Beginner Sewing: Woven versus Knit Fabrics

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When you first decided to start sewing, I bet you thought it was going to be easy, didn’t you?  If not, you are smarter than I was.  I thought it would be a breeze.  I mean, how hard could it be?  You pick a pattern, grab some fabric & thread, put it through a machine and voilà you have made a beautiful summer dress!

Boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong! It’s not that simple.  At least not in the beginning.  You see, there are things you should learn before you can even begin to sew.

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Understanding the 5 Basic Sewing Machine Stitches

The 5 Basic Sewing Machine Stitches. http://www.itchinforsomestitchin.com

 

If you are a regular blog follower then you know that I talk a lot about my first sewing machine experience.  How I was so intimidated that I refused to touch the machine… for nearly four months!  Eventually, I braved the instruction manual and studied the parts of sewing machine.  More>>

Perplexed by all the little metal and plastic pieces that came with the machine, I then learned all about presser feet and when to use them.  More>>

Next I stared at the display screen.  This is what it looked like.

 

 

Okay, so I realized that these are obviously sewing stitches.  But what kind of sewing stitches?  And when do I use them?  If you are asking yourself the same questions, then this tutorial is for you!

I’m not going to go through every single stitch that my sewing machine can do.  That would be crazy. There are literally several hundred on my Husqvarna Designer Diamond Royale.  No,  I think we’ll just stick with the basics.

Let’s learn about the five most common sewing machine stitches.  The ones you’ll use most as a sewing beginner.

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What Are All Those Presser Feet For Anyway?

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Sewing Machine Presser Feet. http://www.itchinforsomestitchin.com

 

If you’ve followed along on the blog then you might remember that when my fiancé bought my first sewing machine about four years ago I was terrified of it. After allowing it to collect dust for several months, I eventually drummed up the courage to open the user manual. Hey, don’t judge! Sewing can be intimidating, especially if you are new at it and you’ve never even touched a sewing machine before.

I first studied the sewing machine parts and their functions. Once I felt comfortable with the sewing machine and the basics of how it worked, I then turned my attention to all the bits and pieces that came with my machine. There were wires, dusters, clips, caps, plates, bobbins, and about 15 things called presser feet.

I stared at each foot. I twirled them in my hands. I studied their markings. I had no clue what they were or what on earth I was supposed to do with them. I’m not going to lie, even after four years I still haven’t used them all, but I have learned what they are, what to do with them, and what each one is used for.

So, if you haven’t figured it out, that’s what today’s tutorial is all about. Presser feet and their uses.

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Getting to Know Your Sewing Machine: Parts and Their Functions

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Sewing Machine Parts and Their Functions. http://www.itchinforsomestitchin.com

 

Hi folks!  If you’ve just bought your first sewing machine or are completely new to sewing then you’ve come to the right place.  When my fiancé bought me a sewing machine four years ago, I had no sewing experience.  You read that right folks. I had NO sewing experience.  I didn’t even hand sew.

Folks, you have to understand. Danny, my fiancé, didn’t just buy me a cheap beginner sewing machine. Oh no… he bought me a Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond Royale. The KING of all sewing machines. Hailed as the best on the market. At least that’s what the sales lady said. 🙂

The point is that I had no idea what I was doing. I was so intimidated by this machine that it sat, untouched for over 4 months, on a table in my craft room.  I was terrified by it. I had no idea what to do with it.   Then finally, one day, I took the bull by the horns and grabbed the user guide.  What’s the first thing I looked at?  Yep, you guessed it. The parts of my sewing machine and their functions.

It’s important, right? How are you supposed to use a sewing machine if you don’t even know what the parts are or what they do?  So, if you’re sitting there like I was 4 years ago, scared of your sewing machine and unsure where to begin, let me help ease your fear. I’m going to hold your hand as I walk you through each sewing machine part and help you to understand what they do.

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Product Review:  Fiskars Spring-Action Fabric Scissors

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Spring-Action Fabric Scissors

Are They Right For You?

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 I do not work for the Fiskars Corporation nor am I being compensated for this article.  I am simply a user of the Fiskars Easy Action Scissors and would like to give my honest opinion of the product.  However, this post does include affiliate links.  If you purchase an item through the links, I will receive a small compensation, which is necessary for the upkeep of this blog.  Please see my Disclosure Policy for details.

