Splitting a digitized design

As a few more more dressmakers have learned in our IDD group, learning to digitize can be quite a frustrating experience.  I know that the one “lesson” in using the software that I had at my local Bernina dealer was a joke…the woman went so fast that there was no way for anyone to truly understand what she was doing.  The woman next to me cried…if I hadn’t already figured out most of what she was zipping through, I would have cried, too.  I went expecting to learn the magic “word” and that did not happen.

One thing that was very clear to me when I first got my Bernina was that I was going to have to learn to split designs because even the largest hoop is still not big enough to accommodate the large designs used on the 3 panel Irish dance dresses.  Nowadays, many of the dresses are 4-10 (or 21!) panels which means more full panel designs can fit into my big hoop, but I still have to split the bodices and usually the sleeves.

I was ecstatic when the Bernina Designer Plus Version 5 came out because it had a design splitting feature.  I bought the expensive upgrade and was thoroughly disappointed as it is a ridiculously designed feature.  Now, if I had not figured out for myself beforehand how to split a design efficiently, I would probably have looked at ALLLLLL of the steps that the split design feature gives you and thought it was brilliant…because it takes so many steps…and looks so complicated…which means it must be brilliant…right?  Wrong.

I have gathered some info here that I have written before about splitting designs I have digitized.

First thing I do is digitize the entire design and make sure it is to the correct scale.  Then I decide which hoop I am going to use because I have different considerations.  I do not know about other machines, but my largest Bernina hoop is the mega-hoop which is 5.9 x 15.75 inches  (150 x 400 mm).  I can do many bodices in this hoop with only 1 rehooping.  The following is such a bodice.

This is a pic of the Flower Solo Dress bodice in the software after I finished digitizing.

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(I am not always diligent about using the correct colors of thread when I am digitizing…the blue here should be green…but I know what I want. If I were doing this for someone else, I would use all the correct colors. )I digitize in a center line (faint white above).  The single stitch curved lines down the center are placement lines for the green ribbons. Then, I digitized the blue at the top because its ends must lie under the appliqued flowers. The appliqued flowers are digitized as follows: placement stitches for the applique fabric, tack-down stitch that runs after I have secured the cut applique pieces within the placement lines, then satin-stitches with underlay.As you can also see in the pic above, there is a black, single stitch black cross which is placed after I have decided which hoop to use and how many hoopings I need.  In this case, I will only need 2 hoopings and the black cross will appear in both split sections.

 

 

Below is the first section I did.

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In the center of the design, is the single stitch cross of black… I actually stitch it out in white in a 7mm stitch and then remove it when I am done embroidering the whole bodice.  I add this basting stitch to help me line up the designs when I re-hoop.Below is the second section. The top of the cross matches the cross above.

 

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So, how do I re-hoop? I use sticky stabilizer. I attach the sticky stabilizer to my inner hoop. I put another layer of stabilizer, usually a tear-away, behind this and put it in the outer hoop. Then to hoop for the second section, with no thread in the needle, I “sew” the line of placement basting stitches, the cross in the 2nd pic above. I remove the hoop from the machine and then carefully line up the cross of basting stitches on the fabric from the first embroidered pass with the holes I have punched in the sticky stabilizer. Once it is lined up, I make sure the fabric is secured to the sticky stabilizer by rubbing it down. Before I begin stitching out the second design, a series of basting stitches secure the fabric into place so there is no shifting.  I explain that here: Embroidery placement. This also helps to make sure the fabric does not pull up which will happen when I am embroidering larges pieces of fabric like this:

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This is how I did the Rose of Tralee sash .

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Here is the digitized front sash. In the center, running left to right, there is a black line. This is a line of long stitches I added to mark the long center of the design, a center that would not change when I split the design. There are also 3 red crosses: 1 after the flower, 1 on the bottom of the “g”, and 1 above the “r” in “Tralee.” These reference stitches were digitized to stitch out first.

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Above and below you can see the crosses more clearly and a bit of the stitches for the applique process.
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Below is a pic of the entire front sash as I begin splitting .  I set the hoop placement to manual so I can determine how to split the design and how many placement stitch crosses I will need.
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The HIA Super Giant-long hoop has a vertical sewing field of about 21 inches… this front sash was a bit over that, so first I stitched out the flower in the oval hoop and then began using the HIA.  In order to split this design into separate files, I copy what I need out of the original full front sash file and create new files, 4 in all for this front sash.

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Here’s the flower with 1 red reference cross and a shortened black center reference line. This black line works in 2 ways: 1) all the split parts of the design are centered on the same line so that I can line up the parts in the oval hoop manually in the software on the center line of the grid; and 2) before I lay my fabric down on the HIA sticky stabilizer when I begin the rest of the sash, I run this line without thread so it punches holes in the sticky stabilizer for a reference line that I can align my marked fabric with. This line is not stitched out onto the fabric.

After the flower was finished, I attached the sticky stabilizer to the HIA, opened the next design (the beginning of the words), tightened the hoop into the correct placement on my machine, and punched the black and red reference lines in the stabilizer by, again, running the machine with no thread. Then, I lined up the center of the fabric (that already has the flower) and the first red cross that was stitched out (in white thread onto the flower portion) with the lines punched into the stabilizer. You can see the red cross in the pic above and then vaguely in the pic below centered on the broken blue center line at the top of the hoop above the “R.” I then centered the rest of the fabric onto the center line of the stabilizer (which matched the center lines of the design files), threaded the machine and off I went.
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The stitch out above includes another red reference cross which sits in the crook of the bottom of the “g.” (Cannot really see it here.) This was stitched out in white onto the fabric in the design above so that when I was moving the hoop to the new position for the next design, I could line up my designs by using the cross as reference points for my needle. I do this by advancing the stitches on the Bernina computer screen to find the appropriate stitch, and then move the HIA until the needle pierces a corresponding needle-point. Then I tighten the HIA into place, and the next portion begins. Sometimes I did use the knob on the machine that shifts the design in the hoop by tiny increments to get it lined up horizontally.
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I repeated the process for the back of the sash, though it was more involved because of the overlaps. I still used the reference lines, but this one involved more movement up and down of the hoop.   Continue at your own risk here!

The parts of this design were numbered from left to right as follows: 4,1,5,2,6,3,7. We did decide finally that the back sash would only include the first 5 parts so I numbered these as 3,1,4,2,5. This all fit in the hoop. But there was another challenge…this design stitched out by moving the hoop down then up then down two then up 1…damn. So, here is what I did- I attached the fabric onto the sticky stabilizer and then stitched out the reference line & crosses (in white) as follows: 1) the short, straight black line at the far left which marked the top of the design and the first red cross; 2) then I opened each design in the finished order you see below so I could line up the first cross to then stitch out the second cross. When I was done, I had the reference crosses stitched out in the appropriate places on the fabric. Then I started over and began stitching out the actual designs, beginning with designs 1 and 2 which were the green vines and then 3, 4, & 5 which were the flowers. And it was so easy because everything was already lined up!
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And here is the finished sash:

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 I hope this was clear. If not, please ask questions. It is good for me to have to articulate this.

 

 

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Jeanette
    Dec 31, 2007 @ 15:07:34

    Oh, to have you by my side giving lessons! What I could learn from you! Beautiful work!

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