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Designs & Orders

What Does ITH stand for?

ITH stands for In-The-Hoop. It’s a term used in machine embroidery to imply that something is not just embroidered but actually sewn by the embroidery machine. The Doll designs at Ballyhoo Creations (faces & seams) are stitched by your embroidery machine. That’s what ITH means. Once you see how easy it is – you might get hooked and rarely use your sewing machine for small projects again.

Do you give Refunds on Digital Designs?

As a general rule, refunds are not given on digital orders in the industry as a whole.  Use the Contact page if you have extenuating circumstances.  Or view the site Terms & Conditions.

Do you ever have sales?

Not very often.  But there are two times per year when designs go on sale, and sometimes seasonal or new designs will be specially priced.  If you're looking to save money, check out our Memberships, which are the best deal on the site.

Why do Download Links Expire?

This is a limitation with my website software and currently there is no way to fix it.  (I'm so sorry!!!)  Download links expire after 30 days.  You can always contact me to refresh your design download links.  But your safest bet is to download your designs right away and setup a good storage, organization, and backup system for your design collection.  I've got a whole video and blog post to help with that.  How to Save, Backup, and Organize your Machine Embroidery Design Files

Machine Embroidery

Which file format does your machine need?

I wrote a whole lot about that. Here you go…

Which File Format Does Your Embroidery Machine Use?

How Do I transfer files to my embroidery machine??

I’ve written a lot about that – here ya go!
How To Easily Transfer Designs to your Embroidery Machine

Can I resize these designs?

The honest answer is…it depends. Designs with lots of satin or fill stitches don’t resize very well, so most suppliers of embroidery designs discourage resizing. I agree with them.
BUT if you’re stitching a face design from Ballyhoo which are mostly outline stitches, or an in-the-hoop design that are just seams, those typically can be resized bigger or smaller by as much as 50% larger or smaller with few issues. The stitch length will change and if you make them too small, your needles might not be able to stitch through dense stitches. 
You never know until you try. Always test first before you embroider on your expensive materials!

Threads are too loose in my seams - can this be fixed?

YES!!  This Could be machine threading –  Make sure your machine is threaded properly according to the manufacturer of your machine.  Also be sure the presser foot is UP when you thread – otherwise the thread might not “catch” in the tension disk properly.
It Could also be that your tension needs to be adjusted for this project. Seams for in-the-hoop projects require more tension than regular machine embroidery to get the seams “tight.” More expensive machines can compensate for this but entry level machines will need a manual adjustment. increase upper thread tension to somewhere between 4-5 for better results. (internet search your machine and tension to find answers on the web)

Bobbin thread is showing on the top of designs, can I fix this?

Yes!  Is your bobbin threaded correctly? Be sure the thread is running through the tension area of the bobbin case.
Your top thread tension is too tight, causing the bobbin thread to be pulled onto the top of the fabric.  Most often this is caused by improper threading – check your manual. 
Or your thread might be caught on something and not flowing properly.  Watch the machine stitch to see if this is the case.  Be sure your thread is not running through the bobbin tension disk or wrapped around a machine part where it doesn’t belong. (we’ve all done it!)
If you’re sure the machine is threaded properly, you can decrease the tension of the top thread to see if that helps.  

Doll Making

What Fabric works best with Ballyhoo Art Doll Designs?

Most of the cloth characters and dolls work best with stretch fabrics. Each set of instructions tells you the suggested fabrics for that project.
For 5 skin tones of cotton stretch knit, I love the fabric at A Child’s Dream.  I have also used stretchy tank tops successfully for doll skin.   Cotton or rayon with spandex are great, and so is tricot for a smoother skin.  Another favorite place where I buy skin-tone stretch fabrics is ElCentenarioFab on Etsy where you can find cotton spandex that is extra stretchy.
For the body and clothing, you can use any stretch fabric for poseable dolls.  Try it with upcycled clothing!  And if posing characters is not important to you, then any fabric can be used if your machine can stitch through it and you can turn it right-side-out.
You should know – stretch knits are easier to turn right-side-out and they won’t fray like a woven fabric.  

Do I need to use Wires inside these art dolls?

Wiring the characters is optional!  Many of my customers make art dolls without the wire armatures.
Sometimes you can use pipe cleaners for light duty armatures in arms or hands.  But for the dolls to stand on their own and be posed, you’ll need a heavier wire like 1/8" thick armature wire.  For the complete tutorial on building and inserting a wire armature for Ballyhoo Art Dolls, watch the full video tutorial on armatures.
Helpful links:  Here are my affiliate links to armature wire on Amazon where I will earn a small commission if you buy through these links:  Thick Armature Wire and Thin Armature Wire.  You can also find armature wire at Micheal’s Craft store in the polymer clay aisle.


What's the deal with hemostats?

I mention hemostats in almost every video tutorial and tools list.  I couldn’t live without them.  Call me the hemostat evangelist.
You can try using other tools for turning and stuffing.  Tweezers can work to turn & stuff small items like facial features.  A stuffing fork or chopstick can work on some items, if you’re patient. 
But if you learn how to use hemostats, your sewing projects may become much less frustrating.
Plus, you can buy a small pair at Walmart for under $5 (look in the fishing aisle!)  That’s less than a Starbucks!  Or you can find all sizes at Amazon like this large pair or small pair. (those are amazon affiliate links)

How do you make the butt or other body sculptures on those art dolls?

It’s the magic of stretch fabric!  After the project is stuffed, slide a ball of stuffing between the stretch fabric and stabilizer to “pad” different body parts.  It helps to use a glue stick on the stuffing so it sticks to the stabilizer.
Want some junk in the trunk?  Add two wads of stuffing back there.  A big bosum?  Two wads on the chest.  A beer belly?  Slide some stuffing over the tummy.  Play around with hips, shoulders, biceps, whatever you want!
Using stretch fabric over your stabilizer makes these doll bodies very customizable.

How in the world do you turn these tiny parts right side out?


  • Be sure there is no extra bulk in the small parts like arms or hands.

  • Follow project instructions for materials as closely as possible, because heavier fabric or extra lining and stabilizer can make the seams too bulky and it won’t turn.

  • Try a tear-away stabilizer and tear it away from the arms after removing the project from the hoop.

  • small pair of hemostats makes turning much easier! Start at the hand and work slowly.

  • Watch the video for tips on turning small parts. It can be found on this page with the dollmaking series.

Courses, Memberships, and Events

This section is still under construction as I wait to gather your questions on these new features at Ballyhoo Creations. ( ͡~ ͜ʖ ͡°)

Don't see an answer to your question here?

Head over to our Forum to get help from the Ballyhoo Community or send me a message using the Contact Form.

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