Friday, July 18, 2014

DIY Ceiling Fan Renovation!!

Hi Everyone!  In an effort to save some money we decided to give the ceiling fans in our Florida Room an updated appearance.  Believe it or not, they were once a bright white when installed.  Over time, they've yellowed and now look old and dingy even though they still work perfectly.  The blades are in perfect condition and only needed a little wipe down with a Magic Eraser.  Boy what a lifesaver those things are for cleaning so many things around the house.

 Here's a "before" pic:

Notice how the fan arms, wiring housing and top cover look yellow.  Even the pull handle got a spritz of paint. The blades are still white even though this is before they were cleaned.  They look even better now.  I added a coat of furniture polish to the blades after they were cleaned to make them slick.  Make sure to wipe down any parts being painted to make sure they're dust free and clean.  The paint will stick better if the parts are smooth and clean.

So, we were off to Home Depot to purchase a can of appliance paint.  It's a product made by Rust-oleum especially made for painting appliances.

Here's a pic of the old fan arm on the left and the repainted fan arm on the right.  What a HUGE difference, huh??

The paint gives a little bit of shine to the metal surfaces and dries quickly with minimum smell. This was a concern because part of the fan was spray painted inside our home.  It required some taping off of the areas where we didn't want the paint and some cardboard held up to block off the over spray.

The rest of the pieces were all spray painted outside and dried quickly.  Luckily, even though this is the rainy season here in Sunny Florida, we had a great sunny day for this simple makeover project.

Other than a screw driver to disassemble the pieces of the fan, there were no other tools required.  This project took only minimal time and money.  We actually purchased 2 cans of paint, but will be returning one can because both of our fans were refurbished with only 1 can.  WOOT!!

Here's the finished ceiling fan:

There it is:  All fresh, clean and updated!  It only cost a few dollars for the can of spray paint. Add to that some time to disassemble and reassemble the ceiling fan and it looks like a brand new fan.  How's that for a simple, inexpensive DIY project.

Have a Happy Creative Day!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Fitting Series 1st Anniversary!!

Happy Memorial Day Everyone!!  It's a Proud moment for Me, Friends!!  One year ago today, on Memorial Day, I posted the first edition in my 8 week series on pattern fitting.  "My Approach to Pattern Fitting", was a series I wrote and produced especially for those that have struggled with fitting patterns for themselves.  This series has been enjoyed by many and has inspired countless questions and comments.   For those of you that are new to my blog, and are interested in my approach, please check it out.  I have created a separate page tab here on my blog so you can access and read the posts easily instead of digging back in my archives.  Enjoy and have a Happy Creative Day!!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Adjustable Binding Foot: Video Part 13

Hi Everyone!  For those of us that own, love and are using the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 and want to explore the "value added bonus feet" that came with this machine, here we go!  I will be starting with the most requested foot, The Adjustable Binding Foot.

Here's a list of the bonus feet that came along with this machine:

1. Adjustable Binding Foot
2. Welt Cording Foot
3. Stitch in the Ditch Foot
4.  Fancy Trim Foot
5.  Braiding Foot and Guide
6.  Shank/Ankle 

I know many of you have asked and have been waiting for this!!  Finally, I got it DONE! The Adjustable Binding Foot Review is here and with a video too.  I understand why so many of you were interested in seeing this foot in action.

There are no written instructions in the manual for this foot or any of the other "value added bonus feet" that came with the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960.  I've never used a foot like this before, so this was new for me too.  I have to say, it was pretty cool to explore, and think it's a nice foot to have.  The foot itself is very unique.  There is an adjustable channel in the center of the foot which holds the fabric and binding together as it's being sewn along.  This foot can be used for applying binding in a variety of widths by adjusting the screw set, however I only practiced and demoed 1/4" binding.

There are 2 adjustable screw sets on this foot:

1.  There is a vertical sliding screw set on the front right side of the foot which adjusts the width of the channel for the binding to ride inside.  By turning the sew set in the clockwise direction, or away from you, the channel increases.  By turning the screw set in the opposite direction, the channel decreases.  The foot has marking on the channel to accommodate 1/4", 1/2" and 3/4" bindings with the machine needle set to the center position.

2.  There is also another horizontal screw set adjustment on the back part of the foot. This is an additional adjustment to help position your binding more accurately.

Installing the Adjustable Binding Foot:

The first thing you need to know is that this foot is attached to the machine with the special plastic shank that came with this bonus foot collection.  The foot slides onto the shank from front to back, it's not a snap on foot.  It won't work with the shank that's used with the standard accessories.  It's easy enough to attach and disconnect, but please be gentle.  The shank IS after all, plastic.  Make sure not to over tighten the  shank to the machine, either.  Check for proper alignment by making sure the shank is centered to the needle.

Set your machine needle to the left position.  Adjust the stitch length slightly longer than default.  Keep in mind that the binding itself is 4 layers of fabric and then adding 1 or 2 layers of fabric to bind creates a thick seam.  A longer stitch length will help the combination glide through the machine more easily.

Adjust the front vertical screw set to the width of the binding being attached.  Attach the foot to the shank of the machine.  Adjust the back screw set to align the needle properly with the edge being sewn slightly to the right of the edge of the binding.  Start by wrapping the binding around your fabric edge.

Insert the fabric and binding into the channel making sure the binding is positioned neatly around the edge of the fabric.  Start to sew.  Re position the binding onto your fabric as you move along slowly.  I chose to do the demo with a straight stitch, however a zigzag stitch can also be used.

Tips for attaching binding:

Sewing binding on a straight edge cut on the straight grain is easy.  It's helpful to keep the binding a little taunt while sewing to achieve smooth results.  Attaching binding to a curved surface whether it be an inside curve or an outside curve can be challenging.

