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Parker on the Porch — in the hoop

POP Peeps' Favorite Tips, Tricks, Products, and Tools

Posted by Anna Pritchett on

Recently in the POP Facebook group, we asked members to share their favorite tips, tricks, products and tools. There was so much excellent information that we decided to organize it here for everyone!


Never take your eyes off the machine ~Holly T.

Iron your zippers ~Heather S.

Watch the POP videos! ~Holley H.

Use a short USB extension to plug flash drives in/out to save the port on the machine ~Shari C.

Pull your bobbin thread up with each start ~Patti McP.

Clean your machine! Lint and thread fibers cause lots o’ problems ~Melody C.

Have a pair of scissors on every work surface so you don’t waste time searching for scissors ~Kendra R.

Don’t forget to open the zipper! ~Donna D.

Change your needle often! ~Katie F.

Don’t be afraid to try! ~Terry R.

Run new designs through your software’s stitch simulator to get a feel for what is going to happen in the design before you start stitching. ~Laraine L.

ALWAYS read the instructions first! Lisa S.

Always check that your underside pieces aren’t folded over before beginning stitching ~Kimberly P.

Measure twice. Cut once. ~Barbara D.

I keep a file in my phone of the sizes of the cut material/vinyl for the bags I do often so I can pre-cut them and have them handy and ready to go when I get a chance to stitch! ~Kristi B.

Use Dollar Tree mini hair bands keep thread spools tidy and thread won't unravel. ~Donita W. 

Pick up glitter vinyl pencil bags at Dollar Tree - nice vinyl and a ZIPPER! ~Sue M.

Cut felt from the back and vinyl from the front. Felties and such always look better cut from the back if they are actually felt. Vinyl is better cut from the front. ~Amy P.

When cutting snap tabs and the like, turn the fabric not the scissors! ~Nat R.

I use soap to mark with, and I use either a lint brush or spray a spray bottle of water to remove soap marks after I'm done. ~Missy S.

I use an empty prescription bottle with a hole in the top for storing broken needles. Best tip I can pass along is get to know the sounds of your machine. Often you can hear a problem before you can see it. ~Teresa S.

Use an empty Tic Tac container for storing old needles ~Maria B.

When turning corners trim corner on an angle then fold one side in, fold other side of the corner on top of that, hold this with thumb and index finger of one hand and turn right side out. My corners always look neat when I do this. ~Denise W.

And the award for my favorite tip goes to Lora A.:

Keep a jar near your workspace, and if you swear, put money in it to go toward more things you need. I've made $5 this week!



Favorite Scissors

Kai Curved Embroidery Scissors

Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Curved Scissors

Gingher Duckbill Scissors

Tula Pink Rainbow (!!!) Duckbill Scissors 

Fiskars Pinking Shears

Havel Snip-Eze

Kai Sewing Scissors

Nancy's Notions Embroidery Nippers


Tape, Pins, and Clips

Stitch Witchery

HeatNBond Hem Iron On Adhesive

Sewing Clips

Clover Wonder Clips

Snap Hair Clips

Supaclips (for Fast Frame style hoops)

Basting Spray

Glue Stick

Paper Medical Tape

Transparent Medical Tape

Washi Tape (check clearance bins at craft stores!)

Wash Away Wonder Tape for positioning zippers

Hugo's Amazing Tape


Tools for poking corners and/or holding items in the hoop 


Bamboo Skewers

ByAnnie Stiletto and Pressing Tool

Old Fashioned Metal Staple Remover

EZ Point and Turner Tool

Clover Hold It Precision Stiletto

RNK Precision Turning Tool

Tim Holtz Retractable Craft Pick


Long Tweezers



Seam Ripper

Blade Style Seam Ripper

Snag-Nab-It (this is also a personal favorite for fixing loops)


General sewing tools and supplies

Tailor’s Clapper

Simflex Expanding Sewing Gauge

KAMsnap Tabletop Press

Leather Punch


Head Lamp

Small Magnetic Flexible Light

Grill Light

Tiny USB Powered Vacuum

Small Tabletop Trash Can

Martelli Tables

IKEA Paper Roll Holder for stabilizer

Magnetic Parts Dish or from Harbor Freight


And the award for Most Suggested Tool goes to...

That Purple Thang


Friends don't let friends sew through their fingers! 


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Bean Stitch vs. Satin Stitch

Posted by Anna Pritchett on

Two of POP's most popular designs, the original Clutch and Clutch 2.0 bags, come with a Bean Stitch applique option as well as a Satin Stitch applique option.

