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Homemade or Handmade... Really? Why do people feel the need to label how something was sewn together? I have created fabric items, starting when I was 7, and always considered them "custom made!".  "Custom Made" means made special for...

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Thread breaks when sewing! One of the most frustrating things which happens when you're sewing with your machine is when the thread breaks! Not only does it slow you down, but sometimes, decorative stitches being created have...

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Kathleen’s Easy Peesy Iron Up Hem Guide This is one of the most useful tools I use when sewing.  For years I have hand made my own to use, then tossing out when they get “used up”.  I hope you will find this as handy and useful in your...

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A Fix For Fabric Not Cut Straight From A Store I am starting a little project on some linen fabric as a gift.  When checking the fabric in the store, I knew I would not get an accurate cut on the crosswise grain of the fabric.  This crosswise grainline...

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Bridesmaid Dresses   The now famous "infinity" style dress was the style my daughter selected for her wedding.  I flew back to Memphis where we made 4 in one day.  There are few (2 seams) and a little elastic...

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Homemade or Handmade… Really?

Category : Design, Sewing Tips

Why do people feel the need to label how something was sewn together? I have created fabric items, starting when I was 7, and always considered them “custom made!”.  “Custom Made” means made special for a specific purpose with specific requirements.   Yes, I have been well paid to create garments for people, and I dare say they don’t say simply “homemade” or “handmade” if asked where they got it!  When you have poured your heart and soul into a creation, lift up your definition of what you created!  Remember, if asked, “did you made it?” you can always say, it was “custom made” just for me… add a wink to the end of that statement if you want.

 

wink

 

Happy “Custom Sewing”,

 

Thread breaks when sewing!

Category : Sewing Tips

Broken Thread

One of the most frustrating things which happens when you’re sewing with your machine is when the thread breaks! Not only does it slow you down, but sometimes, decorative stitches being created have to be removed back to a good starting point, before you can continue.

If the problem persist here are some things to take into consideration:

  • Are you using the correct size needle for the size of thread. Remember there is a grove that runs down the back side of your needle that must be large enough for the thread to fit in when it travels with the needle. You can check for this if the thread passes easily through the eye of the needle. If these are not compatible, you will have to change one to create a fit.
  • Look at the quality of your thread. Less expensive thread may seem like a good “value” but if you inspect it you may find slubs, knots or kinks which cause of like of uniformity. Thread weakens as it ages and dust that may have accumulated on the threads.
  • Check to make sure the needle is inserted correctly, sharp and tightened well in place.
  • You have threaded the machine incorrectly? Remove all the thread and rethread.
  • Feel with your finger, while the machine is turned off, for any rough nicks on the metal parts of your machine where the needle travels. Sometime nicks are created when there is a broken needle and can cause future threads to be caught and cut on the nicks. You may need to purchase a new throat plate or parts of the bobbin case, or have the nicks filed down to smooth.
  • Check for correct tension. Remember the tighter the tension, the more it holds the thread tighter… too tight it will break.
  • Check for lint build up, especially under and around the throat plate, remove it!
  • If you have checked out all these things and your thread continues to break, you machine may need to be serviced.

Child-Sewing-Machine

Kathleen’s Easy Peesy Iron Up Hem Guide

Category : My Sewing Room, Sewing Tips, Sewing Tools

This is one of the most useful tools I use when sewing.  For years I have hand made my own to use, then tossing out when they get “used up”.  I hope you will find this as handy and useful in your sewing as I have.  Follow the images below to see how I use this device.

 

Download Sewing With Kathleen Easy Hem Guide This is the improved guide!

 

IMG_0725IMG_0726IMG_0728IMG_0729When the card is “used up” just print out a new one and keep sewing. Contunue Reading

A Fix For Fabric Not Cut Straight From A Store

Category : Fabric Information, featured, Sewing Tips

I am starting a little project on some linen fabric as a gift.  When checking the fabric in the store, I knew I would not get an accurate cut on the crosswise grain of the fabric.  This crosswise grainline is made with the filler or  “welf” yarn.  This is not the stronger of the two yarns used when constructing fabric, and will stretch more than the lengthwise or “warp” yarns.

Move your eyes across the cut edge and note it does NOT follow the textured filler yarn.

A way to correct the cut edge is to find the shortest end of the cut.  See how the folded edge is cut!

