Posted March 2, 2016, 1:09 am
March is National Craft Month, and it is also National Quilting Month! One thing that crafters and quilters usually have in common, though, is a love for applique. So, this month we thought we would share some fun ways we have used applique recently, in hopes of inspiring your own creativity – no matter what type of sewing you like to do!
One very popular use for applique is to create monograms. Both examples shown below were sewn onto the base fabric with a satin stitch (zigzag stitch with shortened stitch length). When the appliques were finished, the fabric with the “b” design was stretched around a fabric canvas, to hang on the wall. The “H” design became the center of a pillow for a girl’s room.
Here are some images from a simple quilt for a baby’s room, which features basic applique. Many of the pieces are large, making it easy to stitch around them with a satin stitch.
It’s also fun to applique as an alternative to machine embroidery. This baby onsie features a simple cupcake design. The bottom of the design was first embellished with a straight stitch, creating the “ridges” of the cupcake bottom. The top and bottom were applied to the onsie with a zigzag stitch, then the whole thing was topped off with a little purchased flower bud.
You can embellish appliques by adding surface texture instead of the traditional satin stitching. In the pillow shown below, we used a Cording Foot. A single cord was placed in the foot’s center groove, then set the machine for a narrow zigzag stitch to add the cord as a ‘border’ around the appliqued shapes on this pillow.
When it’s time to think about sewing for the holidays again, here are some ideas from projects we’ve done that might inspire you!
First is a placemat and napkin set. The “trees” were first embellished, then trimmed to size and appliqued onto the base fabric. Two of the trees feature a scallop stitch sewn with rayon thread, two of the trees feature a serpentine stitch sewn with a twin needle, and one tree has small fabric circles applied to the tree fabric with free-motion stitching. The coordinating napkin has a decorative stitch that has a triangular shape, complementing the shape of the trees appliqued to the placemat.
We also made a couple of Christmas stockings. One features a simple diamond shape (super easy!), but then a straight stitch added for embellishment – the result is an ‘argyle’ effect! Our other stocking features a little Scottie dog applique, sewn on with a simple zigzag stitch.
Of course, we had to make some pillows as well! These appliques were made from felt, cut into the shapes of holly leaves, berries and stems. Because they were made from felt, there was no need to finish the outside edges of the shapes to prevent fraying. Free-motion stitching was used to applique these to the main pillow fabric.
Another pillow was made featuring “ornament” designs. The “ornaments” were done in a similar manner as that used for the “trees” placemat. One (below left) was embellished with decorative stitching. The other (below right) was first textured with stipple quilting. The shapes were then cut out and then appliqued onto the base fabric before assembling the pillow.
We hope you’ve been inspired to look at applique in a new way! For more ideas, go to www.singerco.com.
Posted July 28, 2015, 4:41 pm
One of the most common garment alterations is hemming jeans. Whether it’s tailoring a pair of designer jeans, or hemming up some hand-me-downs for the kids, there probably comes a time sooner or later when you’ll want to hem a pair of jeans! Hemming jeans by machine, however, can present particular challenges, so we’ll show you a couple of methods and also share some tips for success. Regardless of the method you choose, be sure to use the right needle in your sewing machine – either a SINGER Denim needle (size 16) or a SINGER Heavy Duty needle (size 18), to help accommodate the thickness you’ll be sewing.
There are 2 main ways to hem jeans:
• One way is to hem the jeans by removing the original hem. In this technique, you basically cut off the existing hem, fold up the hem and then topstitch it in place. The manufacturer’s original hem is cut away, and the end result is a neat looking hem, but the jeans will no longer have the “distressed” look of the original jeans.
• The other way to hem the jeans is to do so and keep the original hem. In this technique, you basically take up the excess fabric, shortening the jeans, but keeping the original hem intact. The manufacturer’s original distressed look hem is preserved.
Hemming Jeans & Removing the Original Hem
1. You’ll need scissors, pins, a removable fabric marker and the right style/size of sewing machine needle (as mentioned above). Also, for this style of hem, the topstitching will show so you’ll want the thread to match as closely as possible to the rest of the topstitching that appears on the jeans. Some thread manufacturers actually have jeans thread available to match that used in store-bought jeans. This special jeans thread is thicker than all-purpose tDSC_0091hread (another reason you’ll want the large sewing machine needle). You can use regular sewing thread in the bobbin.
2. Fold up the jeans to determine the desired finished hem length. Don’t cut yet. Pin them in place, then try them on in front of a mirror, with the shoe height that you plan to wear with the jeans. Adjust the hem as necessary.
3. Mark the finished length desired for the jeans using either pins or a removable fabric marker. Open out the hem and trim away the original hem, leaving a 1” hem allowance.
4. At this point, you can do either of 2 things to prepare the hem.
a) You can fold the fabric up ½”, then ½” again and press. Pin in place, and it’s ready to be topstitched. The seams with this method can become quite bulky. If the jeans you are hemming are very thick, you may prefer method (b).
b) OR, to help eliminate bulk at the side seams, where the fabric thickness can become very, very thick, try this method of preparing the hem. Cut the hem allowance down to approximately ½”. Thread the top of the machine and bobbin with regular sewing thread. Use an overedge stitch or serger to finish off the raw edge of the fabric.
5. Pin the fold in place. Thread the top of the machine with jeans thread, regular thread in the bobbin. Convert the machine to free-arm mode, which will make it easier to sew around the hem. Select the straight stitch, and then set the stitch length to a medium-long setting. Sew around the hem area at the desired distance from the bottom edge to finish.
Hemming Jeans & Keeping the Original Hem
1. You’ll need scissors, pins, a removable fabric marker and the right style/size of sewing machine needle (as mentioned above). You can use regular sewing thread in the bobbin, as there is no need for the topstitching thread with this technique.
