In the Hoop Embroidery – Part 2

This is the second part of a two-part series about In the Hoop Machine Embroidery and introduces Sisters In Stitches. Click HERE for Part 1: Reen Wilcoxson, Embroidery Garden Master.

Anne Van Dyken & Edna Strom Sisters In Stitches

Anne Van Dyken & Edna Strom
Sisters In Stitches

Sisters In Stitches is a business that actually originated with an original “In The Hoop” idea.

Sisters Edna and Anne grew up in Montana, in a family with 12 children. Making Barbie doll clothes was a big part of their childhood.

Fast forward . . . the sisters got married and raised their families six states apart. In 2003, Anne’s family was visiting Edna’s. Edna’s daughter asked if they could make her some Barbie doll clothes.

There was a moment when Anne was making Barbie clothes, and Edna was at the computer playing with the embroidery software. The light came on almost simultaneously! Could they digitize the doll pattern into the software and not have to use the paper pattern?

Anne tossed a Barbie shirt and capri pants that she had cut out. Edna scanned and decorated them with musical notes and stitched them out.

Eureka!! No more cutting out using those tiny paper pattern pieces! One HUGE fussy step eliminated.

In the Hoop Embroidery Sisters In Stitches

Sisters In Stitches

They started to experiment. What about jeans and all the detailed stitching? CHECK!! They looked great! Perfect topstitching every time — Thank you, embroidery machine. Two fussy steps eliminated.

But what about the tiny armholes and neck facings? ¼” Steam-a-seam to the rescue! Three fussy steps eliminated.

They shared their designs and construction techniques with a few friends. People loved it.

Edna says, “The easiest way to explain our process is to compare it to stamped fabric from years ago. It was stamped with Barbie clothes, stuffed animals, aprons, etc. You cut them out and sew them together and you were done. That’s what we are doing using the embroidery machine. But you get to pick the fabric, you pick the threads and watch it stitch. The embellishment is always where it’s supposed to be. When the machine is done, you cut it out and sew it together. By simply changing the fabric or the threads you can make the same outfit many times and they will all be different.”

They decided to create more designs and burn them to CDs. Sisters In Stitches was born. The business name has many meanings. They are sisters by blood and in heart, they sew a lot, and they laugh often (keeping each other in stitches, get it?).

Mastering Machine Embroidery In The Hoop is Easy . . . and Fun! Sisters In Stitches In the Hoop Embroidery

Mastering Machine Embroidery In The Hoop is Easy . . . and Fun!
Sisters In Stitches

In 2004, they went to a Machine Embroidery Enthusiasts Convention in Las Vegas. They had four CDs of Barbie clothes — Dresses, Tops, Pants and Vests. Their first In The Hoop designs were the HIT OF THE SHOW.

They built a basic website, and began to design other “In The Hoop” projects. Knowing the 18” doll was the new darling of little girls everywhere — they developed some patterns that would work for the American Girl.

Edna says, “Our best customers are a three-generation group. The granddaughter chooses the outfits she wants, her mom pays for them and grandma has the embroidery machine and the time to make them.

Our most successful events have been ‘Grandma and Me’ classes. Using their fabric of choice, adding some fun and glitzy threads, Grandma walks her granddaughter through the process of garment construction and there is pure joy on every face. It’s a fun class. Sewing machine stores use this class to ‘justify’ the purchase of an embroidery/sewing machine. Nothing gives a grandma ‘permission’ to buy the machine quicker than a grandchild looking up at her and saying ‘Please grandma, can we make more together?’”

Here’s the very best thing about having SEWING as a hobby. It’s never going to be just one thing. Maybe you love sewing simple ragged edge flannel blankets. Or you might be in the mood to learn how to digitize designs with your new embroidery software. Perhaps your granddaughter is excited about making doll clothes. Or this could be the day you finally piece together the quilt blocks from the Splendid Sampler™.

But no matter what you’re sewing — sooner or later — what you make becomes a gift you give to somebody you love.

And what hobby could be better than that?

In the hoop Machine Embroidery 18" Doll Celebration, #D016 Sisters In Stitches

18″ Doll Celebration, #D016
Sisters In Stitches


  1. The story of yours are really amazing. two sisters starting from the bottom and now are in a good position. But how do we get your designs from CD’s

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