Tag Archive | scissors

New Sewing Tools – Part 2 – In The Pink

DSCN4050The sewing process for the sweater started with the plan to use my second new sewing tool, a new pair of pinking sheers. When reading about sewing fleece, one of the suggestions for finishing the seams of fleece was to just pink the seam allowances with a pair of pinking shears. I used to have a pair of pinking shears many years ago. I loaned them to a friend and I never saw them again. I haven’t really missed owning a pair until recently though, so I decided to reinvest in a new pair of pinking sheers.

DSCN3982When I looked into buying the pinking sheers, I found that I could spend a lot of money for nice pair or a much smaller amount of money for just a pair of the sheers that people had reviewed and said worked well for them. As you and I know, a good pair of scissors is a valuable sewing tool. So, when it comes to buying sewing scissors, I believe that you should spend the extra money for a nice pair of sew scissors. But is that true when it come to pinking sheers I wondered? I decided to go against the grain and buy the less expensive pinking shears for now. Later, if I found that I used the pinking sheer all the time, and I needed a nicer pair, I could then invest the money and buy the more expensive pair.

I sewed up the seams of the sweater, ironed the seams open and pinked the seam allowances. This was easy to do, but it was time consuming to line up the pinked edges. When the seams were done, the pinked seam allowances looked good and pinking was a fine way to finish the edges, but I still think that I like the look of a serged edge better. A serged edge to me is just a cleaner look.

DSCN3721In the end I was happy that I did not spend a lot on money on the more expensive pinking sheers. I just don’t think I will be pinking all that often, and the less expensive pair will be fine for me for how often I expect to use them. Although, if I was going to be using pinking sheers on the majority of my sewing projects, I would definitely invest in the nicer, more expensive pair of the pinking sheers since I know how much better a project goes with good scissors.

Sewing the bias tape on was next. I learned quickly not to let the fleece stretch too much as I sewed the bias tape on. My plan was to sew the bias tape on, fold the edges over and to stitch in the ditch on the front, catching the bias tape on the back. This did not work for me though. I remembered to not trim the bulk from the seam allowance of the bias tape but to leave the bulk to even out the fabric from the heavy fleece to the thin bias tape. I did trim a little of the bulk off the edge to smooth the edges, but not much.

DSCN3974The problem with leaving the bulk is that after going around the bulk with the bias tape, the bias tape was too short on the back side to be caught by the stitch in the ditch seam from the front side. Rather than arguing with the stitch in the ditch seam, I decided to sew on the edge of the bias tape on the front side. Now, there was no problem catching the bias tape on the back side. I was using nice matching thread so the sewing on the edge looks good, probably better than the stitched in the ditch seam would have looked.

DSCN3723The last step was to apply the velcro closures. As I cut four one inches squares of velcro to sew to the sweater, the husband shock his head no. He said he thought that buttons would look better. Since this sweater is not for an infant, there is no worry about a chocking hazard with buttons, so I decided that using buttons instead of velcro would be fine. I asked the husband what he thought about sewing the velcro on as the closure and the buttons on top of the velcro for decoration but he thought that the buttons as the closures was better. He did not like idea of the Velcro closures for a three year old.

DSCN4045Because the sweater is unlined with no facings or interfacing, I put a piece of tearaway stabilizer under the fleece to help keep the fleece from stretching as I sewed the buttonholes. This worked out great! The stabilizer held the fleece steady as the buttonholes sewed and gave the buttonholes themselves more durability. The extra stabilizer was torn away so you won’t even know I used it nor will it ruin the look of the buttonholes inside the sweater.

DSCN3976Soon the buttonholes and buttons were sewn and the sweater was all done!

I think that this sweater is just adorable! I had a lot of fun making it and I learned a few new sewing things and I got to use my new sewing tools as well. I will keep this sweater in mind for the next time I want to make a fun and simpler sewing project.

Until then, sew forth and pink on!

New Sewing Tools – Part 1 – Cutting The Curve

DSCN4045I love to go to craft shows, but I rarely buy anything. I am one of those people that professional crafters hate. I walk around and see what they have made, borrow their ideas, then I run home and make one for myself. That is what happened this time, with my latest fleece jacket/sweater project. The lady at the craft show had made a simple infant unlined fleece sweater, finished with bias tape edges and velcro closures. The sweaters were just adorable, simple and cute, and since I was in the mood for a light project, I decided to make one of these sweaters myself. Plus, I could practice making and sewing bias tape and use two new sewing tools that I had recently acquired.

I knew that I wanted to use this bear fleece that had been in the stash for many years. In fact, it was one of the first pieces of fleece that I ever purchased. Since it was never picked to be used for a blanket, it was time for it to be a sweater instead. I picked a brown cotton fabric for the bias tape, but when the husband saw the bear fleece he said to change to a red bias tape instead. It was no problem to pull some red cotton out of the stash to make the red bias tape with.

