Tips & Tricks

Tips from Lana & Friends

Tips from Lana & Friends

Tips for July Sew Fun Projects!

  • From Doree Shandera – “Mix the flavored Best Press with the unflavored Best Press to tone down the fragrance.” Love this idea as I want the pretty fragrance, but not the strong smell…Perfect!
  • From Amanda Brown – Use a Heat gun to gently shrink the stitching into place. Hats are a perfect place for this technique. I have also used it on embroidery that may have a loopy…be careful, you can melt your stitches.
  • When clipping curves on important projects where leaving a seam allowance is important, clip one layer at a time off-setting the clips between the layers. If it is crafty things, use pinking shears instead. Pinking shears clip the curves quickly and easily but leave a very small seam allowance.
  • I always press seams open before turning; however, some things are just too small for that, like the leaves and mitten coasters. So, I use my finger as my iron by going through the opening and finger press the seam open.
  • Instructions for leaves, mittens, etc. state that you draw the design onto the wrong side of the backing fabric. Then layer batting, top and backing fabric and stitch the design.

    • 1st – clip the back fabric for the slash so you do not have to try to separate the pieces later. This makes it easier when you have to slash the backing fabric to turn to the right side.
    • 2nd – when I pink the edges of the project I do this from the batting side. This allows me to see the edge of the batting that was trimmed away and then I don’t get too close to the sewing and accidentally clip the seam.
    • I press the seams open with a Point Presser or finger press if the item is too small for a Point Presser.

  • OMG…sometimes I astound myself with my brilliance…LOL…To do the leaves for the table runner, I needed 12, I chose to use my Brother ScanNCut to draw all the leaves!! I sprayed the fabric with Best Press and pressed to stiffen the fabric a bit (I did 2 applications pressing after each). Then placed on my ScanNCut mat and let it draw all of my leaves. NOTE: I did not cut them out with the SNC because you layer the fabric then stitch around the leaves before you cut them out.
  • If your Steam-A-Seam II is shredding while you are removing it, heat it up for a second and it will come off easily. :)
  • For great corners when you flip right sides out, always re-sew the corners with 1.0 stitch length starting and ending about an inch before and after the corner. No back stitching on either side. Stop a stitch or two from the corner and cut across the corner with 2-3 stitches, for a thin project or 3-4 stitches, for a thicker project. Trim across the corner just outside the new stitching. Press seams open and turn right sides out.
  • If you are trying to press your strip of fabric away from your quilt and it does not want to lie flat, spritz it with a little Best Press to help coax it the way you want it to go. I like to use the small 6 oz. bottle because it has a finer spray.
  • When sewing something that you leave an opening to turn your project through:

    • Baste across the opening
    • Leave a long thread tail to hand sew opening closed, that way you do to have to attach one later.
    • Press the seam allowance in the basted area away from the seam. This will give you a pressed line to follow when you are hand sewing the opening closed.
    • Remove the basting and press the remaining seams open for a better turn of cloth.
    • Turn right sides out and hand stitch the opening.

  • When using Frixion pens on some cottons like batiks, you will sometimes get a white hazy line remaining when you press to remove the markings. Well…If you first spray it with Best Press, let it stand for a few seconds, press and the lines will go away and so will the white hazy lines. If they still remain repeat the process.
  • If you do not have one of the wonderful circle sewers by Pfaff/Viking, or Brother/Babylock, or you are doing a circle smaller or bigger than your device, or your machine manufacturer has not made one for your model, or your machine maybe older and they did not make them back then…well do not fear you can still do perfect circles. Use a flat head thumb tack. Place Floriani Perfection tape sticky side down onto sharp point of tack. Add another piece in a criss-cross manner. Now here is where the ones you buy make it easy, you will have to mark straight out to the left (or right) of your needle, and tape the thumb tack to your machine or extension table half the width of your circle. Place the center of the circle over the tack and stitch whatever stitch you want…TAH DAH!!! A perfect circle.
  • Love the Ruler foot and templates, but I had trouble with them moving while I was quilting. I first tried InvisiGrip. That helped but it still shifted. So I put on my thinking cap and looked around my studio for a solution. Well, I found a solution, (pun intended) it is called Alene’s Tack it Over and Over. OMG…this was PERFECT!!! After doing my quilt, there was lots of debris on the sticky stuff. I washed it with warm water and mild soap and it was sticky again!! Brilliant Solution, if I do say so myself! See Ruler Foot tips for more ideas on controlling the slippage of the templates.
  • Whenever I fuse on a large piece of Steam-a-Seam II to the back of fabric, I get air bubbles that I have to try to work out. So consequently, I usually cut things into smaller pieces if I can. Enter the digital cutters. To smooth things onto a mat, you use a squeegee…ding, ding, ding…hmmm, would this work to squeegee the fusible web onto the back of the fabric? Let’s try…Tah Dah! It worked…no trapped air bubbles…yeah!!!
  • Glues: This is a great video on types of glues and how to use them.

