Embellishment in Black & Blue

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21 Oct Embellishment in Black & Blue


On Monday while sitting at the pattern table at JoAnn’s, I overheard a woman interrogating the sales clerk about the store’s sewing machines. She railed on about how complicated the new machines are. She said she was an excellent seamstress and all she wanted was a sewing machine without a computer. Then she exclaimed she was too old to learn how to use these new machines……

I kept quiet, but am convinced when you announce you’re too old to learn, life starts passing you by – quickly – at any age.

You don’t need a computerized machine to sew well, but you do need to embrace learning to be current, and I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Ilse had the 211-page instruction manual waiting for me for our first Creative Icon session. Click HERE to read.


Due to her out-of-town training session and the machine’s popularity I had to patiently wait 20 days before my first session, but I was not patient. I wanted to make sure I didn’t lose any ground between machines, and by the time I met with Ilse I was working on my third garment.



If you can operate a computer you can manage Pfaff’s Creative Icon! Yes, a trained professional is a must to learn the nuances of the machine, but on the surface The Creative Icon is easy to maneuver. Garment #1 is blogged here, garment #2 will be shown with garment #4 and these RTW pants’ makeover represent garment #3 and my first embroidery  project.

Nothing is safe in my closet anymore! These slim cropped stretch pants were just waiting for new life.


I was so eager to try some of the new embroidery designs loaded in the Pfaff machine, and played around with a few before settling on the scrolled design reminiscent of wrought iron gates.

I took out the hem and split the inside seam of the pant leg to get a flat surface.


After threading the machine with Coats and Clarks’s Trilobal Machine Embroidery Thread in BLACK, I marked the design placement and embroidered the front, before mirroring the image and matching the back to the front.


The machine’s basting stitch secures the fabric to the stabilizer so the garment can be ‘floated’ rather than ‘hooped’. Also, the design is not crooked – it runs parallel to the inside seam. 😉



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A fun embellishment to a pair of lackluster pants!

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More soon and Happy Saturday!



  • Eleanor Pollack
    Posted at 07:52h, 21 October Reply

    Amen to continued learning, and especially when it comes to sewing! Your sense of adventure with embroidery is inspiring and fun. I’m beginning to think… With 4 little girls in my world, the uses are endless. Even do the lone baby boy…

    Your adventures in embroidery so far have been such fun to see!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:28h, 21 October Reply

      Thank you, Eleanor! Embroidery is not something I thought a lot about until I visited Morocco, and I left very inspired. I find the technique an easy way to embellish clothes for both the young and old.

  • Mary Funt
    Posted at 08:00h, 21 October Reply

    What a terrific way to liven up simple pants. You are having such fun with this machine. What is the maximum size embroidery field the machine can stitch? I use an older model Bernina 730 and find I need to split many designs. Are the designs built into the machine? Also, do you know what embroidery format Pfaff uses? I love how you paired the slacks with a cold shoulder top; also new?

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:33h, 22 October Reply

      Thank you, Mary! Indeed I am having fun with the new machine…… I don’t have the full answer to the embroidery field size, but the Creative Icon includes a 360×260 hoop which seems very large. I also know ‘endless hoops’ can be used with the machine.
      The Creative Icon includes 800 built in stitches and uses VP3 and VP4 embroidery formats.
      I made the top in February blogged here.

  • Barbara Barrett
    Posted at 08:03h, 21 October Reply

    Amazing and inspirational! I’m still learning how to sew A simple machine. Thanks for giving me something to aim for.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:31h, 21 October Reply

      Many thanks for your nice comment, Barbara! You’ll get it – most likely quicker than you expect to 😉

  • Debbie Bowdish
    Posted at 08:19h, 21 October Reply

    Beautiful job on the embroidery!!!! I most definitely agree that we are never too old to learn! It6 what keeps us young!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:31h, 21 October Reply

      Many thanks, Debbie! Indeed it does :). 🙂

  • Sharon Kane
    Posted at 08:22h, 21 October Reply

    What a wake up call – “when your’e too old to learn, life starts passing you by”.
    Love your embroidery design (and the shoes). I am not an embroiderer and will have to look up some of the terms in your post (I’m learning), but once again a super job on explaining and showing detail and products. Thanks for the learning session.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:33h, 21 October Reply

      Thank you, Sharon! Floating means setting the fashion fabric on top of the stabilizer instead of setting it inside the hoop, known as hooping 😉

  • Jennifer Mead
    Posted at 08:55h, 21 October Reply

    Although I have had my embroidery machine for years, I have never mustered the courage to embroider on my ready-made clothes!! You have given me the inspiration to do so! Thank you! I am going to get some embroidery done this weekend, it is now on my to-do list!! Your outfit is just beautiful.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:34h, 21 October Reply

      Many thanks, Jennifer! Good luck with your embroidery and my only advice is to keep it simple in the beginning 😉

  • Gail Pickens-Barger
    Posted at 08:58h, 21 October Reply

    Wow! Fab looking!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:34h, 21 October Reply

      Thank you, Gail!

