Easter seems a bit earlier this year. It is this coming Sunday. I am a bit late at getting my Easter decorations and baskets out. However, we are ready for the Easter bunny. After all, one is never too old for a few Easter treats.
Speaking of decorations, I am re-posting my Easter Diorama directions. This is one of my all time favorite decorations. One that is fun to make as an adult or along with children. Each one is unique and special.
My daughter wanted a serger for Christmas. Santa came through with a Juki model. She was very happy to get her first serger and wanted me to try it. So, like the good student I am, I sat down for my lesson on the Juki.
The serger was easy enough to use on a straight seam. Just put the material under the presser foot, step on the pedal and off you go. But what about on curves? I actually did not try curves until my daughter had gone off to college again. First, I decided to watch a you-tube video. A very helpful lady showed me how to maneuver the material under the presser foot. I gave it a go myself and thanks to my you-tube tutor, all went well. It is a bit like a sewing machine, the difference being if I messed up the little blade would slice my material off. That is why I watched the video first. Take it slow and easy on curves and it is not a problem.
I have been using the serger a lot since my daughter went back to college. I think that I will eventually have to ask Santa for my own, as she will some day take the Juki with her, and I will be left without. One might ask, “Do you really need a serger?” After using one for a few months, my answer is “yes”.
A serger has many benefits. It sews a beautiful finished edge to the piece so that the material looks finished. A serger allows a piece to be washed without the fear of unraveling seams. It brings the garment up a notch from “homemade” to “Where did you buy that?” status. I would recommend a serger to serious seamstresses and for people who sew a lot of clothing. Beginning sewers can use a zig-zag stitch on their sewing machine or cut the seams with pinking shears. This will do until they become more accomplished sewers and actually want to wear what they make. It is more important to have a good machine and then acquire a serger thereafter, as it is a monetary investment.
The only drawback I find to the serger is that it is a pain to thread. Tweezers and tools have to be used to reach the threads here and there. The threads have to be threaded in a particular order for the machine to work. There are four spools of thread on my daughter’s serger. One spool seems to run out a lot faster than the other spools. This one is the one that needs to be threaded first. Although, there is a way around this, by sneaking threads around others. So the hardest part about serging is threading the machine. Once threaded it is a piece of cake.
I decided our dining room chairs were looking passe and worn. It was time to reupholster the chairs. We had done this once before so we knew how to go about it.
The first time we reupholstered, we replaced the foam and the backing fabrics as well. this time, we only needed to replace the main fabric. I ordered the fabric and cut it to size. Then it was time to remove the upholstery staples. I had the special upholstery staple remover tool from last time we did this. I remembered this step being a bit of work. I started to remove the staples but it was not going as smoothly as I had hoped. The staples were breaking! I did not remember the staples breaking last time I did this. This was now becoming an increasingly slow process as I had to use pliers to pull out the broken staples and hammer in the pieces that were too short to pull out. Horrid little staples!
My husband stapled on the new fabric. He reassured me that he did not use as many staples this time plus he bought a different brand. We are hoping the new staples will come out in one piece. The funny thing is, we looked at reviews for staples and no one comments on the ease of removal. People only care about how they go in and stay in. Luckily, we will not need to find out how they come out for a while. We are both very pleased with our “new” chairs. They look so much better and really make the room look more up to date.
Recently I wanted to make a round bottom drawstring bag. Trying to make the bottom fit the sides is not easy, as I have tried this before without a pattern. So I started searching for methods to make this easier.
I came across a wonderful site that explains mathematically how to calculate the circle and the rectangle for the bag. Genious! Of all things, Pi is involved. I learned about Pi in school, way back when. I never really gave it any thought after the lessons and tests were over. When would I ever use that again? Well, I finally got to use Pi to figure out my bag calculations. The whole formula was amazing and my bag turned out perfect! Maybe teachers should show their students the practical uses for Pi…
For the worksheet to help make a cylinder bag go to:
Sick and tired of trying to keep track of my embroidery needles, I decided I needed a needle minder. However, the one I really wanted was out of stock on-line. I did not really care for any of the other designs. What was I to do?
I searched through my drawer and found a cute French button I had ordered but never used. The button was made of wood and painted with a sweet design. I decided to have this button made into my needle minder. I enlisted my husband to help. He purchased a very strong button magnet set and attached it to the button for me with epoxy. One magnet attaches to the button. This piece goes on top of the embroidery work fabric. The loose magnet is then put underneath the fabric and sticks to the other magnet holding the needle minder to the fabric. When taking a break from embroidering, the needle sticks magnetically to the button minder. No more lost needles! Thanks Honey!
I ordered a package of Wonder Clips by Clover. I have used these clips on a few occassions now and I must say they are wonderful. Are they a total replacement for pins? Not in my oppinion, but they are quite useful. Let me share what I have learned by using these clips.
First off, pins have a few problems, if you ask me. Pins can obviously stick a person if not careful. They can also bend if trying to push through too thick of fabric, multiple seams, or elastic. When trying on clothing, pins can be downright dangerous. Of course, some fabrics are very delicate and pins can even run the risk of a snag to the fabric.
Wonder Clips are very strong little clips that do not put holes in or harm the fabric. I found them extremely useful in holding elastic in place in the shoulder of a dress I made recently. I tried on the dress without fear of being stabbed by pins and they stayed put perfectly. They are very quick to put on and take off. The only drawback, I have found, is that when sewing by machine, they need to be taken off sooner then pins. This is because of the bulk of the clip. On the upside, one can not run over a clip with the presser foot as one can with a pin.
