|by Jessee Maloney|
Hello! Jessee here, from an Art School Dropout’s life. I’m happy to share with you a very detailed, and skill building tutorial, for what I’m calling a Selfie Pouch. I used a selfie a friend of mine took and posted on Instagram (don’t worry, I got permission) and turned it into an embroidered zipper pouch using the 6D™ PhotoStitch software and my Husqvarna Viking® Topaz 50.
Would you like to make your own? Maybe send a pouch featuring yourself to your favorite person? Or carry around a pouch of your favorite person? Then keep reading on!
Materials and Supplies
- 6D™ PhotoStitch software OR 6D™ Premier which includes PhotoStitch
- An embroidery machine with a hoop 200mm wide or bigger. You can go smaller, but you may lose some detail.
- A good selection of embroidery thread that matches your photo. Some photos recommend up to 75 colors. I used only 12. So be prepared.
- Fabric for the outside large enough to fit in your hoop AND make your pouch. Mine was roughly cut to 12″x24″.
- Fabric for the lining. Mine was two pieces cut to 8.5″ square.
- Tear Away Stabilizer
- A zipper that is at least an inch longer than the finished pouch, you could go longer if needed.
- Pellon SF101 ShapeFlex Interfacing
- Coordinating cotton thread for piecing together the pouch.
- Optional: A Zipper Foot
I’m going to break this tutorial up in to two parts. The first being the embroidery process, and the second part will be the pouch assembly!
Designing a Photo Realistic Embroidery File Using 6D Photo Stitch
First things first, let’s open the 6D Photo Stitch software. Upon startup the Load Picture Wizard window should pop up and prompt you to start searching for your photo. You have the option of searching your saved files, your clipboard or scanning in a photo. For this tutorial I will be loading a photo from my saved files.
Next up it will ask you if you would like to rotate the photo or crop the photo. I skipped both of these steps, but they are very helpful if your photo isn’t the right shape or if it’s just a little crooked.
Then the wizard will give you all the tools needed to erase parts of the picture you don’t want. I chose to get rid of the entire background. It was too busy and would take away from my friend and all her colors. This also saved me HOURS on this project.
I started with the Small Eraser and slowly went around the edge of her body and head to make sure it was nice and clean. Then using the Flood Fill tool I went around and quickly erased large items in the background. The final step was taking the Large Eraser and getting anything leftover. I found this process has less headaches and accidental parts being erased.
Now we are on to Picture Options. If you like the way your photo looks, you could skip this step. I however went up two steps on the saturation level. I felt it made her hair and tattoos stand out just a little more. There is also an Auto Level option here that will fix colors for you, and a Red Eye Removal if you used a flash.
After you press Next, this window will pop up! Here is where you choose what type of embroidery you would like to create. There was a lot of color in my friends photo, so I went with the “Create Color PhotoStitch Embroidery”.
Then it prompts you to choose an Orientation and Size. I wanted to continue on in the square format, but this all depends on your photo. It will crop out items if the wrong Orientation is chosen. I also chose “Very Large” as my size, because I wanted to show off as much detail as possible. Smaller sizes work for photos where they are looking away from the camera, or its an inanimate object. I notice you don’t get the details in the eyes in such when you go “Large” or lower. There’s still a place for these sizes, and I hope to share projects with those at some point!
The next step asks if you would like to crop the photo again. this is where you will see the Orientation you have chosen.
Now we are at what I call the fun parts, messing around with the number of thread colors and such to get the exact look you want. The software suggested I use 38 colors, but I wanted to be a rebel I guess, and see what 15 colors would look like. I actually really liked the outcome and continued on with it this way. Some photos really do need all the recommended threads to get all the detail, but this one didn’t. Go with your gut!
After you choose how many colors you will go with, the software will give you a list of suggested threads to go out and buy. I myself have a nice collection of thread and instead chose the “My Threads” option in the drop down menu. I had previously entered in all the embroidery threads I own into a collection called “My Threads”. By taking the time to do this every time I buy new thread, I can continue on with my embroidery without having to go out and buy something. Sometimes this skews the design a bit. Like where I should have had brown in this photo, the software went through my threads and chose a metallic copper instead. It also decided to replace a normal sunny yellow with neon yellow. Both changes may have upset others, but I think it added a little something to the finished piece!
