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Monthly Archives: October 2012

  • Mitered Corner Placemat

    October 30, 2012

    Fall, that time of the year when we start spending more time in our sewing studios working on projects for the holidays. This week our project is how to do a form of mitered corner binding.

    Supplies: - A 12” x 18” placemat center - The one shown was made by using the stitch and flip technique we did in the December 13, 2011 blog for the mug rug. - Backing fabric 16” x 22”, or 4” wider and longer than a center size of your choosing.

    Instructions: 1. Create the center for the placemat. This could be just a beautiful piece of fabric. Set aside. 2. Cut backing fabric 4” wider and longer than the center. 3. With the backing fabric wrong-side up, fold and press a side hem 1". 4. Fold and press the next side 1". The second hem will overlap the first hem at the corner. Repeat this process on remaining sides so every side has been folded once. 5. Fold and press each of the side hems again, 1”. The hems will overlap at each corner. 6. Unfold all the hems to reveal the pressed lines. I added the pencil lines to make it easier to see the folds. 7. Starting at any fabric corner, fold the fabric right-sides together to create a 45 degree point.

    8. Place one edge of a wide ruler along the fold and the ruler corner at the point where the inner-most pressed folds touch the just created fold. Use a fabric marking pen to mark a stitching line from the intersection of the pressed folds along your 45 degree fold line to the pressed fold line closest to fabric edge.

    9. The point where the pressed lines intersect is where you will begin to sew the corner hem. 10. Stitch along the marked line, back tacking at each end. 11. Trim the point of the triangle off, leaving a 1/4” of fabric past the stitch line. 12. Press the seam open. Repeat for all corners. 13. Using the previously pressed guidelines, fold the hems back into place. Push out all the corner points with a point turner. 14. Pin the folded edges, if necessary. 15. Press.

    16. Insert the placemat center on the backing, tucking raw edges under the folded hems. 17. Using a straight stitch, sew along the inside folds to secure the inside to the binding. 18. This is a finished top corner with edge stitching. 19. Finished backside of placemat.click here for a printable version of this blog

  • Let's Add Some B-L-I-N-G!

    October 24, 2012

    More than 15 years ago, I started putting beads and crystals on my art quilts. I sewed them on by hand, and the process took many hours, but the time spent was well worth it. Then about 10 years ago, along came heat-set crystals and a special wand (that looked very much like an old soldering iron my husband had around for at least 30 YEARS!). I could put heat activated crystals on my quilts with no sewing needed. I was happy, or at least I thought I was happy, putting my crystals on one by one.

    Last March at Sew Expo in Pullayup, Washington, I saw a wonderful demo. They showed me how I could bring an embroidery design into a computer program and create my own crystal design. They REALLY had my attention with that capability. When I returned home, I couldn't stop thinking about all the things I could do with that computer program and a new hardware gadget not yet in my tools arsenal.

    The next month, George Moore demonstrated the same software and hardware at a Sew Fun Club meeting, and a set was going home with me even if I had to wrestle him for the demo set. The package included Artistic Crystal V6 software, a Silhouette Cameo cutter, and a crystal starter kit with enough materials to make a few designs.

    I have had a machine embroidery design by Janet Samson that I have wanted to do for a long time, but I wasn't looking forward to putting the thousands of crystals on one-by-one. I brought the design into  my new software and placed the crystals where I wanted them on each block. I also created a border design from some artwork. The crystal placement designs were then sent to the cutter to create vinyl templates for the crystals. It was not very long before the blocks were sewn out and assembled (I've been doing this type of work for years), and I was wading into the new experience of crystal embellishment with computer enhanced efficiencies I had never experienced.

    The sewn wall hanging without embellishment or piped binding is shown below – a little too small to see the many details. So, I will take you on a closer-up look at the various steps and stages of the simplified and less-laborious journey to completion of the project. This is not a full tutorial on how to do such a project from start to finish – that would be way too involved. This is an overview (of the process) that I hope will provide some details that might help you find a solution to a problem or impediment that may be limiting your creativity. Probably, you will see more than one technique or new idea that you did not know is available to you if you have the right equipment.

    I stitched out the blocks for my wall hanging and sewed them together. I found it easier to put the crystals on after the quilt was done.

    For each of the blocks, I only had to create a template for one corner as all the corners of a particular block are the same. No two blocks, however, are alike.

    Let's look at how the crystal template is used to do a single block corner of crystals so you understand where the efficiency of this process comes from versus individually putting on a single crystal at a time.

    Fill all holes in the vinyl template with a crystal. This is done by brushing crystals onto the template and carefully removing crystals not in a hole.

    Use the clear transfer tape to lift all the crystals out of the template.