  • Barbara Hewitt
    Posted at 09:43h, 21 October Reply

    When you wrote that you were able to try the new machine, I felt a little jealous. I have been sewing since I was nine and have been always trying to stay current and have been able to reach a couture level. Although, I have the knowledge and skill, I’m not in a position to make many garments at that level. With two daughters and four granddaughters, with designer tastes, I love sewing for them. I would love to use the new machine, but due to my age, making it financially possible it is the difficulty not my ability and desire to learn.
    I have loved following you from the very beginning, Your creative and understanding of what works for you is very special. Knowing wonderful design comes though in every picture. Enjoy every stitch.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:40h, 21 October Reply

      Thank you so much for your comment.
      It is clear that money does not buy style, taste, hard work and accomplishments. Making the most of our abilities is the greatest asset we have. I can’t imagine sewing for six – how lucky they are!

  • Pamela Elaine Smith
    Posted at 09:44h, 21 October Reply

    My word how snazzy are those pants( in U K we call them trousers,pants are knickers to us!) Bit of fun but it’s true.Anyway nice to see your post inside your home, which looks as stylishl as you.The whole outfit is so trendy those shoes really compliment the black embroidery, Pamela from Wales.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:43h, 21 October Reply

      Many thanks, Pamela! Indoor lighting is a challenge and furniture can be such a distraction, however, these photos were OK – you never know 😉

  • MaryEllen
    Posted at 09:50h, 21 October Reply

    Wow another hit Sarah ! I ,too love my embroidery machine & the options they provide to add another layer of creativity to sewing .

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:43h, 21 October Reply

      Thank you, Mary Ellen!!

  • Julie Starr
    Posted at 09:56h, 21 October Reply

    Love these, Sarah, and they reminded me of wrought iron gates the moment I saw them! Pant legs are a brilliant place to showcase your ever-growing embroidery skills! I agree with you on the need to continue learning and adding new skills – have to keep that gray matter guessing all the time! Have a great weekend.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:45h, 21 October Reply

      Thank you, Julie! It wouldn’t surprise me if this design was modeled after a Charleston gate 🙂

  • Margene
    Posted at 10:34h, 21 October Reply

    Another hit! Always look forward to your ideas.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:45h, 21 October Reply

      Many thanks, Margene!

  • Catty Andry
    Posted at 11:11h, 21 October Reply

    You are so clever! What an improvement! Always entertaining and inspirationinal!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:47h, 21 October Reply

      Well, I try – LOL 😉 Many thanks, Catty – this was a low pressure project, and one I’ll do again!

  • Lynda Thomas
    Posted at 11:48h, 21 October Reply

    Seeing your recent embroidered creations has made me realize that embroidered garments aren’t just for the Winnie the Pooh set. Beautiful work, Sarah.

    I agree that we must always be learning. And that which will give the most satisfaction is usually a result of hard work..

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:49h, 21 October Reply

      My trip to Morocco last year really inspired me to learn to embroider clothes. You’re right – no Winnie the Pooh on adult clothes!

  • Karen Mulkey
    Posted at 11:49h, 21 October Reply

    As a sewist for over 60 years I’ve embraced new machines and techniques but have never felt the desire to machine embroider garments. But you, Sara, are slowly changing my mind . I’ve sewn exclusively on Pfaff machines since the 80’s so I’m seriously thinking about their new ICON. Thanks for inspiring me!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:51h, 21 October Reply

      Hi Karen!
      I never knew machine embroidery could be so easy and fun. Visiting Morocco last year was a huge inspiration to learn to embroider. I’m sure the Pfaff dealer can show you much more than I can – the Creative Icon is unbelievable. 😉

  • Lynda Thomas
    Posted at 11:51h, 21 October Reply

    Oh, and by the way, where DID you get those cute shoes?

