DIY Sewing Room Projects, Easy Sewing Projects, Fabric, Free Sewing Tutorial, Sewing, Sewing and Embroidery, Simple Sewing

DIY Circular Sewing Attachment

A repost from my old blog. As we are stash blasting, this is a quick and easy way to add style to home decor and garment projects. The full PDF file for making a DIY Circular Sewing Attachment is available on the website at Sutura Style. Enjoy and Happy Sewing!

The Sewist Club

CAfringefoot

Happy New Year! Over the Holidays I got busy and reviewed a whopping 8 (!) sewing machines. I will post the results on our new main website at http://www.seeitandsewit.com once it is up and running (hopefully over the next two weeks). In the meanwhile, as I was messing about, I decided to push the limits of the Brother Laura Ashley CX-155, to see how many of the great features, found on it’s bigger (read: much more expensive) cousins; NX2000, NX5000 Isadore and the NX800, I could emulate. One of the features that I really love about the Laura Ashley line is the ability to create perfect circular sewing. So, I made myself a little circular sewing attachment and gave it a whirl. Here is how I made it, and the results. Happy Sewing!

For this project you will need: a thin flat ruler, sticky Velcro, a fine tip marker, a utility…

View original post 635 more words

Craft Room, Hobby Spaces

The Stunning Studio of Artist Tabitha Campbell – A Photo Tour

tabithastudio3

I have the privilege of living across from a very talented artist, Tabitha Campbell. In celebration of the Stash Blaster, Tabitha allowed me to tour her beautiful, vintage inspired Maker Studio where everything from Vintage Hats to lace and quilting fabrics was on display. The sign above, says is all – C R E A T I V E.

While I drooled, ogled and indulged in some serious envy, all emotions were overwhelmed by some of the incredible works of art coming out of this lady’s studio. In progress is a vintage Christmas wreath (yes, she’s working on it in July!) and a beautiful beaded bracelet.

tabithastudio4

Displayed on the beam in her bright basement studio is a collection of vintage hats. So my millinery pulse is pumping again. My issue with millinery isn’t that I can’t get the goods or don’t want to try, it’s that the era of wearing hats has been over here for a long time. Where would I wear my labors of love once they are complete. Tabitha’s collection leaves me longing for a bygone era when ladies attire was so chic.

tabithastudio5

A stunning collection of vintage lace and trims adorns the walls. I have to apologize to you all – my eyes and therefore my camera were focused on my favorite colors, aqua, yellow and fuschia. But there is much more to see and if you are in the area, I would love to have you join us at the Stitcher’s Switch – part of our Stash Blast event where we can all trade fabrics and buy trims, notions etc from each other. (Date and time to be announced at the Blast July 18th). Tabitha will be opening her studio to us for trading, buying (trims are allowed!) and inspiration.

tabithastudio6

tabithastudio7

tabithastudio8

tabithastudio9

tabithastudio10

tabithastudioparis

This little corner with the vintage dress form, fuschia flowers and Eiffel Tower picture captured my heart the most. Paris anyone?

Dresses, Easy Serger Projects, Easy Sewing Projects, Free Sewing Tutorial, Overlock Machine, Serger, Simple Sewing, Stash Blast

Ready, Set….WAIT!

Lol! So my Summer Stash Blaster was kicked off and I got busy sewing. I contacted a few students and they were excited about it but needed time to prepare. So, I am going to keep sewing and posting but I won’t actually start the Blast until everyone else is ready – we’ll kick it off officially on Saturday July 18th at Hancock Fabrics Carmel. Considering how much fabric I have, this will truly be a Summer Stash Blast since I will be going until August 18th now.

If you are interested in participating, please sign up on the FaceBook Page so we can support each other on. I’ve created an event for this and would love to see pictures!! There is no time commitment – come when you can, sew as you are able and let’s help each other along!

Summer Stash Blast Sign Up

This week was Wonderful Whites. Everything that I could whip up quickly with white or off white thread is shared below. As promised, here is the good, the bad and the ugly – maybe I should just call the ‘ugly’ the “uh-oh’s” (smile). I am a little behind with pictures but will load more after the 4th.

The good:

A pretty blend of sheer and light sweater knits from Hancock Fabrics
A pretty blend of sheer and light sweater knits from Hancock Fabrics
About 20 minutes work on the serger. Look for the project sheet at  the Sutura Style website
About 20 minutes work on the serger. Look for the project sheet at the Sutura Style website

Comfy, cozy DIY jammers. Easy to cut and serge

DIY Jammer Pants

sheersummertunicandcapris This sheer tunic in an ultra light knit looks nice over the leggings that I made – I wear a pretty tank top with lace underneath it.

