Tag Archive | machine

The Sewing Studio – Part One of Sew It Begins

It’s Ready!” That’s what I declared the other day as I looked around my new sewing studio. The machines were in place and plugged in, the notions boxes were empty with the all the notions stored in their appropriate baskets, and the stash was organized. It was now time to sew. After almost a year of not sewing anything, both the husband and myself are in need of new shirts so that is where I decided to start sewing.

You may have noticed that I did not say that the new sewing room was ready for sewing to start. That is because I now have a sewing studio. Now, it is not as glamorous as it sounds. Since my sewing and crafting has now taken up three rooms in my new home, instead on just the one and one-half as in my previous home, I am calling my sewing space a studio. Plus a sewing studio sounds bigger and better and more exotic. Who wouldn’t want a whole studio for their sewing and crafting over just a room.

I started my first sewing project in my new sewing studio by going into the stash room where I found just the right fabric for me and the husband a new shirt and retrieved our basic sloper patterns for the pattern stash in the stash room. After laundering the fabric, I took the fabric to the prep and cutting room, which is also the crafting and amigurumi assembly room. Here, the fabric was ironed and the patterns cut out. Next, the pieces were carried into the sewing room where the sewing machines and notions reside and the sewing of the shirts began.

It took longer than expected to get to the point of sewing again because I decided to unpack the stash from the many boxes it has lived in for so many years. I placed the contents of all those boxes on wire racks so that the stash is fully visable and readily accessible. I gave the “unpacking of the stash boxes” a lot of thought before I started. I had my picture organizing method in place and it had served me well for many years, but as I organized the boxes in the stash room and opening some to see just exactly what was in each one, I realized that having the stash on the racks was a better way of organizing and using the fabric than the pictures. The husband helped be picked the correct size, weigh and style of racks and helped me assemble the racks. It was then my job to unpack the boxes. I had mixed emotions as I unpacked the stash boxes. My emotions ranged from glee and excitement to see all the precious pieces of fabric I possessed, to terror and fear that I might actually be a true fabric hoarder.

It is great fun to be sewing again. Sadly, I feel that my sewing skills had diminished with the time off, but happily, they seem to be coming back quickly. I am super excited to be sewing and crafting again.

Stay tune for details on the new shirts.

Until then, sew forth and sew on!

Oh Brother!

I don’t know how old Mom’s serger is but I do know that it is really old, old enough to have knob tensions and be extremely difficult to thread. I also know that it has been giving her fits for years. It has a hard time holding its tensions and the lower looper thread keeps breaking. She has had it in for repairs and service many times, but it just never seem to be fixed or to work correctly especially in the last several years. It was another phone call from Mom one week before Christmas, bemoaning that fact that Christmas was just one week away and that her serger would just not behave so she could get her Christmas sewing finished, that finally prompted me to push Mom again to get a new serger.

Years ago when mom’s serger started to act up, I tried to help her replace her serger. When I looked into the available sergers at that time, I found there were two types, the expensive ones, $2000 to $3000, with all the bells and whistles, and the cheap sergers, $200 to $300, with no features and that barely serged. What happened to a nice $500 to $1000 machine that had just a few features but still serged nicely? At the time, Mom was not sewing as much as she use to, so she did not want to spend a large amount of money on a new serger, so a Singer serger from Walmart was purchased.

Big mistake! The machine was horrible!

It rattled and vibrated and did not serge well at all! It was not long before mom had pushed that serger into the corner and went back to fighting with her old, original serger.

Over the years, I have kept an eye on the big expensive sergers, hoping that one might have that special feature that would make it worth the dollar amount it was demanding. But, I never found one that was worth the price. So, as mom complained about her serger, I did not know what to say. Now, I love my serger so I decided to try and help mom by finding a used serger like mine. After some time looking, I did not find a good used serger similar to mine, but I did find a lot of useful information about sergers.

It seemed that most of the newer more expensive sergers that were purchased were hated, with many owners regretting their purchase and they were trying to rid themselves of their new serger’s on eBay. Most said that because there were so many special features that the machine did not serge well or even perform the special features well. It was a bad case of featuritus. On the other hand, almost all the reviews for the cheap sergers could be summed up to one phrase – piece of crap. So once again, where were that middle of the line sergers?

This time though I found one of those great middle of the line serger’s, the Brother 3234DT. This serger had several great special features, but none that took away from it’s main function, serging.

I told Mom what I had learned and she decided to take a chance and to get one of these new Brother 4 thread with differential feed sergers. When it was unpacked and the owner manual read, I helped Mom thread the serger. It threaded very easily with color coded lay in threading, dial tensions, and even auto needle threaders. I then showed Mom the adjustable stitch length and width, and differential feed like my serger has. Mom was very excited about these features. But, Mom’s new serger had some special features that mine did not. One of these features is the auto needle threader. Another feature that this serger has is a free arm. The table portion of the serger can be removed and there is a free arm for serging cuffs and collars. Man, wouldn’t that be handy while sewing baby sleepers? An extended table also came with this serger. Once again the side is removed and replaced with an extended table that would come in very handy when serging heavy or large items. I was so excited about the extra features of this serger that I thought for a moment about replacing my serger with one of these, but then I decided that there was nothing wrong with my serger and it did not need replacing. (But, if and when my serger does need replacing, I know which serger I will look at first.)

