Tips & Tricks #1

This blog is going to be a mix of tips from various sources and things I’ve discovered in my years of sewing. I will be doing this periodically  so as not to overwhelm you with too much information.

The one thing I found to be true is, work with the best tools you can if you want a quality product in the end. Your project will only be as good as your weakest product in your project.

One stabilizer does not fit all situations!!! Check out my blog on how to use stabilizers for the best outcome of machine embroidery.

The old adage … Measure twice (or 3 times to be sure) and cut once. It also helps to read the instructions over before your start your project. (:-)

If you want to make a quilt that will be an heirloom to hand down, be sure to use good quality cotton fabric from a quilt store locally or online. Don’t go for cheap fabric, as it won’t last. Use cheaper fabric for projects that will be considered “disposable” in time.

Check your tension and make sure that your threads are sewing evenly through your fabric. Especially when quilting through two layers of fabric and batting. You may need to loosen the tension or tighten it depending on your machine and thread. Make a sample sandwich and test on that before starting on the real quilt.

Always use good quality threads for any sewing project but particularly for quilting and embroidery.  Again, you are only as good as your weakest link. Don’t let that weak link be thread that shreds or breaks all the time. I personally like Aurafil for sewing and piecing and King Tut by Superior threads, or Sulky 30w for  machine quilting.

Don’t forget to start with a new Quilting needle, preferably 90/14, when you start machine quilting a new quilt. The same goes for embroidery, a new embroidery needle will make the project go smoother.

If your thread keeps shredding or breaking, try this; Change your needle, re-thread the top thread and reset your bobbin. Most times this will take care of the problem. If it doesn’t, clean out your machine. Another thing you can do is take a cotton ball and rub it against the bobbin case, throat plate or even the needle to see if there is a burr that could cause breakage or shredding.

I am constantly saying to my students, they spend thousands of dollars on these beautiful new sewing/embroidery machines that do everything imaginable, then scrimp on supplies. Good machines need good thread, needles and fabric to run efficiently.

Periodically, I’ll be giving you more blogs with tips. If you have a neat tip I can pass on, I’m sure my readers would enjoy hearing it. One reader commented on the blog about metallic thread. She said she uses Floriani metallic and has no trouble with breakage. Nice tip!

Until next time, Happy Sewing!

Be sure to check out past blogs to see some interesting articles about sewing, embroidery and quilting.

PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO SEE PAST BLOGS OR CLICK ON THE “PAST BLOGS” LINK ON THE RIGHT.

 

 

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The Joys of Metallic Thread!!!

Today, I want to tell you about using that “dreaded” metallic thread in our home embroidery machines that sew every other kind of thread so beautifully.

Metallic thread is known for being problematic when it comes to doing embroidery on our home machines.  However, if you know how to work with it, you will love how beautiful it looks, especially in your holiday designs. The sparkle metallic thread gives the design, just makes the design look so gorgeous.

The first thing you do is SLOW DOWN YOUR MACHINE. Our machines work so fast that the thread has a tendency to heat up, then stretch and break. I slow mine down as far as they can go to 350 or 400 speed.

Next, you must have the thread feeding off the spool the same way it is wound on the spool. Don’t lay it sideways in your thread holder. The thread will twist as it feeds into the machine. Second, DON”T put the thread standing upright in a cup or thread stand along side the machine. The thread will still twist as it comes off the thread. Instead, lay the thread on it’s side in a cup so it feeds off the thread the same way it is wound on the spool. Again, the object is not to let the thread twist as it feeds into the machine.

Another way is to put the metallic thread on a secondary thread  holder on your machine if you have one, providing it will let the thread feed off the spool the old fashioned way our old machines used to do.  There are some new attachments you can purchase from sewing supply stores such as Sewing Supply Warehouse or Nancy’s Notions. (links on the right). These are neat and work very well.

When purchasing metallic thread, remember there are many different brands and thicknesses. Floriani has one that has a polyester base and sews out beautifully. Madeira sells a couple different types of metallic. One thicker and one standard. Also, Sulky makes a nice metallic. These are only a few of the brands that make metallic. Shop around and try different brands until you find the one you like and most importantly, the one your machine likes.

If you read my blog on Needles, then you know it is advisable to use a metallic needle. These needles have a slightly larger eye opening so as to let the thread flow easily.

