Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gathering Made Easy - Tutorial

Don't you hate running two gathering stitch lines to get nice gathers?  Me too.  I found an old class instruction sheet from years ago when I first learned to use my machine.  Wanna know what was in the packet?  Yep, an easier way to run gathers. I had totally forgotten it!

This has to be the easiest way ever to create perfect gathers.  I thought I would share it with you.  I'm working on this bag and used this method to get the gathers on the ruffle you see below.  Notice I used a contrasting thread, so it also acts as decoration?

Okay, so here we go.  First, determine how long/wide the piece is you want to gather.  For my purposes, I wanted roughly 17".  See below.  This is my lining piece for my bag, and I'm gathering the bottom to attach to the bottom piece of the bag.

Next, grab your top and bobbin threads and pull them out about 2" more than your width.  In my case, I pulled them out about 19".

I even put it across my project just to be sure I had enough.

Now slide your work under your presser foot and keep both threads pulled out in front as shown.  Make certain you line up your stitches inside the seam allowance.  You don't want them showing when you make your final stitches.

Now set your machine for a zigzag stitch.  I have a Viking and set my stitch length at 1.5 and width at 4.  You want to be sure your needle swings OVER the threads.  If you catch them, it won't work.  Don't catch the threads.  Take a few stitches then make sure your threads sit right in the middle of your presser foot.

Slowly stitch over your pulled threads.  Here's what it looks like from the side.

When you reach the end, pull the piece from under your presser foot and cut the threads you used to stitch with.  DO NOT CUT THE THREADS YOU'VE PULLED IN FRONT.  THOSE ARE YOUR GATHERING THREADS.  You want to get those others out of the way though, because it gets confusing trying to figure out which ones to pull when they are all bunched up together.

Now grab the 2 long threads and start pulling them to gather.

You can even tug these a little harder than you would normally.  These won't break easily.

And there you have it!  Perfect gathers, and you didn't break any string.  How easy was that??

Here is what it looks like from the back side after I basted my piece in place.  I'm pointing to my gathering stitches.  Notice they are in my seam allowance?

Now go make some gathers!  You'll never be afraid to do these again.  And you won't wine either.  Oh wait, that's just me.

These are fantastic if you are doing puffing on sleeves for heirloom sewing.

Happy gathering!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

As Promised i-Pad Cover Update


This is my latest i-Pad Cover.  You'll find the original post here.   I didn't like the added bulk in the zippered pocket of the original.  So I changed it.  And I like it soooo much better.  It's easier, less bulky and works just as well.

And this is the pocket.

So here is how I changed it.

Instead of cutting all the pieces for the original pocket, cut one piece 7x16.  This one piece will be your pocket.  Also cut a piece of fusible interfacing the same size.  For this case, I used Pellon 101. It was much better than the medium weight interfacing.  I used it for the entire case.

Here are your new material requirements in you want to use this new method.

Focus fabric:
1 piece cut to 27" x 11"

Lining fabric:
1 piece cut to 27" x 11"

Coordinating fabric: (you could also use your focus fabric or lining - your choice)
1 piece cut to 7" x 16"

Pellon 101:
2 pieces cut to 27" x 11"
1 piece cut to 7" x 16"

Batting -I used a thicker batting this time and only used one piece.  I really needed 2, so use 2!
2 pieces cut to 27" x 11"

1 - 7" zipper

Your first order of business is to fuse your Pellon to all of your pieces on the wrong side of course.

Now you'll need to mark your fabric for the pocket.  Take your main piece and fold up the bottom to 8 1/2" right sides together as shown.

Make a mark 2 1/2" from the top as shown.  The mark should also be centered from side to side.

Okay, so this next photo is awful!!  I'm warning you ahead of time.  I was snapping these pics as I went along, so you are seeing all my mistakes too!

Draw a 7" line right on top of the mark you just made.  It should be centered!  Come directly below that 3/8" and draw another line.  Connect those two lines to make a box.  Now you want another line right in the middle separating the first two, and this will be your cutting line.   Now measure in 1/2" from each side of your cutting line and draw lines from that mark to the corners.  You'll have little triangles at each end.  In my picture, I have too many lines.  Pay attention to the line that connects the triangle.

