Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sewing Machine Needle

When and how often do you replace your sewing machine needle? Recently I read that a needle should be changed after every project. But not all projects are equal I exclaimed. A large quilt requires more stitches that a 16'' cushion cover. To replace a needle after one cushion cover is unnecessary. The rule I have followed is to replace the needle every 6 to 8 hours of sewing. However I admit its not easy to keep track of time when sewing. Ask my daughter whom  I recently forgot to pick up from school because I was sewing!
Further reading allowed me to gather the following advice. Firstly, my sewing machine manual suggests to replace a needle 'regularly, especially if it is showing signs of wear and causing problems'. Problems are skipped stitches , upper thread breaks, noisy machine or the needle breaks.
Shea Henderson in School of Sewing gives the following advice, replace needle each time you clean your machine, after every large project  or after eight hours of sewing.
Good advice but I was thinking it would be lovely if my machine had a warning light that just lit up when I needed to replace the needle , like my car does when something is not working right.
A sharp needle gives the best sewing results. so if you are experiencing stitch problems or cannot  remember the last time you replaced the needle do it today.
 If this is the first time you will be changing a needle please refer to your sewing machine manual for instructions.
Happy Sewing

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Kitchen Project

Turn a pile of fabric scraps into a pot holder in under 1 hour.  I used the leftover binding pieces from my last two projects. This project is perfect if you have lots of fabric scraps and only a little time to indulge in some sewing. Also it’s a good project for the new quilter because it allows you to practice sewing a ¼ in seam allowance, make a quilt sandwich and finish with binding your piece.
Finished Potholder

Pot hold size 8 x 8 inch (20 X20 cm)


Fabric scraps in 3 different fabrics
Backing fabric 8 ½ x 8 ½ inches
Binding fabric 2 1/4 inches x fabric width
Batting (Insul – bright) 8 ½ x 8 ½ inches
Matching thread

Walking foot (optional)

Seam allowance ¼’’


1 Cut fabric as follows
One 1 ½ x 4 ½ ‘’strip for hanging loop
The following strips are 2 ¼’’ wide
Fabric A one 2 ¼’’’square
Fabric B one 2 ¼’’ square, one 4’’ strip, one 6 ¼’’ strip and one 8’’ strip
Fabric C one 4 ¼’’ strip and one 6’’ strip
number sequence
2 To make the pot holder top. Pin and stitch the two squares right sides together on one side. Open seam and press. Next sew the 4’’ strip to the left side of the two squares. Follow this by pinning and sewing the 4 ¼’’ strip to the top of your sewn piece. Continue stitching the fabric strips using the number sequence as shown in the photograph. Each new strip sewn will be longer than the last piece.
3 Make a quilt sandwich as follows – backing square right side down on work surface, insul-bright batting in the middle and patchwork square right side up. Pin to hold the layers together.
Quilt sandwich
4 Quilt the sandwich. I chose to quilt on the diagonal beginning in the centre of my pot holder. First I used a fabric marker to draw diagonal lines 1’’ apart on my potholder top. Using my walking foot I stitched on the drawn lines. (A walking foot will minimize slipping of fabric and wrinkles. A regular presser foot can be used if you don’t have a walking foot)
5 Trim the quilted potholder to 8 x 8 inches
6 To make the hanging loop. Fold the 1 ½ x 4 ½’’ strip lengthways wrong sides together and press. Open and press the raw edges so they meet in the centre. Fold the strip in half lengthways again, topstitch down both sides. Fold the strip in half so the raw ends meet. Pin the loop to the back of the potholder on one edge 1’’ in from the corner, align raw edges. Baste into place.
7 Press binding strip in half lengthwise wrong sides together. Open binding fold one short edge ½’’ towards the wrong side. Press. This is the start of your binding.
8 Place binding with folded short edge along one raw edge of the pot holder front (somewhere in the middle of the edge). Align raw edges, for the first 2 inches only stitch through one layer of binding. Sew using a ¼ inch seam allowance.
9 At each corner stop sewing ¼’’ before the edge sew off the corner of the project at a 45 degree angle. Remove potholder from sewing machine.

10 Fold binding upward at a 45 degree angle. Hold the fold with your finger and fold binding back down along next edge. Continue sewing. Repeat at each corner.
11 When you reach the start trim binding 2’’ longer than you need. Tuck the excess between the start binding and stitch through all layers.

12 Press binding away from potholder front. Fold binding around to the back side of the potholder. Stitch binding to the back. I used a ladder stitch.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Placemats

I also made placemats that coordinate with my double oven glove project. Project 11 from this book will show you how  to make similar placemats.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Double Oven Glove (a Tutorial)

I love to bake. I love the feeling of sliding my hands into my oven mitts and wrapping it around the pan as I remove the freshly baked cake out of the oven. Sadly my oven glove is showing a lot of use so I decided to make myself a new one .

new oven glove

old oven glove

 Here is how you can make your own double oven Glove

Materials needed

Main fabric 17 inch
Contrast fabric 10inch
Insulated batting  (I used Insul-Bright from the warm company)
Cotton batting


1 Cut two rectangles from main fabric 28 x 8
Cut four rectangle from contrast fabric 9 x 8 (pocket pieces)
Cut one rectangle from insulated batting 28 x 8
Cut one rectangle from cotton batting 28x 8
Cut two rectangles from cotton batting 9x8
2 Make a quilt sandwich from the pocket pieces as follows fabric right side down, batting and fabric right side up. Pin the layers together mark your desired quilting pattern with a fabric marker and quilt beginning in the middle of the pocket. (My quilting pattern is diagonal lines spaces 1 inch apart)
3 Neaten one 8 inch side by trimming any batting that is poking out. Bind that edge. This will be the top of your pocket. To bind cut a fabric strip 2 ¼ inch wide. Fold in half-length wise and press, open up, fold raw edges to meet at the center fold and press again. Place your pocket edge on the binding so the raw edge lines up with the center fold. Fold the other half over so the raw edge is now encased. Use pins or clips to hold in place. Stitch with a 3/8inch seam allowance. Make sure the top and bottom of the binding is caught in the stitching. Trim away any binding that exceeds the pocket edges.

4 Next make a quilt sandwich with the large rectangles and quilt that sandwich as well. This time the sandwich layers will be cotton fabric right side down, insulated batting, regular cotton batting and cotton fabric right side up.

5 Place your quilted pockets on your quilted rectangle on each end, align raw edges. The binding s should be facing the centre. Baste the pocket sides through all layers.



6 Use a dinner plate to draw the round edge of the mitt base. When you are happy with the curved outline, cut it out. Fold the oven mitt in half and trace the curve on the other end. Trim to neaten all raw edges.
7 Finish by binding. Stretch the binding a little as you go around the curves.
Hope you enjoyed this tutorial
Thanks for reading

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