Author Archive

Using a Brother Scan N Cut to Cut Fabric for Hand Applique

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

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I like doing hand applique, but I do not enjoy tracing and cutting out the fabric pieces. With a Scan N Cut you can skip the tracing and let the machine do the cutting for you. I’m going to show you how to add a seam allowance to your applique shapes for handwork and to make the Scan N Cut do the cutting for you.

Supplies:
Quilt fabric
Heavy spray starch
Scan N Cut machine
Low tack mat
Regular tack mat with the extra-sticky mat on it
Applique shapes printed at full size on paper

Instructions:

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1. Set desired seam allowance by pressing the wrench button.100_7523
2. On page 3 selected your desired seam allowance and click the OK button.100_7536
3. Place paper pattern on the low tack mat.100_7533
4. Load low tack mat with attached paper pattern by pressing the load mat button.100_7534
5. Press Scan icon.

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6. Press Scan to Cut Data icon. Press Start/Stop button to scan. Wait for the scan to be processed.
7. Unload mat by pressing the same button you pressed to load the mat.100_7541
8. Crop the image, if necessary, and press SAVE button.100_7542
9. You will be offered options to save the scanned image to a USB stick or the Scan N Cut internal memory.

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10. You wind up back at the cropping/save screen which is a little confusing. Use the return button ‘U turn’ arrow in upper right corner to proceed. Click on OK to delete scanned data.

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11. Use the return button in the next screen to get to the Pattern or Scan screen.100_7551
12.  Press the Pattern button,

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13. Press the Saved Data button.100_7553
14. Now it is time to retrieve a previously saved image. Press the button that corresponds to where the image was saved. You may need to page down to find the image with the pieces you want to cut.100_7554
15. Select the image and press OK.100_7525
16. To put a seam allowance around one or more pieces in an image, select top left icon.

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17. Select a shape you want to add seam allowance to . A red box will appear around the selected shape. Press the button at the right end of the  middle row.100_7527
18. The button on bottom left will add the seam allowance to the selected piece.100_7528
19. Seam allowance has been added.100_7530
20. Repeat with each shape. When all the shapes that you need have a seam allowance, press OK.

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21. Starch the fabric with heavy spray starch. This will give the fabric more body and produce better cutting results. Place fabric on extra sticky mat. Load the mat with the fabric. Note in the photo above that there are several pieces of fabric on the mat. The pieces I need for this small project will be arranged below to be cut from the proper color in a single cutting session rather than a separate cutting session for each color.

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22. Press the scan button located near the bottom left corner of screen.
23. You will be able to see the scan of your fabric, allowing you to move each piece to where you want to cut out your applique shape. Click on the OK button100_7515
24. If you want the original shape to be drawn on the fabric use either the water soluble or air erasable fabric pen in the white pen holder.
25. If you want to draw, press the DRAW key.100_7514
26. If necessary, replace the white pen holder with the blue blade holder and set it according to instructions in the manual.100_7540
27. Press the CUT button.

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28. Remove fabric from mat. For this design, it is easier to remove the large fabric pieces first, leaving the shapes that are part of the finished project rather than trying to pick the shapes out leaving the surrounding fabric.

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Adding A Pocket To Your Bike T-Shirt

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

100_6816 If you ride a bike you may have seen the shirts some serious bike riders wear with one or more pockets on the back. My bike-riding partner was going to buy one of these shirts so she would not have to wear a backpack to carry a few personal items (I happen to know she carries snacks). I looked at a few of these shirts and decided that adding a pocket to a t-shirt would be easy. After all, it is just the front half of a zipper bag that is edge-stitched to the back of a shirt.

Supplies:
Shirt to which you want to add the pocket
Scrap of fabric big enough to hold what you want to put in the pocket
Nylon zipper

Instructions:
The measurements I am using are for a finished size of approximately 6” x 10”. Remember, this is your pocket and you can make it any size you want.
1. Cut lower-front pocket fabric 6” x 11”.
2. Cut upper-front pocket fabric 1 1/2” x 11”.
3. Cut two pieces of fabric 1 1/2” x 3”
4. 12” nylon zipper.

