We recently hosted an exclusive event with Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Australia, and Brother Sewing Machines.
Sweet Pea were invited by Brother UK to do a roadshow in the UK and Germany and it was great that Jaycotts were chosen as one of the few locations to host an event promoting their incredible in the hoop embroidery designs
First of all let me introduce you to the team. On the far left is Holly, and next to her is Allison. Next to Allison is Annette and on the far right is Emma.
Allison is actually the creator of Sweet Pea Embroidery, about four years ago she was looking for something new and exciting to make and as she couldn't find anything she started to produce free-standing lace earrings which she sold on market stalls.
So this is a very new company
Emma is relatively new to the company , she only learned how to digitise a year ago, and it was she who gave the demonstrations. Here she is at the beginning of the day, which was very early morning, preparing her fabrics and threads ready for the first demonstration.
Sweet Pea are unique in that they specialise in " in the hoop" embroidery, and the photographs on this page show examples of the 500+ designs they now produce and sell.
This form of embroidery is different to other forms of machine embroidery where a part made article is embroidered and then made into a garment or other item. With this method the actual piece of work is either fully or partially completed without removing it from the hoop!
The designs are available to purchase directly from them online so do look at the Sweet Pea website
But very soon a very limited number of places will be selling some of their exclusive designs instore. More exciting news about that at a later date!
It should be mentioned that the staff at Jaycotts, Melanie from Brother, and the Sweet Pea team all worked incredibly hard to get the store ready. Brother sewing machines needed preparing, tables moved, and the exhibits prepared and displayed - so thanks must go to everyone for the tremendous work done to prepare for this event.
So, what designs can be made? Well the answer is almost anything! Toys,table runners, bags with zippers, quilts and much more. Even the fluffy teddy is an in the hoop design
Following the continued trend for embroidered clothes, don't you just love this Toucan and Hibiscus embroidery set? It is available to purchase and download from the website Toucan and Hibiscus Embroidery design
this is one of the few designs done on an actual garment
Sweet Pea Designs support a number of Charities,and produce some designs where all the proceeds to directly to a specific cause Sweet Pea supported Charities
All proceeds from the sales of the Duck purse go to UNICEF to purchase water pumps for people who have to walk miles each day to collect water. This was their first charity design.
The second one is the Worry Monster, the proceeds from this design go to World Vision to purchase classroom furniture in third world countries. The idea of the worry monster is that children can write down their anxiety or fear and the monster will eat it away. (Of course a parent will remove the worry, but anybody with a young child will see the reasoning behind this idea)
Another charity design is this Owl mug rug. The proceeds from sales of this design will go to the Fred Hollows foundation. Every time Sweet Pea reach $250 AUD they will be able to restore sight to 10 people. So isn't this a worthwhile cause.
With all these designs Sweet Pea will show records that will verify that they are doing what they say they will.
The final design shown is a cute mug rug with an Owl appliqué for the 4x4 5x5 6x6 and 7x7 hoops.
The mugrug requires only one hooping and it is completely finished requiring only a few centimetres of hand sewing to close where the mugrug is turned out the right way. It is a great design for anyone new to this type of embroidery.
You will notice that a lot of the Bags and Purses
contain pockets holding soft toys. These are fabulous for girls and boys as they include dolls, mermaids, cars , fire engines and lots more! I love this Australian themed bag don't you? The toys are fully removable and are meant to be played with.
There are a lot of designs for quilts and quilting blocks Quilts and quilting blocks
as well as table runners and place mats. The colours used are amazing, but your design will be unique too as you can choose your own fabrics and block placements.
One of my favourite designs is this table runner, Cactus table runner
. It is one of their latest designs.
You will find table wear designs for all the different seasons and holidays. There are some gorgeous Christmas designs for example
For all these designs you need an embroidery Machine. Sweet pea recommend Brother machines.
There is a wide choice of embroidery machines at Jaycotts and your choice is dependant on whether you want an embroidery only machine or a machine which does both sewing and embroidery. These machines sew normally but easily switch to an embroidery machine at the touch of a button.
Of course there is also the incredible Brother Innov-is XV
" Dream machine" which is thoroughly amazing.
Take a look at the machines on offer at Jaycotts Brother. Sewing and embroidery machines
and for more information visit Jaycotts Showroom in Chester or call on 01244 394099
One of the more popular designs for gifts and fundraising are soft toys and little purses which can all be found on the Sweet Pea web site. Yes, you are allowed to sell the finished design once you have completed it.
Some of the comments I heard from people who have used the designs are that the instructions are very clear and easy to follow with pictures for every stage.
In addition, the web page Sweet Pea
gives tutorials on a wide range of subjects including articles on using Leather, sewing with Metallic thread, thread breakages, choosing the right stabiliser and much more. You will also find details of the monthly sew along on this page
Another comment is that the designs are a very good price and that there is plenty of choice.
