X is for X Marks the Spot

X

 

The reason I named this post what I did is that no matter how much I looked and researched I could not find a word that referred to sewing.  But then I was thinking that this phrase X marks the spot is really appropriate to the sewing and quilting world.

When snaps, buttons, etc.  are added to clothing the fabric is marked for placement.  When cutting out patterns a notch is placed in the fabric to mark the place where the pieces are joined.

When altering clothing, markings are placed where to let the garment in or out.

Hems are marked for length.

I know that the markings are not X’s, but they are marking on the garments map.  That’s where the phrase came from.  From Pirate’s maps.

In the world of quilting, X’s are used in patterns.  Some X’s are appliquêd to a background fabric.  Some quilt tops are arranged in the pattern of an X.  It is actually an old pattern that quilters have used for years even if they aren’t called X’s.

Here are a couple of examples.

xandoquilt

xquilt

 

xs

Wanda

W is for Weave & Wonder Under

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Image result for weave of fabric

Weave describes the interlacing of fibrous threads to create fabric.  A very simple concept.  The fabric used for the construction of clothing and quilts is graded according to the thread count or weave it contains.  The higher the the thread content or threads in the weave the better and stronger the fabric.  Quilters for the most part use 100% cotton fabric with a tight weave which gives stability, durability, and softness to their quilts.  Related image

Linens are also graded this way.  Sheets especially note the number of threads used in their construction.  The more threads used in the weave, the softer and stronger they are.

 

 

 

Wonder Under is a product made by Pellon.  It is a fusible foundation used for machine appliquê.  It is ironed to the wrong side of the shape to be sewn onto the background fabric.  The paper backing is then removed and the shape is pressed with an iron onto the background fabric for stability.  Then the edges of the shape are stitched by a sewing machine.  For those of us who are not fans of hand appliquê, this product has allowed us to create beautiful pieces.

 

The appliquê remains soft and flexible after application.  This product has quickly become one of my favorite oh hand supplies.

I first learned how to machine appliquê several years ago when I took a class from Pat Sloan.

This is the project I made in the class.

patsloanclass

This wall hanging remains one of my favorite projects.  I learned so much from Pat and have used her method of machine applique often.

Have a good day.

Wanda

V is for Velcro

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Your modern teenager is not about to listen to advice from an old person, defined as a person who remembers when there was no Velcro.

“Swiss electrical engineer invented his one-touch fastener (velcro) after taking a walk in the woods and wondering why Burdock seeds clung to his coat and dog in 1941.  He patented it in 1955 and further developed it until its commercial introduction in the 1950’s.”   Wikipedia

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Velcro is a fastener for clothes or other items, consisting of two strips of a thin plastic strip, one covered with tiny loops and the other with tiny flexible hooks, which adhere when pressed together can be pulled apart.

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What an invention velcro is! It has revolutionized the way things are fastened.  From sneakers to picture hanging to jacket closures to purse closures to electric wire organizing its use is found in just about every area of our lives.

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Velcro is the name of the company that makes the original hook and loop product, but any hook and loop fastener is referred to as velcro.

It is available in many colors and sizes which is wonderful for those of us who sew for kids and for charity.  It has become a very popular notion.  Velcro makes it easy to attach just about anything to anything by having both sew in and stick on available.

I have only one slight objection to the use of velcro and that is with the application of velcro on children’s shoes, many kids have a delay in learning how to tie their shoes.  But, the time-saving edge it gives their moms makes it worth the delay in learning this task.

I just the other day purchased an LED light switch that I installed in my laundry room with small pieces of velcro.  The switch is also the light.  For reasons beyond my comprehension, the light switch for that room was placed on the outside wall of the room instead of on the hallway side.  It has been a lifesaver for me because now I can see when I walk into the room.  🙂

Have a good day.

Wanda

 

U is for UFO

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Yes, you read the title right.  Now, what have UFO’s to do with quilting and sewing you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  In the world of quilting for sure and possibly in the sewers world it stands for UnFinished Projects.   I know that the word projects begins with a P and not an O,  but that is what we call our unfinished projects.

UFO’s seem to slowly take over our world because we may take a class and not like what ended up with.  The thing is, we hate to get rid of anything fabric related.  So we put that project on the shelf and tell ourselves we will tackle it at a later date.  It becomes buried on that shelf and forgotten.

