Where Did You Get That?

Whenever I teach a class, I try to bring something new to the table. I may use ribbon, sequins, rick rack or rhinestones (I’m accused of being a “bling” girl), on whatever embroidery project I am doing. Well, I have some great companies I buy from and I would like tell you about some of them. Most of these companies also have great sales throughout the year, so be sure to sign up to get their emails. It’s well worth it. Their links are all in my Creative Links section.

Thread Art.com has EVERYTHING you could want to trim your project. That’s not all, they have many different types and weights of threads. Add, embroidery designs you can download, quilting fabric, vinyl, stabilizer, and much more. You just have to check each page to see what treasure you can find.

Another great company to buy blanks to embroider on, is Discount Embroidery Blanks.com They, and their sister store, Sewfisticated Stitcher.com  have reasonably priced blanks like towels of all kinds. tea towels, golf towels, finger tip towels, etc. Don’t let their prices fool you. The quality is great.

Also check out All About Blanks.com  They have some beautiful things you can embroider like the usual towels, but also elegant cotton table runners, napkins, handkerchiefs, etc (be sure to use 60 wt. embroidery thread when working with delicate handkerchiefs)

There are other companies out there, but these 3 companies I do a lot of business with.

How nice is it to make something personalized for someone special. We all like the sound of our own name. Well, how about their name or monogram on a gift  that they will always cherish.

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Until next time …. happy sewing!

 

 

 

 

 

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Pillows Galore

molly-brown-jacobean-pillow-1Throw pillows on a couch, a bed or chair are an inexpensive way to add color and decorate a room. The pillows you buy can be quite pricey costing upwards of $40 to $80 or more, depending on what you get. If you want something nice that will last, you will spend a lot of money for them. By making your own, you can also customize your pillow with embroidered words and sayings that mean something to you or the person you are giving it to. Maybe do a small wedding pillow, a friendship, daughter, Mother, Father, or Grandparent design. They will cherish them forever.

I’ve been making pillows for my military friends and they are loving them. I found some army-pillow-2panels with the different branches of the service and I make and quilt the pillow for my friends and their particular branch. Military guys and gals are very proud of their service  and this is a way you can honor them. Want to just make a decorative pillow? That’s OK. I’m going to give you a formula that will serve you well for any design.

First; make your pillow top.  This can be as simple as a piece of fabric you like, a panel, or a pieced quilt block. You can also do a beautiful embroidery design on a  piece of fabric and then turn it into a pillow with the following steps.

Second; Cut your top to the size pillow you want to make. Pillow forms come in all shapes and sizes. You can get them at any craft or fabric store, like Joann’s. I get mine there when they have a pillow sale, or save with my 40% off coupon. The sizes I like best are 12″, 14″ and 16″ square. If you want a bolster size, then 12″ x 16″ is a nice size. Whatever size you decide to use, I cut my top to the same size or 1/4″ bigger all around. It depends on the weight of fabric and if batting is used.

Third; “Sandwiching” your pillow top. I like to make a pillow top in layers. I start with muslin for the lining, then batting for body and last I put the finished decorative outside of the pillow on top. Then I quilt the three layers with a simple free motion meander pattern or a quilters “cross hatch” pattern. “Cross hatching” is the simplest way to finish off the top. It only involves straight stitching and it can be done on any size machine.  All you need is an erasable marking pen and a straight stitch foot or a walking foot.

Fourth; Planning the back of the pillow. There are a few ways you can finish the back.  1. is a simple way of just cutting the back fabric the same size as the front and with right sides together, sew all around pillow leaving about 3 or 4 inches open at the bottom. I suggest sewing a straight stitch first, then go around again with a zig zag stitch to finish off the edges. (you can use a serged edge if you have a serger.) I do this, then I do the back with the same three layers and cross hatch that also to give the pillow cover body. Once it is all stitched, turn right side out, stuff your pillow form inside and hand stitch the opening to finish off.envelope pillow back 3

2. is the “envelope” style back where you use 2 pieces of fabric wrong sides together with your folds  overlapping about 2 inches in the center. Then you attach the the back to front (again right sides facing each other), and you can stitch all the way around four sides. Once done, you turn it right side out using your fold over and again, stuff your pillow form inside and you are done. This makes it easy to remove pillow case to wash when needed. zipper pillow back 3

3. is  to put a zipper near the bottom to make installing pillow form and removal easy. This is the most secure way to have a removable cover, but you need to be pretty comfortable with installing a zipper.

The envelope style is the most popular finish and to make your cover a little more snug, you can put decorative buttons to hold the folds together or put hidden Velcro on the folds to keep the backing snug.

You options are endless, and you can have or give a pillow that has meaning and is different from “off the rack” ones you can buy in a store.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me. Use your imagination and create something really nice and fun.

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Happy Sewing!

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.

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‘Tis The Season…

I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Christmas will be here soon and I wanted to once again give you some ideas of things you can make. These ideas make wonderful gifts.

It’s not long before Christmas will be here and there are still gifts that need to be made. There are embroidered kitchen towels with matching pot holders, bathroom fingertip towels, monogrammed towel sets, decorated pillows, zippered gadget bags, lap quilts, place mats,  embroidered napkins, decorated Christmas sweat shirts, and embroidered jackets.  Don’t forget the Christmas stockings with embroidered holiday designs and your granddaughter’s (or grandson’s) name on the top. Why not make them for the whole family to use, year after year.Don’t forget towels and place-mats for our Jewish friends for Hanukkah. This list is only a sample of what you can do.

My goodness, I guess I’d better get cracking! …. (or better, sewing). For the last 4 or 5 years, all my gifts have been “hand made”. It’s these gift that are cherished by all who receive it..

I am thankful  for the blessings in my life. For the people who are in my life,  and now all of you, for reading my blog, and encouraging me to do more.

Continue to enjoy this holiday weekend, and the whole holiday season. It’s my favorite time of the year.

Until next time …. happy sewing.

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Holiday Gift Ideas

It’s that time of the year when we are scrambling to make gifts for Christmas that should have been made in July! Don’t fret. Here are some great ideas that can be made quickly and easily, but look like you spent a lot of time (or money) on them.delph-blue-rooster-1

Kitchen dish towels machine embroidered with a pretty design, make a great useful gift. Make them fancy by putting on a bottom trim of fabric, rick rack or ribbon. Pot holders are always another useful gift. Why not make them to match your kitchen towel, and you have a lovely Christmas, house warming or party gift. Better than a bottle of wine. Better yet, wrap the towel around the wine and tie with a pretty bow. Sounds good to me. Pretty machine embroidered  cloth napkins make every holiday dinner seem even more special. Especially when they come from you. Continue reading “Holiday Gift Ideas”