Monday, 25 March 2013

Crafty Saturday

I spent this past Saturday, along with friends Vivien and Lucy, at a sewing workshop. I thought it would be a teacher-led class about how to use all the feet that come with your sewing machine.  However, it ended up being a play-around-and-try-out-a-bunch-of-stuff on your own day. 

Re-using tea bags...

I learned a few ideas:

Re-cycling trash bags

Sewing Circles:  Use masking tape to fasten a thumb-tack (Brits call them push-pins) pointy side up a few inches from the presser foot; I did it on the bed to the right of the needle, but I suppose some arrangement could be made to the left if you wanted a bigger circle.  Iron some stabilizer to a bit of fabric, then place under the needle and secure on the thumb-tack. If you don't have stabilizer, you might have some luck with putting a couple of pieces of fabric into a small-ish embroidery hoop to hold it stiff.  Choose a decorative stitch and begin sewing - the fabric pretty much takes care of itself and - all going well - you should have a perfect circle, the size defined by the distance between the thumb-tack and the needle.  It's a decorative thing I haven't thought of a practical use for as yet, but it looks cool.

More trash bags

Multi-threading:  Did you know it's not very hard to get more than one thread through your machine needle? One lady managed three!  It's just another fun variation on decorative stitching.  My machine doesn't have the multiple thread spool holders that some others do, but I managed a second thread on a bobbin on the bobbin thingy (if you sew, you'll know what I mean).

I could make this, but I'd never come up with the idea.

Cording:  You get some pretty cool effects zig-zagging over yarns, ribbons, cords and affixing them to fabrics.  If you are artistic, this can be another tool for you.  Also, just zig-zagging over cord alone with different colours produces some fun effects and makes the ordinary cord quite pliant, almost in a wire sort of way.  A sewing book I have talks about making children's jewelry with this cord, but I don't think Charlotte's old enough to appreciate this yet.

We know Gaynor; she's also on Pinterest

The best tip, though, was rather surprising to me.  I was in a room full of women who have sewn, knitted, embroidered for probably an average of 20-30 years, some are members of the local Embroiderers' Guild.  Almost every one of them - and the three of us - benefited a great deal from just reading the instruction manual that came with our machines from cover to cover.  I found out there were sewing feet in that little box at the back of my machine I'd never noticed.  Some ladies just did samplers of the various stitches their machines did - and there were some impressive machines there.   I did actually read mine when I first got the machine, at least the first few pages, but I'd forgotten a lot of it and never finished reading.  I must admit I only took note of the 'care of your machine page'...  

The photos here are from an exhibit at the Customs House in South Shields that Lucy and I visited in January.  There are a lot more photos, but they will have to wait for another day.

Nice little mice, by friend Lesley!


Carolyn said...

Play-around-and-try-out-whatever-you-like; sounds like the perfect way to spend a sewing day with friends! The re-used tea-bag art is very intriguing to me.

Shelley said...

I think I'd have enjoyed it better had I not had a different expectation, but it was a good day all the same.