Saturday, August 23, 2014

Scarf it up - DIY Scarf and mastering Faux Serged Edges!

The Twirly Scarf - continued

The previous posts has the supply list for my twirly scarf project.  The ideal distance for  the curly Qs of the pattern should be the length between the left and right shoulder of the wearer plus 3 inches.

Place pattern on fold. If you wish the scarf to hang longer, then you may move it up to 2 inches from the fold.  Cut pattern on the line, seam finish is included when calculating this scarf pattern. 

Serger Option for Making the Twirly Scarf: If you are handy and own a serger: Serge edge with a two or three thread narrow rolled hem or flat to finish. You can choose a 2 or 3 thread flat lock finish, if preferred depending on the fabric. Sergers handle curves by straightening the fabric on the plate as you stitch them. So take your time and work in small increments.

Sewing Machine Finishing Technique:
Stitch Zig Zag
Width 3.0
Length from .5 to .6mm

Tip: Depending on the fabric and the stretch of the bias (rounded areas) you may have to lengthen from  .5 to .6mm.  You can feel the hesitation in the feeding of the fabric. Lengthen slightly rather than pulling the fabric through.

This Brother made machine offers a Zig Zag right 1-11 which I prefer because it makes guiding the fabric easier.

Machine settings may vary depending on brands. Always create a test sample using the same fabric to ensure a great results.

Favorite optional settings that I look for on all new machines: needle drop aka needle down and scissors.  This machine has needle drop while additionally lifting the foot for turning corners! 

The small stabilizer strips placed under the fabric help with “feeding the fabric” and reduce “pokies,” as less stress is placed on the edge.

With the zig zag stitch, you are swinging the needle left into the fabric and right into the stabilizer (just outside the edge of the fabric).

Years of sewing skating costumes and left over water soluble has perfected faux serger finishes.  See for yourself! No pokies, threads are lying neatly and most importantly is the time saved.  

While the serger may produce quicker results, this sewing method for ruffly or straight scarves is simple and versatile.

Look how neat the corner looks.

Tip: As you approach a corner, stop the needle swing on the left, in a needle down position. Turn the fabric on the corner. For the right swing of the needle, roll the hand-wheel towards you. The needle needs to penetrate into the stabilizer next to the edge of the fabric. If you miss your mark, relax! You can raise the foot and the needle carefully to reposition using a small amount of movement. Drop the needle down, and check your upper thread tension to ensure you haven’t pulled the thread too much.  Adjust if needed.

Rinse out water soluble stabilizer according to manufacturer’s directions. If possible, use cool water to avoid shrinkage. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Scarf it up! Transitioning to fall - Part 1

Gather your supplies as we begin this week  creating a pretty scarf to transition from summer to fall.  Created with a sewing machine that has zig zag capability and the listed supplies listed below. 

The Self Ruffling Scarf - 
A “faux serger” finish using your sewing machine 

Supplies Needed:

  • Fabric 3/4 yard x 44 inch width or wider.  Sample uses cotton voile fabric which is light and airy. Light weight fabric with a good drape is needed.
(Serger option: set to 3 thread narrow rolled hem and use matching or contrasting thread.)

  • Sewing machine with zig zag capability,
  • Non-woven water soluble stabilizer with a soft feel that behaves like fabric and washes away completely. Avoid stabilizers that require hot water removal for delicate fabrics. Cut stabilizer into strips. Sample used 1.5” strips.
  • Matching sewing and bobbin thread.  Sample uses Polyester 40 weight thread, 
  • Pick the right sewing machine needle and thread to compliment your fabric selection. Sample uses 80/11 universal needle with cotton voile fabric.
  • Pattern - Create your own pattern or use the one to be available soon at  The scarf is made by creating a spiral on each end of the scarf. Or use any similar ruffled scarf pattern to try this technique. To be continued...

This style of scarf can be casual to dressy depending on the fabric selected. 

This truly is easy to make and with beautiful results.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Embroidered Socks and the Crochet hook...

Creative Trims for Socks

Creative hobbies are an addiction. Perhaps you are like me and love trying new things. Recently, I picked up a crochet hook and took a Crochet Embellishment class on Craftsy.   I finally understand how to count crochet stitches, reading patterns, the differences between the various crochet stitches and most importantly how to make them.  Thank you Linda Permann!

I love adding ribbons, trims and lace to socks of all sizes using the Patented Deluxe Sock Easy.

Has charts and written directions!
The blanket lesson in the Crochet Class linked above made me re-think about the trims I use with the Sock Easy tool. The little chick sock was embroidered using this tool, then a simple row of crochet was added afterwards. I suggest adding  trims after embellishing with machine embroidery to preserve the elasticity and finished look of the sock. This is a single crochet but certainly many of the borders in Crochet Adorned could be applied.