    Place the transfer tape with the crystals onto the fabric taking care that the crystals mate well with the stitching design. The tape is sticky, the crystals are not sticky until heated.

    Cover the transfer tape with a press cloth to protect your iron. Apply heat and some pressure for 8-10 seconds. How much heat and pressure is determined by the crystal size – practice first, then work on your real project.

    Remove the press cloth and let fabric and crystals cool. Remove the transfer tape from the fabric and crystals – the crystals stay with the design if properly heated.

    This process was repeated 4 times for each block.

    The process for the border is the same. Only one border design template is needed for this project. The border design template is used twelve times - with loose crystals (about 120) added to the holes for each occurrence of the design.

    I did not bother to count or calculate how many crystals were added to the wall hanging... there are many (approximately 2400), and they look good, and my project if finished.

    Based on past experience, I figure I saved more than 10 hours of work and plenty of hours of recovery from sore muscles associated with manual installation of many individual crystals. Even better than saving time is how perfect each corner and border design came out.

    We have only scratched the surface regarding the capabilities of the crystal software and cutter hardware.  These items have potential application in numerous other types of craft projects – not limited just to fabric and sewing... and we will leave it there... to be discovered sometime in the future.

    Click Here for a Printable Version of this Blog
  • Stretch Your Skills, Not Your Fabric

    October 16, 2012

    Mug Rug To Table Runner

    Anita Goodesign's new Modern Free Motion Design Collection has many beautiful embroidery designs, and I wondered how putting three squares of two different tropical designs together would look. Placing the squares side by side created a visual relationship that deserved to be made permanent. Add some borders and the result is large enough to be a small table runner.

    An interesting feature of the designs in the collection is that there are some designs that link as if sewed continuously in a line and others that link on all 4 sides when arranged in a horizontal/vertical grid of blocks.

    A few weeks ago I showed you how to use one machine quilted block to make a mug rug. Let's expand (pun intended) on that theme.

    Supplies: Anita Goodesign Modern Free Motion Design Collection CD See the tutorial that comes with the design collection for fabric requirements for the blocks Border fabric(s) - amount will vary depending on the finished size you want your table runner Backing fabric - amount will vary depending on the finished size you want your table runner Binding fabric - amount will vary depending on the finished size you want your table runner

    Instructions: 1. Decide if you want to create a narrow runner with a single row of blocks or a wide runner with 2 or more rows of blocks. If you care about the idea of continuity of stitching from block to block, check for continuity at all joints between blocks. 2. I followed the instructions in the tutorial to stitch out my blocks. 3. Matching the placement lines carefully, sew three or more blocks together. 4. Trim the fabric around the outside edge of the assembled blocks 1/4” from block placement stitching lines. 5. Measure the narrow width of the blocks and cut two pieces of border fabric 2 1/2” (or desired border width) by the measured block width. 6. Sew end border strips to the blocks. Press. 7. Measure the length of blocks with border strips attached and cut two long border pieces 2 1/2” (or desired width) by the measured length. 8. Sew the long border strips to the blocks and press. 9. Repeat steps 3 to 8 for each additional border. 10. Cut batting and backing fabric at least 2” longer and wider than the current size of the table runner.

    11. Using temporary spray adhesive, attach the batting to the backing and the table runner to the batting.

    12. Using a 'stitch in the ditch' foot will help you keep the stitches in the seam as you sew the three layers together. 13. Stitch ALL seams (block to block, block to border, and border to border). 14. Trim excess batting and backing to the outer edge of the outside border. 15. Apply binding using your favorite technique.

    Click Here for a Printable Version of this Blog
  • Simple Techniques for Sewing a Sequence of Sequins

    October 9, 2012

    With the upcoming costume season, AKA Halloween, some of you might be interested in a simple technique to sew sequins onto some of your projects.

    Sewing machine I used: Brother Quattro Stitch number: 2-07 Stitch width: 7.0 mm Stitch length: 2.5 m

    The photo above shows the back side of the fabric. The bulge is caused by the sequins on the right-side of the fabric. This is the bobbin thread, but the top thread looks the same (except for color). If your machine does not have this type of stitch, use a wide zig-zag stitch.

    Presser foot:

    The foot on the left is a standard presser foot, upside down. I prefer to use the 'Pearl and Piping' foot on the right. However, any foot  that has a tunnel on the bottom (like the foot on the right above) will allow the sequins to go under the foot smoothly. Check your owner's manual as most machines have a foot that is recommended for use with a satin stitch and has some form of a tunnel on the bottom side.

    Thread:

    Thread your machine with invisible thread on top. Use thread that matches your fabric on the bobbin. Invisible thread is available in clear and smoke colors. When working with dark colored sequins use the smoke, and for light colors use the clear.

