Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Copy Bat Strikes Once More.

'Tis our season, my pretties! There is no inspiration quite like the first glimpse of a jack o' lantern smiling back at you when you enter any shop, or the whiff of piles and piles of candy and pumpkin pie pervading the grocers; the harbingers of joy to many creepily inclined souls.

Nothing gets me in the mood to craft faster than the slew of delightful materials available to me during this time. I could spend a couple million in a day, no doubt, during this joyous time of year.

Regular function


This year has inspired me to finally test out the embroidery function of my beloved Brother SE400. I already knew I loved my machine, but after the past couple days did I realize I am completely and irrevocably smitten over my machine. It's true, it may not be built to last like its much older relatives that are still sought after today, and it may need more babying too... but let not its modernesque detract you from its capabilities. It just may surprise you.

Embroidery machine formed up and ready to stitch out!


After drooling for what feels like the thousandth time over the embroidery designs at Urban Threads, wondering if my machine was even capable of quality stitched embroidery designs, I finally had enough and just took the plunge.

I purchased their Gothic Lace Bat design. $3.00 seemed a lot to spend on something I wasn't even fully confident would work, and it's not like it's tangible data... if it didn't work out, it would just be a folder stored forever in my external hard drive. $3.00 could buy me a cone of much needed black thread!

It's funny, but what spurred my plunge is yet another moment of longing, but waiting for the right moment to buy.
I love those gothic rockabilly cardigans with the embroidered shoulders, you know the ones; you've probably seen a few of your favorite bloggers sport them with pride.

Source: Sourpuss, currently unavailable

The problem with waiting is that when that "right time", that moment when you've finally convinced yourself that it is worth it to you to spend the money (even though it would blow your entire crafting budget out of the month), when it all finally comes to a head... suddenly it's gone, and ebay might be your only way to obtain it from a seller you've never bought from before, thus perpetuating the cycle.

I was fully intending on buying this cardigan... but now that it's gone from my clutches, its released my inner copy bat from the deepest depths of my being; the closet wants, what the closet needs.
So I must make do with my ingenuity.

I shopped around my closet for things I haven't worn in a few years, and dug up a tired looking cardigan that is 8 years old for myself, but likely older since it was thrifted those many years ago.

The subject
Pretty basic, but fit the bill for my needs! So, I had the design, and the foundation cardigan... next was to shop around work for what I needed.

Stabalizer, machine embroidery thread, buttons, hoop, and scissors.
The markings of a great time.
Since the shoulder area is too narrow to hoop, it was in the best interest of my project to make little lace appliques. Because this is lace, I couldn't just use any type of stabilizer, or I would risk having too many white flecks within the scrollwork of the lace when trying to remove regular stabilizer. So I bought a roll of water soluble stabilizer by Sulky.


The most essential tool in machine lace making. It really does dissolve in water, and it only takes a minute or two to completely dissolve away.

Something that always makes me nervous when it comes to machine embroidery is the thread. Most people who sew know the tyranny embroidery thread holds onto our sanity. It's so pretty to look at, but an utter pain in the ass. It wiggles and squirms the opposite way you're trying to direct it, it doesn't like being handled roughly in the slightest, in fact it hates any type of needle but top stitch and embroidery, and to add to all that, it's the most expensive kind of thread there is because it's normally made from silk in the finest weight.

I wasn't ready to waste my purple thread on something untested... so I used some off white spool I had purchased a few years back with the machine (because I thought I would use this function soon than later).


I had my stabilizer hooped, and my machine prepped (after reading the manual over at least 3 times).
It was the moment of truth.



When I selected the design, what looked like a Rorschach blot vaguely resembling a bat appeared on the screen of my machine... not the best sign, to say the least.

*Whirr* went the machine.
After I engaged the machine, it began doing its thing... which also started to resemble the Rorschach blot in the beginning...
When the machine finally beeped finished (20 mins later), to my shock and thrill...



It actually looked exactly like what I wanted. Not a single stitch out of place.
The pride I felt was nothing short of high.

Naturally, I had this seething desire to embroider this bat onto anything plain and a little uninspiring... but that seems a little excessive. It wasn't easy sticking to the original plan, but I managed it


It's amazing what a few pieces of applique and a change of buttons will do to an otherwise plain and boring article of clothes. This is precisely why I never throw or donate any of my clothing, because somewhere in time I will find a way to breathe new life into... but it also doesn't help my closet space problems, just adds to it...