Full disclosure, I did go out and buy some browns afterwards just to be prepared for next time!
Once you are happy with your thread choices, or you have added some thread to your shopping list, hit Next and wait for the magic to start!
Ta-Da! You have yourself a photo realistic embroidery that is all ready to go!
To prep it for the machine go over to the little floppy disc looking icons in the top left and choose the Export option. It’s the one that’s a floppy disc with a purple arrow pointing to the right. The Export window will pop up and prompt you to choose a file type and have a list of options you can change up if needed. I left everything as is and saved as a .vp3 file since I use a Husqvarna Viking machine. The next window will ask where you want to export the file to. I always save my files initially in the “My Designs” folder. Then if I’m going to use the file right away I go back and export it to my USB drive.This way you can come back and use the file again and again and again!
Now we can walk away from the computer and start getting ready for the actual embroidery fun! I decided to use the 260x200mm hoop with my 12″x24″ piece of fabric. If you are curious my fabric is an Essex Dyed Linen in black from Robert Kaufman Fabrics. It’s a little thicker than most quilting cotton, and it has a great texture. It was just too perfect for this project. I also cut off a piece of Tear Away stabilizer to cover the bottom half of my hoop.
To load the hoop you release the hook on the bottom right which will allow you to seperate the two hoop sections. keep the part with the hook flat on your work surface. Since the fabric I used is a little on the thicker side, I loosened the bottom hoop a little using the screw next to the hook. This will make the next step easier.
I knew I was only using the bottom half of the hoop, so I placed the Tear Away Stabilizer on top of the bottom hoop leaving about 1.5″ off stabilizer over the bottom edge. Then I placed my fabric on top lining up the bottom with the stabilizer. To secure it all in the hoop I placed the top half of the hoop on top of this stabilizer and fabric sandwich and pressed it down in to place. You can wiggle the fabric around a little after this step to make sure the grain is going the right direction and the fabric is taught enough. Be careful moving around the stabilizer though, its a bit more fragile.
Then just clip the hook back in to the place, locking the entire thing up. You are ready to embroider!
Each machine is a just a little different, so for this step please reference your owners manual. I loaded my file onto my machine and positioned it in the lower left corner of the 260×200 hoop. You can see exactly what I mean above. Once I was ready to go, I loaded my hoop, my first thread color and pressed start.
Make sure to have the “Stop” button on your machine on. That way it will tell you when to switch thread colors. I included some photos of the embroidery in process. You can see that at first it really doesn’t look like much, but after each color it starts to resemble a human being. I used 12 different threads and this process took about four hours to complete. So make sure you have that time before starting.
Once your embroidery is complete, just unload it from the machine and use it however you please. If you would like to make a square zipper pouch, continue reading!
Assembling a Zipper Pouch:
There are many ways to assemble a zipper pouch. A quick google search will show you most of them. It may even show you a few I’ve shown. This is just one of the ways I like to do this and I think it’s the easiest way when working with an embroidered piece of fabric.
I chose thicker fabric to make my pouch out of, however the actual embroidered part is still a lot thicker. So to help give the pouch some shape, I used Pellon SF101 interfacing. Its perfect for bags because it helps the piece keep its form, but it doesn’t crease up or wrinkle. you can find it in most everyday fabric shops or online. For my lining I used Robert Kaufman’s Kona Cotton in Silver.
I start out by cutting the main fabric with the embroidered bit in to two 8.5″ squares. The first side I cut is the piece right under the design, keeping it 3/16″ from the bottom. Use the bottom of the photo as your squaring up line. Since I used a larger hoop, I also have the extra bit of fabric on top. You should be able to get a 8.5″ square out of that too. If you used a smaller hoop, cut it out of another piece. While you are at it, cut out the SF101 and the lining in the same size. You need two squares of each piece.
