Category Archives: Tutorial

Tutorial – Cosmetic Bags

A friend of mine contacted me Monday morning regarding my clutch purses. She was looking for a birthday gift that she needed by Saturday. She saw one of the clutches she liked, wanted to know price and if I still had fabric. Of course, silly question right ladies. So the only worry was getting it by Saturday.

After running around like a chicken with its tail feathers gone doing errands I finally get home to start the project. Here I will tell you how to make a cosmetic bag, complete with pictures. You will notice that I was so into getting this custom order done, I actually sewed up the things not realizing I didn’t take a snap shot.

Pick your fabrics. Usually these cosmetic bags are 10 x 10, but I go 10 x something. Iron the heavy weight fuse able interfacing to the main fabric. You will be using a zipper larger than 10 inches. Now to the machine.

Place the lining and fabric back to back, placing the zipper on top of the main fabric with the zipper pull down. Since you will be using a zipper larger than 10 inches, you do not center it, just let the extra hang on both the top. Eventually you will be cutting the extra off. Then using your zipper foot, sew together. I used quilting clamps to hold the items in place to get a even straight stitch, not shown. After you have sewn the zipper on, then fold the fabric over to top stitch. I used YKK zipper and was able to use my regular presser foot to do the top stitch. There all done, now to do the other side.

Fold the other side with the lining on the outside, main fabric on the inside. Make sure all edges match up, even the raw edges to the best you can. You then change back to your zipper foot and sew. Oops guess what, I forgot a picture on how to top stitch the other side. You need to open the zipper all the way in order to fold the fabric and top stitch. Its a tight fit but can be done. Again I switched back to my presser foot and my top stitch was 3.5. Now you have your zipper done. (I will update with a picture next time I do another one of these cosmetic bags.) NOTE: See how the ends of the zipper hang over the fabric.

 

Now you sew the raw edges together, zipper in the “center” of the bag. Starting with the bottom first. What I do after I do a straight stitch I do a zig-zag next to the straight stitch, if you have a serger, you can use that as well. Being that I don’t serger the seam I cut close to the zig-zag. Now you are ready to do the top. When you do the top, make sure you open the zipper. You don’t want to sew the top of the zipper where the pull is because the pull has to be INSIDE the bag. Also you need a pull on the outside, I use a ribbon and place it in the center of the zipper (see picture #3). The ribbon is 3 1/2 and folded in half.

Now that you have completed the top of the cosmetic bag, again zig-zag or serger the top. You are now ready to do the box corners. You will be doing all 4 corners. Fold the corners and match the seam with the fold in the fabric. Take your ruler and measure 1 1/2 from the tip. Mark with a marker tool, then sew. Again you can serger that seam, but I just used a pinking shear to cut off the extra.

Now you are ready to turn your cosmetic bag right side out. Looks great doesn’t it. And my friend had her bags in not time! In the photo below you can see the size of the clutch bag compared to the cosmetic bag which is 10 x 16 but finished size is 6 x 5 x 3.

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Machine Embroidery Hooping Techniques – Another Tuitoral

Last fall I did an apron and the design shifted, thus the outline was not meeting up with the design. I apparently did not hoop properly. No matter if you are a beginner or advanced machine embroiderer, you will run into hooping problems. It is necessary that your garment has the proper amount of tension. You should be able to tap the back of the hooped item and get a drum like thump. With the apron, I could not hoop the whole garment because of my placement and it was a large design, that was even reduced. As a reader suggested, I was using the wrong stabilizer, when in actuality it was a hooping error. There are many ways of hooping and hopefully I will be able to assist in explaining different techniques.

Hooping is the most important technique when machine embroidering. The garment needs to be smooth and tight, not too tight and should not be over stretched. If you over stretch your garment in the hoop, sew out the design and then take it out of the hoop, the design can be distorted, causing a puckering effect.

