Tag Archives: sewing
By Mary Hindal
Sewing can build self-esteem, give a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, build friendships and help the less fortunate.
While many of us feel that there are not enough hours in a day, month, or year to do everything on our list, it is important to carve out some time for ourselves to relax and help the less fortunate, elderly, vulnerable, under-employed, or those serving overseas. Sewing and crafting have been proven to provide individuals with a sense of relaxation and accomplishment, with sewing for charity being the most rewarding activity of all.
Sewing hats for hospitalized infants or premature babies, warm coats or blankets for the homeless, a stuffed animal for an orphanage, or a pretty Christmas dress for a young girl who may not otherwise have this opportunity available to her can bring joy and fulfillment to your life. The warm fuzzy feeling you get when you think of how your gift helps the infant who is struggling for his or her life will repay you a thousand fold for your time and money. Many volunteer sewers insist that they get more out of what they do for others than what they contribute-these small gestures give a sense of purpose, and that alone is priceless.
Sewing to create unique and special gifts is another opportunity of giving to others while still receiving a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Many find themselves longing for the old days when gifts were handmade, treasured, and passed down for generations. Perhaps sewing a quilt to be passed down from generation to generation will be a start to reinventing the art of sewing in your family. Create some beautiful gifts for the upcoming holiday and begin or reestablish a family tradition.
Sewing can reduce tension and also build meaningful friendships. There are many individuals who love the thought of using their geometry skills to cut and fit pieces together, some who are perfect for color coordinating, and others who excel at putting it all together. Join a local sewing club, take some classes to learn new skills or brush-up on some that have become dusty, or get together with some friends for a Friday Fun Night to form your own think-tank for upcoming projects or charity work. You may find women (or even men) ranging in age from their teens to their 80’s who may be teachers, homemakers, farmers, attorneys, engineers, or physicians, all coming together to make quilts for the needy, battered women and children, the developmentally disabled, or the elderly. Many take pleasure in being together, discussing things that are important to them in their own community or in the world, and creating a beautiful masterpiece-all while building friendships and doing goodwill. They may get together to work on their own projects or work as one to stitch and piece together a larger piece for a church, school, or charity while talking, laughing, sharing stories or simply lending an ear.
Times have changed in the sewing market. It used to be that stores carried a minimal amount of quilting books and patterns. Now most newsstands carry several magazines that cater to quilters, with several hundred different book titles published throughout the years. And then there’s the internet with just about everything one could imagine when it comes to sewing, fabrics and ideas.
So, if you are feeling the need for a project, consider sewing for a charity or to give as creative and personalized gifts. You may find that it will give you a sense of accomplishment, a rewarding experience, and bridge bonds and friendships.
FabricFast.com is an online fabric store featuring 1000’s of varieties of quilting fabric, flannel fabric, specialty fabric, notions and batting. For the fun of it, or for your business, we provide fabric and supplies for just about any sewing project you can conceive of. We ship anywhere in the U.S. and often within 24-48 hours. Visit our site today
I hate shopping for pants. Very rarely will I find a pair that fit me well. Take jeans, for instance. All the name brands I tried just don’t do it for me. Lee comes close. Kohl’s Croft and Barrow store brand are perfect for me. I have a pair of blue jeans that I could live it. So a few weeks ago I bought the same size in black. BZZZT! Too small. Yes, even different fabric fits differently. I don’t know, maybe they make them in a different location. I have to take them back. There’s sitting on the back seat of my car.
Therefore, I have GOT to force myself away from quilting to make some pants. I have no clue how to pattern fit. I find lots of patterns I’d like to make, but I don’t want to waste fabric picking the wrong size. I have a pair of crop pants I started making months ago. All I need to do is hem them and do the waist. Worrying about the finished fit prevents me from completing them. Mind games.
So this class is on my list. Kathy Ruddy: One Pattern, Many Looks (Sewing) – Pants.
What You’ll Learn
- How to create a custom-fit pattern block from a pants pattern of your choice
- How to adjust with darts, yokes and seam changes for figure fine-tuning
- How to choose the best design details and fabrics for the look you want
- How to make your own tummy-tuck jeans and expensive-looking yoga pants
- Three waist finishes, leg silhouettes and pocket details
- An easy rub-off method using a kitchen basic
- Tricks for finishing seams without a serger
In comparison to hand sewing, using a sewing machine opens up a whole new world of project possibilities, enabling you to get a variety of projects done in record time. Here are ten simple tips that are essential to remember.
1) Be sure that you have threaded the machine correctly, according to the machine’s specific instructions. For most household machines, the threading process is simple and intuitive. Just a few times and you will have committed it to memory. However, missing even one of those points that the thread must catch will throw your entire machine off, so it’s a good idea to double check your threading before you begin sewing.
2) Although you will use the simple, basic foot for 90% of your sewing, at times when you do need a special foot, do use the correct foot. You’ll be glad you took the two minutes to change it, as it will make your sewing much easier and neater.
