Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Right Stuff…or What Works for Me!

This is part one of many blog entries containing valuable sewing tips! I will be teaching a couple of sewing classes this summer at the Quilter’s Market in Tucson, Arizona and thought I should share the basics with my wonderful customers as well! I know many of you are learning to sew and I’m hoping that this will all be helpful in some way, to someone. I also know that many of you are seasoned and I would sincerely appreciate any input, suggestions or advice! Simply leave a comment below. If anyone has a question they would like answered, let me know and I will do my best to provide a logical response!

I know the internet contains an enormous amount of information, but I get tired of paging through it all. So, I recommend the following book because it has all the basic information you’re likely to need when sewing clothing, it’s accurate and all in one place; The Dressmakers Technique Bible by Lorna Knight. I was lucky enough to receive it as a gift, thanks Mandy, lobes you!

Included in this post are some photos of the stuff I typically use. Most of it is very helpful to have from the beginning, but not always necessary. I am an advocate for saving money, too. So, plan ahead and save up those coupons! Make it your personal goal to never pay retail. I love Joann’s fabric, but I always use coupons. I also shop at all too regularly. Always do a quick Internet search for their coupons because they always have something going on. Of course there is always For your machine(s) I strongly suggest that you look at a sew and vac shop! They will answer all of your questions and let you try out the machines. They might have something in your budget, they typically offer trade in values and classes. All of this will help you avoid those lemons you’ll find in big box stores.

So here we go…

Cutting tools:
Sharp scissor, use them for nothing but fabric and thread, NOTHING BUT! Pinking shears, a seam ripper (unfortunately you’ll need this) and a rotary cutter which makes cutting go quickly. Be careful you don’t cut off any body parts with this!

Measuring tools:
A tape measure, you might want one with metric on one side and “standard” on the other. Be sure it is at least 60” long. If you use a rotary cutter you’ll need a self healing mat. My favorite is the 24”x36”. Also, a larger acrylic cutting square; I use Omnigrid. The size I use most is 14”x14”.

You’ll need regular machine sewing thread that coordinates with your fabric. Also, upholstery or clear thread for easier gathering. Maybe some elastic thread for shirring. Overlocking or serger thread spools if you have a serger.

Pins and Needles:
Machine needles, dress making pins (straight pins), hand sewing needles and safety pins. It's up-side-down but blogger is going to make me crazy if I reload it againa...

Odds and ends:
Fray check for ribbons and a fabric pencil for marking on your fabric.

A regular sewing machine, a serger and an iron and board.

Now, remember you may not need all of these things, these are just the tools I use often enough to mention. Feel free to comment if I left something out that you typically use or find helpful!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sew Super Easy Summer Sun Hat!

Okay, here’s a free tutorial for all of you ladies out there who have little heads to protect from the hot summer sun. I didn’t have much time to get creative with this but you really could do so much more. This tutorial maybe used to create items for personal use and for sale. This tutorial may not be sold, it is FREE and to remain FREE. So, off we go and I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!

What you need:
No more than 20" x 20" of fabric
Elastic thread
Coordinating thread
Cutting and measuring tools

Some nice things to have:
A rolled hem foot or a serger that rolls hems
Cute embellishments like lace, ribbon, flowers etc…
Fabric marker

Cutting your fabric:
Doll: 13” x 13”
Newborn: 15” x 15”
3-6 months: 16” x 16”
6-12 months: 17” x 17”
Toddler: 18” x 18”
Child: 19” x 19”
Teen to Adult (hey, you never know): 20” x 20”

Let’s get started!

1) Now that you have your fabric cut to size, you will fold it twice.
• Fold your fabric in half. Yup, in half. It looks like a rectangle.
• Fold your fabric once more, so it looks like a square again.

2)Let’s make a circle!
• Place your fabric so that the single fold is to your left, the double fold
is at the top, and the raw edges are to the bottom and right.
• Now, draw and or cut and arc from the bottom left corner up to the top
right corner.
• Unfold your circle!

3) Now, you will hem the edge of your circle.
• I strongly encourage you to roll this hem, but if you do not have a rolled
hem foot or a serger, it’s okay!
• Fold the edge under ¼”, with the wrong sides of the fabric touching, and iron.
• Fold the edge under another ¼” and iron.
• Stitch this pressed hem into place. Making a few shallow 1/8” slits along the edge may help when folding your edge.

4) Next, you will shirr, or shape the hat! Gather an empty bobbin and your elastic thread.
• Hand spool the elastic thread onto your bobbin. Be sure you go the
same direction that your machine does when it spools the bobbin
automatically. Also,take care not to stretch the thread.

• Load the bobbin into your machine as you normally would.
• Set your straight stitch length to its longest setting.
• Starting 2” in from the edge with the right side of the fabric facing
upward and sew a continuous stitch around the hat.

• Make certain you backstitch several times at the beginning and end of
your shirring stitches. Also, do not pull your fabric through the feed.
You don’t want to stretch the elastic thread.
• Add another stitch about ¼” inside the first stitch and then another ¼”
inside the last.
• Place your hat on the ironing board and hold your iron over the elastic,
not touching, and blow steam. This will make it shrink up, giving you
more ruffle and stretch. This will also happen in the dryer, the first
time you launder.

5) Finally you can embellish your hat with whatever you can think of.


Now that you have the know how, I’d like to encourage your creativity. I’m going to ask you to make an adorable hat and share it with me. I will then feature your custom creation on the Tenderfeet Stitches Facebook page and let the fans vote for their favorite.

Up for Grabs!
The #1 fan favorite will receive any three tutorials from my Etsy shop.
The #2 fan favorite will receive any two tutorials from my Etsy shop.
The #3 fan favorite will receive any one tutorial from my Etsy shop.

All entries must be sent to by May 20, 2011 and they must be titled “Summer Sun Hat Contest Entry” Voting will begin on May 23, 2011 and will end on May 31, 2011.