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5. Place 1 1/2” x 3” fabric and one end of the zipper right-sides together with the zipper stop at the center of the fabric rectangle. Sew across the long part of the zipper 1/4” from the zipper stop. This will prevent the zipper pull from coming off when you cut off the zipper stop. Repeat on the other end of the zipper.100_6764
6. Trim off one end of the zipper, removing the metal stop.100_6762
7. Turn zipper right-side up.

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8. Fold fabric wrong-sides together at the stitch line.100_6779
9. Trim fabric 1” from fold line.

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10. Trim fabric even with edges of zipper tape.
11. Repeat Steps 6 to 10 on other end of zipper.100_6785
12. Layout the three sections of your pocket in the order you are going to assemble them.

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13.  Place zipper right-side down on the right-side of the lower fabric section. Put a zipper foot on your machine.

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14. Carefully sew the pieces together. To avoid hitting the zipper pull, move it out of the way when the zipper foot gets close to the pull. To do this, place the needle in the down position and raise the presser foot. Carefully move the zipper pull tab to the backside of the foot. Make sure the  fabric is lined up straight with the zipper foot again and lower foot to continue sewing to the end.100_6792

15. Place zipper right-side down on the right-side of the upper fabric section. Repeat Step 14 with the top fabric section.
16. Press fabric away from zipper teeth.100_6802
17. Top-stitch from the right-side along both sides of the zipper.100_6804
18. Press the edges under 1/2” on all four sides.100_6805
19. Set the pocket front aside.

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20. Prepare t-shirt by folding in half to find center back.100_6797
21. Mark where you want the bottom of your pocket. I noticed that the lower edges of bike shirt pockets tend to be located just about waist level.100_6798
22. Using a fabric pen, mark where the lower edge of the pocket should be.100_6799
23. Mark the center line of the t-shirt.100_6806
24. Match the center line of the pocket with the center line of the t-shirt and the bottom edge of the pocket with the bottom edge line.100_6808
25. Pin the pocket in place and edge-stitch around all four sides. Your pocket is complete.

Comment on my original design: For the first pocket I made, I did not put fabric strips on the ends of the zipper (see photo below). I prefer the way the pocket looks with fabric at the ends of the zipper tape. If you prefer the look in the photo below, you can omit the zipper end fabric pieces.

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An Alternative Way To Create A Collar

Monday, September 30th, 2013

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I never cut collar pieces from the fashion fabric using the collar pattern. Instead, I cut an accurate duplicate of the collar pattern out of interfacing and fuse it onto a piece of fashion fabric. I believe this produces better results with the finished collar in less time – at least for me.

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1. Place a crisp, non-woven piece of fusible interfacing, such as Pellon, at least twice as long as the collar pattern, right-side up over the collar pattern. On one half of the interfacing, mark the center back and one half of the collar. Mark the seam lines for the outside edges of the collar. On the neck edge and other edges that join another pattern piece, mark the cut lines.

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2. Fold the interfacing in half wrong-sides together and pin down the center of the interfacing pattern piece.

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3. Cut out the interfacing pattern piece carefully. Note: if the collar design has a very sharp point, trim 1/16” from the point to round it slightly. If not trimmed, the fashion fabric may create a lump at the collar point.100_6741
4. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong-side of a rectangle of fashion fabric.100_6742
5. Place a second layer of fashion fabric right-sides together with the first layer. Along a line (drawn or eyeballed) centered and parallel to the long edges, pin through all the layers.

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6. For this step, stretch the long edges as you stitch, and use tiny stitches around the point, pivoting to follow the edge of the interfacing. Sew the collar layers together from the center of the back, around one of the collar points to the neckline seam.100_6745
7. Repeat Step 6 for the other half of collar.100_6747
8. Tilt the scissors toward the layer that will be the underside of the collar to grade the seam allowance and trim the outer edge seam to 1/8”. Trim the seam at the corners to 1/16”.

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9. Press the seam open over a point presser.
10. Turn the collar right-side out.100_6751
11. Press the collar carefully to roll the seams to the underside while pulling the underside collar fabric diagonally from the point towards the neck edge to help the seams roll to the underside.