3) Use good quality thread. It may be tempting to check out that bin of bargain threads, but in the long run, it is not worth your money. Your thread will end up catching and breaking, and ultimately will not last.
4) Invest in a good pair of fabric scissors if you don’t already have one, and a small thread clipping scissor to keep handy by the machine, and keep it solely for those purposes. Don’t cut anything else with them, as they will become dull or stick in the middle of the blade and your fabric will be thrown off its pattern.
5) Always throw away bent pins. If your pin is bent, there is a possibility that you might not know its exact location under the fabric. Should your needle hit the pin, the tip may break and fly off, causing injury.
6) When sewing two pieces of fabric together and one is slightly longer than the other, let the machine do the compensating for you by placing it on the bottom, as the feed dogs under the foot will have a tendency to pull it slightly more than the top piece.
7) Never hurry. In a rush, stitches will be crooked and lines will not be straight. This is especially obvious when sewing straight items such as a curtain or a pillow. So develop a slow and steady rhythm and strive to maintain it.
8) Your eyes may tend to strain as you will be looking at a small area of the machine by the foot. Take frequent breaks and make sure your entire work area, not just the head of the machine, is well lit.
9) Check your bobbins. It’s disappointing to realize you’ve been sewing for the last two minutes without any bottom thread, doing nothing but making holes in your fabric. Avoid this scenario by making sure you have enough bottom thread wound in your bobbin.
10) Use the right needles. Thicker fabrics need thicker needles, so don’t use one needle for all your sewing needs.
Many of these tips are items you should assess on the machine before sewing a single stitch. With just a little time, these pre-project steps will be as easy as a simple glance, and you’ll be breezing away on your machine before you know it. The next step is to find the best sewing machine for beginners in order to greatly enhance your learning experience.
All my bobbins drive me nuts. They’re everywhere. Around my sewing area, on my thread rack, in the sewing machine cabinet and in plastic cases that always open up and spill out onto the floor. I would love to keep the bobbin with its matching spool of thread, but the pegs on my rack are not long enough.
This morning I came across several bobbin storage solutions from the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild.
The rubber band solution is my favorite. If you have newspaper delivery, no doubt you’ve already got a stash of rubber bands. BOOM!
Know this; the kids and spouse will attempt to use your fabric cutting scissors for all sorts of things. Hide them. Guard them. Lock them up. They must be kept sharp and ready at a moment’s notice. They are for cutting fabric only.
If you’re just getting started quilting/sewing, I recommend getting:
- Comfortable, sharp dressmaker shears. No need to spend more than $15-$25.
- A small pair of thread snips/clippers.
Buy On Sale
If you’re having a hard time parting with $25 for a pair of sewing scissors and if you have a Jo-Ann’s or Beverly’s near you, use the coupons from the Sunday paper. If you have a smartphone, you can download an app. I know Michael’s and Jo-Ann’s have Android apps. I don’t think Beverly’s does, but they do honor competitors’ coupons. If you buy online at Amazon and you have a credit card that can link to Amazon, you can use your credit card points to shop. 1 point = $1.
UPDATE: I just found some direct links to current printable coupons. How sweet is that! We don’t need no stinkin’ newspaper or smartphone. But seriously, I couldn’t live without my smartphone. Sad, I know.
I basically use one pair of 8-1/2″ Fiskars Razor Edged scissors. I’ve had them for many years and they stay sharp right to the tip. They’re nothing fancy, but they always get the job done. The closest thing they have to them now are these…
Notice the bent angle on them. This type of design is typically called a “dress makers’ shears” because the handle and blade are not inline with each other which allows the blade to remain flat on the table top surface when cutting fabric. So when shopping for a pair of scissors for cutting fabric, look for the words “bent” or “dressmaker”. You’ll be hatin’ life if you get anything else. Oh, and comfort-fit handles, especially if you’ll be cutting thick fabric.
Fiskars makes some good scissors and they’re really isn’t any reason to get something more expensive unless you sew have a reason for something else.
Gingher makes some pretty fancy-pants scissors (up to $200), but I just don’t care for their handles. Too thin and uncomfortable. I do have a pair of their nylon handle featherweight shears. They’re useless for cutting thick fabric. They actually have “give” to them and it’s like trying to cut with rubber blades.
Kai makes some pretty decent dressmaker scissors. They’ve got very good reviews.
Small Thread Snippers
For thread snipping, I use Gingher Featherweight thread clippers. My mom got them for me for Christmas over 20 years ago. They still make them. I LOVE them. They’re razor sharp… well, they were until some little grandson cut Lord knows WAHT with them and now they have the tiniest little nick in them. grrrrr
The little Gingher stork scissors (embroidery) are also good for snipping thread and are also very sharp. I have a pair. The design is very comfortable. It’s like they become an extension of my fingers.
I also have a pair of pinking shears, but I never use them. Beats me why I have them. Must have been one of those “I NEED these because they’re on sale and my mom has some…” type of purchases.
HOT TIP: It’s OK to have a couple glasses of wine when using scissors. Just don’t run with the wine.