One of Our Own Wins Koala’s National Holiday Sweepstakes!

March 17th, 2014

Congratulations, Genelle!

Congratulations, Genelle!

Over the Holidays, Koala held their nationwide “I’m Dreaming of a Koala Studio” holiday sweepstakes. When they drew the winner last month, it turns out it was someone who filled out the entry form at one of our own stores!

Congratulations to Genelle T., who won Koala’s grand prize of a Koala Storage Tower!

“I have too many used machines. My husband said I can’t get anymore,” laughed Genelle. Now with the Koala Storage Tower she’ll have much more space for those machines!

See the full article on Koala’s own website here: http://mykoalastudio.com/2014/02/koala-makes-it-easy-for-storage-dreams-to-come-true/

Thanks to everyone who entered the sweepstake at our stores, and a big congratulations to Genelle!

Cutting Wool Felt With Brother’s ScanNCut

January 15th, 2014

Cutting Wool Felt with the ScanNCut

We’ve been getting a lot of questions recently about how best to cut felt on Brother’s new cutting machine, the Brother ScanNCut. So Reva made this video where she demonstrates successfully cutting out felt designs that you can watch here:



One key to successfully cut felt is to stabilize the fabric as much as possible. Reva makes use of Perfect Sew Liquid Stabilizer in this video. You can inquire about it at your local Quality Sewing, or it is available on our website here. Perfect Sew is great because it can completely saturate the felt fabric in a way that a spray-on starch stabilizer simply can’t, and it washes away very easily!

And if you need any of the ScanNCut accessories, such as the Deep-Cut Blade or a ScanNCut Cutting Mat used in the video, you can find them all on this ScanNCut Accessories page.

If you have any questions about using your ScanNCut to its fullest potential, please don’t hesitate to contact your local Quality Sewing & Vacuum.

Happy sewing!

Sewing Perfect Circles with Circular Attachments

December 31st, 2013

There isn’t a “Foot of the Month” video for December 2013. Instead, Reva tells you all about the Circular Attachments that let you sew perfect circles!

Inquire about a Circular Attachment for your sewing machine at your local Quality Sewing, or see them on our website here.

A Great Rotary Cutting Safety Tip

December 18th, 2013

I had the joy of spending time in my sewing room watching the Saturday morning sewing shows on KBTC this past week and saw a great tip on Fonds and Porter – Love of Quilting. Don’t you just love starting you Saturday that way?

A "Klutz Glove" keeps you injury free!

The tip that stood out to me was one concerning safety while using a rotary cutter.  When rotary cutting, be safe and use a new sharp blade and wear a “Klutz Glove” to help protect your non-cutting hand from accidental injury.  A fellow sewing enthusiast wrote in to the show to offer the following suggestion for remembering to be safe when cutting with a rotary cutter:

  • After using your rotary cutter,  store it inside your “Klutz Glove” when you are done using it.  This way,  you will have a reminder to use the glove the next time you do some rotary cutting.

I don’t know about you, but there have been times that I have had a “near miss” with my rotary cutter and felt so glad that there are simple tools like this to help keep clutzy me safe!

Reva

Sewing & Quilting Smart Phone App Roundup

December 17th, 2013

Did you know that iPhones only make up about 12% of all “Smart Phones” nowadays? Over 80% of Smart Phones are Android phones now, so I thought I would write a post about some of the quilting and sewing apps that you can download on your Android phones:


Quilting Calculators
Robert Kaufman Fabrics and Quilter’s Paradise have joined forces to bring you this collection of essential quilting calculators. Designed by quilters, all work with both U.S. and metric measurements. You’ll quickly see how much fabric is needed for backing, batting and borders, and how many rectangular pieces can be cut from a larger piece. There are even calculators for square-in-a-square, set-in, and corner triangles.


