• Singer Perfect Plus

    Sew a Mix-and-Match Wardrobe for Plus and Petite-Plus Sizes

     

    Kathleen Cheetham presents 4 enclosed patterns, step-by-step construction, and fitting instruction. Readers can create a wardrobe of versatile and stylish garments--which can be adapted for office wear, casual wear, or evening wear, just by varying the colors, fabrics, and finishing details. Never have to say you have nothing to wear again!


  • The Pocket Stylist


    Behind-the-Scenes Expertise from a Fashion Pro on Creating Your Own Unique Look

    Professional fashion advice for all body shapes and sizes!


  • Pants for Real People: Fitting Techniques

    Any sewer will benefit from the fitting techniques featured in this informative DVD, a companion to Pants for Real People: Sewing Techniques . 


    Sewers will learn how to buy the right-size pattern, fine-tune it before cutting, and then tissue-fit it. 


  • Pants for Real People: Sewing Techniques

    This informative guide illustrates how to sew great pants that flatter any fit. 


    The tips and techniques within this useful reference include how to prepare and cut fabric, mark darts, sew zippers, pin-fit the fabric, press seams, and attach different styles of waistbands. 

    This DVD is a must-have to follow up the fitting DVD.


  • Big List of Sewing Blogs


    Big list of Sewing blogs - I'm in, are you?

Mono Filament Nylon Thread Explodes Bobbins

So I’m doing some custom sewing and decided to use that mono filament clear nylon thread in the bobbin of my sewing machine. I’m winding the bobbin full of this thread and, suddenly, at about 1/2 full, the top of the plastic bobbin “explodes” off the shaft of the bobbin. I had to use my trusty needlenose pliers to pull the rest of the bobbin off of the bobbin winding spool pin. Of course, with one side missing from the bobbin, the nylon thread that was wound on the bobbin spilled off the center pin and unwound and tangled immediately. I had to discard the whole shebang.

Thinking that the bobbin was somehow inferior, I found a more “sturdy” looking empty bobbin and began again.

AGAIN, the bobbin wound about 1/2 full then exploded!

I came to the conclusion that you can’t wind plastic bobbins more than about 1/2 full on a bobbin winder because it winds too tightly and the bobbin won’t survive. I expect this would not happen with metal bobbins, however, if you try to wind this type of thread around a plastic bobbin, use care. Or wear your safety glasses!!

PS. After doing some more reading and research, I’ve learned that these bobbins exploded because the mono filament thread stretches when wound using the bobbin thread tension disc and the building pressure on the shaft of a plastic bobbin eventually pops the top of the bobbin off. They recommend not using the bobbin thread tension disc when winding bobbins with this type of thread. Instead, you should just wind the bobbin slowly, using your hand to put the minimum tension possible on the thread as it winds onto the bobbin. Be careful that the thread doesn’t cut into your flesh as you wind (another reason to wind slowly)!

While you could wind the bobbin with mono filament thread entirely by hand, it can still be done by machine. The thread goes from the spool, around your hand, to the bobbin on the bobbin winding shaft. Skip the bobbin winding tension disc. Use your hand to guide the thread up and down so it winds evenly onto the bobbin, putting only minimum tension on it.

White Sewing Machine Attachments 1st box

 

I’m so excited today. One of the two sets of sewing machine attachments that I bought off eBay arrived in the mail!

Box of Sewing Machine Attachments

Box of Sewing Machine Attachments

This one was a “box of sewing machine junk” and the seller didn’t really know what they had!

I won this auction for a mere $0.98 cents plus shipping.

When I separated out the various pieces, here is what was in the box and the approximate value to buy new.

White Sewing Machine Attachments

White Sewing Machine Attachments

White Sewing Machine

White Sewing Machine

Here is a picture of my beloved White model 782 Sewing Machine that used to belong to my mom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Sewing Machine Bobbin Winder

White Sewing Machine Bobbin Winder

Here is a close-up picture of the bobbin winder on the right side of the sewing machine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Sewing Machine Bobbin Winder Replacement Ring

White Sewing Machine Bobbin Winder Replacement Ring

Here is a picture me holding the replacement ring next to the bobbin winder. The rubber ring on this machine does not need to be replaced at this time. As far as I know, it is the original but it’s always good to have an extra one on hand. I don’t know how much a ring like this would cost but I’m guessing around $5.00.

