Thursday, June 15, 2017

progress.....and a new project

It's coming along.... slow but sure.   Ijust love it.
Yesterday I took a class at Christie's Quilting Boutique with Lisa Wilson Grant on Mariner's compass.  This is a paper pieced Mariner's Compass.  I discovered some great features of my BERNINA that help with paper piecing.  When you sew your paper piecing pieces, they always say you need to use a tighter stitch.     If you go to the Quilting Stitches on your machine, there is a preprogrammed stitch just for this purpose....
If you aren't sure what stitch it is,  use your help feature.  Touch the question mark, then the stitch,  
Here is my progress so far...
I have a ways to go.  I'm just making one block, Lisa framed hers on top of a map.   I hope I can find a map to use!  
Happy Sewing.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Just wing it

 My samples for my classes are finished for now, so I decided to teach myself something new... Heirloom sewing.  I played a little bit with it last week, but today I am diving in head first.  I'm trying to make a little girl's dress.   I have no one to make this for, but I figured maybe someday.
First step, the collar-   I took some white Kona cotton, cut a strip that was wider and longer than my collar pieced.  I set up my machine with foot 46c... the decorative pin tuck foot.  and started to play
Pintucks I sewed in white, then I put some pink Aurifil thread on my machine and added some decorative stitches between the pintucks.  Here is the best part, you leave the pin tuck foot on your machine, lining up the two pin tucks with the grooves in the foot, your stitching is perfectly straight and centered down the space.   I also discovered that 3/8" ribbon fits perfectly between the pin tucks.  
So then I got out foot 30. which is one of the pin tuck feet.  I reached for my favorite book, the Big Book of Feet and did some research on what to do with this foot.

This is the best book, it has sections on each foot made for your BERNINA machine, with lots of suggestions about what to do with that foot.  I found a picture of crosshatching done with pin tucks.  
Again, I cut a strip, wider and longer than the front yoke piece of the dress, I marked two 45 degree lines with a disappearing marker, added the guide to my foot and stitched pin tucks one inch apart on a diagonal line. 

Wouldn't that look beautiful on a clutch purse, or a zippered pouch?  
Next... sleeves.  
I went to the page in my big book of feet for the decorative pin tuck foot and found a section on using a wing needle.  
A wing needle is a needle that makes holes in your fabric, as part of the stitch.  The book told me which stitches look best with it,  so I chose stitch 711 on my machine,
I sewed two pin tucks first, then put my wing needle on my machine and stitched...
This will be the sleeve.  Just two little rows of pin tucks and stitches down the center of the sleeve. 
Does this take time, yes.  Is it worth it, yes.  
Hopefully this will be a special dress for someone one day.  
I learned a lot while I was making it and that was my goal.  
Adding a little bit of these techniques will make your projects look professional.  
Stay tuned.... I'll post the finished project soon

Friday, June 2, 2017

Pintucks, the easy way

   I'm trying to come up with new things to teach at BERNINA Club this fall.  I found this great pattern from We All Sew.... a pin tucked headband.

BERNINA has several presser feet for making pin tucks, but 46C is my favorite.

46C has 4 grooves in it, which allows you to perfectly space your pin tucks.  I marked one line on my fabric strip,  and then I attached my 46C foot and the pin tuck cording attachment

This allows you to make your pin tuck over cording.   
I put a 3.0 twin needle on my machine.  Threaded it, and told my machine I was using it..
Then it was easy,  I stitched down my drawn line making my first pin tuck, then I put my first pin tuck in the end groove of the foot and made another one,  Perfectly straight and evenly spaced.

Here is how the cording attachment works

and there you have it, four evenly spaced pin tucks.  
But wait, there is more.  I took off the twin needle, and put in a single needle.  I added a layer of stitch and tear stabilizer underneath, chose a decorative stitch, and lined up my 46C foot, with the two inner grooves.

My decorative stitch fit perfectly in the space between the pin tucks.  
I added two more rows... and I'm done, ready to finish my headband

Think about all the places you can use this, pouches, bags, little kids clothing, pillows, table runners, napkins, etc etc etc.  
Happy Sewing!   

Friday, April 7, 2017

button button who's got the button

   Before I was a quilter, I did do some garment sewing.  I used to dread doing buttons and buttonholes, but then I got my BERNINA and that all changed.  My BERNINA allows me to measure my button on the screen and then set the size of the buttonhole.  After I sew the first buttonhole, the machine remembers what I did and does all of the buttonholes the exact same size.

How to cut open your buttonhole?   Well you can use your seam ripper, but if you aren't careful, you can cut right through your end stitches....( ask me how I know that).  My favorite way is to use the BERNINA buttonhole cutter... You put the block under the buttonhole, place the knife inside the buttonhole and gently rock it as you push down.   Cuts it perfectly every time!  
Yes, that is Froot Loop fabric.... it's a smock to wear at work.  :). 
You can get the buttonhole cutter through your BERNINA dealer.  
Great accessory to have!  
Happy Sewing.  

