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My New Toy

So, I got a new toy for my birthday:


Yay! Now impatient me with no time and a fear of leaving needles around accidentally in the baby’s reach can do embroidery too! It’s also a regular sewing machine. I’ve never sewn on a computerized machine before. I’ve never sewn on a sewing machine newer than from the early 1990s for that matter. Most sewing machines I’ve used have been older than me. Not that I don’t like old machines. You’ll have to pry my trusty metal mechanical Kenmore and back up Signature(s) from my cold hands.

It’s been fun learning how to use it. I also may or may not be a bit obsessive about switching off the power strip and then going back and unplugging it from the power strip and then making sure I’ve unplugged it again later, lest some random lightening storm attack my precious.

It’s a brother se400. I haven’t done much regular sewing with it yet, so I can’t do a full review. I can say that I worried a little about getting annoyed with all the threading and re-threading involved with a single needle embroidery machine. Brother took care of that by giving it the most amazing needle threader I’ve ever seen. I usually skip “automatic” threaders as I find them harder to use than just sticking the thread through the eye by hand. This one is some sort of magic. Seriously, if you were to stop over, I’d probably briefly introduce you to my family and then insist you come see me thread my sewing machine.

Aside from just playing, I’ve rescued a few shirts from (probably coffee) stains by embroidering things on them to hide the stains. Considering my clumsiness and love of coffee, that alone will probably help me get my money’s worth out of it.

I am looking for decent digitizing software so I can do things like embroider the SubEarthan Cottage logo and make traditional monograms a little easier. Embird seems to be the go-to, but it’s a little pricey. Stitch Era is more my price range, but I’m not sure it’s as user-friendly. I’ve also seen Sew What Pro mentioned, but haven’t looked into it enough to know what it’s like. Any advice on software would be appreciated.


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Quick Ironing Board Cover

My ironing board cover has seen better days. It’s not worn, but it has a few scorch marks and B thought it was a good idea to stamp it a few times with my thank-you stamp. Since it is always visible in my craft room, I wanted something more pleasant to look at, so I decided to make it a shiny new cover.

Eww.

I went with supplies I had on hand and used the ironing board itself to measure, so I don’t have exact measurements. You should be able to adapt from what I did easily, though. Keep in mind that this is just a cover and not the padding. I put mine on right over the old one. If you want to replace everything, you’ll have to find a replacement for the pad, too. (Layers of quilt batting and topped with Insul-brite maybe?)

Supplies:

Enough fabric to go over the top of your ironing board with about a 3 inch overhang on all sides.

Extra-wide double fold bias tape or blanket binding (2-3 packages)

Thin elastic. The bias tape or binding serves as a casing for the elastic, so make sure to choose an elastic thin enough to be threaded through easily.  Mine is 1/4 inch elastic.

Thread.

How to:

Cut the fabric with a 3-ish inch overhang. The easiest way to do this is to put the fabric on the floor, then the ironing board upside down on top and cut around it, eyeballing the overhang.

For this tutorial the pointy curved end is the top, the short, straight end is the bottom and the long edges are the sides. There’s going to be a gap in the bias tape/binding at the bottom, so you will want to finish it some way. If you have a serger, just serge straight across the bottom. If not, you can either zig-zag stitch over that edge or fold over 1/4 inch twice and hem. It doesn’t have to be exact, just make sure when you cut initially that you account for the hem on that end if you go that route.

Find the middle point of the bottom edge. Measure about 1.5 inches on each side of the midpoint and mark. These are your starting and ending points for the casing.

Leaving the three inch space at the bottom open, sew the bias tape/ binding on being sure to enclose the edge of the fabric. Unless you have a really long strip of binding, you’ll probably need to piece the binding together. When you get a few inches from the end of one bias strip, stop sewing and join the new strip by opening the ends flat, overlapping and sewing across. Refold and continue sewing around the edge of the fabric. Stop when you reach the end point.

What happens when you don’t have enough blanket binding on hand? This. This is what happens.

Thread the elastic through the binding all the way around leaving several inches hanging loose at the beginning and end. This works best if you attach a safety pin securely to the leading end of the elastic to help guide it through.

Fit your new cover, pretty side up onto your board and pull the elastic snug.

Tie the elastic securely, trim the ends if necessary.

Admire your new cover.

Questions? Ask in the comments and help me expand on my clear-as-mud tutorial.

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Random Sewing Tip- Painless Prewash

You know how you need to prewash most fabric to keep your finished project from being a shrunken, lumpy mess? If you just toss it in the wash, though, it comes out a stringy, tangled mess.

