It's become a mini tradition that when a good friend or coworker has a baby, I make the new little person a onesie. Since the embroidered threads can irritate sensitive skin, I decided to make these designs as patches and iron them on using standard transfer adhesives.
I wouldn't be able to do these without the CNC Embroiderer. I made these and all my other embroidery projects at Techshop!
Step 1: The Design
You can create simple projects using just the embroiderer. The machine has stock images (think clip art) and even text that can be programmed directly. However if you want something customized, this instructable prepared by a Techshop Pro to create designs in Illustrator and convert them into the files you need for the CNC embroidery machines available at Techshop.
Digitizer Pro CNC Embroiderer Software isn't the most intuitive, but it's also fairly simplistic.
For this design, I opted for a simple duck in water with the little girl's name. I have found that the edging of the patches holds up best with a border. You can also use Fray Check to stabilize the material edges.
Step 2: CNC Embroidering
Techshop uses a CNC Brother Embroiderer which can be a fickle beast. I don't recommend sitting down and expecting greatness within your first hour. The machine can accommodate several different colors but the division doesn't always make sense to me. Approach the embroiderer with much more thread and material than you think you need and be prepared to edit your file after you see how it's interpreted.
The SBU at Techshop will tell you everything you need to know to run the embroiderer itself so I won't cover that here.
Step 3: Applying the Patch
Using "Pellon", the wonder-under transfer web, I created a piece of transfer paper the same size as my patch. The instructions are included when you buy pellon, but it's very important to pay attention to which side of the pellon is which. This paper acts as a glue and you'll iron the patch twice.
1. The first ironing will be just the back of the patch to the paper on the rough side of the pellon. This will apply a glue to the back of the patch.
2. The second ironing will be under a damp cloth, the patch and final material you're applying onto face up. The glue will connect the patch to the material (in this case the onesie) and bond the two. Let it cool and you're all set!