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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Threading a Serger With Ease

When I have to change thread on my serger, I usually attempt to pull the threads through using the thread already on the machine; i.e....Snip off each thread close to the spool.  Tie the new thread onto the hanging threads, and just pull each thread through the machine.  The top two left threads have to be re-threaded through each needle, but the at least the looper threads are much easier.  Of course, I still manage to pull out the knot every once in awhile which requires me to start over from scratch.  Today, I found that if I used a dental floss threader to thread the looper threads, it goes much easier. DenTak sells one that is much longer than the ones the dentist gave me for my bridge.  It has a large hole to slip the thread through, but is still small enough to pull the thread through some of those tiny holes.  I found them in my grocery store.

Happy Serging!

Floss Threader by DenTek

Thursday, March 12, 2015

What To Do With Those Scraps

I am the world's worst when it comes to hording fabric.  In my defense, there have been times when a lone scrap came in mighty handy and not just for trial runs of embroidery.

This project uses some scraps of terry cloth.  I like to use soap from The Basin.  The shampoo bars are awesome, but I tend to forget which color is particular of various scalp or hair problems, and they tend to get used faster than I would like when placed on a soap dish in the shower.

I used terry cloth scraps to make a pocket large enough to hold the soap and get my hand inside to take it out.  Because I can, I embroidered the name/color of the soap and it's "claim to fame" on the fabric before stitching up the sides.  I used my serger to close and finish any raw edges.  The ribbon gives it something from which I can hang it instead of leaving it sit on the shower shelf.  The terry cloth lets the soap breath so it dries.  If it gets too soapy, I remove the soap and throw it in the washer.  It's great for traveling too since I can use the soap the day I am packing and still be able to toss it in my suitcase without worrying about a wet  bar of soap.

I have several pockets for body soap as well.  I have found that the hotel soaps and shampoos really dry out my hair and skin.  The terry cloth pockets also are a handy spot for resting soap on a hotel basin since it doesn't leave a mess.

Monday, January 26, 2015

After participating in the Gingerbread Run last November, I  found another way to support Give Kids the World AND it involves sewing.  Each child is given a wish pillow when they stay at the resort.  The directions I originally was sent, were a bit confusing, so I rewrote them and added diagrams.  
If you'd like to donate wish pillows, feel free to read through these directions.  The address for mailing them as well as what information is to be included, can be found on the GKTW website.

These are special pillows for our very special children.  I hope sometime you will be able to see one of our children with their pillow and it will help you understand how very special this project is.  Please use new, very soft fabricthis is IMPORTANT for the children.
For the project you will be working with the PILLOW FABRIC, (cozy flannel – plan color) and the pocket (novelty print which can be flannel or cotton) Please look for novelty prints suitable for both boys and girls.
Cozy Flannel is used for the PILLOW FABRICONE YARD of FLANNEL WILL MAKE FOUR (4) wish PILLOWS.
Cut the plain pillow fabric into 36 inch lengths.  A rotary cutter and boards help to ensure accuracy and also speed up the process.  The pockets are cut into 12 inch lengths.
On the pillow fabric make a hem on the raw ends (the width of the fabric), from one selvage to the other. Turn down fabric about ¼”to ½ “ and then again another ¼” to ½” taking up about an inch to one and a half inches.  Accuracy is not critical.  On the pocket material, hem one raw end, across the width of the fabric, using the same measurement as for the pillow fabric.
Match the hemmed edge of pocket and pillow.  Sew the pocket material strip to the pillow fabric, right sides together, along the length that is not hemmed.  You could go back to the cutting board to pin them together to get a straighter line for sewing.
Take the fabric back to the cutting board and fold the pocket material toward the center (wrong side of the pocket material to the right side of the pillow material). Lay a ruler at the pocket, where it is sewn and measure 15 inches.  Fold the pillow fabric over the ruler, right sides together.  Then fold the other end, on top of the end you just folded, at the pocket where it is sewn. You now have a “tube” of fabric.
Cut the tube of fabric you just created, into 4 pieces approximately 10-1/2 to 11 inches wide.  Flannel comes in different widths so just divide the flannel into fourths. And don’t worry about the selvages; they will be sewn or serged over.
Make sure the pocket in the front and opening in the back are opposite.  The overlap in the back must e at last two (2”) inches.  Little hands go into each opening to hold the pillow tight.
Use your serger to finish the side seams OR use a straight stitch and then zig zag the seams.  Clip corners and turn pillow to right side.
The finished size of the pillow and pocket will be (depending on your hem widths of 1/4” to ½” as well as the width of the flannel) as follows:
Pillow: 9-3/4” to 10” wide x 15” long.   Pocket: 9-3/4 to 10” wide x 11-1/2” long.
Now take your right hand and reach up over your shoulder and give yourself a pat on the back…
If you are using scraps of fabric, the pillow fabric is 36” long by 11” wide.  The pocket fabric is 12” long by 11” wide before assembling.

