattern. A top can literally be made in an hour, buy it here New look Top pattern
I own several of these tops already and wear them all summer long.
I made it with all in one facings, which is so easy to do and gives a great finish. For a tutorial on how to do it, take a look at a previous blog post of mine which will show you how it's done How to sew an all in one facing

When you are embroidering a garment which has yet to be sewn do not cut the pattern out at first. Draw around the pattern and mark the position of any darts etc. This gives you plenty of fabric if you want your embroidery near to a sleeve or neckline for example. It also means that you can avoid darts and seamlines.
When the embroidery is finished and pressed, pin the pattern back onto the fabric and cut it out properly, centering your design if necessary.
 But before all that you need to take some chalk and mark the position of the design and also mark the grain lines. This will make it easier to position the embroidery.

This is the simple design I chose, again altering the colour so that it would stand out against my Navy background colour
The manual shows you how to check the embroidery area needed for your chosen design, necessary because it needs to fit in its allocated area.it is worth stressing again -  avoid darts and don't get too close to seam lines

And this is the finished top which took a couple of hours to make, including the embroidery. Sometimes simple is best.
Once the machine has finished embroidering the machine will tell you and you can then remove the frame carefully and turn the machine off.
You then need to remove the stabiliser, usually by gently tearing it off. Don't worry it won't ruin your stitching. Use a pin to remove tiny areas and use sharp scissors to cut away loose threads and connecting threads.

On this next test piece I wanted to learn how to combine patterns and as I am working on an Easter blog  I chose an Easter theme.
I first of all chose the centre design and then chose another design which I placed beneath it, mirroring it for the top of the design.
This was far easier to do than I imagined.Once I had chosen the central design I touched the ADD button and chose another pattern. I moved these around with my finger until they were positioned correctly and then added the top design, turning it upside down.
The instruction book explains how to do this and I also watched a couple of you tube videos for additional information. But honestly it is so easy to do!
The picture above shows you which colour is being used and which are coming up next so that you can be prepared.

This is my finished design which i have dampened and pinned out to dry. This is going to be used in my Easter blog which I will have ready next week.

Lastly you will also need embroidery thread, there is a lovely selection of boxed threads on Jaycotts web site Boxes of embroidery thread these would make a lovely gift if you wanted to drop some hints! I discuss thread and needles in my previous blog post too. The Brother Innov-is NV800E so do take a look.

If you like this machine then do seriously think about adding it to your sewing equipment. It adds so much to your projects and makes your clothes and homewear all the more individual and special.
I am not terribly well practised at quilting and patchwork, making clothes is more my thing, but I am going to learn more about these processes because I can see how easy it will be to embellish designs. There are even some patchwork block patterns built into the programmes.
I have not tried applique yet either, but I will do very soon.

If you have any questions about this machine or any other product then do contact Jaycotts , the contact details are here  Contact Jaycotts This link has both an email enquiry form and a telephone number.
If you have an sewing or general questions then do not hesitate to contact me on the " contact me" form on my blog, or by Instagram or Twitter, details are on my blog
I always appreciate feedback and comments

Thank you for reading this post. And thank you to Jaycotts for giving me the opportunity to use and demonstrate this star of a machine.

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