A few things have moved around and here is where you can find me…
The blog have moved to www.FashionSewingwithAngelaWolf.com
You can also sign up for my newsletter by clicking here!
A few things have moved around and here is where you can find me…
The blog have moved to www.FashionSewingwithAngelaWolf.com
You can also sign up for my newsletter by clicking here!
I just got back from a 6 day Sit & Sew tour visiting all the Allbrands stores which started in Louisiana and ended in Texas. Fabulous trip, but definitely dragging a little today. I will be sharing details of the week as soon as I organize all the photos. In short, I met so many wonderful people, ate some amazing food, got over my fear of bridges, I now have official Mardi Gras beads …
In the meantime, I posted this message to facebook and realized not all of you are on facebook, so I thought I would THANK YOU again.
Saturday was the last day of teaching and I was flying out the next morning. Super tired, but before crashing I decided to scan my emails and came across one from Craftsy with the title “Are you a blogger award finalist?”. I clicked on the link and couldn’t believe it! You nominated my blog to the top 4 Best Sewing Instructor Blog again. You all are AWESOME! This means so much to me, thank you, thank you. I also know it is a little work to nominate a blog at the first stage, you have to fill out a lot of things. Thanks so much for going through the effort, you inspire me to keep at it 🙂
One More Round of Voting
Just being in the top 4 is such an honor and knowing it’s because of your effort to nominate me really makes my day and a huge THANK YOU is all I can say! By the way, while you are scanning the page you might want to check out a few of my friends blogs that also made the top 4 in their category: Leah Day has a great one for quilting and Lisa Shaw in Embroidery.
The 2014 Wardrobe Challenge was so much fun! Seeing your outfits on flickr and following your Pinterest boards has been a treat and a quick way to get in the sewing mood, I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have. There have been a few hiccups on my end, so thanks for your patience. (Note to self: Never plan anything while I am traveling to teach, tape It’s Sew Easy, or shoot online classes – just not enough time and brain space ) In fact, I still need to post the list of winners, but I wanted to give you the last challenge.
I told you the last challenge would be an easy one. Take a picture of the clothes in your closet that you have sewn this past year and post it on Flickr before February 15th (the same way you posted the other photos – click here if you need help uploading to flickr). Even if you only have 1 garment, your photo qualifies you for this last challenge. Winners will be all random drawings from the entrants, so even if you haven’t participated yet or you feel intimidated by the rock stars who have really used the challenge to fill their closet, let us see what you have made. Again this is just 1 photo, just like mine. Good luck and thanks again to all that have participated.
I don’t know if you read my last post about the cooking adventure, but many of you gave the best tips for cleaning the pan! the baking soda worked like a charm and I wrote all the cleaning tips down so I am ready for the next burn. Well, I am off to edit pictures and explain to Winn how I got my mardi gras beads 🙂
Cheers and one last thank you,
I love sweaters and shawls, especially since I am always cold in the air-conditioned restaurants (not that we have needed air conditioning in Michigan this summer!). Thinking of the wardrobe challenge, sweaters are one of the items that I end up buying. Yes I do know how to crochet, yet trim on a jacket is about as far as that usually ends up. A small knitting machine sits in the corner of the studio (on my bucket list to learn how to use 🙂 ).
I was recently sewing a fringe skirt and the tweed scraps falling on the floor reminded me of meeting a women wearing a really cute, long, loosely woven (sweater looking) vest. It was at the annual conference for ASDP, so I had to ask the question that only sewer’s are allowed to ask each other “did you make that?”. She had indeed! I was really intrigued when she mentioned using water-soluble stabilizer and scraps from her last sewing project – yes, scraps!
Below is an example of using scraps from my tweed skirt:
NOTE: WAWAK sewing has offered my readers a discount for July – yeah!
Purchase a minimum of $30 and receive 10% off your entire order – Use coupon code WAB714 when checking out (expires July 31st) Thank them when you order, they are the best! :))
The width of the stitched rows depend on how tight you want the weave of the new fabric or lace. Just be sure to keep it somewhat tight or the yarns will fall away.
The next step is easy! Rinse the fabric panel in warm water and watch the water-soluble stabilizer disappear or throw the fabric in the wash on a hand-wash cycle, again with warm water.
