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Just Do It? Confessions of a Failure That Has Yet to Fail

“Sit down at the machine. Turn it on. That’s right, pull up a design, put something into the hoop and don’t look back. You can do it.” – This is what I keep telling myself. Hi there. My name is Dedra and I have a fear of machine embroidery failure.

I don’t know what I’m waiting for or why I’m sitting here staring at the machine. It cannot function without me. I cannot make anything without it… I have completed a very simple dress and want to add a very simple design. Obsessing about my desire to complete the project is simply not going to get it done… Nothing to it but to do it.

Ok, so here’s the dress pattern…It’s a knit dress.

Simplicity 2054

Below is the design that I want to use that I have already loaded into 6D Premier software.  I need to figure out how to get the design onto the dress and which stabilizer to use.


And now the magic happens. I zip my design over to my machine and I’m ready to “press play” and dance. Not so fast…


I check my thread and realize that my thread is asking for “SuRa 1169.” I check my settings to make sure that I have my thread set to Robison-Anton. Yep! Sure do! The thread is set to Robison-Anton but the design is still calling for “SuRa 1169.” Ok, fine. I own Metro Embroidery Thread ANYWAYS (I say this as I put my hands on my hips)! I’ll just open my Metro Ebroidery thread color converter! Ok, well not so fast. First I need to covert Sulky to Robison-Anton, and then convert the Robison-Anton to Metro Embroidery. Thank heavens for the thread color converter on AllThreads.com! I’ll figure out why machine is set to Robison-Anton but displaying Sulky later.




All righty! Now we’re cooking with gas! Well…. maybe. Apparently I don’t own the colors that the design is requesting, but who cares, right. I’m ready to stitch! Ok, maybe no…


Now this screen pops up and the Royale won’t stitch. My hoop is not compatible? Really? I try “corner check” (that little icon of the box with the four arrows) and press start. I get the same message. I change from the “Sensor Q” foot to the “R” foot. Same message. I changed to a bigger hoop in spite of the fact that my design fits (with room to spare) into the 100×100.


Houston, WE HAVE LIFTOFF!!!!! And it stitched! At the end of the day, all I wanted to do was get the darn design on my dress perfectly. I did it. Ok, well not perfectly. It’s on the darn dress and I don’t really care that in my frustration with the error message, I missed a step and didn’t align the design properly. It now looks like a pastey. I reckon I’ll have to add a few more designs to make it work. Lol! I just can’t win!


Just a shred of thread…

I’m beginning to wonder if having a smoking addiction is less expensive than a hoop addiction. One thing’s for certain, smoking will surely damage your lungs and both will weaken your wallet. After getting my DESIGNER DIAMOND Royale™ and skimming through the manual I very quickly realized that I needed to spend more money and that my notions budget would soon expand as much as I do after sitting next to a slice of cake and breathing at the same time. I’m not kidding.

Thread would be the first thing on my list and off to the Facebookosphere I would go. Like any newbie, I polled and trolled the FB populous with the question “what thread are you using?” Now of all people, I should have known better than to do this as I could have found the answer to my question in my blog post, “What’s a good starter machine?” People like different threads for different reasons. True to novice mentality, my primary concern was to not break the bank and spend money on anything that I could not understand. Even if someone had made a thread recommendation, I would have rhetorically rebutted, “I’m just learning. Do I really need to spend that much money out the gate?”

Off the Amazon and eBay I went. I found a really good deal on 100 spools of thread for $69.99 on both sites. Ironically, the thread was being offered by the same vendor. Note: the vendor’s listing on Amazon included the cost of shipping whereas the price of shipping on eBay seemed to represent a profit center. After reading all of the vendor’s reviews in triplicate and then at least 100 more times, lighting a candle about it, talking to my husband, conferring with Zeus and finally having my priest sprinkle holy water on the idea, I purchased the thread from Amazon.com. At $.70 per spool, I couldn’t go wrong. Using a coupon at either if the big box stores would have cost me more than twice the amount.

Here’s what you get:










PROS: I’m pleased with my purchase. The threads seem sturdy and I haven’t experienced any breakage. It worked out quite well. Here’s my first project with the thread:



CONS: I only have one complaint. The thread does NOT com with a thread chart. I’ve learned from other purchasers of this product that Marathon’s thread chart works rather well with this thread. Marathon’s online chart will allow you to plug in the number of the color and output a brand equivalent. I’ve tried it, it’s not 100%, but it’s better than nothing.

What’s a good starter machine?

Ok, let’s be honest with ourselves. When we inquire about starter machines, what we really mean is, “I’d like an inexpensive machine that is top of the line.” No one admits to looking for a really *cough* easy on the pocket machine, but that’s pretty much want us novices mean. Think about it for a moment… Why would we want to invest a small fortune in a sewing machine on the basis of some claim made in a Facebook group or by the commission-collector at the big box store that’s got an agenda which includes a sales quota? Husbands aside, who spends money on something that they don’t understand and to which they are not truly committed? It’s the equivalent of a marriage proposal from a one night stand or mowing your lawn in the snow because your grass may still be growing. Newbies want to make informed decisions.

Along the way, I was given all sorts of advice on the type of machine that I should purchase. Here are some of my all-time favorites:

  1.  “Buy the most machine that you can afford.” – Does this actually make any kind of logical sense? How much a person can afford has nothing to do with the functionality of the machine. Sewing machines should not be purchased on the basis of what you can afford, but on the basis of what you would like to do.
  2. “Don’t buy *INSERT BRAND HERE* because you’ll regret it.” – Really? And why is that? Will  every *BRAND X* machine work exactly the same? Doesn’t that sound a bit like, “Don’t date that guy. When I dated him, he…” No basis is provided beyond that ONE person’s bad experience.
  3. “I own *INSERT BRAND HERE* and I love it!” – Seriously? Ummm, ok.  Maybe, no.
  4. “I’ve owned  five sewing machines in my lifetime. These worked best.” – Sure.
  5. “I’ve heard that *INSERT BRAND HERE* makes pretty decent machine.” – Of course they do, dear.

The “helpful” advice provided above all have the same thing in common: no information. So what’s a good response? There isn’t a right response, per se… But there are numerous ways to NOT provide a thoughtful response (see list above). Consider asking the person what it is that they want to sew. Reference some of the features that you find important and explain why they are important. Explain whether or not you are a casual sewist, enthusiast or if your ability to sew provides an income. This type of information can be quite useful  in helping a person make a decision on their sewing machine purchase.  Keep in mind that more expensive does not equate to better value or greater opportunities to the new sewist because it’s JUST a sewing machine and not THAT big of a deal.

Burda 6992

Talk about an easy-peasy pattern! Two pattern pieces a couple of hems and it’s a go! This patten took less than an hour. I serged the two pieces together and used a really thick wool/knit blend.