A Gift



I like our customers. I really like our customers. I can’t count how many have become true friends. And I foresee that number growing.  So yesterday, I decided to give each of our customers a free mini design set for the holiday season to show appreciation.

Bad plan. Yesterday was December 14th and starting a design set from scratch, even a mini design set, takes a lot of time.

But I came up with plan B.  I could take a previous Design of the Month design set, add a mega design and Bob’s Your Uncle.

(If you don’t know what “Bob’s Your Uncle” means, it’s a phrase that periodically shows up on sit coms meaning “Everything’s Jake”, another phrase, mostly heard on TV, meaning that you have everything covered.)

I started poking around on my computer and found the perfect candidate, a mini-design set called “It’s a Gift” consisting of several individual wrapped presents along with an arrangement of multiple gifts.  What could be better for a holiday gift than embroidered gift design?

The set was crying out for an applique version of the “arrangement of gifts” design.  Twenty four hours later I had the new design ready to stitch.

The design set is on our site, Make sure you download it.*

On another note…. When you stitch this design, do as I do, TEST FIRST!   Don’t pull out your almost-finished wall hanging and add this design for the first time. Don’t stitch this design on that super special piece of silk your great aunt Ida brought you from China when stitching the first time. TEST FIRST!

I can’t tell you how often I’m complimented on my fabric/thread/color choices.  These folks must think I instantly know what’s going to work and what isn’t.  Truthfully, I’ve done this a lot and seen a lot of color combinations. I study color everywhere I go. Nature has some luscious color sets. Fashion teaches a lot, too. I love to browse home décor and analyze the colors. All of these have brought me to where I am. Almost always my first choice of colors and fabrics work. Yet, there are times that my vision is wrong.  That’s why I TEST. That’s why I emphasize TESTING.

It so happens that my fist stitch-out of this design was a major flop. Here’s it is:


I learned a lot from this stitch-out. I learned that the gray background fabric looks washed out and the gold-on-red is acceptable, but not outstanding.   Time to try again.

So wishing you a happy holiday season with lots of stitching. And don’t forget to TEST FIRST!



DOWNLOAD AVAILABLE ON OUR SITE: www.bullarddesigns.com

*Free download through Dec. 24, 2014



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Miter Me This


Even though this is my design from my Winter Trees design set, I think it’s stunning. It shimmers. It shines. It is graceful. If only the current technology would let you see this in person and fondle it through the internet.  You can look at the picture and get an idea of the beauty of this piece.  You can even click on the picture and see a larger version, but… really (and I guess you’ll have to trust me on this one) it’s way more spectacular in person.

So where do you use a design like this?  My first answer was a wall hanging. But it had to be a special wall hanging… one to showcase this gorgeous tree, a wall hanging bordered by fabric.



Perfect fabrics, that is. There’s the rub. I want to use both of these fabrics.  And I want the border print to meet beautifully at the corners. I needed (ominous music here) a miter! And it has to be a perfect miter.

Luckily, I have friends smarter than me. At the last sewing retreat, one of them, Trish McCrum, showed me an easy way to get everything to match up in a mitered corner



It’s Actually Easy to Make a Perfect Mitered Corner (with the seams matching and everything.)





Start with your strips of fabric.

The final width of the frame is dependent on the width of your strips.  I chose two strips; one 2″ strip (the gold) and 4” strip (the dark border fabric), plus seam allowances. The finished width of each side of the frame (after seam allowances are seamed together) is 6” wide.

Now, how do you figure out how long to cut them? I’ll show you below. The length of each strip seems ridiculously long, but it’s right. You need to cut the strips using the following formula:

Double the width of the border, (mine is 6” so I need 12”, plus the width of the design (mine is 10”).  So, for me, the length of the strips for the width of the frame is 22”.  And then, for the cautious sewer, add an extra inch just to cover any problems.

In other words, for the number-oriented people, the formula is:

2 x (width of frame) + width of center panel    (for the horizontal pieces) = length to make the strips of border

2 x (width of frame) + length of center panel (for the vertical pieces) = length to make strips of border


Steps for making the frame:

Sew the Strips Together

In this method you sew the two strips together and after that will treat them as one piece.  (Sew right sides together.)



Place the fabric on the embroidered design, right sides together, matching the edges. Match the center of the strip to the center of the embroidered piece. Make sure you start and stop 1/4″ from the ends of the embroidered piece of fabric (the dots shown here). This will be your seam allowance when you put on the other side’s frame.

It is easier if you sew with the wrong side of the embroidered piece facing you. You can see your quarter inch markers. (I took the picture from the other side, because it was easier to show how things match up.)



Repeat on all four sides, shown here after 2 sides are sewn.  Note, the dots where you stop stitching in each corner. (Did I mention these dots enough? And stopping on them?)



Turning it over and it looks like this. Press all seams open.


So Now For the Big Trick, the Magic Miter!

It’s pretty simple.  You pick up one of the top corners and fold it under until everything matches.



Once you have everything lined up, you hand-stitch the top folded border piece (in my picture, it’s the top edge) to the border piece underneath (in my picture, the right side of the frame).


You can do this with any center panel, but of course, I think you should do it with my beautiful tree design from my Winter Trees mini-design set.

You can do this with any piece that you want to “frame” with fabric.  Of course, I think you should do it with my embroidery design.  You can see the design set here, and even pick up a free snowflake design.

That’s it!




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