 

I had a stroke when I was twenty.  No, really.  It’s true.  I did.  It left me a little weak on the right side of my body.  As luck would have it, I am also right-handed.

This can make sewing, knitting, and crocheting a bit difficult.  If you’re a crafter who suffers from ailments like arthritis, fibromyalgia, or even Multiple Sclerosis then you understand exactly what I am talking about.
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How to Sew a Plush Baby Rattle

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Hi folks!  So do you remember that tutorial I posted a few weeks ago, the one in which I showed you how to make a super simple lounge pillow?

Well, today’s tutorial was born out of that project.  The scraps of that project to be exact. No, it’s not another pillow.  Read the title folks!  😉

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How to Sew a Fun & Easy Large Pillow

A Fast, Fun, & Easy Sewing Project for Kids

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I remember walking into Walmart a few months ago with my step-daughters, Dakota & Kassidy, in tow.  I was under strict orders to only get what was on my list.  I was not… let me say that again… I was NOT to buy more fabric or yarn.  You see folks, I have loads of both and had come to an agreement with my fiancé, Danny, that I wouldn’t buy more material until I had used up some of what was already taking over my craft room and spilling out of the cabinets & drawers in our house.

So, of course, I headed straight for the ‘Craft and Sewing’ section of the store.  This was not because I intended to break my word, I promise, but simply out of necessity.   Truth be told, since I usually spend most of my time hunting for the perfect yarn for my next project, rummaging through the fabric remnants to collect pieces for a quilt, or simply wandering through the isles admiring all the craft eye-candy, I know the layout of my local Walmart in reference to this section.  I’m lost if I don’t start my shopping from this section.  Seriously.

Anyway,  I made it to ‘Craft and Sewing’ fully intending to simply ogle all the fabric goodies as I passed by on my way to the grocery section,  but… well folks, as the saying goes “there are no perfect men in this world, only perfect intentions”.  That’s right folks, I broke my word, my oath, my promise.  I bought fabric. 😃

Let me explain.  There was sale.  Need I say more?  Lol.   Honestly, I just couldn’t help it.  There were two carts filled with fabric on sale for a dollar a yard.  Yes, you read that right folks, it was only a dollar a yard!  Dakota and Kassidy were bubbling with excitement and I must admit I could barely contain myself.  The girls instantly started planning their new projects.  Now, you have to understand folks that these girls are polar opposites.  Kassidy is our crafty girl full of ideas, sunshine, & rainbows.  She is always cooking up some type of fun & colorful craft project.  Dakota, however, is our dark brooding artist.  She spends most of her time with pencils & a sketch pad in hand drawing flowers, patterns, & animals.  Yet, here they were, both giddy with joy over the same thing. Fabric.  How could I say no?  I couldn’t.  So I caved.  But, I allowed them only one yard each.  I figured spending only a couple bucks would soften the blow when their dad found out that I had broken my vow.

Once we were home and I had soothed Danny with the words ” but we only spent two dollars”, (I did this while batting my eyelashes and flashing my very best smile. He wasn’t pleased, but he forgave me. 😃) it was time to decide what to make with our new fabric.  But, what on earth could we do with just one yard of fabric?
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How to Fix Sewing Machine Thread Bunching Up

 What you should check before making a 911 call to your sewing machine mechanic

 

Thread bunching up when using a sewing machine. http://www.itchinforsomestitchin.com

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Does this look familiar?  “Bird nesting” or thread bunching up on the top of or on the underside of your fabric is one of the most common problems during sewing.

Not only is this an extremely frustrating issue, it can also put a major stopper in the creative process!  I know because it happened to me. 😕

First of all, don’t panic!  This situation is normally an easy fix and usually doesn’t need a call to your sewing machine repair man.

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How to Hem a Bridesmaid Dress

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Online Sewing Class

How I Hemmed a Bridesmaid Dress Made of  Satin and Sheer Polyester

How to Hem a Bridesmaid Dress http://ww.itchinforsomestitchin.com

NOTE:  The color of the dress is blush, but does appear darker in some photos due to lighting differences.  I promise, every picture is in fact of the same dress.