Marion was one of their very first UK customers, she found them by accident by doing an internet search for embroidery designs and since then she has remained a loyal fan.
Sweet pea have a terrific Facebook page by the way, with a massive followingSweet Pea on Facebook
you can show your own sweet pea makes and enter into their competitions. There is a monthly sew-along with prizes to be won.
There is also a quilt block of the month.
One of the things I love most about the designs is how the zipper is stitched in the hoop too! I only wish zipper insertion was this simple for clothes!
I also liked the demonstrations given by Emma who made these zippered purses. People were transfixed by her knowledge and expertise and friendly manner.
She created the fabric using scraps of lace and ribbon (you could even use cellophane apparently) She placed lots of little pieces of lace and ribbon on top of a base fabric , covered it with a wash away stabiliser and stippled all over it to hold the pieces in place.
This is the design being stippled on the embroidery machine. Which means that a lot of random stitches are being worked to bind everything together as one fabric .
Notice that embroidery machines are not like sewing machines in that an embroidery machine just gets on with it whilst you sit and watch, you only need to touch it to change a thread or to move to the next stage
Emma drew a large crowd around her as she gave other ideas on how to create a unique effect. She told us that she has seen people use sweet wrappers and even a crisp packet effectively!
This is one of the beautiful finished designs.
There is a whole range of designs on most topics you can think of, I like the TEA TIME
designs where you can find pot towell holders, coasters, cushion, table runners and more.
This is the lovely Holly. On the day she was downloading designs which people had purchased onto a disc to make it easier to start using the design once they got it home.
There are full instructions on the web site on How to download our designs
which need to be followed carefully.
If you purchase a design from the web site it is important to remember that you cannot just transfer the whole thing to a pen drive and stick it into your embroidery machine
Each of the design comprises of a full set of instructions which you can either print or open on your computer and follow them off there. The instructions are very comprehensive and easy to follow with photographs and text to show you exactly what you need to do step by step
There are options for different hoop sizes and English or German.
The part which needs to go onto a pen drive is marked "pes" file. Once you have found that click on it, and you will find that it will be in the correct format for your Brother Embroidery Machine.
The pes. file shows on my computer as a blue flower but that is only because it was opened in the Brother PE design 10 software
which I use to digitise my own designs and to make alterations to others.
The instruction booklet for each design is in colour and you really cannot go wrong if you follow it exactly. It is very comprehensive so you may wish to keep it on your lap top if you have room for it next to your embroidery machine. Otherwise you can make a printed copy.
I have put a pen drive into my lap top ready to receive the embroidery design. I keep my embroidery files in a folder on my laptop and they are also backed up on my pen drive.
I have a separate folder for the Sweet Pea designs on both .
The embroidery designs are shown on my PE design software but if you do not use it then there is no need to panic - you do not need it. Simply open the design from your downloads .
This is the design I have chosen just for an example to show you, it is called Pretty House Applique.
What you need to do next is to send your Embroidery design to your USB media stick ie your pen drive.
It is very important that you do not try to open any pes. designs on your computer.
simply drag or right click the pes.files and transfer them to your pen drive.
I am only able to open them on my lap top because I have the corect software which enables me to do it.
When you have transferred the file to your pen drive insert it into your embroidery machine.
The icon on the right of the above picture will appear and so you need to click on it to open it.
You then need to scroll through your designs until you find the one you want
Once you have found your design on the LCD screen, click on it and it will appear on the LCD editing screen. This is where you would make any minor changes to your embroidery design.
Click END EDIT
Your design is now ready to embroider. You will notice that the screen shows how long it will take to complete the design, the thread colour order and the area which is currently being embroidered etc.
At the moment all the designs are only available to purchase through their web site, but soon a few select outlets will be announcing that they have some designs to purchase in their own stores. These will come ready on a disc so there will be no necessity to download these particular designs from the internet.
I hope the photographs of just some of the Sweet Pea designs have inspired you to want to have a go yourself.
I have made a couple myself and the process is fascinating and easy to follow. I especially like the zippered purses - this is the easiest zipper insertion I have ever come across. Do use a plastic zip though as it needs to be trimmed and besides a metal one will damage your machine.
Jaycotts was transformed into a riot of colour and everyone who came was totally impressed with the unique and special Sweet Pea ladies and their beautiful designs.
Thank you to Allison, Holly, Annette and Emma for including Jaycotts in your tour. Thank you to Melanie from Brother for arranging it all and Thank you to the Jaycotts family - and I include all the staff here because they are one big happy family - for giving up your time and space for this incredible event.
For enquiries about any products - sewing and embroidery machines, haberdashery, patterns and anything else sewing related Contact Jaycotts
via the online contact form by telephone or by calling into their Chester showroom.
Lastly a huge thank you from me to everyone mentioned for including me in this very special event.