Black White and Cherry!

27 Aug Black White and Cherry!

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I’ve never been able to adopt the ‘keep it simple‘ philosophy, but I do believe in the ‘one step at a time‘ approach to life. In sewing that means sticking to the familiar while learning the new.

While I try to grasp the details of machine embroidery I’m sewing with patterns and fabrics that leave no surprises. Mood Fabrics offers a fabulous collection of cotton shirtings, and what better backdrop for cherry red than a black and white check! I knew this smooth shirting fabric with a soft drape would be perfect for a tunic and kept my fingers crossed that it would be compatible for embroidery. As with most Mood fabrics, it exceeded my expectations!

My pattern is from The Tunic Bible . I selected a simple inside-facing placket so the embroidery could be the star. Finished with a simple bias strip neckband, the placket can be worn closed or open (below).

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My embroidery design is part of the Pfaff Creative 4.5 Embroidery Collection which came with the machine.

IMG_6681Although it is color coded, I sewed the entire design using Coats & Clark’s Trilobal Embroidery Thread in Ming Cherry. Offered in 122 colors, the mini-king spools hold 1100 yards of thread and will see you through multiple projects. Screen Shot 2017-08-26 at 7.40.29 PM

The lines of the large checks served as ideal reference points for design placement, leading me to use a vertical black line to mark the center of the tunic (marked with a basting thread below).


I duplicated and mirrored the design on each side of the black stripe. When the designed was finished I noticed a big empty circle in the middle of the bodice.

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I found a small motif similar in design which I duplicated, flipped and connected using the stylus.



Needless to say, it was a great relief to finish the design completely centered 🙂 Before starting the embroidery I sewed the bust darts…….after the embroidery was completed I was ready to sew the bodice.


I added back darts for a more fitted silhouette.

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I was undecided about embroidering the lower edge and/or sleeves, and concluded the cuffs should be embroidered. IMG_0070 I selected split cuffs for a little pizzazz, and embroidered the design on a larger piece of fabric before cutting the cuff. This process made for easy placement.  IMG_6680-1

If you’re curious about how long it takes to embroider a design, it all depends on the size and density. Each half of the bodice design took approximately 40 minutes to embroider.  Each segment of the cuff took 2 and 1/2 minutes. Below is a 2 and a half minute video if you’re interested in watching the machine in action.


My only regret is not cutting the cuffs on the bias to echo the neckline finish – like I said….. keep it simple does not sink in with me.


So what’s my takeaway, here?  Nothing happens without a good foundation. Whether it’s fabric, thread or a sewing machine, learning the ins and outs of each one step at a time will get you to the finish line without the overwhelming sensation of too much, too soon.


PS…. Many thanks for the lovely comments on my last post! As much as I enjoy responding to comments, I felt my responses would takeaway from Katie as well as the beauty of your heartfelt sentiments.

Today however, I’m back on it – Until soon 🙂



  • Debbie Bowdish
    Posted at 07:16h, 27 August Reply

    Sarah, it is absolutely gorgeous!!!! You have jumped right in with machine embroidery and the results are stunning!!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:43h, 27 August Reply

      Thank you, Debbie! Jumping in seemed to be the way to learn this new technique, but I’ve got lots to learn 😉

  • Karen Hinson
    Posted at 07:37h, 27 August Reply

    Just lovely!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:44h, 27 August Reply

      Thank you, Karen!

  • Becky Bagwell
    Posted at 08:02h, 27 August Reply

    No regrets! Beautiful !

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:31h, 27 August Reply

      Thank you, Becky! Whatever you say 😉

  • Laura
    Posted at 08:21h, 27 August Reply

    You’ve taken it over the top! Just a black and white top….not for you…..beautifully done….can you breathe while your doing the embroidery part?😅…..beautiful top, really…..I can see this same black and white check with, hot pink, bright yellow….maybe even a shade of green……it’s so well done…..boy have you come a long way, baby!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:35h, 27 August Reply

      Many thanks for you comment, Laura! I agree with you – black and white is great background for almost any color. I have great confidence in the machine, less confidence in myself when embroidering. I did hold my breath on this one because the design is so large. Like I said it was an enormous relief when the embroidery was finished and centered 🙂

  • Nova
    Posted at 09:11h, 27 August Reply

    What a lovely result. Beautiful and practical! Would you mind commenting on what stabilizer you used and why you chose it?

