Sneak Peek and a Delivery

Just a pop in to say “Hello”. I have several projects going on right now and have been hopping back and forth from one to the other. It keeps things more interesting but now I have no completed projects to talk about this week! Here is a little sneak peek of what I am working on though.

A Little Selfish Sewing.

sp3

Some little boy sewing

sp 2

Some practice sewing

sp1

and a new sew-along.

sp4

I have a few more projects I am so excited to start that my already large pile of unfinished garments might just keep getting bigger!

Oh, and I also got a fun package in the mail yesterday.

hypernoodle order

Wooo hoooo! New Fabric!

fabric stack

They were shipped so perfectly folded I almost hated to wash them.

FABRIC CIRCLE

I can’t wait to find the perfect project for these little beauties!

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Chevron Tutorial

matching up chevronsI have owned the yellow chevron fabric used in my last post for a few months now. I knew I wanted to make Peek-a-boo’s Sailor Shorts with it but I was very intimidated by having to match up the chevrons at the seams. I finally decided to just go ahead and do it. I created this method as I went along and it worked out great! I am pretty excited about it. Here are my finished shorts.

chevron short

I also made another pair reversing the fabrics. It was a lot less time consuming!

polka short

So here is the method I came up with.

First, I cut out a pattern piece. Then, using a fabric marker and ruler, I measured and marked off the seam allowance.

draw seam allowance

I then pinned back the seam allowance.

pin back seam allowance

Using the pinned edge, I matched up the chevrons on my fabric.

match up chevrons

Using the fabric marker, I then drew a line to mark that edge.

draw line at matched up chevrons

I measured out and drew a second line for the seam allowance.

draw a second line for seam allowance

I used the new line for placing the corresponding edge of my next pattern piece.line up your next pattern piece

I cut the new pattern piece out, pinned back my edges, and lined up and pinned them to their matching piece. I did this with all my short panels in order to easily keep track of which piece matched which.

pin pieces together

I knew I would have no control over the seam connecting the right edge of my first panel and the left edge of the last panel. It was close enough for me that I was able to fudge it. One option to adjust would be shortening or lengthening the seam allowance a little bit. I found I had to lower the left panel a little bit. It was a small enough of a difference (1/4″) that it went unnoticed once the waist band and cuffs were attached.

fudging final piece

The pinning of the seam allowances created creases.

pinning caused creases

The creases provided guides for placing my stitches.

used crease as guide

I think ironing the seam allowances instead of pinning may be more effective. If I get brave and want to try another pair of chevron shorts, I will do that instead. I think it will make a better seam placement guide.

Here are the finished shorts again on my girls last weekend.

sweet sisters

walking through the flowershugs in the flower

Shirring on a Brother LB-6800

pinThere are a lot of great shirring tutorials out there but I had a lot of issues getting my Brother LB-6800 to shirr. I pieced together a few tutorials I found online and came up with this. It works well for my machine. I do not have experience shirring on any other machines but hopefully this information will be of use to others who own a LB-6800 or a similar Brother.

First, I prepped my fabric. I used this tutorial incorporating CKC’s Faith pattern. That is the same pattern I used in the recent sew-along.

fabric ready for shirringThen, I removed the flat bed attachment and the needle plate cover.

removing bobbin case cover

And pulled out the bobbin case. Please ignore my dirty machine!

removing bobbin case

Next, you need to tighten the green flat head screw (not the Phillips head screw). You will need an eyeglass kit sized screwdriver.

screw to tighten bobbin

The elastic thread goes in the bobbin and normal thread goes on top. Machine wind the bobbin with the elastic thread. I used Sewology’s elastic thread from Hobby Lobby. Most shirring tutorials call for hand winding the bobbin but that is not necessary with this machine.

thread bobbin on machine

Hand thread the bobbin through the tension adjustment spring by slipping the bobbin thread through the notch while the bobbin case is removed from the machine. The arrow below indicates the correct notch.

bobbin case notch step 1

Pull elastic thread to the left in the direction indicated by the arrow. The thread should look like this below.

bobbin case notch step 2

Don’t worry about the tension of the thread wound on the bobbin. If the elastic thread was wound too tightly around the bobbin, it may cause the bobbin case to spin. If it spins, don’t worry, just make sure the elastic thread is still correctly wound around the bobbin. The tension is created when it is threaded properly through the tension adjustment spring in the bobbin case and the screw is adequately tightened.

