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Monthly Archives: April 2013

  • My Decorative Quilter - Software from Floriani

    April 24, 2013

    Floriani has released a new software product - and there should be a market for it. I have been teaching computerized embroidery machine software classes for years. I realize that many of the people who attend these classes just want to create their own in-the-hoop quilt blocks.

    With this new software, beautiful and elegant designs can be created with just a few clicks. If you like to do applique, trapunto, stippling, echo, or crazy patch blocks, you will be interested in what this software can do.

    Using some of the many built-in designs, in about 5 minutes on the computer, I created my own mug rug and coaster designs to get a feel for what this software does. If you want to see how this software works, contact your local Moore's Sewing Center.

    With a design in hand (actually a computer file on a USB memory stick to be more precise), let's take a look at the sew out process for the coaster.

    Supplies: This supply list is for one 5 inch coaster. Top fabric – one 6 inch square Batting – one 6 inch square Backing fabric – one 6 inch square

    Water soluble stabilizer

    Directions for making a coaster:

    1. Hoop water soluble stabilizer.

    2. Sew the placement stitch.

    3. Place batting over the placement line.

    4. Cover batting with fabric.

    5. Sew the tack down stitch.

    6. Stitch out the center design.

    7. Remove hoop from the machine, but do not remove stabilizer and fabric from the hoop. Turn hoop upside down.

    8. Use tape or temporary spray adhesive to hold backing fabric on the back side of hoop. The backing fabric needs to cover the placement line. 9. Replace hoop in machine.

    10. Sew the tack down stitch.

    11. Remove hoop from machine, but do not remove stabilizer and fabric from the hoop. Trim the front fabric, the batting, and the back fabric close to the tack down stitching line.

    12. The trimmed coaster should look something like this photo.

    13. Replace hoop in machine and sew the background fill, followed by the satin stitch. Note – in this photo, the white space outside the satin stitch is the sewing machine base showing through the stabilizer.

    14. Remove the coaster from hoop and trim away excess water soluble stabilizer.

    15.  Remove any remaining stabilizer with a wet sponge.

    16. The finished coaster.

    Examples of other designs created with the My Decorative Quilter software:

  • Knapsack

    April 18, 2013

    When you don't want to carry a purse that is too small or will be a nuisance, or a backpack that is just too big, or a tote bag that is outrageously oversized, this knapsack project may be just right for you. You can customize the size of this knapsack to fit the smallest child or largest adult. Just remember, the bigger you make it the more stuff you can put in it, and that generally means more weight – which is likely why you don't want to be hauling around that tote or backpack with which you already have had some interesting experiences.

    Supplies: - 15” x 36” fabric (The hand of the fabric will determine how tightly the knapsack will close. I chose an upholstery weight vinyl, but a light weight cotton or nylon fabric would allow the drawstrings to close the opening completely.) - 3 3/4 yards of cording for drawstring


    1. Fold fabric in half right-sides together to form a 15” x 18” rectangle. 2. Make three marks near the top (opposite edge to the fold) on each of the longer sides – specific dimensions to follow.

    3. First mark 1 1/4” from the top edge.

    4. Make another mark 2 1/4” from the top edge. This will form the casing for the drawstring.

    5. Make a third mark 6” from top edge.

    6. Sew with ½ inch seam allowance from the top edge to the first mark, leave the one inch space between the marks unsewn, then sew from the second mark down to the mark at 6”.

    7. Press open the seam allowance. (Note: If you are using a vinyl type fabric you will need to use double sided tape to hold the seams open because you cannot press this type of fabric.)

    8. On the raw edge of the top,  fold over slightly less than 1/2” and press (or  tape).

    9. Take the step 8 fold and bring it down so it is just past the 1” opening you left for the drawstring.

    10. Sew completely around to close the fold. 11. Cut cording into two equal pieces. If your cording tends to unwind or ravel, tie a knot or tape each end.

    12. Push one end of one piece of cording through one of the openings and all the way around so it comes out the same place where you started.

    13. Do the same with the other piece of cording, beginning at the opening on the other side.

    14. Mark 1 inch above first folded edge (bottom of the bag). 15. With your knapsack wrong-side out, take both ends of one drawstring and pull enough slack so the ends will stick out between the bottom one inch mark and the bottom fold on the same side where the drawstring exits the casing. 16. Keep the rest of the drawstring on the inside of the sack.

    17. Sew from the bottom edge up the side to meet up with your other stitching (or the opposite direction).

    18. Secure the cord ends by sewing over the cord, reverse sew and then forward sew over it again. If your knapsack is made of strong material and you intend to carry heavy items, add extra passes over the cord ends. Repeat this process on the other side with the other drawstring ends. 19. Turn bag right-side out. 20. Try on the knapsack. If it fits, celebrate. If too small, find a child.

