Homemade Food Wrap

More Christmas presents.  This time some safe, re-usable food wrap.  I’m going to be making some round versions to cover food in glass bowls in the fridge and I’m also going to be making some food wrap that can be used to wrap sandwiches.

WARNING: if you are making these during the summer, close your windows and doors prior to melting any beeswax.  Bees are attracted to the smell of beeswax (ask me how I know)!!!  I should have thought about it a bit more as I have looked into keeping bees and have several books on the subject and the thought of getting a free swarm of bees by putting beeswax around the ‘door’ on the beehive has always appealed to me.  A memo to self: think things through.  (Fortunately my hubbie came home for lunch at just the right time to save me.  I know, a bit pathetic and girlie, but there were far more of them than me and maybe bee keeping wouldn’t be the best thing for me, after all.)

So back to the task in hand.  This food wrap is made from safe, natural products.  They can be hand washed in cold water.  All you need to make food wrap is some cotton fabric, some pinking shears, a baking sheet, some grease-proof paper and some beeswax.  I bought my beeswax in a pellet form but if you can only find a block of it, you’ll need to grate it.  You’ll also need access to either an iron or an oven.

So, for the bowl covers you first need a template.  Turn your bowl/ dish that you need a lid for upside down on some paper and draw around it.  Then draw around the whole shape again but at least five centimetres further out.  Cut this template out and pin it (or use weights) to some nice cotton fabric and cut the shape out with pinking shears.  As you can probably tell, I didn’t use a template and had my usual problems with inaccurate measuring and cutting.

Place some grease-proof paper onto a baking sheet and put your fabric on it.  Sprinkle beeswax sparingly onto the fabric.  Then either put another sheet of grease-proof paper on top and iron it or put the baking sheet in the oven at about 110°c for ten minutes or until the beeswax has melted.  If you have any patches without beeswax, just repeat until the fabric is covered.

Once cooled the fabric is pliable but stays put when folded over the top of your container.

The sandwich wraps are made in exactly the same way except that you need to be able to wrap them around a sandwich instead of making them bowl shaped.  I experimented using a piece of paper (and a sandwich) to make sure my fabric would fit around my sandwich leaving no gaps. Amazingly these do not seem to open when you don’t want them to, but to make sure you could put a button and loop on them.

I am secretly very pleased with how these turned out and will be making more for myself and my family.

Mug Rugs

It’s that time of year again when I start to think about making Christmas presents.  I like to be organized.  Last year I wasn’t, as we went to visit our son and my brother in New Zealand for a month and ended up having about two weeks to sort Christmas and, frankly, that’s not for me.

So, I’m starting my first presents today and I’ve decided on some mug rugs or coasters.  I’m not sure where I got the idea from initially but they really appealed to me as they are basically just mini quilts.  I love making quilts and a mug rug miniature version would be far quicker and easier to do.  I’m making my mug rugs smaller than the ones I’ve seen online but bigger than a coaster would normally be – just big enough for a mug of coffee and a biscuit.  These could be made in different sizes and used as place mats and coasters for a dinner table.

First, I cut out  a rectangle of wadding in the size I wanted for the finished mug rugs and two rectangles the same size in cotton fabric for the front and back.  For my applique (you don’t have to put an applique on it) I chose a cupcake and a cup and saucer.  I drew rough templates on paper and then cut the individual pieces out of cotton fabric.

Then I stuck the pieces to my mug rugs’s fronts so that they would stay in place as I sewed.  I used an iron on ‘Bondaweb’ but you could use any temporary fabric adhesive.  My sewing machine has a really good stitch to attach applique which looks like a hand sewn blanket stitch, but today I decided to use a zigzag stitch around the edges of the appliques.

Next, the fun bit; the quilting.  Using a long stitch and my walking foot, I stitched around the edges of the appliques to make them stand out a bit more and then sewed some random, slightly wavy lines.  Much easier than straight, evenly spaced lines and you really can’t go wrong!

