You Mean I Need More Than 2 Stabilizers?

I think this is one of my most asked questions in class. Stabilizers have come a long way from the early days of using paper or coffee filters to stabilize fabrics in an embroidery hoop. That’s going way back in time! I’ve been sewing since I was a young child, but doing embroidery for the past 12 years. Times have changed, even from when I started, and those changes are wonderful for those of us who do home embroidery. The quality of stabilizers is amazing and when you use the proper stabilizer for your project, the outcome is beautiful. You can take a plain piece of fabric or linen and make a high end style pillow that would cost you up to $100 from a home decor boutique store. Your cost? The price of a yard of fabric, your embroidery supplies, and your creative imagination.  You can design a kitchen tea towel and personalize it to give as a gift. You can embroider a beautiful monogram on a set of towels for a lovely wedding gift. All these projects use a different stabilizer to make them look professional.

There are two main things to remember. If the fabric stretches, use a cutaway stabilizer. If it doesn’t stretch, you can use a tearaway. That’s your starting point. If you keep that in mind, most of your problems are solved.

Let’s look at Tearaway stabilizers, of which there are many. There is light to medium weight tearaway which can be used on designs that are not overly dense, or they can be used to “float” under another stabilizer when a design has more than 10,000 stitches.

Another one is the “sticky back” tearaway. Floriani makes one called Perfect Stick. This particular stabilizer is half water based and half fiber based. This means that the portion under the stitches will stay even if the rest is washed away. I like this one for a lot of things like embroidery on quilting fabric, tea towels, small terry kitchen towels, etc. This stabilizer, as I understand,  has a silicone base so it won’t gum up your needle. RNK Distributing makes this and many other stabilizers under the brand names of Floriani and Jenny Haskins. They also have one called Wet n Stick. With this stabilizer, you dampen the stabilizer once it is hooped, and a little water activates the sticky quality. Then “float” and stick down the item to be embroidered. This one is great for heavier towels. Once you are done stitching, dampen the back of the stabilizer and it will activate the water property again, so it will peel away and tear away easily. Again, it is half water soluble and half fiber.

You can also get iron on tearaway that you fuse to the back of the fabric, then hoop fabric and stabilizer as one.  For the most part, it is always best if you can hoop the stabilizer and the fabric together. But… there are times when hooping the fabric is not good for a variety of reasons, like a quality towel or velvet which could get “hoop burn”. Or the fabric is too delicate, so floating is the best option. Floriani has a sheet inside the tube of each stabilizer roll  that tells you how to use that particular one.

Stretch fabric like T-shirts, knits, sweatshirts and some cottons need a cutaway stabilizer. A prime example is a T-shirt with lots of stretch. This needs No Show Mesh cutaway. It comes in fusible and non fusible. Several companies make this type,  but I happen to like Floriani because it comes in 3 color options, white, beige and black. I generally use beige or black depending on the fabric color. Because you cut it away about 1/8th inch to 1/4th inch  from the outside edge of the design, the beige doesn’t show through the light colored T-shirts.

You can also get a cutaway that looks like tearaway, but can’t be torn. This one is great for heavy sweatshirts, or jackets and will hold a large design with a heavy stitch count. This same cutaway is great to use behind a design that you want to turn into a decor picture in a frame or wall hanging.

There’s one more to talk about. water soluble stabilizers. These are great to use for Free Standing Lace (FSL), or for embroidery on organza, or sheer fabrics that you don’t want a stabilizer to show on the back. I like the kind that looks like funny fabric or cheese cloth. It’s sturdy and one or two layers can hold a LOT of stitches. Sulky also makes a heavy weight plastic or opaque looking stabilizer that is also good for FSL. There is another kind that looks like Saran Wrap. This is a “topper” that you put on top of your design to hold down the nap while stitching out your design.  Sulky calls it a stabilizer, but it is not to be used for holding stitches. The light or medium weight is to be used only as a topper. You pull it off and if you have any little nooks and crannies that you need to get out, a wet cue tip will do the trick. There is also a topper that you melt off with a dry iron. Follow instructions carefully to know how to use it properly. Floriani  calls theirs Heat N Gone

One of my favorite things to do is embroidery on towels. Below is a You Tube video with some excellent instructions on stabilizing terry or velour towels. The educator is Ellen Olsten and she is wonderful. I had the pleasure of meeting her when she came to our store, Expert Sewing Center, with a Sulky sit n sew event.  Watch and enjoy!