This is not the post  I had planned for this week.  But, life is filled with the unexpected, interruptions, and delays.  This has been especially true for me the past two weeks. After being down with a pulled muscle for nearly a week, it was fast approaching my step-daughter, Alex’s, wedding day, and I was already behind schedule.   When I was finally back on my feet and just starting to get back on track, there was a big bump in the road.  My other step-daughter, Dakota’s, bridesmaid dress was almost a foot too long!  Yes, the dress had been ordered in her size and fit nicely everywhere else, but, you see, all of my step-daughters were blessed with petite frames.  However, as well as being petite, Dakota has the added challenge of being… uh…. I’ll say “vertically challenged”.  She stands only 4’10” tall.

So, it’s a week before the wedding when I get a call from Alex asking me to hem Dakota’s dress.  Now, for those of you who’ve been following along, you know that I am not a professional seamstress.  The idea of hemming a bridesmaid’s dress, especially in such a short period, was definitely above my pay grade.  But, there were no other options as the professional seamstress claimed she couldn’t do it in a week’s time!  I warned both Alex & Dakota that it would not be a perfect job, but I would do my best.  Then I fell ill for the next four days.  This left only two days to hem the dress before the big day.  Life really knows how to throw you some curve balls!  LOL.

Even though I was still not feeling up to par, the Thursday before the wedding, I tackled the dress.  It had two layers.  The bottom or inner layer, made of satin, was simple enough to do.

Step 1.

The night before I had determined that I needed to take nearly 9-1/2 inches off the inner layer, so the first thing I did was measure.itchinforsomestitchin.com

Step 2.

Using a fabric pen, I marked the bottom edge and the sides of the inner layer where I wanted to make the cut.  The marks fade and ultimately disappear from 30-minutes to several hours, depending on the type of fabric.
itchinforsomestitchin.comitchinforsomestitchin.com

Step 3.

I used a large ruler to draw a line from each marked edge all the way across the fabric.

itchinforsomestitchin.comitchinforsomestitchin.com

 

Step 4.

I used a ruler and a rotary blade to slice along the marked line.

itchinforsomestitchin.com

 

 

Step 5.

The top or outer layer was sheer polyester and there was a TON of it.  I found the easiest thing to do was to lay the front part of the outer layer over the newly cut satin layer and repeat steps 3-4.  I cut the sheer layer about 3-inches longer than the satin layer.

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Clearance on Sewing Supplies http://www.itcihinforsomestitchin.com

Click image for Everyday Clearance on Sewing Supplies from Craftsy

Step 6.

I laid the cut portions of the dress on top of the back part of the sheer polyester layer that still needed cutting and repeated steps 3-4.  I cut the back part of the sheer layer right along where I made the cut for the front part of the sheer layer so that both the front and back portions would be exactly the same length.

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Close-up of back part of sheer polyester layer beneath the two previously cut layers.

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Here is the dress after all three layers, the inner satin, and the two outer sheer polyester layers, have been completely cut.

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It’s lookin’ good, right? But, of course, it’s not finished.  The newly cut edges had to be sewn so they would not fray.

Step 7.

I double folded the edges of the dress.  All the way around, both the satin and the sheer polyester layers.  I started with the satin layer, but only took pictures of the sheer layer.  The process was exactly the same.

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Forming the first fold of both the satin inner and sheer polyester outer layers (sheer layer shown).

 

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Forming the second fold of both the satin inner and sheer polyester outer layers (sheer layer shown).

Step 8.

As I folded, I pinned the folds down with straight pins.

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Pinned Satin Inner Layer

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Pinned Sheer Polyester Outer Layer

 

Step 9.

I used a zig-zag stitch on both the satin and polyester layers to keep the edges from fraying.  Since I was on a time crunch, I wasn’t able to run to the store to get matching thread so I decided to use clear nylon thread instead.  It worked out just fine.

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Sewing the satin edge. Shows that pins were removed while sewing.

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Sewing the sheer polyester edge. Pins were removed as it was sewn, but are pictured here.

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Zig zag stitch on the satin inner layer.

The dress is complete!  It took three hours just to fold and pin the sheer polyester layer and an entire day to finish the project.

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Dakota’s face when I told her these pictures where going on the blog. LOL.

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Close-up of the edge of the hemmed bridesmaid dress.

 

You can see that the hemmed edge is not perfect, but also not bad for my second sewing project ever.  I wanted to correct my errors, but Dakota steadfastly told me, “No way.  You’re done.  They give the dress character.” LOL.  What she lacks in height, Dakota makes up for in attitude!

Until next time…  Happy sewing!

