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 inspections, 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!!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Welt Cording Foot: Video Part 14

Hi Everyone!  It's been a while, a long while.  Life happens and unfortunately spending time blogging and making videos just wasn't in the cards for a little while.  I appreciate all the continued support of my YouTube Channel since taking a break.  WOW!  Almost 1200 subscribers!  Thanks for all the comments, messages, and kind emails!   I know you all want more, and I will always do my best to bring more and answer questions. 

Thank You ALL so much for the Amazing response to my last video, Part 13 on the Adjustable Binding Foot!!  I appreciate all your patience and gentle "reminders" for me to do a review on that foot specifically.  I hope if you've given it a try, you're as impressed as I was.  If not, get it out and give it a go!  Now moving on to the next specialty foot that came with the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960.

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

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

The Welt Cording Foot is a specialty foot that I've used before on a project and I've blogged about in a review here, "The Right Foot for the Job".  I thought it was important to add a video now to give you a more realistic view of how to use this foot.  The first review of this foot was done on the Singer Quantum L-500.  However, this video and demo is a continuation of my video series featuring the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960. 

In order to use this foot and attach it to the 9960, it must be joined to the special shank/ankle that came with the bonus foot package shown in the first picture above.  The second picture shows the channel on the bottom of the foot which makes this foot unique.  This channel rides on top of the cording wrapped in bias fabric.  It enables the needle to stitch close to the edge of the cording. The result is perfect cording for your projects!

There are two parts needed to create welting or piping.  The first component is a cord to cover with fabric.  Stores sell a variety of sizes of cording from very thin to heavier depending on what your end use may be.  You can cover any type of cording, but the standard cording looks like the natural colored one on the bottom of the next picture.  The black cording pictured on top, is what I used for my demo.

The second component needed to create piping is bias cut fabric to cover the cording.  In the next picture is the same white poly/cotton woven blend I use for all my demos cut into bias strips.

For this video demo, I covered black cording with white bias fabric to create the piping. This was to make it easier for you to see the components I was using for the demo.  If you're interested in creating your own continuous bias for piping, binding or cording, I've written a Picture Tutorial:  Creating Continuous Bias.  This tutorial will show you the step by step process for making any width bias needed for a project simply and easily, even with small scraps of fabric.

The process of creating piping or welting is easy.  Install the special shank/ankle onto the 9960.  Snap on the welt cording foot onto the shank/ankle. Wrap the bias cut fabric firmly around the cording and then place the cording under the foot inside the groove.  The raw edges of the fabric should be on the right side.  Now stitch guiding the fabric wrapped cording underneath the foot.  That's it!  Simple, easy professional looking piping.

Here's a picture of the finished piping.  Notice how even and smooth it looks.  That's thanks to this fantastic Welt/Cording Foot!

I hope you'll try this foot out and see how easy it makes creating piping for one of your projects!
Have a Happy Creative Day!



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!!