Now very carefully cut the middle line (cutting line) between the two triangles.  Also cut the lines into the corner. Do NOT cut past the triangles on the straight line - only the ones to the corners.  Press open all edges to the outside.

Now flip it over and place your zipper underneath.

 And it should look like this.

Now pin it in place.

Use your zipper foot and stitch all the way around.

And it will look like this.

Now, flip it over.

Now we will sew your pocket piece to the zipper.  Place one short side of your pocket piece right side down across the top of the zipper tape.

I slid it down just a smidge just to show you but you want it even with that edge.  It will overhang on each side by 1/2".  That's okay.  Pin it in place.  It will look like this.

Stitch them together using a 1/4" seam.  Make sure you push back the main piece.  You do not stitch to this piece.  This picture is blurry, but you can see how I have it on my machine.

Now it looks like this.

Fold it over and press that seam really well.

Now take the other edge and fold it over to attach it to the other side of the zipper tape.

Pin it in place, and stitch 1/4" seam just like before.  Then press it down really well.  You want a good crease on that last seam.


It should look like this.

See that little seam allowance underneath in the photo, you'll see that again in the next, because this can get a little tricky.

It's time to stitch the sides of the pocket closed.  fold the pocket back over so that it is on one side and the main fabric is on the other.  Run your seam with that seam allowance folded back but the top seam allowance has to be open as shown.  The bottom seam allowance from the first picture is now on top and folded back.

If you don't do it this way, it will be too bulky.  That zipper tape does not fold well.  Now your pocket is complete and looks like this.

Now add any trim.  Don't forget your Velcro closures.  Now you can put all your pieces together and sew them together leaving an opening in the side for turning.  I put my main fabric together with my lining right sides together, then my batting on one side.  Sew a 1/4" seam around the whole thing, trim the batting, turn it, press it, then run a scant 1/8" top stitch around the whole thing closing the opening.  Refer to the original post for further instruction.

Happy stitching!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tutorial: Interlined Window Panels - UGA themed!

As promised, here is my tutorial for Robbie's window treatments.  This is a pretty long post. Blogger won't allow me to upload a Word file, so here it is in all it's long, long glory!


First, measure your window and decide how much gather you want in the treatment and determine how long you want them.  For my purposes, the window measure 38” wide, and my panel wound up being 54”.  I didn’t want a lot of gathers, because I thought I would lose my stripes. I also took my panel from the top of the casing to the floor.  My length was 97.5”   So I added 5 inches to my finished length to account for the ½” seam allowance at the top and the 4.5” (turned hem up ½” then 4”).

The stripes are pieced together in random widths.  The red panels are 12” and 8”.  The white panels are 3 @ 3” and 1 at 4”.  The black panels are 15”, 10” and 6”.  Stitch them together with a ¼” seam. Cut a lining piece and interlining or black out piece at the exact width your final panel will be.  You’ll see why in a moment.

I used a 3” hem in my lining and a 4” hem on my panels.  Account for your hem in your measurements.

You’ll also need a casing for your rod.  I made my casing in two parts in case I needed a support hook in the middle of my panel.  Use your final width less 1” inch on each side and ½” inch in the middle. So if you final width is 54”, you’ll have two pieces that are 3” x 25.5”.  54 – 3 inches divided by 2.  You can make your casing narrower or wider to accommodate different rod diameters.  I have a 2 inch rod, so I made my casing 3.5” wide.  I also double my casing for extra support, because the panels were very heavy.  If yours are heavy, make your casing 7” x 25.5”.

Making the casing: If you have a double casing, fold it in half lengthwise and press.  Stitch the side opening closed and turn from the top edge.  Because I had selvage edges, I didn’t stitch the top.  If you have don’t have a selvage edge, stitch across the top leaving an opening for turning.  You basically are creating a tube.  Turn and press the opening under.  You’ll close it when you stitch to the lining.  If you are using a single casing, turn under all sides about a ¼” and press.  Stitch the side seams.  You’ll close the bottom and top when you attach it to the lining.

