Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Iron-On Refresh

iron on transfer projects by SeptemberHouse
Iron-on transfers for embroidery have been around for generations and they are still a favorite for both experienced and novice stitchers. But did you know that they can be used for more than just embroidery?

I used an iron-on transfer to spruce up this little gift box and I just love the way it turned out. 

Here's how I did it:

iron on embroidery patterns

I opted for one of the butterfly designs in the Kaleidoscope collection. Iron-on transfers can usually be used over again for several projects (though the lines become more faint with each use). Even if you have used a design for an embroidery project, it can have a new life for a project like this.

I started by cutting out the design I planned to use and left a border of approximately 3/8 in. around the outside. I turned it face down on the box lid and used some very small bits of tape to help keep it in place. One thing I learned the hard way - this cardboard lid has some give to it, so when I first tried to iron on my pattern, my iron plate was losing contact with the lid. I ended up turning the bottom of the box upside down and I fit the lid on top of that. That gave it the extra support it needed and I was good to go.

Using high heat iron setting with no steam worked best for me and within just a minute or two I had transferred my design to my box lid. 

Then it was time to paint. Nothing fancy here - I just used craft acrylics and the smallest brush I could find in my stash. Yes, there were some tight spots here but if you enjoy detail work you will find this to be a relaxing and fun challenge. I did! This is definitely a "podcast project"- easy to complete in an hour or so while listening to a single episode of whatever you like to listen to.

iron on embellishments for DIY craft projects

Pretty cute, right? I like the look of the light colored paint on a kraft background but you can use iron-ons on other surfaces like wood too. I actually had a tough time deciding what to embellish for this tutorial. A box like this one is fun and practical but I love these wood pennants, photo frames and paper maché ornaments too. There's so much potential with a technique like this one.

So, don't forget to hang on to those iron-on transfers - you might just find the perfect fabric-free project for them. Thanks for checking out this tutorial and if you are on the hunt for cute iron-on transfers you can find SeptemberHouse iron-on patterns on Etsy and Amazon.  

Easier Embroidery Pattern Transfer

I've never heard an embroiderist say "My favorite part of the project is transferring the pattern!" Have you? Even though it's widely accepted as a necessary hassle, it's still worth looking for any way the process can be made easier. Here's a trick I have been using for a few years and now I'm adding it as an option with SeptemberHouse digital downloads.

This tip makes transferring patterns with an iron-on transfer pen/marker easier. I love the fine tip transfer pens from Sublime Stitching so much that they have replaced my previous favorite transfer method. The fine tip makes your tracing so much more precise than the clumsy transfer pencils I had previously tried to use. The ink transfers beautifully and I certainly don't miss pulling out bits of stabilizer after I am done stitching which is what I used to do with every project.  

So, here's the thing - downloaded embroidery patterns are often presented with black linework. That works great for most transfer methods. When I started exploring iron-on transfer pens, I started printing pattern designs in colored linework so that when I was tracing over them I could see where I was. This is great if you are able to do your tracing without any interruptions - but it's just plain awesome if you do happen to get interrupted in the process. Looking at the side-by-side photos above, would you be able to see where you left off if you had to put down your project to answer the front door/pull dinner out of the oven/catch the last scene of the show you are binge watching - if your pattern was printed in black?

Is this an earth-shattering revelation? No, but anything that gets us through the transfer process faster must be shared with fellow stitchers, in my opinion. Because this has worked so well for me, I'm including colored linework versions in my new embroidery pattern downloads. If you have any tips for making pattern transfer less painful please feel free to share them in the comments!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Fun Fact

Hi all,
Just popping in to make the happy announcement that So September has been nominated for a "Craftie" by the oh-so lovely folks at LoveCrafts.

The Craftie awards recognize creative bloggers and give readers a chance to show their love too. There are several fun categories like "Motivated Multicraft" and "Noteworthy Knitting" and nominees were chosen from all over the world so this is BIG!

You can pop over and vote or just have fun browsing through all the top-notch blogs. If you want to cast a vote for So September, please do (and thank you!). Believe me, I was very surprised to learn of my nomination - especially when I saw some of the amazing nominees in the "Stylish Stitching" category such as Little Dear, Wild Olive and Needle n' Thread! Sheesh - those are blogs I've gone to for years for inspiration and guidance - I would never expect to make it onto a list like this with them.

It takes a huge amount of work to create and maintain a blog so it's so encouraging to see an award like this one making the rounds in the craftiverse. Good luck to all the nominees and keep up the inspiring work!

voting ends November 18th!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

DIY Hostess Gifts for the Holidays

handmade hostess gifts for the holidays

6 Stunning Handmade Hostess Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season

Are you feeling it too – that sense of a ‘calm before the storm’ as the holiday party season get closer? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good storm, but instead of keeping you indoors, this one beckons you out into a flurry of social engagements. From Thanksgiving, to the office holiday bash, to New Year’s Eve festivities, you may find your calendar is suddenly full of events with friends and family.