Amber, an embroidery enthusiast and class attendee put her own special creative touch to a pair of socks with the addition of  beads, using elastic thread.

Strips of denim are also a nice trim addition but be sure they are made of 100% cotton if you are going for a frayed look!

Lace is always a pretty touch to any pair of socks.  Take a look through your trims, try something fun - be sure to pick a trim that can be washed and dried in the same manner as the sock!  I would love to see what you create, join me on Facebook and share your sock photos!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why do I sew dog scarves?

 Why Dog Scarves?

I use to think walking was grabbing the dog leashes and hitting the trail for 20-30 minutes 3 times a week.  Reality check - nothing like a yearly check up to make one assess health goals.

As sewing, and embroidery enthusiasts, we tend to do a lot of sitting. Next time you are sewing up a marathon for an hour, get up and take a break. Take a walk around the block, stretch your spine in 6 directions or  touch your toes, better yet do all three. This can really help to keep your back in shape for sewing and "life"!

So why dog scarves? I refuse to purchase "walking clothes" so basically my morning outfits are sadly lacking. However, because  my multi sized poodles walk with me all the time and they look adorable in scarves.  It is that simple. The scarves do not untie because they slip over the collar.  Plus, they can be used to send a message for support on topics you believe in. I use two 10" quilt block squares, thread, pattern, scissor, a sewing machine and 15 minutes is all you need to cut out several. You can make 4 or more in an hour easily. You may want to add an edge foot to make topstitching extra easy.  There are videos on the CookieSews YouTube channel showing how the edge foot works.

It's this simple: Cut out two pieces with pretty sides together, pattern available.

Stitch together (using matching thread) leaving area open noted on pattern for turning. Turn right side out and with edge foot topstitch four sides other than of top of scarf. Sample uses white thread  for photographing,otherwise it would be blue. Although contrast thread is pretty, if your machine does a nice straight stitch.

Fold top of scarf down on fold line indicated on pattern:

Stitch top of scarf down, in correct position shown on pattern, to form casing for collar to easily slip through.

Now all edges are professionally top stitched with no openings to be hand stitched. Yay! Slip the collar through. It's reversible! (Using a pink collar for ease of viewing but trust me in the real world, Stella would protest and insist on her blue collar. Someone has to look good on the walk!)

Stella after walking! Her minimum  is 5,000 steps daily.
New world order with scarves:  poodles must now trot to keep up our faster pace walk for 45-60 minutes  to be included in the 10,000 steps, daily to benefit us!   Yoga is not just for class time and is now a daily event. Weight bearing exercises are not all equal and having a trainer get you started is better than wasting time at the gym.

Adding a step app or device really is constant motivation.  I would love a Samsung with the watch and Dick Tracy approach but my budget says Fitbit Flex.  And let's face it, I go everywhere with my phone so I do know what time it is.

Back View
Although I refuse to purchase fancy walking clothes, good supportive shoes really do make the difference in comfort now that walking is no longer a poodle march for lawn and garden ideas. Make a few scarves for your favorite pooch.

This particular pattern works for 9" to 16" dog collar sizes. But you increase the printout percentage for larger collars  and reduce it for smaller ones.  It's that easy.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Part 4: Appliqué Machine Embroidery Designs - How to get the fabric patch template:

Sometimes appliqué designs are sold without having paper templates furnished for the fabric "patches".

How to create templates for cutting out fabric patches is our topic today.

You can open any purchased embroidery design in most digitizing software packages and have access to the stitching layers of the design.  Note some embroidery editing alone softwares may offer the ability to delete design objects. Check your software manual, if the design appears to be locked. Normally, there is a work around.

You can create the fabric template easily for your die cutting machine. By deleting all the layers of an appliqué design except for the running stitch outline used for placing appliqué fabric patches. Often I demonstrate tips using Brother PE Design NEXT or Bernina's Version 7. In the video, I am using Art and Stitch PLUS  to demonstrate that these methods work with most home embroidery softwares.

What if you don't own embroidery software, now what?

If you don't own embroidery digitizing software and the design you purchased doesn't furnish a fabric cutting template, you still can work around that.

Place an old needle in your machine, no need to use a good one for this.

Hoop a piece of paper or even cut-away stabilizer

Fast forward through the design using the built in layout tools in your machine to arrive at the the placement outline for fabric on your machine.

Stitch it without thread or if your machine requires thread you can actually hold the end of the thread to keep the tension on the discs so the machine will run without being threaded.  Or simply stitch the outline on paper with thread.

For the Scan N Cut, its back to kindergarten for the technique as you simply must connect the dots with a fine tip black marker and proceed as usual.

For a different type of die cut machine, scan it into your computer in a 1 to1 ratio saving it into the needed format. Then import it into the associated die cutting software based on the brand's requirements.

Remember to replace the sewing machine needle with a fresh new embroidery machine needle for the actual stitching of your design on fabric.