For the binding I cut a long strip of fabric about 6 cm wide ( it wasn’t necessary to cut on the bias as the edges of my mug rugs are straight) and folded it in half lengthways and ironed it.  Matching the raw edges, I pinned the folded binding to the edges of each mug rug front and sewed it about 1 cm from the edge.

Lastly, I folded the binding over to the back of the mug rugs and, again, using my walking foot, top stitched around the very edge of the binding being careful not to catch the binding on the front of the mug rugs.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that the binding on these mug rugs is not my finest work (I am usually very fussy with my corners) but I think they’ve turned out quite well.  The first of my Christmas presents finished!

Rolled Hems

Knowing how to sew rolled hems either by hand or using a sewing machine are really useful techniques to learn.  In this tutorial I have included a machine sewing method and two hand sewn versions.

I finish the majority of my blouses, and skirt and dress linings with machine rolled hems.  This method produces a strong, even (but flat) hem.  You need a rolled hems presser foot attachment (you could always just double fold the very edge of your fabric and top sew it using an ordinary foot but this would be fiddly).

This works best on fairly thin material.  First, especially if you have used french seams like me, cut out some of the bulk from the bottom of each seam to enable it to fit into the rolled hems foot.  To get going, double fold a small section of very tiny hem, begin sewing a small straight stitch and then lift your fabric into the trumpet shaped part of your rolled hems foot.  Keep feeding it in as you sew and the machine will automatically fold and hem at the same time.  This is so quick and easy to do.  If you want a rounder machine rolled hem try using a zigzag stitch.  I haven’t used this method because I feel the stitches would be too visible for me.  (That’s just me.)

At school I was taught how to sew rolled hems by hand.  This is my preferred method to use on garments that have visible hems such as a blouse.  This produces a very neat, polished hem.  You could use a whip stitch with this one but the stitches would show.

(Working from right to left.)  Double fold a tiny hem.  Insert your needle into this (with a knot in your thread), pick up a thread or two under the hem and take a stitch from the hem itself.  Repeat this stitch whilst rolling the hem with your thumb.  This really is a very effective technique.  Apparently, my old sewing teacher knew her stuff.

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This is the second technique that I discovered a couple of years ago.  This is the method to use on a scarf or hanky.  It creates an extremely tiny, ’round’ hem.  I don’t feel it is suitable for use on a top due to the distance between the stitches leaving it a less strong, less even hem.  However, that does also make it more decorative for a scarf or hanky.

(Working from right to left.)  Fold a tiny hem (just once, not a double fold) and insert your needle and knotted thread into it.  Pick up a thread or two at the base of the (single) fold, put your needle into the top of the fold next to the previous stitch and bring it out about 1 cm along the fold.  Pick up a thread or two at the base of your hem, insert back into the top of the fold next to the previous stitch and bring it out about 1 cm further along the fold.  Repeat for about five stitches, then pull the thread tight.  This pulls the hem into a small round roll.

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This method does make an impressively tiny, neat hem.

Lettuce Hem and Invisible Lock Stitch Hem

Everyone needs a reliable hand stitch for hemming.  This is the one I use the most.  It is resilient, as it is a catch stitch so each stitch is locked into place and it has the added bonus of being virtually invisible from the front of the garment.

To make the stitches in this hem as hidden as possible you need to remember three things:

  • Match your thread to your fabric.
  • Only pick up one or two threads with your needle.
  • Make sure your needle is parallel with the fabric grain.  This ensures your thread is laying next to the thickest thread in the weave of the fabric, which will disguise it.

First, either finish the raw edge, fold and press the hem or, as I do, double fold and press the hem.  Finishing and folding the hem once will produce a more inconspicuous hem.  However, I still prefer to not have any visible stitches if possible and I like a hem to have a good weight.  Then fold the hem back so that you can just see the edge and pin in place.