Mom seemed very happy with her purchase. She has sewn a couple of things with her new serger so far and says it serged like a dream. No more nightmares from using that old serger. I am happy that she has a good working serger now and that she can enjoy sewing and serging once again. Plus, along the way I learned a lot about sergers that I did not know before.

So until next time, sew forth and serge on!

Oh! That’s Gonna Leave a Welt… – Part 2

DSCN0977Continuing on from my first part of the welt pocketed jacket project, the rest of the jacket sewing went smoothly.

I used pleather for the collar as well as the pockets and it all sewed up great! Because the zipper was not inserted into the collar, there was no hand stitching and I was able to finish off the collar with some twill tape. I also remembered to press the pleather with a press cloth on both the pockets and the collar so that the iron did not damage the pleather. Before long the sewing was done and the jacket was complete.

With the jacket completed, I studied it closely and something was not right.

DSCN0981I stared at and studied the jacket until I finally figured out what that something was. The neckline on this jacket is HUGE! It is way too big around. I returned to the pattern, but as far as I could tell, I had traced and cut the pattern pieces correctly. Had I sewed something wrong or was it the pattern? I had a few options to try and fix it. I could try to fix the neckline, but for a trial jacket, I was not willing to spend the time and energy on a fix, especially to find out that the fix didn’t work or made things worse. Disappointed, I thought about not embroidering on the jacket, but then decided that some kid somewhere would be willing to wear this jacket, and he or she would need something fun embroidered on it to distract from the huge neck line.

DSCN0922Picking an embroidery design for this jacket was not an easy task. Since I did not know who the final owner of this jacket would be, I tried to make it as unisex as possible, but each embroidery design I picked swayed the jacket to the feminine or masculine side. I looked and debated over many designs until I finally realized that I was wasting all my sewing and embroidery time picking out the design. I finally went back to one of my first choices and embroidered The Lady and The Tramp design on the jacket. The jacket is definitely for a girl now but I love the design on it.

DSCN0982I am still not happy with the collar on this jacket, but I am very pleased with the welt pockets, the pleather accents and the embroidery design.

Ultimately, I am happy with the end results of this jacket and hope that there is a young girl out there willing to wear this jacket even with the oversized collar. I am super excited about learning to make welt pockets and I cannot wait to start another project with welt pockets!

Until then, sew forth and welt on!

Oh! That’s Gonna Leave a Welt… – Part 1

DSCN0977I decided that is was time to try making welt pockets.

Welt pockets always look so nice and professional, plus I had something special I wanted to try for the welts. One day while shopping at Walmart, I saw a couple of bolts of patterned pleather and I knew right away that it would be perfect to make the welts for the welt pockets from. I quickly purchased some, and headed for my sewing room.

First, I needed a pattern. After looking through my pattern stash, I turned to my Kwik Sew books on the shelf.

Yes, there were jacket patterns with welt pockets and instructions in these books. I was super excited and ready to get started!

Next, I had to choose a fabric for the jacket. I had a bright yellow sweatshirt fleece hiding in the stash and debated if pleather and sweatshirt fleece would look good together. I finally decided that they would, especially for a first try of welt pockets. It was easy to pick out some left over scraps from one of my shirts for the body of the pockets.

DSCN0827DSCN0830And I decided to make a size 8 jacket because of the length of the zipper I had. I would need to lengthen the jacket a little to accommodate the zipper, but I didn’t think that would affect the wearing of the jacket.

The first step in making this jacket was to see if pleather would survive the washer and dryer.

It did! And beautifully I might add!

The next step was to see if my sewing machine would sew the pleather or if I was going to require a special foot, needle and thread for sewing the pleather. I did not. The pleather sewed beautifully with just my normal pressure foot, regulars thread and a new Schmit universal needle.

DSCN0833DSCN0836Wow! I had read horror stories on the internet about sewing with leather but I guess pleather is different, or maybe just these particular pieces. Regardless, I was excited!

With the pattern traced and the fabric cut, it was time to get sewing.

To sew the welt pockets, I started with some scraps to get an idea of what I was doing, then I moved on to the jacket.

DSCN0838DSCN0842I started by applying a pieces of interfacing with the sewing lines to the front of the jacket. Next, I taped the pleather in place and then O sewed around the lines.. I taped it because I did not want to scar the pleather with pins. Cutting was next and then pulling the pleather to the wrong side to form the hole for the pocket. Then I folded up the welt and sewed it in place, and then I attached the body of the pocket to the pleather and finally I sewed around the body of the pockets.

DSCN0848DSCN0844Soon enough, I had completed the two welt pockets. They are not perfect but they were fun to make and I really like the results especially with the pleather.

I debated about interfacing the pleather of the welt but I thought that the pleather was stiff enough to not need interfacing. As I inserted my hand into the pocket, past the welt, I wished that I had interfaced the welt and made it stiffer to withstand use over time.

