How To Guides

Cutting Wool Felt With Brother’s ScanNCut

Wednesday, 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

Tuesday, 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.


Zipper Insertion Using a Welting Foot

Wednesday, 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

Friday, 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

Tuesday, 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


Recipe Towels Make a Fun and Festive Gift for Anyone On Your List!

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Holiday Recipe Towels from Lunch Box Quilts

With the Holidays quickly approaching, do you anticipate finding yourself in need of a quick and easy gift that is beyond the normal and one of a kind? Make sure to read to the end to see what fun ideas you can make!

Might I suggest a gift that will not soon be forgotten? How about a kitchen towel that is lovingly embroidered with a delicious holiday recipe? It’s even a real recipe!

Holiday Recipe Towels is a multi-format embroidery design collection from Lunch Box Quilts. In this collection you will find 10 different recipe designs that will surely make your mouth water.  Also included are tips to ensure beautiful embroidered results and the instructions to add fabric trims to the towels. The results are spectacular! In addition the the given instructions that come with the designs, here are some of my suggestions:

Mark your towel for the center of the design

Hoop the towel and wash-away stabilizer

  • Mark your towel lengthwise. On the end that you would like the embroidery design to be located, make a horizontal line that is seven inches up from the hem.  The intersection of this horizontal and vertical lines will be the location for the center of the embroidery design
  • Next hoop your towel and a piece of wash-away stabilizer. I like to use Floriani Wet ‘n’ Gone (white), it is stable and washes out nicely, Align the horizontal and vertical lines on your towel with the center marks on your embroidery hoop to make sure that it will stitch straight.  I prefer to hoop both my project and my stabilizer when ever possible.  In my experience, this give me the best results.

Use a water-soluble topping

60-wt for lettering and 40-wt for the rest

60-wt for lettering and 40-wt for the rest

  • Place the hoop onto the machine with the bulk of the extra fabric to the outside of the machine.
  • On the top, use Floriani Water Soluble topping – this will allow the thread to lay nice on the surface of the towel and not be lost in the weave of the towel (clear).  Baste into place with your machines basting stitch.
  • For the lettering, use a 60-weight embroidery thread.  This light-weight thread will produce crisp and  clear embroidered lettering (I like the Floriani Micro threads – they are polyester and come in lots of colors).
  • For the rest of the embroidery use a standard 40-weight embroidery thread.  For items that will be laundered often, I prefer to use a polyester thread (they are color-fast even if bleached). If you were to use a lighter weight thread for the rest of the design, the areas would not fill in nicely.
  • Once the embroidery is complete, rinse out the stabilizer.  If you are having a tough time rinsing out your stabilizer and topping, try adding a bit of water softener.

Trim Fabrics

  • stitch fabric band to towel bottom

    Choose the fabric you want for your towel’s trim.  The main piece is 2″ wide and the accent is 1″ wide that has been folded and pressed in half lengthwise.

  • Stitch the accent piece to the top edge of the main piece and press the accent piece up.
  • Un-stitch the bottom edge of your towel and stitch this edge to the bottom edge of the fabric strip, right side of the strip to the wrong side of the towel.
  • Flip the trim piece to the front and press.  Then top stitch the edges to secure in place.

Fun to make and a great gift too!

In addition to the towels, consider adding tasty tidbits to make your gift even more memorable. If you like (and have the time), create the recipe and give it along with the coordinating towel. Several of the recipes lend themselves very nicely to giving along with the completed towel. What a nice gift that won’t soon be forgotten (although you may have to think twice about giving a Turducken). Here are the two recipes that I made:

Nutcracker Spiced Pecans Recipe
Ingredients:
• 1 egg white
• 1 tbs water
• 5 c pecan halves
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp salt, cloves, nutmeg
Preparations:
Beat egg white with water. Stir in pecans, until moist. In a separate bowl mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, cloves, & nutmeg. Add pecans to mixture, stir until well coated (note: I put the dry ingredients in a large zip lock bag, then poured the pecans into it, sealed the bag, and mixed).

Spread on a lined cookie sheet & bake for one hour at 225F.

Peppermint Bark
Ingredients:
• 2 lbs white chocolate
• 30 small peppermint candy canes
Preparations:
Smash candy canes into ¼” pieces.

Melt chocolate in double boiler. Stir in crushed candy canes. Pour mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheet.
Refrigerate for 1 hour (Once it began to set, I used a knife to score lines in the bark so that the piece size and shape could be regulated a bit. I wanted to have longer sticks that I could put into a coffee mug for a complete gift).

Break into pieces.

If time is scarce and you don’t think you’ll be able to complete a recipe, gather the ingredients for the recipe so that it can be easily assembled by its recipient:

Not much time? Gift the ingredients.

Present your gift in a clever container like a whimsical jar or a cute mug.  Not only will your gift be thoughtful and reusable, but it will be tasty too!

Use a cute mug to present your yummy gift

Spiced Nuts, Yum!

Happy Sewing,
Reva


Appliqué Cutting with the Brother ScanNCut

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

George Moore shows you how to use Brother’s ScanNCut scanning & cutting machine to create the perfect applique cut-outs in this very informative video:


Happy Halloween Project: Minkee Monsters!

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Minkee Monsters: they are oh-so-soft, cuddly, and cute (with just a tiny dash of scary).

Minkee Monsters

Minkee Monsters: Embroidered Plush!