Saturday, April 1, 2017

another project

What is it about us sewers and quilters?  We start one project.... then another and another.
Right now I am doing:    
1.  Pat Sloan's Winter Solstice challenge blocks...
I'm doing red and white.... each Wednesday we get a new block, ending on the first day of Summer.  
2.  Pat Sloan's Children's Library challenge blocks
How could I not do this challenge?  I taught kindergarten for 30 years.  I love children's books.  One block a month.
3.The new BERNINA Block of the Month... starts today.  I don't have my fabrics yet.  :). 
4.  And now.  Farm Girl Vinrtage.
My friend Peggy said she was starting this quilt. 
Farm Girl Vintage is a book written by Lori Holt. I love her quilts, fabrics, everything.  
So when Peggy said she was doing it, I jumped in too.  After all its more fun to do it with a friend.  We shopped till we dropped getting vintage looking happy fabrics, and off we go.  
You can do the 12 inch blocks or 6 inch block.  We are doing 6 inch blocks.
That means smaller pieces, and more precision piecing. .
First step cutting, and major organization
Call me the queen of post it notes.  Lori Holt uses a lot of snowball corners in her pieces.  That means sewing on the diagonal, that means corners that get eaten.  
Not with my BERNINA, I put on my straight stitch throat plate.  Sews those diagonal seams like a dream.   I am using my Sew Straight gadget from Quilt in a day, so I don't have to mark all my lines.  and my presser foot 34D.  I line up the corner with the line on my foot

Perfect piecing. Stay tuned, I'll post the block when it's finished. 
Happy Sewing everyone

Monday, March 27, 2017

Dear Easter Bunny

Easter is on it's way.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Easter Bunny brought us a basket like this....
I am teaching how to gather at the next BERNINA Club so I have been putting ruffles on everything,  
I bought a $1 plain looking basket at the dollar store.  
I used a pinking rotary cutter to cut 2 - 3 1/2 inch strips, sewed the strips together and used my ruffler foot to gather it up.  
I love this ruffler but there are many other ways to use your BERNINA to gather.   
I'll show some in upcoming blog posts.
I glued the ruffle to the edge of the basket, added some white rick rack over the stitching line, glued on some buttons, and made 2 bows.  
Fast and easy to way to fancy up a plain basket.  
I hope your Easter basket is filled with a few BERNINA goodies.  
Happy Sewing.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

flap your wings and fly

  2 months from tomorrow is my son's wedding.   I'm chugging along on projects here.  The big project is the double wedding ring quilt.

I have finished two rows of the "rings".  I was getting bored, so I switched to doing one of the borders.  I'm echoing the flower and the leaves, then using my BERNINA rulers to sew straight lines in the background.  I love the way it looks, so old and antique, just the look I wanted.  Not sure if I will have it finished by the wedding.  I'm just going to keep working slowly and carefully.  When it's done it's done. :). 
Project #2-  my dress.  It's done, just needs to be hemmed.  now I have to start the matching jacket.  
My BERNINA 780 and foot #10- the edge stitch foot did a wonderful job on the facings.   I'm going to add some machine embroidery to the jacket.  Stay tuned for that. 
Project #3- the clutch-
It's made from lace and trim from my mom's wedding dress and veil.  Her dress had confetti inside the lace and lining, so I put it in my clutch.  When I was a little girl I remember looking at her dress and seeing the confetti still inside it.  
Project #4-  I'm not sure about this one, but I want to make myself an old fashioned handkerchief
.  I bought a piece of white fabric, kind of like a thin linen.   Then I pulled out something I haven't used in a long time.  The wing needle.

The wing needle is a needle you use for heirloom sewing.  It punches holes into your fabric as you sew, creating a beautiful design.  I wasn't sure what stitches to try, no worries there, I used the built in help guide on my 780, looked in the section on needles, and there was a whole write up on wing needles.  It listed 3 stitches to try.   I cut a small strip of my fabric, got some stitch and tear stabilizer
and off I went.  

I tried the 3 stitches here, on my 780 it is stitch 701, 702 and 8.  I'm going to cut a square of this fabric, narrow hem the edges, then use one of these stitches around all 4 sides of the handkerchief.
Maybe I will embroider the date on it.
I better get back to work, time's a ticking here.  
Happy sewing

Saturday, March 18, 2017

68 days.....

 I started my mother of the groom dress.  I did go look for a ready made dress.  Frumpy, that's all I could see.  I am not a dress up type of girl.  I don't like a lot of sequins, or fancy fabrics.  Give me cotton, I am happy.  Last summer I took a road trip to Colchester Fabric Mill in Colchester CT.  Quilting fabrics galore, but also garment fabrics.  I found this very pretty yellow fabric.  It has some texture to it, I"m not sure what it is made of, I just know that I liked it.  I bought 3 yards.  Buyers remorse when I got home, and they sent me the rest of the bolt... 3 1/2 more yards.
My dress is plain, just a simple sleeveless dress.  I had to fancy it up a bit,  I toyed with embroidery, but then I found some pretty lace in my stash,  I lined up the lace with the center fold down the middle of the front of the dress.  I used a very narrow zig zag stitch to stitch it down.  Then what?

