How to use a Serger, Overlock Machine, Quilting, Quilting Room, Serger, Sewing, Sewing and Embroidery, Simple Sewing

National Sewing Month

Okay, I admit that I get pretty excited every year during National Sewing Month. It is a fantastic time to get back to sewing, quilting, embroidery and all things related. Naturally, the sewing machine manufacturers are fully aware of this and just to tempt us, they put out their new products in time for NSM events and strong forth quarter sales. Brother has released a machine that has me REALLY hyped – the all new 5 thread CV3550.

features-cv3550

Fans of Sewing Pattern review can find comments here:

Brother Cover Hem CV3550

My personal take on this machine is that is the perfect addition to any sewing or quilting studio. The Brother CV3550 Video does a great job showing off the hemming features but just touches on how amazing it is for piecing and quilting. Since it does a chain stitch and has a generous 6.1″ to the right of the needle I can definitely see myself using it to piece and sew because it will NEVER need bobbin thread. No more running out at just the wrong moment. No more fiddling for matching colors. YAY!

There are two great attachments for the machine:

The Dual Function Fold Binder is used to fold 1.25 inch (32mm) wide bias fabric tape into 0.31 inch (8mm) wide double fold bias tape, and then apply the bias tape binding to the edge of fabric. Attach the binder to the cover stitch machine simply with the two included screws. This accessory may also be used as a binder for single fold bias tape.

sa231cv-d  sa230cv-d

The second attachment is perfect for finishing collars and armholes on sleeveless apparel.

The product specifications can be found at the official website : Brother CV3550 Details

We will have this model on display at the shop soon. Look for event details!

 

 

 

Couture, Dresses, Easy Sewing Projects, Fabric, How to use a Serger

Summer Sewing Stash Blaster – Wardrobe Make-Over

Stash of Sewing Fabrics

This fabric has been sitting pretty in my stash for too long. It’s time for a stash blaster! I am determined to work up the courage to FINALLY sew the beautiful silk suiting that I splurged on and give my wardrobe completely made-over. To push myself, last week I cleared out my closet and put about 95% in bags for donation. Now, I have no choice. I have to sew – so here we go! I made my first little foray into blaster mode with the trio of skirts from earlier this week but am kicking it into high gear today.

I’ve also given myself rules for my Summer Sewing Blast.

1) NO BUYING MORE FABRIC UNTIL WHAT I HAVE IS SEWN! Trading with fellow sewists is allowed and purchase of lining and interling is okay as needed only

2) THIS BLASTER STARTS TODAY AND ENDS JULY 30TH

3) ALL RESULTS, THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE GORGEOUS MUST BE SHARED via blog, fb, instagram etc.

4) NO NEW PATTERNS – self-drafting is okay but not one more penny is to be spent.

The first day is the hardest, so I am glad I warmed up. To save time, I am going to work by color. This will allow me to use the same threads on the serger and sewing machine and I can go from project to project. Today is white & ecru. Here is the pile of everything I have that can be stitched up with white and ivory thread.

sewingstash2

Heavier, suit weight fabrics and cottons are at the back, blouse or dressweight is in the middle and knits and novelty are at the bottom. I see some Dirndl skirts, a maxi dress, and some quick tops. The suit weight goods are another matter. A serious review of my existing patterns is in order! However, to build momentum, I am going to start at the bottom and work my way up. Results are on the way!

If you have a stash and want to join in – I would love to have some company.  Happy Sewing!

Easy Sewing Projects, Free Sewing Tutorial, How to use a Serger, Maxi Skirts, Sewing, Sewing Patterns, Simple Sewing, skirts

Sewing Summer Circle Skirts Tutorial

Summer is officially here and has arrived in Indy with sweltering humidity. Last week I whipped up a circle skirt in a few minutes and after some very kind comments decided to write a tutorial. There is nothing really scientific about making circle skirts, they are dead easy and can generally be whipped up on serger in about 25 minutes or less including cutting time.

