Karlie Belle Has a Passion For Machine Embroidery
Meet Karlie Belle, a full time working mom of two little girls who loves creating beautiful things using her embroidery machines. Karlie writes and makes video tutorials at her website Karlie Belle for anyone who would like to learn how embroidery machines work, or would like more information on how to accomplish certain projects.
We interviewed Karlie to discuss how she got into machine embroidery and what she hopes to achieve on CF Fans. Read our interview with her below!
How did you get into machine embroidery? When did it turn into your passion?
When I was pregnant with my first child in 2012, my family threw me a baby shower. There, I received several embroidered baby items as gifts. Having my daughter’s name and monogram stitched on her blankets, clothes, and bibs was just beautiful. After she was born and as she grew, I wanted all of her baby items embroidered, so I started to research how to do it myself. I got my first machine when she was one and learned how to use it from a lot of trial and error. Eventually my friends and family noticed all the things I was making and started asking me to make things for them too. I started a little home business doing what I loved and it was great! In 2017, I started my blog and wanted to help others that were interested in learning about machine embroidery. When I started embroidering in 2013, it was very hard to find resources online on how to use an embroidery machine. My goal is to help others in that process and show them from start to finish how to make beautiful things with an embroidery machine.
Could you describe your creative process? Where do you find inspiration and what are the steps you usually take to create a machine embroidery project?
My creative process usually depends on the project I am working on. There are lots of times I am out shopping and see things and automatically think how much cuter that item would be with an embroidered monogram or applique design on it. This happens a lot when I am shopping for clothes for my girls. I also really enjoy looking through Pinterest or sites that sell embroidery designs to see if I spot anything that I would like to make. Once I decided on a design, I then chose the item or garment I will stitch the design on. Next is figuring out how to stabilize and hoop that item to get the best results. The last, and really fun part, is picking out thread colors and applique fabrics so that I can put my own twist on the design to make the project my own.
What is Sip & Stitch and how did it start?
Sip & Stitch started as an idea in the Spring of 2020 to do a live tutorial from start to finish in my Facebook group. We started with a simple one color design on a towel that any beginner could follow along with me and do. I posted the design and supplies beforehand so everyone would be ready. Everyone liked it so much that we started doing them more often. Eventually they landed on Friday nights, and after a long week at work, I added an adult beverage to my list of supplies! The name Sip & Stitch was born and we moved it from my Facebook group to YouTube in August of 2020. I now have a new tutorial every other Friday for Sip & Stitch on YouTube and anyone can join in and chat with me to ask any questions along the way.
What tools would you recommend and tips would you give for someone wanting to become an embroiderer?
When I first started in embroidery, I thought all I needed was the machine and some thread and I would be good to go. I learned very quickly that there are several supplies that are required in order to get the best results. First you will need a variety of different kinds of stabilizer. Every project will be different and may require a different type or weight of stabilizer in order for your project to stitch out well. Other important supplies are tiny tweezer-like applique scissors, disappearing ink fabric marker, temporary spray adhesive, a mini iron, Heat n Bond Lite, downloaded embroidery designs and embroidery software. I did not realize when I started that my computer would not open embroidery design or fonts on its own. I needed special embroidery software in order to edit my designs, use embroidery fonts, or merge designs and fonts together. I use Embrilliance Essentials and highly recommend it to others.
For anyone wanting to become an embroiderer, I suggest you really think about what kind of items you would like to make before buying a machine. All machines use hoops and each machine model will have its own maximum hoop size (embroidery stitch area) that can be used. For example, if you are only planning to make small baby items, a machine with a 4 inch x 4 inch hoop size may be all you need. However, most people that buy a 4×4 machine quickly want to upgrade to a 5×7 hoop machine or larger. I always recommend buying the biggest size hoop machine within your budget.
Do you do any other types of crafts besides machine embroidery?
Yes I love crafting with my Silhouette Cameo cutting out heat transfer vinyl or sticky vinyl to make shirts, decals for cups, and labels for home items and school supplies. There are so many possibilities. I also use the Cameo to cut fabric for applique to embroider. I have a sewing machine and a serger as well. I do small sewing projects like making masks and simple skirts for my girls, but I am hoping to expand that and learn to do more in the future.
Could you please explain what you offer in your CF Fans subscription?
In my CF Fans subscription I hope to offer a way for my followers to have more direct interaction with me for tutorials and help with projects. As a member, not only will you receive behind the scenes updates on what I am doing in my craft room, but you will also get access to exclusive video tutorials, one free embroidery design per month, and one CF Fans only Live Sip & Stitch per month. I will also ask members for input on what kinds of tutorials they would like to see for future projects and Sip & Stitch shows.
What do you hope to achieve on CF Fans?
My goal is for CF Fans to grow into a fun community of crafters that I can help to be confident in their embroidery skills!