Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Gift

I am planning to make placemats and napkins for the gals in my family. They are so easy! I set up the serger for a 3 thread rolled hem using Jeansstitch thread in the upper looper and regular serger thread or polyester thread in the needle and the lower looper.

I cut four pieces 15" x 18" for the placemats and four 18" squares for the napkins.

For the placemats I use holiday print fabric for the top and a canvas or duck cloth for the back. With right side up a I serge all four sides - making sure to turn the piece CLOCKWISE to achieve sharp corners (see previous posts). I adjust the stitch length a little longer for a picot edge to accommodate the heavier fabric.

For the napkins I use single layer and a regular rolled hem setting. Perfect gift and it only takes about 30 minutes to complete the entire set of 4 placemats and 4 napkins! My kind of quick gift idea!!!

HO HO HO - no snow!!! ;-)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy Holidays


I am sorry that I have not been able to post for a while but I have been traveling.

I have been having a hoot with the new crystal cutter and software. I am all about bling. I bling up my serger projects too!!! Here is a tote that I made and then added crystals. :-)

I made a purse with my serger and them embroidered on it and them whoosh I added crystals. I posted a photo of it on FB but crystals don't show up that well with my camera. Hopefully I will have a professional photo taken and post here.

Just remember - most people enjoy receiving gifts that we make. It shows how much we love them. Because all the while we are making it - we are thinking about them and hoping that they love it as much as we loved making it for them.

I plan to put some last minute ideas on here about Dec 19. Especially for those last minute peeps.

Happiness and Health for the Holiday Season and New Year.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Been on the road....

I had a thought a few days back. I was remembering when I made a serger quilt using old sweaters. It was really challenging until I used hairspray to prep the squares and prevent them from unraveling. So my thought for the day is - if you can't find your seam sealant.....use hairspray as a temporary fix.

Believe me, the hairspray really helped when I was making that quilt. I flatlocked the squares together using heavy weight decorative thread.

For my Christmas stocking friend. I hunted forever for the pattern and couldn't find a simple one. I only found the one I did using tissue lame and flatlocked odd pieces together to make a decorative (not really usable) holiday stocking.

One year I made miniature stockings and filled them with cinnamon scented potpourri to hang on the tree. I made several as gifts. They were treasured and my sister and some of my friends still have them.

Well, It is getting late and I travel again tomorrow. In a couple of weeks I will have some down time and I will post some projects.

Serge away my friends.

Love Maddie

Friday, September 30, 2011


Sorry - but I have been traveling quite a bit these past few weeks for my day job. We are launching a new machine that is absolutely wonderful.
For some fun serger projects of mine you can go to www.janome.com and look under projects - serger and you will find a variety of different skill level creations.

Soon as I can I will post some new projects here.

In the meantime, refer back to some of my earlier posts and you will find lots of projects there too.

Will write more soon.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Christmas projects

I am sorry I have not been posting lately because I was at convention in Orlando. But this week I will post directions etc for the Christmas Stocking and some other fun projects.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Upon reviewing the blog traffic I see that there are a lot of people viewing from many foreign countries. I am thrilled and delighted!!!

Thank all of you here and abroad for reading my blog!!!!!

Lots of fun stuff to come soon.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Christmas is just around the corner!

There are so many great gifts you can make quickly and easily with your serger.

1. Christmas Stockings
2. Tree Skirt
3. Sleeping pants
4. Place mats & napkins
5. Pocket pillow (quillow)
6. Quilt
7. Throw pillows
8. Fleece hats, scarves and mittens
9. Fleece Slippers
10. Robes - most patterns are quite easy.

Using the serger to make some of these gifts takes very little time and even less effort.

As it gets closer to the time to trim the tree I will post instructions for some of the gifts listed above. Let me know which ones you would like.

Love and happiness to ALL!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


If you are ever in Pennsylvania and want to visit a great store - GO TO BRUBAKERS in New Holland. Over the years she has shared with me some very creative and new ideas!

And when my serger needed repair because I had really damaged it working with some very heavy fabric etc - she made it NEW again.

She "Amy" is a treasure!!! Make sure you tell her I said HI!

Old News

I am not sure how far back some of you can go to access posts on my blog. But one section you should try to find is the one about "Serger Techniques". No matter what stitch you are using, the same rules apply.

