Sewing for Fall

Hello Sewing Friends,
Come on in from the scorching heat, turn down the thermostat and let’s talk about Fall Fashion! What inspires you? Comfort? Culture? The latest trends? You’ll be glad to hear that this year’s fall fashion grants you a new freedom to use a splash of bright color, bold jewelry, shiny sequin and stud details and eccentric combinations. Playful volume in ruffles, a hunk of faux fur, braces and straps, geometrics, velvets and draping are among the hottest trends topping this fall’s fashion list.
Whether you “Frankenstein” several parts from various pieces to ‘re-construct’ something new or delegate a few items that can be revamped in ways that make them work for another season, fashioning a unique personal style is why so many people love to sew! Changing the buttons, hemline, collar or sleeve length can update a piece and give it an entirely new look while extending your wardrobe dollars!
Put the life back into your wardrobe this year! The time and creativity you invest in making the alterations will pay back big dividends in the compliments you’ll hear about your new piece.

Singer has a brand new machine called the Quantum Stylist 9960. This computerized cream puff offers over 600 built-in  stitch patterns, an auto-thread cutter, 4-way mirror imaging, elongation, needle down, auto-stop, speed control, electronic tension, four alphabets,  extension table and a handful of presser feet that have never been offered before.  In short, I have been having a blast sewing surface embellishments and making decorative trims for my  Fall 2010 Runway inspired fashions. Following are a few peeks at some of the examples but be sure to tune in to the August 11th Today’s Special to see much more!
Did you know that with the new Quantum Stylist 9960 you can make elastic shirring in only two steps? Simply hand wind the bobbin with elastic thread (don’t pull! no tension …leave it unstretched when winding!) and thread the machine as usual. (Make sure that the elastic thread goes through the bobbin groove as normal thread would).
Mark or use your seam guide or quilt guide to stitch rows 1/2″ apart using a 3mm zig-zag on the right side of the fabric. This will form a ‘thread casing’ for the elastic thread on the bottom.
When you have completed stitching the rows, gently pull all the elastic threads to the desired size–evenly distributing the gathers as you go. Tie a double sturdy square knot with the ends and trim off the excess leaving a 1/2″ tail beyond the knot. Finished sleeve cuff is Funtastically Feminine!

This trim is for one of my fall jackets. It’s the checkerboard elongated 5X and stitched with one color using the appliqué foot, then using another thread shade to stitch over the same row again to ‘fill in the alternating blanks’. The bold, elongated checkerboard makes a robust border to bookend the purchased, beaded trim in the center stitched on using the zipper/piping foot. Sometimes, You can’t get close enough to the trim’s edge with a regular foot (in this case the beads were in the way). Isn’t it nice to know that you can use the zipper/piping foot for something other than zippers and piping!
This is the Brand new Flat Sequin attachment foot with guide (which is adjustable) . This is a wonderful new foot for adding surface embellishment with a flair! You can also use it to add 1/4″ ribbon or flat trims. (only available with the Quantum Stylist 9960)

The Mirror Imaging feature alone or combined with other decorative stitches over ribbon will help you to make beautiful borders and trims!

The “Bias Tape Attachment” foot will help you to line up 1/4″ -3/4″ double folded bias tape for even topstitching when applying it on to an edge. ( only available with the Quantum Stylist 9960)
The “Stitch In The Ditch” foot will help you to ‘sew in the groove’! The metal guide on the front end leads the way with the needle stitching directly in its path. This is great for quilting or joining any trims where you don’t want the seam to show.

If you’re new to sewing, it’s easy to be confused by products that either look similar or promise similar results. One of these areas is the often blurred distinction between interfacing and stabilizer. Both look similar and many sewers tend to use the two terms interchangeably. However, this is not the case! Let’s uncover the mystery of interfacing and stabilizer for your personal use!
Interfacing—The Permanent cast!
Interfacing is a certain kind of fabric or cloth that is either sewn in or pressed on to the “wrong” side of a cloth in order to make the cloth heavier, more supportive or to give it more body. In short– anywhere there will be extra or ornate details that need some added support. Popular areas to use interfacing are near buttonholes, collars, cuffs, pockets, and plackets– to give each area more strength. Using interfacing will help the garment maintain its original shape over time.
Interfacing is available in woven and stretch varieties. Stretch interfacing is used in stretch knits, to prevent excessive stretching or warping of the garment especially around the edges and under any details. The weight of the interfacing you use will correspond to the fabric for which it is paired. A thicker material will require a heavier interfacing, and a lighter material will use a lightweight interfacing. One key to working with woven interfacing is to select a fabric that is lighter than your choice fabric – if the interfacing is heavier than the main fabric, the interfacing will determine what the garment looks like! Properly used, interfacing will reinforce your fabric and make the chosen fabric look better in garment form, so don’t be afraid to be selective when deciding which interfacing to use.
The most time efficient variety is the iron-on interfacing —known as “fusible interfacing”. They are available in both woven and non-woven, lighter weights to heavy. They give the fabric a crisper feel and look BUT Be warned—Not all fabrics are suitable for iron-on interfacing. For example 1) if you can’t press the fabric due to plastic content in the material or 2) if the fabric has sheer areas where it will show through as in lace or 3)if the fabric has irregular surfaces that you do not want squashed flat as in seersucker or brocade. For those fabrics, you’ll want to use the sew-in interfacing to strengthen your garment (most sewing patterns will include instructions on how to include your interfacing). In some cases such as a fine silk, your woven interfacing choice may be organza.

Stablizer— The Bandaid!
tabilizer is primarily used with machine embroidery, to help strengthen the fabric while the design is being stitched. Once the design is complete, the excess stabilizer is removed, either with scissors, ironing, washing, or simply tearing by hand, depending on which of the many different types you use.
CUT-AWAY stabilizers are permanent – they will remain on the back of the fabric to help strengthen the embroidery and prevent any stretching or warping. HEAT-AWAY stabilizers brown and flake off when ironed—just be sure that the embroidery thread and fabric can withstand high temperatures! WASH-AWAY stabilizers dissolve in water – therefore, removal is as easy as running the washing machine or dipping in the kitchen sink— as long as the garment is water washable. TEAR-AWAY stabilizer, as the name suggests is removed by tearing the stabilizer away from the design– just be careful not to pull and distort the embroidery stitches.
My personal favorite is an adhesive backed paper called ‘STICKY STABILIZER’. I just stick it to the back of the embroidery frame, press my project to be embroidered onto the sticky stabilizer and go! This eliminates the frustration of ‘hooping’ and makes my knits sit still and behave like a woven. Of course I can’t use it in every instance but I try to!
Be sure to have a variety of stabilizers and interfacing in your sewing arsenal. The steps you take in construction today will pay big dividends over the life of your garment.
Triple check all your notions with color to make sure that they match. I was turning a stripe into a plaid for one of my fall fashion jackets and after 90 minutes realized that some of the ribbon cross stripes were a different shade than the rest. The spools had the exact same name and item number but as in yarn, the dyelots were ever-so-slightly different. I also noticed this on some buttons last week (thankfully in the store!) so best not to assume that the dyelots will be identical. That’s not always the case!

AUGUST 11 TODAY’s SPECIAL—- A Brand New Singer Computerized Machine
12am, 1am, 8am, 11am, 4pm, 7pm, 11pm
Sew In Bliss!

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