Above you can see the stabilizer has disappeared and I am left with a loosely woven fabric. Notice the stitching lines, this is good to keep in mind when you choose the thread color.
Who would have ever guessed
could go so far!
A few more tips:
This is a great technique to use for June’s Fabricate Challenge – which I extended the deadline until July 31st.
Have you ever tried this? If so, please share any tips you might have!
Many of you have asked about the design on the cover of June’s wardrobe challenge and I can’t think of any better way to get back on the blogging roll. Where have I been hiding? Actually, I have been traveling quite a bit: some for work, visiting family, and of course getting a little fishing in.
I keep my blog notebook with me and write ideas and topics when the inspiration comes. The book is getting pretty full, so the good news is I am back from my trips and have caught up on all my crazy tight deadlines (what a breath of fresh air 🙂 ) and now I have the time to blog, yeah!
I have spent the last two weeks sewing and embroidering up a storm. I am excited to share what I have been working on and ready to get going on the wardrobe challenge … I need some summer clothes!
June’s Challenge – Fabricate!
First, I have some great fabricating techniques to share with you; therefore, I am extending the deadline for June’s Challenge until July 31st. There will still be a separate July challenge, but with summer in most of our backyards, this will give you more time.
That definition pretty much leaves the door open for ultimate creativity, wouldn’t you say? One idea includes designing your own fabric or altering a fabric into something totally different, which is what I did with the above jacket.
The fabric used for the applique trimming is a polyester / satin. A lightweight fabric with fabulous drape, perfect for a blouse or lining (both of which I plan to add to jacket). That fabric, if left alone, would be a nightmare to create appliques or cut-outs, so I fabricated – sounds like a bad word 🙂 !
The trick – Heat N Bond, now available from my favorite place WAWAK Sewing and comes in 5 yard and 35 yard pieces. At first I wasn’t too sure about this stuff, but basically you iron it to the back of the fabric and it makes it easier for you to cut out an applique – especially if you are using the Brother Scan-n-Cut
This is how easy an applique can be:
Peel off the backing and place the appliques on the garment.
Once you have the perfect placement, use a press cloth and press the applique in place. Notice I attach the appliques before sewing the sleeve together.
Even though the cut of the scan-n-cut prevents the fabric edges from fraying, I still stitch the applique in place. I choose the blanket stitch and stitched around each applique. That took some time, but it looks great. Almost looks like leather!
I followed all those steps for the jacket front and again used a blanket stitch.
Of course I could cut these appliques by hand, but I really like the fact that all the front pieces are exactly the same! By the way, don’t look too closely at my studio – can you tell I have been working 🙂
Well, that’s one fun way to fabricate, much more to come. Have you ever tried appliqueing apparel?
There are so many sewing machine feet to choose from, it can get overwhelming deciding which foot is best for the job. Why bother, right? If using a specific foot for a specific job could drastically cut the sewing time down and offer professional looking results, wouldn’t you want to try? I sure would.
Home sewing machines usually come with a fabulous manual explaining what each foot is for and a tutorial explaining how to use it. Industrial machines don’t always offer such advice, at least mine didn’t. With a 5 page manual, written in a language I don’t speak, I am surprised I got the thing put together in the first place! I don’t use this machine as frequently as all the others, mainly because it’s loud, doesn’t have a thread cutting feature and I don’t have any accessories for it. I bought it for speed and that it has.
Scanning the list of additional feet for industrial machines, I found the feet to be are very inexpensive, but again I ran into the issue of which foot is the right foot for the job. I thought I would start testing some of these feet and share with you my findings.
A Narrow Rolled Hem
I sew a lot of garments with sheer fabrics (especially this months wardrobe challenge; Dress the Part) and my go-to stitch is usually a narrow rolled hem on the serger – its super fast and looks professional. But sometimes a rolled hem on the sewing machine would be more appropriate. I found 3 different feet for the industrial machine:
You have probably seen the Rolled Hem Foot, as it comes with most home sewing machines. This is the only foot I had ever seen used for the job. It does make a rolled hem easy, but has its challenges as well. Getting over thick seams can be interesting and sometimes the fabric doesn’t feed evenly. Of course there are tricks:
Results: A nice rolled hem, I had to use the tweezers to get the fabric started and the rolled hem is a little uneven. With practice this foot will work.