Next iron the SF101 to the back side of both main fabric squares. Make sure the steam function is off and that you press firmly. I like to go over it a few times to make sure its 100% attached.
We are now ready to attach the zipper! This is usually the scary part, but I promise it’s totally not! For this process I like the start with a zipper that is larger than my pouch and keep it zipped up. You can either pin it in place with the edge of the zipper up against the edge of the pouch, or use these magical devices by Clover called Wonder Clips. They are normally used for help binding a quilt, but I like to use them as little extra helping hands.
For attaching zippers I like to use my Zipper Foot. It can be snapped on where the zipper is on the left or the right, but it’s great because you can get really close to the zipper if you like without the foot getting in the way. For this first stitched line I like to move my needle two clicks away from the center line (that red line on the foot) and butt the foot up against the zipper. I remove the wonder clips as I go. Secure the ends when you are done sewing.
Next we will repeat the same step for the lining, except it will be secured on top of the zipper. If it’s a printed fabric make sure right sides are together. When sticthing the lining on I like to click my needle back in to the center position and but the foot up against the zipper (you’ll see the impression of the zipper through the fabric). By moving the stitch line you are actually hiding the initial one and making a clean inside line.
Once you have attached the lining,open the entire thing up so it looks like it does above.
Then flip the lining to the back side of the pouch, pulling it down so the two squares line up on the bottom. Make sure the fabric around the zipper is taught on both the front and the back side. We don’t want any fabric to get caught up in the zipper later. Pin in place.
I like to top stitch close to the edge on zipper pouches, so I left the zipper foot on. I line up the red line with the edge of the fabric and moved my needle over five clicks (each machine is different, so that’s why I’m saying clicks). I also changed my stitch length to a much larger stitch, because I like the look of a long top stitch. It just looks cleaner to me. Start at one end and stitch all the way across, keeping the red line centered with the edge of the fabric. If you pulled everything taught, the bottom should look just like the top.
Now repeat all of those steps for the other side of the pouch too.
Here’s where it might look super tricky, but I promise again, it isn’t.
First step is to make sure you zipper is open at least 3/4 of the way. This will make things so much easier later.
Then pin together both of the outside pouch pieces, right sides together, and do the same for the lining.
When pinning make sure the zipper is folded into the lining side and pinned in place.
Now you will stitch 1/4″ all the way around the entire pouch, except for a 2.5″ section on the bottom side of the lining. I found that when I get to the zipper, that a slightly larger stitch length allows me to easily sew right over the plastic teeth. Sew slowly at those parts just to be safe. I also like to secure the thread around the zippers for added strength.
Clip all of the corners to reduce bulk when turned inside out.
Using the opening we left in the lining, pull the fabric through to turn the pouch inside out. It will look something like the above photo.
Before tucking the lining in to the pouch, quickly stitch closed the opening in the lining with either your machine or by hand.
Then tuck the lining inside and poke out the corners of the pouch. I use wood skewers, but there are much better tools out there for that purpose!
I also like to iron my pouches flat in the end because it shows off its correct shape and makes it look all nice and crisp!
As with the embroidery, Ta-Da, you are done! you have yourself a Selfie Pouch that you can keep, send to a friend or whatever else you want to do with it! I feel like this project has many uses and makes a great gift. Think bridesmaid gifts, anniversary gifts, baby shower gifts, etc!!
I’d like to say thank you to all of you that read my first post here at the Sewing Party! I am so excited to be part of this team and I have a lot of fun projects to share with you over my time here! Please also know that if you have questions pertaining to this project, that I am happy to answer them if I can. I feel like sewing should not be scary at all, and anyone can do it!!
JESSEE MALONEY Art School Dropout
I have spent almost my entire adult life as an indie business owner and maker, 12 years to be exact. Most of my time was spent dabling in cast plastic jewelry, mix media accessories, 3D printing, laser cutting, embroidering and assembling vinyl pouches and much much more. It wasnt until 2014 that I decided to jump in, head first, in to quilting. Now it’s pretty much all I do!
Sewing machine: HUSQVARNA VIKING® DESIGNER TOPAZ™ 50
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