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Easy Way To Transfer Embroidery Design Pattern Items needed: Design you wish to embroider by hand. I googled images to select one and printed it out in the size I desired) Fabric of choice (I tend to use fine muslin, or linen fabrics) Embroidery...

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Make Easy Grip Sewing Washer Weights Sewing weights are wonderful tools for arranging and holding your patterns on fabric.  They allow making adjustments easy, since pins are not used to secure the pattern to the fabric. There are...

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Mark With Ink And Remove With Heat I was introduced to this pen at a Quilt Show.  Marking fabric is always something I am interested in, so I had to own a few of these pens     Pilot FriXion Ball Erasable Gel Pens,...

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Latch Hoop Fabric Tube/Strap Turner There are a number of fabric turners and methods.  I was just at a quilt show where one was being sold upwards of $50. Yes, people have used little safety pins and cord to turn fabric tubes, but this...

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Seam Rippers, YES there are different kinds and they... Robert Kaufman Fabric   Seam rippers are a new sewers handy dandy tool.  The seam ripper does just what the name says, it rips out the mistaken sewing stitches.  Over the years methods...

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Make Easy Grip Sewing Washer Weights

Category : Sewing Tools

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Sewing weights are wonderful tools for arranging and holding your patterns on fabric.  They allow making adjustments easy, since pins are not used to secure the pattern to the fabric. There are just two down sides to washer weights; they can get lost in the folds of fabric, and they are not fingernail friendly. So I created these little sewing notions.

Here is what is needed to make these weights.

  • A collection (I like to use the same size and brand) plastic easy off juice bottle lids.
  • Super glue, used for plastic and metal
  • Washer the same size as the bottom of the lid
  • Protective paper for your work surface
  • Acetone nail polish remover (for finger clean up)

I use the “Simple” brand juice lids (get friends to save them for you, too!) since they have a nice grip sides. They also have a sweet “S” on them which says “sewing” to me. (Of course any plastic lid can be used.) Remove any stickers then wash/dry well.

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Measure the bottom of the lid to make sure you get the correct washer size from your local hardware.

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Notice washers are little different on each side. Feel with your fingers, you will find one side a little smoother/rounded on the edges.  This smoother side is NOT the side you want to glue to your lid.  This smoother side is what you want to touch your fabric, since it is more fabric friendly.

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Place protective paper on work surface, and have lids upside down, and washer set so you know each good and bad side. (You may wish to note the bad side with a sharpie “x”, if needed).

Working fast place a thin line of glue all around the edge, it may be hard to see.

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Using your fingers, hold through the center of the washer and place evenly centered over glued edge and press in place then leave alone for about 10 minutes. Quickly move on to your next lid, since glue dries fast. (I used single use tubes of glue, which allowed me to make about two at a time from each tube.) Centering is what gets glue on your skin and you will need to remove excess with acetone when done. Don’t make these when your nails are polished!

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Voila! You have just created a new user friendly sewing tool without spending a lot of money!

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Happy Sewing
Picture 7

 

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”,

 

Horse Lover’s Skirt and Top

Category : featured, My Projects, Sewing Tips, Sewing Tools

This little outfit was made for my 7 year old grand daughter, who loves anything horses, especially riding them at the other grandma’s house.

The top is store bought, a Faded Glory Girl Tee (about $4)

1/3 yard of Robert Kaufam, “The Real McCoy” fabric, for the skirt body

6″ x45″ 85% cotton/15% lycra knit fabric for the yoga pant type waistband

The embroidery on the shirt was done on my Brother PE-700II with a free online download.

I changed the suggested  colors to coordinate with the fabric’s horse colors.

The yoga waistband did not require elastic, since it has Lycra in the fabric.

To make this little skirt without a pattern, here is what I did.

  1. Cut the cotton/Lycra knit strip 1″ smaller than desired finished  waist measurement.
  2. Sew waistband  6 ‘ ends together , right sides facing each other with a 1/2″ seam using a stretch stitch.
  3. Turn waistband right side out and fold in half, so the long cut raw edges are together. HINT when pulling knit fabric it will always tell you the “right” side, since the cut edge will always curl TO the “right” side.
  4. Along the long cut edge divide the waistband in quarters, marking with pins.
  5. Trim off selvage from skirt fabric.
  6. Sew up edges to create a back seam where selvage was trimmed off. (I used a french seam).
  7. Quarter the top edge of the skirt fabric and mark with pins like on yoga waistband.
  8. Run a very loose gather stitch around top edge of skirt.  Only gather to fit the yoga waistband when it is stretched to its maximum length.
  9. Match up quarter marking on yoga waist band and skirt fabric.  Match center back seam of yoga waistband and skirt match.
  10. Stretch the waist band to fit the gathered skirt fabric as you sew using a stretch stitch.
  11. Turn up bottom and hem as desired.