If you have an industrial machine, you have more options and each offers different results:
This foot has a plate that covers the front feed dogs allowing the fabric to feed perfectly. You can see the ball at the tip of the foot, the fabric will roll over that ball as it double folds into a narrow hem. I must say, I love this foot! This is how it works:
The “spring” part is what intrigued me about this foot. You can see the foot looks very similar to the Ball Hemmer Foot, yet there is not a ball. Instead, there is a movable area that the fabric will go through. Look closely, this is the back of the foot:
Looking at the left photo first: see the corner touching my finger tip. When I do nothing with that corner, the opening on the foot remains unchanged (see opening at yellow arrow).
Take a look at the right photo: Here I have pushed that corner in and the opening gets larger (see yellow arrow).
Now we know what the “spring” means. This opening adjusts for the thickness of fabric as the fabric flows through.
Results: Another perfect rolled hem! Just as easy as the ball hemmer foot.
My favorite foot for the rolled hem on silk charmeuse is the Ball Hemmer Foot. The rolled hem was a little thicker than the other two and perfect!
What about crossing seams and thicker fabrics? I will test these and more, and let you know the results. So far both feet are winners!
I also have to check to see if these feet will work on my Brother PQ1500. The PQ1500 straight stitch machine is just like an industrial machine with speed and ease of use, plus it’s not attached to a large table and easy to move around. Fingers crosses on that one! Otherwise, I have my eye on the Brother Industrial Machine used on Project Runway. Do you have an industrial machine? Have you tried these rolled hem feet?
May starts, what I call, the “party season”. Graduation parties and wedding festivities are forefront on the invitation lists, then we move into garden parties, yacht club parties, fashion shows, … and so much more. Please tell me you are like me – scrambling at the last hour for something fun and fashionable, then wishing I would have taken the time to sew something new ( just because I design and sew for a living doesn’t mean the closet is full – have you ever heard of the shoe-maker with no shoes J) Not saying my closet is not full, it’s full of business and casual wear. When it comes to party attire, the closet could use some MAJOR improvement.
The challenge for May is to plan ahead and add some party attire to the wardrobe. Parties don’t always require cocktail dresses and fun skirts (although that is what I am going to focus on), maybe a simple pair of silk pants with a sequin top. This is exactly why I am calling the challenge Dress the Part.
Pinterest is such a great place to share ideas, meet people who have a common interest, and look for inspiration. The reason for Pinterest being part of the challenge, is that you can go the wardrobe challenge board, not only follow other people with the same interest, but when you search for #wardrobechallenge – you will see what inspires others. There is no right or wrong wardrobe challenge board, as long as you follow the simple guidelines below (which is why the pinterest boards are now random drawing).
Random drawing from the Pinterest board (must follow every Pinterest item below to qualify):
Pinterest Contest Rules:
As you get going on May’s pinning, post a comment on this pin with a link to your Wardrobe Challenge board. (Enter before May 31, 2014)
And Congratulations to the March winners!!!!!
Flickr name: Shawn Hiestand – hairyfroggrafix – unique jeans and very professional looking inside and out!
Flickr username: Deb Schimmel – Best Distressed Jeans!
Flicker username: Vgladysdillon – Creative topstitching, a little distressing, and most unique pockets! Can you tell what team she likes? J
Deborah Bowles – excellent fit and fun back pockets
Pinterest username: Lisa Marshall
Pinterest username: Dawn Ramsdell – Cross – Pinterest board full of decorative pockets!!!!
Winners email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for info on receiving your prize.
Well, do you have any parties to plan for? What are you going to sew for May’s challenge?
A little creative serging! I mentioned I am finishing up a serging book. The book has challenged me to play with new threads, new stitches, new serging feet, and more. I wanted to share a quick serging stitch that you might find useful for restyling or adding embellishment to one of your outfits.
This is a 3-thread flatlock stitch with a decorative crochet thread in the upper looper. The left needle and lower looper have a similar color polyester thread. The photo above shows the front of the flatlock stitch and the backside. The backside looks like a ladder stitch. (the peach thread is just the serged edge of the seam).
I started with a basic gored skirt. The front has 2 seams and after I finished flatlocking those two seams I decided to add embellishment to the center front. So the center front really does not have a seam. This would be a great way to create unique fabric!
