December Sewing Blog

Darlenes ThreadHello Sewing Friends,

If ever there was a year when handmade Holiday gifts were on top of our to-do list, then this is the year and the season is now! Whether you have a sewing machine, an embroidery machine or both, there are dozens of quick and easy cost affective gift giving projects that you can whip up in minimal time.
Working on Holiday Gifts can be a creative outlet, a time to unwind or simply a quiet get away from all the hustle and bustle of the season.
Consider bookmarks, book covers, coasters and hanger covers or monogrammed handkerchiefs, towels, bathrobes, embroidered wine bags, cookie bags, scarves and personalized aprons to make as fabulous one-of-a-kind gifts without depleting your bank account. Check my past blogs for more tips and tricks and easy projects with how-to directions.
Thank you all for making our swing category so successful. Our team appreciates each and every one of your purchases so I included my top 5 tips to help you make the most out of your new sewing bundle.

  • After opening all the boxes and Styrofoam, be sure to go over the checklist to make sure that all the extras and goodies have been removed from the packaging.
  • Keep all the accessories in one place such as a sewing basket, tackle box or sewing bag. This practice will help you to locate an item quickly when you need it and store it safely for future use.
  • Stock up on a thread value pack and sharp sewing shears. Nothing can bring your project to a screeching halt faster than not having the right equipment to do the work. Imagine a printer with no ink, a car with no gas or cookware without food ingredients.
  • You must have stabilizers for embroidery and interfacing for sewing. This hidden ingredient marks the difference between professional and amateur results. You wouldn’t build a home without a good solid foundation so don’t sew or embroider without the proper reinforcement.
  • Purchase a good steam iron and ironing board, and have a press cloth (I use cheesecloth) available for suitings and silks. Most seams need to be pressed after stitching. You’ll want to compare iron features such as auto-shut off, variable temperatures, water reservoir, steam capacity, cord length and whether you prefer a stainless steel or non-stick soleplate.

EMBROIDERY TIPS:
Many of you had great questions last month so I’m going to bullet answers in hopes of covering most of your concerns.

  • Only ONE Futura software program can work on your computer at a time. If you have more than one Futura, you will need to uninstall the software and reinstall the new software each time you want to use a different model machine.
  • All the Futuras 150, 250, 350, SES1000 and SES2000 use size 15J bobbins.
  • The circular foot will work with all the Futuras as well as all the Singer low shank sewing machines.
  • Brother embroidery cards cannot be used on the Futura. Only Designs that can be downloaded from the internet or acquired from a CD and stored on your computer can be sent to the machine to stitch out.
  • When downloading a design from the internet, .xxx or .dst or .pes are only three of the 14 file formats that Futura will recognize.
  • The 2600 design CD will be available on HSN.com a la carte for $599.99.

EMBROIDERY HOW-TO’s
Q: How do I embroider the front or side of a pant leg?
A: Obviously, a pant leg is round and a hoop is flat so the two will not work with one another unless they are extremely wide bell bottoms. I have found that a seam ripper and a little preparation is all that’s needed for professional results. First, you have to pick out the stitches on the inside of the pant leg from the crotch down through the hemline. Then hoop the area of the leg you would like to stitch. Remember to line up the vertical notches on the hoop with the side seam of the pant leg. If you are embroidering velvet, velveteen or corduroy, press the area you would like to embroider into your prepared embroidery hoop that has sticky stabilizer stuck to the bottom. After finishing the embroidery, remove he stabilizer and restitch the seam back to its original condition.
Q: How do I make a bookmark?
A: There are many ways to stitch a custom bookmark. In the following example I used wool felt. Make sure you have at least a 2″ overhang on both the top and bottom of the hoop. Choose a border design from your 3900 Stock design CD or the 2600 Anthology and send to hoop. Stretch and fit to size. Highlight and copy/paste. Highlight new design and flip. Move apart to make room for lettering. Now highlight and copy the entire border so that two bookmarks fit within the 5×7″ hoop frame. Run a name through Hyperfont, choose the vertical frame and set the name inside your new borders. Remember to Change the font color before clicking out so that the border and name are separate. This gives you more digitizing freedom. Repeat for the second name in the second border. Save the design. Stitch as directed with 40wt. Poly or metallic thread. In the example below I used poly for the border and metallic for the names.
Unhoop and back with a second ‘lining’ layer of wool felt. Stitch around the border to hold the two layers together. This adds stability and covers up the unattractive underside of the book mark.
Darlenes Thread

Darlenes Thread

Trim on the outside of the stitching and make ¼” scissor cuts to create fringe.
Q: How do I line up designs on a project?
A: Lining up designs is easy in three steps. 1) Printing, 2) pinning 3) Hooping. First, with design open, left click file/print. The print will have a north/south and an east/west line across the design. Second, pin the design onto the project exactly over where you want the design to stitch out. Third, press the garment piece over the sticky stabilizer prepared hoop being certain to line up the X and Y axis with the nodules found on the embroidery frame center of each side. Once you have the garment pressed in place, stitch the design and enjoy:

Q: Is there a way I can economize the sticky stabilizer? My design only takes up a small portion and the sticky stabilizer piece is large.
A: Sometimes you can place more than one design in a hoop and not have to rehoop between designs. You can also economize by adding a small sticky patch inside the hoop over the used portion. Restick, restitch and reuse. Or, use the smaller hoop for smaller designs.
Darlenes Thread


Darlenes ThreadSERGER TIP:

I was a napkin short for Thanksgiving Dinner and found myself in my studio at the very last minute before guests arrived to quickly serge an additional napkin. Whether you’re adding to your collection or preparing a brand new set, serging is a quick and easy option for finishing edges that looks professional. When serging your Holiday napkins, placemats and scarves, make sure you secure the serger tail correctly so that it doesn’t unravel. To accomplish this technique, you will need a “Knit-Picker”. (Photo on left)

  • Run the knit picker through the serged seam. Open the latch and lay the tail over the opening. Pull the Knit-picker back through the serged edge and the tail will backtrack up through the seam allowance. Carefully trim away the excess if any. No short stubby ends to unravel.

Darlenes Thread

Darlenes ThreadWHEN TO WATCH
Dec 07 — 6:00 AM 10:00 AM
Dec 11 — 2:00 AM 9:00 AM

Have a Radiant Hanukah and a Very Merry Christmas Season,
Continue to Sew Your Dreams and we’ll see you next year!!!
Darlene Cahill

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