Monday, January 21, 2019

My Bionic Gear Bag

This has been on my "I want to sew" list for quite a while!  There seems to be a lot of drama surrounding this pattern - I happen to be a member of two different facebook groups who have differing opinions about the drama. 

All I know is that there were some changes on the Craftsy (now Blueprint) website where I bought it. The designer was unhappy with the changes and now if I download that pattern it is unusable. It seems that because she was upset with Craftsy she took it out on  her customers. Luckily I had already downloaded the pattern! The pattern is 36 pages long and so wordy it takes forever to get through it!

My pattern mentions free help online, but that has also changed.  The pattern designer must know her pattern isn't well written, because now she offers classes and workshops that you can pay $$ for that will walk you through the steps to make one of these.  My problem with this pattern is that for a $12 pattern you  shouldn't need to buy additional classes in order to understand it.  In 36 pages she didn't make the instructions clear.

I got through it, but I made mistakes and wasted some fabric and pulled out all my hair!  AAAHHH!  I like the bag but if I were just starting this process I would buy one of the other similar patterns out there, and there are some that DO have free tutorials on YouTube. 

I do like the bag, but if I make it again I will make some changes so that I'm not sewing through so many layers, it's really ridiculous.  Whew.  So that's my review of this very useful and cute bag that has a poorly written pattern.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Snowman Table Runner

I've been experimenting with in the hoop (ITH) projects.  I didn't realize how many quilty things you could do with an embroidery machine!  I'm not sure yet if I feel like I am cheating or not, I enjoy the regular quilting process a lot, but I'm having fun playing around with this.  This is a design by Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Designs. 

Red is my favorite color - I try not to over-do it, but sometimes I just need to add some red in my life.  I must have been having that kind of day :)

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Christmas Sewing Projects...

Oh dear - the last time I posted was Halloween? Where  does the time go? I have been sewing things - my daughter has been in some craft fairs, so I sent her a few things to flesh out her booth.

I sent her four "Un-paper Dolls" made out of felt. One side is her dresser and little kitty...

The other side is a bed that you can slide her into. All of them sold, I probably should have charged more. Oh well.

And some cute little bibs - I saw the free pattern online HERE. They are made from an old shirt and have a velcro closure.

I made a bunch of fabric gift bags, I like to use them because they can either be part of the gift, or they can just be used over and over instead of wrapping paper.

I guess I could have scooted some of my mess out of the picture. I guess I forgot!  :)

Then I made 5 tote bags with Christmas themed fabrics. As I was sewing all these I experimented with different construction methods so I could whip up them up quickly - or what is the point, really, if you are trying to sell stuff!? I don't worry about hurrying when I am making a gift, but to sell - crank those puppies out!

They aren't fully lined, but the top 5 inches are lined so they look pretty when you open them up. The rest of the inside is serged, so it looks nice and neat. The best part of all of these was that I used fabric that I already had!! Well, I did buy a couple squares of felt. All the other fabric, including the tote bag fabric were things I had just sitting there (from enthusiastic buying sprees :)   It feels so good to use that stuff up, and frees up some space in my fabric stash area, ha ha!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Costume Idea!

Halloween is just around the corner, do you have a costume yet?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Felt Un-Paper Dolls

I love my embroidery machine!  It's so wonderful to be back in the States and have all my machines again! Look at these adorable dolls! This is my first 'in the hoop' (ITH) project. I saw a picture of them online and thought my granddaughter would love it - and she does!  I sent four of them off yesterday for a craft fair this weekend.

One side has a little bed that you can slide the doll into, and the other side has a dresser and little basket for the kitty.  There are 3 different outfits she can wear. 

I made every piece from felt so I wouldn't have to worry about dangling threads or fraying. The way the pattern is designed has plenty of embellishment to put on the outfits so they look fine on a solid color of fabric.

I put a little piece of Velcro on the back of the clothes and the kitty so they will stick securely where they are put. My granddaughter carried hers around like a purse on her shoulder all day :)

You can find the pattern HERE if you are interested in an ITH project. There is a wonderful tutorial on the website that has every step of the way outlined.

My first one turned out perfect!  Of course, then I thought I knew what I was doing so I started making mistakes because I wasn't checking to make sure I was following the tutorial... Everything was fixable, just wasted some of my time, lol!  Did I learn my lesson? Probably not.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Little Zipper Pouch

We will be leaving Jerusalem soon and going to to the good old USA!  There are things I will miss about Jerusalem, but it doesn't compare with all the family and friends and conveniences at home - and I won't feel like I'm illiterate any longer. That is a terrible feeling.