Stitcher’s Helper: $0.99
Almost a more powerful version of Quilting Calculators, this Stitcher’s Helper app has several advanced features:
- Several calculators for calculating yardage, cost, or many other measurements.
- Project tracking. Mark your project as “In Progress”, “On Hold”, or “Completed”.
- Attach pictures to projects
- Attach project items to projects. These can be either any of the below calculators with your yardage and data saved, or simply a needed item.
- Projects also have space for pattern information and notes.
- Automatically generated shopping list page that can either be added on the fly or marked as “Include on Shopping List” on the project item edit screen. These items are grouped by project for easy organization.


Quilting Color Match:
A very interesting app that lets you take photos of fabric (or anything, really), then create a quilt pattern and apply the fabric photos to the quilt pattern to see what they’d look like on the finished quilt. It doesn’t have the most easy-to-use interface, but it can be great way to see what certain fabric combinations look like together in a finished quilt without having to buy swatches and swap them around. Plus you can save your projects and export them to your phone’s image gallery.


Quilt Shops
Quilt Shops is a free application to find quilt shops across the U.S. from Quilters Club of America and Fons & Porter.
- Use your smart phone or tablet to search for 2,500+ quilt shops (U.S. stores only currently)
- Versions will be available for iPhone, iTouch, iPad and Android phones
- Search for quilt shop by city, state, Zip, or see stores closest to your current location
- Look up individual stores to see location, Web site URL, map directions and dial store phone number
- Feedback form enables users to easily alert us if a store is missing or needs updated information
- Requires internet connection for GPS mapping and distance calculations


Quilt Index to Go:
More of an app for inspiration rather than utilitarian uses, Quilt Index to Go has images of over 50,000 real-world quilts from the whole range of quilting history. With this app you get a quilt a day from the Quilt Index (http://www.quiltindex.org). There is a Browsing page to scroll endlessly through 50,000+ quilt records
Detailed quilt record information is available for each quilt (when documented) such as:
- quilt pattern names
- quilt-maker names
- dates and/or date ranges
- collection
- links to full information on the quiltindex.org collection record


Fabric U
A handy reference to more than 120 different types of fabric used for quilting, crafting, and sewing. Written by Mary Beth Klatt, the app shares her extensive knowledge about needle and thread combos for various sewing projects. Includes links and videos to help users choose appropriate fabrics and how to care for them.


Quilting Guide
An informational reference app that is full of all sorts of information about the art and craft of quilting. If you’re an expert quilter already this might not be as useful as if you were a beginner, but there are probably some good tidbits that you could find in the many different sections:
- A Notion About Notions
- Add Life to your Quilting with Embroidery
- All About Appliqué
- All About Hoffman Fabrics
- All About Quilting
- All About Thread For Quilting
- Best Books for Quilting
- Choosing And Preparing Fabric
- Choosing Fabrics for Quilting
- Choosing Quilt Fabric
- Essential Supplies for Quilting
- How to Choose the Right Batting
- How to Use Stencils for Quilting
- How to Use Templates in Quilting
- Making Sense OF Quilt Patterns
- Patchwork Techniques
- Quilting 101
- Sewing Tips For Beginning Quilters
- So You Want To Make A Quilt
- The Best Quilting Pattern For Your Needs
- What Are Quilts?
- Where to Find Free Quilt Patterns
And more!


• You can look at these and more apps in the Android store by clicking here: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=quilt&c=apps

Do you use any sewing or quilting apps for your smart phone? If so, let us know about them in the comments.

Happy sewing,
Chris

Free Holiday Applique Embroidery Design & Tutorial!

December 11th, 2013

Free embroidery design and artwork by Lana L Jones

Free embroidery design and artwork by Lana L Jones

Have you tried the new Brother ScanNCut? This fantastic cutter is all you need to cut fabric for all of your appliques with your sewing machine or embroidery machine. Simply scan your design and cut out your fabric. Need more than one? Want to maximize the use of your fabric? Do you only have scraps you are working with? Do you need to add ¼” seams to your design? The Brother ScanNCut simply and easily handles all of this. To get you started, I have created this delightful embroidery design for you to use with your new Brother ScanNCut.

