Monday, June 22, 2009

Tutorial - Making balloon shades

I should probably start this post by saying that she had balloon shades already, made by the queen bee, Grandma K.

That's always a tough act to follow.

At the time though we only had enough fabric to make faux shades-not actual shades. (Never choose a discontinued pattern!) So..a remake was in order. These will come all the way down, and block out some light.

1st step: Measure the window width, multiply by 2.5.
2nd step: Measure the final drape height, add 4 inches. For me this includes the height from the top of the ceiling to the window. If you are hanging yours lower-- please read all of the directions prior to starting, you will need to do a few things differently.

Now the fun part. Make a panel of fabric that matches these dimensions.

Here, I've made a lining panel, the same dimensions of the fabric panel, and serged where they meet on what will be the top of the shade. Next I'm applying shirring tape. (This is available wherever drapery makings are sold, at most fabric stores.)

Note: If you are not hanging yours starting at the ceiling, you will finish the top differently. For the method I am using, the top is not going to show...

I chose a 4 string shirring tape, as I want lots of gathering.

I then sewed the tape to the top of the two stacked panels of fabric. I sew between each pulling thread. (Be careful not to catch the thread.) If you haven't made drapes before, it isn't necessary to stitch at a stitch length you would use for garments, go ahead and lengthen your stitch to 3.0 or even 3.5.

The sides of the panels are finished by bringing the outside fabric (the fabric that will show inside the room) in a foldover hem, and stitched with the lining fabric underneath.
Is is necessary to line them??? Yes. Wash behind your ears, eat you veggies, line your drapes. Enough said.

Next part to follow...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Embroidery Stitch Removal
It becomes necessary occasionally to remove embroidery stitches. It would be nice if this never happened, but unfortunately, it does. What to do?
There are several ways to remove stitches, but first a few points to keep in mind.
  • Stitches are always easier to remove if they were well stabilized to begin with. Cut-a-way stabilized designs show the best success.
  • Not all designs lend themselves to being removed. In fact, trying to remove teeny tiny writing is what made me think to write this entry in the first place.
  • Stitch removal is best done slowly, methodically, and in layers.

To remove stitches, flip to the back of your deisgn. This is where you should start. There is a fabulous (though expensive) tool called a stitch eraser by Peggy's Stitch Eraser. These are also available from Nancy's Notions. Looks a lot like a mustache/beard trimmer... (alternate methods without one below...)

Using the palm of your hand or stable surface, turn the trimmer upside down and firmly press the teeth into the stitches. Be brave! Once you have "shaved" one level of bobbin sittches, flip your design over and using tweezers, pick out the top threads. You will need to repeat this process more than once. DO not pull too firmlyon top stitches, as it will stretch the fabric out of shape. Also, don't cut away the stabilizer, leave it in place.

Don't make many mistakes? Lucky you! For small mistakes, I have found a disposable razor, a lint shaver, or a flat razor blade can be used (again on the back of the fabric)-- just be very careful and work very slowly.

Steam iron your design when you are done-- it helps push back together the threads. Add an additional layer of stabilizer before restitching.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tutorial - How to Repair Shirring on a garment

It's Saturday- and at my house that means 1 1/2 hours of quality sewing time while the girls watch Saturday morning television. This week, it was spent mending pajamas, which made me remember that I wanted to make a tutorial on How to Shir.
My youngest has a nightgown from Gymbo which the shirring has disintegrated from overuse, but the thing is still one of her favorites.

To shir a new garment, first you would test your fabric by measuring a small piece, shirring it, then using your steam iron to shrink the shirring. Then remeasure the piece to determine how much shirring will shrink the material. (Similar to tight gathering.) For example, does it lessen the length by half? then you need to double the fabric width for that section.

In this case, it was a nightgown already being worn, so I'm just winging it.

The first step is to wind elastic sewing thread (this is usually in the notions/elastic section and not in the thread section of your fabric store) by hand around a bobbin. Do not pull the elastic tightly, just firmly. Do not try to do this on your machines bobbin winder as it will end up in kicking a wall, or speaking like a sailor.

Then place your bobbin in your machine as normal. Us a slightly longer stitch (I like to use 3.0) on your machine. I do not adjust the tension on my machine, though you can play with this adjustment if you are using a decorative thread on top. (I used just different colored threads for this project.)

When shirring on a new project, shir prior to sewing side seams or bindings. This way, the end strings will be caught in the seam. I try to use even numbers of rows whenever possible- then tie the ends together in a knot. In this case, rather than rip out the bindings on the arms, I tacked the beginning stitches, then trimmed close to the tacking when I was done. This was done using the tacking button on my machine.

If you do not have a tacking button, stitch at 0 stitch length for a few stitches with a short zig zag. I do not recommend backstitching with elastic thread for tacking.

Sew the rows fairly close together- here this was predetermined for me, but on a new project I would sew them no more than 1/2" apart for a yoke, possibly larger for a back of a dress. Here the previous row of stitching just lines up with the outside of my presser foot.

Please note that it will look like your gathers are not gathering "enough". The elastic shirring will shrink up after you steam iron it. In the next photo, I have completely gathered, but only steamed one section. I do this on cotton setting with full steam. Here's a photo of the yoke gathered, but not steamed-

Here, the portion on the left has been steamed, the portion on the right has not. See? It really does make a difference.

Fall on the Mound September 26

Fall on the Mound, September 26

Mark your calendars north Texas for my favorite craft fair of the year. This year on September 26. Everything has to be homemade, and there is always a huge variety! You can look for me (& possibly ubermomof4 (etsy) to be sharing a booth in the Ministry center.

See you then!
September 26, 2009
Trietsch Memorial United Methodist Church
6101 Morriss Road
Flower Mound, TX 75028
(just north of DFW airport)
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

How to Make Covered Buttons

Covered Buttons

Covered buttons are an easy and relatively inexpensive way to dress up a project.

They also make a handy hanging hook!
Big girl was wanting a place to hang all her recent treasures (ribbons, medals, and such) and in typical fashion I took on a "well I could just do it myself..." attitude. Seems like that comes just before the big bill, right?

I digress.. the actual bulletin board will be covered in a second tutorial. (I forgot to photograph it! But now Little Girl wants one too-- so I'll photograph that one.)

Big's room is Ralph Lauren fabric (out of production of course). But I did have a tiny bit left, so I used that to cover the buttons.

Start with a little kit like this one. At my craft store, the set of 3 with the maker ran about $3.50. You can buy refills for slightly less. In the kit: 3 button blanks, 3 button backs, 1 flexible 'maker' and one 'pusher'.

If you are doing the bulletin board, you will want button blanks that are just slightly wider than your ribbon.

On the back of the package, there is a small template you can use for cutting out your fabric.
On my box, this was only half of the circle, so I placed it on folded fabric.

Cut the fabric to the pattern (it doesn't need to be exact, as edges won't show. Place the fabric (pretty side down) into the rubber 'maker', then place the button blank on top of it, convex side down.
1- Tuck the fabric into the center of the button blank, creasing slightly with your finger.

2. Place the button back on top of the folded fabric, covering it completely. Press down with your finger.

3. Using the 'pusher' on top of the button back press harder until you feel the back "click" (it doesn't actually make a sound..) into the button blank.

4. Flex the rubber mold and remove your button.

That's it!
Almost didn't post the "finished" photo. Where's the hairbrush!