Replace the bobbin case. To finalize prepping the machine for shirring, follow these steps:

1. Make sure you have a long tail on the bobbin thread and turn the wheel while holding the upper thread.

2. The upper thread will then catch the lower elastic thread.

3. Pull the elastic thread up through the machine.

4. Both the upper and lower threads should be visible on top of the plate.

pulling thread up from bobbin case

Replace your needle plate cover.

I suggest you test a few lines of shirring on a piece of scrap fabric first to check if the bobbin case tension is set correctly. Here is my test strip. Looks good to me!

practice shirr

A few important things to know when shirring:

Remember to back stitch at the beginning and end of each section.

Use a regular straight stitch (I used a stitch length of 2.5 and my tension was at 3.)

Sew with fabric right side up so the elastic thread is on the inside of the garment.

Don’t use the thread cutter on the machine if you have one. Pull the thread away from the machine and cut it manually. Otherwise, you will have to re-catch the bobbin thread at the beginning of each new row.

pulling thread out to cut

Make sure you flatten out the fabric as you sew.

flatten out before stitching

Hit it with steam when you are done! This is one of my favorite things about shirring. When you steam it, it shrinks right before your eyes!

I steamed the bottom one only for comparison.

after steam

I found my elastic thread wasn’t holding occasionally with back stitching. To fix it, I pulled a few stitches out in order to have a tie-able length of elastic thread and re-stitched it in the spot where it came loose. I then tied the elastic thread ends together – also a great solution when you run out of bobbin thread mid-line!

I finally decided to knot the ends of the elastic thread at the end of each line to prevent problems with the backstitch not holding.

knots

Don’t forget to readjust you tension on the bobbin case when you are done!

Here are a few images of my girls wearing the finished tops.

Naomi in shirred top maya in shirred topThe shorts they are wearing (and matching up chevrons at the seams) will be discussed in a post coming soon!

My New Sewing Nook

I finally did it! I set up my sewing nook. It is still lacking personality. I haven’t gotten around to painting the upstairs yet but the functionality is there and I am so excited!

You can look at my previous post to see the before photos.

Here is what it looks like now!

finished sewing area

Here is my desk area with lots of room in the future for a serger and an embroidery machine upgrade!

desk

And my cutting table.

cutting table

Wow. I could barely find room for my fabrics before and now look at all that storage space. Oh, how I cant wait to fill it!

I even justified buying this cart I have been eyeing for months as my “current projects” storage.

project rolling cart

I had way too much fun on my Ikea trip…

hanging buckets black and white metal bins magnet bar

So I had to go to Joann’s and top it off with a spool holder and some new fabric.

threadfabrics joanns

Scrap Buster – Piecing together your own fabric from scraps

quilted fabric closeI have only been sewing for about six months and already I have a LOT of fabric scraps. I really love buying fabric but I have been feeling guilty about how much I have been spending. Then it hit me, make fabric from your scraps! I am sure I am not the first to come up with the idea but I was pretty proud of myself for saving a few bucks on fabric. I am so pleased with the results I think I will do it again soon!

quilted fabricI cut 4 x 4 squares out of some of the fabric scraps I thought would complement each other and sewed them together like a simple block quilt top.

I actually sewed together the scraps a few weeks before I decided what to use them for. As soon as I saw the E&E Bubble Pocket Shorts pattern, I knew that was what I wanted to use them for. I didn’t piece together quite enough yardage for the pattern but I still had plenty of larger scraps left for the pockets, tie, and cuffs.

N's Shorts

M's Shorts

I let each of my girls pick their own scraps for the extra needed yardage so they felt like they got to be a part of the process. It also helps tell whose pair of shorts is whose because I have to make Naomi’s slimmer then Maya’s.

girls dancing

hugs

They seem to like them as much as I do and immediately filled those gigantic pockets up with their little treasures.

maya in e&e patchwork shorts