DSCN4052I cut 2 inch strips on the bias of the red cotton fabric to make 1 inch bias tape. The cutting and sewing of the strips went smoothly. I am getting better at this process each time I make bias tape. After a lot of ironing, I had a pile of red 1 inch bias tape made. I did not know exactly how much of the red bias tape I needed, so I just made a fair amount since I knew I could make more if needed. If I had extra, I would just save it for another project.

Now it was time to cut out the sweater. I was on my way to the pattern stash to find an infant jacket pattern to use when I spied my Simplicity 8902 pattern laying by the cutting table. Why not just use this pattern? It is a tried and true pattern for me, plus the size 3 was already traced and ready to use. I had envisioned this project for an infant but there was no reason that a 3 year could not wear a teddy bear fleece sweater as well so that is what I went with.

DSCN4046As I cut out the pattern pieces I added an extra inch to the fronts for the velcro overlap and I got the chance to use my first new sewing tool. I wanted to curve the tops and bottoms of the overlaps so I used my new french curve ruler I had picked up on clearance recently. Usually, I would have looked for a plate or bowl to cut the curves, but it was nice to use the curved ruler with the markings to make more accurate, even curves with. Plus, the rotary cutter cut much smoother around the edge of the ruler than it does around the edge of a bowl or plate. It did not take long to cut out the pieces for this sweater and to begin the sewing process.

Stay tuned next time for the sewing of the sweater.

Until then, sew forth and curve on!

Fur Starters

P1020769The fur adventure began with all of the planning and learning that was involved in me working with fur for the first time. Then after that came the cutting of the fur. This was not a quick process for me ,  and so here is what I did.

First, I needed to find out which direction the nap of the fur went. Then I needed to make sure that he nap of the fur went the same direction on each piece of the pattern that I would cut out. Next, I traced the pattern pieces onto the fur before I cut it out. I used a sharpie to do this. You might say that it was crazy of me to use a permanent black marker on my fur, but I wanted to make sure that I could clearly see the lines while cutting. I also knew that since I would be cutting on the line and that any remaining black lines would be caught up in the seam so it wouldn’t be visible once it was stitched up. I also made sure and used a fine point sharpie and I tried it out on a small piece of fur first to make sure it didn’t bleed through.

Because of the way the fur has to be cut, none of the pieces can be cut on the fold. So when I traced the back, I had to trace one side and then flip it over and trace the other side. After all the pieces were traced, the cutting started.

P1020773Since I did not want to cut the hair of the fur, the fur had to be cut out with tiny snips of the scissors, very carefully, making sure to only cut through the backing of the fur. This was not difficult, but it was very time consuming.

When I had finally finished the cutting, I figured it would be clean up time, but with since I was not cutting much of the hair of the fur there was really only a small mess when I was done. Also, at this point, I was still happy with the pattern that I had picked. The jacket pattern that I chose is very simple and did not have a lot of detail to it. This was a bonus for me since I did not have to try and make any special markings on the fur. In fact, I didn’t even worry about cutting any notches. I figured I would not be able to find them in the fur later anyway.

P1020703Next I cut out the lining. This was quick work since I was able to use my rotary cutter on it to cut it out.

At this point, I tried to pin a couple of the pieces of fur together, only to see my pins bend and twist. I was very frustrated at this since I am a big fan of pinning things together and I hate to sew with out pinning first. So to solve this problem I ending up using some large paper clips/clamps to hold the fur together. Not as elegant as using pins, but the paper clips did the job and held the fabric together.

Now that all the pieces are finally all cut out, it is time to sew!

Please be sure and join me in the next post in the continuing Saga of the Fur Wars…

The Snippy Snips of Snipperton

A long time ago in a far away place, I purchased a pair of small scissors that looked like a pen. They were on clearance at a store that is long since out of business. I paid $0.33 for them. I wish now that I would have purchased every pair of these that they had. I have used these pen scissors for years with my crafting, first with counted cross stitch and now with my crocheting. I noticed last month that the spring in these scissors was getting weak and that it would soon be time to replace them.

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The next time I was in a fabric store, I looked for a replacement for these scissors. Although there were several suitable replacements for the scissors, the price about knocked me over even with a half off coupon. Taken aback, I decided to wait to purchase any new scissors until the original pair broke. Over Christmas, Mom pulled a pair of the small folding Fiskar scissors from her crochet bag. I took a good look at them and decided that they would have to be the replacement for my pen scissors.  After listening to Mom fight to get her scissors to cut, which greatly surprised me since they were fiskars, I decided to keep looking.

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The husband gave me a pair of his small ceramic scissors made to cut small wires and electronic components. They were just what I wanted and they were only $1.99. I tried them out on a piece of paper and they worked great. I thought I had a replacement until I tried to cut a piece of yarn. The scissors would not cut the yarn. Oh well, so much for them.

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On my last trip to M&L fabric, they had a pair of Gingher scissors in a pen shape. The price was not great but not too bad, plus they sell all notions and accessories at 20% off. I decided to get them to replace my old pen scissors. I have had great luck with the use of Gingher scissors, they are VERY sharp and they do cut yarn and anything else I have tried, so hopefully I have a good replacement. Stay tuned and I will let you know.