  • Pincushion and Thread Catcher

    April 10, 2013

    If you have problems with too few and too little usable flat surfaces in your sewing area as I have, you might be interested in this multiple-use device that is a combination pincushion and thread end collector. The pincushion occupies a small area (that might already be occupied by a 'standard' pincushion) and holds up the thread end collector in a location that previously was just 'air.' The pincushion is weighted to keep the entire assembly from winding up on the floor. There is a fundamental limit to the weight that the thread catcher can reliably support. We won't go into the calculations that involve the weight of the pincushion and the surface frictional (not fiction) qualities of the pincushion material and flat surface material which ultimately determine how much weight in the collector will cause the entire device to descend to the floor.  Resist the temptation to put 'heavy' objects in the collector – just put thread ends into the collector (which should be placed in a location convenient to your machine) rather than trying to throw the thread ends across the room to the local wastebasket.

    Supplies: 1 – 16 1/2” x 8 1/2” main fabric – collector bag 1 – 16 1/2” x 8 1/2” lining fabric 1 – 16 1/2” x 8 1/2” medium weight fusible interfacing 2 – 3 1/2” squares main fabric – hanging tab 2 – 6 1/2” squares main fabric - pincushion 2 – 6 1//2” medium weight fusible interfacing 17” of boning or other stiffener for top edge of the collector filling for pincushion - crushed walnut shells, rice, or your favorite ecologically safe material that will not dull, contaminate, or create a sticky surface on your pins

    Instructions: Sew with a 1/4” seam allowance unless otherwise noted.

    Hanging Tab: 1. Sew together the 3 1/2” squares right-sides together, on two opposite sides to form a tube.

    2. Turn right side out and press.

    Collector Bag: 1. Press interfacing to wrong side of main fabric 2. Fold main fabric in half with right-sides together and short ends lined up. 3. Sew down side seams. 4. Repeat  above steps 2-3 with lining fabric. 5. Press seams open.

    6. Fold sides to form triangle at bottom corner. 7. Pin corner and mark a line 1 1/4” from bottom of corner. 8. Sew along marked line.

    9. Cut off corner piece 1/4” from stitching line. 10. Repeat steps 5-9 with the lining fabric.

    Pincushion: 1. Fuse interfacing to wrong side of both 6 1/2” squares. 2. Place right-sides together.

    3. Between the layers, center the finished hanging tag. 4. Sew 1/4” around all edges leaving an opening for turning. 5. Turn and press.

    Putting it all together: 1. With the outside fabric collector bag still right-sides together, mark the center of the space between the seams , approx.. 4”, on one of the  raw edges .

    2. Center the remaining raw edge of the hanging tag over your mark from step 1 so the pincushion is lined up with the bottom of the catcher. Pin the tag to the collector bag. 3. Turn lining fabric collector bag right-side out. 4. Place lining unit inside the main bag with right sides together. 5. Sew around the entire opening, leaving about three inches open for turning. 6. Turn the collector bag assembly right-side out and press.

    7. Create a casing by stitching around the entire cylinder of the collector bag about 1” from the top.

    8. Insert the boning in the casing.

    9. Stitch all around the top about 1/8” from top edge. 10. Fill pincushion with approx 1 ½ cups of filler. 11. Sew the pincushion opening closed, either by hand or machine. 12. Your completed pincushion and thread end collector should look something like this when viewed from above.

  • New Classic Trapunto In-The-Hoop Design

    April 3, 2013

    Anita Goodesign has released a new trapunto design set. Their Christmas Trapunto project was so beautiful and popular that they created another trapunto collection using classic quilting designs. There are more than 40 different designs in this collection. The instructions say stretch velvet can be used for the base fabric with  silk dupioni for the borders. The information in the package indicates the resulting quilt has a very modern feeling. I decided to sew some of the quilt blocks using quilters cotton to see how the blocks sew out with more traditional materials.


    Classic Trapunto design CD by Anita Goodesign Floriani No Show mesh Batting Base fabric of your choice Thread to match base fabric

    The CD includes complete step-by-step directions with pictures of each step. This blog shows the significant points in the process as I sewed a block with the quilters cotton materials.


    1. Stitch step one of the design on the Floriani No Show mesh.  This is the squaring stitch. You can see the feed dogs and bobbin cover of my machine through the mesh.

    2. Add batting. Make sure it completely covers the squaring stitch. Tape the batting in place. 3. Stitch the next step of the design (which is the tacking stitch for the batting - not shown). 4. Remove the hoop from the machine, do NOT remove the fabric from the hoop. Trim away the batting as close as possible to the tacking stitch (not shown). 5. Stitch the next step of the design. This is the placement stitch for the second layer of batting (not shown). 6. Place poly batting or 2 layers of cotton blend batting down so it covers the second placement stitch (not shown).

    7. Stitch the next step of the design which tacks down the extra batting layers and creates the trapunto effect. NOTE: I had to raise the presser foot on my single needle machine to create clearance for the high loft of the batting and to avoid distortion or dragging of the batting.

    8. Remove the hoop from the machine. Without removing fabric from the hoop, trim away the batting as close as possible to the tacking stitch. 9. Place the top fabric on top of the batting so that it completely covers the entire design. The fabric needs to extend at least 1” past the squaring stitch on all sides. 10. Tape the fabric in place. 11. Stitch the tacking stitch. 12. The next stitch will be the stippling. The stippling thread should match the fabric. 13. The final step of the design is the design stitch. 14. Trim your seam allowance to 1/2” from the squaring stitch.

    Even with quilters cotton, the 3D effects of this block look very similar to its photo in the design pack.

4 Item(s)