How will you make all those hosts and hostesses feel special this season? If you are one of those thoughtful and creative guests who likes to bring along a small token of gratitude then maybe you have considered making your own host/hostess gifts. By making a gift, you are able to add a personal touch that really stands out and delights both you and the recipient.

Check out these 6 ideas for small gifts you can stitch in a weekend that your host/hostess will love.

1. Embellish a Set of Fabric Napkins

Start with solid color napkins and add an embroidered touch to one corner of each. Monograms are a classic choice but something fun and modern can really put a smile on dinner guests’ faces. I love these napkins which are priced oh-so-nice at just $9.99 for a set of six and come in lots of colors. Need pattern inspiration? Keep it simple with these free monogram patterns or try these Christmas designs that fit perfectly in corners. Or, why not add some favorite quotes or phrases to your napkins? - whether you go snarky or sentimental, they will be dinner party conversation starters for sure.

2. Stitch up a Set of Refrigerator Magnets

Spruce up their fridge with some floss and create a custom set of magnets. This is a quick and easy project that can be completed while you watch your favorite holiday movie. Warning – once you make one set, you will want to make them for everyone you know. Not sure where to start? Check out this tutorial for the ‘how-to’.

3. Create a One-of-a-Kind Wine Bag

Wine is the quintessential hostess gift but you can stand out from the crowd with a handmade wine bag. Okay, this one is a little more involved so plan to spend a little more time to make this one. You also will need a sewing machine and some basic sewing skills. A free pattern is available here along with a video to walk you through the process step by step. These look great with or without embroidered embellishment.

4. How About a Set of Coasters?

Here is another project for those who have some sewing skills under their belt. Coasters make a great personalized option so you can give a gift that really speaks to your host or hostess’ interests and preferences. While it would be fun to scour the internet seeking out tutorials for this, someone else already has! I just loved this article. It showcases such a variety of styles and projects for different skill levels. I think you’ll find it really inspiring too.

5. Embroider a Holiday Keepsake Ornament

I’m biased because I have made hundreds of embroidered ornaments over the years, but I think this makes a fantastic gift. Because they are relatively small, the embroidery for an ornament doesn’t have to take long to complete. Use any small design (monograms work great for this too) and stitch up a special addition to your host or hostess’ Christmas tree. They will remember your thoughtfulness for years to come. A 3-inch embroidery hoop makes a great frame for these. You can also find these screwless frames at SeptemberHouse or explore other ornament finishing techniques here and here.

6. Make Votive Wraps or Napkin Rings

This is a two-for-one idea since the idea is really the same for both items. A bit of embroidery or counted cross stitch is a quick way to create a lovely votive wrap (works for larger pillar candle holders too) or napkin rings. This perforated paper is great for cross stitch projects like these (be sure to click through all the photos in the link to see a finished votive wrap project). It’s durable but easy to trim down to the size you need. Choose any simple border pattern or small repeated design for these. For a fabric-only, or surface-embroidered option check out this fun tutorial.

Are you as inspired as I am now? There are, of course, so many more possibilities for anyone with a love for DIY who wants to make something special this holiday season so consider this a tiny little sample and use your imagination/innovation to design your own unique gifts. I think handmade gifts put a little bit of the meaning back into this season and I am thrilled to be a part of that!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

5 things I've learned after 3,650 dates

It's hard to believe that these DIY fabric calendar kits have been a part of SeptemberHouse for ten years but it's true! The first calendar panels were for 2010 and wow, have they come a long way.

DIY Fabric Calendar kits for embroidery

2020 DIY Fabric Calendar kits for embroidery

Without a doubt, this is a design project that I look forward to every year. It's also one, however, that has not been without it's challenges. There have been years when I could not keep these on the shop shelves, they sold so fast. But there were also years that I gave away leftovers after the new year passed because I could not sell my inventory. I'm so glad I didn't give up after one of those slow years because I have learned so much. Today, I thought I would share just a few of the lessons about these calendar kits over the years. (warning: my photo taking and editing skills have thankfully improved over the years too so please excuse the poor quality of my older photos)

Oh yeah, I'm also sharing three secrets about these kits at the end of this post!

DIY Fabric Calendar kits for embroidery

1. Check and RE-CHECK the calendar dates before you send a file to the printer. Have I purchased multiple yards of fabric only to find out that it all had to be tossed because May 22 is actually on a Wednesday and I put it on a Thursday? Um....maybe. Just kidding - YES - I have definitely done that - and more than once. Those mistakes hurt and thankfully, it's been several years since I've done that.  