I decided to do some decorative stitching.  On the back of the dress, I marked 2 lines, 2 inches from the center.  I needed a way to transfer those lines to the front.  I used the basting feature on my BERNINA, but you could also just use a long straight stitch.  I was afraid to mark the front of my dress with any marking pens or pencils, so this was a way to give me a line for my stitches.  I used foot 34D, with a layer of Stitch and Tear underneath the stitching... this is a scallop satin stitch.  

When it was time to sew the other side, I mirror imaged the stitch, and off I went.  Slow and steady, this is not a hurry up get it done project, ( not yet anyway).

 This is what I have so far.  should I stop or keep going.   I've taken some of the scraps from the dress and have tried different stitches. Nothing really shows.  The fabric has a texture to it, so the cross stitches that I love kind of sink in.  I could do more satin stitches, or my other idea is a ribbon.  
Stopping for now.  
The back of the dress is done... I put in my invisible zipper....
Thank you to the person who invented BERNINA Foot 35, this zipper went in like a dream.
Sometimes I wonder if I have too many presser feet.  Then I work on projects like this, it's wonderful to have the foot you need to make your project turn out beautifully.  Our BERNINA machines have a foot or attachment for so many types of sewing.  
If you don't have this book yet, it is a must have for every BERNINA owner, it has detailed information about all the feet and accessories that BERNINA makes.  Beautiful color pictures and easy to follow directions on how to use the feet.  
Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

wedding bells

 I need to make a clutch purse for my son's wedding.  I've been putting this project off and off, but with the blizzard today I think it's a good day to do it.
First - look for the pattern-

I had bought this pattern awhile ago... size is right, but not sure it is really what I want.  
I found her other pattern.  Size is a little small, so I am going to make it a little deeper, so I can fit my keys and phone.   Now the hard part.  I want to use part of my mom's wedding dress in this clutch.  That way I will feel like she is there.  
She never had her dress preserved. For as long as I remember, it was folded pretty quickly and put into a box, and it sat at the top of her closet.  I remembered feeling it now and then as a child, remember once in a while she would take the box down.  I saw that the dress had confetti still inside of it.  When she passed away and we closed up her house, I took the dress, and put it on top of my closet.  Today I took it down.  
The bridesmaids are wearing sky blue.  I found a nice piece of solid sky blue.  I did some decorative stitching on it this morning with sky blue Aurifil thread.  
Now I am not sure what to do.  I can attach the overall lace from the dress on the blue.  My stitching won't show, but that's ok.  Or I can cut the lace motifs from the veil and attach them, 
All suggestions welcome.... Part of me wants to cut the part that has the confetti and add that to the clutch.  
Stay safe in the snow.
Happy Sewing

Friday, March 10, 2017

Time for the bar....

  I am very lucky.  I have the chance to work for 3 amazing fabric/quilt shops.  I teach BERNINA club at Pins and Needles in Mt Kisco,  next week I will teach and demo at Christie's Quilting Boutique in Norwalk Ct and I teach a class called Friday Frenzy twice a month at Quilt Basket in Pawling NY.    Each shop is different,  but each shop is wonderful.  And each shop has BERNINA machines.  So for me, each shop feels like home.
I was supposed to teach today at Quilt Basket, but it snowed.   So I decided to work on my project for the April Fabric Frenzy class.    Friday Frenzy classes are 2 hours and we make easy to sew, fun projects.  Our project for April is the Fold and Stitch Bloom Wreath

This pattern is from Poorhouse Designs.  She has several versions of this wreath or table topper.  They are all made the same way, just using different shapes.  This one uses hexagons.

I love using my BERNINA for the project, because you can use some of your decorative stitches.  I put my 34D foot on, and did this quick and easy feather stitch.  
The hexagons have a stiff interfacing inside, but my BERNINA sewed through them perfectly.
The last part of the pattern says to hand stitch the edges of the hexagons together, to form the flower...
Hand stitch?  I don't think so.  First of all, by the time I found a needle, found my glasses, threaded the needle... etc etc etc, I can have this done.  I went to my BERNINA and found this stitch called "Bar Tack".
It's a great stitch that just goes back and forth then does a securing stitch.  Just to hold 2 things together.   I used it on the edges of the hexagons.

And it's done... well it needs to be pressed, but then I had this problem
I didn't have the heart to move her, she looked so cozy on this snowy day.  
The Friday Frenzy class is being held on April 7 at Quilt Basket in Pawling NY from 10-12.  Or there is a Sunday version  April 2nd, from 12-2.  
Quilt Basket has the patterns and precut hexagons for this project.  
Stay safe in the snow everyone and happy sewing