Itchinforsomestitchin.com

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How to Get Fray Check Out of Fabric

Don’t Let Dritz Fray Check Stains

Ruin Your Fabric!

How to Remove Drtiz Fray Check from Fabric. itchinforsomestitchin.com

 

If you are a seasoned sewer then you probably have a lot of experience with or have at least heard of Fray Check.  For beginning sewers or for those who simply don’t know what I am talking about, Fray Check is a liquid seam sealant distributed by Dritz that secures fabric ends and stops fabric from fraying.  It is colorless and is reported to withstand repeated washing and dry cleaning.

I discovered this fantastic product several months ago when my fiancé’s one year anniversary gift almost fell apart… literally.  It has saved my projects more than once since!  BUT…. yes, that’s a huge BUT, it comes with a big caveat.

If you are careless, rushing, the top pops off and it squirts on your fabric, etc…  your project could be in terrible trouble. This is because Fray Check stains.  It adheres to your fabric, which is its job, and despite the fact that it reportedly remains “invisible”, I have found that when it dries it looks like glue… and not the washable kind either.  Once dried it can be impossible to get out, but for some projects all is not lost.  Some Fray Check stains can be removed!  How, you may ask?  The answer is Alcohol and/or Acetone.

Let me share my experiment with you.

Step 1.

I smeared some Dritz Fray Check on a scrap piece of satin fabric and let it dry for 24 hours.

How to Remove Dritz Fray Check from Fabric. itchinforsomestitchin.com

I smeared Fray Check on satin fabric and let dry for 24 hours.

 

Step 2.

I applied rubbing alcohol to the stain using a cotton ball and let the alcohol dry.

NOTE:  Since I let the sealant dry for 24 hours it took repeating this step multiple times before any results could be seen.

How to Remove Dritz Fray Check Stains from Fabric. itchinforsomestitchin.com

I applied Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol to the Fray Check Stain.

How to Remove Dritz Fray Check from Fabric. itchinforsomestitchin.com

Let the alcohol dry.

Step 3. (if necessary)

Soaking the fabric in alcohol for extended periods of time may be necessary depending on the size of the stain and on how long it has been on the fabric.  I had to do this because I made a large stain (so it could be seen clearly in pictures) and let it dry overnight.

Soak Fray Check Stain in Alcohol to Remove. itchinforsomestitchin.com

Fabric may need to soak in alcohol for extended periods.

Step 4.  (optional)

Use Acetone, i.e., nail polish remover, if the stain still has not come out.

NOTE:  This step may or may not be necessary, again depending on the size of your stain and how long it has been on the fabric.  Alternatively, you can omit this step and continue to use alcohol or vice versa.

Use Acetone to Remove Dritz Fray Check from Fabric. itchinforsomestitchin.com

You may or may not choose to use acetone to help remove the Fray Check stain.

Results.

The Fray Check Stain has been removed!

Dritz Fray Check stain removed. itchinforsomestitchin.com

Fray Check stain is gone!

Are you amazed?  Frankly, so am I!  I must caution you, this experiment took me three days, a lot of soaking, and a lot of scrubbing with alcohol/acetone.  This is because the stain was quite large and I let it dry for a long time.  I did this for only for this experiment.  I pray that any Fray Check mishaps you may have are small and you catch them quickly.  The longer it sits and the larger it is, the harder it is to get out.

Tips

1.  Be very careful when handling Dritz Fray Check.  You only want to apply it in small amounts and just to the edge of the fabric where it is fraying.

2.  Put something under your fabric, especially if the fabric is thin, to protect the furnishings beneath it.  I like to use a piece of cardboard or construction paper.

3.  If you do get excess Fray Check on your fabric where you do not intend, catch it quickly!  Remove it with alcohol and/or acetone preferably BEFORE the Fray Check dries.

4.  Test the alcohol and/or acetone either on an inconspicuous area or on a scrap of your fabric before using it.  These  products are chemicals that may or may not affect the color and/or integrity of your fabric.

I have only used this Fray Check removal method on blue statin costume fabric.  Although I have not had any issues,  I cannot say if this method will work on all fabrics or how they may affect different fabrics so please use these chemicals with caution and at your own discretion.   If anyone knows of other methods to remove Dritz Fray Check from fabric please share!

In the meantime, I hope this post can help some of you who might be desperate for an answer to save your project from a Fray Check nightmare.

Good luck and happy sewing!

Itchinforsomestitchin.com

 

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