If you are not able to scroll through older posts - please let me know and I will re-post them.

thank you for reading my blog.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cleaning your serger

One of my favorite pics. Just wanted to share it.

There are so many different opinions of how to remove the lint or fabric fibers from the inside of your serger.

Way back when I had my first serger someone told me NEVER blow into the machine with canned air. They said it actually forced the fibers into the machine and eventually into the motor. That scared me and stuck with me forever. Professional maintenance people know how to use the canned air to remove the stuff.

So, I usually vacuum out the fibers with an attachment for my vacuum cleaner. Or I use a small piece of polar fleece or lint brush (designed for the serger) to get the junk out of there.

I clean my serger after every project! Depending on how often the serger is used I apply oil as needed and where the manual indicates the points or places it should be oiled. (Some sergers do not need to be oiled, so check your manual.)

Keeping the serger clean and oiled is essential for superior performance and longevity.

Another place that needs attention is the tension disks. As a suggestion, take a piece of white cotton fabric and dip it in rubbing alcohol and then fold in half and floss the individual disks. This will remove any fibers, threads snips, pet hairs (including bird feathers) from the disks. When something gets into the disks this can affect the tension settings.

Hope these hints are helpful.

Have a great week!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fold Over Binding

Recently I taught a class where we did a small wall hanging finishing it with a fold over binding with mitered corners and then inserted the dowel rod.

This technique allows an opening at the top to insert a dowel rod for displaying.

This can be done using a cover stitch machine or a conventional sewing machine.

1. If the finished piece with the batting is 14" x 18" then cut the backing 18" x 22".
(there should be a 2" border around the finished piece)
2. The excess fabric is used to fold forward to form the binding.
3. With WRONG sides together, fold up the excess backing just to the raw edge of the finished piece and press with the iron.
4. Trim away the little pressed corners (removing excess bulk when you fold it over again).
6. Fold up the sides so that they are approximately 1" onto the finished piece or top. Secure with pins. Note - the binding can be made any size desired...1 1/2", 2", 2 1/2" and so on.
7. Fold up the top and bottom same as the sides but now fold in the corners (a triangle) to form a mitered corner and secure with pins.
8. Stitch as close as possible to the inside folded edge on all four sides.
9. Now you can insert a dowel rod and hang if desired. Or if it is a place mat you can hand stitch the overlaps.

This is a quick and easy way to "finish" a wall hanging, small quilt, place mat etc. without actually attaching a binding strip. So easy and so quick!!!

Cover Stitch "only" machine

Me - after a long day. But smiling on the inside.

I have had some inquiries as to the benefits of a cover stitch only machine. From my experience I think it is beneficial to have both a 4 thread serger and a stand alone cover stitch machine. Of course it depends on if you have the space to accommodate both as well as your sewing/embroidery machine.

I think I may have touched on this before, but it is probably worth mentioning again. With a cover stitch machine you have the capability of gathering down the center of a strip of fabric. Making the kind of ruffles that look super duper on a blouse, totebag, purse or hem of a (square dance) skirt. :-)

Oh, and great for pillows too.

In addition you can put heavier weight decorative thread in the chain looper and do some fierce embellishing!

I have actually done "entire" construction using the cover stitch machine. It gives you a seam that has three rows of stitching and the serger stitch on the under side of the garment and/or fabric. And with the belt loop accessory I have made straps for dresses. Very impressive!

So if you have any questions about the many features of a Cover Stitch machine, just ask.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Went on vacation to New Orleans with my son Sean last week. Experienced a lot of history, dancing and meeting new people.
We had a blast!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Another Fun Tote or Purse

Another shape I like to use is a square on point.
Two squares of fashion fabric
Two squares of lining fabric

You can turn down the points if you like and sew the handle inside the turned down corner.

Leaving a 3" opening on one side = serge one fashion fabric to one lining. Repeat for remaining fabric. Turn right side out.

Get the sewing machine and do your magic!!!

If you have an embroidery machine or a felting machine you can embellish as desired.

These are fun shapes for a different twist on an old bag. :-D

More to come.....

For even more tote bag/purse patterns I have several on the Janome website.

www.Janome.com - then go to projects!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fun Tote

This is a graphic rendition intended only to provide a basic idea.

One of my favorite and different shape totes is a "round" one.