Find out where you want to place the design on your garment. Take the grid from the hoop and mark all points from the grid to garment. One product that is highly recommend is Dritz Washaway Wonder Tape. There are other wonder tape products on the market, so use your preference. Wonder Tape is a double sided tape that adheres to the backside of the top hoop on all four sides. Remove the plastic backing, then place the grid in the hoop, match all the markings from the garment to the grid. Then put pressure from the hoop to the garment. Garment is now secure. Now to clamp the bottom hoop. I always make sure that my screw on the bottom hoop is loose. The hoop edge that is nearest to the tightening screw, put that corner in last. It makes it easier to get the top hoop in place and easier to loosen. It is best to position the corner or edge with the screw off the edge of a table or ironing board, so if adjustment is needed the screw is easier to manipulate without raising the hoop from the work surface.

Now I didn’t mention about stabilizer in the above. What I usually do instead of hooping both the stabilizer and garment together is I take a piece of my iron on tear away stabilizer that is about 1 to 2 inches larger than the design and iron it on prior to hooping and marking. This way you aren’t adding additional bulk to the garment nor the hooping process. BUT sometimes you will have to hoop both items together due to size and density of the design. And if I am using a cut away with the iron on tear away, I will cut it the same size as the iron on tear away, but will scotch tape it to the backside or  use a spray adhesive to the cut away and put to the other stabilizer. This method of cutting the stabilizers larger than the design, I am not throwing away stabilizer and money out the door.

On my apron that I made, I should have used a different method of hooping. This method is using sticky and tear away stabilizer. The design was at the top of the apron and hooping around the neck strap was difficult and didn’t make the hoop tight. Cut both stabilizers larger than the hoop. Hoop both stabilizers. Make sure there aren’t any bubbles, puckers and it is tight and flat. Do a little thump to hear that little noise. Lightly score the wax paper stuff. Tear around the inside of the hoop to expose the sticky backing. Mark all placement markings from the hoop grid to the sticky stabilizer. Make all markings on the backside of the garment and then match all the markings and press the garment to the sticky stabilizer. There are times that you just need to use an adhesive product.

One machine embroider manufacture suggest hooping the stabilizer and then baste the garment to the stabilizer. Hooping the garment and then basting the stabilizer is another way and only using a piece just a tad larger than the design, reduce waste. Basting around the design can be done using one of the programed frame designs. If the design is too large, hand stitching is quick and fast.

If you have a machine that uses the fast frames, that’s completely another subject to be covered another day. I have them and still experimenting, but much success.

If you have other tips or suggestions, feel free to share.

Quickie Check Book Cover Instructions

Today I made checkbook covers. Thought I would share how quick and fast they are to make. I’ve made a bunch of them for gifts and to sell. I have to post them on my ETSY site one of these days.

Materials needed – 3 pieces 3 1/2 x 7 1/2 and 1 7 1/2 x 7 1/2; 1 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 in contrasting fabric. Pellon iron on interfacing medium weight. 

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The first thing after I cut up the material to size, I take the 3 pieces that are going to be the pockets and fold over the edge. It can be any where from 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Take the interfacing and measure the 3 pockets heights. Cut under the size as you are going to fuse the interfacing right under the fold to the bottom, thus no sewing.

 

 

dscf2659Here I am using my steam press to fuse the interfacing to the 3 pockets. Its hard to tell but there is about 1/4 inch from the top of the pocket to the fusible interfacing. You will be taking the larger and smaller pockets on one side of the cover. The other will go by itself. That will be the side where the checks will go. I’m tired so I hope I am making sense. You will be using interfacing on the 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 piece.

 

 

dscf2662I did not use iron on interfacing on this particular checkbook cover. Lay the interfacing next to the checkbook cover fabric and lay the pockets face to face as shown to the left. On the top of the photo you can see that the pockets are not flush with the checkbook cover top edge. That is because of the excess fabric from the shorter pocket. Now ready to sew the  top and bottom of the checkbook cover. Sew 1/4 inch from the edge. To reinforce the seam, I usually stitch the seam twice.