 

Find the shortest cut edge and pull the filler single thread.  Start to gently pull this one yarn.

Remember it is not a strong yarn so go carefully, and don’t be disheartened if it breaks.

With the tip of a ripper carefully lift the end of a broken thread and continue pulling.

 

When you get to the end, press to give a clear reveal of the true grain line and re cut the store cut end of the fabric.

Now you have a straight edge with a true grain line.

If the old store cut edge was used, rather than correcting the cut edge, this would be the grain line showing on a finished project.

The fabric would want to stretch and twist with use.  Obviously it would look amateurish.

Take a little time to look carefully at your woven grain lines, you will be much happier with your project.  When staying true to your grain line, the project will be easier to construct and look lovely.

Happy Stitching

 

 

Bridesmaid Dresses

Category : Design, My Projects

 

The now famous “infinity” style dress was the style my daughter selected for her wedding.  I flew back to Memphis where we made 4 in one day.  There are few (2 seams) and a little elastic attached, and that is all one uses a sewing machine to accomplish.  No hems or handwork needed!  My daughter did all the sewing and I helped with cutting and the pins!  The trick is in the cutting and then how each maid selects to tie her dress.  There are an abundance of youtube clips on how this can be done.  This picture is of my beautiful daughter in law and the grand girls!

The fabric is a four way stretch from Designer Alley Fabrics.  This was a wonderful online store, and very helpful.  I recommend getting swatches for accurate color and “‘hand” (feeling/thickness) of the fabric.  They get a big gold star from me!

 

 

 

Sewing ADD

Category : My Sewing Room

 

Holidays always remind me I really should clean up my sewing room.  Here is a cute story about sewing ADD so many sewers develop!

Spring Cleaning

http://popser.com/Cleaning.html

P.S.  I know I’m not alone since I just Googled Images of  “sewing room disasters”.

I Loved Edith Head!

Category : Design

I grew up in the shadow (within a few miles, that is) of the famous costume/fashion designer Edith Head. I only wish I could have worked under her, if only for free during the summer months. I did have a chance once, and visited her studio. I remember her being interviewed on  TV and how direct and funny she was.

The woman with the most Academy Awards in history!  Her eight favorite men!

My daughter is looking for wedding dress ideas. She led me to a dress online, and I did research only to discover it was an Edith Head creation. So I was sucked into the vortex of the internet, after re-discovering Edith Head all over again and still revere her! If you have a few minutes, go to YouTube, just put in her name and you will have a wonderful “fashion history” time!

Edith had wonderful advice about fashion, and since I am now over 35 (interesting she selected the magic age of 35 for learning to grow old gracefully) I want to share a few of her rules for dressing to appear younger!

How to succeed in looking younger

Good health and a happy spirit are the greatest contributors to appearing youthful. But so too is dressing adroitly.

Maturity is a time for simplification rather than flamboyance. Ruffles, sequins, bold prints, too-high heels, plunging décolletages, tight trousers and bikinis should be banished by those of us who have reached what I prefer to call the ‘interesting age’.

A far handier tool, once you’ve turned 35, is a truthful appraisal of your assets and liabilities.  Here is a wonderful take on Edith, in a stage presentation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljNqgxHjvn0&feature=related where she illustrates how to objectively do your own appraisal.