I welcome comments or questions and would love to have you “follow” my blog, so please click the follow button, fill in your email, and you will receive a notice each time I publish a new blog. Don’t worry, no emails are ever sold

Please check out some of my past blogs. I try to make them informative and educational. It is my delight to help people to enjoy and learn. Sewing has been a passion of mine since I was a young child.  There is a blog on threads, or one on needles, or ideas for gifts and more.  Also check out my creative links. These are businesses I do business with. They are all good quality companies.

Until next time…. Happy sewing!

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Charming Gifts For Any Holiday or Special Occasion

Here are some ideas for you to make quick holiday, hostess gifts, birthday gifts  or cherished Christmas gifts for family and friends to use every year.

I said I would start adding You Tube videos that I thought my subscribers would like. Here’s the first one and it comes from our friends at http://www.emblibrary.com …I love these cute and fun napkins that can be made with cotton or washable linen fabric, and you can make them  for any occasion.  If you are an embroiderer, put a cute embroidery design that fits whatever holiday you choose, or a fun any occasion design that you can use year round. Not an embroiderer? How about an applique’ design. They call them Christmas Tree napkins, because of the fold, but with a non holiday fabric or embroidery design, they would just look charming on your table.  Let’s face it, nothing says elegance like a cloth napkin.

How about a  simple monogram on napkins you purchase at  stores like Tuesday Morning? They are elegant and can be used year round.

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 Holiday, 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.

Place mats are always fun sewing project. Four can be made with a yard of top fabric and a yard of complimentary back fabric. Sandwich them with Annie’s Soft n Stable, add a decorative binding, and you have a one of a kind gift. Are you a quilter? Make a patchwork top and you have something really special. Before putting the binding on, quilt it with cross hatching (or in the ditch) and you have a very professional looking gift. Again make matching pot holders to finish it off.

Have a golfer in your family or circle of friends? How about a golf towel with a cute black-golf-bag-1embroidered  design on it and maybe even a name or monogram. You can purchase quality golf towels from All About Blanks or Discount Embroidery Blanks. They have beautiful velour tops with terry back for wiping hands or golf clubs. Towels also come ready with grommet and hook to attach to golf bag and they have a wonderful variety of colors.

2-ivory-fingertip-christmas-towelsDon’t forget bath room towel sets. Fingertip towels with a pretty machine embroidered design or monogram are great for a powder room. Bath towel sets with an elegant monogram is always a nice Christmas present house warming or wedding shower gift.

Don’t forget  to machine embroider T-Shirts, Sweat shirts, and jackets to dress up your own clothes or for someone else. Kids love T-shirts embroidered by Grandma (or Grandpa) Be sure to put Sulky Tender Touch or Floriani Dream Weave on back of design to cover stitches so the threads inside the shirt don’t touch the skin.

These are just an idea of quick gifts that will be appreciated. If you only sew, then besides place mats, how about fabric bowls, rope bowls or wall hangings.

Ok. Now that I’ve inspired you, lets get sewing. I welcome comments or questions and would love to have you “follow” my blog, so please click the follow button, fill in your email, and you will receive a notice each time I publish a new blog. Don’t worry, no emails are ever sold.

PS. All kitchen towels, golf towels, and finger tip towels can be purchased at All About Blanks, or Discount Embroidery blanks. See Creative Links.

Until the next time….. happy sewing!

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

 

 

 

 

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.

Please click the follow button and sign up to follow my blog. You will get an email each time I publish something new. Check out my past blogs and I’d appreciate it if you would pass on my link to your sewing, quilting and embroidery friends.

Until next time …. happy sewing!

 

 

 

 

 

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.

CHECK OUT MY PAST BLOGS.  PLEASE CLICK THE “FOLLOW” BUTTON AND SEE WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT. THANK YOU

 

 

Blog Lovin Website

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Here’s something new where you  can search for blogs of any type.
Or, click the follow button down on the right and fill out email.
Google likes us bloggers to have followers….. I do too.!

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.

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

‘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.

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