1. Download the PDF and embroidery designs here: NOEL-1.zip. All file formats are included.

2. Print the PDF of the artwork.

3. Place the artwork on the teal mat or the new scan-only mat.

4. Turn on your Brother ScanNCut.

5. Load mat.

6. Touch Scan.

7. Touch Scan to Cut Data.

8. Press Start/Stop. “Recognizing…” appears on your screen. This may take a minute or two; be patient.

9. Press Region Detection to select all areas of the design.

10. Press Save

11. Select the destination to save, Machine or USB
NOTE: When you save, you have a choice of Machine Memory or USB. The system will give it a filename. You can jot this name down, but it is always placed at the end of the list of saved files.

11: Save to Destination

11: Save to Destination

12. Touch OK.

13. To start the cut, press Home, then press OK. This will take you to the Home screen.
NOTE: At the end of this article is information about testing your blade depth and using fusible web.

14. Press Pattern.

15. Press Saved Data. Using the up/down arrows, scroll to locate your file. Select by touching the file on the screen. On the next screen verify that you have selected the correct design, especially if you have saved several versions of the same design. Touch OK.

16. For the Noel design place fabric with fusible web onto the standard mat (teal/purple).

17. Using a brayer or the handle of your spatula adhere the fabric to the sticky side of the mat.

18. Press the Load button to load mat.

19. We will not always have a piece of fabric that covers the mat entirely. I am sure you all have scraps of fabric you would love to use. Or, am I the only one who has scraps? :) To ensure the design fits perfectly on the piece you are using we will scan the fabric so it is in the background for placing our design. Touch Scan Background.

20. The screen that pops-up lets you know what you are about to do. Touch Start/Stop. The machine will now scan the entire mat.

21. On the screen you will see your background fabric and your design.

22. Since this design has several sections, touching it will only select a section. To select the entire design, touch Editing.

23. Touch Pattern Selection.

24. Touch to select all patterns.

25. Move the design so it fits onto the fabric. Touch OK. No other changes touch OK, then touch OK once more.

26. You are now ready to cut your fabric. Draw/Cut appears on your screen. Touch Cut. Touch Start/Stop to start the cutting process.

27. When cutting is finished, press OK. Touch Load to unload mat.

28. Using the spatula, remove the perfectly cut piece from your mat.

29. At your embroidery machine, load the design.

30. Stitch out the first color, the placement line.

31. Place your cut design into the stitch area and press in place.
NOTE: I remove the hoop from my machine (but not the fabric from the hoop) so I can see better and use one of my smaller irons to fuse the applique fabric in place.

32. Return hoop to your machine and complete the embroidery.

33. Enjoy!

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

Floriani Appli-Kay Wonder

Floriani Appli-Kay Wonder

Fusible Web
Fusible web is not a problem for the Brother ScanNCut. There are many varieties and each will have their own set of rules. It is important to test, test, and test some more, always keeping a written record of your findings. I have used several and have found some work better if you leave the paper backing on (Floriani AppliKay Wonder and Floriani Press and Bond). Some work well if you remove the paper backing and place the adhesive side down. There is a caution here however, if your iron is not hot enough to firmly adhere the fusible web to the fabric, the adhesive will stick to the board and you will be scrapping off the mess. A press, such as the Elna Press, is perfect for adhering adhesives.

Test your blade depth
HINT: Double over a piece of scrap fabric onto your cutting mat. If you are using fusible web, make sure the sample piece has the fusible web adhered before doing any testing. Using a bit of pressure, drag your teal blade across the fabric to see if your blade is the correct depth. If it cuts both top and bottom layers of fabric, your blade is too deep. Adjust your blade setting to a lower number and try again. If you have a great cut on the top fabric and did not cut the lower fabric, you can place the blade unit into your Brother ScanNCut. However, you are not done testing. You still need to do a test cut to see if the blade is perfect. The pressure you placed on the blade and the pressure the machine places on the blade will be different. Always do a test cut. I like to make the size of the test cut approximately 1” square. Save the best one and tape it to a piece of paper, record the blade depth, pressure, fabric type, with or without fusible web, and any other information that may affect the cutting process.

Stop by your favorite Quality Sewing for a demonstration of the amazing Brother ScanNCut.