I had pictured the welts as being bigger than they finished up being. Knowing now how to make welt pockets, I feel that I can make the welts in different sizes and styles the next time I make something with welt pockets.

Coming up next, the completing of the jacket.

Until then, sew forth and welt on!

Either Side

DSCN0636I always find a lot of fun free amigurumi patterns when I look around on the internet. This time though I found a free sewing pattern for a little girl’s reversible wrap top. This top looked like a fun sewing project, plus I knew just the fabric that I wanted to use for it. And with that, this top became my next sewing project. I would also be expanding my sewing skills while making it which was a plus too. This would be the first reversible garment I had ever sewn.

I had purchased this fabric at a thrift store many years ago, and it was promptly tucked into the stash for just the right future project. Now, many years later, the right project had finally emerged, but is the pattern on the fabric too dated to use? Are these funky cats too far out of style to make this into a top? I decided that I really like the funky cats and that I still want to make this top from this fabric. I had planned to make the ties for the top from the funky cat fabric too, but I found some small white bias tape in the closest and decided to use it instead.

DSCN0632With the fabric washed, dried and ironed, it was time to get the pattern ready. After reading the instructions for the pattern, printing out the pattern pieces, taping it together, and cutting it out, I decided that since I had plenty of fabric to work with that I would make the largest size of the pattern in a size 4/5. The pattern was easy to cut out and I was soon ready to sew.

The sewing process for this top was fun and easy. The most difficult part was sewing the bias tape together. It was difficult to sew a straight seam so close to the edge of such a small piece of fabric and not have it bunch up under the needle or sew off the edge. After struggling through the stitching of the 4 ties, I thought about using seam to seam adhesive instead. So the next time I will not stitch the bias tape together, but instead I will fuse it closed with some seam to seam adhesive and save me a lot of time and trouble.

I did not use the floss method to gather the flutter sleeve because they were so small. I just stitched a row of long stitches and pulled the threads to make the gathers. I was careful to pull the gathers the same amount on each sleeve, making sure to keep the sleeves the same length.

DSCN0641Sewing the ties on to the top took some thought. The ties on the front pieces were easy, one tie on each front piece. On the side seams though, I had to make sure that I had one tie on the pink side and one tie on the white side.

The hem also required some thought to finish. At first, I thought I would hem this top as a big circle. Then I realized that this would leave exposed seams inside the top. Since this was a reversible top, I had not finished any of the seams, knowing that they would just be tucked inside the top. With this in mind, I stitched the white and pink fabric together at the hem to seal the unfinished seams inside. Sewing the hem this way was not hard. I just had to be careful to keep the pieces of fabric folded evenly as I hemmed. I finished off with some topstitching around the edges to match the hem and reinforce the ties.

DSCN0639The top turned out just too cute. The funky cats are fun, and it is great that the little girl wearing this can pick if she wants to wear pink or white that day. I do have some questions about the wearing of this top. Does the little girl wearing this top find the inside ties uncomfortable? Are two ties enough to keep this top on while playing? Do the ties stay tied through out the day or is the little girl constantly needing her top tied back on? Do two fronts make the top hot and bulky to wear? Man, do I miss the little neighbor girl. I could have given her this top and got some feedback from her mom on these wear issues. I like this pattern and it is well written. The top was a fun project and I would like to make more of these reversible tops in the future, but I hesitate to do so until I know more about how well it wears.

Until next time, sew forth and reverse on!

My, How Times Have Changed

So it was my day off from having to go to work. And I am sitting in front of my sewing machine, just sewing away. I am still dressed only in my bathrobe and I still have bed head hair. There is fur growing on my still unbrushed teeth.

Dirty dishes from last night’s dinner are still stacked in the sink. The first batch of laundry is going in the washer, but laundry is a long, long way off from being completed and put away. Last weeks ironing is waiting patiently for me, and the dust bunnies in the corner are laughing at me as I stitch along. Just then the husband enters the sewing room and hands me this picture.

.My, how times have changed. I got a good hearty laugh from the picture and then promptly continued to ignore everything else around me as I returned to my sewing. How times have changed.

Wow! A great sewing machine deal on Amazon Goldbox for Black Friday!

It’s BACK! For Black Friday this morning’s Amazon’s Gold Box deal is for a commercial JUKI HZL-27Z Sewing Machine for $159!

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This deal is good only for 11-25-11 or until they sell out! So order it quick! They only lasted a few hours last time!

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That is $690 off the retail price. It’s a great deal for a great heavy duty commercial machine if you want a spare to do those heavy or dirty jobs you wouldn’t want to put your normal machine through. It has several 5-star reviews on Amazon. I’ve owned several Juki’s in the past and my first serger which my mom still uses today was a Juki. They are tough machines.

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Since Amazon has a no questions asked money back guarantee and free shipping I am going to pick it up as a spare. I’ll let you know how I like it once I get it and try it out.

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If you want more information on it or want to purchase one for yourself you can find it here:

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JUKI HZL-27Z Sewing Machine