Thursday, 18 August 2011

Guest Blogger - Redneedle Sewing - Free Motion Embroidery

Today is a special day as I have a guest bIogger!  Caroline from Redneedle Sewing has kindly agreed to do a post on Free Motion Embroidery - her work is amazing and I'm asolutely delighted to have her feature on my blog today.  Happy Reading and Thanks again to Caroline.
I was absolutely thrilled and yes a bit surprised when Keri asked me to do this guest blog. I have so enjoyed her machine feet tutorials and have found them genuinely interesting and helpful. So I was flattered when she asked me to talk about the darning/embroidery foot and how it can be used for Free Motion Embroidery (FME).
First of all ladies I must let you know that I am no expert, just someone who has discovered FME in the last 12 months and has so enjoyed experimenting with it.  I’m still learning and so far have really only used it for fabric collages and raw edge appliqué, although I’m beginning to dip my toe into a little ‘free motion artistry’ as the scraps of fabric at my feet are testamount. That’s the first thing make sure you practice, practice, practice.
You do not need a super duper multi-functional modern technical machine to do FME. Your machine needs to have a drop feed facility, where at the flick of a switch or pull of a lever you can lower the feed teeth on the machine. Or if you’re like me with my trusty old Singer I have a little plastic feed cover that I can place over the teeth. Whichever method you use will prevent the teeth from gripping the fabric and allows you to pull your fabric this way and that to your heart’s content. Your instruction manual should explain more.

Darning/Embroidery foot
Obviously choose the one that is going to fit your make of machine. I know some people don’t like to use a foot (more of that later). I do because it helps to ‘hold’ the fabric a bit and I feel it gives me more control. I have two feet. I thought I would prefer the transparent foot but actually it’s the other that provides better visibility of my work as I’m sewing along.

Taut fabric.
You will get the best results from FME by keeping your fabric taut, I have experimented with a variety of ways.
a)      Embroidery hoops
Ensure the tension is spread equally over the fabric and allows you to move your work around more easily as you sew also ensures your fingers don’t get too close to that needle. I used this method when making my cosies. However if using a small hoop the embroidery foot can limit you in terms of space and it might be best to dispense with it altogether in this case.
b)      Stabiliser.
Ironing interfacing to the back of your fabric provides a really good stabiliser and it eliminates the need for an embroidery hoop. It can be a little more tricky to move around but you soon get the hang of it. I’ve been using this method to make my needle cases.

If your fabric has quite a tight weave you may feel confident enough to just go for it without a stabiliser or embroidery hoop.
Whichever method you choose be aware that there will be much sticking out of tongue as you merrily sew away.
Actually doing the sewing bit.
Now this does take practice.
Attach your foot to the machine.

Make sure your stitch length is set to zero and stitch width is on running/straight stitch (to start off with anyway, you may wish to experiment with stitch width as you become more confident and you want to play with the types of effects you can achieve)
Tension, I set mine to about 3 or 4, but this will change according to your machine and the kind of fabric you are using, practice on scraps first to get the feel of it.
Drop or cover your feed teeth.

Position your fabric at the place you wish to start and draw the bobbin thread through to the front of your work.
and sew........
It takes some getting used to the fact that you can pull your fabric this way and that but it is so liberating and most of all great fun. You will achieve the best results if you keep an even, quite fast pace on the throttle whilst moving your work around slowly. Think of it as drawing a picture with your needle. If you like neat rows of stitching this may not be for you as I think the more messy the stitching is with this technique, the more pleasing the effect. When you’re feeling really brave you can try writing with your needle – now that IS fun!
Please remember to keep your fingers away from the needle using this technique, use a seam ripper or such like to hold the fabric down close to the needle not your precious digits.

You should get some pleasing results.

Good luck, it would be great to hear from any of you about any tips you may have or just thoughts about FME in general. Enjoy it!
So.....have fun, hopefully Caroline has inspired you as she did me (I've got about 10 half done projects on the go)!
Happy Sewing

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Dress to Impress

As promised here finally are the pictures of the Simplicity Dress that I made for myself.  I've previously made a wrap dress for myself so perhaps it was a bit of a challenge to make a full on bodice dress but hey ho I had the support of my sewing teacher so here goes!

I used about 2m of lining and outer fabric and 2m of boning.  I searched for ages for Navy lace which is what I really wanted but couldn't find any so then set of on a mission to find any nice Navy fabric and ended up with dress lining that had a chevron pattern on it and was a real bargain.  All in all the dress worked out at about £7.50 as the pattern came free with my magazine subscription.

That's me for tonight, off to finish some more of my order from the playgroup sale, busy busy.


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Diamond Day

Today is a very special day, it's my Nan and Grandad's Diamond Wedding Anniversary.    I found an amazing lady who hand paints glass at one of the craft fairs I have done lately.  Mollie Cherry (aka GlassGran) is very talented and has painted this beautiful vase for them with their wedding dates on.  I bet they are going to love it and Bella has picked some lovely flowers to go in it for them. 


I thought this seemed like a good opportunity to practice some more FME and created this little memento for them.

We are also having a big family party (we counted about 150 people when we were planning the invitations) which gives me the chance to wear this little dress that I made in Sewing Class from this pattern (pics to follow) and Bella will be wearing the Sewn With Love Dress that I also made.   A real handmade day!

I'm off now to see two special people who have been together for 60 years, wow!


Monday, 1 August 2011

Summer Sunshine

Bella and I took advantage of the lovely Summer Sunshine this weekend to create a whole load of new hairclips - lots of bright fresh summer colours - 100 all in all so I have a little bit of work to do in order to get them all onto cards ready for selling this weekend! 

I've decided to do some little sets too, packaging 3 for £2.75 as a special Summer offer.

Minnie and Mickey Sets
 Summer Red Sets
 Hello Kitty Sets
 Summer Fun Sets
 And then some fun Sparkly ones beginning to think about Christmas.
Better sign off now and go mount these clips onto card!

Happy Sewing


Party Fun

I've been so busy getting ready for fairs and sewing for friends babies that I've not had chance to post about my fun party invites.  We are having a party in September and I wanted to do something creative invitation wise.  Myself and a friend were experimenting with the monogram function on my new Janome and made some mini bunting for her Brother's Birthday cake which gave me this idea

Cue LOTS and LOTS of miniature triangles a little bit of crazy stitching using the decorative stitches and 25 invites later we're done! Phew!


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