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:52h, 21 October Reply

      Would you believe at my local shoe store in Spartanburg? The store has an excellent website: check out Baehr Feet 🙂

  • Jacqueline Harris
    Posted at 11:53h, 21 October Reply

    The effort is in the detail…
    It’s great to see such attention going into detailing garments – details such as embroidery. Whether applied by hand or by machine, an intense planning stage (my favourite zone!) is usually required. Where each method has its own skill sets, the different types of skill levels for each method also require a learning curve. So the learning never ends… The more you challenge yourself, the more you need to learn. It’s what keeps me going at my own work!
    Your cropped pants with embroidery look great!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:54h, 21 October Reply

      I couldn’t agree more, Jacqueline, and your comment reminds me of Michelangelo’s quote at age 87 – ‘ I am still learning. ‘ 😉

  • Leigh
    Posted at 12:15h, 21 October Reply

    In defense of that woman – as we get older we have found what is important to us, and some learning just is not important. I fiddle with electronics/software all day at work. I do NOT want to fiddle with it at home. I want to sew! (And don’t get me started on a new phone every 5 minutes.) I have a bazillion stitches on my machine, and use maybe 10. So I don’t need a fancy machine either. Doesn’t mean I don’t learn things, it just means that I’ve chosen other things to learn.

    Your pants are super cute. It’s nice to see those embroidery machines being used for something other than disney pictures.

    • Julie Starr
      Posted at 14:30h, 21 October Reply

      Love your comment, Leigh! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

      • Mary Lynn
        Posted at 15:27h, 21 October Reply

        I have to comment as well. Having reached the age where when I skim the obits( I think that’s a sign also) no one who dies and is my age is mourned as having”passed” too soon! I’m not very good at many of the “new” software and computer programs, but I’m trying.. I keep taking classes in Lightroom, Photography and learning my embroidery machine programming.
        I’m usually the class comic relief, but I’m trying and hopefully as Hercule Poirot would sayI’m increasing a few brain cells, rather than losing them. And….. occasionally I
        produce something cute, fun or amazing and I’m so proud! It’s fun to occasionally do something that either surprises, amazes or embarrasses my kids! Keep up the learning, girls!

        • goodbyevalentino
          Posted at 17:06h, 21 October Reply

          Mary Lynn,
          Every sewing class needs a Mary Lynn. You keep us inspired, motivated and in stitches both with and without needles 😊😊 THANK YOU!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:05h, 21 October Reply


      I strongly compliment you on sticking with the talents and skills that have taken you to the place you are in all your endeavors. Many have much to learn from that practice 🙂

    • Barbara Hewitt
      Posted at 00:01h, 22 October Reply

      I enjoyed your comment about fiddling with electronics/software, I tend to agree but I like the process of design, from the requests from my college age granddaughter that is often just a picture through the final fitting. Because I’m enjoying the different issues from all 6, it would be fun having the ICON but even with sewing for that many, I’m having trouble justifying the price at my age. As seamstresses and designers, we will always be interested in the new machines and products.

  • Bernadette O'Brien
    Posted at 13:14h, 21 October Reply

    Thanks for sharing your embroidery learning journey. I have an embroidery attachment with my Bernina machine that I have not used yet. Your posts are giving me the courage to believe that I can do it too.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:07h, 21 October Reply

      Absolutely you can do it Bernadette!! Go for it and good luck! 🙂

  • Linda Brooks
    Posted at 15:45h, 21 October Reply

    I love what you did to the pants! I love all you can do with an embroidery machine!!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:08h, 21 October Reply

      Thank you, Linda! I’m at the tip of the iceberg 😉

  • Joan
    Posted at 16:58h, 21 October Reply

    I’m generally not an embellishment type of girl, but I’ve enjoyed all of your posts on styling of tunics with trim and your embroidered garment tutorials, so I may be a convert, some day!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:42h, 22 October Reply

      Thank you, Joan! A trip to Morocco inspired me to learn more about machine embroidery. Little did I know I would receive an embroidery machine from Pfaff 7 months later to put my thoughts into action!
      I have lots to learn but am loving every minute of it. 🙂

  • Connie Griffin
    Posted at 20:35h, 21 October Reply

    What a lovely update to your cropped pants! Thanks for sharing.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:42h, 22 October Reply

      Many thanks, Connie! My pleasure 😉

  • karen kantra
    Posted at 21:17h, 21 October Reply

    When I saw your posts this morning, I looked up the list price on this machine and went back a few times to look, thinking I perhaps didn’t have enough coffee yet,

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:50h, 22 October Reply

      Hi Karen ~It’s no doubt more expensive than the usual sewing machine, I’ve never seen anything like it before.