Inside Curve:  When applying binding to an inside curve, it's helpful to hold the binding more tautly, easing less binding into the curve.  If the binding is sewn onto and inward curve with too much ease, it may cause the bound edge to wrinkle and not be smooth.

Outside Curve:  When applying binding to an outside curve, it's helpful to allow the binding to ease around the curve giving more flexibility to the outer most edge.  If pulled too tightly on an outside curve, the binding can collapse and the edge will roll inward.

I hope all of you that have commented on my YouTube Channel regarding instruction and demo on the particular foot will find this information helpful.  I think I've shown that this foot is easy to use and can be very useful in many applications.

Have a Happy Creative Day!!


Monday, May 19, 2014

You Asked ~ SMF Tells: May 19, 2014

Hi Everyone!  Happy Monday.  It's Question and Answer time again.  Here we go....

You Asked:
I'm interested in purchasing the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960.  I would like to use it to sew heavy canvas for a business I'm starting.  Do you think this is a good machine for this purpose?

SMF Tells:
No, I don't.  This machine is designed for home use and I don't feel it's made to sew very heavy fabrications.  A better choice would be a good quality industrial machine for business purposes.

You Asked:
I volunteered to sew on buttons to help with my daughter's school class project.  I didn't realize at the time that they would be so much work and sewing each one by hand has become overwhelming.  Is there a way to sew on these button using my machine?

SMF Tells:
Yes, there is a foot called the "Button Foot" designed for this purpose.  Most newer machines come with this foot and is considered part of the standard accessories.  If not, they are readily available for purchase for your brand machine. I've done a video of this exact foot to guide you in attaching the foot to your machine, setting up your machine stitch to use this foot and show you how it works.  It makes attaching buttons so much faster with professional results.

You Asked:
I'm a crafter and I've noticed many projects being sewn out of Burlap these days.  I love the look of the items I've seen made with it, but I'm afraid to sew with it on my machine.  Is it easy to work with?

SMF Tells:
Burlap seems to be the fabrication of choice for many craft and embroidery projects.  It's not hard to work with at all. It does tend to be on the "messy" side because it causes lots of little fibers to be everywhere especially inside your machine after sewing with it.  I suggest you do a test on your machine with a new sharp needle and a lengthened stitch.  If you don't have any issues, proceed with your project carefully.  Make sure to clean your machine periodically while sewing your project to keep your machine in good working order.  If you're interested in seeing what others are doing with Burlap, please check out my Burlap Pinterest Board to see lots of creative ideas!

Thanks again for all the support of my Question and Answer blog feature. We all learn by asking questions, so don't be shy!! Please keep all the great questions coming.

Have a Happy Creative Day!!


DISCLAIMER:  All of my advice is given as my own opinion from my professional experience as a Fashion Designer, Textile Drafter, and Production Pattern Maker.  Keep in mind that there's more than one way to approach any sewing technique, sewing equipment, or construction process. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

You Asked ~ SMF Tells: May 12, 2014

Happy Monday Everyone!  Something very interesting happened this week and I thought I would share it with my readers.  In my segment last week, I answered a question sent to me from one of my readers about top stitching.  That question has inspired yet another question from another reader on the same topic.  I thought it was great,  reading one question here brought another question and an interest in learning more.  Thanks!!

You Asked:
Last week I read your question and answer about top stitching.  Could you share an easy method for making my stitching straighter and more uniform looking?

SMF Tells:
Use a seam guide!  It's not always easy to guide your fabric through the machine right along the edge to achieve a nice clean top stitch.  There are many accessories and implements to help with this job.  My favorite is a magnetic seam guide.  It attaches by magnet right to your sewing machines throat plate and your fabric just rides along next to the guide holding it in position.  I used it for years and years on my mechanical machine because that machine didn't have a numbered throat plate. On my computerized machines, I use a seam guide that screws to the throat plate of the machine for this purpose.  I've read both pros and cons about using a magnetic seam guides  so I don't recommend using them on electronic or computerized machines.

You could also use a double needle in combination with a seam guide for an even more professional appearance.

This is an older seam guide I own.  They are still available if you're interested.  Prym Dritz Seam Guide.

Here it is attached to my machine.

This guide came with my machine and attaches easily with a screw.

You Asked:
Why does my sleeve always seem so much larger than my arm hole?  How do I ease in all this extra fabric?

The ease is there to accommodate your shoulder and bicep. If the armhole of the garment fits you properly, it's perfectly fine to remove some of this fullness along the center of the sleeve. Only do so if you've measured the sleeve and it fits properly.  When easing in a sleeve, run a long machine basting stitch along the seam line of the sleeve cap. Gently pull the bobbin thread in smoothly as you fit and pin the sleeve into place. Make sure to match "dots" and "notches" so your sleeve will be inserted in position.

You Asked:
I just purchased a serger and I'm having a terrible time adjusting the tension to get a nice stitch.  Why does it seem that when I change the tension dials, it has no effect on the stitch?  I'm so frustrated.

SMF Tells:
The most common cause of this issue is that the thread isn't passing through the tension disks properly.  The first thing to do when threading the machine is to set all the tension dials to -0-.  Make sure to lift your presser foot to release the tension in the machine.  If the thread isn't down into the disks firmly, changing the dials will have no effect on the stitch tension.  I show how to properly thread a serger in my Video Part 1:  Serger Basics.

Thanks again for all the support of my new blog feature and for being inspired by a question someone asked!  We all learn by asking questions, so don't be shy!! Please keep all the great questions coming.

Have a Happy Creative Day!!


DISCLAIMER:  All of my advice is given as my own opinion from my professional experience as a Fashion Designer, Textile Drafter, and Production Pattern Maker.  Keep in mind that there's more than one way to approach any sewing technique, sewing equipment, or construction process.