 

diyknittopchevronstripes I struggled with matching the chevron stripes on this little T-shirt, but eventually got it. I should have just basted the whole thing by had to start with but tried to glue baste it instead. Ripped it out twice. Finally managed to get it as close as I could. Pretty happy with it 🙂

 

The bad: These stripes were just awful. I bought this fabric on sale but failed to notice that the stripes actually decrease in width and CURVE close to the selvedge. Ugh.

badstripes

 

The Uh-Oh

I tried to cut out a chevron stripe top from center of the fabric but had only a little bit left. Agitated, I made a real whopper of a mistake and had to toss the project out. Instead of cutting the fabric on the opposing bias to create a chevron, as above, I wound up cutting on the matching bias and thus ended up with two front pieces that are the same. This project was destined for the trash from the moment I noticed the bad stripes.

badstripes2

 

To save time, I cut all the knit tops above from a single Kwik Sew pattern and lengthened, shortened and moved the fabric as necessary. When I am working like this, I only use the back pattern and adjust the necklines for different styles. That is why the the photo above appears to have a back and front I started to cut a “V” when I realized that I had made a cutting error.

t-shirtstyles

So, that is most of my sewing this week. A couple more tops, a shawl, and a tunic left to photograph, they are done but I forgot to take pics (sorry!). I am working on a Maxi Dress today with a turtleneck or cowl neckline. More photos to come!

Happy Serging!

 

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

DIY Sewing Room Projects, Easy Serger Projects, Hobby Spaces, Overlock Machine, Serger, Sewing, Sewing and Embroidery

Juki MO-50E Review vs MO-51E

JUKI MO-50e 41U5RfC9FYL._SY300_

This year I decided to add 4 new sergers to the exisiting pair of Singer sergers that have been doing yeoman’s service in the classroom. Prior to purchasing the MO-50E, I did some research online and found out that it is basically the same machine as the MO-51E but without the cute flower decal (I don’t need it). I decided to compare the two carefully myself so that I could be sure that I was getting the best value for my dollars.

My conclusion is that the two machines are indeed identical.

The good stuff about these machines:

They both feature lay-in threading with the easiest looper threading I have ever encountered. There is a lever for the lower looper, just lay the thread on it and flip the lever. The machine automatically threads the end portion (the hard part on most sergers) for you. But, just in case there is a problem or you have decided to use fancy thread, the sewing bed opens up to give you access. Top to bottom this is the fastest serger to manually thread that I know of (jet-air is faster and costs about $1000 more:) ). It is also heavy and very strong. I have tested all four of my units and they do not bop around like my Singer Pro 5 and Finishing Touch 14SH654.  The presser feet for my Singer Pro 5 fit on the Juki, just like sewing snap-on feet fit most brands of sewing machines. Anyhoo, the fact that such an inexpensive machine is capable of expansion allowing it to perform tasks using the additional attachments is very cool.

The metal feet shown below are the ones that came with my Singer serger and also fit on the Juki MO-50E. (Clear plastic are cover stitch feet)

sergerfeet

These include: 1. Blind Hem / Lace foot   2. Cording / Piping foot   3. Shirring foot    4.  Taping foot 5. Pearl (Bead) and Sequins Foot  6.  Elastic / Elasticator foot .

The two feet that I find the most useful are #6 for attaching elastic to swimsuits and athletic apparel and # 3, the Shirring Foot which is a fantastic way to rapidly attach ruffles to clothing. It is also the fastest way to make a Dirndl skirt that I know of. These sets go for between $65 and $75 online. The nice thing is that the purchase can be made later, when needed. I tried the blind hem foot but it leaves a really obvious ladder on the front side of the garment. It might be nice if done as a contrast but I haven’t figured out how to make the ladder small and discreet yet. All in all, I am happy that I can use the same feet on both Singer and Juki.

The differential feed is sweet. And this is where the Juki leaves Singer behind. It has settings from -5 to +8. The Stretching effect (1-5 under the N on the dial ) prevents certain fabrics such as fine jerseys or tightly woven light fabrics from puckering or make gathers. Cool. To prevent waving on knits I can use the numbers over the dial. For the fun of it, I cranked the dial all the way up to 8 on a single layer of interlock and it created gathers beautifully, but I still prefer the Shirring foot since it allows me to gather, serge and trim all in one shot.

61tfbpnDYcL._SL1200_

It does a nice rolled hem with a flip of the switch – which is the same as my other sergers so no big deal here.

The really cool this is that this is the only serger I have ever owned that has a built-in drawer (look under the differential feed dial) to store the accessories, shown below.

 

81T64a9GWSL._SL1200_

The bad news:

These machines are limited in their scope of work by the dismally small amount of space under the presser foot. Barely 1/4″. Ugh. While this is fine for the classroom where we are working on garments, I wouldn’t want to try to wedge thick fleece or heavy fabric in there.

All in all, this is a great machine for the dollars. I have used my MO-50 for a number of projects but mostly sewing light interlock and stretch wovens. Each project has come out perfectly with nicely balanced tension. On that note, since the MO-50 and 51 are the same machine, why not pay less and get the 50? It’s a savings of up to $100 and that’s a big difference for something that is identical.

If you are in the market for a serger and are thinking about Juki, I hope this review helps! Happy Serging!

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