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Monthly Archives: May 2012

  • Tree Of Life

    May 29, 2012

    Anita Goodesign has released another spectacular machine embroidery quilt design set – the 'Special Edition' Tree of Life. If you have not tried making a quilt in your embroidery hoop yet, you will be surprised how easy it is to do.

    I know some of us swear that fabric talks to us - those who don’t sew won’t understand. In fact, they tend to take a step backwards when we start talking about our latest fabric purchase. This issue of the blog isn’t about fabric. But, I had that same sweaty palm, fast heart rate experience when I first saw the new design package. I knew it had to be moved to the top of my ‘to do’ list.

    This is going to be a gift for my daughter, and the space where it will be hung is narrower than the smallest size of the complete design. Because I loved the border blocks it was a hard decision, but I decided to make a smaller version of the quilt without them. The three dimensional leaves were intended to have family names stitched on them, but I wanted it to be an inspirational tree, so I stitched words like ‘Joy’ and ‘Courage’ on the leaves. And, crystals were needed to provide that special changing sparkle they can provide.

    Like all of the Anita Goodesigns Special Collections, the directions that came with the package have wonderful illustrations to guide you along each step of the way. What I want to share with you is what I did differently. If you have never done this type of embroidery, I suggest you follow their directions.

    Knowing this was going to be a wall hanging instead of a lap or bed quilt, I changed some of the materials and well as some of the assembly procedures.

    Modified Supply List:

    Quilt fabric precut to 2" larger than finished block size Floriani Stitch N Wash Tearaway stabilizer precut to size needed for hoop Batting precut to size needed Lightweight Water Soluble Thread (no need to precut) Crystals as desired

    Instead of following the procedure in the Anita Goodesign tutorial to create the top fabric, batting, and stabilizer sandwich for embroidering, I substituted the steps below:

    1. Hoop Floriani Stitch N Wash Tearaway stabilizer.

    2. Stitch the placement line.

    3. Place a piece of precut batting within the placement line. If necessary, you can lightly spray the batting with kk2000 adhesive. 4. Advance the start of sewing past the batting tack down stitching.

    5. Center a piece of precut quilt fabric over the batting. This will give you a ½” seam allowance and a little extra in case you don’t get it perfectly centered over batting. 6. Change top thread to the light weight water soluble thread. No bobbin thread change is needed.

    7. Sew the block outline stitch. The water soluble thread holds a block's layers together while embroidering the block. (After sewing the blocks together, if any of the outline thread shows, you can easily remove it with a damp sponge.) 8. Follow the Anita Goodesign tutorial to complete the block. 9. Remove the block from the hoop. Carefully tear the stabilizer at the soluble thread stitch line. If (or when) you wash your wall hanging, the stabilizer will dissolve so there is no need to remove it from the rest of the block. 10. Repeat the modified procedure list for all the quilt blocks. 11. Assemble the wall hanging per the quilt assembly instructions in the tutorial. Because there is no batting in the seams, the blocks sew together without any extra bulk. Note: To get a professional, finished look, a 'good' steam iron is needed to adequately press the seams open as you assemble your rows and to press each entire block.

    The three dimensional leaves are attached after the wall hanging is complete. Use the machine stitch intended to sew on buttons. It works great to attach the leaves. Use invisible thread in both the bobbin and top to attach leaves.

    Add crystals as desired...  note – I refrained from adding all 27,000 crystals in the 1.75 pound bag, but imagine what that would look like. My finished project – Tree of Inspirations

  • Gift Card Holder

    May 22, 2012

    Because this is a sewing blog, it might seem strange that we would recommend a Moore's Gift Card as a wedding gift or a gift for a college graduate. Moore's has the best selection of sewing machines and vacuums as well as ceiling fans at most of its store locations.

    Supplies: 2 - 10 ¼” x 3 ½” strips of fabric - one from each of two coordinating fabrics 1 - 9 ¾” x 3” strip of light to medium weight fusible interfacing ½ yd of ½” wide grosgrain ribbon to coordinate with outside fabric One split key ring One color-coordinated hair elastic One ½” - ¾” button Fusible seam tape, such as Steam-a-Seam


    1. Mark outside-fabric using a ruler and fabric marker. Place the ruler along the length of the fabric and mark a fold line at 4 ¼” and at 8 ¼” 2. Use the outside-fabric piece to measure the length of your ribbon. To do this start with one raw edge of the ribbon just barely beyond the top of the fabric piece. Run it down to the first fold line located at 4 1/4” and pinch a 1” loop (you need 2” of ribbon to create a 1” loop).

