Tag Archives: sewing machine

Customized 95th Birthday Embroidered Shirt with the Brother Innov-is 990D

95th bday shirt
Robin and his Special 95th Birthday Shirt

What do you give someone for their 95th birthday? It’s a tough question to answer. I recently found myself about to go to a relative’s 95th birthday party and thought what would he enjoy receiving on this special day? Robin has always been a joker and he spends much time leisurely lounging, so I thought why not create him a comfortable customized funny shirt to celebrate this momentous occasion?

Close Up of the Embroidered Sentiment Applique

To create this project, I began with a basic sweatshirt and used my Brother Innov-is 990D Combination Sewing & Embroidery Machine to take it from ordinary to extraordinary! The machine comes with a large 4″ x 4″ embroidery area. To fit the entire joke onto the denim applique, I used a handy hooping and re-hooping technique which I show you how to do in this video. With this technique, you can easily cover large areas with embroidered designs, by moving your hoop around. I embroidered the sentiment onto a piece of denim using one of the 5 built-in font styles that are built in to the machine. I chose a font style with a collegiate feel and easily embroidered the humorous applique. Used the same font in small, medium and large to create a clear graphic message.

Machine Embroidery in progress

After I’d embroidered the denim, I removed the embroidery unit from my machine, which automatically makes the machine go into sewing mode. After folding in and ironing the denim fabric edges, I selected a straight stitch and sewed all the way around the perimeter of the applique, about 1/8″ from the edge. Then I used some Stick Fusible Web from Fairfield World to iron the applique into place. I could have stopped there, but to make this shirt really polished and wearable for many years to come, I went ahead and top stitched all the way around the applique with the same straight stitch. I had so much fun making this shirt, that I decided to create a matching pair of sweat pants personalized with his name!

Personalized Appliqued Matching Sweatpants

So by the time I was done, the joke didn’t really make sense, since I ended up giving him the “dumb shirt” and some matching pants, but he didn’t seem to mind!

A 95 Year Old’s Birthday Suit!

This project beautifully illustrates why I have become so enamored with machine embroidery! It’s the perfect way to commemorate special events with customized gifts, and show your loved ones how much you care!

Brother Innov-is 990D Combination Sewing & Embroidery Machine with Built-In Disney Designs

Disclosure of Material Connections:

I am proud to be a Brother International Corporation sponsored blogger presenting truthful and accurate experiences with products provided by the Home Sewing & Embroidery Division of Brother.

Adventures in Machine Embroidery and Applique with the Brother Innov-is 990D


Happy Friday Friends! Hang on… is it Friday already?! You know what they say… time flies when you are having fun! And what an amazingly fun week this has been! This week I learned how to use more features of my new Brother Innov-is 990D Combination Sewing and Embroidery Machine with built in Disney Designs! Once I’d mastered single color embroidery with piece I showed you last week, I decided to take the leap to multi color embroidery! It was actually more of a hop than a leap because this amazing machine walked me through the process step by easy step! First I selected one of the built in embroidery designs (#15) that came with the machine. The handy included Disney Design Guide instructed me to first load the red thread. Once the red sections were completed, I loaded the black thread and completed the design. This machine is so fast! The embroidery for this design takes only 4 minutes. As you could imagine, I was feeling pretty good about myself right about then, so I decided to take a chance and push the design even further! With my newfound confidence, I began exploring the embroidery frame patterns! I must admit mastering this next step was again incredibly easy! With the embroidered piece still on the hoop, I selected an oval frame and measured my design to make sure the oval would fit around my precious first example of dual color embroidery. That is when I realized that this machine contains a very handy feature that physically shows the area where the embroidery will take place, before you begin. The screen also shows the measurements of the designs so you can check with a ruler to be extra sure! I chose this cute scalloped pattern for the frame to match the vintage feel of the kissing couple.

smooching mice

By now I was feeling very comfortable with the machine, so I decided to explore the six different built-in embroidery fonts. All of these great fonts give you the ability to select capital or lowercase letters. In addition, they each also give the option of embroidering the letters in small, medium or large sizes. I got so inspired thinking about all of the cool things I could personalize with names and phrases! Eventually I ran out of room on the embroidery frame and thought, wow that was easy! What should I try next?

embroider fonts

I was now feeling ready for a real challenge. The technique that seemed the most daunting when I first began this journey was applique. I had never done it before by hand or machine. I did a quick search on YouTube for “Brother Applique” and found this handy video by TLC Inspirations that walked me through the process. After watching the video, method seemed easy enough, so decided to give it a try on my own.

I began by embroidering the small Mickey Mouse signature onto a piece of white fabric backed with stabilizer. Always use stabilizer! Around the design, I then embroidered a square frame. I carefully cut the square out around the outside stitching and set that piece aside. I then set up a piece of base fabric with the stabilizer and embroidered the same square shape, in the same exact location to use as a guide for positioning the applique. I adhered the square that I’d cut out to the sewn square still on the hoop using a little bit of dry fabric adhesive in the center, making sure not to get any near the frame border. I then embroidered the same square shape a third time, this time using a wider stitch, and that joined the applique to the base fabric! I then created a larger rounded dash square and embroidered that around the applique. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that the machine automatically spaced the rounded dashes so that they were all nice and evenly distributed around the sides and corners! This machine never ceases to amaze me with all of its smart tricks!

first applique

I did not expect my first attempt at applique to be such a success! When I was done I wished that I’d used contrasting fabric for the applique, so I went ahead and made another one this time incorporating some contrasting pink fabric and a dual color embroidered Mickey Mouse!

second applique

I think it came out great! If I were to do this piece over I would avoid the slight puckering around the Mickey by either using iron on stabilizer, thicker fabric or just not pulling the pink fabric so tight onto the hoop. However, for this being a first try, I am very satisfied with the results!