If you are looking for a quick and simple project for a special little one, then we have just the right one for you. We are really excited to bring you a tutorial for these furry little creatures. Minkee Monsters are destined to be a crowd-pleaser for the whole family to enjoy. I’m so excited to show you guys how to make these, so lets not delay any longer. Here we go:

Supplies needed:

Now that you have everything together let’s get started!

  1. Transfer design of your choosing in to your machine.
  2. Hoop a single layer of No Show Mesh stabilizer.
  3. Lightly spray stabilizer with temporary adhesive. Place a piece of your Minkee fabric on top of stabilizer and let your machine stitch out the first color, which is called a “Placement Stitch”

    Step 3: Placement Stitch

  4. Remove hoop from the machine and lightly spray a piece of water soluble topping with spray adhesive (piece of topping should be at least 1 inch bigger than placement stitch) and place on top of fabric.
  5. Put the hoop back on the machine and stitch out the rest of the colors EXCEPT the last one (the last color change is the “Seam Stitch”).

    Step 5: Stitch out your Monster

  6. Once you have stitched out all the colors (except the last one), remove the hoop from the machine. Do not take fabric out of the hoop.
  7. Gently remove as much topper as you can and cut any jump threads if you have any (but do not wet the topper at this time; we will do that later).
  8. Place your second piece of Minkee right side down directly over your other design. If you want you can pin or tape the corners so your fabric doesn’t move.

    Step 8: Add 2nd Piece of Minkee

  9. Reattach the hoop once again and stitch out the final stitch which is called a “Seam Stitch”. This will stitch through both layers of Minkee.

    Step 9: Seam Stitch

  10. Remove hoop from embroidery machine. Now is when you will remove fabric from hoop.
  11. Using embroidery scissors, trim as close as possible to the Minkee Monster (without cutting through the Seam stitch).

    Step 11: Cut out your Monster!

  12. Once you have trimmed the excess fabric off, very carefully make a slit about 1½” long in the back of the Minkee Monster.
  13. Turn right-side out, and if necessary use a point turner or tool to push out corners and curves.

    Step 13: Turn right-side out

  14. Now stuff the Minkee Monster with the polyester stuffing (stuff as full as you want; there’s no over-stuffing these cuties).

    Step 14: Stuff!

  15. Ok, here it is: you now have to hand-stitch the back slit closed. I promise it really doesn’t take long and is almost painless.
  16. Make sure to remove any excess topping at this time and voila! You have a perfect, little, scary (yet cuddly) friend for your little lovelies at home!!

The Finished Minkee Monster!

And that’s it! It really is very simple. If you make any Minkee Monsters of your own, we’d love to see photos! You can email them to minkeemonsters@qualitysewing.com

Thanks, and happy sewing!
-Genna


Ann’s “White and Black Binding”

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

From Ann:

As I have been traveling around with Sew Fun I have had numerous requests for a copy of three demos I have done on Binding. I thought the easiest way would be to post them on the blog and then you could read and copy them. Here they are:

  1. Foolproof Binding Method
  2. Starting and Ending the Binding
  3. White and Black Binding

Enjoy!
-Ann

White and Black Binding

How often have you gotten to the binding and realized you were a few inches short? You can use muslin or other scrap fabric for the underside of your binding. Here’s how:
• For a 2 ¼” wide binding, cut your fashion fabric 1 ½” wide and a piece of muslin 1 ¼” wide
• For 2 ½” wide binding, cut your fashion fabric 1 5/8” wide and a piece of muslin 1 3/8” wide
• For a 2 ¾” wide binding, cut your fashion fabric 1 ¾” wide and a piece of muslin 1 ½” wide
• For a 3” wide binding, cut your fashion fabric 1 7/8” wide and a piece of muslin 1 5/8” wide

Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch binding and muslin RST. Press seam toward muslin and then press your binding strip in half WST as you normally would. Bind your quilt as usual.


Ann’s “Starting and Ending the Binding”

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

From Ann:

As I have been traveling around with Sew Fun I have had numerous requests for a copy of three demos I have done on Binding. I thought the easiest way would be to post them on the blog and then you could read and copy them. Here they are:

  1. Foolproof Binding Method
  2. Starting and Ending the Binding
  3. White and Black Binding

Enjoy!
-Ann

Starting and Ending the Binding

Step 1.
Starting: I begin on the center bottom edge. Fold the end of the binding at a 45 degree angle and press. Cut on the diagonal leaving a ¼” seam allowance. Start sewing the binding to the quilt with the folded edge of the binding open. Sew through one binding thickness for about 3-4 inches, keeping the raw edge of the binding lined up with the raw edge of the quilt top. Backstitch and cut threads.

Starting and Ending the Binding 1

Step 2.
Fold the binding into the doubled position. Start sewing an inch or so forward from where you end in step 1. Now continue sewing around the quilt. Miter your corners as usual.

Starting and Ending the Binding 2

Step 3. Ending:
After you have sewn the binding around the whole quilt stop stitching 4”-5” from the starting point, leave the needle down. Bring the unstitched end of the binding and overlap to the pressed 45 degree angle. Measure past the pressed edge and cut off the excess length, leaving ½”-¾” past the pressed edge. Tuck the end of the binding into the pocket formed at the starting point. Continue to stitch through all thicknesses and making sure you stitch past the point of your first stitching. Backstitch and cut threads. Enjoy!

Starting and Ending the Binding 3