Friday, November 14, 2014

My Next Fundraiser

I'm thinking a year down the road, but since no one really checks on this blog, I thought I'd write this almost as a reminder.

Last weekend, my daughter, her dog, and I ran the Gingerbread 5K Run for Give Kids the World.  I managed to collect $80.00 from friends, but I added another $40 to make it a $120.00 total.  Not too exciting when my daughter was able to collect $500.00.  Next year I want to offer embroidered items to anyone who donates $25.00 for my run.  I designed a countdown calendar that could be used for a variety of events, but my calendar is for our next Disney cruise.

The numerals are embroidered on grosgrain ribbon and threaded through the windows.  I stitched each ribbon together so that each ribbon is a loop.  (No pull-through accidents or lost ribbon.)  The top has "Till Our Next Cruise" at the top and the banner is hung from dowel rods.  My adult daughter finds it humorous to change a numeral or two whenever she visits.

I've also digitized a calendar with a small castle where the ship is placed and put, "Till our Next Trip".  I'm hoping I can hit up a few of my Disney friends to break past my $120.00 donation.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Will Cell Phones Ever Stop Changing Size?

I'm thrilled with my new Samsung S6, but it's at least an inch longer and 1/2 inch wider than my old phone.  It won't fit into the pockets of my shorts, so I have to resort to wearing a "pocket" on my belt.  I am extremely short waist-ed, so it must sit at my waist.  I had an old in-the-hoop purse that I purchased from Embroidery Library years ago.  It too, was too short to be of help, but with some software assistance, I was able to lengthen the flap.  I originally added buttonholes on the back so that I could slip my belt through the buttonholes, but the buttonholes were too low on the back of the holder.  The phone went just above my waist and I kept getting poked in the side.  I took apart the side seams enough to add a piece of grosgrain ribbon on the back.  Whalaa!  I'm back in business.

Velcro keeps the phone save when the flap is down.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Another new iPad holder

iPad Holder

The elastic in my previous holder was getting weak, so I pulled out two new sheets of cardboard and make myself a new holder.  The design is from Sick Designs, and embroidery website, but you don't need an embroidery machine to make a holder.  The main supplies are cardboard, 12 inches of 5/8 inch elastic, a sturdy fabric - home decorating fabric or cordoroy, Elmers Glue, hot glue sticks and a hot glue gun and a scissors.

This holder was easier than the first one I made because I'd already worked out the kinks.  Basically, cut two pieces of heavy cardboard the same size as your iPad.  Cut two pieces of your fabric two inches longer and wider than the cardboard.  

If you plan to decorate the backside of the holder, do it now.

The back side:
Lay the backside fabric, right side down, and place one piece of cardboard in the center.  Use Elmer's Glue to secure the cardboard to the center of the fabric.  Glueing cardboard in place will keep the fabric from sliding a bit when you hold the iPad. 

Use the hot glue to wrap the fabric around the cardboard.  Start at the coners, and fold and glue each corner toward the center of the cardboard.  Once the coners are secured, fold the ends over and hot glue in place.

The front:
Hot glue the second fabric piece to the other piece of cardboard just as you did the back side.

Adding the elastic:
Cut the elastic into 4 equal pieces.  Wrap each corner of the front with 1 piece of the elastic going from the wrong side, across the corner, and back to the wrong side on the oposite edge.