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12. To finish the collar, top-stitch close to edge or 1/4” away for the appearance that you prefer.

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One Bag – Two Uses

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

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Summer colds, allergies, or whatever makes you reach for a tissue might make this a project for you. This project will hold your tissues, and you can use the zipper bag to hold your cell phone or as a cosmetic bag.

Supplies:
Two pieces of fabric 6” x 14”
Two pieces of fabric 5” x 6”
One piece of batting 6” x 14”
One nylon zipper at least 9” long

 Instructions:

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1. Using a fabric pen on the right-side, mark lines about 2” apart in two directions on one of the 6” x 14” rectangles. Some artistic license can be applied here – the grid does not need to create squares nor does it need to be parallel to the fabric edges.
2. Sandwich the batting between the two 6” x 14” pieces with the marked piece up.100_6717
3. Sew on the marked lines.
4. Press.
5. Cut two pieces 5” x 6” from the quilted rectangle.100_6712
6. Fold each of the two 5” x 6” pieces of fabric in half right-side out to form two pieces 6” x 2 1/2”.

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7. Place the two folded pieces on top of one of the 5” x 6” quilted pieces with the folds meeting in the center as shown. Serge all the way around the outside edges. The tissue pocket in now complete.

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8. Serge all four sides of the other 5” x 6” quilted piece.100_6721
9. Unzip the zipper. Align the outside edge of one zipper tape with the edge of one of the 6” sides, right-sides together, and with the pull hanging off the fabric.100_6722
10. Using the regular sewing foot, select left needle position. Align the teeth of the zipper with the edge of the foot. Stitch the zipper in place.
11. Stitch the other side of the zipper to the other side of the bag.100_6726
12. Open out and press the seam allowances away from the zipper teeth. Topstitch along each seam to secure the seam allowances.100_6725
13. Select the Button Sew on Stitch. Set to the widest width. On both ends of the zipper, 1/4” in from the edge of the fabric rectangle, bartack across the zipper teeth. Cut the zipper tape off leaving 1/4” or so extending past the edge of the fabric.100_6729
14. Open the zipper three quarters of the length (to provide an opening for turning right-side out). Folding along the zipper, put right-sides of the fabric rectangles together. Stitch the side and bottom seams.100_6731
15. Turn through the open zipper.100_6732
16. Your One Bag – Two Uses project is complete. Normally, one would say “use it in good health,” but the tissue side is there to deal with the condition of being just slightly not in good health. So, hopefully, you seldom will need the tissue side and only occasionally will need to replace unused but tattered tissue.

 

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Half-Square Triangle Technique

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

100_6705Many of us avoid making quilts that have half-square triangles. Why? – because cutting out the triangle shape pieces and sewing them together on the bias can result in very few coming out the correct size. The method described in this blog can be used anytime you need two or more of these squares for a project.

Layout and cut larger than called for –

When creating the layout for sewing the diagonal lines, I add 1 inch to the finished size of the half-square triangle unit, instead of the recommended 7/8 inch. Remember, the finished size is what shows after the block is sewn to other blocks. When cutting to separate the blocks, add 1/2 inch to the finished size. If your finished square is supposed to be 2 ½ inches, you will trim each unit to 3 inches, creating a ¼ inch seam allowance.

Gridded Fabric Method –

1. Using the desired finished size of a square,  calculate the number of triangles you require for your project. Determine the layout size of each square of the grid (remember 1 inch larger than the finished size). Determine the total size of fabric required to create the number of triangles you need.

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2. Cut two pieces of fabric one inch larger in each direction than the total size of fabric determined in step 1. Stack the large fabric pieces with right-sides together.

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3. Use a ruler and pencil to mark a grid on the light colored fabric as shown above. Remember to allow some extra fabric on each edge of the grid.

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4. Draw in the diagonal cutting lines.

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5. Sew a 1/4” stitch line on both sides of the cutting lines. (Note, the red dashed lines do not need to be drawn on your fabric, they were added to clarify where the stitch lines should be.)