So, I decided to make some cute little zippered pouches to give away as gifts to some of my friends here before I leave.  I found this cute pattern on Craftsy, it's called "Half Square Triangle Pouch". I like it because it is unique in several ways.

It is made using one side of the zipper tape so you get a round edge. Because the zipper goes across the front of the pouch it can sit open, you don't have to hold it up and open with one hand while you put things in it.

If you had it sitting next to you at the sewing machine you could have wonder clips or something in it and grab them out as needed since its can sit there open.

I also like that the rounded edge makes it possible to use as a pouring spout when you are emptying it. Notice my action shot - dumping out the buttons into the jar with one hand while holding my camera with the other - oh, what talent!

The pouches are pretty small, the pattern says they will be 4.5 " square, but I managed to get most of mine about 5" square. Zipper pouches just plain come in handy, who can't use another one?

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A "Quilty" Place!

Roy and I recently took a trip to Ireland and England. Of course while we were there I noticed a few sewing related things (doesn't everyone?).

We were driving down the wrong side of the road, which was perfectly OK, when I looked up and saw a sign for the "Quilty Tavern"! Interesting. I imagined that all the patrons sat around quilting while they socialized and drank a pint. But I don't think that would have very good results. I thought maybe it has decor with a quilt theme, little wall hangings everywhere. Perhaps this tavern is owned by a famous quilter?

Then when we got into town and I noticed the Quilty Credit Union I realized that was the name of the town!

Later on we were walking down the street and I realized the name of the street I was on!

Then as we were exploring in the Cotswolds I found this adorable place!  In case you can't tell from the picture the name of this house is "Thimble Cottage".

OK, get ready -- What if you lived in Quilty on Threadneedle Street in a house named Thimble Cottage?  Of course you would eat at the Quilty Tavern and bank at the Quilty Credit Union.  WOW.

Sounds like my kind of place!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Quick Baby Quilt

Last Saturday I was invited to a baby shower coming up this Thursday.  I thought, "I should have seen this coming! Why haven't I been making a quilt?".  So I got online and searched for "Quick Baby Quilt Patterns" and found this one called the "Flexi Strip Baby Quilt".  I went through my stash of fabric and decided on some fabric that I originally planned for something else.  I looked at the pattern I had thought I was going to make with it and thought - I wonder what I ever saw about this that made me want to make it?  So this is a much better use!

I got right to work and finished the quilt in two days, whew!  So this is the front:

Shopping here in Jerusalem is such a bother, there is never any parking, so I decided I had some scraps left, I would just use those for the back. So I made up a quick little pattern and threw the back together.

So it is kind of like a quilt with two fronts. But guess what?  I like the back better than the front! Ha!

Oh well. I'm quite sure the baby won't be worried about it. Now I'm all ready for the shower and I even had two days to spare - wow, that never happens!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Stitcher's Garden Quilt Top

 Yay! Wahoo!  Yipee! Hurray! Whopee!

I've been working on this off and on for a year and a half. Before we left for Jerusalem I cut out everything I would need for each block and put it in a zip lock bag. I was afraid that if I waited until I got here there would be things I needed that I wouldn't be able find. I got interrupted by two baby quilts, several other projects and LOTS of mending for the students :)  I am thrilled with it!
I am getting worried about suitcase room though. I may have to leave all of my clothes here (guess then I would HAVE to go shopping...). I plan on quilting it when I get home - but it's been so long since I have done quilting I will have to re-learn how! We will be going home in August, but I'm really trying not to think about it too much so my brain can stay focused... Yeah, good luck with that!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

I got the RED out!

You may remember from this post that as I was working on all the blocks to my dream quilt, I discovered that one of the fabrics I was using was bleeding. Such a tragic discovery! I had already put the fabric in several blocks.

I took the rest of the fabric (because I LOVED it) and soaked it in a salt and vinegar solution and tried all kinds of other tricks, but it just would not stop bleeding. So the only thing I could do was find some more fabric, take apart all the blocks I had made, and re-make them all with fabric that doesn't bleed.

That took so much work that by the time I was done I was pretty discouraged, so I put it all aside and worked on some other things.

I'm finally back working on the quilt again, but here are all my "new blocks" without the evil red dye bleeding fabric!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Sewing Lesson #8 (Clean and Oil my Sewing Machine?)

Should I clean and oil my Sewing Machine?  Ummm, YES!  Most service departments for sewing machines will tell you that many of the machines they receive for repair only needed to be oiled and cleaned.  Sometimes your machine may need to go in for repair, but it won't be as often if you do keep up on the maintenance.