Then in the middle of a large quilt, someone has a new baby so we put that project on the shelf and put together a baby quilt as a gift.  By the time we have done that, something else catches our eye and we are onto another project.  It just happens.  Sometimes I think it is a bit of a sickness.  Just like going into every quilt shop you see.  Just so you can revel in the colors and textures of its contents.

My mentor when I began quilting once said to me that Hancocks of Paducah’s Catalog was porn for the quilter.  I laughed so hard at that comment.  Hancock’s is a wonderful fabric store that carries just about any kind of fabric and if you sign up they send you a catalog.   Fabric envy is also a contributing factor to accumulating UFO’s.  You see a fabric you can’t live without and have to get it so you can make that perfect quilt.

I am in awe of those quilters who continuously finish what they start right away.  I don’t seem to be able to do it.  I am not alone in my inability to complete what I start when it comes to quilting.  There is always something coming up that interests me and I get lost in the new ideas.

If you look at the top of my blog, you will see a link to my UFO’s.  I placed it there to see if it would encourage me to work on those quilts.  So far, it hasn’t helped at all.

Just a few of my UFO’s.  You can just about IMG_1241see the boxes above the shelves, they are full of them too.  😦

Have a good day and do some sewing.

Wanda

T is for Tack, Tailor, Tape Measure, Tat, Thimble, Thread, Top Stitch, & Trim

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In the world of sewing Tack is a long stitch used to fasten fabrics together temporarily, prior to permanent sewing.  This is often done when making clothes so that a fitting can be done.  It is also used in other forms of sewing and quilting

A Tailor is a person whose occupation is making fitted clothes such as suits, pants, and jackets to fit individual customers.  Most tailors are men since most customers for fitted suits are men.  There is a great article about tailoring here.

I have mentioned Tape Measures before.  They are simply a thin length of flexible material with marked intervals for measuring.  This is the type used for in sewing and quilting.

Image result for Tape measure               Image result for Tape measure

 

Tat or Tatting is a way of making lace as a decorative mat or edging.  The process of tying knots in thread and using a small shuttle to form lace.  I have never done tatting.

Image from Yarnplayer

This is a beautiful doily.  I would love to learn how to make such a beautiful piece.  This is what the shuttle looks like.

 

Aerlit Tatting Shuttle - Aqua Glacier

 

 

A Thimble is a metal, leather, or plastic cap with a closed end.  It is worn to protect the finger when pushing the needle through the fabric in sewing and quilting.  There is a vast variety of thimbles on the market.  Here is a just a sample.

 

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Image from Sewing School

Thread is a long, thin strand of cotton, nylon, or other fibers used in sewing or weaving.  It comes on spools of various sizes.  The colors it is available in are numerous.   The size of the thread used depends on what type of sewing you are doing.  For instance, hand quilting thread cannot be used in a sewing machine because it is specially prepared for hand use.  Thread of one kind or another is used in crocheting, tatting, sewing, quilting, and embroidery.

Thread for sewing and quilting is available in invisible, metallic, cotton, polyester, silk, and a blend of cotton and polyester.

Some thread comes in wound balls like pearl cotton.  Embroidery thread comes in skeins.  Crochet cotton for tatting and crochet comes in a larger ball wrapped around a cardboard tube.

Image result for thread  Image result for threadImage result for thread

 

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Topstitching is a finishing stitch to your project.  It is accomplished by making a row of continuous stitches on the top or right side of a garment or other article as a decorative feature.  Sometimes it is just a straight stitch and sometimes embellishing stitches are used.  It just depends on how intricate you want your stitches to look.  Topstitching can be done by hand or machine.

Trim includes a plethora of beads, ribbons, buttons, rhinestones, lace, rick rack, yarn, the list goes on and on.  A fancy stitch can also be used as Trim.  A project is finished by adding a trim to an area that will enhance the look of it.  I love trimming my granddaughter’s clothes.  You can add trim to anything.

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Don’t you just love the trim available to embellish your projects?  There are so many other things you can add as trim.  The key is to be imaginative and go for it.  🙂

Happy Sewing!

