Spring Is In the Air

Someplace else, perhaps. 

I think Mother Nature has forgotten it is time for a change in seasons to appear in Idaho.  Well, I take that back. We are certainly getting a change in seasons — it seems to change on a daily basis lately.  We just need it to make up its mind and stay Spring until Summer comes along.  Because on April 29th, this is ridiculous.

On another note — I have been playing single parent most of this week so my time for blogging and sewing has been limited.  Sorry for being MIA.

Sew Daily Tips

Tricia Waddell, Editor in Chief of Stitch Magazine talks about organizing your sewing space in today’s Sew Daily email. She highlights her favorite tips from the article, 12 Ways to Destash Your Studio,  from the upcoming issues of Studios magazine.

– Admit you have a problem. The first step in parting with your stuff is admitting that you have more than you could ever use. Once you acknowledge you will never use it all, you can start to mentally separate from it.

– Start small. Don’t try to do it all at once. Pick a category, such as patterns, kits, or one particular fiber form (yarn, fabric) and tackle that from start to finish.

– Sort. Get three bins or bags and label one “give,” one “toss,” and one “keep.” Things that are broken, ripped, or outdated in a way that makes them unusable go in “toss.” Recycle what you can.

– Create in the now. As you sort, if you hesitate over an item, ask yourself if it complements the kind of work you are doing right now—not the kind you used to do or might possibly do in the future.

– Swap. Maybe you don’t have too much stuff. Maybe you just have the wrong stuff. Invite your artsy friends to bring some of their surplus stash and trade.

– Don’t bring it home. Next time you see a bag of Depression-era fabric scraps at the flea market or your neighbor offers you a plastic bin full of crochet supplies, ask yourself: do I really need it? Do I have room for it? Does it help me create now? If the answers are no, smile, and walk away, happy in the knowledge that you still have room in your studio to create.

Happy Sewing!

Sneak Peaks

Since the baby was born I’ve solely been focused on filling orders; I’ve just been too busy to try to create a bunch of new stuff.  I know though, that I need to start expanding my product line to increase business.  I also need to make use of all the fabulous patterns I’ve purchased and try to start using up some of the 100+ fabrics that I have sitting in my sewing room!

To do so I set myself a new shop goal — to make 1-2 new items every week and get them sent off for photographing. 

Week #1 was successful!  I actually made 3 new items to put in the shop. (I apologize for the photo quality — I was too impatient to wait until the sun was shining to take pictures with natural light.)

Dress #1 is made using fabrics from Ty Pennington’s Impressions line and the Pink Dress pattern by So Tei Tei.  In person –and decent light– the fabric is a fabulous chartreuse color.

And I couldn’t help but make an adorable pair of ruffle capris to go with the dress!

Dress #2 is made using Amy Butler’s Fresh Poppies from the Midwest Modern II line and the Katrina Dress pattern by So Tei Tei.

I’ll post again when they’re listed for sale!

A Stitch Tip

(Today’s Stitch Tip is brought to you as a Public Service Announcement to all sleep-deprived mothers.  It’s non-sewing related but an important message nonetheless.  Please don’t ask how I know this information.)


When there is plastic melting on the burners of your stove top, quickly turn the heat off before it catches fire and then allow the burner to completely cool down.  While doing this it’s appropriate to curse at yourself if you’re the cursing kind and run your burnt fingers under cold water if necessary; it helps to pass the time.  After the burner is completely cool, the plastic should just peel off in pieces.

Saturday Pattern Sharing 4/16/11

Five years ago when pregnant with Big Girl, we never found out what we were having prior to delivery; the same was true with Baby Girl as well.  All of our nursery stuff from before was done in blue, green and yellow and was very gender neutral.  I had kept almost everything from the first baby to use with other children.  With having so much on hand I didn’t want to make a bunch of stuff that wouldn’t be used often.  I figured it would be better for me to wait and I could make stuff for the baby as he/she grew up.

There was only one baby-related sewing project that I completed before Baby Girl made her appearance.   A Heirloom Cut Chenille Baby Blanket, using the tutorial from Aesthetic Nest.

Here’s my version:

All in all, it was a fairly easy blanket to make.  I took longer than the 4 hours Anneliese said it took her to sew all the diagonal seams but I will admit that I don’t sew very quickly sometimes.  Especially when pregnant and needing to get up for frequent breaks.