Enjoy your sewing adventures!
Lana L Jones
Educational Consultant

Zipper Insertion Using a Welting Foot

December 4th, 2013

This zipper technique works well in craft projects, bags in particular. Check with your particular machine manufacturer and find a foot with a tunnel, such as a welting foot. The tunnel must be approximately ¼” to accommodate the larger zipper teeth and stops. The tunnel may be off to the side or it may be in the center of the foot. You will need to adjust your needle position to accommodate your particular foot’s tunnel.

Welting Foot

Welting Foot with Wide Tunnel

Make sure you purchase a zipper that is 2-3” longer than your opening. This will allow you to stitch the entire length of your zipper opening. To stitch side seams in your project measure your finished length and remove each individual zipper tooth at the bottom of the zipper using a nipper (the tool that you use to remove the shank of a button). That way you can stitch right over the zipper tape and not have to stitch over the zipper teeth themselves. You will need to remove about ½” of zipper teeth to accommodate your seam allowance. See picture at the end of the article.

Prepare the front of the zipper with Wash Away Wonder Tape each side of the zipper tape.

Wash Away Wonder Tape

Use Wash Away Wonder Tape.

Remove the paper backing of the Wonder Tape on the left side and place the zipper face-down on your fabric, aligning the edge of the zipper tape with the right edge of the fabric. Open the zipper completely and place the teeth in the tunnel of your foot. Stitch in place. You may adjust the distance you stitch from the zipper by moving your needle to the right.

Stitch the Zipper into place

Stitch the Zipper into place.

Close the zipper. Remove the paper backing of the Wash Away Wonder Tape on the other side of the zipper. Place the this side of the zipper face-down on the right side of your fabric. Open the zipper completely. Place your zipper teeth in the tunnel of your foot & stitch in place.

Stitch the other side of the zipper into place.

Stitch the other side of the zipper into place.

Close the zipper and make sure the top ends of your zipper match.

Finished!

Finished!

Now you can stitch your side seams and proceed with constructing your project. Notice the bottom ends of the zipper where the zipper teeth have been removed so you can easily stitch side seams in bags, etc. I have not tested this technique out on clothing, but you may wish to do so. Let us know how well it works! Good Luck!

Happy Sewing!
Ann

Foot Tip of the Month: Couching Foot

November 29th, 2013

If you’re looking to work with really heavy-duty or specialty yarns and cords, you should look into the couching foot. Reva shows you the ins-and-outs of the couching foot in this video:

You can inquire about the couching foot at your local Quality Sewing & Vacuum Center. It is also available to purchase on our website here.

Make Quick and Easy Wool Felt Ornaments

November 19th, 2013

Sometimes when you’re looking to make a quick hand-made gift, there is not much better than a pretty little kit containing all the coordinating fabrics and threads that you need to create a perfect project. Honestly, kits are far too often something that I “pet” as opposed to dismantle and cut up to create the designated project. I think that’s okay, too; it makes me happy.

Warm Hands Kit & Pattern

Warm Hands Kit & Pattern

These Warm Hands Wool Felt Ornaments looked so cute I could hardly wait to tear into them and try out the new Brother ScanNCut. May I say: fabulous!!

Here are my step-by-step instructions on how I created these ornaments:

My theory is that if the felt is well stabilized, inside and out, then it will be less spongy and will cut better.  That is why I chose to use the liquid stabilizer “Perfect Sew”. When the fabric that is treated with the liquid drys, it becomes firm and crisp.

Stabilize the Felt for cutting

Stabilize the Felt for cutting

A spoon is great for spreading

  • First thing I did was to stabilize the felt with Perfect Sew. This is a liquid stabilizer that simply rinses out when no longer needed.
  • I laid the felt pieces out on a cutting board and then poured a puddle of Perfect Sew onto the felt.
  • To smooth out the Perfect Sew and completely coat the felt, I used the back of a spoon to spread the liquid around.  The Liquid is thick like honey.
  • Once this side was coated, I flipped the felt over and repeated the process.
  • My goal was to get the felt fully saturated.
  • As soon as I was satisfied, I hung the felt pieces to dry on a line over my laundry sink. To secure the pieces to the line, I used Wonder Clips – they are good for so much more than just quilting!