Wanda

 

S is for Scissors, Seam, Seam Allowance, Seam Ripper, Seamstress, Selvage, Serger, Sewing Machine, Smocking, Snaps, Spool & Stash

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Do you have any idea how many different types of scissors there are for sewing and quilting?  It is outrageous.  I hate to admit that I own over 100 pairs of scissors. For years my kids and husband would use my good scissors for just about anything they wanted to cut.  So my good sewing scissors were destroyed.

I now have several scissors that are for kitchen cutting, paper cutting, and fabric cutting.  Finally, they have gotten the message never, never use my fabric scissors.  Of course, they are adults now so I must admit they were slow learners.  🙂

There are scissors used for dressmaking.  They are usually long-bladed scissors with a very sharp edge.  There are scissors used for appliquê which have a flat curved edge on one of the blades.  There are scissors used for hand embroidery which are small sharply pointed scissors.  Scissors for machine embroidery have a bend between the handle and blades so that you can cut close to the fabric.  These scissors can also be used when using a long arm quilting machine.

There are big scissors, little scissors, folding scissors, stork scissors, snips, which have a small pointed triangle like cutter that is used to cut threads when sewing.  The variety is unbelievable.

A Seam is where the fabric is joined.  The Seam Allowance is the amount of fabric that is included in the seam.  Usually when quilting the seam allowance is 1/4 inch whereas in clothing construction it is 5/8 inch.  If proper seam allowance is not used, the seam will not hold.

Seam Rippers are one of the best inventions ever made.  They are used to unsew.  Everyone who sews has more than a few of them. seamrippers They come in all sizes and colors.  Here are a few examples.

The end of the ripper has a blunt end opposite the sharp longer edge to keep the fabric from being ripped as you cut through the stitches in the seam.

A seamstress is a woman that sews and usually makes her living sewing.   Image result for seamstress

The Selvage is an edge produced on woven fabric during manufacture that prevents it from unraveling.  This edge is on both sides of the fabric.  This edge is not used when sewing.  “The selvage, because it’s densely woven, is sturdier than the rest of the fabric, so it can be more difficult to sew through. And, the selvage can shrink during washing and drying leaving you with puckered and distorted seams.”  All People Quilt

               

The pictures above show the selvage ends on the fabric.  On the left, the manufacturer has indicated other colors that will go with this fabric.  On the right, you can see the who the manufacturer is, the name of the line of fabric name and number.

Image result for selvage quilted bag

Many quilters have begun to use the selvages for small projects.  Look at how cute this little bag is.  Who would have thought that what we have thrown away for years is now a fashion statement?   Leave it to quilters to find a way to use every bit of fabric.  🙂

A Serger is a specific type of sewing machine that is used for cutting and overcasting the edges of the fabric to prevent fraying.  It is often used to finish seams in the construction of clothing.  Image result for serger definitionA serger differs from the Sewing Machine in that it can only perform overlocking stitches, whereas the sewing machines of today have a huge variety of stitches that can be used.

Sewing Machines have come a long way over the years.  The hand crank machine, treadle machine, electric basic straight sewing machines, electronic machines and finally computerized machine.  It seems that every other year a manufacturer comes Image result for sewing machineout with a new feature to make the sewer’s life easier.  I have collected many antique and vintage sewing machines.  I have a White treadle in a lovely cabinet, and I have three Singer treadle machines.  One is a reproduction produced int eh 1970’s in a cabinet that is Related imagenot very pretty.  I have a hand crank machine that sews beautifully.  I also have several Singer Featherweights which are a favorite among quilters.  Along with them I also have a Singer 301, which is referred to as the Featherweight’s Big Sister since it is gear driven and has the fold down tray just like a Featherweight.

Image result for featherweight sewing machineFeatherweights were manufactured from 1932 through 1964.  The machines were black until the sixties when they changed the color to white, made the plug and foot pedal a permanent connection, and shortened the size of the pull-down tray.  Other changes happened throughout the years.  Prewar machines had a scroll plate on the end of the machine.  After that, they were striated.  In 1951, Singer’s Centennial, a special badge was put on the front of the black machines replacing the usual badges.  The hand wheel also went through changes going from chrome to black.

Image result for tan featherweight 221 for sale The tan Featherweight 221K was manufactured in Scotland.   This model had a faceplate that matches the tan paint instead of a chrome one.  The fold-down table is the same size as the black machines.

