The Fabric Maverick: June 2010 Archives
You may have guessed from my subject title that I have a secret ambition of being a mystery writer! We all have some hidden ambition which is probably unrealistic, but we still dream of doing it someday!
Jenni, our budding sewer, came to me with a very common problem yesterday. She was trying to sew but the threads were not locking together to create a stitch. In other words, the thread was a snarly mess. Her immediate reponse was that the tension was wrong and she needed to fix it. In reality this is the last thing you should do. I have heard this from many customers also. Let us line up the usual suspects:
1. Is your machine threaded properly?
2. How old is your thread? Thread does have a shelf life. I go through massive amounts of neutral colors so I generally do not have this problem.
3. When is the last time you changed your machine sewing needle? I would hate to tell you about me and needles. This is a "Do as I say not as I do".
4. Is your bobbin case clear of lint? This also includes the feed dog area. Lint will collect over a period of time and must be cleaned out.
5. Is the bobbin case locked into the correct position?
6. Are you tired and working on a deadline to finish a project? Quit sewing when you are tired. I have found that when I am tired, this is when my sewing machine decides to mess up on the thread. A deadline ensures that there is a seam ripper in my future. Take a break, you will be surprised that your machine suddenly is working again. My friend, Leslie, says that her serger frequently acts this way. Who said machines do not have a personality?
These are some of the reasons that your thread is not locking to make a stitch. In Jenni's case, we rethreaded the machine and we discovered that the bobbin case was not locked into the correct position. Voila! Her tension problem was corrected and she is once again stitching happily along!
I am sure that you have additional thoughts on this subject. If you can name some other suspects, I would love to hear from you!
Now, my case is solved and you can see why I am not a mystery writer! If you do enjoy a good mystery, Earlene Fowler's latest mystery is out-"State Fair". I am going to give my sewing machine a rest and read the latest Benni Harper novel.
Summertime has hit Atlanta like a sledgehammer. Temperatures are already in the 90's and officially summer has not started. What would be better than a dip in the pool or being on the beachh with a cool ocean breeze with a nice cold beverage. Now is time to make the "Peachy Beachy Cover-Up". Here are some great tips to make the sewing a breeze also.
First of all what fabrics qualify as sheer fabrics- Chiffon, batiste, lawn, gauze and voile are just a few! Sheer fabrics drape well, are delicate and skim the body. Because of the delicate nature of sheer fabric, care must be taken in preparing and sewing the fabric. Here are 10 tips to get you started:
Preparation and sewing:
- Prewash the fabric following the manufacturer's instructions.
- Choose a pattern which will fit loosely and has few pieces.
- Use silk pins and pin inside the seam allowance so no holes will show in the garment.
- Pin tissue paper to the fabric before cutting to give it more body.
- Use sharp scissors or rotary cutter and mat for the cleanest cuts.
- If possible use the selvedge as a seam edge. This is one time that it is not recommended to remove the selvedge.
- Use a size 60/8 or 70/10 needle, a lightweight to fine thread. If possible, use a small hole throat plate on your sewing machine. Use a short, narrow machine stitch (1.25mm- 2.00mm).
- Use a straight stitch or small zig zag stitch to sew seams. Using tissue paper or tear away stabilizer will prevent fabric from slipping. Holding the thread tails as you sew will also help to prevent the seam from puckering.
- Several types of seams can be used with sheer fabric. French, mock French, plain, hairline and more. The hairline seam is great for collars, cuffs and facing areas. To sew a hairline seam sew the right sides of the fabric together with a 5/8'' seam allowance using a short, straight stitch. Trim close to stitching line. Finish the seam edge with a small zig zag stitch. Press to one side.
- Do not use steam on sheer fabrics. Steam can distort the fabric and may melt the fibers. As usual test a small scrap of fabric with your iron before ironing the real thing. Using a pressing cloth, press from the wrong side of the fabric using a low heat setting. If this is satisfactory, iron the original garment.
Happy Sewing! See you at the pool!
I hope that you all enjoyed your Memorial Day weekend as much as I did. I lazed about Chef Bubba's pool while he barbecued, of course! I did bring the potato salad. As I rested, I thought that it was nice to be right once in a while. I know this because it doesn't happen that often. I have been trying for a couple of years to introduce the Martelli ergonomic rotary cutters into our product line-up. I have been using a "Martelli" for at least 5 years. If you cut fabric often, this rotary cutter is a heaven-sent tool for your hands. Kathy, in our purchasing dept., says that she can cut 25 layers of fabric at one time. I don't usually try to cut that many layers. The rotary cutter comes in 2 sizes- 45mm and 60mm. It is also designed for right handers and left handers. I call this rotary cutter the "Cadillac" of rotary cutters. Quilt Home reviewed rotary cutters in their magazine last year. They did not give the Martelli the review it deserves. Every quilter and sewer has a tool they love. This is my all-time, cannot live without this rotary cutter.
I was introduced to this fine tool and the Martelli family at a Sewing Expo event in Atlanta. My sister had come to visit me and we decided to go to the show. After meeting the Martelli family, I soon left half my bank account with them. They demonstrated all of their products and I bought everyone of them. They put on quite a show with their products. I have never regretted my purchases. I can truly say I use my Martelli everyday. If you want to preserve your hands for your tennis playing and still sew, the Martelli is the way to go. As a special treat, we are having a notions sale starting today. Try the Martelli and let me know how you like it.
In a video recently Victoria talked about precuts and how they are such a time saver if you want a quick start to a project. You can view Victoria's video at Youtube.com. Well, the August issure of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine has finally agreed with Victoria. A large part of this issue is devoted to quilts designed around precuts. So check out the August issue for some great ideas. They also have great interviews with Alice Kennedy of Timeless Treasures and Me and My Sister Designs from Moda Fabrics.
Summer is a great time to slow down a little bit and enjoy the sun! I am also planning my Christmas projects. Feel the chill in July! This is the perfect time to start those big projects so you will have everything done by November so you can enjoy the holiday parties, Start planning now!