Let’s start at the top

  • If you sometimes think that your neck is getting shorter with the years, the chances are it’s because your chin is getting bigger. This is a signal to keep away from turtlenecks, which have a tendency to make you look as though you have no neck at all. V-necks, soft cowls and stand-away collars make necks look longer, chins smaller and frame the face without focusing attention on the neck. Matinée-length necklaces and pendants, for the same reason, are far better than base-of-the-neck jewelry.
  • Moving down to your bust-line: as the years roll on, this may lack the firmness of yesterday, but with today’s ingenious shape-maker bras, there’s no reason to have anyone realize it.
  • No matter how many years a woman drops from her age verbally, her elbows and upper arms can give her away visually. If, like many women past 35 (and most past 40), you are armed with sagging muscles or have elbows with ‘elephant’ skin, cover them. A tulle stole will do as much for your arms as a soft-focus camera does for some movie stars’ faces.
  • Few women who had 25-inch waistlines in girlhood still boast the same measurements in their later years. Good foundation garments can help smooth out bulges, and the big “don’ts” are obvious: don’t wear wide belts, tied sashes or blouses that terminate at the waist.
  • Skirts with hemline interest – pleats, ruffles or flounces – should be worn only by those with pretty legs; and even the most beautiful legs – Marlene Dietrich’s, for instance – look better when the kneecap is covered.
  • Many women have foot troubles as they grow older, so take a good look at your feet to determine whether they add or subtract from your age image. If they are in the minus column, for Hermès’ sake don’t wear open-strapped sandals. Similarly, a footsore middle-aged female tottering around on high spike heels is a sad sight, and the way her feet feel invariably shows up in the sad-sack expression on her face. Far better to opt for smart, fashionable pumps, which are ageless.
  • Colour plays a very important part in painting a younger picture of you. Soft-focus shades are kindest to mature complexions. Vivid oranges, electric blues and sharp greens are trying for all but the young.
  • Warm beiges with a pink rather than yellow base are flattering to most skins.
  • Neglect will not ravage a teenager’s beauty, but a ‘who cares’ attitude to fingernails, toenails and depilatories in middle age is dangerous.
  • A shorter haircut gives an uplifting effect to the face. Soft wisps of a fringe will conceal some forehead creases. Deftly applied make-up and enough sleep can do wonders for little telltale lines.
  • If your liabilities seem overwhelming, remember this: in all my dressing the world’s most glamorous women, I have yet to meet one who is physically flawless. Most beauties that you think are perfect have defects, but they have learnt how to accentuate the positive and camouflage the negative.
  • You can’t change the size of your feet, the shape of your legs, the colour of your eyes or the texture of your hair.
    But with a successful wardrobe, you can change the way you look as easily as an actress does each time she plays a new role.
  • But remember, too, that wearing the wrong clothes will give your age away faster than your best girlfriend.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-1159633/Edith-Head-Lessons-old-school-glamour.html#ixzz1LPgcJEg0

 

Reading a Ruler or Tape Measure (non metric)

Category : featured, Sewing Tips, Sewing Tools

When sewing, measuring IS the most important skill! Without proper measuring skills, construction just doesn’t work. Imagine someone building a home who never measured. Nothing fits well or looks correct!

Here is a simple graphic of how to read the most basic portion, an inch, of a non metric measuring device. Bookmark this section if you need to reference it if you are not sure in the future!

Dollar Store Doll’s Tea Set

Category : featured, My Projects

American Girl dolls or as the grand girls call them, “the girls”, are a part of our family! I found this cute little mini toy tea set at our local dollar store, and though it would be perfect for “the girls” to use when they have tea parties.

A dollar later for the tea set, 1/3 yard of inexpensive pink fabric (to match the roses), and 2 yards of trim and a new gift was created.

Add a dollar tin and the gift for “the girls” is ready to wrap!

The gift of sewing skills can let one turn something quite simple, into something more!

Happy stitching and have a wonderful Christmas.

Amish Puzzle Pincushion Used for Christmas Ornament

Category : featured, My Projects

I found this picture in the December 2010 Better Homes and Gardens, and was intrigued by the construction, but no pattern was found in the magazine. I did a little research. I discovered this seems to come to us from Amish craft women, and was a pincushion which was pretty and so typical of Amish home arts.

No sewing machine is needed for this project!

I drafted up a rough pattern and went to work

2 sheets of craft felt (as sold in craft/fabric stores)
Poly stuffing
Sewing thread of desired color (s)
Beads or buttons (optional as desired for embellishment)

Cut felt pieces:
You need a total of 36 pieces

You will notice I selected my colors to resemble a poinsettia.
(I need “soft” low hanging ornaments since I have grand babies)

Use a blanket stitch to sew three sections together, leaving about a one inch opening on last side.
Use this opening to stuff with fiberfill and continue to sew this last inch closed. You will end up with 12 segments.

Begin to sew tips together to form the following arrangement

Join the last 4 tips together to form ball

At this point one can embellish the ball as desired. See the magazine picture above for some inspiration.

I choose to use gold embroidery thread to make “safer for kids” ornaments.

I sewed, with double gold thread crisscross, where all tips were joined together to give the poinsettia “look”. Use a thread or ribbon to attach a hanging loop.

Happy Christmas Stitching!