Hello! My name is Tiffany Hooper (Ironic, yes) or as everyone has come to know me in the last 15 years, Tiffany Stitches. I started very young on a sewing machine, mending and altering clothing. With a passion for the industry, I took courses on Fashion Production in high school. It’s granted me some of the most unique and influential experiences. Starting my career taking seamstress jobs as a stay-at-home-mom, I made my name quickly, locally, amongst bridal parties. I catered to entire parties in home and offered a comfortable personal experience for a usually stressed bride. When you sew, people assume automatically that you offer embroidery services. I was always asked if I could put a date on a kerchief, personalize groomsmen and bridesmaids’ gifts.
So, I invested in a small dual sewing/embroidery machine, and pushed it to the very limit. It had a 4 x 4 sewing field and I did incredible things with it. I was familiarized with the very basics of digitizing software, using an auto wizard to convert images mostly and just taking what I could get, as I couldn’t edit the stitches with this software. I was still maxing out possibilities with that machine when I took a job opportunity at a local print shop, Printboy. At first there was not a commercial machine in the shop and I learned how to screen print. The ins and outs of using an auto-press and understanding artwork and separations were fun and challenging, all while taking side jobs on that same machine.
One year into working at Printboy, we were finally able to offer embroidery as a new in-house service. We acquired a brand-new Melco EMT16 through my boss’s family member, who had chosen the machine after seeing it at a convention. Drawn to the versatility of the machine, which after experience with it, I confirm completely.
At first, I was too intimidated to even use it. But after diving in head first into learning the DesignShop software and applying my screen-printing knowledge to the artwork, I took off running. The software was a breath of fresh air compared to what I was used to, and I love being able to manipulate my design down to the stitch.
My first thoughts on the machine itself, I was loving every inch of the large sew field, and HATS!!! I could do hats with no problem at all! Switching the arms and hoops took no time at all, and I only have gotten quicker with that over time. Three years later, the machine continues to impress through experience. I am still learning every day about it
My primary market has become patches and Tattoo shops, I believe that is a reflection of my personal style. I utilize the forums and Melco Live feeds on Facebook often for help and tips. I have also had great experience with my Melco Tech, Juliet Collura. She was very helpful and generous with her knowledge of the machine to a newcomer like me. I am very grateful for her help, as well as all of the help from the Melco community. I look forward to producing new designs on my machine every day.