Cleaning and Oiling your machine is actually pretty easy, so don't be afraid! Don't use canned air on your machine to blow lint away.  Parts of the inside of your machine are lubricated with lithium grease, and if you blow canned air into your machine you will powerfully blow lint into the grease.  It will stick like glue. Not good.  Eventually that will be like little grains of sand, damaging your machine over time. Better than using canned air, use a vacuum. I bought little tiny attachments for my vacuum that I talked about HERE. You can also make a cardboard or paper cone that you can tape over then end of the small attachment on your vacuum and get out quite a bit of lint. I also make a loop on the end of a pipe cleaner and can bring up lint from below the bobbin or plate area.

The threads you sew with and the fabrics you sew on all cause lint build up. Whatever you are sewing, lint will build up in your machine. The bobbin area needs to be cleaned frequently, some times a tiny little bit of lint in exactly the wrong place can cause your machine to fail to work properly.

Dust is also not good for your machine. Do you go for weeks without using you machine?  Think of the dust that builds up in places you don't get to often - that can get into your machine. If I go out of town or something comes up and I know I'm not going to be using my machine for a while I unplug it and cover it up. Even if your machine didn't come with any kind of cover, just lay a towel over it - or there a lots of free patterns online to make a custom cover for your machine.

When you oil your machine please make sure you are using SEWING MACHINE OIL, not the same as regular household oil. Sewing Machine oil is light colored, almost transparent. Your sewing machine manual will have instructions for how to oil your machine. There are many videos on line by kind and helpful people! Go to YouTube and search with the name of your machine and there is a very good chance you will find a demonstration.

After you have oiled your machine, sew on a piece of scrap fabric, just in case some of the oil is hiding somewhere and will get on your fabric.  After your scrap is oil free you are good to go! A clean machine is a happy machine!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sewing Lesson #7 (Trouble Shooting Sewing Machine Problems)

Sometimes when you want to sew, things just won't work.  We've all been there, pulling our hair out in frustration! Here are some things to try when you just can't get going and you don't understand why!

The first thing you should always do when you are having issues is re-thread your machine. Take the thread out all the way to the spool. Re-thread making sure you are not skipping any of the thread guides. Also re-thread your bobbin, double check which way the thread should be coming off the bobbin to make sure you have it right.  If that doesn't fix your problem change to a new needle.  These three steps will fix 90% of the problems you have.  Not necessarily because you did them wrong, but threads can slip, needles get dull, little tangles sometimes happen.

Skipped Stitches - often the fault of the needle. Your needle my have a slight burr, be dull or be slightly bent - but so slight that you can't detect it. Replace  your needle.  If you are sewing on a knit, and you are getting lots of skipped stitches, change to a ball point needle, and that should fix it.  If you are sewing on something that is very thick you may need to increase your stitch length.

Breaking/Shredding Thread - if your thread keeps breaking there are a couple of things you should check out.  Is your tension too tight (maybe a little visitor to your sewing room played with your machine?)  Is there something that is catching the thread so it isn't feeding smoothly off the spool?  Sometimes there can be a little rough spot on the edge of your spool that will grab the thread. Try using a spool cap or turn your spool over.  Is the eye of your needle too small for the diameter of your thread?  Try a needle with a larger eye.

Loops of thread - if you are getting lots of loose thread under your fabric, but the top looks fine, that means there is no tension on the top thread.  You may need to increase the tension on your machine.  If that doesn't fix it, re-thread making sure your presser foot is raised while you go through the tension discs.  Sometimes a little knot of thread can get caught in there. In this case you may need to loosen the tension all the way, "floss" your machine with UNWAXED dental floss to remove thread that is caught, then reset your tension.

Seam looks puckered - if your seam looks a little puckered it could be that your tension is too tight. Try loosening the tension. If you are sewing on a very tightly woven fabric, it could look puckered because there just isn't enough room for the thread from your machine to fit between the yarns in the fabric. Try a finer thread and needle. It can look puckered if you are distorting the fabric by stretching it as it goes under the presser foot. You can often adjust the pressure of the presser foot with a knob on top of the machine. Loosen the pressure of the foot and that may help.

A few more things to try.  Make sure you have the correct bobbin for your machine. Clean all the lint out of your bobbin area. Google your problem, there is a lot of online help!  Of course, sometimes even after you have tried everything, your machine may need to go in for repairs.  Most repair shops recommend that you bring in your machine yearly.  I clean and oil my machines myself, so I have to admit I don't take them in that often.  I do take them in if they make a strange sound or have problems that I can't track down on my own.

Good luck with your machine!

Happy Sewing!

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