Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Carry on Cover up

This warm and cuddly little cover up is perfect for the frequent flyer. It rolls up and attaches to your carry on luggage so no packing is required. You can also use this cover up when riding in a car during cool weather. Actually it has many uses - you decide!

• 2/3 yard of print cotton fabric
• ½ yard of solid cotton fabric (for embroidery or fabric of choice)
• 1 yard flannel

Fabric Cutting Instructions

• Five 10 ½” squares of print fabric
• Four 10 ½” squares of solid fabric for embroidery
• Nine 10 ½” squares of flannel

Notions and thread

• One 10” x ½” strip of ribbon
• Two 14” x ½” strips of ribbon
• Iron-on tear away stabilizer
• Washable glue stick
• 1 spool decorative serger thread
• 2 spools of 60 wt serger thread
• Scissors
• Blue fabric marking pen
• Plastic quilting ruler
• Straight pins
• Seam Sealant
• Hand sewing needle (optional)
• Floss threaders
• Double eye needle (for hiding thread tails)

Fabric Preparation

1. Arrange the nine flannel squares three by three.
2. Place the print squares and embroidered squares (optional - use whatever fabric desired)on top of the flannel squares with wrong sides together. Arranged squares should resemble a nine patch.

Embroidery is optional

1. Set up the serger for a 3 thread wide flatlock.
2. Use ½” seam allowance for flatlocking and edging.
3. Adjust the left needle tension to ½, the upper looper to 2 ½ - 3, and the lower looper to 8.
4. Adjust the stitch length to 3, the differential feed to 1.0.
5. Thread the lower looper with 60 wt. serger thread, the upper looper with decorative serger thread and the left needle with 60 wt. Serger thread.
6. With wrong sides together (white flannel) flatlock square 1 to square 2.
7. Open stitches so squares lay flat. If desired, press on the wrong side.
8. With wrong sides together stitch squares 1/2 to square 3 to form a row.
9. Repeat for second and third rows. There should now be three rows of three squares.
10. With wrong sides together flatlock row 1 to row 2.
11. Open from the back and press if needed.
12. With wrong sides together flatlock rows 1/2 to row 3.
13. Open from the back and press if needed.
14. Trim as needed to yield a 30” square.
15. Move the left needle to the right position and adjust tension to 4.
16. Replace 60wt. Serger thread with matching decorative thread in the lower looper. The same thread and color as used in the upper looper.
17. Adjust upper looper tension to 5 and the lower looper to 7.
18. Set the stitch length at 3 and the differential feed at 1.0.
19. Take two of the four pieces of 14” x ¼” ribbon and place them to the left of the center square. Secure with glue stick and/ or straight pins.
20. Take the remaining two pieces of 14” x ¼” ribbon and place them to the right of the center square. Secure with glue stick and/or straight pins.
21. Take the 10” x ¼” ribbon and place it about 1” in from the seam on the center square on both sides.
22. Serge across the top and catch all the ribbons.
23. Serge the remaining three sides.
24. Fold and roll up and place on carry on luggage for trip to paradise.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Thread Nets

First and Foremost - Welcome New Followers and thank you!

Had some unexpected things to do this week, couldn't get to posting projects - but I will this week.

BUT - I have had questions about thread nets vs. spool caps. I have never had good luck with thread nets. The thread got caught in the ends of the net and jerked the thread and made a mess. Whenever possible or needed I just put a spool cap on the top of the thread to allow easy off of the thread from the spool. (That's when I use regular sewing machine thread or small spools)

If the thread feeds of better horizontally - then I use a horizontal spool feeder. It is a gizmo that snaps on to the spool spindle and then you put the spool on the horizontal stick. Then just pass through all the thread guides as usual, including the top guide of the telescope.

There are so many notions available to make life easier when serging. Some I have listed in previous posts just scroll down and take a look.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Using your left hand is important!