  • Ruler Foot Templates:

    • Controlling Template slippage

      • There are various ways of controlling the slipping that occurs with using a template. Below I will tell you all the things I have tried. They all worked. It will be how you like applying the different products and how they worked for your project. I gave stars 1-4, 4 being the best, in my humble opinion. Criteria for stars, easy of use, ease of removal.
        Stable Tape

        • Stable Tape**

          • Comes in a pack of 5
          • Cut into small pieces
          • Permanent adhesive
          • Pros: Works well, no slippage of template
          • Cons: Cannot see through so you could lose the ability to use some of the squaring up lines.

        • Invisi Grip

          • This was better than nothing, but I still had slippage. There are better products to use.

        • Alene\'s Tack It Over
          Alene’s Tack it Over and Over**

          • Spread a thin layer over backside of template and let dry
          • Pros: This work very well although it stuck really good and you do have to work the first few moves a bit to get it off of your fabric. Once a few fibers pick up on the glue it moves easily.
          • Cons: Causes a haze of fibers on the back of the template. This can be washed in warm water and a mild soap to remove the fibers and revive the stickiness.
          • To remove glue spray with alcohol and rub until the glue rolls of the template.

        • Alene\'s Repositionable Spray
          Alene’s Repositionable Spray **

          • Spray on the backside of the template and let dry
          • Pros: Kept it’s tackiness even after repeated washings to remove lint.
          • Cons: Leaves a haze on your template, although you can easily see all the markings
          • Remove: Spray with Cooking spray and set for 5-10 minutes. Rub the template to help remove the adhesive. Wash with soap and water.

        • Double-Sided Tape
          Double Sided Tape – Permanent ***

          • Place tape on back side of template
          • Pros: Easy to apply, easy to remove
          • Cons: Depending on the size of the project, you may have to replace the tape often.

        • Temporary Spray Adhesive
          Temporary Spray Adhesives **

          • Pros: Easy to apply and sewers and crafters usually have this in their supplies
          • Cons: Leaves a haze on your template although you can still see the markings
          • Cons: You will have to re-apply depending on the size of your project and the lint of the fabric.
          • To remove spray with Cooking Spray and set for 5-10 minutes. Rub the template to help remove the adhesive. Wash with soap and water.

        • Rubber Cement
          Rubber Cement **** (A great suggestion by Linda Moore)

          • Brush across the back of the template and let dry
          • Pros: Does not pick up as much lint as some of the other adhesives
          • Pros: Easily removes by just rubbing your finger across the template
          • Cons: Leaves a slight haze, but not as much as some of the other products.

    • No Pivot function so the foot does not rise above the template

  • Tips: Things I have discovered while using the Ruler Foot and Templates.

    • Per the developers instructions sew slower than you normally would.
    • Breathe, this is fun, and even if you do not free-motion well, your design will be perfect so no one will notice. :)
    • There is a height adjust template that comes with the Ruler Foot. I have found for my quilts and machine that this sets the foot too high. Check the height by placing quilt under the foot and moving it around after you have lowered the foot. If it moves smoothly tighten the ankle screw. Make sure the fabric does not bounce up and down (foot too high) as you stitch as this will cause skipped stitches.
    • Do not watch the needle, watch the edge of the Ruler Foot against the template
    • Do not turn the quilt, simply go around the template, the fabric stays straight
    • Brother Dream or Babylock Destiny (high shank)

      • No problem with Madeira Aerofil Thread
      • Tension at 3.0
      • Cotton thread

        • Use a 90 topstitching needle
        • Stitch slower than your normal free-motion stitching

    • Pfaff (low shank)

      • The low shank templates allow room for the IDT to not interfere with the movement of the templates.
      • Older Pfaffs – When you put these machines into free-motion mode they raise the foot up too high as it is assuming you will be putting on a Pfaff free-motion foot. Follow these instructions:

        • Place the Ruler Foot onto the machine and adjust the height for the thickness of quilt
        • Change the stitch length to ‘0’
        • Set foot pivot height to ‘none’
        • Do not put it in free-motion mode

You can Download This Entire List Here!

And Download a USA Flag project here!

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