I’ve never made any In The Hoop (ITH) projects before so I decided it was about time to give it a go. ITH items are doing using an embroidery machine. You load a digital file onto the machine which instructs the machine all the steps required to complete the project. I had never loaded a file onto my machine and knew nothing of it so it was a big learning curve. I asked a lot of questions on various Facebook groups and watched a lot of YouTube clips before I attempted this project.
The first thing I learnt was that you need a small USB stick to load your files onto to transfer it from the computer to your machine. The stick I purchased was far too big and I discovered these days it isn’t easy to buy a small USB stick, the regular shops don’t sell anything under 8GB. Luckily I found a couple of small 4GB sticks unopened in a drawer I had purchased years ago (before I got my machine) The second thing I learnt was you need to format your stick in your embroidery machine before you can copy files from the computer onto the stick. The third thing I learnt is that you don’t just copy the file onto the stick. You need to have the files in a particular order on the stick for the machine to be able to read it. I found this clip very useful.
I decided my first ITH project should be a nice simple project. I chose the Mermaid from Dolls and Daydreams. She looks cute and different. Once I loaded the file and started I realised that it wasn’t as scary as I first thought. You still follow a pattern with instructions that are set out step by step. The machine stops after each step. During the making of the doll you are adding fabric, flipping pieces over, cutting away threads and pieces. Even though the machine is doing all the work you are still very involved.
I did have a couple of mishaps and lessons learnt when making this doll. I initially had the tail fabric on the back the wrong direction (I chose this fabric to resemble scales) so I unpicked it. I discovered that you can tell the machine to go back a step if you want to redo something again such as stitch the fabric the right direction. Also if you want to skip a non crucial step you can do that too. I didn’t follow all the changes in thread colour that was in the pattern, after I stitched on her hair in front I realised she would have cream thread visible on her head. I had enough fabric so I decided to make that entire piece again. When sewing the back piece onto the front I snapped a needle. No dramas I changed my needled, turned the machine down slower and repeated that step again.
She was a great doll to learn on. She isn’t too complicated but she made me think. I print most of my pattern instructions in black and white but I know next time to really take notice of the instructions in colour before I start so I can understand where I need to use matching thread colour to pieces. A slower machine in better when doing this than a fast one. I need to take notice of fabric direction. All the fabrics and felt came from my stash. I’m sure I will make this doll again. This time I used the 5″ x 7″ pattern in my 8″ hoop. I do have a bigger hoop so next time I may maker her larger. I think she is adorable.