Summer Skirts

To make a circle skirt you will need approximately 2.25 – 4.5 yards of fabric, depending on your size how full you want the skirt to be. You can use pretty much any fabric that suits your taste; I have used a knit and two woven fabrics for the three skirts that I made. I also saved time by using a decorative 1″ elastic waistband on one skirt – I just serged it on and voila – waistband done.

The elastic looks like this:

Fuschia Waistband Elastic

and is available in a variety of widths and colors online.

Step 1

Measure the length you want the skirt to be. Start at your natural waist (just below your navel) and let the tape measure drop to the floor, then with the aid of a friend, spouse or in my case a full length mirror, determine how long you want the skirt to be. In this example, I am using 30″. Add 6″ and double the amount. So I have 36″ x 2 = 72″. I need another 3″-4″ for the waistband casing. Total yardage needed is 76″ or a little over 2 yards. I buy 2.25 to be on the safe side.

Step 2

Measure your waist with the elastic . Take a length of elastic, wrap it around your waist and cut it. Next, pinch about 1″ off the ends. Then pull it down over the hips to your thighs to ensure there is enough stretch. The amount of stretch can vary with different types of elastic and if you have decided to use the decorative type, you may be surprised to find it has less stretch than the typical white, no-roll goods one finds at fabric shops. Adjust your piece accordingly, decreasing the 1″ if needed or trimming off any excess.

Step 3

Based on the measurement in Step 1, I need two 36″ lengths of fabric. I cut these and place them on the cutting table. Both pieces are folded lengthwise as shown (please pardon my cutting mess :)) I cut two skirts at the same time using a rotary cutter so you are actually seeing both skirts cut. On top of my cut circles is the extra yardage needed for the waistband casing.

Step 4

Measure your hips at the fullest part using a tape measure and add 1″. In my case that adds to 40″. I now need to cut the waist opening 40″ including seam allowance. Since my fabric is folded in half, that means cutting a 20″ semi-oval shape for the waist opening. BTW turkey platters make great templates 🙂 Once the oval is cut, I use my tape measure to mark the 30″ length all the way around the bottom edge of the fabric as above, then cut. Make a notch at the folds to indicate center front and center back. This is a vital step to ensure that the fullness is evenly distributed. Cutting a Circle Skirt

Step 5

It actually takes less time to serge these together than to cut them! If you want more fullness in your skirt, cut four sections instead of two. Next, using a four thread safety stitch, overlock the side seams together.

Thread Blending for Sergers   Thread Blending for SergerThread Blending

FYI: I used a home sewing method called Thread Blending, which I learned eons ago from a Singer Sewing Reference Library book. I mixed up the thread colors allowing me to serge two very different fabrics at the same time. It saves time and money, because you only need a few colors of thread and then blend to match.

Step 6: Three Waistband Options 

If you want to use decorative elastic

Butt the ends together and stitch them on a conventional machine. Fold the elastic in half and mark the halfway point with chalk or a pin. Match the seam on the elastic to one of the side seams and the halfway point to the other sideseam. Serge the elastic to the skirt using the notches at center front and center back as a guide to distribute the fullness.

If you wish to make a conventional elastic waistband

Cut the waistband casing from the fabric on the crossgrain about 3″ wide by your hip measurement from Step 4 – in my case that was 40″. Sew the elastic to the casing with a tricot or stretch stitch on one long side only, leaving 1/2″ of seam allowance all around as shown. BTW Ihave used contrasting thread so that you can see what I am doing. Normally I would use a matching thread to blend when sewing.  The side with the thread showing (photo 2 below) is now the INSIDE of the waistband so the threads don’t show.

Elastic Waistband Casing DIY   DIY Summer Skirt Tutorial

To make it easier you can draw a line to indicate the elastic placement position. I don’t normally do this but if you are a new sewer or just want the assurance that it will be even, it only takes a few seconds to make the lines.

