Behind the Scenes of the Winter 2020 Stitched Party

It’s fast. It’s furious. It’s your favorite machine embroidery game show….STITCHED! (Wild applause goes here.) 

And if I were giving an award acceptance speech right now, I'd give thanks to The Bella Box. You see, Stitched would not be possible without The Bella Box. Kimberbell's machine embroidery box is filled to the brim with everything needed to make SEVEN cozy and creative projects: exclusive design files, full-color, step-by-step instructions, complete fabric kits, and a variety of Kimberbellishments.

We also throw in product samples, collector's items, SIX bonus designs...and, of course, the invitation to attend the Stitched party. The Bella Box is absolutely packed with goodies, as anyone who has received one will attest. (If you've missed out on The Bella Box, click here to order yours today!)

Now, on with the show: Stitched is a friendly competition between three Kimberbell teams, all vying to win the coveted golden spool trophy.  So, "Let’s start at the very beginning,” as Maria Von Trapp is known to say, and take a behind the scenes look at Kimberbell’s Winter 2020 Stitched party.

As you might imagine, an event like this takes some time and effort to pull off. The first order of business was to figure out which of the Kimberbell staff would be good team leads, and the second order of business was to actually ask (i.e. cajole, persuade, entice) them to do it. As it turns out, Jeanette, Joy, and Robert didn't take too much cajoling, persuading, and/or enticing. We just gave them candy and they said okay.  And that's how we roll here at Kimberbell. :)

You see, it's a truth universally acknowledged that when asking someone to be on reality T.V., you should do everything you can to sweeten the deal. (Literally.) So Audrey made a candy poster for Jeanette, Joy, and Robert and personally delivered them to their respective offices. I thought this a brilliant move. I mean, how could anyone possibly say no to a candy letter? It would be like turning down a date to the prom. (With Kimberbell!) I do recall hearing a scream from Joy's office when the poster was delivered and took that as a good sign. 

With team leads in place, we now needed to figure out who the other contestants should be and ask them to participate, too, although they didn’t get a candy letter. (Shhhhhh, don’t tell.) We ultimately decided on Ashley, Sharon, Jenn, Wayne, Madi, Jake, Sheirah, and Katie, all from different departments at Kimberbell and some of whom had never touched an embroidery machine in their lives. It should also be noted that the participants had no idea which team they’d be on until the BIG NIGHT. Their reactions put the "real" in "reality T.V."

And what is a show without a set? We film Stitched in the Product Development Lab, which is a major rearranging effort in and of itself. As far as atmosphere this time, we wanted a simple, inviting vibe: soft lighting, warm throws, woodsy pine boughs...all of which had to do with the hyggelig theme of this Bella Box and nothing whatsoever to do with our wanting to minimize the cleanup effort afterwards. (We may or may not remember how long it took to take everything down after last year's Stitched.) And since nothing says “cozy” like face masks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing signs on the floor, we made sure to “decorate” with plenty of those, too.

As Kim, Ryan, and the contestants took their places, the air thrummed with a tangible excitement. It was time to start! The camera people pushed their magic technological buttons and just like that, Stitched was rolling. Although the show was pre-filmed to ensure the best viewing experience for you, there were no retakes. No script. No teleprompters. Just 30 minutes of a raw, gritty, in-your-face fight to the finish, brought to you by the competitive Kimberbell teams. It was time to get serious about winning that trophy! Here's what a few of the contestants have to say about their Stitched experience:

From Jenn: “I was so excited to be asked to participate. As the office manager at Kimberbell, my job doesn’t include daily experience with the embroidery machines. It was fun to try so many of our great products and it’s amazing how fast the time goes. I loved working with my team, Jeanette and Wayne!”

From Wayne:

“There was definitely some smack talk happening behind the scenes, but I don’t know if the other teams could hear us because of our masks. Thirty minutes never felt so short--it flew by! I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I’m new to the embroidery and sewing world and had never watched an episode of Stitched, so I really went in blind. I was AMAZED by how these minds work and how quickly they can sew and make super-cute items. They were patient with me being a first-time embroiderer and I really gained respect and admiration for what they do.”