    3. Carefully slip a key ring into the loop, then place a pin at the base of the loop to hold it in place. Continue running the ribbon down the middle of the fabric to just past the bottom edge. Trim the ribbon at this point. 4. Thread your machine with thread that matches your ribbon. 5. Stitch a horizontal line across the ribbon at the base of the loop - exactly where you placed your pin. Stitch back and forth once or twice to secure. 6. Pin the center line of the ribbon in place on the center line of the oustide-fabric piece, or you can use a fusible seam tape, like Steam-a-Seam to adhere it. Use a seam gauge to verify the ribbon is centered side to side. The fusible seam tape makes it easier to sew.

    7. Carefully edge stitch the ribbon in place working from the outside-fabric bottom up to the ribbon’s seam line. When you get to the seam line, back stitch and cut your threads. 8. Fold the loop down and out of the way. Starting with a back stitch, continue to sew in the same direction to the raw edge of the outside-fabric. 9. Repeat the ribbon edge stitch process on the opposite edge of the ribbon. 10. Cut the hair elastic in half. Fold one piece in half, and center it at the top raw edge of the ribbon.

    11.  The raw ends of the hair elastic should extend just beyond the raw edge of the ribbon and fabric. Painters tape works great to hold the hair elastic in place while you machine baste the hair elastic in place close to the raw edges. 12. Center the interfacing, and following the manufacturer’s directions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the lining,. There should be 1/4” between the edge of the interfacing and the raw edge of the fabric all around. 13. Place the finished front and the interfaced lining right-sides together. Pin in place. Leave a 1 ½  - 2” opening near the bottom of the holder along one side (marked in photos by the red butterfly pins).

    14. If necessary, re-thread your machine with thread to match your outside fabric. Using a ¼” seam allowance and remembering to leave the opening, stitch the front and lining together. Backstitch at the top over the ends of the hair elastic several times to secure it. 15. Clip all the corners on a diagonal and turn the holder right side out through the opening.

    16.  Gently push out corners using your finger or a long tool with a blunt end, like a chop stick. 17. Make sure the raw edges of the opening are turned in and flush with the sewn seam stitching, then press flat.

    18. To locate where the button should be sewn, fold the fabric at the two fold lines. The button location should be approximately 1 ½” from the bottom edge. Mark this point with a pin or a fabric marking pen.

    19. Hand stitch the button securely in place while the holder is flat. 20. Fold the bottom (with the button) at the nearest fold line again. 21. Edge stitch 1/8” - 1/4” along both sides of the two layer pocket portion of the strip (this also closes the opening left from turning the project right-side out). Insert your gift card and close the flap.

  • Embroidering on T.P. (you know -- toilet paper)

    May 15, 2012

    Do you need a gift for a wedding shower this weekend, or for your sister's 50th wedding anniversary, or maybe for a friend's birthday? Some of you may think that embroidering on toilet paper is a silly idea – and it is, but sometimes it is good to do something specifically because it is a silly idea.

    At a recent Melanie Coakley “Start Your Own Embroidery Business” event, she talked about embroidering on a roll of toilet paper and wrapping the roll up to give as a gift at a party. A salesperson who attended the party thought T.P. embroidered with her name and phone number would make a wonderful calling card. Melanie got an order for 100 rolls at $20 each - I'm sure you can do the math...

    Supplies: 4” x 4” hoop One roll of 2-ply toilet paper – 3-ply for a really special recipient Two pieces of cut-away stabilizer large enough to be clamped in your hoop One piece of medium-weight water-soluble stabilizer large enough to be clamped in your hoop Embroidery design of your choice or creation that is not too dense and will fit in a 4” x 4” hoop


    1. Roll out the T.P. so it unrolls from the top. 2. Take the first three perfect squares and fold them under the next 3 squares. 3. Make sure the edges are lined up. 4. Center the middle doubled square of T.P. on one of the cut-away stabilizer pieces and put the water-soluble stabilizer on top. Gently hoop together with the sandwich centered in the hoop.

    5. Hook the hoop to your machine. Place the roll of T.P. to the side or back of the machine. Create enough slack in the T.P. such that when the hoop moves the toilet paper will not tear. 6. Before stitching, slip the second piece of cut-away stabilizer under the hoop to provide extra stability.