We frequently get posts in the POP Facebook group saying, "Help! I'm making the Clutch 2.0 bag, and my design has only 9 steps instead of 11. Where is the satin stitching?!" So let's take a closer look at the design options.

Here's the unzipped Clutch 2.0 folder:

ITH embroidery zipper bag pouch clutch


When you open the highlighted folder, you'll see two sub-folders:

ITH embroidery zipper bag pouch clutch


Many people simply open the first folder, select their design, and send it to the machine, not realizing which option they've chosen. We are going to open the stitch map for the Bean Stitch option. (New to stitch maps? We talked about what they are and how to read them in another blog post.) Select the stitch map for the desired size.

ITH embroidery zipper bag pouch clutch


You'll notice that the 5x7 Bean file contains 9 steps instead of 11. The applique tackdown is a triple stitch or "bean stitch" instead of the satin you may be expecting. 

ITH embroidery zipper bag pouch clutch


Here is an example of the Clutch 2.0 with Bean Stitch applique:

ITH embroidery zipper bag pouch clutch


The Clutch 2.0's other option, the Satin applique, has 11 stitching steps. Step 7 is the blanket detail, and Step 8 is the traditional satin applique stitch. 

ITH embroidery zipper bag pouch clutch


Here's an example of a completed Clutch 2.0 with satin stitch applique:

ITH embroidery zipper bag pouch clutch


If you loaded the Bean Stitch file by mistake, don't panic! Stop your machine after Step 7. Go back to your computer, open the main folder for the design, and open the Satin sub-folder. Select the same size that you have started in the Bean format. Send that file to your machine. Make sure it's oriented the same direction as the initial file and lines up with the existing stitching. Forward through to Step 7 of the Satin file, and stitch the Step 7 blanket detail right over the bean stitch. Finish your clutch as directed in the tutorial. 

ITH embroidery zipper bag pouch clutch


The original front-zip Clutch design also comes in both Bean and Satin stitch applique options. 

ITH embroidery zipper bag pouch clutch


If you would like to see the original Clutch being stitched, check out the Panda Kisses video tutorial of this design. Join the POP Facebook group to see a (formerly live) video tutorial of the Clutch 2.0. Links to videos are in the pinned Announcements area of the group! 

And if you ever wonder where POP gets the supplies used in the design listing photos, click through the blog's Supply List archives.

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What is a Stitch Map?

Posted by Anna Pritchett on

If you've been in embroidery a while, you may remember life before fancy PDF tutorials. Back in the olden days, we had to rely on the stitch map files. These files are helpful to know how to read even with the existence of full tutorials. You can print the stitch map and add your own notes as you stitch the file so that you remember what you did in your own words.

Let's look at the Daybreak Zipper Bag.


This is the inside of the main folder once I unzip the file and add it to my POP folder.


The Daybreak was updated to offer a Full Front Applique option due to popular demand. As always, the update is FREE for anyone who had already purchased the file. If you haven't downloaded this update, simply log in to your account and re-download the file. 


We are going to look at the stitch maps for the Full Front Applique option. Here is the inside of the Full Front Applique folder. What a mess! The files are all jumbled up. 


Click on the Type tab and the folder will sort itself by file type.


The stitch map files will have a BMP or JPG file extension. In this case, they are BMP type files. Let's select the 5x7 size. 


Here is the 5x7 stitch map. When you click on it to open, your computer will open it in whichever default photo viewing app or program you've designated. In the upper left corner of the stitch map, you will see the file name, the stitch count, the exact size in inches and millimeters, the location at which the design begins and ends in the hoop, the number of colors and thread stops, as well as the date the file was saved.


The rest of the stitch map is literally a *map* to what your machine is going to stitch. The steps are illustrated and numbered. Step 1 is almost always going to be a placement stitch when you are doing an ITH or in the hoop design. 


I created a "cheat sheet" for this design with an explanation of the steps. You can make your own or right-click on the photo and save to your computer for printing. I included notes to remind myself of important details, such as where to add personalization, and when to open the zipper. 


When you look at the stitch map for the Daybreak Full Front Applique before sewing, you will realize that the fabric you put down first at Step 3 will only show ABOVE the "swoop" once you complete the large applique BELOW the swoop. There's no need to guess what is going to happen next in any POP design (or any designer whose files include stitch maps). Taking a few minutes to review the stitch map will save you time and frustration! 



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Football Stadium Banner, Kitty Top Zip Pencil Bag, Donut Bow and Bow Monogram Snaptab Supplies List

Posted by Jenny Chesnick on

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Posted by Jenny Chesnick on

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