You had all better put on a pot of coffee and grab a couple of danish for this folks!It is going to be a long one this time, I have so much to share with you! First I would like to start with a brief history lesson.
Did you know that the first commercially successful sewing machine was built in the 1850's? Before that there were a few others that had patents, some did not on similar types, but it was Issac Singer who really brought it to fruition. He also invented the up and down motion of the needle, while others had it moving side to side. He also copied the idea of Elias Howe by using the lock stitch and the eye pointed needle, and lost a lawsuit against him by Howe and had to pay him royalties for patent infringement. We still use these methods today.
In 1863 Ebenezer and Augusta Butterick invented the idea of using tissue paper for patterns, and in 1867 formed a company to get them into every home in America. They changed sewing forever with their first graded pattern. These are just a few fun facts that I thought you would enjoy!
This is a clothing label from one of the first mass produced articles of clothing in the 1860's.
Now I can move on to the real reason for the history lesson, and that is I am going to be discussing sewing machines and their parts. Parts is Parts, as they say! Another reason for the lesson is to show how far we have come since the first sewing machines were invented. We went from deciding whether a needle should move side to side or up and down to computerized machines. Back in the early days when I first began sewing, you could actually see the working parts of the machines, which really made them easier to take care of than the ones we have now. However since they still need some care, but for the most part we cannot do much of the repair work ourselves. It has to be done by an experienced technician. We can make sure that the working parts we can see are well cared for, such as the bobbin casing area.
I like to take it apart and clean it out once in a while, of course it will depend on how much you use your machine as to how often you should do this. When you do take it apart, Do Not Blow it out with any type of air hose or Duster! All that does is is push it further into the inner workings of your machine and can cause problems. I like to take a 1" paint brush and sweep away as much as I can out of the casing area. Then I take an artists brush( less than1/2"one) and put the tiniest bit of sewing machine oil on it and lightly brush the inner workings of it, and any visible moving parts. I also take my paint brush and clean off around the needle area, then take the needle out and use the other oiled brush to very lightly brush around that area. I also move the hand wheel a little so it moves then I can oil all the moving parts. Keep in mind that the machines of today use far less oil than even a few years ago, so very ,very lightly with it please.
Now lets talk about the feed dog! No I don't mean go and feed the dog! The feed dog on your sewing machine, and how important it is to Not force anything through it. By forcing fabric through it you can bend the needle without even realizing it, until it is too late. The operator must let the machine do it's work. That means letting the feed dog pull the fabric through the machine. We are there to serve as the machines guide. A bent needle can cause so may problems with your machines, so if you think you may have bent the needle in any way, Change it! If you hear something like a "hitting" sound when you sew, stop the machine immediately and change the needle, even if your thread keeps breaking for no apparent reason, change it! If you don't it can become a costly repair bill in a hurry!
These are my two machines. (see my sticky notes Ha!)
To learn the parts of your particular machine, look inside your manual and you will see a drawing with numbers on it, each number is representative of a part for your machine. You should always take the time to read through this, so you know where all the parts are. I can show you mine, but it won't do you much good for your brand of machine, even though they are basically the same, they are different.
Alright , enough with the history lesson and the machines for a bit! I have had the opportunity the last few weeks to use some new tools. One of them, get this, is called"Squissors" or squeeze snips, and are the ones I have heard some chatter about lately,so I had to try them! Oh My Stitches!! I am here to tell you that even if you have the slightest bit of arthritis or carpel tunnel, you have got to get a pair of these! They are light weight, and extremely easy to use and are very easy on your hands! I got two pair, one with pointed ends and one with rounded ends.
The pointed end ones were Wonderful, and very sharp, ( I know they shouldn't have given me any sharp objects!) They are really wonderful for trimming those pesky jump threads and get really close when you are trimming anything from the embroidery at all. I defiantly give those a thumbs up ! You have to put these on your list of must have gizmo's! They are very nicely priced as well!
The rounded ones I thought would be excellent for cut work, and they did exactly what I thought they would do. They are also very sharp and are really designed for appliqué but they are also wonderful for cut work, being rounded you don't have to worry about them catching on any of the threads and accidental pulling them up. You can get really close to the embroidery again, without having to worry too much. I give these a thumbs up as well! These should also go on your list of gizmo must haves as well! They are also very nicely priced!
Now, LaRue you are going to love this one!! It is called a "Hera Marker."
Before "Hera Marker" After "Hera Marker"
As you can see by the photo's that there is a definite crease in the fabric. I tried to use it on one that was a bit darker so it was visible for you. I tried it on several different types of fabric, as well as different colors. While it won't work for fabrics like fleece, it did work on everything else I tried it on. The mark really stays on the fabrics, so I am thinking it would be great to mark out the fabric and use this to get a straight cutting line. You could actually mark all of your fabric then cut it out later. I am also thinking that it would work for tracing around the outline for placement of designs onto items. I tried and it worked pretty good for placement. Rather than pinning paper to the garment you could use this marker and not have to worry about it leaving some sort of residue behind on your garment. I think it would be wonderful for endless hooping projects as well as for Quilting! I found it easy to use and hang onto as well, with the arthritic hands. This product also gets a big thumbs up!! Kudos to the inventor on this one! I highly recommend this product! Very inexpensive item to add to the list of gizmos!
So stay tuned folks! I will let you know when I try new products and will also let you know that if they make a claim as to what it will do, I will let you know if it really does! Sort of like the Ralph Nader of sewing!!
Now on to the fun stuff, Sewing and ME, my two favorite combinations!! I have had a lot of folks ask me about the Flour Sack Towels, so here they are!! All I do when doing them is first to find the center. Then I stabilize the hoop with Ann The Gran Water Soluble Stabilizer with adhesive. Then I center it on the hoop,using the marking on my hoop as a guide. Smoothing out with my hands gently to set the adhesive and get out all the wrinkles.
I then set it on my machine and add the top layer of Ann The Gran Water Soluble Stabilizer for the topping.
Then I just let it sew out the designs, I used Ann The Gran Floral Butterfly Redwork Design Pack for this one,I love the way it sewed out and I also added lettering( thanks Cathy for this idea) with Alphabet Xpress,then hit the 3D feature on it, it turned out really nice.
I love Ann's Redwork, it sews out beautifully for flour sack towels. For the second set I did I used Ann's Jacobean Style Design Pack, and it turned out fabulous,the colors are spectacular as well and will spice up any kitchen for sure!
I love using Ann's designs, they always sew out well, they work well on any type of fabric and they never have a lot of jump threads. That's a good thing! I also love the bright colors ! That is just how easy the flour sack towels are. With Ann's Water soluble with adhesive it makes fast work of them for sure. The red work one took 18 minutes to sew out, and I found that they are exceptional redwork designs and the Jacobean one took 38 minutes, so not very time consuming for a great gift! When finished, you just cut off the excess stabilizer, wash the rest of it off then launder, press, done! This project is fast and easy!
Alright, I told you it was a long one this time, Whew! Did you get to all of your danish?! So that is it for me this time, I hope you all enjoyed your Holiday weekend and I will see you next time !
Suzy's Tip Of The Week>>>>> Keeping your thread organized according to color will make your work faster. By color coding them you need only to glance at them to know which color you will need for your project. It is a lot of work to do this but will save so much time later that it will be well worth it !
Take care everyone...........til next time.........Remember to kiss someone you love today!