Two tips though — spend the money on an Olfa Chenille Cutter if you can (it makes the project SO much simpler) and make sure to sew on a diagonal.  Or if you want to sew vertically or horizontally, make sure to turn the flannel so it’s on the bias or you’ll end up with shreds of fabric after washing.  A friend of mine learned this the hard way.

Happy Sewing!

Behind the Stitch

This is why I sew:

 

To make them fabulous pieces like this:

Layered Knit Skirt for Big Girl

 

Knit Ruffle Pants for Baby Girl

 

With extra ruffles on the bum, of course!

 

The best part is when items are received with a huge smile and a desire to wear it immediately!  Now if only we could work on wearing the items I make with coordinating pieces.  What is it with four-year old girls wanting to wear a floral skirt with a striped shirt and polka dot tights?

 

Choosing the Right Thread for a Project

You’ve found the perfect fabric and have decided on the perfect pattern to create.  Now it’s important that you use the appropriate thread for the project.  Thread that is too small or weak can result in a project that falls apart; thread too wide or coarse can split or tear the fabric.  There is a thread out there for every project, and fortunately, with a little experience or research, it can become easy to figure out what thread you will need for whatever you are sewing.

 

The main types of sewing threads include:

  • Cotton threads
  • Polyester threads
  • Nylon/rayon threads (including invisible thread)
  • Silk threads (and silk ribbons)
  • Wool threads
  • Metallic threads
  • Designer threads (mixed threads made by combining different types of threads, e.g., cottons with rayon with silk, etc.)

 

Cotton thread: The usual cotton thread found in most stores is ideal for basic sewing. It is best for light- to medium-weight natural fabrics like cotton and linen.  Most cotton threads are mercerized, a coating that lets the dye take more easily and results in a lustrous appearance. This cotton has limitations, however, as it has no “give” and can break if used on fluid fabrics, such as stretch knit fabric.

Polyester threads: These are strong threads that have excellent ” give” for sewing projects. They tend to come in an all-purpose weight and often have a wax or silicone finish to them.  This finish allows the thread to slip through fabric with little friction. Polythread is suitable for most machine and hand sewing projects. The appearance of this thread will be waxy or shiny, not matte like plain cotton.

Nylon threads: This is a strong thread that is suitable for using on light to medium weight synthetic fabrics.

Rayon threads: Rayon embroidery thread works well to create flat stitches where cotton embroidery thread might stand too high.

Silk threads: Silk is a fine thread that is ideal for a range of fabrics, although silk is often reserved for embroidery work. This strong thread is ideal for sewing on silk and wool, and for basting all fabrics. The benefit is that silk threads do not leave holes and it is very flexible. An excellent tailoring thread.

Wool threads: Wool threads tend to be used for embroidery projects and for blankets (using blanket stitch). Wool works best with heavy fabrics, such as wool, or canvas.

Metallic threads: Metallic threads are used for goldwork embroidery and for embellishment on items such as handbags.

 

Now that you’ve decided which type of thread to use, it’s time to move on to color.  When deciding what color of thread to use there are two different approaches.

You can color match and make the thread as hard to see as possible. Match the thread color but go one shade darker than your fabric and the thread will blend in much better. If you just can’t find the right color and shade, go to a neutral color slightly darker than your fabric but of the same value. You don’t want to see your stitches when seams are pressed open.

OR

Use a contrasting color and take your seams from utility to decorative. Of course, if you are going to topstitch you need to make sure you are skilled enough on the sewing machine or with your hand stitching to produce a good-looking stitch. That’s easy enough to do with a little practice.

 

When sewing myself, I use a combination of polyester and cotton for most of my projects.  My serger is always threaded with 100% spun polyester to give the serged edges a little bit of give to them.  My sewing machine is typically threaded with dual duty plus — mercerized cotton wrapped on a polyester core.  It looks like cotton and stretches like polyester, making it a good choice for most types of fabrics because it has a combination of strength and stretch.

 

A STITCH TIP:  When sewing clothing items, choose a thread that is slightly weaker than the fabric you are using.  If stress is put on the clothing item (especially children’s apparel), the seam will break before the fabric will rip.  This makes repairing the item much easier.

 

Happy Sewing!