We’ll attach the casing first.  Measure down 1 inch from the top and about an 1 ½ from the sides as shown.  Note: I measured 1 ¼” and it wasn’t enough.  I had to go back and fix it.  Learn from my mistake and go the full 1 ½”.

This is where you’ll place your casing.  Pin the first one in place across the top on the right side like so.

Place the second strip right next to the first like so. Be sure to leave ½” space between.

Now finish pinning around the bottom too.

Now stitch across the top and bottom to attach it to your lining.  We’ll come back to this part in a bit.

Hem your lining to your desired length.  I made my lining 1 ½” shorter than my main panel.  Turn it up ¼” then another 3”.  My finished panel is 97.5”, so my lining piece is hemmed to 97”.  You’ll need ½” at the top.  Make sure you turn your hem to the wrong side.

Now hem your main panel.  I turned up ½” then 4”.  Here is the hem after I stitched it.

Now, we will press a hem on the sides of the panel which will be folded over the lining and interlining at a later time.

Measure in ½” from each side and press.

Now fold it over again this time 1 full inch and press. Do both sides.  Leave this for later.

Now lay your lining right side up on your work surface.  I laid mine on the floor, because it was too big for my work surface.

Now lay your main panel on top of your lining right sides together.  Your folded edge of the top panel should line up with the lining.  If it doesn’t and it’s too wide, don’t worry, we can fix that in a moment. You might have a problem if it’s too short.  If you are off by ½”, you’ll be fine.  If it’s off more than that, you’ll have to recut your lining.

Pin these together. You can run a basting stitch to hold these together if you want.  It will make things easier.  Ask me how I know!

If you aren’t using an interlining or black out lining, you can run a ½” seam across the top.  FOLD BACK YOUR SIDES AND STITCH TO YOUR FOLD.  DO NOT STITCH ON TOP OF THIS FOLD.  See my pin?

If you are using an interlining or black out lining, lay it on top of your main panel right side down. Don’t mind my pieced together black out lining.  I was too lazy to go to Joann’s for more.  Pin this to the top using the same pins you already have in place. 

Now go around all your edges and tuck the lining and interlining into the fold you pressed earlier.  Make sure everything lines up well.  If not, carefully use your scissors to cut off the excess.  You want the lining pieces to line up right at the fold of your main panel.  You can pin the side edges if you want to keep everything from moving.  Take it to your machine and run a ½” seam across all layers across the top.  Flip your main panel over and press this seam very well.

If you don’t care about having a top stitch, run a top stitch a scant 1/8” across this pressed seam.  It will keep the panel from moving when you put it on the rod.  I did not want a top stitch.  Here’s what I did to solve my problem of the front panel slipping in the front.  Ask me how I know this is a problem!!

Lay your panel across your ironing board with the main panel on one side and the blackout and lining on the other side as shown.

In this picture, it doesn’t have my casing.  This is where I made my first mistake.  You should have your casing already sewn to the lining.  Now you want to run stitch lines right across the casing stitch lines you made before (both sides).  What you are doing is stitching the blackout lining to the lining to keep it from shifting once installed on the rod.  Ask me how I know this is a problem!

Now put the pieces back together and press well.  The next step is to sew the sides, and you are finished!

Lay your panel back out on your work surface or the floor.  Tuck the lining and blackout lining back into the fold you created on the sides like so.

Make sure the fold does not cover your casing opening. Pin all the way down each side.

It should look like this.

You can opt to run a blind hem stitch all the way down both sides like I did, or you can run a stitch line down both sides.  Your preference here.  I didn’t want the seam showing, so I used the blind hem.
Press the whole panel really well.  Then run your rod through the casing. Ignore my selvage edge.  No one will ever see it.

This is what the middle section looks like. I guess I could have cut my strings before I snapped the pic!

So now when I switch to a cafĂ© rod, I will have an opening in the center. I know I will need another bracket to help support the weight. 

Hang your panel, and you are finished!

I hope this is helpful.  Please feel free to email me with questions or if I didn't make something clear.  I should have done this post much earlier when my memory was fresh.