There are many ways to transfer images to fabric. And perhaps the most versatile tool for image transfer is your own home computer and ink-jet printer. If you can download an image, scan a design, create a masterpiece in a paint program, or simply download a picture from your digital camera, you can create a fabric work of art.
Easily print your image directly onto fabric via your own ink-jet printer. A number of manufacturers have developed “printer fabric”, literally fabric that you simply feed through your ink-jet printer just as you would a piece of paper. In most cases, the printer fabric is already cut to an 8 ½” x 11” size.
Choosing what printer fabric to buy, really depends on your project and intended end-use.
For instance, some printer fabric is peel and stick. No need to buy messy spray adhesives or glues! Just print on inkjet printer, peel off the paper backing, and stick favorite images in scrapbooks, on lunch boxes, book covers, tote bags, and more.
Other printer fabric is sew-on. Just print, dry, peel off the protective backing, and then sew. And still others are fusible. Simply remove backing, cover with parchment paper and press.
The sew-on and fusible printer fabrics are both great for quilts, throw pillows, wall-hangings, and more. Some brands are machine washable, so perfect for garments as well!
Typically, printer fabric is cotton and comes in either a white or cream colored fabric.
Some brands offer a variety of choices.
- For example, Crafter’s Image has photo fabric made of cotton poplin sheets, cotton twill sheets, Silk Habotai sheets, and crafter’s canvas.
- June Tailor has a “You’ve Been Framed” line of printer fabric that already has a “frame” printed on the fabric. You then print your photo in the frame. The “hugs & kisses” design is great for a bride and groom. Or try “sports fan” for your favorite Little League photo. June Tailor’s “Art Wear” fabric can be used in an ink jet printer or be colored using crayons, markers, paint, chalk etc.
There are numerous brands of printer fabric available. Some of the most popular include: Crafter’s Image, June Tailor, Printed Treasures, and EQ Printables.
As with most products, you may decide you like a certain brand and/or feature better than others. Experiment to see what works for you. And have fun!
Most computerized embroidery designs are digitized for 40 wt. rayon thread. So, does this mean you should limit yourself to 40 wt rayon for successful machine embroidery results? Absolutely — NOT.
There are numerous times when a different weight and/or type of thread is going to be more suitable for your project. Hopefully, the following information will give you a basic understanding of embroidery thread.
The weight of sewing thread influences several aspects of your projects, mainly field densities, needle size and tension.
The “weight” of thread is actually opposite of what you might expect – the higher the number, the finer the yarn. (The “weight” is actually a length measurement, but there are several different standards of measurement and that is best saved for discussion another day.) Anyway, just know that 50 weight thread is finer than 40 weight thread and 40 weight thread is finer than 30 weight thread, and so on. The most common weights of embroidery thread are 30 wt. and 40 wt.
You may choose to incorporate both 30 and 40 wt. thread in the same design. For example, if you have a large fill area using light colored thread on a dark fabric, you may want to use 30 wt. thread to get really good coverage of the large section. But on smaller sections, a 40 wt. thread would be better, so your design does not become too dense.
Likewise, if you have sizing software and increase the size of a design, it is highly probable that you will be happier with the results using a 30 wt. thread instead of a 40 wt. thread. The 30 wt. thread is thicker and will give you better coverage of the now enlarged area.
I should mention, that when using 30 wt. thread, it is often necessary to reduce the tension on your machine because it is a more dense thread.
Needle size is a factor as well. A general rule is to use a needle whose eye is 40% larger than the diameter of the thread. A 75/11 or 80/12 size embroidery needle is ideal for 40 weight thread. Use a larger needle when using a heavier weight thread. So, a 30 wt. thread will work best with a 90/14 or 100/16 size embroidery needle.
Rayon thread – rayon is a synthetic fiber. It has great sheen and is the “standard” for machine embroidery.
Polyester thread –not as shiny as rayon, but more durable - hence great for children’s clothing and items that will need to be laundered frequently.
Metallic threads such as Sulky Sliver Metallic thread and Holoshimmer thread are made of a thin, flat ribbon-like polyester film that is metalized with aluminum. These threads definitely can add pizzazz to a design, but they generally do not provide good coverage in embroidery designs, nor are they very resilient. They can fray and/or break during the embroidery process due to the high speed of embroidery machines.
Glazed thread - thread is put through a process to create a glossy, high luster finish or coating. Glazed thread is NOT recommended for machine embroidery. The “glaze” can rub off and gum up your machine.
Mercerized thread – thread that has been treated in a caustic solution under controlled tension. This causes the fibers to swell, resulting in a greater affinity for dyeing. Mercerization also increases the luster and adds some strength. This process is very common with cotton threads for quilting.
There are many great brands of embroidery thread: American Efird, Robison Anton, Madeira, Mettler, Sulky, Superior Threads and YLI are among the top brands on the market today and you really can’t go wrong with any of these. They all manufacture high quality products.
And yes, there are numerous other brands out there. Some are better than others. Feel free to explore your options. Just remember, as a general rule, you get what you pay for!
It is exactly what its’ name implies! A Magna Hoop is a machine embroidery hoop insert that uses magnets to hold your project in place. It securely holds your fabric, without the risk of hoop burn – great for specialty fabrics like silk, velvet, leather, and other crushable and/or delicate fabrics. No need for sticky stabilizers or adhesive sprays, either.
Each Magna Hoop is designed to fit specific brands and models of embroidery machine. (More on this later). The Original Magna Hoop was designed for machines that utilize small and medium size hoops. It comes with five inserts – 3 rectangles, a circle, and a square in various sizes to accommodate your project. Embellish cuffs, collars, pocket flaps, baby garments and other so-called hard-to-hoop items just as easily as a dress shirt.
The Magna-Hoop Set also includes a 30-minute Insider Hooping Techniques DVD and a 12-page full color instruction manual.
Due to the success of the original Magna Hoop, there are now Jumbo and Super Jumbo Magna Hoops available for embroidery machines that are designed to accommodate large hoops.
The larger hoops are perfect for quilt borders, longer belts, pant legs, drapery borders, and sheets.
Jumbo Magna Hoops come with 3 rectangular inserts.
There are currently 12 versions of Magna Hoop, including several Jumbo and Super Jumbo sizes. They fit various models of Baby Lock, Bernina, Brother, Elna, Janome, Pfaff, Singer and Viking embroidery machines.
If you’re machine is not listed, the Magna-Hoop does not work with your machine at this time.
New products are continually being developed and may update the Magna-Hoop product line in the future.
Extensive research has shown that the position of the magnets on the frame while embroidering does not cause any damage to computerized embroidery machines. This has been thoroughly tested with no adverse effects. The metal frame absorbs the electromagnetic pull which, while strong enough for hooping, is not strong enough to go through this field. Most home embroidery machines do not have magnetic fields in the actual embroidery module itself.
Magnets can damage magnetic computer data, therefore, use caution. Do not put them in direct contact with diskettes, and memory sticks. Some design cards are susceptible as well. To be on the safe side, watch where you put your magnets! The manufacturer of the Magna-Hoop does not take responsibility for damaged diskettes, memory sticks, design cards or other media that is damaged due to user error.