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6. Using a rotary cutter and a ruler, cut on the lines that are parallel to the edges of the of the fabric grid.

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7. Then cut on the diagonal lines between the stitched lines.

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8. With the seam allowances folded towards the darker of the two fabrics, finger press open each pieced square.

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9. Trim the fabric units so you have neatly finished squares.

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10. You will end up with two equal-sized half square triangle units from each square on your grid.

 

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Cutting Vinyl On Your Silhouette Cameo

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

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Creating your own label with vinyl is a fun way to personalize an otherwise plain container. You might  create one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your gift list by adding text and/or graphics to many different objects. The container used in this project is from the 99 cent store. I peeled off the labels, and used Goo Gone to remove the remaining residue. The surface where the vinyl will be applied must be clean and free of residue from the Goo Gone, so I washed the surface with hot soapy water and dried with a lint free cloth.

Supplies and equipment:
Silhouette Cameo cutter and software
Orcal 631 vinyl (3 year, low tack adhesive)
Application tape
Container

Summary of the process:
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1. Use your Silhouette software to create your design.100_6666
2. Load vinyl into Silhouette Cameo and send your design to the cutter.100_6668
3. Trim the vinyl and backing slightly larger than the design.100_6670
4. Carefully remove the small areas that are completely surrounded by a continuous cut. This process is known as ‘weeding.’100_6671
5. Remove the background vinyl, leaving only the design pieces. Pay attention to any parts of the design that must remain on the backing sheet, but are lifting off because a separation cut is not deep enough for complete separation.  100_6674
6. Cover the design with application tape.100_6675
7. Using a squeegee, rub the application tape to remove air bubbles and to adhere the design to the tape.

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8. Carefully remove application tape making sure all parts of your design are securely attached.

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9. If you are putting your design on a curved surface, the design will be easier to position if you trim excess application tape.100_6679
10. Place design on the container.100_6680
11. Rub the design with the squeegee. If this step is done poorly, parts of the design will remain stuck to the application tape rather than sticking to the destination object.100_6682
12. Slowly peel the application tape away. Check the design for missing parts. Attempt to get any missing parts properly positioned and stuck to the object. When the design is complete, place the slick side of the vinyl backing sheet down on the design and burnish the design parts with the squeegee. The design parts need to be firmly adhered to the object.
13. There is an experience factor that cannot be taught – it must be experienced. Start with flat surfaces and avoid objects made with ‘slippery’ types of materials until you have developed some skill with the process and know when your project choice will fall into the harder-to-complete-successfully items category.100_6683

What will your message be?

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Cord Keeper

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

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All of us have them – those power cords that are needed to charge our battery operated electronic wonder items – phones, mp3/mp4 players, small and medium text devices, portable/laptop computers and the list goes on. For years, many of us have used empty toilet paper tubes to store our  power cords. Let’s face the facts, those paper tubes aren’t particularly attractive and they disintegrate if they get wet. And they don’t hold up to much handling even if you can keep them dry.  As practitioners of sewing, we have scraps that are so precious that we just can’t toss them. So, we save them, and save them and save them, until they fill a shoe box, then a large storage container. Yes, I also suffer from scrap-a-holicism, and have decided it’s time to take control. This project is perfect to use some of that scrap fabric.

Supplies:
Fabric – 2 pieces 4” x 6”
Medium weight fusible interfacing – 3” x 5”
Velcro – 2 small pieces

Directions:
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1. Fuse medium weight interfacing to the backside of one piece of fabric.
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2. Stack and cut both pieces of fabric to 3” x 5”.
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3. Round the corners – optional. I just took the scissors and rounded the corners, but you might use a half-dollar coin or other flat round object as a pattern if you want to draw cutting lines.
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4. Place the fabric pieces right-sides together and sew with a 1/4” seam allowance around the rectangle leaving a 2” opening for turning.
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5. Trimming some of the fabric at the corners reduces bulk in the corners.
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6. Turn right-side out and gently push out the corners.
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7. Press.
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8. Top-stitch 1/8” from the edge to secure fabric and close the opening.
9. Attach one Velcro piece to each side of the rectangle, but on opposite ends.
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10. Note – one Velcro piece on the front.
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11. Note – one Velcro piece on the back.
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12. Wrap the cord keeper around your cord so the Velcro pieces will attach to each other. Isn’t that nicer than the empty toilet tube style?

