Friday, January 30, 2015

Stitch in the Ditch Foot: Video Part 16

Hi Everyone!  When I started my Video Series over a year and half ago featuring the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960, I never thought I would be on my 16th video!  I'm so happy that this series has been so helpful to many of you and grateful for all the kind comments and compliments.

The next special foot I'm sharing in this video is the Stitch in the Ditch foot.  This foot is another one of the special bonus feet that came along with the machine and is used in conjunction with the plastic shank/ankle.

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

3. Stitch in the Ditch Foot
4.  Fancy Trim Foot
6.  1/4" Foot and Quilting Bar
7.  Shank/Ankle

When I decided to demo this foot next in my video series, I thought, how can I make this very simple foot more interesting?  It only does one sewing operation.  Then I remembered  that The Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 comes with one foot that's designated as the Stitch in the Ditch Foot, but there's actually another foot that came with the machine that does this as well!  Several months back I did a review on the Blind Hem Foot, comparing the Singer version that came with the 9960 to my older model foot that came with my White ESP. The thing that I didn't like about the newer version of the Singer Blind Hem Foot is that it's missing the little toe that rides underneath the fabric as the machine stitches.  I've always found this to be an important part of the foot because it helps hold the fabric in place while stitching.  If you'd like to read my blog review and comparison of these two feet it's here.

In the blog I detail my experience by calling Singer with my concerns about the Singer Blind Hem Foot lacking the "toe extension". When Singer first told me that their intention with this "toe less" version of my favorite blind hem foot was to make it multi-functional, I was skeptical.  They felt by removing the "toe extension" the foot would work well for applique, blind hemming, and as a stitch in the ditch foot.  Now that I've tried this foot and compared it to the Singer Stitch in the Ditch Foot that came with the 9960 bonus feet, I get it! The Stitch in the Ditch Foot is fine for doing only that one operation. There's only a single hole in the center of the foot for sewing a straight stitch. With the Singer Blind Hem Foot/Multifunctional Foot, there are more stitching options. Unlike the Singer Stitch in the Ditch Foot, this foot works in conjunction with the metal shank/ankle that came with the machine.

Here are some of the advantages to using the Singer Blind Hem Foot as a Stitch in the Ditch Foot:

Demo #1  It's possible to set the needle in the left position while using the adjustable slide set to the center/ditch position, to do perfect edge stitching.

Demo #2  It's possible to use decorative stitches with this foot. Unlike the regular Singer Stitch in the Ditch Foot which has a single needle hole, this foot has a larger sewing hole width which allows it to accommodate wider stitch patterns. I will caution you that not all deco stitches work with this foot.  Foot B is used for most of the deco stitches because it has a depression on the underside of the foot so that the foot floats above the stitches without getting hung up.  I found that since the Singer Blind Hem Foot is flat on the bottom, that deco stitches with lots of back and forth motion didn't stitch as well.

Demo #3 It's possible to use this foot with a twin needle for top stitching.  The advantage to using this foot as compared to the Singer Stitch in the Ditch Foot is that you have adjust-ability. The slide bar allows you the option of placing the stitching line exactly where you want it. 

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read my blog and view my latest video.  I hope you'll give these feet a try and see what you can do with them.

Have a Happy Creative Day!


Friday, January 16, 2015

Braiding Foot and Guide: Video Part 15

Hi Everyone!  I'm back and with a New Video!

I just wanted to take a moment and thank all of those that joined my new FB Group, Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 Fans.  Thanks for sharing your wonderful projects, interacting to help others, and encouraging each other.  If you already own the Singer 9960 or are interested in learning more about this machine, you're invited to join us!

I also want to send out special Thanks to those of you that have email and messaged me recently.  It makes me so happy to read that you've found my videos so helpful and especially that you reached out and said so!  It means a lot to me!

This is Part 15 in my ongoing Video Series featuring the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960. The Braiding Foot is another one of the specialty feet that came along with the Singer 9960 as part of the value added bonus.