Working from left to right, attach your thread to the hem allowance, then take a smallish stitch from the hem allowance to the right of this.  Start to pull the thread through, catching the thread as you do so.  Then repeat to the right of that stitch.  As an experiment I did the first half of my hem in a matching cream thread and the second half in a bright red to stand out.

When the fabric was turned to the right side, I could not see the cream stitches at all and I could just make out one of the red ones, and on the reverse of the fabric the stitches are completely hidden.  This really is my favourite hemming technique.

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The machine stitched hem I have chosen this week is the lettuce hem.   This is really just an excuse to play around with this hem as I have been dying to use this technique for years but haven’t had a reason.  It would be useful for a very full fifties style skirt or underskirt, or a child’s party dress or a fancy dress outfit.  I am demonstrating two versions.  The first one is the fun one using fishing line.  (Yes, actual fishing line from an angling shop.)  The second version has been done accidentally a million times while machine rolling a hem using delicate or slightly stretchy fabric!

Fold a small hem over some fishing wire and using a zigzag stitch sew over the edge of the fabric sandwiching the fishing wire.  I’ve found the way that works best for me is to hold the threads fairly taught at the back.  Trim away the excess hem (a bit more carefully than I have done) et voila, a super curly hem.

The second one is basically the same technique without the fishing wire, but you need to make sure you hold onto those threads and keep them very taught, exactly what I said not to do in my stretch fabric post as it causes any delicate, knit or stretch fabric to stretch and pucker.  In this instance that is the look we’re going for.  It produces a much more subtle, delicate effect than the fishing wire lettuce hem, suitable for an evening dress or nightie.

Next week I will be revealing the results of the solar dying!

Tailor’s Ham and Sleeve Roll

Apart from my sewing machine, my iron is the most useful item I have when it comes to producing a decent finish in a garment.  Some very strange looking seams suddenly look perfect once ironed and a quick press somehow makes seams match up when they didn’t before.  But sometimes it is just so fiddly to iron curves and sleeves on a flat ironing board and if I had a mind to steam shrink shoulder seams to fit (up to this point I really haven’t felt the need) it would be impossible with only an ironing board.  I used to have a tailor’s ham and a sleeve board which came with an old ironing board but they vanished a long time ago.  No idea what happens to these things.

About a year ago I tried looking for new ones.  Apparently they seem to only be made in tartan which wasn’t really the look I was going for, so I ended up making myself a tailor’s ham and a sleeve roll and they have proved invaluable.  They cost next to nothing.  Actually, they did cost nothing. The inner linings were made from scraps of material (old calico left over from toile making) from my cupboard, the outer covers were left over bits of cushion fabric and the stuffing was some sawdust which I had in my shed for the chickens’ bedding.

So here is a really, really easy way to make a tailor’s ham and a sleeve roll for yourself.

The pattern pieces are at the end of this post.  Apologies for the hand drawn, rustic, faded quality.  Print up the pattern pieces to the size you want, each of my pieces fitted onto an A4 piece of paper.  Glue or tape the pieces together.  There is about a 1 cm seam allowance.  Cut out the fabric and lining and place each lining piece on the corresponding main fabric piece and treat each section as one piece of fabric.

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For the sleeve roll, fold the fabric, which you have backed with lining, in half longways with right sides together.  Sew all along the side leaving about a 10 cm gap in the middle for stuffing.

For the tailor’s ham, place the two main pieces, which you have backed with lining, right sides together and start sewing 1 cm from the bottom corner and continue up to the top and down the other side until you get 1 cm from the bottom corner.  Then pin and sew the bottom piece, which you have backed with lining, to the lower edges of the ham leaving about a 10 cm gap for stuffing.

For both the sleeve roll and the tailor’s ham, stuff very full with sawdust.  It is helpful to have something like the handle of a wooden spoon to push the sawdust down because you need to get as much sawdust in as possible.  When you really can’t get any more in, pin the gaps closed and hand sew together with extra strong thread.  It’s best to sew one way, fasten off the thread, and then sew back the other way as this seam will be put under a lot of pressure.