One final piece of advice I have learned. Don’t choose a design that is so dense that you will risk breaking the thread in the needle, or the thread in your design.  Let your metallic be a highlight on a design. Why not  decorate a Christmas towel with a beautiful design that will show off that pretty metallic thread. If you want to be adventurous, Try making the Anitagoodesign special edition called GOLDEN TAPESTRY.  This one was made by Cindy at Expert Sewing. She used Floriani metallic thread and it was sewn on Silk Dupioni fabric. cindy-tapestry-sm

If you have any questions about sewing with metallics, please feel free to contact me. I will answer all questions as best I can. Don’t be afraid to  try it. Just remember the do’s and don’ts of using this lovely edition to your embroidery.

Until next time, Happy Sewing!

Be sure to check out past blogs to see some interesting articles about sewing, embroidery and quilting.

PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO SEE PAST BLOGS OR CLICK ON THE “PAST BLOGS” LINK ON THE RIGHT.

A Needle In A Haystack (Sewing Box)

No, we are not going to look for needles in a haystack, but we do need to dig out all those needles in our sewing box and organize them. I teach an  Embroidery 101 workshop, which covers the use of stabilizer, threads and needles. It still surprises me when my students ask me the difference […]

No, we are not going to look for needles in a haystack, but we do need to dig out all those schmetz-machine-needlesneedles in our sewing box and organize them. I teach an  Embroidery 101 workshop, which covers the use of stabilizer, threads and needles. It still surprises me when my students ask me the difference in needles. I’m going to try to simplify this mystery and give you a place to go back to when you need to choose a needle for a certain sewing, quilting or embroidery project.I have worked with most of these needle types and when you use the correct needle, your project will always look the best.

You want to choose needle size according to thickness of your thread and needle type according to your fabric application. Continue reading “A Needle In A Haystack (Sewing Box)”

Thick or Thin, Which do I Use?

thread-clip-artI taught a free motion quilting class yesterday and I was explaining the difference between the thread sizes. For some people, thread thickness can be very confusing. It’s hard to compute in our brains why the higher the number, the thinner the thread and the lower the number the thicker the thread. I am going to try to simplify  which is which.

Normal sewing thread is usually 50 weight thick.This is the standard in the industry.  This is the normal thread you buy at Joann’s or wherever you buy your everyday sewing or quilt piecing thread.

To sandwich my quilts together I like to use a 30 weight quilting thread. Continue reading “Thick or Thin, Which do I Use?”

Cotton & Silk & Damask Oh My!

Woven cotton, quilter’s cotton, silk, dupione silk, damask, jacquard, chiffon, terry, batiste, corduroy, flannel, and on and on. It’s enough to drive a person crazy. Add these to all the stretch fabrics and you could get a headache trying to figure out what fabric to use where.

Today we are going to focus on 3 fabrics. Most people have no trouble telling the difference between cotton, silks or knits. The fabrics we get  confused about is jacquard, brocade and damask – what is the difference? Continue reading “Cotton & Silk & Damask Oh My!”

The “How To” of T-Shirt Quilts

jessica-t-shirt-1Ever wanted to do something with all those t-shirts your kids get from school, sporting events, or dance recitals? How about all the ones your brother, husband, or sister have that they just can’t get rid of. Here’s the perfect solution to save those memories and make something that they will cherish for a long time.

T-shirts are tricky to work with. They are very stretchy and not conducive to behaving when trying to sew them like quilter’s cotton. Consequently you have to back them with a permanent iron on interfacing to make them stable. My procedure is to cut the design from the front or back of the t-shirt as large as you can get it. For adult t-shirts you will probably need to cut as much as possible or more, so as not to lose any of the design. Eventually you will cut the finished block to 12.5″  You can cut children’s sizes accordingly. Next,  I recommend using Pellon lightweight or medium weight interfacing that is ironed on the back of the block/design. Another great product to work with is Pellon Wisper Weft. It works the same way as shirt weight interfacing and is just as stable to tame the t-shirt stretch. The light weight interfacing is a softer hand and will show more old fashioned quilting puffiness. Medium weight interfacing gives a flatter look. Whisper Weft is between the two. Continue reading “The “How To” of T-Shirt Quilts”

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, & Happy New Year.

My wish for all of you is a joyous, healthy, happy holiday season and a wonderful  2017.

Thank you for following my blog. Please pass my link on to your sewing, quilting and embroidery friends. Sewers are the nicest people on earth. They are generous of heart and true artists.

God bless, everyone.

Molly