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

4.  Fancy Trim Foot
5.  Braiding Foot and Guide
6.  1/4" Foot and Quilting Bar
7.  Shank/Ankle

Braiding Foot, Shank and Guide

Shank Joined to the Braiding Foot and Guide Attached to the Back of the Shank

The Guide Attached to the Back of the Shank
"V" Shaped Channel on the Under Side of the Foot.

This is a brand new foot for me and my first time trying it. As with all the bonus feet, they work in conjunction with the plastic shank/ankle that came with the bonus foot collection. There's also a special guide that attaches to the back of the shank/ankle to help guide the braid or trim into the foot properly. (shown in picture #3) There is a large hole in the center front of the foot. (shown in picture #1) This large center hole is for threading the braid, cord or trim through, to hold it in place while the machine stitches it in place.  On the underside of the foot, there is a "V" shaped channel that helps guide the trim as it's stitched. (shown in picture #4) This channel also allows the foot to float easily over the trim as it's being stitched.

For my first video demo, I used black rat tail cording and stitched through the center of the trim with a contrasting color thread to make the demo more visible. Rat tail cording is a smooth rounded satin cording.  It's readily available by the yard and comes in a wide variety of shades. I used the same poly/cotton woven fabric that I use for all of my video demos, except this time, I added a fusible stabilizer to the back of the fabric. It's always a good idea to use stabilizer when adding dimensional trim. More on that later in my "tips" section.

In my second demo, I showed how to use a zigzag stitch over the rat tail cording.  You don't have to stop there, since the Singer 9960 has a wonderful assortment of decorative stitches that can be used with this foot to add trim for even more of an embellished look. For my last demo, I used stitch #24, the blanket stitch to stitch on the braiding/cording.  Make sure when using any stitch that stitches over the braiding/cording, that you secure the ends.  Otherwise, it can be pulled out of the stitches easily.

L-R   #24 Blanket Stitch, Zigzag Stitch, Straight Stitch 4.0 length

Be fearless and play with your decorative stitches. Try contrasting threads with different braids and cording. The important thing to remember is to make sure the stitch width is able to clear the trim manually and you're good to go!

Tips for adding trims:

1.  Add Interfacing or stabilizer to the area:  When adding trims to a project, it's helpful to add interfacing or stabilizer to the area.   By making the area a little firmer, the stabilizer acts as support system for the trim whether it be beads, braid, embroidery, or any other dimensional trim.

2.  Match your trim to your fabric:  It's important not to add heavy weight trim to a very light weight fabrication. This is important when working with very light weight or sheer fabrication.  This is why many times in RTW fashion, we will see seed beads sprinkled on these garments as embellishment.  You wouldn't want to add heavy beads or trims that may distort the fabric and possibly risk damaging the fabric by weighting it down.

3.  Consider your print when choosing trim:  If you have a very busy bold print, your trim should complement the fabric, not compete with it.  It's best to choose a solid colored trim or embellishment.

4.  Replace sewing machine needle:  Do yourself a favor, and put in a new sewing machine needle before you start. The size of the needle will depend on the trim being stitched.  Use a new sharp point needle so it pierces through the trim without getting hung up or caught. 

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read my blog and view my latest video.

Have a Happy Creative Day!


Saturday, December 27, 2014

NEW FB Group!!

Hi Everyone!  Happy New Year.....almost!
I have some exciting news to share.  I finally started my own Facebook Group for those of us that Own, Use and LOVE the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960!  Yes, after many months of thinking about it, and "gentle messages" from many of you, I finally did it!  This is the perfect place to discuss the Singer 9960, ask questions and show off your 9960 makes and wears.

The group is called the "Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 Fans".  It's a closed group so we can keep everything as private as possible which is what most people prefer.  If you're interested in joining, send me an email and I will happily send you an invitation.