Using my handy book, The Sewing Machine Attachment Handbook by Charlene Phillips, and the markings on some of the attachments, I was able to figure out what the following were for:

White Sewing Machine Binder

White Sewing Machine Binder

This attachment is called a “Binder” and it is used to attach binding tape to the edge of the fabric. The little slots along the edge of the cone-shaped part are for different widths of binding tape. The smallest slot will accommodate 1/4″ (6mm) finished width folded bias. The next larger slot fits 5/16″ (8mm) binding. The middle one fits 3/8″ (9mm) width bias. The second largest fits 7/16″ (11mm) wide binding. The largest slot fits 1/2″ (13mm) wide binding or bias. The bias tape rides through this attachment inside the cone while the fabric you are attaching to sits below the cone and feeds over the raised metal rectangle to the left of the cone. This attachment aligns everything so you can concentrate on making your stitching straight without worrying about catching the bias tape on both the front and back.

The binder attachment costs about $20.00.

White Sewing Machine Bobbins

White Sewing Machine Bobbins

These were the easiest items to identify. Of course, they are bobbins. You can never have too many of them. They cost at least $0.50 each. That’s $2.50 minimum for these bobbins.

 

 

 

 

White Sewing Machine Fabric Guide

White Sewing Machine Fabric Guide

Next is a Fabric Guide and screw. This was a pleasant surprise because Mom’s was lost over the years. Although not expensive, these are invaluable to have. I’m guessing they would cost around $5.00.

 

 

White Sewing Machine Edge Stitcher

White Sewing Machine Edge Stitcher

The next item I identified was an edge stitcher. The slot on the back of this foot attaches to an attachment foot, which I also found in the box but didn’t take a picture of. The edge stitcher is used to align the edge of the fabric with lace or other decorative edging. It keeps everything running straight, attaching perfectly with a straight line of stitching. The various widths of the slots will accommodate different widths of decorative edging material.

An edge stitching attachment costs about $15.00.

White Sewing Machine Hemmer Feet

White Sewing Machine Hemmer Feet

Next, I came across three hemmer attachments that also attach to the attachment foot. These hemmer sets usually have 4 feet with each making a different width of hem. The smallest usually does a 1/4″ (6mm) hem, the next smallest, a 3/8″ (9mm), the second largest a 5/8″ (16mm) and the largest a 7/8″ (22mm) wide hem. It is possible that this set only ever had 3 sizes. A set like this would probably cost about $10.00.

White Sewing Machine Narrow Hemmer

White Sewing Machine Narrow Hemmer

The next item I was able to identify is this narrow hemmer foot. Perhaps this is the missing size from the above set but this foot is a stand alone. It doesn’t require the attachment foot like the above attachments.  A foot like this costs about $5.00.

White Sewing Machine Quilting Guide

White Sewing Machine Quilting Guide

 

 

 

 

Next was a quilting guide. This attachment is handy for following along previously stitched lines to make spacing accurate and consistent. They cost about $5.00.

 

White Sewing Machine Ruffler

White Sewing Machine Ruffler

I was very excited to find this ruffler attachment in this box. They cost about $50.00 and this one appears to be complete and working correctly.

A ruffler foot can be adjusted two ways. One adjustment determines the “depth” of the ruffles or pleats and the other determines the spacing between. I’ve yet to use on of these attachments but have heard/read that others have been thrilled with them.

 

White Sewing Machine Tucker

White Sewing Machine Tucker

The next item I found in this box was a tucker attachment. This makes folds that are stitched in place. It has adjustments on it to determine the width of the tuck and the spacing between tucks. This foot can also be used to sew “cross tucks” which are tucks at a 45 degree angle from each other, like a grid.

An attachment like this would also cost around $50.

 

White Sewing Machine Underbraider?

White Sewing Machine Underbraider?