Here is the back view. Again there are 2 seams on each side back and this time there is a real seam down the center back with a hidden zip. In order for this stitching to look even, because of the zipper, I stitched the flat-felled embellishment down the edge of each center back seam, then added the zipper and closed the seam. That part got a little tricky and you can see the stitches are not perfectly even. I haven’t decided if I am going to rip it out and start again or hope nobody is looking at my tush that closely to notice 🙂
Decorative Thread Ideas:
Get the idea – be creative!
Next, there are a few changes to the serger settings:
Stitch Width: 5mm
Stitch Length: 2-4mm
Needle Tension: Decrease to 0 -3 (remember my standard setting is 4 so adjust for your serger)
Upper Looper Tension: Decrease to 2 – 3
Lower Looper Tension: Increase to 6 – 9
Disengage the knife
These setting serve as a guide. It will depend on the fabric and thread you end up serging with.
See if you have a Blind Hem Foot, if not you can use a standard foot.
There is a setting on the foot that moves to the right and left, allowing the needle to pierce more or less of the fabric. Test the stitch on your fabric to determine the setting.
Fold the fabric in half or if you are embellishing a seam, fold along the seam line. Align the fabric along the shield on the blind hem foot (if using a standard foot, mark a spot to align with).
The idea is for the needle to pierce the fabric – half the stitch is on the fabric and half is off the fabric. In fact the stitches look really messy coming out of the serger!
Stretch out the folded fabric to lie flat and press.
Pretty simple, but so fun! Have you ever tried this before? I would love some more ideas for decorative threads or yarns to use with this stitch.
Today is officially the end of National Serging month, did any of you pick up a good deal on a serger?
If you are thinking of adding a basic serger to the sewing room, really inexpensively, take a look at this Brother 1034D – on sale for $217 and free shipping! I had to double-check that, kind of thought it was a misprint 🙂 I have no idea how long the sale is on for or how many are in stock, but that is a great deal.
Spring is such a great time to clean and organize … two of my least favorite terms :) One of the biggest clutter issues in a sewing room is thread, I want to share a few ideas for organizing:
Hang numerous thread racks on different walls to organize spools of thread by color and content. Although you can’t tell by this photo, I organize the neutral colors in one area, green and blues in another, red, yellow and orange in another, etc. I also use the top row for topstitching and other specialty threads.
There is a separate section for serger thread. When I run out of pegs on the rack, I hang one cone of a specific color with a sticker that lists the quantity. Then I store the other cones in a cabinet below.
Speaking of serger thread, I leave one serger thread rack on the table with the sergers and coverstitch machines. This is a quick way to hold the spools I am using and prevent them from cluttering the sewing area and rolling off the table!
Here is a fun spool holder! The base rotates so it’s easy to find a thread and the pegs are long enough for serger cones. Another option is coordinating the bobbin and the thread color together, both fit perfectly on one peg.
You have to assemble this rack, which only takes a few minutes, but that offers additional options for organizing.
I find myself only using the bottom half of the rack. With the lower half I can load up on weight with heavy spools and the rack is not tippy. Another idea is to use the thread spools at the bottom and smaller spools or bobbins on the top half.
Speaking of bobbins, I always order an extra 50 for each machine. There are so many colors I use frequently and I don’t enjoy unspooling the bobbin so I can use a new color. Not only is that a waste of thread, that extra thread attaches to my clothes for the day! To organize all the bobbins, I use a plastic container with a lid. These stack neatly and the lid keeps the dust out.
Check out this magnetic bobbin holder. I keep one of these next to my Brother PQ1500 and one next to my commercial machine since those are the only machines I have with metal bobbins.
For the machines that have plastic bobbins, I either use the turning thread holder shown above, the plastic thread container, or a smaller thread rack free-standing on the table.
In case you haven’t seen WAWAK Sewing’s April magazine with the sale of the month, ALL the thread racks are $5 off (and don’t forget shipping is free if you spend over $100 – which is easy to do with all the great items they have :))
Now, back to writing the serging book. I do have a serging technique I think you will like, I hope to share that with you tomorrow. How are you doing on April’s wardrobe challenge Simply Serged?