DIY Fabric Calendar kits for embroidery

2. May is not too early and January is not too late. This is one that took a few years to sink in. In my mind customers would only be interested in a project like this between September and November because of course that's when you would be working on a project for the new year, right? 

DIY Fabric Calendar kits for embroidery

Wrong. Everyone is different and everyone has a lot on their plate. It's better to make these more widely available and let customers decide when they want to add this to their "to-stitch" list. 

DIY Fabric Calendar kits for embroidery

3. Stitchers wanna stitch. As these kits evolved I realized I need to try harder to make it as easy as possible to get started on this project right out of the mailbox. Offering pre-printed designs and including skeins of floss in each kit was something I could do to eliminate a few steps in the process for customers, and it really caught on. 

DIY Fabric Calendar kits for embroidery

Once in awhile I still get a request for a panel that only has the dates like those early designs from 2010 - 2013 (and I can do that too - let me know if you are interested) But for the most part, customers seem to love getting a jump start on their calendar.

DIY Fabric Calendar kits for embroidery

4. Step outside your color comfort zone. Did you know that choosing colors for these kits is just about the hardest part for me? I tend to settle into a blue and green rut and have a hard time pulling myself out. When it comes time to choose colors I do a lot of online research about what the trending colors for the year are. That way, even if I am not a fan of pink or purple - if they are trending, they are in. 

DIY Fabric Calendar kits for embroidery

I like picking one of my "out-of-my-zone" colors for my example calendar too - it forces me to make bold new color combination choices - you know, the ones that are usually scary. But you know, I am never disappointed - and am often quite thrilled - with what the color wheel tells me to do. Geez, I love that tool! 

 DIY Fabric Calendar kits for embroidery

5. And finally, it never ever ever gets old seeing customers' finished calendars. I LOVE it. People share everything online these days so it might not seem like a big deal to post a photo of a finished embroidery project but let me tell you, that little post has truly made someone's day. That someone is me. 

DIY Fabric Calendar kits for embroidery

It can be very isolating running an independent online business out of a tiny corner of your home. Seeing those photos makes me feel connected to customers and drives me to create new and better things for them. So thank you to everyone and anyone who has shared their project online!

Okay, I promised three secrets so here goes:

1. These calendars are the most difficult product in my shop to photograph. The long tall shape, the vast amount of white space, the struggle to get them crisp and wrinkle-free before a photoshoot - good grief, its amazing get enough shots to create a product listing. 

2. I love calendars of all types, shapes, sizes, materials. I don't know why, I just do. These were a natural fit for me and this is probably one of the main reasons I keep these going year after year.

3. I have actually only completed a few of my calendars. Maybe 4 out of 10 have been completely finished. The rest get far enough to be photographed and maybe get a bit more love after that shoot. Maybe. Not long after that it's time to get ready for the holiday season and, sadly, it often gets abandoned. I hope you don't think less of me as an embroiderist after learning that!

A huge Thank You to everyone who has tried out this project over the years. I am so happy to have been a part of your year!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Free Embroidery Pattern for Fall

Free Embroidery Pattern for Fall
Happy Fall, Ya'll! The Autumn colors have been in their prime around here lately and all that gorgeousness has definitely influenced my design choices for the latest free embroidery pattern from SeptemberHouse.

If you would like to get free patterns delivered to your inbox then sign up for the SeptemberHouse newsletter and enjoy patterns, news, discount codes and more!

Stay cozy everyone!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Needle Cases are here!

Modern Needle Cases for embroidery and cross stitch
Just in case (hahaha) you have not seen them yet, I am here to share something brand new from SeptemberHouse - needle cases!

Modern Needle Cases for embroidery and cross stitch
I loved designing these and I am thrilled with how they turned out. 
Modern Needle Cases for embroidery and cross stitch
There are currently three designs available: a fox, a rabbit and a vintage-style floral design. These cases have a slider top and a helpful cutout for your thumb so you always slide from the correct side. I just love the satisfying "Click!" I hear when I open or shut my needle case. 
Modern Needle Cases for embroidery and cross stitch
Admittedly, the fox design is my favorite and yes, I was inspired by some friends who came to visit us this past Spring. I still miss those guys!
Modern Needle Cases for embroidery and cross stitch
There is a magnet inside these but it's not glued down so if you don't want a magnet to hold your needles, or maybe you want to store something besides needles, it's easy to convert this to a sweet little trinket box.

Modern Needle Cases for embroidery and cross stitch
Thanks for taking a peek at these new little goodies from SeptemberHouse!