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Next week I hope to start a series on hemming; two hems a week.  Most of us have one or two hemming techniques that we fall back on time and time again and we never look into other ways that might produce a better result.   I aim to show you a machine hem and a hand stitch hem a week.

Solar Dyeing and a Book Review

I have always been intrigued by using things from the garden and recycling things you would normally just throw away.  My garden is not large enough to live off, a small holding would suit me better – maybe one day.  A couple of years ago I started researching natural dyes and had a few (unsuccessful) attempts at dyeing wool on my stove.  I say unsuccessful but had I been aiming for a dark grey then I could say I achieved my goal but I was not aiming for grey, dark for otherwise!  It was also quite labour intensive and probably used a lot of electricity as well.  So a few weeks ago when we were clearing out the attic I found my old aquarium and thought it would be ideal for a solar oven and while I was online looking for ideas on how to do that, I noticed a lot of people were using old jars, which seemed a lot easier and meant I could get started straight away.   The aquarium will still be useful for larger items.  Further research is called for, but for now it is quite happy sitting on the patio.

From my previous attempts at dyeing wool in a large saucepan on the stove I found the dye material was difficult to remove from the dye and got stuck to the wool.  This time I have chopped up my dye material, put it in a net laundry bag in the jar with hot water and left it in the sun for a few weeks.  When the dye is ready the bag can just be removed and emptied.  I have decided against dyeing wool at the moment (I probably have enough yarn in my stash to last about two years) but thought it would make a nice change to have some naturally dyed fabrics to sew with.  I make my own clothes to have something different to everyone else but then I buy the same commercially dyed fabrics that everyone else has.   Due to the unpredictability of natural dyes each batch will be unique.

I decided to get going with four dyes from things I had in the house and garden.  Spinach leaves for a yellow/green colour, plum skins for a deep pink/purple, avocado skins and stones for a pale pink, and black beans for a blue.

Then a late frost was forecast so I brought them inside for a couple of days.

It has become apparent that the black beans are not producing any dye colour, so I’m going to discard that one and either try again or find a different dye material entirely.

Meanwhile, I have dyed some cotton fabric on my stove top using turmeric for some almost instant results. Turmeric does not require a mordant and is good for dyeing plant material like cotton (apparently).  I soaked the cotton fabric for a few hours.  I mixed the turmeric powder (a whole jar) with a small amount of water to make a paste then added it to a large saucepan with enough water to cover my fabric and simmered it for an hour.  Then I put my fabric in the dye, simmered it for another hour and then left it to stand for the rest of the day.

OK, so this was not a total success.  I could say this was the effect I was going for but I would be lying!

In the pot it looked a lovely deep orange and when I rinsed it out (several times until the water went clear) it still looked a lovely deep orange.

So far, so good.  Except that it did smell very spicy, so I gave it a cool machine wash with my Ecover non bio and…

…not orange!  So, I probably won’t be making a fabulous garment from this, but it might be useful for quilting – or I might just re-dye it!  I’ll probably re-dye it.

I should be able to do this.  People have been dyeing wool and fabric for thousands of years.   After more research, I decided to buy Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles by India Flint as there are many mentions of her work online.  I had looked at it previously but it was more expensive than some others, but I now think I should have bought this one first.

Now I know where I’m going wrong!  I really, really wish I had bought this book earlier.  Apparently, boiling your dye stuff to within an inch of its life and adding fabric that has had a  mordant applied only once the previous night with allum or cream of tartar, boiling some more, and expecting to be able to wash and use a newly dyed fabric immediately just does not provide the best result!  So I’m going to take my time and do repeated mordants of alkaline and protein solutions on several fabrics at a time so that I can store them for later use.