I do intend on modeling this, but I would like to complete the dress that I feel would go so well with it first!

Time to buy more embroidery designs!

23 comments:

  1. I actually own a few of the sourpuss cardigans and I have to say, it is better to buy a nice quality cardigan and add the embroidered patches, or as in your case make them yourself. Their cardigans just don't hold up well over time. I also believe hand made is best. Good work. I love what you accomplished with your fancy machine! :)

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    1. Really? You would think for the price you would actually get a quality item, hehe. Considering that a plain cardi at the thrift store is rarely over $5.00 max, and even if you didn't have an embroidery machine, the cost of appliques varies but not above $20 for this size...
      It's not always the case, but for this it really is truly cheaper to just make your own lol.

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  2. Oh Wow! You really inspire me to do more DIY now!

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    1. I'm quite happy to hear it! The more people DIY, the greater the demand for craft stores ;)

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  3. Gah! That is so fabulous I can't stand it! :D Purple! Lace! Bats! Black cardigan! It's like my dream sweater.

    Oh, and water soluble stabilizer is brilliant.

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    1. It is my dream sweater too, nothing beats that combination of things on an piece of clothing! =D

      It really is some of the neatest stuff I have ever worked with.

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  4. I'm so envious of your embroidery machine! I'd love to own one although I'm not quite sure how often I'd end up using it. Which is why I didn't buy one until now. Did you experience any problems with tension or stitching speed? Those seem to be common.

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    1. The Brother SE400 is in my opinion the best beginner type machine, both for regular and embroidery.I wouldn't call myself a beginner sewist, but embroiderer? Yeah, I'm rock bottom there, hehe. I didn't encounter any problems, but then I did read the manual under that chapter *very* thoroughly and triple checked that everything was in order before engaging the machine. I'm a nervous sewist like that though; I am the kind of person that measures at least 6 times before cutting into mere muslin lol...

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  5. Omg ! This is truly amazing, my dear. I hope you know you coul actually sell the embroidered patches (or even complete customized cardigans). Actually, if you do so, I will be the first client from your list (will you ?).

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    1. Once in a blue moon I will consider selling something, in which case I would metion it somewhere in the post. Generally I get malaise if I am creating anything for pay so I try not to commit to the work to begin with lol.
      One day I'll conquer my emotions, but for now I am just going to do my own thing, heh. I do appreciate it though! And you'll certain be informed if I do start! =)

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  6. I love it!!!! The lace bats are so beautiful. I'm sure that you will find lots of things to make and put the bats on. Wouldnt it be nice to make a necklace of the bats? Maybe even a lace bat choker?

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    1. I was thinking just that! A nice trio of bats to make a necklace just in time for Halloween! It'll be grand to go with the entire ensemble once it's all complete!

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  7. Wow! That cardigan looks SO GREAT with the bat and buttons! You could even make ones like that to sell if you needed a little cash!

    I love your sewing machine right now too! Wish mine embroidered! Oh well!

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    1. Well my job at the fabric store gives me all the extra income I need lately, and the perks of having the discount helps too! =P

      I am so glad I bought it, though I did a few months of research before I bought it lol, just enough time to save up for most machines! Heheh.

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  8. LOVE the embroidered bats!

    Did you get the skirt yet? The other packages that I sent at the same time all reached their destinations last week or this week.

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    1. I did get the skirt! I meant to email you, but I kept getting caught up with little things. It's pretty awesome, though it is a touch big, so I am thinking, with your blessing of course, to franken-revamp it.

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    2. Good. I would love to see a revamp!

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  9. That's fantastic! My sewing machine also does embroidery & I've used it for a few costume projects. I keep meaning to get some Urban threads patterns - now I'm more inspired :)

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    1. I was always afraid to try the embroidery function out... I have absolutely no idea why, and perhaps because all other projects I preoccupied myself with that didn't need any little extra embroidery touch also contributed to never being any more curious about it... but, I follow Urban Threads on Facebook, and they just started posting about their latest Halloween designs... ugh way too gorgeous to pass up, and now I am all too excited to try them out!

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  10. Oh my! That embroidery is amazing! I didn't realise you could embroider with a machine!

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  11. Oh my goodness that sweater is amazing looking!

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