 

dscf2666In this photo we have the checkbook cover open showing with the pockets attached. Press and on to the next step. This is were I always screw up and I did on this one. I had to rip out all my stitching. The next step is sewing the inside lining of the checkbook cover. I should have turned my example that I was using all the way, thus I would not have had to rip out three sides of stitching. Lay the checkbook cover as in photo 3. Place the lining or contrasting fabric face to face.

dscf2669Now for the final sew out. Stitching three side of the checkbook cover leaving one end open. This will allow for turning purposes. Again, I do a double stitching to the side seams at 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch on one of the pocket sides, pivot at the corners. After all seams are done trim as close to the stitching but being careful not to cut any seams. On the corners clip across so avoid any excess bunching.

 

 

dscf26701Press the checkbook open and then press it closed. And here we have a bunch of checkbook covers in lots of different fabrics. Just think of all the checkbook covers you can make with all the fat quarters that you have accumulated in the years. And again, you can make them quilted or even with a small machine embroidered design on them. This project takes no more than 1 1/2 hours to do, but in my case I had again rip out what I did wrong.

Shortly I will show you how to make a fabric wallet with a snap closure and a post it not fabric holder.

Machine Embroidery Applique – Tutorial 101 – Spray Adhesive

Last Sunday my new sewing buddy, Tiffany and I got together. She is new to machine embroidery and she asked if I could help her out. She was having some problems centering designs on small t-shirts. We were discussing several different items and one of the items was regarding machine embroidered applique. I told Tiffany I would do a tutorial on my blog. Tiffany, here we go and just to let you know, on this tutorial, I used spray adhesive.

dscf2476Instead of looking through all my stuff to find a piece of baby clothing, I took a piece of fabric to work with. Applique can be done in all types of applications, towels, clothing, home decor and sew on. Took a piece of iron on tear away stabilizer and applied it to the back of the fabric. Tiffany, in this example I hooped both the stabilizer and fabric, I did not do what I showed you the other day. You can’t see in this photo the outline stitch of the design that I am using because the thread color is very light.

 

 

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You will see why on this particular design why I decided to use  furry fleece for the applique. As I’ve stated before I don’t like to use spray adhesives, but this design has curves, thus I would have some difficulty trimming the excess material. I lightly sprayed the fleece and then laid it on the hooped fabric making sure that it was laying flat. I then did the next set of stitching where the two fabrics are sewn together to hold in place.

 

 

 

dscf2478Now we are ready for the next step. Time to trim all the excess fleece. Take a pair of applique scissors and trim as closely as possible to the stitching making sure you don’t accidently snip a stitch or knocking the hoop apart. Can you tell the design yet? Hmm, appears that the design doesn’t look centered. Is it possible that there is going to be some embroidery below the applique? Could be.

 

 

 

dscf2479Next step is putting the hoop back on the machine to do some embroidery. Oh we have some little orange feet. After the feet are done, the hoop is removed from the machine again.

 

 

 

 

 

dscf2480In this photo I place a piece of water soluble stabilizer on top of the applique. Even though the furry fleece does not have a thick nap that the stitches will sink into, I don’t want the satin stitches to fall between any of the fleece or the fleece to intermingle (is that a good word to use??) with the satin stitches. This is the first time I am using a furry fleece as an applique, so as experimenting and writing a tutorial, covering all bases for a better outcome or product. Put the hoop back on the machine and time to finish the rest of the design. After all the stitching was completed, I took and removed the water soluble.

 

dscf2482Here is the finished product. A cute little duckling just in time for Easter. Now you can see why I used the furry fleece for this particular applique design. I figured that once I was done with this tutorial I had to provide where I got the design. This design is from Anita Goodesigns “Ducks”. The design set consists of 27 appliques pertaining just to ducklings. The perfect set for any baby’s room. This month they have a design set of applique horses. There are several applique sets for Baby.

Next time I do a tutorial for machine embroidery applique, I am going to be showing how to use the product “Heat and Bond”. As I stated earlier, this design had too many curves that I would have had trouble.