Costume College Classes

Costume College class confirmations went out this week. I’m happy to announce that I’ll be teaching two machine embroidery classes this year.

The first is a repeat of a class I taught last year, Getting Started with Machine Embroidery. I cover the basics of choosing a machine, designs, thread, fabric, and stabilizers with particular attention to the ones best suited for historic costuming. However, if you’re into cosplay or non-historical sewing, the information is still useful and I am happy to answer any specific questions you have.

I also go over some things that confuse beginners. For example, why do some designs have so many color changes? Answer: Good digitizing. Can’t I just combine the colors and stitch it all at once? Short answer, no, and I’ll explain why.

Last year I brought dozens of samples to pass around, so they could be seen and touched. Spools of all the different silk, cotton, wool, and metallic threads I use. Squares of all the different stabilizers I could find, from wash and heat away to all weights of tear and cut away. I also brought swatches of embroidery on silk, linen, cotton, and wool using a variety of stabilizers.

The right stabilizer makes such a difference, and the details are really too much for one class. Which is why I gave last year’s students access to my Guide to Machine Embroidery Stabilizers as a bonus. It includes the results of all my tests with the fine fabrics used in historic costuming, heirloom sewing, and couture techniques.

This class is intended to be a quick overview of the basics about how machine embroidery works, and how to get the best out of your machine. Whether you are thinking about buying a machine, or hesitant to use the one already sitting in your closet, this class is a great way to get started.

The second class is new, and is all about Demystifying Digitizing.  This is a non-software specific class intended to talk about the basic procedures of digitizing and some best practices so that your designs stitch out the way you envision. I’ll be walking you through the process using the programs I use, Illustrator and Stitch Era Universal, but the concepts will apply to any digitizing software that works with vector artwork.

I’ll go over the steps from an inspiration piece, to vector artwork, to finished digitizing. I’ll talk about how to break up large designs so they can be matched back up during stitching, how to change basic stitch settings, and how to edit designs. I’ll also cover concepts like push and pull and stitch density, and how they relate to your final product.

This class is a quick overview so you understand how the digitizing process works from start to finish. It’s intended for beginners and those who have tried digitizing but want to learn more about the basics.

Are you headed to Costume College this year? If so, what are you excited about learning?


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