  • Maggie ecger
    Posted at 21:35h, 21 October Reply

    Like the pants and your shoes match so well.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:50h, 22 October Reply

      Hi Maggie! Thank you – I found the shoes in Spartanburg 😉

  • Alice Elliot
    Posted at 00:51h, 22 October Reply

    Fabulous!! I’m vicariously enjoying this new skill along with you!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:18h, 22 October Reply

      Thank you, Alice! Vicarious pleasures are often the best :). 🙂

  • Linnea Kuckelheim
    Posted at 10:15h, 22 October Reply

    I love the way your crops look; and they look great on you!
    I give talks on “how to prepare your quilt for longarm quilting”.. I once had a lady (hand quilter; no less) tell me there was nothing I could teach her, she’s taken every class there is. My response, “The day I quit learning is the day I DIE!”

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 15:59h, 22 October Reply

      Many thanks for your comment, Linnea.! When people shut the door they often miss out. I can always learn something from someone 😉

  • Lauren
    Posted at 11:08h, 22 October Reply

    Love your embroidered slacks. Gorgeous. But, I will be glad when the cold shoulder fad has faded away. It doesn’t look good on anyone.

  • PsychicSewerKathleen
    Posted at 13:17h, 22 October Reply

    Your pants are inspiring! I love that embroidery at the bottom and WOW did it ever kick up those pants (pun sort-of intended 🙂 ) I have an Elna Excellence 780 and I’m always learning more things it can do. I don’t think it has the same capability as your Icon but it is capable of some embroidery stitching I have just yet to do it 🙂

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:02h, 22 October Reply

      Thank you, Kathleen! I’d love to learn how to make the most out of decorative stitches. Knowing what to do with them is essential to using them in my opinion 😉

  • joyjc
    Posted at 19:11h, 22 October Reply

    love what you have done with those slacks! I agree about the learning as I hear that all too often. There was a little lady in my sewing group who was in her 80’s and every time a newer version of the Bernina embroidery machine came out, she got it! Her own daughter was several embroidery machine versions behind her! I had to help her a few times with all the new gadgets, but she was determined to learn with each one. Great for her! Keep up the great work you are doing with your new machine. I always look forward to see what you have done new!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:06h, 23 October Reply

      Thank you, Joy! What a shining example your friend sets for all – You’re never to old to learn 🙂

  • Jeanne Walker
    Posted at 12:43h, 23 October Reply

    Like so many of the comments above, you have achieve an beautiful embroidery project. Love the shoes also! You are also a very beautiful person inside and out. You made me feel welcome, as well as Amy did in Morocco where many didn’t. I’ve wanted to say that to you many times but didn’t. Visiting New York garment district in September of last year inspire me to start sewing for myself again. Morocco made me realize color’s and designs are also important in any project. Thanks for sharing. Jeanne

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:22h, 23 October Reply

      Jeanne ~
      This is such a lovely comment. Many thanks for your kind words – I think about the Morocco trip almost daily! Amy Butler is one of the nicest people I have ever met.
      So glad to read you have started sewing clothes for yourself again!!

      • Jeanne Walker
        Posted at 21:22h, 23 October Reply

        Well I had this comment that I just erase as my ability with computers is still self learning. Just like my first new sewing machine in 45 years. I was one of those that wouldn’t give up my dependable Singer! Low and behold my Touch and Sew Singer finally gave it’s finally days! I have now had several new machines with embroidery attachments, etc. Now I wonder why I waited so long. The ease to quilting is amazing and the features are surprising. Sewing is so much easier then I thought it every could be. Like you, I loved Morocco, it gave me so much opportunely to explore color and designs. Don’t know if you knew this but I was 69 and traveling aboard for the first time by myself. That was
        definitely a eye opening and experience. My philosophy now is ” Try something new everyday! You just don’t know what it may bring to you.” Just saying, tomorrow brings new opportunity! Where shall we go from here?

  • goodbyevalentino
    Posted at 12:47h, 24 October Reply

    I like the way you think, Jeanne 😊 Many thanks for writing!

  • Linda Dunbar
    Posted at 00:02h, 27 October Reply

    I bought the Icon and am itching to take a sleeve out of a knit shirt and embroider a tone on tone linear design on it. I never thought I’d enjoy or have much use for embroidery but I have seen many modern possibilities with using embroidery in new ways. I found your blog in a search for Icon and am enjoying it!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 13:48h, 28 October Reply

      Congratulations on your new Icon!! You are going to have fun,fun,fun – please pass along my way any tips and inspiration projects you discover 🙂

  • Linda LaMona
    Posted at 09:04h, 31 October Reply

    Nice job with the embroidery. My first computerized sewing machine with embroidery was in the ’90’s! I embroiderer everything. I am excited to see the new interest in embroidery garments in the store and online. I need to pull out my hoops and embroider again; it has been years since I used this feature on my machine. I also have a stand alone that has been sitting for sometime now. Love your embroidered pants and love/envy your new machine.

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