The white machines were manufactured in the United States only. Image result for tan featherweight 221 for sale You can see the changes made to them.  Instead of having a metal S on the front of the machine, they replaced that with a gold sticker.  Featherweights were the lightest sewing machines on the market for a long time weighing 11 pounds.  It is the favorite piecing machine for quilters.  The stitch is beautiful and the sound of the machine is wonderful.

I also have an embroidery machine, a beautiful computerized machine that has a ton of stitches on it that I love to use when making clothes for my granddaughters.  Lastly, I have a longarm which I love to use.  It’s so nice to be able to quilt my own quilts.

Smocking is actually an embroidery technique used to gather fabric so that it can stretch.   This technique has been around since the Middle Ages.  Today the technique is done by machine and is used to embellish clothing, quilts, etc.

Snaps are used for closures.  They can be metal or plastic and consist of a male and female piece.  One is anchored onto one piece of the fabric and the other one is anchored onto the other.  There are a variety of sizes and colors of snaps out there.   Here is a sample of the type of snaps available today.

snaps

Spools are small wooden or plastic cylindrical devices on which thread or other flexible materials can be wound.   These spools have a hole that runs from top to bottom so that they will sit on the spool pin of a sewing machine.  There are all sizes of spools.
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Many sewers use old wooden spools for decoration.  Christmas ornaments, necklaces, scissor fobs and I am sure some things I haven’t seen.

Now Stash is what we quilters call our fabric.  We all have one.  I have a small walk-in closet full of fabric sorted into colors and themes.  I have a friend who has a closet that goes from floor to ceiling and is 14 feet long lined with shelves and loaded with fabric.  I can remember the first time I saw her stash I stood there with my mouth hanging open.

It is very difficult to look at fabric at a quilt shop and not buy something.  I always see a piece of fabric that would go perfect for a planned project. My favorite fabrics are reproduction civil war and 1930’s fabrics.  I never leave a shop that carries them without at least a fat quarter.  🙂

I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about what the letter S has to do with quilting.

Wanda

“A stitch in time saves nine.”

R is for Ribbon, Rotary Cutter, Ruffles, Ruler,& Running Stitch

R

R is another popular letter in the world of stitching.

ribbons

Ribbons are used for embellishment on clothing, quilts, and other needlework.  The variety of ribbons is extensive and they are made from different textiles.  Silk is especially lovely to work with.

 

 

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Rotary Cutters are a quilters best friend.  They have made cutting fabric so much quicker and easier.  There are many styles and sizes of rotary cutters, and most quilters own several of them.  But we all have our favorite one.  Mine is the large blue rotary cutter above.  It is made by Dritz.  The blade engages when you apply pressure.   Rotary cutters are used with cutting mats that are self-healing so that the cuts don’t create permanent ruts in them.   Here are a few more styles.

rotary2

          rotaty1          rotary3

Ruffles are used in clothing and quilting and even in furniture upholstery.  They add a soft edge to whatever you are making.  Ruffles are added to blouses, skirts, dresses, hats, baby clothes, curtains, edges of quilts and quilted wall hangings.  Ruffles add design to any outfit.  Just look how cute this outfit is.

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Rulers are a quilters best friend.  We all own a variety of makes, styles, and lengths.  They are used to cut fabric and give it a crisp straight edge.  Quilters spend a lot of time cutting their fabric to create the patches for the patterns they are creating.  Here are a few samples of the rulers we use.

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Image result for quilters rulersIn sewing, rulers or tape measures which are cloth are used for taking body measurements for clothing construction.  A small 6-inch ruler with an attached marker is also used to create a straight evenly folded hem on pants and cuffs of sleeves.

Dritz Sewing Gauge-6"

A Running Stitch is just what it sounds like,  It is a simple evenly spaced stitch that runs in and out through the cloth without overlapping.  This can be accomplished by hand or by machine.  Its purpose is to connect two pieces of fabric, in both quilting, clothing construction, curtains, and upholstery.  It can also be used as embellishment.  Here are a few examples of a running stitch.

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I hope that this has inspired you to pull out your sewing machine or that embroidery project that you started a while ago and do some sewing.

Wanda