Wendy's Party Dress

The versatility of the designs in Janome's Blackwork collection makes them as suitable for clothing as for home dec projects. And to make it easier to combine the designs into your own unique combinations, Janome has built in a color change at possible connecting points right into the designs.

Use this sewing project as an introduction to combining Blackwork designs as well as a brief refresher course on how to use the layout features of Janome's Customizer software and Clothsetter table.

This project was created by
Waka Yasuoka,
Educator, Janome Tokyo.

Janome Supplies Used

  • Memory Craft 11000
  • Clothsetter Table
  • Customizer 11000 software
  • Janome Embroidery thread
Fabrics and Notions used

  • Approx. 3 yds. 100% wool gabardine in winter white
  • Your choice of pattern
  • Air-soluble marker
  • Ruler
  • Pins
Create and layout design

Option A:
Download free design and use Customizer to layout design to fit width of skirt. Click here to download sample Blackwork design.

Option B:
Use Customizer to create design by combining elements from Blackwork collection

1. Calculate the size of design required.

For reference, with the pattern we used, the front (half) of the skirt measured 47.5 cm and the back (half) measured 29 cm to give a total of 95 cm for the front and 58 cm for the back.
For best results, we arranged the embroidery designs so that the combinations begin from the center of the skirt and progress out to the sides. Accordingly, we prepared two sets of design data, one from the center to the right and one from the center to the left and made the design slightly longer than necessary to make it easier to align the pattern at the seams.

2. Create the center-to-right design.
  1. In Customizer, select New and set the number of sheets as follows:
    Horizontal: 3 Vertical: 2.
    Click Layout to enter Layout Mode.
  2. Next, select the embroidery hoop to be used by selecting Edit > Change Layout Size… and select Hoop SQ from the pull-down Hoop Size menu.
  3. b_15double.jef
    Import b_15.jef, make a copy and rotate the copy 180º. Save the newly created design as a new file (e.g. b_15double.jef) to simplify the rest of the design layout process.
  4. Arrange multiple copies of b_18.jef in a row across the width of your design aligning the connecting elements as shown below. Magnify your design using View > Zoom In for easier alignment.
  1. Above the design created in d. arrange b_01.jef next to b_20.jef in a row and copy to fill the width of the design using the Copy icon.
  2. Take a moment to combine the border you have created. Click on the Combine icon and drag the hoop outline to enclose the left-most portion of the design. Click OK to confirm the combine function. Repeat for the rest of the design, each time slightly overlapping the area previously combined.
  3. Create the upper portion of the border by copying the design combined above in f. and flip it vertically using the Flip Vertical icon.
  4. Import design b_17.jef and arrange multiple copies between the borders created in f. and g. as desired.
  5. Import design b_15double.jef created above and arrange randomly above the border as shown below. Reduce the size of the design as you approach the waist for a nice balance.
  6. Combine the designs further using the Combine icon to reduce the number of fabric hoopings required.
  7. Save your design.
    We recommend saving your design as both an embroidery data (.jef) file that can be read by your sewing machine and an editable layout file (.clf). Use File > Save As… to set the file type.

3. Stitch out a test sample of your design
  1. Transfer your design to your sewing machine via ATA card, USB memory or USB cable and open the design in the machine.
    Note: The design will show with both and gray areas, with the connecting points being in gray. The number of color changes will depend on the number of individual designs. To reduce the number of times the machine will stop for a color change, open the Edit screen and simply press OK.
  2. Stabilize and hoop test fabric and attach hoop to your machine.
  3. Begin stitching out the test sample.
    Note: Stitching will pause at each connecting point for a color change. Do not stitch this single connecting point. Skip to the next section by pressing the next page key and resume sewing.
  4. If you find your design is misaligned when you test sew, open your saved layout file (.clf) and adjust as needed.

4. Create the center-to-left design
  1. Open the center-to-right design you have created.
  2. Click on a combined section of the design to select it. Ignore and close the Preview Parts box when it appears.
  3. Create a mirror image of each combined design using the Flip Horizontal icon and drag the flipped images to line up in reverse order from the right most side of the layout.
  4. Repeat for the rest of the design.
  5. Save your design.
  6. Test stitch the new design as described above in 3.
Prepare fabric for embroidering
1. Cutting your fabric from the pattern
  1. For easier alignment at the side seams of the skirt, roughly cut your fabric pieces for the skirt slightly larger than your pattern.
  2. Mark the original pattern size with a water or air-soluble marker.
  3. For the back of the skirt, it is recommended to first seam together the back pieces and baste together the where the zipper will be placed.

2. Stabilize your fabric

For this project we recommend stabilizing your fabric with water-soluble fabric-type (not film) stabilizer. With continuous designs such as these used for the border, tear-away and cut-away stabilizers are difficult to remove properly and may interfere with the fluidity of the skirt hem.

3. Use your Clothsetter Table for perfect placement
Be sure to calibrate your Clothsetter Table to your sewing machine before using it for the first time. Click here for printable directions on how to calibrate your Clothsetter Table.
  1. Print the templates for your designs to use for marking where you will embroider on the fabric. Click File > Print or click on the print icon in the menu bar to print actual sized templates of your designs.
  2. Begin with the bottom-left template of the center-to-right design. Puncture a small hole in the template at each end of the positioning lines (total of four points). Position the template on top of your fabric.
  3. Use a water-erasable marker to mark through the holes onto the fabric. Join the dots to make a cross-line on the fabric and mark an arrow to indicate the top of the design.
  4. Set the fabric on the Clothsetter Table.
  5. Match the lines on the fabric with the lines on the swing-down arm of the Clothsetter.
  6. Secure the fabric in the hoop at this position and place the hoop on the sewing machine.
  7. Repeat for the remainder of the designs.
Assemble dress
When the embroidery has been completed, continue assembling the dress according to the pattern directions.

Click here to download a printer-friendly version of this project.