These designs feature either an owl or a trio of owls sitting on a branch, which extends farther to the right than the left. Asymmetrical designs like this require extra care when placing the design on your project. To quote my friend Kaycee, "Scrolls, swirls and tails generally should be mostly ignored. Center the "BULK" of the design or font. That's my rule of thumb anyway :)" It's MY rule of thumb, too! As much as it pains this mathematician to say it, often the technical center of a design is not the most visually pleasing. Even if you measure and mark the exact center of your shirt and perfectly center the embroidery design file, it may look off when you are all done.
Before proceeding, I have some required reading for you. Please follow this link to read "Centering those Off-Center Appliques" by Rosemary of Applique Cafe. She does a great job explaining the situation with several visuals, showing how she accounts for off-center designs within her software before heading to the embroidery machine. Most of the time I use a similar technique. Go read and come right back. :)
In the case of this design however, the design completely filled the width of my hoop and I couldn't shift it left or right. The black line represents the center of the design. But the blue line shows where the center should fall to be the most visually pleasing. It's about 15mm off. And it's amazing what a difference 15mm can make!
For this pink shirt I folded it in half vertically and made a little mark with my water soluble pen where the center of the shirt was. I knew I wanted to shift my design 15mm to the right so the center of the owl lined up with the center of the shirt.I laid my hoop down in the appropriate spot and then marked my design placement. I'm sorry this is a terrible picture. I started composing this blog post in my head too late to get good pictures so I just grabbed my phone. Can you see the little mark on my shirt 15mm to the left of the center of my template?
I folded my shirt in half, pressing the center line:
Then since I wanted to shift my design 10mm to the right, I laid my hoop with the center axis 10mm to the right of my fold (kind of hard to see...) I marked the center and axes, drew my lines and hooped it!
Hope that helps save you from stitching a flawless embroidery design, removing it from the hoop and thinking, MAN, that does NOT look right!! :)