Many Singer sewing machines have the same feet, functions, and features, so my video's may be helpful to those that own other later model Singers.  I didn't want to exclude anyone, so even if you don't have the Singer 9960 but want to participate in the group, you're in.  Especially, if you're interested in possibly purchasing this machine.  You will be able to ask questions to actual Singer 9960 owners and that will help you make your decision if this is the right machine for You.

So into 2015 we go, using technology to learn, connect and share.  I will be continuing my Singer 9960 video series and possibly adding a new machine??  Wishing you ALL a Happy Healthy New Year!!

As always, Have a Happy Creative Day.

Monday, December 8, 2014

You Asked ~ SMF Tells: December 8, 2014

Hi Everyone! So many questions have been coming in that I decided to bring back my Question and Answer weekly segment.  Thanks for all the questions.  Please keep them coming.

You Asked:
Will you be making more videos on the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960?  I'm interested in learning more about the machine and all special feet that came with the 9960.

SMF Tells:
Yes!  I case you missed it, last week I added a new specialty foot video, the Welt Cording Foot:   Video Part 14.  I do have more videos in the works for not only the Singer 9960, but also for the Singer Pro Finish Serger.  I may also be planning to add another machine video series soon!  Stay tuned.

You Asked:
Do I really need a serger?  I keep reading about how wonderful they are and I think I'd like to invest in one.  How will it benefit me?

SMF Tells:
It's important for you to assess your sewing needs and what fabrics you like to sew with before investing in a serger.  If you want to venture into sewing with knits, or have been unsatisfied with sewing knits on your conventional sewing machine, you may want to consider a serger/overlock machine. Sergers/overlock machines cut and sew all in one operation so they shorten your construction time immensely.  They're the perfect machine to sew knits because the stitches stretch with the fabric.  This insures strong seams that will give and not pop like a conventional machine may.  These machines also finish off woven fabric seam edges neatly and prevent them from raveling. There are many different brands and price points for serger/overlock machines on the retail market.  There are even machines that have self thread features.  Do your research and read reviews to insure getting the machine with the features you need and want. If you're interested in seeing the Singer Pro Finish Serger in action to get an idea if this type of machine interests you, please check out my Video here.  

You Asked:
What is a cover stitch and do I need a machine that produces this stitch?  Do all sergers/overlock machines include this stitch?

SMF Tells:
A cover stitch is generally used when hemming knitted fabrics.  There are both double and triple needle cover stitch options.  What makes this stitch perfect for hemming knit's is that it stretches with the fabric.  Many sergers/overlock are combo machines that offer both overlock and cover stitch options, however not all sergers offer both.  Switching from stitch to stitch should be an easy operation, however I own a separate cover stitch machine set up at all times to make the hemming process quicker.

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. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

NEW Pantone 2015 Color of the Year

It's that time of year!  The color forecasters are at it again......The Pantone 2015 Color of the year was announced and it's a beautiful color.  The name of the color is Marsala.

Pantone describes this shade as Warm, Comforting Booze.  I agree, and would further describe it as a warm rich shade of burgundy/brown.  Almost a cool coppery hue.  Sort of a departure from last years Radiant Orchid shade.  I'm not usually one who follows the color trends because prefer to wear colors that look great on me, however I will give this color a shot.  

Seeing the new color of the year, Marsala, made me excited about the new 2015 Spring color palette.  This palette definitely "Strikes My Fancy".  I'm a blue gal and the three blues are all beautiful.  Very wearable for me! All the others are pretty also, but to me not quite pastels as Pantone describes them.

I'm happy to say that I have a few nice pieces of fabric in these color already in my stash.  Of course, that won't deter me from "adding" to my stash with more. At first I thought the Marsala didn't really blend well with the other soft shades and had a "what were they thinking" moment.  But on further inspection, I love the way the Toasted Almond and Glacier Gray work with the Marsala. It will be interesting to see how this color is transitioned into fabric, yarns and trims in the upcoming months.

Have a Happy Creative Day!!