If you have a serger, serge the cut edges before washing. I usually just leave the thread tails long and they don’t unravel enough to be annoying.

With a sewing machine, you can sew a quick zig-zag or similar stitch along the cut edges to prevent fraying. Even a straight stitch would probably work, although I haven’t tried it. You will probably need to back-tack or knot the ends to keep it secure through the wash.

This also lets me see at a glance which fabric was prewashed by looking at the edges.

And I know 90% of the people reading this are thinking “Duh!” because it’s such an obvious fix. The other 10% are wondering why they didn’t think of that, much like myself when I first learned the trick.

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Thrift store dress refashion

I found this dress at Thrift Town for $1.99. The color and general shape of the dress are cute, but it needed some tweaking.

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Overall, it was a bit big. The sleeves were awkward, and I’m more likely to wear a dress when it’s warm, so the sleeves needed to go. I also think it feels a little frumpy at that length.

Here’s what I did:

The shoulder seams were low, so I was able to just remove the length and hem. I added two darts in the back at the waist to trim it down but keep the fullness of the skirt. I kept the top a little loose, but that makes nursing easier and will allow me to wear it over a long sleeve black tee in the winter if I want. I do need to find a new belt or trim down the one I used for the “after” photos. I really like the belt with the dress, but it is way too long. I like how the width of it breaks up the business of the print, though.

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I had planned to take about six inches off of the length, but Finn thought it looked nice the way it was. I still might, but honestly, for chasing after a toddler the longer length is probably more practical.

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T-Shirt to TV Pants

I went on a little Pinterest binge a couple days ago looking for ideas to help clear my refashion stash. Saturday night I decided to make a pair of yoga pants out of a t-shirt using this tutorial. I wear a size eight on average, and used an XL adult t-shirt.

I did make a few changes to the design. First, instead of cutting the shirt down the middle, I cut it down the sides from the middle of the underarm to the hem. This also means you’ll have an inseam and no side seams. That keeps any design on the front or back intact and moves them to the hips. For the waistband, I cut the underarm seam from the sleeves and squared them up to be two equal rectangles, leaving the hem intact. I sewed the short sides together making a big, short tube from the sleeves. I then put the tube inside the waist of the pants with the pants right side out and the right side of the tube facing the inside of the pants. The raw edge of the tube lines up with the raw edge of the pants. I serged the top together like that. This made it so when the tube is folded down to the outside, the seam is covered.

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Sorry for the awkward pictures. No one was around to take the pictures and Doctor Who was about to start.

I sewed it all on my serger and it took less than ten minutes. I probably should have added two minutes and switched from white to black thread. Or not.

They are a little loose at the waist. If I were planning to actually do yoga or wear them in public I should probably add some elastic at the seam. Since they will probably be used mainly for watching Doctor Who while sitting on the sofa, I probably won’t bother.

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

T-Shirt to TV Pants was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

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Vintage sewing presser feet and accessories part four: Stuff that I overlooked while posting earlier

These pictures were hiding. I think most will work on my machine (low shank).

Don’t know.

Bias tape foot? Which, btw I’ve tried to use for that purpose and wound  up with a  mess.

????, darning foot and narrow/rolled hem foot

Weird zipper foot

I think you feed thicker thread through the hole for decoration or to help with gathering. Not sure if it has another purpose. 

Okay, a (formerly) clear foot with metal over the feed dogs. Embroidery? Teflon foot? I don’t know.

???????

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Vintage sewing presser feet and accessories part one: Stuff that won’t work on my machines

I have a ton of random sewing machine feet. I’m sure they all do some really cool things that would make difficult projects easier if I knew what to do with them. But I mostly don’t, and I’m having a hard time finding a guide that helps, so I thought I’d post them here.

This group consists of ones that are high shank, slant shank or something else that won’t attach to my low shank Kenmore or Signature machines. This means that if there’s something really cool, I won’t get to try it out. *sadface* It also means that if you see something you’re needing here, contact me to work something out.

1.This one is easy. Zipper/cording feet. 
2.Some sort of hem guide? Torture device? Is it even all there?

3.Quilting guides? I usually see these attached to other feet instead of solo.

4.Narrow hem foot, but it looks funny…

5.Button feet?

6.More button feet?

7.?????

8.Darning feet.

9.These have a channel to sew over cording(?) and an adjustable guide behind the foot for??? Both are missing the guide screws.

10.I don’t know if this is broken or if it’s a snap on foot. I also don’t know it’s special purpose and that makes me sad. I think it’s a fairly basic one.

11.?????

12.Looks like a normal zig-zag foot, but a little different from the ones that came with my machines.

13.Sewing guides. These will work on my machines, but I have a few already.