Last step:
Once the elastic is glued in place, run a narrow strip of hot glue, on the wrong side, along the edge.  Gently place the front on top of the back, wrong sides together.

Update:  For some reason, my photos have disappeared and I don't seem to find where I put them on my computer.  Sorry.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Paper Storage Rack

I volunteer in a kindergarten class one day a week.  The teacher switched to a new school this year, so we've been doing a lot of organizing to make things work more efficiently. I wanted to have some type of paper storage unit for colored paper so we could grab what we needed without pulling out every other color. 
Most racks that are for purchase, are ridiculously priced, so I pulled out a piece of fabric that I'd had around for awhile, and got to creating.

You'll need 3-4 sheets of foam board to hold the shape of the box
3-4 yards of cotton fabric
3 buttons
7 sheets of corrugated  cardboard to support the shelves
sewing machine
fabric marker

I didn't think to take photos while I was creating, so I'll try to explain how I made my paper rack.
The top, bottom and sides and back are all the same size.  I used a large sheet of colored paper as my guide and wanted to make the shelves 1 inch wider and 1 inch longer than the paper so I cut the fabric 13 x 19.  I cut 15 pieces 13 x 19.  I also cut 16 strips (2 x 19) to sew between the shelves.  The seams for these are represented by the red lines in the box above.

Serge the shorter sides of 7 shelves for a cleaner finish before beginning to assemble the box.

Assembling the shelves:
Using 1/4 inch seam, I stitched a long side of one shelf, to the long side of a strip.  I did the other side before adding a strip and shelf to the first side again. I continued sewing strips and shelves together till I had 7 shelves.

Once the shelves and strips were in place, I added another rectangle on the top and bottom shelf to make a pocket for foam board.  The foam board would hold the form of the box and were slid into place from the back..  The seams are on the outside.  The sides also got a second layer of fabric so foam board could be slid in from the back.  Only the top and bottom foam boards are kept in place with a closed seam in the back.  The foam board in the sides can be removed to move and store the box flat.

I didn't give the dimensions of the foam board, but once your box is together, you can cut them to fit.  They will be slightly bigger than 12 x 18 - probably about 11.5 x 18.5.  Cut a piece of cardboard for a test and then cut the rest to match.

I realized at this point that a back needed to be created to support the box and tabs to attach them to the sides and top.

I cut three strips of fabric  3x 10.  I folded each in half, short sided together, and made three straps.  I sewed the long sides together and kept the short side open for turning.  Once turned right side out, I made a buttonhole near the folded edge of each tab.  You can add the tabs to the sides of one 13 x 19 piece so that they will wrap around the sides and top of the box.

The diagram below attempts to explain what I was doing.  The stars show where I stitched the tabs to the back, while the green lines are the buttonholes.

Fold the tabs toward the center and with right sides together, sew another 13 x 19 piece to the piece with the tabs.  Leave one short side open.  Turn it right side out and slip a piece of foam board between the two layers.  Using a zipper foot, stitch the foam board into the back panel.

I'm not sure how I attached the back to the bottom.  I may have used a glue gun.

At this point, you have foam board in the top, bottom and back.  Slip foam board into the sides and use a chalk marker or fabric marker to mark on the top and sides where buttons need to be sewn to secure the back to the top and sides.  Sew any type of button to the top  and two sides so the back can be buttoned in place.

Slip a sheet of corrugated cardboard onto each shelf.  This will prevent the paper from bowing down and resting on the shelf below.

You're now ready to sort out your colored paper and use your paper rack.

I found another teacher in grave need of my homemade paper rack and have just completed it.  I found that instead of making tabs to secure the back to the rest of the rack, I just made ties with tabs.  The tabs made it easier to give and extra amount of attachment for the cord to the fabric.

I sewed 5 inch cords between wide bias tape and then cut the tape between the cords.  One cord was hand sewn to the corners and in the sides with another cord opposite it.  I even added safety pins between the cords to add strength.  I could sew the whole thing together, but this makes it possible to fold the rack up if it needs to be moved or for storage.