The last item I discovered in this box is a bit of a question mark. I believe it is called an underbraider. My book couldn’t show all the variations of this type of foot because each different manufacturer of machines has a different type of underbraider. An underbraider is usually used with a quilting bar and allows for free form patterns on the fabric or even attaching braid in a free form pattern. I’ll have to do some more research on this foot. I’m guessing it is worth at least $10.00.

Altogether, my $0.98 box of attachments would have cost me at least $177.50 if I had bought each item separately!!

5 Tips on Buying a Used Sewing Machine

I firmly believe that the best sewing machine for a beginner is an older or vintage sewing machine. Of course, these machines are used. They can often be found advertised in your local paper, on e-bay, on kijiji, at garage and yard sales, auction sales, or at your local sewing machine supply store. Expect to pay anywhere from nothing to $50 for a machine. Look for one that is capable of doing zig zag stitches.

Always:

  1. make sure the machine runs and stitches in forward and reverse – if it’s a zig zag machine, make sure it backstitches in zig zag as well, not just straight backstitching
  2. make sure the power and pedal cords are not frayed
  3. make every attempt to get the manual or order one online
  4. make sure there is a bobbin included (so you know what kind it takes)
  5. ask for all feet, tools, and accessories that came with the machine

If you did not purchase from a sewing machine supply store, find a repair store and take the machine in for a complete cleaning and tune-up. This could cost $50 and up but is essential to make sure the machine is running properly. There’s nothing worse than being frustrated with the machine operation when you’re trying to learn!

Before you leave the sewing machine store be sure to ask:

  1. how to thread the machine (have them leave it threaded so you can draw a diagram or take pictures when you get home)
  2. if the bobbin is the correct type for the machine AND if any other types of bobbins (some machines will work with several types) will work as well
  3. how to fill the bobbin with thread
  4. how to insert the bobbin
  5. for a new light bulb (pay attention to what type they give you – threaded, “pins” or other so you know what to buy to replace when needed)
  6. for permanent markings (nailpolish or sharpie pen) at the top and bottom oiling points (if any) and what type of oil to use (“sewing machine” oil isn’t always universal)

If you can’t find a manual and still don’t know how to thread your sewing machine, send me a picture and I will try to help you.

How to thread a sewing machine

I am amazed at how many people are searching the internet trying to figure out how to thread their sewing machines!

They have inherited or been given or purchased a used sewing machine that had no manual and, especially if they are not experienced sewists, they don’t even know where to start with the threading. I shudder to think of how many good sewing machines are out there sitting in closets, attics, basements, or other storage because their current owners don’t know how to thread them!

Of course, many of those people have something at their disposal that can help. The Internet!

But, through you can find lots of instructions and videos on the ‘net, they can only show the sewing machines they have access to. There are so many slightly different sewing machines out there that it’s just not possible to be comprehensive in a video.

So, here’s an idea. If anyone wants to know how to thread their sewing machine, send me a picture of the front of the machine, the bobbin and the bobbin case or area and I will try to show you how to thread YOUR sewing machine on the pictures. Learn how to thread your actual sewing machine for the small price of … shall we say FREE? :)

I don’t promise that I can figure them all out but I will try.

Domestic sewing machines only please. I have no experience with Industrial sewing machines.

E-mail me here.

Why do men’s and women’s clothes button on the opposite side?

Every wonder why men’s clothes button on one side and women’s on the other?

And why is it changing? In the last couple of decades, women’s pants, especially, are buttoning on the same side as men’s.

I found out why.

Years ago, women wore corsets. They needed someone to pull the corset ties tight in the back to get the small waist they wanted. Women had a servant to help them dress. So when it came to buttoning up, the servant did it for them. That’s why the buttons were put on the other side of the garment.

Nowadays, most women dress themselves. Because most people are right-handed, it is easier to manipulate the button into and out of the buttonhole with the right hand. That’s why things are changing. Women, out of necessity, have become very good at doing up buttons regardless of which side they are on.

These days, the way it should be (IMHO) is that baby’s and small children’s clothes should be made for a “servant” (aka Mother) to button for them and adults clothes should be the opposite way so the person can easily dress themselves.

Sewing Supplies Store – Checkout Problem Fixed

I was notified by a customer that the checkout process on my store wasn’t working properly. Thanks, Becky!!

