Sunday, July 31, 2011

Take A Guess

Could you guess what this is and, more importantly, what’s its role in my craft room?

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Friday, July 29, 2011

What's In Your Jar?

Have you stored your collections in glass jars?  
If you have not, you should seriously try.   
 It started off with my greed.  When I found these wooden floral buttons, I fell into my "gotta have them" mode.  All I needed was 4.  But the store only sold them in packs of 200.  Yap, you read it right.  And I ended up with TWO HUNDRED buttons!  
I had to find something to store them in.  Dug out two empty glass candy jars.  Poured the buttons in.  Looking good. 
This jelly jar now is home for all my other buttons. 

So, what's in your jar?

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Teflon Foot Alternative

 Vinyl, oilcloth, and synthetic leather.  Enough said?
I’ve tried to sew vinyl SLOWLY and pull the material to match sides using my all purpose foot.  What a disaster!  The fabrics shifted so badly that they ended up with “extras” hanging from the side of the stitches…  Since those materials do not “heal” like most fabrics (once you rip out the stitches, you’d see holes that would not disappear), I could not even use my seam ripper and sew again.  The best thing I could do was to trim off the “excess” vinyl and live with the slanted stitches.

I was told that Teflon presser foot was the ONLY answer.  Even my husband said, “Well, it's Teflon. There's no substitute for the same kind of sticking prevention.  Just buy a Teflon foot.  Wait, how much is it going to cost me?” 

Well, I'd beg to differ.
Layering a piece of stabilizer on top of vinyl worked for me.  Still pricey?  Try a piece of tissue paper instead.  They both prevent the material from sticking to the presser foot.
Another trick I've learned  is taping masking tape to the bottom of the all purpose foot.  Same principle as using the stabilizer/tissue paper.
It does not have to be neat, just needs to cover the foot.  Make sure to cut opening for the needle!  You sure don't want to have a gummy needle from sewing through the tape.
I will use these inexpensive methods until I feel compelled enough to get the Teflon foot some day.  Who knows, my husband might be right this time.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Just Label That

 My DYMO Letratag is one of my favorite tools.  I label my drawers in the craft room to prevent too much time spent on figuring out where I put stuff.  And believe me, I’ve got 39 drawers (mostly small and table friendly though).
 How would I ever find anything without labels?

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Do You Know Your Feet?

Most of these presser feet came with my sewing machine.  I’d say that I stay with the all purpose foot for comfort, and with the zipper foot and buttonhole feet when I must.  But I hardly felt necessary to use the others until I realized what they could do.
I've written about the Narrow Hemmer foot and the Buttonhole foot in my July Aha.  So I won't bore you with these same two feet.  

Blind hem presser foot does wonders--neat, close to the edge stitches.  Life before blind hem foot was having my fabric fed right into the needle plate whenever I attempted to sew close to the edge.  Ok, let's not go back there...
Got a quilting foot for I just could not see where I was stitching when I appliqued.  This presser foot has "an open toe", allowing you to guide your stitches.  The problem was that the presser foot shank screw did not fit my machine.  I needed to improvise.  So I used an unbended paper clip instead.  What can I say, it did the job.
The 1/4" quilting foot aka piecing foot is great for sewing 1/4" or 1/8" seams.  The presser foot has 3 red markings at the needle, 1/8" and 1/4", making your sewing precise when you have a rectangular-4-side job.

Here's a link from Viking that has great illustrations of how a piecing foot works: 
I am not a quilter, but I could imagine how quilters could not live without this baby.

Check out the Binder foot post here! 

The Overcast foot post here! 

And the Teflon Foot Alternative post here! 

Here's a link that has video demonstrations of how different feet work:

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Service Sewing Project for the Children of Joplin

I plan to join this service project for the children of Joplin, Missouri affected by the tornadoes of last May.

Sewers, check it out and see how you could help, too.
Garments should be completed and shipped by August 1, 2011 in time for the beginning of Joplin's new school year starting August 17, 2011.

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

July Aha!

Aha #1:  Me and my Narrow Hemmer Foot

I love words such as "clearance", "sale" and "free".  So when I learned that my sewing machine comes with additional sewing feet, I was convinced that I got a great bargain.  However, some of those free feet are tricky because I DID NOT KNOW HOW TO USE THEM!  The most challenging presser foot trophy goes to my narrow hemmer foot.

Great looking foot, isn't it?
Common sense told me that anything problem could be solved if I just read!  So I read the 2 pages of "How To Use Narrow Hammer Foot" again and again.  Tested on my poor scrap so many times that the top edge unraveled.  Still, could not feed the fabric into the curled part of the presser foot far enough to make a stitch.  As I struggled, I would look at my user's manual and go "Are you sure about this?"  (Arrrrrrr!)

I even found a tutorial online for Mastering the Narrow Hemmer here:
Tried and failed...

Then, I thought to myself, "Self, why don't we start stitching 2-3" down instead of  feeding that tiny corner into the curl part?"  So I put the presser foot 2" down from the top of the fabric and tried to feed the fabric into the curl part from there.  Sure enough, Aha!  It worked!  The fabric was catching.  When I started stitching, I saw this beautiful narrow hem forming.  No sweat.  I am dreaming of all the possibilities of using this presser foot right now.  And the best part is now there's no more fear. 

Aha #2: Buttonhole  Foot setting on the bag

The buttonhole foot is an odd ball.  It does not fit into my small box for the presser feet family.  I left it in the original plastic zipper bag and got my "aha".
I wrote a short summary of how to use this presser foot (and the page number of the user's manual for detail reading, just in case) on the bag.  Later, I added the setting adjustment, too.  I do not sew buttonholes that frequently, but whenever I do now, it's a breeze. 
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