So all in all it was a phenomenal week playing around with the new Brother Innov-is 990D Combination Sewing and Embroidery Machine with built in Disney Designs! Up until now it’s been all about learning and experimenting. Next phase I will begin incorporating my own creative elements, so please be sure to tune in again next week, for the debut my first step-by-step Brother project tutorial!

 Disclosure of Material Connections:

I am proud to be a Brother International Corporation sponsored blogger presenting truthful and accurate experiences with products provided by the Home Sewing & Embroidery Division of Brother.

Product Review of Innov-is 990D Combination Sewing & Embroidery Machine with Built in Disney Designs

 Hello friends! I’ve got some exciting news to share with you today! I am the proud new owner of my first home sewing and embroidery machine! I recently joined forces with Brother Home Sewing and Embroidery and they are kindly sponsoring my journey into the world of sewing and machine embroidery!

 I’ve actually been sewing ever since I was a little kid. My mother and I took mother daughter sewing lessons together with the late Marilyn Goddard. As a teacher, Marilyn was a total stickler for details. I remember fondly creating my first button down collar shirt with a paper pattern, following all the intricate tailoring details correctly. The project took me so long that, by the time I’d finished the shirt I had literally OUTGROWN it!

Ever since that experience, I’ve had a tendency to gravitate toward projects that are quick and easy. I’ve had the opportunity to explore so many different project materials and techniques, but after seeing what wonderful projects my friend Linda Chilcott had created with machine embroidery, the technique had remained one of my “bucket list crafts” for quite some time. That is, until NOW…

Brother has been so kind as to provide me with one of their new state of the art Innov-is 990D Combination Sewing & Embroidery machines with built-in Disney designs! They also sent me several rolls of stabilizer and an assortment of polyester embroidery thread in a multitude of beautiful colors!

I must admit the reason machine embroidery remained a “bucket list craft” for so long was because, truthfully I was intimidated. I don’t have a lot of free time and I assumed that it would be a difficult and lengthy process for me to figure out how to use the machines, so I kept putting it off. Until now, when I decided to take the leap and finally try my hand at machine embroidery and boy was I wrong!

I started out with good intentions by first picking up the manual that came with the machine, contrary to my usual impatient style of just charging forward. The instructions in the manual were quite easy to follow and a few pages into chapter one, I was thrilled to discover that this machine actually contains a built in help application. This feature literally shows step-by-step illustrations on the screen on how to thread the machine, wind bobbins, replace the needle, etc. Right then I thought to myself, well so far so good – you can DO THIS GIRL! It was quite a relief!


I had no problem getting the machine threaded, so I forgot all about the manual and just started experimenting with lots of different stitch patterns. During the process, I noticed something. This machine has so many automated features that make sewing really easy and efficient! I particularly love the automatic thread cutter, needle threading lever, automatic backstitch feature and the button that lifts the needle up and down. Previously, I’d been sewing with the same old machine I’d had since childhood, so I had not realized how far technology had come!

Before even picking up the manual for a second time, I’d stitched buttonholes in various sizes, rows of cute alligators and my son and husband’s names in different fonts. I even figured out how to create my own custom stitch pattern of repeating alligators chasing hearts. Needless to say, that was a very proud moment for me! Between the vast varieties of stitch patterns and ability to create different combinations of them all, I realized there is no end to the creative possibilities that this machine offers! And yet, I hadn’t even begun to scratch the surface of actual machine embroidery! So, I figured if everything up until now was this easy, what have I got to lose!

So I picked back up the manual and guess what? Within minutes I was creating my first piece of machine embroidery, a modern joyful Mickey Mouse in profile! I was working very carefully, reading the manual, getting everything set up and following the directions step by step. Then I got to the step where I press the start button, and before I realized what was happening, Mickey quickly began appearing before my very eyes! I could not believe how easily this was all happening! I shouted downstairs to my son Joey to see the Mickey in progress! You could not imagine my delight when he immediately bolted up to my sewing room and enthusiastically exclaimed, “That is so COOL!” Mind you, my ten-year-old son is what I refer to as “craft spoiled”. Indeed it’s a very rare occasion when I actually impress him with one of my crafts. So naturally, I was thrilled thinking of all the fun ways we could bond over our new found passion of machine embroidery!

The Innov-is 990DCombination Sewing & Embroidery machine comes pre-loaded with 35 designs featuring Disney characters! Brother is the official licensee of Disney Embroidery Designs and is the only manufacturer to offer embroidery machines with built-in Disney designs as well as downloadable Disney designs on their exclusive embroidery download site, iBroidery.com. It also comes with 105 built in embroidery designs, 6 embroidery lettering fonts (in addition to the stitched fonts in my photo), 168 stitch styles and 120 frame pattern combinations. I haven’t even gotten into the frame patterns yet, but that’s what is so exciting about this new collaboration with Brother! I get to learn how to use this awesome machine and you get to join me in the adventure! Together we will start off simple as beginners by learning the basics, and before you know it we will be creating all sorts of fun and inspiring projects together!

So stay tuned! The adventure of a lifetime begins today!

Disclosure of Material Connections:

I am proud to be a Brother International Corporation sponsored blogger presenting truthful and accurate experiences with products provided by the Home Sewing & Embroidery Division of Brother.