Yesterday, I was able to correct the problem so it’s working now. Anyone want to test it?

I would also love some feedback on the design and how easy or difficult the store is to use!

Becky got a discount on her order as a thank you for helping us out. You could too!

The Best Interfacing

I’ve often been asked, “What’s the best interfacing to use?”, especially when sewing jackets and blazers. Blazers and “suit” type jackets are my absolute favorite thing to sew.

I must’ve sewn 40 of them in the past few years! Call me crazy…

Over the years, I’ve stuggled with choosing interfacing that will work with various types of fabrics, from wool to tweed to denim and even stretch cotton. We all know the interfacings that are generally available don’t stretch but they do stiffen the fabric. How can you add body without losing that stretch factor in the fabric. And how can you add body without making that perfect wool fabric not breathe anymore. You lose one of the fabulous qualities of wool or any natural fabric because you have to interface.

I’ve found a wonderful solution. Here’s the Best Interfacing for Sewing.

Palmer/Pletsch has this wonderful interfacing for sale. It is breathable, fusible, and stretchy. Follow the instructions to get a great and permanent fuse. Press hard with the hottest temperature (no steam) your fabric can withstand for 10-20 seconds, overlapping as you work across the fabric.

This interfacing is so great, you can even interface through the seam allowance without a bunch of added bulk!

Several different weights are available but I love the Tailor Ultra the best for jackets. Most are available in white or black.

I just wish I sold this interfacing on my own store!

**Note: I have no affiliation with Palmer/Pletsch whatsoever. I just love their products! Their dvds are wonderful too!

 

Review of esewingworkshop.com

While searching for other sewing-related websites – sewing lessons in particular – I came across http://esewingworkshop.com/ and noticed they have a 7 day free trial. I decided to try it out.

I’ve been sewing for over 20 years but there is always something new to learn or another method of doing something that you haven’t heard about before.

On the one hand, I loved this site because the videos were:

  • extremely professionally done!
  • very, very clear and easy to understand
  • excellent quality and videographed
  • perfect for beginner sewists to learn good skils from

But on the other hand, I just cancelled my membership because I:

  • learned all I wanted to in just a couple of days
  • couldn’t find videos/lessons on many things I specifically wanted to learn
  • found the overall selection of videos fairly limited

The professional sewist in the videos is very well-trained and skilled. The voice-over was easy to understand and didn’t fill time with extraneous jabber. He explained what was being shown very succinctly and has only a mild accent so was easy to understand.

Overall, I’d recommend that anyone interested in learning more about sewing should take advantage of this free 7 day trial with esewingworkshop.com and view videos that you are interested in. Learn all you can in 7 days. At the end, if there are more videos you want to see, sign up. If not, cancel. You never know until you try.

If you have found some great sites for learning sewing please leave a comment so we can share them with other readers.

Cute, practical and simple sewing project

Hanging Fridge Pocket

Hanging Fridge Pocket

While browsing the web, I came across this cool little project for a hanging pocket to put on your fridge. What a great way to hang pens and other small items in a handy place.

I love those magnetized shopping lists you can hang on the fridge but there’s never a pen handy to write on them. This provides a great solution. I’m gonna make one in complementary colors to match my kitchen.

I have a few other projects coming up for the kitchen that, if made in the same fabric, would coordinate beautifully.

The Hanging Fridge Pocket tutorial can be found here.

Happy, happy day!

Not only did the news of Osama’s death last evening fill me with relief, but I was finally able to get my merchant account working today on http://www.ciscosewingsuppliesandnotions.ca.

Yippee!! I can now accept credit cards on my sewing supplies store.

At the same time, I was able to close my old store, http://www.mybeddinginabag.com (couldn’t find a reliable supplier) so I’m no longer paying monthly fees for a second store!

Both me and my pocketbook are happy today.

Now just waiting for the Big Commerce upgrade to the sewing supply store then I can finish adding products to it…

(Also watched the last episode of “The Kennedys” this weekend. It was an excellent mini series. I’m too young to remember him but JFK seems like an amazing man! And so was RFK.)