Customize the Size:
This project is easy to customize to the size of your cords by changing the width and length of the fabric you use.

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Make Your Own Headband

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

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Why make your own headband?
1. Headbands can be used to keep your hair off your face or to add some sparkle on a special occasion.
2. The fabric can be cotton, velvet, lace, or almost any other material.
3. You can make it any width you want.
4. Best of all, you can use scraps of fabric.

Supplies:
Fabric – 3 1/2” x  the length needed (see instructions)
Elastic – 3/8” wide x 3” long

Directions:

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1. Determine the position where you will wear the headband. Measure the entire distance around your head  for this position. Subtract 2 inches from the measurement and cut a rectangle of fabric the calculated length by 3.5 inches width. For example, my head is 22 inches around, so I subtracted 2 inches from 22, and I cut a rectangle of fabric 20 inches x 3.5 inches.

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2. Sew right-sides together with a 1/4” seam allowance.100_6617
3. Turn the fabric right-side out.

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4. Press with the seam in the middle of one side.
5. Turn in each end approximately ½” so the raw edges are on the inside and press.100_6622
6. Insert and center approximately 1/2” of the elastic into one end of the flattened fabric tube.

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7. Fold the extra fabric on one side of the elastic over the elastic and pin or hold with your finger.

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8. Fold the extra fabric on the other side of the elastic over the elastic. Pin the stack of layers of fabric and elastic.

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9. Sew across ALL the layers, making sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of the securing stitching.

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10. Taking care not to introduce a twist in the fabric sleeve, repeat the process to attach the elastic at the other end of the fabric sleeve.100_6657
11. At both ends of the fabric sleeve, sew across the top of all the layers again.

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Embroidering on Terrycloth Towels

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

 

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It is the time of year when we are deluged with input (store displays, magazine ads, emails, etc.) that suggests we should start working on projects for the holidays. A popular gift is a set of towels with an embroidery design. This blog is for readers who have had problems with embroidery on towel materials.

The design that I used for this towel is one of a set of 10 new designs from Floriani. Pictures of two wall-hangings that include all ten designs are at the bottom of this blog. Would you like a set of these designs for FREE? – At the Tech Parties that will be starting the week of August 12, 2013, George Moore will tell you how you can get the designs. Call your local Moore’s Sewing Center to tell them what session you prefer to attend – the morning from 9am to noon or the afternoon from 2pm to 5pm session.

Supplies:
Towel
Needle – 75/11 sharp
Stabilizer – cutaway (2.5 ounce) and a topper
Design choice – avoid Redwork or running-stitch designs on terrycloth

Terrycloth has a high loft and a loose weave. Three primary things you have to consider are:

Stabilizer:
There are three main types of stabilizer – cutaway, tear-away and wash-away which is  sometimes referred to as water-soluble.

I know that most of you think that you should use wash-away stabilizer so you won’t see the stabilizer on the backside of the towel. However, terrycloth comes in loose through dense versions and the fabric usually is not very stable size-wise over the life of the towel.

Cutaway stabilizer is the best choice. The cutaway stabilizer minimizes size change of the terrycloth under the design and reduces stretch or contraction in the design as the towel ages. The embroidery design will stitch out better and the stabilizer will also support the design for the life of  the towel.

Topping:
When working on fabrics with a high loft, such as a terrycloth towel, a topping usually improves the final result. The topping is placed on top of the towel and hooped to keep the stitches from sinking down into the pile.

There is a variety of different items that can be used as topping.

Water-soluble topping is a good choice for designs that have many open spaces within the design and/or a very irregular perimeter. No cutting or tearing around delicate stitching or in many small areas is needed.

Tulle or netting can serve as a topping when the design stitching covers all the area within the design’s border. After the embroidery is finished, tear the tulle or netting away.

