All right, you’ve decided on a
project, you picked a design, a suitable fabric, and the appropriate
stabilizer. You hoop the dress for your daughter you’ve just spent
three hours sewing and start the machine. After six thread changes you
watch as the machine is sewing the outline. Oh No!! The outline is far
outside the edge of the fill stitches in several places.
You’re almost there, all you are
missing is a test sew to ensure you don’t put your project at risk.
How do you avoid ruining the dress
you’ve just spent three hours sewing together? When you buy fabric for
your project, purchase enough to a test sew on the same fabric. If this
is impossible, use a fabric that is similar in composition, weave and
Design testing is a step that is too
often overlooked. It’s easy to be casual about doing test sews, because
it increases the time and materials invested in your project. Whether
you are a digitizer or embroiderer I highly recommend testing designs,
especially in four specific circumstances.
Test Sew if the design is from a designer whose work
you are unfamiliar with.
Test Sew if the fabric is something you haven’t worked
Test Sew if the design is going to be placed on an
expensive item or fabric.
Test Sew any design you have digitized yourself.
Download the Test Sew
Comment Sheet. Print out a copy and follow along.
Begin by using Pulse Ambassador or
similar product to print out a worksheet of the design and color chart.
The steps to do this in Pulse are:
Start Ambassador go to
browse to the location of the file on your computer.
Once the design is on screen go to
Click on the
Settings button to open the Print Setting page
You can select the setting you prefer. I like to make
sure these are checked:
Hide Cross Hairs
OK, that window closes and you can now Click
Staple this worksheet to the Test Sew
Filling out the Test Sew
Before you begin sewing, fill out the
top portion of the Test Sew Comment Sheet with your information and that
of the designer you are testing for (if that applies). Note any special
instructions from the designer.
Write in the
fabric content and weave (knit,
woven, fleece). Is the fabric is light, mid or heavy weight.
stabilizer section let the designer know what type of
stabilizer you are using, cut away, or tear away. List the brand and
weight. If you are adhering the fabric and stabilizer write down how
they are joined together.
thread is 40 weight, make note of
any specialty threads you are using. What brands of thread did you
size and shape should be noted, as well as
Machine Format. If you have a
machine that has variable speed
write down the speed at which you ran the design.
Now you are ready to start sewing. If
you are testing a design of your own or for another designer you will
want to watch the design sew. This will ensure you see anything that is
amiss as it happens. Keep the Pulse Ambassador worksheet close by the
machine and make any notes about the design as it sews.
If there is an area in question I like
to circle it on the worksheet, and make a note.
Once the design is finished, unhoop
and take a good look at the front and the back. If you are testing for
someone else be sure to scan the design or take a digital photo to send
to the designer.
Now answer these questions about the
there areas that you felt needed more or less underlay? Were the
stitches resting on top of the fabric or do they sink into the weave?
Are there any areas at risk of pulling out?
Are there areas that had a jump stitch that could be eliminated?
commercial machines) Are there jumps that need a trim? Are there trims
that could be eliminated?
Are there any stray stitches that are out of place?
there good coverage? Is the finished design soft and pliable, or stiff
and “bullet proof”?
adjoining areas meet? Are all outlines in place?
Notes: This is
where you put your notes from the worksheet. Also include you
impressions of the design. The more information you give to the
designer, the better. Be honest about any mistakes or areas in need of
improvement. Designers are looking to create great designs which won’t
happen if the only feedback they get is that the designs are wonderful.
With this information you can easily
evaluate designs for yourself or as a tester for a designer. Keep in
mind that each designer has their own requirements for testers which may
require more or less info.
this article as a pdf file
the Test Sew Comment Sheet
Copyright © 2006
Bonnie Domeny, Threadlove Embroidery
All rights reserved.