When making garments especially blouses/shirts attaching sleeves can sometimes be a challenge. After you have already attached the top or cap of the sleeve then you most likely will serge down the side closing the sleeve and the side of the blouse/shirt. Line up the previously serged seam and secure with washable gluestick. (If you use a pin make sure it is away from where you will be serging - it may damage the knife or the looper if you serge over it....)
USE YOUR LEFT HAND TO HOLD AND GUIDE THE FABRIC SO STITCHES ARE FORMED AT THE INTERSECTION. As the fabric is advancing towards the needles and knife you will notice that it is moving away from the needles/knife. Watch closely and use your left hand to make sure the fabric is being serged. I repeat----- your left hand is important and useful. The same technique applies when serging an inside corner, outside curve or circle.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Designer Poncho

Making a poncho from chiffon, silky knit or any sheer light weight fabric is fun and easy. You can even make one out of lace.
1. Cut fabric approximately 45" x 60".
2. Fold fabric in half to yield 45' x 30".
3. Using a template or large dinner plate - cut a hole at the top for the neck opening - to fit your head.
4. Set up serger for rolled hem or picot edge.
5. On the right side of the fabric - serge all the straight raw edges. Note - remember to turn the fabric CLOCKWISE to start a new corner.
6. With contrasting or same fabric - make bias tape to bind the neck opening.
7. Using a conventional sewing machine - attach the binding to the neck opening.
8. DONE!
9. If desired - sew up the two sides starting about 4" in from the side - at the bottom and going up about 6" - 10". Different look but sweet!
10. Optional - Make poncho triangular. Same instructions - just fold the fabric to make a triangle before you cut the neck opening.

Smocking with a 5 thread serger

One of my BFFs told me she was doing some smocking on a dress for her granddaughter. When I told her that I had once taught smocking on the serger - she said "WHAT, HOW?"

This is done with a 5 thread serger - the triple cover stitch using the 3 front needles. Set up the serger for gathering (needle tensions may need to be adjusted to a higher number, lengthen the stitch and adjust the differential feed). The trick is place elastic thread in the looper. To prevent a lopsided look, you may want to go up one side and then reverse direction. You will need a lot of fabric because it does bunch up the fabric like smocking.

Testing on scrap fabric first is a MUST!

When I taught this class we made a book cover. For the crisscross stitch - we used the chainstitch.

You may not want to try smocking but give the elastic thread a try in the looper for a different effect. But please note - do not cut the thread too short - the elastic thread will snap back and the stitches will unravel. Tie the end threads in a knot to secure the stitch.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Knit fabrics

Sergers love knit fabric. Since serger stitches have a bit a stretch to them or ease then this machine of wonderment is perfect for Knit type fabrics. Also great for Lycra, spandex and silky knit fabrics. Years ago I used to make bathing suits and I was ever so glad I had a serger!

Tips - lengthen the stitch a bit to accommodate the sponginess of the fabric. Short stitches tend to make the fabric stretch to ruffle OUT. (lettuce edge)
Use new needles for every garment and good thread. Be sure the serger is cleaned out of all dust and debris. You don't want a bit of lint serged into the seam. Been there done that - don't you do it!

Occasionally I would use a narrow three thread stitch with wooly nylon in the loopers. Reason - soft feel of seam that touches the skin.

There are many patterns for knit fabrics - I have used most if not all of them at one time or another. I do like the Kwik Sew books.

Cutting- use a new blade in the rotary cutter! Don't use pins - use pattern weights or cans of vegetables to hold the pattern in place on the fabric. (My sister made me some pattern weights by filling baby food jars with colored rocks. They work super.)
Pins - if I have to use pins - I make sure that they are brand new! A burr on a straight pin will damage the fabric. If I am scared then I use a washable glue stick to hold the fabric raw edges together. Just a few dots of gluestick will do the trick to keep the fabric from shifting.

Be sure the cutting mat is clean. I bought the gizmo for smoothing the self healing mats. Not that impressed with the results.

I am testing a new mat - will post comments soon.