Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts

Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts
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Friday, March 17, 2017

A Stitch In Time Saves Nine!

 I was very much a 'tomboy' growing up. My favorite sport in school was kick ball that helped ruin many hard to find shoes for my big feet as well as ripping out hems from my dresses. I was in school during the era that all girls wore dresses or skirts in elementary school and even physical education and recess were spent wearing dresses. I remember once doing the 600-yard dash wearing an A-line dress and good, what might be called now Sunday shoes. Believe it or not I beat all the girls as well as all but three boys. I wonder how I would have done if I had been wearing sneakers!

Anyhow, in the midst of me ripping out lots of hems, my mother, who made most of my clothes, hemmed my dresses by hand using two threads in the needle, and that is how she taught me to hem. So then comes Home economics in 8th grade. Unlike the dumb stuffed animals my boys had to make, I had to make a dress, including set in sleeves, back zipper, handstitched hem, etc. Well the zipper the teacher made me take out and put it back in several times which is why to this day every though they are easy to do, I shy away from putting zippers into anything. I can't even begin to zip up a back zipper anyhow as my hands don't even begin to touch in the back. When it came to setting in sleeves, on the first garment I made at home, my mom left the house and sink or swim I did it on my own.

The tricky thing for me was dealing with hemming my dresses that I made in class. I consistently put in 2threads and my teacher consistently marked me down for not doing it right. I knew if I only did the one thread hem I would rip it out in no time. So, on that my teacher and I agreed to disagree (More or less I can't remember the grade I got in class). I was one of the few then that came into class knowing anything about cooking and sewing back in 1967. I'm not too surprised that so many kids these days know nothing about cooking or sewing and anything I can do to encourage them, I will.

Well, I didn't stop ripping out hems in 8th grade. I still rip things out, so I have had to find my own solutions minus my teacher. One thing I have had a problem with is straight skirts with slits on the sides. With two artificial knees, I do not do graceful entrances and exits from cars and if I'm not careful, I can and will split those skirts right up the slit to rather risqué height! The skirt shown above really had a nasty tear but thankfully it was just the stitches that popped not the fabric. I don't know what I did when taking the photo, but that skirt is black moleskin so why it looks gray is beyond me. Going to need to ask hubby for some instructions. Anyhow this is what I do when making skirts such as this myself. After sewing the seams, you can put one of those satin stitched tacks that some sewing machines have, or I prefer to use one of the other decorative stitches that are on my machine - and boy to I have a lot now! You could also, embroider a small design at the end of slit as long as there are enough stitches in the design to make splitting the slit difficult.

On this skirt that I made several years ago, I missed a trick when doing this and you can see that there is about 1/4" of seam that could split at any moment and the seam is already shredding (the things a camera can see that you don't notice at the time!). Now what I do is sew the decorative stitch starting 1/2 -1" above the end of the slit and when you are at the end, if you have the ability, while it is still stitching press the lock stitch button and at the end stitch the machine will stop and lock the threads - and with my new machine the Janome Skyline S9, it will trim the threads the the presser foot will lift. Love it!

As I was photographing this skirt anyhow, I thought I would bare all and show you the mess I made while sewing a decorative line of stitches along the bottom of the skirt. If you look closely, you will see some of the stitches are spaced properly and others got all jammed up. I couldn't figure out what was happening until I realize that the skirt, as it was feeding through the machine (my 7700 at the time), was bumping into the wall behind the machine and not feeding smoothly. If you find you have stitches that are looking less than perfect, double check that nothing is hindering the flow of the fabric, and that you are stitching at a consistent speed as well.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Catch Up Time


The last few weeks have been busy and I haven't been able to post much. Hoping that will change since I now have the taxes finished! Yeah for me :) . In February for our anniversary, my hubby allowed me to swap out my Janome 7700 for the new Janome Skyline S9 which is both a sewing and embroidery machine. I still have my 300e, as I haven't had time to put it up for sale yet.

Did I really need a new sewing machine? No, of course not. However as this arthritis takes more and more out of me and makes common things painful, I found when test sewing on the Skyline that it has features that cause it to be a very good machine for those with disabilities. One of my favorite features so far, is the button in the front of the machine to press to lift the presser foot, although you can still reach around to the back to lift or depress the lever for the presser foot. You can also use the knee lifter as well. Since the outer sides of my knees are numb from my knee replacements and those knee lifters take me immediately back to 8th grade home ec I tend to push it when I want to go faster which doesn't work out so well! LOL. When I was doing some 'trying out the machine' sewing the other day, I lost track of the time and an hour had passed! For the past several years 20-30 minutes at a crack was about the best I could do sitting at the machine.

Over the years whenever I traded in a machine for a newer model, the learning curve wasn't much of a curve. I was up and running in minutes. This machine is going to take some time to learn all the great new features. I've read through the manual several times and have tried some of the new things that I now have access to, like 9 mm wide stitches - yahoo! I am planning on having an exclusive page in this blog for hints and tips and problems as the Skyline and I get aquainted. One thing I am needing to go visit Super Stitch about is threading the needle. I've seen it work and it is easy, but I think I am just tall enough that I can't see the whole threading path at the needle junction and am missing something.

My hubby had to help me get the design transferred right for my first embroidery project, but then it was terrific. No jump threads to trim, When the design is finished the presser foot raises and the thread is cut cleanly. I was doing a set of 6 placemats with the Inky Heart G8912 from Embroidery Library . After the first one finished and I went to do the next one, I was all set up and ready to go. I couldn't do them all at the same time, so almost a week later when I went to do some more, the first thing that popped up was the same design all ready to go. Check them out! I did use iron-on tear away Solvy on the backs of the placemats. I'm not sure if I really needed to, but I wnted to make sure these would turn out well since eventually they will be given as a gift or used for charitable purposes.

The placemats I used were from Amazon and they are called  DII100% Cotton, Ribbed 13x 19" Everyday Basic Placemat Set of 6, PrintedHearts . I got them through the Amazon vine program. I have gotten quite a few 'blanks' this year and for my review, I like to show them embroidered and 'fancied' up. I have a whole stack of things now to embroider that I don't have to make before or after the embroidering. Embroidery Library has come out with some really gorgeous designs lately that I have wanted to try, so looking forward to the next project. I used Robinson Anton cotton thread (Foxy Read) until the spool ran out and then I fortunately found a substitute thread of an unknown brand that was close enough you can't really see the difference in colors. I always use Schmetz needles with my machines with no trouble - just need to remember to change them as needed, usually after about 8 hours of sewing or less than that if a giving them extra hard use like embroidery or quilting.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

It's March and that means New Free Embroidery Designs!

Embroidery Library has always given out some great free designs each month, and so since it is March they have posted two new designs. They are free for only the month so don't forget to get them.

The first design which is my favorite is this filigree butterfly design. Isn't it gorgeous? It comes in four different sizes which you can download all of them.

The next one is this Shamrock. I don't go in much for Shamrocks, etc. in March, but if you do, this is a lovely one. It comes in two sizes. So these two designs give you 6 actual free designs. I have a huge collection of embroidery designs from saving all the ones I have gotten from Embroidery Library over the years, and I recommend downloading them even if you don't have machine embroidery capabilities yet but think you might in the future.

If you didn't get February's free designs, they are still posted so you might be able to get them yet today. I only had a chance to glance at the email that I got from Embroidery Library today (it is my day to go get my IV so I don't have much time) but it looks like they have some beautiful new designs, including some lovely cutwork.