I finally received my order of Irish Linen from Fabric Mart (it got lost; it went ALL over the Northwest US, almost to Canada 2x before finally realizing that Texas is not, in fact, Up North. :sigh: The first thing I did was sew up a new shirt for Himself, wherein I learned quite a few things:
1. Irish Shirt-weight Linen is, in fact, ultra fine, whisper-thin, and lovely. It takes a steam press perfectly, and is a joy to sew up - and wear.
2. Irish Shirt-weight Linen is, in fact, of the devil. It takes every chance it gets to wiggle off-grain - both before AND after cutting. I quickly came to the conclusion that perfection was over-rated. :bigger sigh:
3. Embroidering on Irish Shirt-weight Linen is.......well. It embroiders beautifully, it's just keeping the blasted fabric on-grain while trying to hoop up and actually embroider that is difficult. After a LOT of back-and-forthing with the designer of the project I'm about to show you, I ended up doing a metric butt-ton of pre-embroidery work.
a. Starching the ever-loving crap out of the entire yardage with HEAVY spray starch, and ironing it 2x, with heavy steam
b. Hooping with medium-weight cut-away stabilizer, AFTER using basting spray to secure it in place (normally, I use medium weight tear-away, and no spray.)
c. Praying. A lot. during the actual embroidery.
The results? Well.....take a look:
The back, before washing out the Crayola washable marker. If you sew and don't use these to mark your fabric, you are missing out. Nice, solid marks that wash out - usually the first wash. (Red/Pink and yellow seem to hang around a bit longer. The rest of the colors are gone. Ditto with Cray-Z Art washables, if you want to go cheap.)
See? No marks! :lol: (You can kinda get an idea of how I set up my files; I mark any seam lines/topstitch lines, then mark the center point of the design. For 2-sided bits, I try to have at least 1 mark go all the way across; on this design I couldn't, because I had to tilt the design to get the effect I was after. It's easier when the horizontal line is the same all the way across the piece.)
The design isn't perfect - the outline still wavered a bit, but it's a LOT better than my first go thru (a t-shirt made from the leftovers from Himself's shirt. Unfortunately, not only did the file not line up correctly, I misaligned the left and right sides of the collar, so it's......wonky. Perfectly wearable as a work shirt or sleep shirt, but.......not what I want to showcase here, y'know? :lol:
*This* is why I wanted an embroidery machine. Back when we did Ren Faires all the time, there was a vendor (House of Dra) that sold lovely embroidered pirates/mens/poets shirts......at a price I could NOT afford (a shirt like this? Would have run - in the 90's - about $175+. The "economy" shirts, with just a simple knot on either side of the neck slit, started out at $75.). I LOVED her stuff....but could't justify the cost. I can see *why* they were so pricey - it's not that easy (for me, anyway!) lining up all the different motifs - I can definitely see the appeal of a much more expensive machine, with a much larger hoop! I'll stick with my PE800, though - it does beautiful work!
I'm working on another shirt now - this one in lavender linen, with an Asian motif (cranes and lotus blossoms. the files are *gorgeous*!). Pics when it's done!