HINT  If you have an “overedge” presser foot, you may want to give this foot an opportunity to show you how nice it works.  The black ledge under the tiny white brush is the seam edge guide. The bush keeps the “fuzz” from the raw edge at bay.  The zig zag stitch (check your machine stitch options) works with this foot giving you a type of serged edge finish.  I was in a hurry and my serger had hot pink thread on it, so I opted to used this foot to sew the back waistband seam and attach the yoga waistband to the skirt body.

Bobbins That Work

Category : featured, Sewing Tips, Sewing Tools

One of the biggest issues with sewing machine users is bobbin “puke”, as one student called the rat’s nest of thread that developed in and around her bobbin case of her sewing machine. One important thing to understand is that not all bobbins fit your specific sewing machine. The best way to be assured you are using the correct bobbin for your machine is to make sure your model is specified on the package before you buy.  The backside of a bobbin package will tell you if your sewing machine will accommodate the packaged bobbin. If it doesn’t say your machine brand, do NOT buy.  Just to be safe, I buy the bobbin brand that is made by my machine’s company.  I don’t believe there is a generic/universal bobbin that works well, and for a few pennies more a cause for bobbin “puke” can be eliminated.

I have found some wonderful prices on large quantities of bobbins on eBay. Anyone who sews lots can never have enough bobbins. Search by brand name and the word bobbin to locate your machine’s specific bobbin.

It is never a good idea to wind thread colors over other colors.  If you have a small amount of thread on a bobbin and you wind over it with another color you can’t use the first color anywayHINT Drop a bobbin you want to empty into a clean coffee mug, and let the bobbin dance in the mug as you pull off the un-needed thread.

Pre wound bobbins, which are often used by quilters and embroidery machine users should also be brand specific.  Pre wound bobbins can save time when using large amounts of thread.  There also are small bobbin winder machines; Sidewinder is one brand name (it may be machine brand specific, so check this out before buying one).  Some people love them.  The rational I have heard for using one is people hate it when their bobbin runs out of thread while sewing, and they hate to unthread their machine to wind a bobbin.  In my opinion, you still have to unthread your machine to use a bobbin winder device, unless you have 2 spools of thread. Most sewing machines can be left threaded if you use this second spool of thread to wind an additional bobbin.  My machines wind bobbins just fine, so I don’t have one, but I know some people love them. HINT If you are fearful you will run out of thread on a sewing project, and don’t want to unthread your machine to wind a bobbin, wind a spare bobbin with thread.  It can always be used just like a spool of thread at a later time.

Easy To Thread Sewing Machine Needles

Category : My Sewing Room, Sewing Tips, Sewing Tools

Helping us sew

As a sewing instructor I have a large spectrum of ages and abilities of sewing students.  There are sewing aids to help with some of the basic physical problems for sewing machine users.

– – – – – – – -Easier to thread sewing machine needles – – – – – – – – –

This type of needle is great for:

  • Low vision sewers
  • Hands that have limited mobility or feeling
  • Sewers without machine with built in needle threaders

Schmetz makes a sewing machine needle to assist with threading a machine needle.  The needle is “universal” in function, and comes 5 to a pack and in two sizes:  12/80 and 14/90.

Here is how this needle is threaded.  Instead of passing the sewing thread through the eye of needle from front to back, which is like attempting to hit a bull’s eye on a tiny target, this needle has a small opening/slit on the right side of the needle.  The sewer can simply pull the thread down the side of the needle and it will snap into the eye of the needle.

When using this needle  be aware the thread can come out of the same opening.  When completing a seam never pull the fabric to the RIGHT to cut the thread, it will UNthread.   ALWAYS pull the thread to the LEFT and BACK before cutting.  Once this habit is learned this needle is wonderful sewing assist!

A window into my childhood sewing room

Category : featured, My Sewing Room

My ears are always open when I sew.  As a young girl sitting upstairs on warm summer Southern California days at my mom’s Necchi Sewing machine, I listened to the radio.

Arthur Godfrey (Arthur Godfrey Time, 1960-72) was one audible window to my world.   I adored the voice of  Kate Smith http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Smith; she had a wonderful strong voice that thrilled me to be an American girl! She is the person that made Irving Berlin’s God Bless America a well-known classic.  This American girl wants to share a bit of my window of the world from the early 1960s, which I enjoyed while learning to sew.  Enjoy, and Happy 4th of July.

Kate Smith introduces “God Bless America”

My Sewing Room: Stuffed Toys

Category : featured, My Sewing Room

“Grandma, what are we going to make today?”

When the GRAND girls come over, they want to do things!  Making Felt Stuffies has been popular these days.  I have been sewing these on my Janome Mini, since I bought if for them to learn on someday.  They see it used, and what it can sew. I always throw in little learning lessons, like how to thread a sewing machine.  They love designing, selecting the colors, stuffing and rummaging through my buttons!  (I take the huge jar of buttons and pour it into a wash pan to make their searching easier!)  Life is Good if your a turquoise cat with a little girl to love you.