Five Reasons Test Sews Are So Important



I mention “test sews” quite bit. Do you know what they are and why they are important?

When planning an embroidery project, like the Tabby (above), the first installment in the new Purr-fect Buddies series, it is always a good idea to stitch a test first. That is especially true when you are stitching on purchased items. Fabric is expensive enough, but you do not want to purchase additional project blanks because the first one did not turn out as planned.

Test sews are practice runs when it comes to machine embroidery and we all know that practice makes perfect! Have you ever stitched a design and, looking at it afterward, thought, “I should have . . .” or “Next time, I will. . . .” Here are five more reasons that test sews are valuable.

Using a New Digitizer

Maybe you've never used designs by a certain digitizer before. If the digitizer is new to you, it's always wise to stitch out their designs before applying them to projects.

When I'm creating a fleece blanket, I'll get a complimentary fleece scrap and embroider out on that first. That way, if I mess up, it's only a little square of fabric and not the entire blanket. I don't feel guilty about getting rid of that scrap if it doesn't work out. I've learned valuable information regardless the outcome. 

A Corrupt Design

No matter how good the digitizer is, design files can become corrupt during the download process to your laptop or machine. If the design was damaged, you don’t want to find that out after embroidering it on an expensive shirt.

Adjust Thread Colors

Unless you follow the same color palette the digitizer recommends, you won’t know how your own thread choices will look until you stitch them out. Often, after stitching a design, you get ideas about using different colors. A test sew makes that possible.

Audition Fabrics

If you don’t have extra fabric (or another shirt, etc.), test on fabric that is very, very similar to that of your project. That way, you can test not only the design quality but also the stabilizers, colors, and technique. Get that down first before creating your actual project.

The Right Stabilizer

Stabilizer needs change according to the design you are stitching, the type of fabric upon which you are stitching, and the project technique. Sometimes, you need to combine stabilizers, add a topper, or pre-shrink your stabilizer to avoid puckers.

I really don't have to throw away very many test sews. Even though there might be a little booboo, it's generally something that doesn't really show up. If it is a total loss, you've only wasted a little square of fabric. Keep the good ones for another day, and I’ll show you some things that you can create with test sews.

Have a day blessed with perfect stitches…and GlitterFlex!! 




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  • Bonnie Welsh - September 02, 2019

    Charlotte—You’re absolutely right! =)

  • Charlotte bustle - September 02, 2019

    You can pick up clothing at a thrift shop cheaply to use for testing designs especially T-shirts.

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