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 10:46h, 27 August Reply

      I haven’t mastered the stabilizer choice yet. I used water soluble stabilizer on the bodice because I thought it would be the easiest to remove along with leaving the fabric in its natural state, BUT, after I removed it wrinkling occurred which was difficult to iron out.
      For the cuffs I used tear away stabilizer. It worked beautifully and provides a similar effect as interfacing – perfect for cuffs! Since the cuff is a double layer of fabric the back of the embroidery is hidden.
      Thank you for the comment!

  • Jennifer Mead
    Posted at 09:27h, 27 August Reply

    Your tunic is just beautiful!! I have used my machine to embroider on many things, but have always been fearful of making a garment for myself embellished with embroidery. I am encouraged to try this now! Thank you!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 10:41h, 27 August Reply

      Many thanks, Jennifer! I completely understand the fear and recommend embroidering the fabric before cutting out the pattern piece. I think once you have one completed garment you’ll be ready for more 🙂 Good luck!

  • Carol Tuntland
    Posted at 09:29h, 27 August Reply

    Beautiful! And machine embroideries are such fun when ” the plan comes together”!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 10:35h, 27 August Reply

      Very fun indeed, Carol! Many thanks for the comment 🙂

  • Marcia Nichols
    Posted at 09:51h, 27 August Reply

    This is so beautiful. I have never wanted an embroidery machine-until now. Uh oh . . .

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 10:36h, 27 August Reply

      That’s a big Uh Oh, Marcia! I’m loving this new dimension of sewing and appreciate your comment 😉

  • Rosalind Clayton
    Posted at 09:59h, 27 August Reply

    You are certainly enjoying your new machine. This last rendition is absolutely GORGEOUS! As always, beautifully done!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 10:37h, 27 August Reply

      Thank you, Rosalind – I’m having fun now! I’ve found studying RTW embroidered clothes is a huge inspiration.

      • Yvonne Bennett
        Posted at 23:37h, 27 August Reply

        I think this is key in handmaking garments that look professional and not “Becky Homecky”. Yes, it takes trial and error and much hard work and practice, but it takes study, of books, materials, and READY TO WEAR, to see what’s out there that our eyes are accustomed to seeing. You are creating beautiful garments straight out of the gate! Congratulations, but I never had a doubt!

        • goodbyevalentino
          Posted at 10:29h, 28 August Reply

          Thank you, Yvonne! I’m still learning the machine embroidery and hopefully improving with each new project 😉

  • joyjc
    Posted at 10:42h, 27 August Reply

    You did a great job on this tunic (as always) and I like the color combination with the red accent! I have three embroidery machines and love the creative process!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 10:47h, 27 August Reply

      Thank you, Joyjc! Do you embroider clothes? If so I’d love stabilizer recommendations.

  • Catherine
    Posted at 10:43h, 27 August Reply

    What a stunning top! You’re really getting amazing results with your embroidery unit.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 10:48h, 27 August Reply

      Thank you, Catherine! It’s been great fun to learn this new technique 😉

  • Maria Butler
    Posted at 10:55h, 27 August Reply

    Just beautiful and such a great combination of colors!!! I am always afraid of experimenting with embroidery on a fabric with patterns. One word – gorgeous!!!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 13:10h, 27 August Reply

      Thank you, Maria! Look online for inspiration and you’ll see lots of embroidery on printed patterns 😉

  • Julie Starr
    Posted at 13:16h, 27 August Reply

    This is wonderful, Sarah. Akbar would be delighted😉

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 13:32h, 27 August Reply

      Thank you, Julie! Flattered perhaps, but not delighted just yet 😉

  • Barbara Byrne
    Posted at 13:32h, 27 August Reply

    Gorgeous! Very original design

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 15:36h, 27 August Reply

      Many thanks, Barbara!

  • Alice Elliot
    Posted at 13:38h, 27 August Reply

    Such fun to have a machine that works well. Smart to take it slow. I have to be satisfied with hand embroidery but I love seeing your process and fabulous results!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 15:37h, 27 August Reply

      Thank you, Alice! Before getting the machine, I never embroidered at all – hand or otherwise 😉

  • Margene
    Posted at 14:51h, 27 August Reply


    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 15:37h, 27 August Reply

      Thank you, Margene!