Felt on the mat and ready to be cut

  • The felt cut just like butter!

    Once dry and ready, I placed the felt pieces next to each other on the prepared ScanNCut fabric mat.  By this, I mean that the mat had the extra sticky fabric carrier sheet on it and it is ready to go.

  • Now it was necessary to get the pattern for the mitten that I wanted to make into the ScanNCut so it could cut out the pieces for me.  This was done by having the machine scan the pattern.
  • To scan the pattern booklet, I used the optional Scanning Mat. The clear overlay of this specialty mat held the booklet in place nicely.
  • I used the included deep cut blade for cutting the wool.
  • Once the pattern was on the screen to be used, I used the feature on the ScanNCut that scans and displays an image of what the mat, and it’s contents, look like.  This allows the user the ability to actulally see where the different fabrics are located and the shapes can be visually placed in the right spot.

Pick a great decorative stitch

Line up where to stitch with your foot

Stitch away! Find a stitch that you like

  • With the pieces cut, layer the pieces as the instructions state. Use the decorative stitches from your machine to add the embroidered decoration. They are so much fun to sew. You will probably find some that look like the stitches suggested in the pattern. I found that the Perfect Sew also made stitching the decorative stitches ideal! No puckering or shifting.
  • Line up the fabric edge with a reference point on the machine’s foot (the foot I am using is called the “Sewing Stars” foot).
  • To give more of a “hand” look, I chose a stitch that repeats each stitch several times so  that it is heavier. Also, I chose to use a cotton embroidery thread so that it looked more like cotton floss.
  • The felt cut so easy with the ScanNCut

This is a great kit, designed for handwork, that is so easily adjusted to be done on machine.

These little gems make such cute ornaments or gift holders. You will want to make a passel of them.

Happy Sewing,
Reva

Personalize Every Gift with Unique Gift Tags

November 19th, 2013

Anita Goodesign Christmas Gift Tags

The perfect touch to a Holiday gift is the presentation. A beautiful wrapping job can add so much anticipation and joy. One thing that I find frustrating is that so much effort and resources go into our holiday wrapping, just to be thrown away. If there were only…

I enjoy creating things that are quick and fun to make and the Anita Goodesign Gift Tags fit the bill! These are perfect little touches to a special gift, or they can be a gift all in themselves.

On the CD for the gift tags you will find complete step by step instructions. Here you will find my tips for creating the tags that I made:

  • In the instructions, you will find that they suggest using a 5×7 hoop for one design. If you rotate the design 90 degrees, you can easily fit 2 in one hoop. I chose to use the large hoop for my multi-needle machine so that I could do four at one time. Hoop a piece of tearaway stabilizer in the hoop and stitch out the placement lines for your tags.
  • I used a fabric glue stick to hold the pieces of fabric in place while I stitched down the tack down stitches and decorative stitches.
  • When all of the decorative stitching is complete, it is time to place the backing fabric on the under side of the hoop. Use Floriani Embroidery Perfection Tape (I call this “Pink Tape”) to hold your fabric in place. It is very sticky, can be used multiple times and does not leave a residue on your fabric.
  • This is where I chose to customize my tags: I added a strip of fabric (folded lengthwise with wrong sides together) over the back of three of the tags, leave about an inch space from the edge of the fold to the hole end of the tag. This creates the perfect pocket for a gift certificate or money.
  • I chose to add a piece of clear vinyl over the backing fabric of the tree design. This created a re-writable surface when using an overhead transparency pen like a Vis-a-Vis.
  • When the back has been stitched on, you will want to take your time and carefully trim away all of your excess fabric. You want to trim close on top and bottom with out clipping the thread.
  • Wind a bobbin to match your embroidery thread and stitch the edges of the tags.
  • Once all of the stitching is completed, carefully tear away the stabilizer and trim open the hole.
  • Use a ribbon to tie them to your packages or hang them from your tree.

Holiday Gift Tags

Happy sewing,
Reva