2. Try on the jeans and determine the desired finished length and pin it in place.
3. Measure the distance from the desired finished length’s fold line to the very bottom edge of the distressed hem. For our demonstration, the distance is 3”. Mark a line on the jeans with the removable fabric marker.
4. Lay the jeans on the table. Measure the size of the original hem from the very bottom edge to the topstitching line. As this is usually about ½”, double this to equal 1”, and then mark a line 1” above the first line that you drew on the jeans.
5. Fold up the jeans so that the very bottom edge of the hem is lined up with the top line drawn on the jeans. Pin in place.
6. Thread the machine with regular sewing thread in the needle and in the bobbin. Convert the machine to free-arm mode, with will make it easier to sew. With the machine set for straight stitch, sew around the hem, right next to the original hem.
7. When finished, sew an overedge stitch and trim the excess fabric.
8. Remove the fabric marker line, then press the original hem down. The fold line will be barely noticeable!
Posted July 14, 2015, 8:00 am
Have you ever wondered what do to do with all those “fancy” stitches on your sewing machine? You know what to do with the basic stitches, like straight stitch, zig-zag – even the buttonholes – but what about all those decorative stitches? Well, after taking a closer look at this quilt, you just might be inspired with some fresh new ways of looking at your machine’s decorative stitches, and giving them a try for yourself!
This quilt features an appliqued tree design with lots of multi-colored leaves, along with a few birds. These elements were stitched to the base fabric with various methods of machine applique. But, before these various elements were appliqued to the base fabric, most were first transformed by being embellished with decorative machine stitching!
The stitching on the tree trunk and branches was done with thread colors similar to those found in the fabric, providing a more tonal effect. The rayon thread provides a bit of sheen, creating even more dimension.
Notice that some of the leaves were made using a print fabric, without any added embellishment. Other leaves have a striped pattern, enhanced with contrast stitching. Still other leaves were simply basic, solid colored fabric, but changed with the addition of multiple rows of decorative stitching.
You can use various stitch patterns and thread colors, combined in countless ways, to create all sorts of different looks depending on the effect you want to achieve. Use a light, tear-away stabilizer to help prevent dense stitching from puckering under the presser foot. It’s best to use either a Satin Foot or an Open Toe Foot for decorative stitching. These feet have a “groove” on the underside, allowing the dense stitching to pass freely underneath and not get stuck.
The tree trunk and branches were then appliqued to the main fabric with the satin stitch applique method, which is done by satin stitching (zig-zag stitch with reduced stitch length setting) over the raw edge of the applique to completely cover it.
The leaves were sewn to the main fabric with the blind stitch applique method, which is done by first turning and pressing the raw edges under, then using the machine’s blind stitch to sew the appliques in place.
Finally, the machine was converted to free-motion sewing mode, to quilt the layers together. You can use a free-motion design that complements the overall design of the quilt, or just do basic stipple quilting. Just add the borders and binding to finish!
Share with us what you have done with decorative machine stitching!
Posted June 9, 2015, 6:00 am
June is traditionally thought of as kick-off to the bridal season, so we thought we’d inspire you by showing a wedding dress that we embellished with machine embroidery! Whether you are making a wedding dress, any other special occasion dress, or if you just want to embellish one that has already made, machine embroidery allows you to create something that is truly one-of-a-kind!
Our dress is a ball gown silhouette, made with ivory silk satin. When you take a closer look at the embroidery that goes all the way around the dress, you’ll notice that there are larger embroidered areas that alternate with smaller ones. We used a technique called Multiple Hoop Embroidery to create the design layouts, which is a feature that can be found on many SINGER sewing & embroidery machines. This feature allows you to take a design that is the size of a single hooping, and create a larger design layout in the software. This large layout is then transferred to the machine for embroidery, but stitched “one hoop at a time”.
Take a closer look and you’ll see the four “repeats” of a single design.
A smaller, coordinating design was used to embroider the smaller sections between the larger embroidery layouts:
The thread color we chose for the embroidery was similar to the fabric color, creating a tone-on-tone effect. We used rayon thread on the top of the machine, for a beautiful sheen. Bobbinfil thread was used in the bobbin. Bobbinfil thread is finer (thinner) than all-purpose thread, so when you put it in the bobbin, you can get more thread on the bobbin each time you wind – so you wind less frequently. It also helps make the embroidery less dense on the backside of the fabric. We used SINGER Chromium needles, Style 2000, in a size 11 for doing the machine embroidery. Stabilizer is also important. A fusible tear-away, plus an additional layer of non-fusible tear-away stabilizer was used. When the embroidery was finished, we gently removed the excess stabilizer to prevent distorting the design.
Finally, we used heat-set Swarovski crystals (2000 of them!) to finish it off. We mixed 2 different colors of crystals – clear and pearl.
We hope that we’ve inspired you to add machine embroidery to one of your next projects! Please share with us what you’ve made – we’d love to see it!
Posted December 19, 2014, 4:10 pm
It’s hard to believe we are nearing the end of another year…the holidays are just around the corner! We hope that you have enjoyed the lessons that we have provided in Embroidery Made Easy this year, and learned fun new ways to enjoy your SINGER® FUTURA™ sewing and embroidery machine.
Though this is a busy time of year, we encourage you to take a little time for yourself and enjoy the lesson this month, which once again provides more insight to using the Editing software. This month’s project is great fun and can also provide a last minute gift! Using a combination of topics learned over this past year, you will create a beautiful heirloom ornament that originates in the software, from start to finish. This ornament will be one to cherish for years to come. Finally, you’ll learn where to find quick and easy keyboard commands that will aid you in using the software for the SINGER® FUTURA™ sewing & embroidery machine.
Once again, Happy Holidays!