Making a Waistband Casing

Serge the casing closed. Pin the prepared casing to the skirt matching the side seam to the casing seam as shown. Since I am working on black fabric, the seams are hard to see but one has the pin through it and the other is indicated with my brush tip. Place the band on a flat surface. Make a notch at the natural fold, opposite to the seam. Fold the band in half and make two more notches. Match your notches with the center front and center back notches in your skirt

DIY Elastic Waist Circle Skirt

Crank your differential feed to the max. Using one hand to pull the elastic flat as shown, and the other to ease the fabric in, attach the wasitband to the skirt. This is MUCH easier to do than it is to explain 🙂

How to Sew an Elastic Waist Skirt

If you want to make a High Waist Skirt with an Interlock (soft) Waistband

Finally, if you want to create a dropped waist with a high band effare using a piece of interlock for the waistband, as I did with the knit skirt, cut it the width that you desire, I chose 5″. The length should be your waist measurement but since the stretch value of interlock varies so much, cut your strip generously and then test it by grasping the ends and sliding the band over your hips and thighs. Adjust accordingly. I cut mine at 29″ and it turned out beautifully.

High Waist Knit Skirt

Serge the ends together forming a tube and serge the whole tube to the skirt. To do this, place the band on a flat surface. Make a notch at the natural fold, opposite to the seam. Fold the band in half and make two more notches. Match your notches with the notches in your skirt. Serge your waistband to the skirt.

Step 7: Hemming the skirt

To finish the hems, the cutting instructions have left you with some options. You can used a rolled hem on a conventional machine, do a stitch and turn hem or simply finish off the edges with a rolled hem on the serger, which is what I chose to do for all three skirts. In order to prevent the hemline from rippling, I reduced the differential feed to setting 5 for the Juki. Using the rolled hem you can create a super-fast, clean finish to your skirts and the differential feed takes care of the natural stretch caused by the bias or knit fabric.

So, I have three new skirts for summer and my quest to replace my entire wardrobe with custom sewn clothes continues.

Happy Summer and Happy Sewing! Natalie

Easy Serger Projects, Easy Sewing Projects, Free Sewing Tutorial, How to use a Serger, Overlock Machine, Serger, Sewing, Sewing Patterns, Simple Sewing

Sewing a Summer Shrug Tutorial

summershrugThis is a perfect easy sewing project for those who are new to using a serger. This simple serger tutorial for a summer shrug was inspired by all those public spaces with the AC cranked to the max! :)) The draped piece adds an elegant touch for date night or an evening on the town.

To download the full tutorial, please click here to get the PDF file. 

The best fabric for this project is a light sweater knit, but interlock works just as well. I have found these online and at my local fabric store for as little as $1.98 per yard for the cotton blend I am wearing, which makes this a very economical project. The pattern works for either 45″ or 60″ fabric, but if you are using 45″ just be aware that your shrug will have 3/4 sleeves instead of full length, unless you go with insertions. (Method is at the end)

The most important aspect of the cuttting instructions is to note that the fabric has to be folded twice. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise (on grain) and then make a second fold along the cross grain. The second fold should be at least 12″ deep.

S2030011

This picture shows what the fabric looks like partially cut out. I cleaned up the ragged cut I made after draping it but forgot to take a picture. The drawing in your pattern shows what it looks like as a final cut. The nice thing about this shrug is that it whips up on a serger in no time. Using a 4 thread safety overlock stitch, sew the sleeve area first. Then complete the project by finishing all the raw edges with a 3 thread rolled hem. Done.

Pretty simple right? If you are just learning how to use a serger, this makes a great first project as it will give you the chance to use both the 4 thread and 3 thread abilities of your machine.

Style Option: Insertions

If you are using 42″-45″ fabric and want to extend the sleeves, you can opt to do an insertion. I had some plain white sweater knit that was really light – just perfect for taking the chill off the AC without making me hot, but it was only 42″ wide. I used some of the scraps of fabric and some yarn that I really love (Starbella Lace) as inserts and as the cuff. It adds such a delicate lacey touch.

To do this, cut a length of yarn to go around the cuff plus about 1/2″ for seam allowance. Next, prepare the yarn for stitching by lightly misting it with spray starch and pressing the yarn flat. Use a rolled hem, which is already set up, to create a tiny seam and connect the yarn to the cuff. Next, use the rolled hem to attach the fabric scrap to the other side of the yarn. Add a final piece of yarn and voila! A full length sleeve with pretty lace insertions.

I hope you enjoy this one! Happy Sewing!

Natalie