As we plug along with the wardrobe challenge, last month offered a chance for sewing designer jeans. Jeans have become a staple in many of our wardrobes and after you get the hang of the fitting (I still have a few blog posts coming to help) and sewing techniques, jeans can really be fun to sew! Taking in consideration that jeans can take a while to finish, I am adding an ongoing monthly prize for the best jeans on the Wardrobe Challenge flickr group! I know many of you mentioned you were not finished and others might join the wardrobe challenge throughout the year – jeans are my favorite and now you can win each month by adding a new pair of jeans 🙂
Onto April’s Challenge – Simply Serged!
This challenge is to come up with fashionable apparel that is quick and easy to finish, yet doesn’t look it. I am a little selfish on this challenge as I am trying to finish my new serging book (available next spring) and if you all are working on serged outfits, I thought that would inspire me to finish faster 🙂 Also, this month is National Serging Month – not sure what that really means, except you will probably get a good deal on buying a serger if you are in the market for one. 🙂 The serger offers so much more than finishing seams and after sewing jeans or a couture jacket, it is so nice to jump on the serger and finish a silk top in less than an hour! Take a look at this top:
Fabric: Silk Charmeuse Time: cut to finish 1 hour 30 minutes
Stitches: 3-thread overlock, coversitch, narrow rolled hem
This is just one example, but I will try to include some of my favorite creative stitches throughout the month. I just received my new order from WAWAK Sewing with a batch of thread. I am trying out new ideas for the serger … I can hardly wait to test them and let you know the results!
Don’t have a serger? Well, now is the time to buy one, but if you are not quite ready for one you can still participate in the wardrobe challenge on Pinterest. I am still offering a prize for jeans on the Flickr group and you can still sew simple garments adding to your overall wardrobe.
That’s all for now, onto laying out my fabrics. Are you enjoying the challenge so far?
Cheers & Happy Serging,
I am so excited to announce February’s wardrobe challenge winners! In case you didn’t notice, the competition is getting fierce – check out the Wardrobe Challenge flickr page and you will see some talented designers!
Thanks again to all the sponsors in this year’s challenge!
It took a little longer than expected to get February’s results, simply because a few of the judges were on spring break, thankfully that only happens once a year 🙂 Now we are back on schedule!
February’s challenge had to do with ruching and shirring. I am absolutely amazed at the creativity showing up on the pinterest boards. Looking for inspiration? Each month we are all focused on the same design element and it is really fun to scan the #wardrobechallenge boards.
The new flickr page is showing off all your sewn garments and is absolutely fabulous! This is where the wardrobe challenge is coming to life. To show off your work, notice the photos showing up here on the blog. Maybe you will give us tips on achieving the same look.
Before we get to the winners, quite a few of you asked:
Do I need to have a pinterest board and flickr page? No. The prizes will be divided up amongst both places each month. That being said, this is a wardrobe challenge and the grand prize winner of the Brother PQ1500 sewing machine will need both.
Congratulation to Eve Kovacs the winner of February’s challenge and winner of Threads Insider Membership for one year!
This jacket was the kicker – fabulous design and gorgeous detailing. Eve, everyone is going to want to know what pattern and any tips for sewing with this challenging fabric. Can you share some tips for us in the comments 🙂 I personally want to buy this fabric, where did you get it?
Winner of WAWAK Sewing $50 gift card
Jana_Duplantis Great shirring on the front and back of the dress! Along with a few cute ruched tops – she is adding to wardrobe!
Winner of 1 Pattern, Many Ways DVD from Thread Magazine
Most unique pattern alteration goes to Shawn Hiestand – nice shirring!
Winner of It’s Sew Easy Season 5 DVD
lkje9999 had quite a few ruched tops and jackets, nice job 🙂
The next two prizes were randomly drawn from February’s pinterest board. Make sure to include pins from each sponsor every month to qualify for the random drawing 🙂
NEW SPONSOR: Winner of Coats & Clark zipper collection
Sara Scott – did you get your coverstitch machine?
Winner of my Craftsy Class Creative Serging!
If you are a winner contact me at email@example.com
Congrats!!! I will announce April’s challenge tomorrow … but I will give you a hint – it’s international serging month and keep up on the jeans, there will be another prize for the jeans in April!