Hooping: It’s time to get down to business….
1. For best results, the towel should be hooped with the stabilizer and topping. If the towel is not hooped, sections of the design may become misaligned during the sewing process. Towel fabric is NOT a good candidate for basting to the stabilizer.100_6593
2. To help secure the hoop from moving on your work surface while you are wrestling with the towel, cover an area of your work surface larger than the hoop with rubberized shelf liner. You can reroll the shelf liner for reuse on a bigger project if you don’t cut the shelf liner. Just unroll an amount with some extra area around the extreme dimensions of the hoop.

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3. Place the outer hoop on the shelf liner and loosen the hoop screw.100_6596
4. Place a piece of cutaway stabilizer on the hoop. The stabilizer must be large enough to be clamped by the hoop on all sides.

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5. Place the towel over the stabilizer.

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6. Add a piece of topping that is large enough to be clamped by the hoop along all edges. Tulle is being used for this project. The topping helps to stabilize the loops on the towel. Tulle does a good job of stabilizing because the tulle has very little ‘give’ or stretchiness.

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7. Place the inner hoop ring over the ‘sandwich’ and gently snap into place.
8. Hold the hoop ‘assembly’ down with one hand as you tighten the screw.
9. After the sewing has finished, remove the towel from the hoop and tear the excess topping away.
10. Turn the towel over to access the back side of the embroidery. Trim away all excess stabilizer along the outer edge of the design. Trim as close to the design as you can without cutting any of the embroidery stitches or the towel loops.

Floriani Design Set
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Be sure to ask George how you can get these ten Floriani embroidery designs FREE when you attend the Tech Party at your local Moore’s Sewing Center.

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Continuous Prairie Points

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

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I am confused now and we are only starting! – Prairies are mostly flat, possibly with waves of amber grain, and we apparently go from purple mountain majesty to the prairies – according to the songs ‘God Bless America’ and ‘America, The Beautiful’….. so how can the blue mountain shapes above be prairie points, which should be pale yellow-brown and flat? If anything, those are blue waves on the ocean, white with foam.

Prairie points are traditionally made from squares of fabric. But, if you want a row of prairie points,  using individual squares is not a very efficient way to proceed. The technique described in this blog can be used to make a continuous row of prairie points any size and length that you need, and both alignment and spacing are easier to achieve and more accurate.

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1. Cut a strip of fabric 6” by the width of fabric (selvage edge to selvage edge). Two or more strips can be sewn end to end for longer runs of continuous prairie points.100_6564
2. Fold with right-side out, align the cut edges and press. Unfold and place on the cutting board with wrong-side up. If you have problems seeing the center line fold, mark it with chalk.

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3. On one side of the fold, mark from the outside edge to the center line fold/mark every 3”.

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4.  On the other side of the fold, start 1 1/2” in from the end. Then  mark from the outside edge to the center fold/mark every 3”.100_6568
5. There will be excess fabric that must be cut away on both ends of the long strip. Keep only the fabric that will make complete 3” squares.

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6. Create the 3” squares by cutting on the marks from outer edge to the center line fold/mark using scissors or a rotary cutter.100_6572a
7.  Fold the 3” squares the way you would fold traditional prairie points. Fold left-hand corner down and to the right to the center line fold/mark, creating a triangle. Finger press.

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8. Fold the right-hand corner down and to the left to the center line fold/mark, creating a smaller triangle. Finger press. Notice the opening on the left side of the prairie point. The next triangle will fit into this slot.

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9. Make the next prairie point from the first 3” square on the other side of the center line fold/mark.

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10. Tuck this prairie point into the flap of the previous prairie point. You can pin these if you like, but it may not be necessary. Continue working with the ‘far’ and ‘near’ squares until you reach the end of the fabric strip.100_6584
11. Trim excess fabric.
12. For convenience, you can baste the continuous prairie points in place using an 1/8” seam, but this is not mandatory.
13. Attach the prairie points to your quilt using a 1/4” seam allowance.

By now, you may have memorized all the words to one or two of the most patriotic songs of the USA.

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