EDUCATIONAL SECTION – Shared Information:
Do you need sewing and quilting help? Educating by sharing information is an age-old method widespread on the internet. Here you will be able to navigate to subjects of interest relating to sewing and quilting. I have decades behind a needle and hope you will benefit from what I share. After reviewing subjects below, sign up to receive notice of new posts.
“Words and Initialism for Those Who Sew”
I compare it to the language of those who text and don’t/can’t spell out the words. You know what I’m talking about. I’ll give you your own short cuts to toss around!
Threads Are Not All Created Equal
Comparison of threads, thread weight, thread content, thread manufacturers, under what conditions each thread should be considered, and how thread should be stored for the best shelf-life will open your eyes how important thread is in choosing what is best for your purpose.
Needles Deserve Attention
If you are going to be choosing the best thread to use, you will need to know about needles. They come in a variety of sizes; lengths; eyes; use by hand; machine needles for different thread, fabrics, look, and machines; and reasons why they bend and/or break. To make the best stitch possible, the needle plays a significant role.
Bobbins come in assorted sizes – each machine has one size and one size only. You will need to know what a well wound bobbin looks and feels like. Do you know how to adjust to get the best result? Are you installing the bobbin correctly? Learn what the bobbin case does. What should you know about pre-wound bobbins available on the market? Which thread – color, weight, affect – is best for the bobbin and what accommodations may be required.
What Sewing Machine Should I Buy?
I will try to simplify the mystery with some basic questions and how to include your answer in evaluating which machine will best fit your needs.
To keep a sewing machine running for many years, it requires a bit of easy maintenance. This is in addition to service check-ups by a professional. Machines require your attention for cleaning lint and thread out of the moving parts easily accessible. Older machines with no computer components are much easier to clean yourself and keep oiled. I’ll do some posts on maintenance to help you correctly approach this necessary requirement to keep your machine running smoothly.
Tools Have Improved
Ever think about how the tools you use today make sewing more pleasurable than what your great-grandma or even your grandma had to use? Rotary cutting has cut down cutting time and accuracy over using scissors. Rulers and plastic templates are so superior to cardboard. New items are constantly being added or old ones improved to make sewing and quilting easier.
Why do I need patterns? They are directions to start with fabric and end up with something usable. There are no short cuts if you want to avoid wasted time, wasted fabric, and frustration.
Information on the back of the envelope of a garment pattern has a wealth of information. It helps you determine the correct size and amount of fabric required. It even gives a list of suggested fabric types. If the garment requires notions like elastic, buttons, or a zipper, it is right there. All of this is important for a successful outcome. Markings on tissue pattern pieces are directions on how to place pattern pieces on the fabric. I can explain why and what all this means. There is one thing I can’t help you do. Getting the pattern pieces and instructions back in the envelope so it looks like when you bought it is not a skill I have. The best I can do is give you some ideas on how to keep all the pieces together.
Quilt patterns have one thing in common – the first thing after choosing your fabric will be cutting all the pieces. I’ll go over cutting, the need for accurate cuts, labeling, and sewing a scant one-fourth inch seam. The need for accuracy cutting and seaming cannot be stressed enough. It is not difficult if you are doing both in the manner I will show you. We all have spent time ripping seams, but the method I teach should keep ripping to a minimum.
Locating Garment Patterns and Notions
Interfacing and stabilizers are near the sewing notions, zippers, buttons, and trims. Patterns are in file cabinets by a numerical system corresponding with pattern catalog reference number.
Not All Fabric is Created Equal
Most quilters like to use 100% cotton in their quilts. Fabric stores have specific sections for their quilt-worthy fabrics. Quilt-worthy fabrics are cotton fabric well-constructed, made by reputable companies, and known to hold their color and stability. Sometimes, these fabrics can only be found in quilt stores who specialize in all quilt related things. Price cannot always be the predictor of quality, but I have found good quilt fabric is worth paying more for if it feels good to the touch and is from a company I’ve come to trust.
Where to shop depends on where you live and what stores are available to you. For those who are online shoppers for convenience or necessity, searching for fabric will bring up an amazing number of sources. It is a learning curve to find out who online you can trust to only carry quality merchandise and are fair in their pricing. I will share with you my take on how to assure I’m ordering the same fabric I saw in the fabric store but getting it at a better or sale price online.
How to Pick Fabrics for a Quilt
There is much more to consider than just color. What pattern you want to make is what influences many decisions. There are large scale prints, small and medium prints, directional prints, non-directional prints. You will hear phrases like white on white, movement, solid, right side, wrong side, and ombre. Tone and value might be important. Some people hate picking fabrics and are grateful for kits. Others love choosing fabrics, even getting adventurous in the selection. The scrappy quilter wants as many different fabrics as she/he can get to put into the quilt. As you can see, there is no easy answer, but I will try to help you at least feel confident when you go shopping for just the right fabric.
Batting – Content and Use
For quilters, another question that arises is which batting you should use – cotton, wool, polyester, bamboo. The material determines the warmth it adds to a quilt and how puffy it will be. Scrim? No scrim? Does it matter? I sure hope I will be able to make purchasing batting less stressful and will give you the results you want.
The Pre-wash Controversy
To wash or not to wash fabric before you begin is a personal choice. or may depend on the size of the fabric. Uncertainties such as if the fabric will shrink and/or dyes in the fabric will bleed are part of the decision. I will address dyes of years ago versus the dyes now used in quality fabric, using dye catchers in the wash, and, how you can set the colors in the fabric so they will not dull with washings.
I’d also like to look at what is making a comeback in the craft of sewing – hand embroidery! We have machines that do beautiful embroidery, but the relaxing art of embroidery by hand can be seen in quilts and clothing.
Appliques can be found on quilts, decor, and clothing. There are several ways to apply this addition. I will talk about both hand and machine applique, methods, and how you choose.
- Unique Piecing Techniques
Piecing techniques in quilts are always evolving, especially to avoid Y-seams and methods to insure sharp points. I will explain the why and how to do them, as well as suggest some short-cuts of my own. Even seasoned sewists and quilters are always looking for new ways to improve their skills.
- Ways to Quilt
You have finished piecing the top and must decide how it will get quilted. What is next? Will you pay for a longarm quilter to quilt for you? Or will you hand quilt it? Instead, you could free motion quilt it on your home machine. Whichever you decide, your quilt will only be one step away from completion. Adding the binding turns your quilt sandwich into a finished creation!
The last step to a completed quilt is binding the edges. Binding is covering the raw edges and batting for a finished look. Many ways to bind will be an interesting post to help you decide which method you prefer to have a completed project.