In India Flint’s book she describes the best way to treat various different fabrics.  She shares many new techniques she has devised to print flower and leaf patterns onto fabric using fabric bundles and hammering (with a mallet), how to dye with delicate flowers in a technique she calls ice flowers, even a way of using mud.  She also uses many different mordants which are so different from the traditional ones such as sea water (which we have here in Cornwall in abundance) and soya milk!  She also mentions solar dyeing using jars but she does not see the need to extract the dye first, you just add the (already mordanted) fabric at the beginning.  She says that dyed fabrics need to mature or cure before use and it’s best to let the newly dyed fabric to dry in the shade before even rinsing let alone washing.  That would have been useful to know earlier!

This book is very word heavy and also very beautiful with its muted colour schemes.  I have over simplified the contents of this book.  It is very inspirational.  I’m so excited to get experimenting and I have high expectations of what I will be able to achieve, but I have to remember the keywords: ‘slow’ and ‘time’.  I will update you.

 

 

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.  I only recommend books or products I use personally and believe will be of value to my readers.

A Simple Quilt Tutorial

I absolutely love quilting.  You can be so creative and imaginative when making quilts and there are so many techniques.  I’m learning new ones all the time.  Mostly, quilting is very time consuming and expensive.  But it doesn’t have to be, you can make a basic quilt in next to no time with very few materials.

I’m going to be making a baby quilt today because it is far easier, you can use fun fabrics and designs, and it is much cheaper.  A full size adult’s quilt generally costs four times the amount a baby’s quilt costs to make.

To make this basic quilt you need about 1.2 m of fabric for the quilt front.  This needs to have some sort of design on such as patchwork or a picture so that when the quilt is completed it looks like you have either spent hours sewing patchwork or applique.  You need about 1.2 m of fabric for the quilt back.  This can either be plain or patterned.  You will also need the same amount in wadding or batting, I use this one SIMPLY COTTON 100% COTTON 90″ BATTING/WADDING QUILT CRAFT PATCHWORK QUILTING FABRIC MATERIAL MACHINE HAND, a reel of cotton thread the same colour as your backing and a reel of top stitch thread.  I use Gutermann Sulky Variegated Cotton (for Machine Embroidery) No 30 300m – 4030 which comes in a huge variety of colours and as it is a large 300 m reel, it’s not too bad a price for a good quality thread.  This can match or contrast with your quilt front.  If you want you can use a different colour thread in the bobbin to either match or contrast with your backing fabric to create a different effect on the reverse.

I prewash my fabric and wadding so that it has shrunk as much as it’s going to and, hopefully, every time I wash my completed quilts, they come out the same.  It takes out the uncertainty.  However, if you choose not to do this, when you wash your finished quilt the fabrics and wadding will shrink at different rates creating a slight wrinkled, antique look which can be really effective.  You just have to decide which look you want to go for.

All the quilts I make are made of natural fibres.  I generally prefer to use natural materials anyway, but with baby quilts I never make an exception to this, it’s just not worth it.  There are two reasons for this; firstly, natural fabrics feel nicer against the skin and are breathable.  Secondly, and most importantly, synthetic fibres melt.  You would be unlikely to find a fireman who wears synthetic underwear!  Bamboo, wool and cotton will burn like any other fabric but they won’t melt and weld themselves to your baby.  They do cost slightly more, but not that much more.

The fabrics I have chosen are both cotton poplin which is good for quilting and not as expensive as actual quilting fabric.  The fabric for the front has a patchwork design and the backing fabric is a dark green with small white spots.  The wadding is made from unbleached cotton.

The first thing to do is sandwich the fabric and wadding together.  My quilt back is slightly larger than the quilt front as I am going to use it to bind the quilt as well.  You can pin them together but that takes time.  I use ODIF 505 Craft Spray Adhesive Glue 250ml Can.  I know this probably seems contradictory to my lecture this now, but this works fantastically well and can be re-positioned as many times as required and then it completely washes out.  I tape my quilt back to the floor so that it is wrinkle free before spraying with adhesive and attaching the wadding and then the quilt front.  I do spend quite a while smoothing out all the wrinkles – another reason I prefer baby quilts.  Full sized quilts take ages to smooth out and I do not enjoy that!