Wonder Clips come in a package of 10 for around $7. This is pricey compared to pins. I would suggest two packages as a good amount to have on hand. I do not use these as replacements for pins, but rather enhancements. In some cases, clips are just more convenient to use. In other cases, pins are the way to go. I am glad I made this purchase and have use for both in my sewing.
Feeling crafty, I ordered a cross-stitch pattern and material. The pattern is a bit folky and I thought it looked like fun. A train station at Christmas time. I have not cross-stitched in years, but used to love it when I was a kid. I have always cross-stitched on aida cloth in the past and found it relaxing. This pattern, however, called for 30 count linen. Ok. So I ordered the supplies and, after they arrived, I sat down to begin.
But where to begin? 30 count linen does not have noticable holes like aida cloth. It is a much more tightly woven material. How on earth do I even count these holes! I had to google it. Ok, now I knew to count every other hole (if one can even call these holes) and stitch my crosses. I started in. Had to take my glasses off. Had to REALLY concentrate. Oh my! What have I gotten myself into! This was suppposed to be fun but now I had a headache.
After getting into the project, I got used to the material but needed to be under a good light source to work comfortably. For cross-stitching projects, I would not recommend linen to beginners. It would be way to frustrating. I would not recommend it to older persons or people with poor eyes either. While I like the look of the linen, I just do not enjoy working that small. I had also purchased 28 count linen. To tell the truth, there is really no significant difference between the 30 count and 28 count linen. Small is small. If I had seen the material before purchasing it on-line, I may have had second thoughts from the start. But by ordering things on-line, it is extremely hard to see exactly what one is in for. Of course, I could always use the materical for embroidery. We shall see…
As I said in my previous post, (Cleaning-up the Pieces and Putting Them Back Together) I had begun a quilt that had been shoved to the back of the cabinet. I am pleased to say that after way too many years of procrastination, I have finally completed the Santa quilt! That is one task I can check off my list. One down, about four more to go. I’ll get there.
The Santa quilt was not hard to do, but it did take a bit of time. I, of course, had to change a few things along the way. First off, I left off the text. I decided I did not want the quilt to “say” a message. I did not feel it necessary. Also, my outer border is not as wide as what was called for. This is because I wanted to use the fabric I had on hand and I did not have enough for a wider border. But the biggest change I made was to what Santa is carrying in his hand.
“What do you think this is?” I asked my husband.
“A mouse,” he said.
I knew it! That is exactly what I thought it looked like too. The pattern is titled, Teddy Bear Santa, however, the “bear” looks more like a mouse. Its ears are too big and the snout is not quite right. So for my quilt, I made the teddy bear ears smaller. I also embroidered a mouth onto the snout. I am happy at how it turned out. I think those small changes make it look like the teddy bear it should be.
One great benefit of making something oneself is that things can be changed. The pattern can be altered slightly to ones own taste. Why make something that will not please you, after all.
Well with that project finished, I will be off to the next one. Perhaps I will share it in a future post. As always, Happy Crafting!
I think we have all been guilty of putting things away without care. Stuffing things into a drawer, closet, purse, under the bed, wherever it may be, without worrying to much more about it at the time. Later, sometime down the road, the snowball effect happens and things become out of control. This is exactly what happened to my little bag of embroidery floss.
Honestly, I should have known better. Stuffing embroidery floss in a bag is not a good idea. The strands can not keep to themselves. Soon there is a big party going on in the bag and they are all playing twister. Now it is up to me to untwist all the strands!
Oh, why does she bother, one might think. Well, I do not like to waste, so I feel obligated to save the mess I have created. Plus, the cheapskate side of me says this is not only embroidery floss thrown out but money as well. So onto my task.
This lovely bag of floss would have remained as is had I not recently decided to make some new projects requiring said floss. That is what led to my motivation. So I spent a good amount of time yesterday untangling the mess. I will admit that there were a few casualties, but that can not be helped as the floss was in quite a state.
After entangling the floss, I decided to properly store them on plastic bobbins that are meant for floss to be wound around. These bobbins have holes in them that can be strung unto clips for individual projects. Genius! Now I feel all organized and am ready to start on my embroidery.
With no end in sight to the wearing of face masks, I recently made a few more 3-D style face masks for the family. I received a complement from the cashier at the grocery store today on my matching face mask. I had made a shirt last year and since I had a bit of extra fabric left over, I made a mask to match. When I want to feel put together, I wear my matching top and mask. Who knows, perhaps I will make a holiday mask to get me in the spirit when the time comes. Here are the instructions for my go-to mask…
Face Mask Instructions:
Cut a rectangle ( 10” x 14” regular size) (10” x 14.5” slightly larger size) or (desired size rectangle). [ I have learned, in making masks for my family, that one size does not necessarily fit all. Making a mock-up of the pattern without all the layers may be a good way to see what changes need to be made to the pattern before committing fabric to the project. ]
Next, measure down 2 inches on each side and draw line across and cut to make pattern. A hexagon shape is made.
Use this pattern to cut 2 pieces of material and 1 of sew-on (non-iron) interfacing.
Place the 2 material pieces right sides together and then place the interfacing on top. Pin.
Sew on the top 3 sides and the bottom 3 sides ¼” from edge. Leave ends open to turn. Turn and press with iron. Top stitch sewn sides ¼”.
Iron down the top and the bottom where corners meet ends.
Top-stitch at edge of top and bottom ¼”.
Place one piece of elastic over one end and fold end over once and then once again to form a casing. Pin in place. Stitch close to the edge being careful not to catch elastic in machine. (Sometimes, because of the bulk, it is easier to start in the middle and sew to the end and then turn the material and sew from middle to end. If machine will handle it, it can be sewn in one line.)
Now fold open the corners lining them up with the end casing and stitch in place. This holds the shape of the mask. Repeat for other side. Tie the elastic in a not to the desired length.