I use a yardstick compass to create a large circle on a piece of poster board to create a pattern. (You decide how big you want it.)Then of course I cut it out.

1. Cut two from fashion fabric.
2. Cut two from lining fabric. (On the lining fabric you could add pockets if desired)
3. Leaving about a 3" opening - serge one lining to one fashion fabric. (Remember when you serge in a circle - if the fabric starts to bunch just slightly lift the presser foot for the fabric to relax. Do not lift all the way up as you might disengage the tension. MAKE SURE THE NEEDLES ARE IN THE FABRIC WHEN YOU LIFT THE PRESSER FOOT!!!)
4. Same for the remaining fashion fabric and lining.
5. Turn right side out and tuck in the excess fabric at the opening. Either hand stitch or catch it later when you topstitch.
6. Now you need the sewing machine.
7. Topstitch the circles together but leave a large enough space at the "top" to insert stuff and actually be a tote bag.
8. Make carriers or use cording for carriers and then attach purchased handles or metal macrame rings.

I have covered macrame rings with fabric for a special touch.

The fun is that you can make the circles really big or really small. Later this week I will post a pic of a round tote bag I made. It is too early to go down to the basement and look for it.

More to come!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Serger Fun

My son with his hero....just kidding. We were at the Ripley Museum in Manhattan. :->

During my travels I have encountered so many people that love SERGERS! I always welcome new ideas especially the ones that inspire new projects.

I love to make purses and tote bags. Some of my peeps call me the bag lady. I have used so many different techniques to make totebags, 4 pieces, 2 pieces, fabric handles, covered yarn handles, purchased handles, batting, no batting, and so on and so on.

Next week I am going to post a couple of different ways to make a tote bag. If you would like some pattern directions for making purses - please ASK!!!

I love hearing from all of you....so how about it???

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Not Just Sergers

This is pic of a sleep mask that I made. I embroidered the eyes on. Made me laugh and others too!

Of course I love sergers and all the wonderful things that it can do to make things easy 4 me.

But I also love embroidery, quilting, home dec and crafts. So once in a while I will tell you about something else I have had the opportunity to try and enjoy.

I love The Artistic Sewing Suite software package! I have made so many fun and impressive projects using the software. In addition, I am tickled silly since I started using Krinkle Magic to make large decorative flowers. You know that big flowers on purses, totebags, hair bands etc is all the rage, again.

Just in case there are any of you out there that are interested in embroidery, software and new notions - thought I would pass it along.

Feel free to ask me questions, keeps my heart thumping! :-D

Have a Happy Holiday weekend!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Different way to edge a quilt

I forgot to take a picture - so here is a graphic that I hope is helpful....
I was at a friends last week and she had a quilt she had finished that had a ruffled edge instead of binding. Of course she serged it all right sides togehter with the ruffle sandwiched in between and then turned right side out. I am sure we have all seen baby quilts finished that way - but never a full size. It was beautiful.

First she rolled hem enough lengths of strips of fabric to go around the entire quilt twice. Then she gathered the raw edge of the long strip (you could do it in sections for a faster finish). Finally she layered the gathered edge between right sides of the raw edges of the quilt. She serged all four sides and left a small portion open for turning right side out.
Turned it right side out and WOW!!!
Close the opening by hand sewing. :-)

I just loved the way this quilt looked. Ruffles instead of binding!! Kind of looked like it had a bed ruffle attached.
Sweet idea. Give it a try and let me know. I plan to make one this summer.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Accessory Feet

Love this picture!!!!

I may be traveling down the same road as before, but I have had many inquiries about accessory feet.

I have the following feet
1. Blind hem foot
2. Beading/pearl foot or attachment
3. Gathering Foot
4. Cording foot
5. Piping Feet (2)
6. Elastic attachment foot
7. Ribbon attachment foot
8. And more that I can't remember the names of.

Some I use more than others, but when an accessory foot makes the application easier - I USE IT!

If you check the website for your machine, there usually is a list of accessory feet available for each model. I just saw for the first time a "Curve Guide" for one of my machines. I am going to order it and try it out. Get back to you later.....

Sergerama Mama

Friday, April 29, 2011

Needle Alert!!!!

Purse made using a Cover Stitch machine. If you would like the instructions, please just ASK!