    7. When the embroidery design is finished, carefully remove the hoop from the machine. 8. Gently tear away the water-soluble stabilizer (you might want to do this before removing the sandwich from the hoop – do what works best for you). Trim the exposed edges of the cut-away stabilizer even with the long edges of the T.P. (this probably will be easier after removing the sandwich from the hoop). 9. Re-roll all the squares back onto the roll so the roll looks fresh and new. Wrap in some kind of transparent material so your handiwork can be enjoyed by all. 10. Of course, if you have problems with the design or stitching, you just tear off the reject squares and try again. I suggest the roll be at least half the original size when giving as a gift.

  • Fabric Flower

    May 8, 2012

    April showers bring May flowers. Fabric flowers can add a touch of color to a headband, can be used as a brooch on a jacket, can be attached to a ribbon to make a beautiful napkin ring, or just be scattered on a table.

    Supplies: fabric - approximately 3” x 45” strip 3” square of felt Cutting Instructions:

    1. Make a circle template approximately 2 1/2” in diameter. You might use a spool of thread to trace around. If you use the felt, this can be used as your cutting template as well as the flower backing. 2. Select fabric that looks good to you on both sides because both sides will show. Cut a strip ¼” wider than the diameter of your template. 3. A flower requires approximately 20 circles of fabric. One method to create multiple circles easily is to fold the fabric and cut multiple layers at one time. Another method is to mark and cut one layer at a time. Multiple layer cutting is described below. 4. Fold the fabric to create squares slightly larger than the template. 5. Use your circle template to cut around. You can trace and then cut, or just hold the template on top of the stack of fabric and cut. 6. The circles do not have to be perfect. Irregular edges add interest to the finished flower. You can trim edges later if desired.

    Construction Instructions:

    1. Pick up a fabric circle, wrong side towards your palm, and scrunch the fabric right sides together with you thumb and fingers. 2. Your scrunched circle of fabric should be similar to the above picture. 3. Place the scrunched up fabric on top of the felt circle so the raw edges extend about ¼” past the edge of the felt circle (raw edges facing outward). 4. Sew the tip in place.

    5. Repeat steps 1 to 4 (scrunch - sew), making sure each new scrunched circle is snug to the previous one.  Add more circles until you complete the bottom layer. 6. This sample outside layer has 9 circles. 7. The second layer of scrunched circles goes on top the first, but place the tips about ¼” closer to the center of the felt backing piece. Repeat steps 1 to 4 until each successive layer is filled. 8. As each layer gets smaller, the flower will start to look rounded. 9. The diameter of your flower will determine how many layers you will need. The sample has 3 layers. 10. If you can still see your felt in the center and there is not enough room to sew another full layer, there is solution. Reduce the size of 3 fabric circles by ¼” all the way around. Do the fabric circle scrunch, but sew each scrunched circle by hand to the center of the felt.

    Above is a back view of the completed sample.

    Add a pin back fastener to make a lovely flower brooch.

    A flower can be sewn or glued on an item for permanent attachment.

    Now, the decisions you have to make are how many flowers do you make, what colors, and how are they going to be used.

  • Mother's Day Plate

    May 1, 2012

    How about serving Mom her favorite cookies on her own very special plate. These plates are fast and easy to create and add a special touch to any occasion.

    Supplies: Glass plate - I found mine at the 99¢ store Mod Podge or other product for doing decoupage on glass Embroidery design that will fit your glass plate Background fabric to complement your embroidery design

    Instructions: 1. Determine which measurements will create the largest cut fabric piece - width plus 2 inches and length plus 2 inches of area of plate to be covered or width and length of fabric needed for the hoop you will use to embroider the design. Cut background fabric. 2. The embroidery design shown above was created with the lettering spiral feature of Embroidery Works - a new software program by Designers Gallery. 3. Stitch out design.

    4. Place your plate on something that will hold it up off the surface of your workspace. I found it was easier to work with this way. I also found it was necessary to put down some paper to cover my workspace. 5. On the back of the plate, apply a coat of Mod Podge to the area you want your fabric to cover. This might be just the flat bottom of the plate or the entire backside. 6. Place your embroidered fabric upside down on the Mod Podge. 7. Apply Mod Podge over the back side of your fabric, pressing out any bubbles. 8. Let everything dry…. This can take a while. 9. When the fabric is finally dry, remove the extra fabric by cutting around the plate as close as you can. I used an X-acto blade. Apply a little more Mod Podge around the cut edge of the fabric to reduce fraying.

    Do not put the plate in a dishwasher or a sink of water, but you can wash the top side. If the fabric should come loose, just add another coat of Mod Podge.

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