From Jeanette:

“I was just a little stressed, hoping our project would be creative enough! While I was stitching the tree skirt, part of it caught under the wheel of the chair I was on, which stained the fabric (luckily, it was on the very back red panel). We had wanted Kimberbell Twine for tying the note to Santa, but there wasn’t any so we ended up using part of the red fabric strip that was going to be thrown away.”

From Sheirah: “So, I wasn’t on a team, I was a helper. But I enjoyed listening to the talk as we got ready to start. The team leads were hoping for certain people to be on their teams and asking things like, “Who is a good sewer?” and “Have you ever used a machine before?” As the competition began, it was fun to guess what the teams were doing. "Is he stuffing a turkey?" (See left.) "What are they using those squares for?"  As time passed, Katie and I were able to ooh and ahh over what they were making and worry over the countdown clock. "Hurry, put his nose on!" "Are they going to make it?"

So, here's how Stitched worked: each team was given a different Kimberbell Blank and 30 minutes to create a project. Teams had to use at least one Winter 2020 bonus design, the Wool Felt Balls from The Bella Box, and at least three Kimberbellishments (with a maximum of five). Teams were allowed to use any item from The Bella Box, as well as any Kimberbell fabric. Team Orange, Team Grey, and Team Blue pulled out all the stops!

Team Orange was given a Buffalo Check Tote, so they took Embroidery Felt, Lace Zippers, and The Bella Box bonus designs and made a portable Gnome Bag Game Board. The outside even included a darling Zipper Pouch Blank pocket (for storing the Wool Felt Ball game pieces) AND a functional spinner from one of the Snow Globe designs! The idea is that if you're going to a friend's home for a cozy evening, you can bring this on-the-go game to enjoy. So clever, Team Orange! 

Team Grey was given a Baby Bodysuit to work with. How in the world do you transform a Baby Bodysuit?

You turn it into a garden gnome, of course! Look at this lovable guy with his bulbous Embroidery Felt nose, shaggy Cuddle® beard, and pointed Dots & Stripes Tea Towel hat topped with a Wool Felt Ball. They used Applique Glitter Sheets for holly leaves and gloves, named him "Gnome for the Holidays," and immediately proclaimed him a member of their team.

I tell you, the creative geniuses around here just BLOW. MY. MIND.


Team Blue came with guns ablazin' (see above), ready to make something amazing with their Zipper Pouch Blank. And boy, did they ever! This talented team stitched an elegant Christmas tree skirt from Kimberbell fabric, which they embellished with Embroidery Felt, Tassels & Poms, Applique Glitter, and Wool Felt Balls. The Zipper Pouch was attached in the front as a mail bag for Santa, and the whole thing was adorned with The Bella Box snow globe bonus designs. Wow.

In addition to seeing Kimberbell creativity at work, the Stitched party was just plain fun in other ways. Kim and Ryan were fantastic hosts, and the evening was peppered with trivia questions, witty banter, and good feelings all around. And remember, although anyone can view Stitched (just click this link!), only those who purchase The Bella Box can receive the SIX bonus designs, so order yours today before they're gone! Because once they're gone...well, they're gone. (How's that for profound? It's true, though.) :)

After the competition was finished and the directors yelled "Cut!" (Okay, so I don't actually remember whether or not they yelled "Cut!" but let's just say they did), all that remained was to clean up, upload the video to YouTube, and remind people to watch it. Now, I could tell you of a few nail-biting, heart-stopping moments that went along with uploading the video...but everything worked out and I'm happy to report that the people involved have made a full recovery. ;) As the show aired, we got to interact with those who were watching--and every time a new comment popped up, I just smiled. It was like hosting the biggest party ever, and we loved welcoming each participant!

Oh, and who won, you ask? Well, after a few days of voting on social media by our viewers, it was determined that (drumroll, please...)

The Grey Team ("Gnome for the Holidays") took the golden spool trophy this time! So, back to that acceptance speech I kicked this post off with...

Thank you, our Kimberbella (and Fella) friends, for watching, for supporting, and for enjoying Stitched with us. The Bella Box and the participants may be the creative force behind Stitched, but YOU are the heart and the whole reason we do the show.

We can't wait to see you next time!

by Jenny Lyman




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