I have recently been helping someone who is working with a coverstich machine. Some of these machines take a Schmetz EL x 705 needle type. When the manual for your machine indicates the type needle for best results- follow their recommendation!!!

Things that could happen - damage to the looper, which is very expensive to replace or repair. Throw off the timing, again very expensive to repair. So to save a dollar (using the incorrect needle type) you will end up spending $100 or more. That does not make sense to me.

Just because you want to use a size 14 needle - does not mean that you could use a (conventional sewing machine) universal or ballpoint needle as a substitute. The needles are important to the functionality of the chain looper. Coverstitch and 5 thread sergers work differently than 4 thread sergers.

When I am working on a garment, quilt, home dec. etc using my serger I change my needles often and remove any lint or fabric scraps from inside the machine. I vacuum out the debris. And as indicated in the manual I keep it lubricated in the suggested locations.

Nowadays most websites (for your serger) have hints, FAQs and videos. Take the time to go to the site and navigate to the serger pages. It will prove very beneficial in the long run.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thread tails - do not throw them away!!!

Photo of my sister (taught me to sew) and my son.

There are many uses for leftover thread tails from your serger stitching. Whether they are regular serger thread, heavier decorative thread or wooly nylon.

Here are some ideas:

1. Button loops
2. Braid them and use for key chain decorations (attach beads if desired)
3. Little flower decorations for wrapped packages (Use glue to form flowers)
4. Use as a formed button loop and attach to hand made holiday decorations for the tree.
5. Place a handful of them on fabric, cover with tulle or clear vinyl and using a conventional sewing machine, stitch the sandwich together with decorative stitches. (Makes fun place mats, coasters etc.)

Note - Save them by placing them in a sealed plastic bag or a large coffee mug.

Monday, April 4, 2011

T-Shirt dresses

Spring is fast approaching and what a great time to make some T-shirt dresses for little ones. Some of you may remember this technique but there are plenty of you out there that have never heard of it.

You take a little girls t-shirt, embellish or decorate as you desire.

Measure the circumference of the hem line. Multiply it times two. Next decide how long you want the dress to be when completed. Serge the two short ends together to form a tube shape.

Hem one end of the tube. The other end set up the serger for a 4 thread gathering stitch. Gather it and then set up the serger for a regular 4 thread overlock stitch.

With the gathering on the bottom and the t-shirt on the top, attach the gathered portion to the t-shirt. (You will be sewing in a circle.)

This is a quick and easy little sun dress for your favorite little one.

Note - if desired, you could use the old faithful pillowcase for the bottom portion, make it long and it will be like a prairie dress. Of course another option is to cut the t-shirt shorter so the top is like an empire waist dress. There are so many options using a t-shirt as a base for the top - just let your imagination run wild....

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Let's make Ribbon!!!

Set up the serger for a 3 or 4 thread decorative edge using heavier decorative thread in the upper and lower looper. (Pearl Crown Rayon, Candlelight, Designer6, RA Polyester serger thread etc.)

Cut a piece of organza about 2" wide by whatever length you want.

Serge one side of it all the way down on one long side.

Then rotate the strip so you are serging on the same side up again.

This time let the previously serged edge ride along side the left side of the foot.

Yippee - a beautiful organza ribbon to wrap your precious gift. Some sewers wrap their presents in fabric and then you can add just the right finish by tying it with the perfect color ribbon.

Try it!!

ps - another option is to use wooly nylon and do a rolled hem. You could add wire if desired. :-)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

4 thread flatlock

Recently Janome featured some hints on the 4 thread flatlock stitch for 4 thread sergers.

I thought you might like to see an example of how it looks. This is what I did and how beautiful it turned out.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Very Easy Pillow Covers!!!!

A long time ago I used to watch Sewing With Nancy on a daily basis. I sure learned a lot from that show and purchased quite a few of the notions that she promoted. This morning I remembered a project that I loved and made dozens of them over the years.

I have several old shirts from my husband that we used to throw away or give away. But they make sensational backs for pillow covers. You can make any front that you fancy (quilt pattern, tapestry, print fabric, embroidered, weaved strips etc.)THE BACK IS THE BUTTON DOWN FRONT OF THE SHIRT. MENS OR WOMENS. SOME LIKE TO KEEP THE POCKET SO THEY CAN PUT STUFF IN THERE IF THEY TAKE THE PILLOW TO A SPORTS EVENT.