    Instructions:

    Place a string of sequins so they are laying in the direction you are sewing as shown by the top string in the photo. Think of a cats' tail (or dog if you prefer), you want to pet it in the direction that the fur grows. As the sequins and fabric move from the front to the back of the presser foot, the sequins will compress easily, rather than catch on the bottom of the foot. If your sequin design has curves, particularly sharp curves, reduce your stitch speed so that you can turn the fabric to keep the sequin line centered at the needle.  If you turn too sharply the sequins will catch on the edge of the channel at the back of the presser foot.

    Stitch a sample using the type of fabric, the sequins, and typical curves, if any, you will be using in your project. Make any necessary adjustments to the stitch width and stitch length to get the look you want.  The photo above has yellow thread to show a typical top stitch – the stitch width and length will hold the sequins down, but the thread color is probably not the effect you want to achieve.

    The Anita Goodesign Haunted House Tile Scene wall-hanging at the top of this article was made by Dianna Frohn. The black 'tile grout lines' are lines of black sequins. They cover the seam lines between the individual fabric panels. Thanks, Dianna, for the great sample that inspired this blog's topic.

    Click Here for a Printable Version of this Blog
  • Christmas Mug Rug

    October 2, 2012

    When I have decided to do an embroidery project and I have picked the embroidery designs and intended fabric(s), I like to do a test stitch out of at least one of the designs. This gives me a chance to make any needed adjustments to my choice of stabilizer(s) and to see if the design will work with the fabric(s) I want to use. This process is particularly useful and is a major frustration reducer when the embroidery design is one of a set of designs from a design set on a commercial CD. Usually, all the designs in a coordinated set from a commercial source will have similar stitch densities.

    Determining that the stabilizer-fabric combination is a good match before starting the real project is, for me, a kind of stress avoidance insurance. Sometimes (probably most of the time) my project and use of the designs are not like the tutorial project in the design pack.

    The problem is what to do with the accumulation of test stitch outs. Before you ask - Yes, there is a plastic tub for those stitch outs.

    When I got the Anita Goodesign Christmas Free Motion Quilting design CD, I hooped water soluble stabilizer and stitched out the placement line for a design of interest. I measured the size of the placement square. Then I cut 2 pieces of quilt fabric about 2 inches larger than the placement line and a piece of batting the same size as the placement line.

    I started creating a quilt sandwich by placing a square of quilt fabric wrong-side up on the stabilizer and stitching out the placement line again. Then a layer of batting was placed inside the placement line, and I stitched out the batting tack down stitch. Then a square of quilt fabric was placed right-side up over the batting, and I sewed the tack down stitch again. Finally, I sewed the embroidery design, removed the sample from the hoop, and rinsed the block to dissolve the stabilizer. I liked the finished results, but now what do I do with this 8 inch square block. (This one bypassed the tub and went directly to the 'continuing project' zone of the workbench.)

    Mug rug?? An 8 inch square is a bit small, but if I added some fabric and batting to the sides it would be perfect. Here is the way I added fabric and batting to the test block.

    Supplies:

    8 inch square finished block, your block size may vary from this

    ¼ yard of coordinating fabric

    batting

    batting spray adhesive

    Cutting:

    coordinating fabric: 4 pieces - 3 1/2” x width of block

    batting: 2 pieces - 3” x width of block

    Instructions:

    1. Trim block leaving a 1/2” seam allowance from the placement line all around. Measure the size of your block fabric, mine measured 8 1/2” square. Where I mention 8 1/2” you must substitute the width of your block. 2. Place one 3 1/2” wide x 8 1/2” strip of coordinating fabric right-sides together to back side fabric of block. Pin the short ends. 3. Flip the block over so you can see the placement stitch on the front side fabric. Sew through the front, back, and  add-on fabric layers. 4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to attach the add-on fabric to the opposite edge of the back side fabric.

    5. Attach batting to the wrong-side of the other 2 coordinating fabric pieces, lining the batting up with one long edge of each piece. This will leave a 1/2” seam allowance without batting.

    6. Place the fabric with the batting right-sides together on the front side fabric of the block along the edges that already have an add on piece. Pin the short ends. 7. Stitch from back side so you can stitch on top of the previous stitching line for each edge.

    8. Fold out the fabric pieces and press. 9. Baste end pieces 1/2” from all raw edges. 10. Trim 1/4” from basting line on all sides. 11. Attach binding all around using your favorite method. I like the fact that the mug rug looks good on both sides. One more gift off my list. How are you doing on your list?

    Click Here for a Printable Version of this Blog

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