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!!