I set the serger up for a four thread decorative stitch with decorative thread in both loopers. Then with right sides together, just serge all four sides. Remember to turn it CLOCKWISE for sharp corners! Hide the thread tails with the double eye needle and YIPPEE, you end up with a quick, easy, fun new decorative throw pillow. A great way to give a new face to an old pillow.

Note - this is one of Nancy's old favorites.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Elastic - again

Note - the orange line represents the back. The arrows represent the pins.

I have had so many questions about inserting elastic in skirts, pants, shorts etc. and I want to offer some suggestions.

First of all if you have a four thread serger there are a couple of ways. If it is elastic larger than 1/2" width then you would need to measure what size elastic would fit (that means when it is stretched comfortably around the waist). Serge or sew the short ends together to form a circle. Now quarter mark the elastic with pins. Next quarter mark the garment. Match up the pins (the elastic should be smaller than the garment). Starting at the back with the elastic side up stretch elastic to lay flat on garment, serge onto the elastic/garment (treat them as one) - stretching the elastic flat to fit the garment as you go. (Do not stretch with the serger needles in the elastic.) Of course as you approach the pins - REMOVE THEM! When you get around to where you started (you will be serging in a circle-sorta)serge on top of previous stitching for about 1" then serge off. Then off to the sewing machine to zigzag. Turn down the serged edge, stretch flat and zigzag to the inside of the garment. Practice on scrap fabric first and always.

Another way is to use an elastic gathering attachment. They usually come with directions. Most do not accommocate 3/4" or 1" elastic widths. Check the instructions for the attachment on the website for your machine. Practice to see what the stretch ratio is for the attachment - then use it to attach elastic on the garment.

If you have a 5 thread serger you can attach the same way as with the four thread, but then you can turn down the edge and use a two or three thread cover stitch to secure it to the garment. Some people do it all in one operation. Practice and this may be what will work for you.

Note- for lingerie, underwear, sportswear etc - I have always used an attachment. That way I am sure the stretch is the same for both legs, arms etc.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

101 Followers!!! yeah!!!

101 tons of FUN!!!

Welcome new followers and thanks to all my faithful followers from the beginning. I am inspired and will post more tips and projects.

Hemming Tips

Note - the dotted line is only to show that the hem is folded under. Serging should be done at the edge that has the fold and the raw edge.

When making pillowcases or similar items with the serger there is a easy quick way to hem them without going to the sewing machine.
1. Fold under the hem and press (wrong sides together - as usual).
2. Now fold the other way so that right sides are together. There should be a raw edge and a folded edge. Note - do not press.
3. Notch to start and serge all the way around and you will have a banded type hem.

This is quick, easy and looks quite nice!

This quick hem method can be used for lots of other projects as well, give it a try and see how much you like it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Serger Lace

This is something that has been done many times using many different techniques. But I thought maybe some of you have never heard of it or done it. So here it is.

Take a strip of wash away stabilizer. (Looks like interfacing but dissolves with water.)

Set up the serger for a 4 thread decorative edge stitch. (put heavier decorative thread in both loopers.)

Serge the edge of the stabilizer, then serge just slightly on top of the edge of the previously serged edge. Note - stitches catch on the edge.

Keep making rows until you have made enough lace for what you would like to attach it to. suggestions - tote bag, purse, blouse cuffs, collars etc.

Using variegated, metallic or different color thread - makes sensational lace. also if you use ecru color thread - looks vintage or antique.

This is also a great start for making flowers or corsages.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

BFF - has BOOK published!!!

One of the sweetest kindest people I know has had her book published!! "ALISON NEWMAN" I am so proud of her and her accomplishments.

I haven't purchased a sewing book in years - probably because I already own every one that was published since Betsy Ross and I worked on the Flag. :-)

But I have to say that this one is a keeper. It is an easy read, great instructions and super graphics and photos.

It now resides in my sewing library, pages already stained and marked from constant use.

This is not only a great gift for yourself, but for any of your sewing friends.

Note - new projects are coming soon. And I am still working on the video.

Sew Happy to share good news!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy New Year!

The holidays are over and a new year begins. The next gift ideas will be for Valentines day. I will put on my thinking cap and get some projects posted. If anyone would like to have your idea posted here, just let me know. I am always glad to share and give credit for amazing inspirations.