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Next, preferably with a walking foot attached to your machine, WALKING FOOT WILL FIT, BROTHER, JANOME, SINGER, TOYOTA DOMESTIC SEWING MACHINES  (The generic ones are incredibly inexpensive and they make life so much easier.) use a top stitch thread and a long, straight stitch.  Normally, I use a thread which is a very similar colour to my fabric so that the quilting pattern can be seen  but you’re not really aware of the thread itself, however, today I am using a bright pink to contrast with the fabric so that you can see it easily.  Beginning at the centre of the quilt and working out, sew through your quilt sandwich following the outline of your design.  So, if you had a picture of an elephant, sew around the edge of the elephant and it will begin to look like an applique.  As my fabric is a patchwork design I am sewing along every ‘join’ so that it looks like patchwork with stitch in the ditch quilting.  For longevity, your quilt needs as much quilting as possible with only small gaps between.  Your wadding will have information with it suggesting the best spacing for that product.  But always do more rather than less. Whatever stitching you do on the front will be reflected on the back.  Oh yes, and if you are using a patchwork style fabric try to choose one with larger squares than I did because there was a lot of quilting in this one!

When you are happy with the front, trim and square the edges of the quilt front and wadding, BUT DO NOT TRIM THE BACK as this is going to form the binding.

Measure the excess backing fabric around the edge and trim to an equal distance all round.  Mine is 3 cm.

Fold this in half.  You can iron it if you wish.  Then fold it over to the front, mitreing the corners, pin in place and top sew with cotton sewing thread and your walking foot if you have one.  I actually didn’t have the right colour thread for this so used a cream thread instead which, hopefully, stands out slightly less than the bright pink quilting thread.

That’s it, you’re finished.  A very basic, but lovely quilt.

 

 

Inserting an Invisible Zip

This was a bit of a revelation to me.  Things have moved on so much in the sewing and knitting industry.  There are so many ways to sew a zip.  As a child I was taught to sew them by hand using a pinprick stitch.  But I’ve since found there are better ways and better zips.

You need a special zip designed to not show once it’s attached.  The other important thing you need is an invisible zip presser foot which has two channels in to hold on to the zip and to uncurl it as your machine sews a line of stitching really close to it.  You can use an ordinary zipper foot but you have to tack the zip in place securely before sewing and you have to constantly push the presser foot against the zip as you sew.  You can buy very cheap generic presser feet online and it’s definitely worth the investment, it makes life so much easier.  INVISIBLE, CONCEALED ZIP, ZIPPER FOOT WITH TAIL SNAP ON, COMPATIBLE FOR BROTHER, JANOME, TOYOTA, NEW SINGER DOMESTIC SEWING MACHINES  (Unless you have a 9 mm machine like I do and then you have to buy one specifically for that machine and that is VERY expensive, but actually, still worth it! Another difference in the invisible or concealed zip and any other you might have used is that you attach it to your garment first before sewing the seam, which is much easier.

So, first of all you need to finish the raw edges of your seam.  I’ve only done the top bit which will run the length of the zip because I’m going to do a french seam which will all be enclosed.

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The zip needs to be undone and placed face down 1.5 cm away from one edge and pinned in place.

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Then sew along the zip with it inserted into one of the presser foot grooves.

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When you near the zip pull, fasten off the threads and do the zip up before turning it over onto the other side of the seam and pin in place as you undo the zip.

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Then sew down this side with the zip in the other groove of the presser foot.

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Do the zip up and sew the seam below it, holding the zip out the way.

You now have a completed invisible zip which is concealed from the outside.

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These pictures make it look like I only have one arm, but I do have two!

