Why You Need to Keep an Embroidery Journal

Why You Need an Embroidery Journal SewInspiredByBonnie.com

We use recipes when we bake and cook, why not when we embroider?

Often, machine embroidery projects are accomplished by following guidelines and learning by trial and error. We’ve all been there. Certain combinations of stabilizers, fabrics, and threads produce stunning results, but who can remember all of these things? That is where an embroidery journal comes in handy.

It doesn’t require anything exotic or costly. Use a notebook, binder, or even index cards. Whatever works best for you.

Here are a few of the things to include in your embroidery journal:

Thread Colors

I like to record the thread colors that I use for each color stop of the design that I am stitching. That makes it easy for me to repeat the embroidery or tweak the colors for the next stitchout. When I created the kitchen boa project, I went with an entirely different color palette than  Wing Needle Butterflies. It was a bit of an experiment and important that I knew the colors that I substituted.



Wing Needle Butterflies machine embroidery designs


Sometimes, a photo is all that you need. It is especially useful when you are stitching designs using a particular fabric line.

Wing Needle Butterflies included a beautiful heirloom background. I loved how the neutral thread that I used gave the background fabric an almost watercolor effect.

Design Editing Notes

When you change designs, as I did in the Easter apron project, I had to edit pieces of the carrot from Fun Time Veggies as well as the colors of Bunny Buddies 3.

Bunny Buddies machine embroidery at Sew Inspired by Bonnie

I used Rainbow Orange GlitterFlex for the carrot. As Bunny Buddies 3 also used Rainbow Orange, I decided to change the color scheme of the rabbit to Rainbow Cotton Candy, so the design colors were adjusted accordingly.

Including notes allows you to replicate the project. With Bonnie’s Christmas Cookies designs, I added a back to my Cookies for Santa project, making them freestanding applique cookies. Including a note in my embroidery journal ensures that I will remember what I did when I do that project next time.

How do you keep track of your project details?

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  • Bonnie Welsh - July 27, 2021

    Chrystina—You’re very organized and all that info. will save you time the next go around. Even if you use a different design, knowing the backings, fabrics, etc. you used will help you decide on similar future designs/projects.

  • Bonnie Welsh - July 27, 2021

    Doreen—You might like the Enchanted Flowers or the Painted Poinsettia designs that I have. Just type either name in the search bar above and you’ll be taken straight to them to view. =)

  • Chrystina Power - July 27, 2021

    I keep a notebook of the stitchouts with notes attached that include colors, backing, fabric, how long to stitch and other pertinent info on the design.

  • Doreen Warren - July 27, 2021

    Once I use an embroidery design. I usually never use that design again. I am usually off to the next design. I wish you had some floral designs and not all kidish desisn’s for I want to use glitter flex but all my grandchildren just became adults.

  • Bonnie Welsh - July 26, 2021

    Judy—Great advice and tips! Thanks!

  • Judy Hawkins - July 26, 2021

    I usually print a copy of my design with the color chart and if I change a color, which I usually do, I just scratch through that particular color and note the thread color I am substituting. I have a folder of the designs I have done this to. Don’t do it with every design but I do with those that have an extensive color chart and many variations of the same color family. Then, if I decide I don’t like a particular shade in a color, I may change it again – and again – until I am satisfied with the way it looks to me. I never do a design without checking the color before I begin. Machines can screw you up with colors if you don’t check them out before starting a design. Learned that the hard way when I first started machine embroidery.

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