Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Sewing and Digital Embroidery Project – David He (WIP)

(This Post is currently a WIP, documenting my progress on the project so far)

Drawstring Bag (in-class)

Embroidered Design (in-class)

Motivation and Initial Design

I went with a plushie design for this assignment, primarily as a present to my younger sister. Although I initially decided to go with a Pikachu plushie design, after some consultation with my sister I decided instead to opt for the fox plushie found on Sew Desu Ne. This saved me a bit of trouble of having to modify the Eevee plushie to make it suit Pikachu’s design.

Build Process and Modification

Hoo boy, where to start? Right from the get-go, there were a few difficulties. The first was that plushies are typically made with minky or fleece fabrics rather than traditional felt fabrics (this allows them to be a little more fluffy and ‘squished’). To do this I had to make a stop by Joann’s Fabrics, which severely limited the time I got to work on the project. After picking a few fleece fabrics, I began work by first embroidering the face design onto the fabric before cutting it out. It’s here where most of the issues began:

The first part came into play while the eyes were being embroidered. I noticed that the position was slightly off, and then I realized that the fleece fabric was rather thick (especially compared to felt) and was being held down by the foot of the machine, causing positioning issues.

Note the eye position inconsistency between left and right

This also left us with a rather incomplete embroidery. I tried to compensate for this by slightly lifting the foot up during sewing, enough to flatten the fabric without pinning it to the board. With this, I tried again.

The second try worked a bit better, with the embroidery beginning to take shape. However, A few more issues became known at this point:

The most major one occurred when I began to embroider the border of the muzzle fabric to the face fabric. Although it started out very well (especially compared to my previous attempt), I noticed that the machine was having a lot of threading issues, suddenly unthreading from the needle or having the thread catch on an unknown surface. After pausing the embroider I noticed that the back of the embroider had gotten progressively messier, and worse still, some parts of the thread had failed to go through the fabric. Instead, it began knotting in on itself and gnarling its way up the machine. Concerned about jamming, I canceled the embroidery and spent the next few minutes untangling the thread from the machine. I gave it a quick test afterward to determine if it still worked, and once done I realized I had used up far too much time already. With a test the next day, I decided to retire for the night and go back to review. I think when I resume this I might have to do so with a different fabric since fleece has proven too thick and not stiff enough.

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