  • Theresa Moore
    Posted at 15:40h, 27 August Reply

    Love your work and ideas. I have sewn all my life and now I have time to concentrate on upping the quality of my finished products. You are my inspiration! Love your site.
    My question is did you make this pattern in muslin 1st or did you jump right in? Also thanks for the shirting fabric tip. Love Mood, too.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:52h, 27 August Reply

      Thank you so much for your comment, Theresa! The tunic is from The Tunic Bible which I authored with Julie Starr. We made dozens of muslins before creating a pattern we thought would work well on all body types. Please make a muslin first should you use the pattern. After you get it fitted you will have unlimited possibilities with the pattern 🙂

  • MaryEllen
    Posted at 17:44h, 27 August Reply

    This top is amazing ! You inspire me with every new make , but this one definitely as I love machine embroidery! I haven’t used it much on garments , but I’m sew ready !!! I like clean & tear stabilizer the best . I just add more layers if I feel it needs it . I have used fusible mesh to the back side when I’m done embroidering so it’s not scratchy on skin -especially DGD 😘

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:50h, 27 August Reply

      Thank you, Mary Ellen for the comment AND the good advice on stabilizer! What a great idea to cover the embroidery with fusible mesh 🙂

  • Mary Jean Cunningham
    Posted at 10:16h, 28 August Reply

    As always, I am so inspired by your posts – love this fabric and design! I have a backlog of ideas from your blog that I want to carry out – just need enough time and ability…you help so much by breaking things down and making them seem possible, step by step with thought and care. It takes courage to try something new with the worry about possibly wasting time and materials and winding up disappointed, so your showing the way and sharing your experience is a big help. Thank you again – I often mean to write and thank you but don’t want to clog up your inbox and keep you from your sewing, but everything you do is much appreciated – just don’t know how you get it all done, plus be wife, mother and grandmother, too!

  • goodbyevalentino
    Posted at 10:26h, 28 August Reply

    Mary Jean – I always love hearing from readers so please don’t ever think you are clogging my inbox! Thank you so much for your lovely comment 🙂
    Trying new things means I never really know what I’m doing 100% but I believe when something doesn’t turn out just right, it’s not a waste. Goodbye Valentino readers have offered incredible advice and have been so supportive that I’m always happy to share even if the result isn’t perfect!

  • Mary Jean Cunningham
    Posted at 11:55h, 28 August Reply

    Forgot to mention your roles as author and musician as well – again, when do you sleep, LOL?!? You are right that all experience -even bad experience – is instructive, but sometimes it’s discouraging, too, and makes us want to give up when things don’t go well, which is why we benefit from learning from your posts and the encouragement they bring to the “sewing faint of heart!”

  • Ilse Snyder
    Posted at 12:06h, 28 August Reply

    Hi Sarah
    Your blouse looks gorgeous. Love the the cuffs with the decorative stitches.
    It looks like , embroidery machine is what you needed to unleash some more creativity

  • Sharon Kane
    Posted at 18:34h, 28 August Reply

    Thanks for a great post with attention to the planning and layout. Ive never seen an embroidery machine in action, it’s almost trance-like. Just a few questions, why would you embroider the design prior to cutting out the garment, and does the embroidery add weight to the fabric? Beautiful garment.

  • Lesley Scott
    Posted at 20:24h, 28 August Reply

    Hi Sarah, I’m the same when it comes to consolidating new learning – do lots of it and get it right!! Just received your book from Amazon, lovely and inspirational. My embroidery unit which cost me an arm and both legs just sits atop the fabric archive, you’ve inspired me to at least get it down and investigate more of it’s possibilities. One thing I did do that might interest you, is bead over the top of a peacock feather for my daughter’s bustier, the results were fabulous 😉 love your gingham and red – excellent.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:18h, 29 August Reply

      Thank you so much for your comment! I just visited your blog – WOW – you’re sewing is beautiful and count me in as a follower. – that bustier is exquisite 🙂 Many thanks also for purchasing The Tunic Bible!

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    Posted at 19:14h, 30 August Reply

    […] embroidery on this shirt from Goodbye […]

  • Lone Star Couture
    Posted at 13:38h, 31 August Reply

    Really cute, Sarah! Great job navigating around the software and design.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:31h, 16 September Reply

      I’m learning, Dorcas! Many thanks 🙂

  • Lexley
    Posted at 19:13h, 15 September Reply

    Wow, you are looking so stunning and I just love that shirt. I have your book but am yet to use the pattern but when I do I will post a photo. Love love love the embroidery and how you can see the ‘webbing’ cotton threads sitting above the fabric.
    Kind regards

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:32h, 16 September Reply

      Many thanks, Lexley! I had nothing to do with the design other than to push the START button on the machine, but I agree, the design is really interesting and intricate 🙂

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