 

Decorative Hemming

Decorative hemming or cheat’s entredeux!  In case you haven’t heard of that, as it is a bit old school, entredeux is a piece of lace that is inserted between two pieces of fabric.  Apparently people used to have time to do that.  It’s no secret that I like lace and have I often look for ways to incorporate it into garments.  This hemming technique combines hemming your garment with a really flat, non bulky hem and a very pretty, decorative strip that looks just like lace.

There are so many ways of hemming a skirt but I find this technique just amazing. This is the type of hemming I used on the duck egg blue spotty fabric on my reversible skirt.

You really do need to practise on a spare piece of fabric first with this one.  It is very scary when you have spent hours sewing a garment and finally got to the hemming and you’re faced with a wing needle which is going to put a row of holes into your lovely handmade item!  But it is so worth it.

So, as I just mentioned you will need a wing needle.

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I can’t stress enough the need to practise on a spare piece of fabric.  I’m generally very slack on this point but I did practise this one – a lot.  I tried several stitches and labelled them all with biro before deciding which one I wanted to use.  Luckily, my machine has a few stitches which are for this purpose.  It also has several stitches designed for other uses but I found they worked very well for this.  Some stitches complete this task with one row of stitching while others need two passes using the same holes.  To do this, stitch one row, then leaving the needle in the fabric while in the left hand position, turn your fabric 180 º and sew another row next to the first and the wing needle should go back into the same holes with each stitch.  You can do this very effectively with a simple zigzag stitch.  I eventually decided to use one of my machine’s built in hemming stitches.

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I set my machine to do a 3 mm wide and 2.5 mm length stitch.

Fold your hem and press.  Mark a line on the right side of your fabric where you want your line of stitching.  I marked my skirt 8 cm from the fold.  I should mention that you are meant to use a very fine thread such as Madeira for this, but I didn’t.  Once you are happy that you’ve chosen the best stitch, that your machine is set up properly and behaving, just complete your row (or two rows depending on which stitch you chose) without stopping.  Then turn your garment to the wrong side and trim off the excess fabric.

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Turn your garment the right way out and you’re done.

 

Next week I shall be showing you how I insert a concealed or invisible zip.

Twin needle pintucks

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As promised, this is how I made the pintucks on my reversible skirt.

The skirt didn’t really need any pintucks I just thought it would be a nice added detail to make it more unique.  In days gone by if you wanted pintucks you would have had to mark where each pintuck was to go, fold it, press it and then sew a row of stitches very close to the fold of each pintuck and then press them all to face the same way. Obviously, you could still do it this way and you will get a very lovely effect.  But if your sewing machine has a twin needle capability then it’s much better use of time to do your pintucks with a twin needle.  If your machine has this facility you will have a second spindle that slots into the top of your machine to hold a second reel of thread.  My old one stuck straight up out the top so the second spool was vertical and my new one lies on its side like this:

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Then all you need is a twin needle and a pintuck presser foot.  Mine has lots of grooves on it so I can produce much finer pintucks.

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Attach these to your machine and thread it as usual.  Then thread the second reel of thread and thread it into the second hole on your needle.  You have to make sure the threads don’t get tangled which is why I only thread one at a time and my machine does have a little hook above the needle to help separate the two threads.

Experiment with your machine’s tension.  I found that a tighter tension produced a more raised pintuck which I preferred.

For twin needle pintucks you only have to mark where you want the first one to go.  Use this as a guide and just sew straight stitches along the line with your twin needle.  When you complete the double line of stitching go back to the start and use the grooves on your presser foot to line up the next pintuck.  I’ve used alternate grooves on this skirt.

I think they’re a really effective way of achieving a very traditional sewing technique with far less effort.

I also put them on the hem of my new yellow/green seed head skirt, but I did a few more of them!  This time I did a group of three twin needle pintucks, left a gap and then sewed another group of three.

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Next week I shall show you how I did the decorative hem technique that I used on the pale duck egg blue fabric on my reversible skirt.