Hemming Foot

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Hemming Foot

When you buy a new sewing machine, you most likely are presented with a variety of feet that do God knows what.  They look weird and difficult and all you want to do is to sit down at your new machine and make something!  So you put in the all-purpose foot and sew away, forgetting that you have all of these possibilities sitting next to you in your sewing box.  Now that you’ve gotten a few projects under your belt it’s time to look back at these weird feet and figure out what they do.  That is exactly where I was awhile ago.  I knew that my sewing machine had come with a hemming foot, but I had never used it and had no idea how.  But, at the same time I was presented with curtains.  Thin gossamer-like curtains that were too long and dragging the ground.  I began doing the project by hand, ie folding the material up once, then again.  Lets just say that that idea came with frustratingly slow results so I decided to bite the bullet and learn how to use this twisted piece of metal that came with my machine.

Here’s what it looks like.Foot 1 foot 2  See what I mean, it looks intimidating and difficult.

So here’s how this works…stay with me here.

This is what I started with. Beginning piece sm  Just a scrap of fabric that had a selvage hem on one side and a raw edge on the other.

Step 1:

Either backstitch or, if you have a knotting feature on your machine use that, to create a knot at the beginning of the fabric.

Settings sm On my machine the knotting feature is the “bullseye”.

After you have created a knot, lift the presser foot and remove the material from the machine, letting about 4″ or so of thread come out before you cut.  This “tail” is very important because it allows you to pull the material through the machine because it’s going to be difficult.

Pulling the thread sm

Remember…fabric can really be a jerk sometimes, and so can your machine.  Remember this, it is very important!

Step 2:

Here’s where it can get difficult.  You need to use the thread to pull the material through the rolling portion of the foot.  The material should wrap around the twist in the foot.  Once the material is at the point where the needle should begin at the start of the fabric, put down the presser foot and take a breath.

beginning rolled hem sm beginning the stitch sm

Step 3:

Use your left hand grasp the thread and pull the material while you use your right hand to guide the material through.  Go slowly, this can get away from you a lot faster than you may think. As the material moves through the foot, the rolling portion folds the material under so that you get a perfect shirttail hem.  Continue this until you have gone the full length of the fabric.

pulling the material through sm  correct sm Here’s what it should look like when you’re done.

Tips and Tricks

+ If your fabric looks like this…you have folded over the fabric too far  Too much smtoo much (2) sm

+ If it looks like this, there is to little folded over. too little smtoo little (2) sm  You can see that the material has not been folded over.

In the end, although this can take some getting used to, it really does create a very professional looking product, and is well worth the amount of time it takes to learn how to use.  Do you have a foot on your machine that you’re struggling with?  If so let me know (because I probably am too) and we can learn it together!  Keep Crafting!

Don’t Cut Corners!

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Don’t Cut Corners!

Finishing a project can be daunting.  If you’re like me, you look at something that is close to being finished and you worry that NOW is the moment you’re going to destroy it.  One wrong stitch here, or seam there and BAM! your beautiful project now gets to live in the back of the bin where frustrating projects end up, because when you’ve gotten over the devastation, you’ll get back to it…yeah…that never happens.  It just sits there as a physical reminder of your shame and annoyance.

I created this post because this has happened to me all too often and I would like to save some of you from this fate, and the finishing corners on a blanket could be one such frustrating point.  Because of that, I’ll show you two different ways that I do corners.

What you’ll need:

  • The fabrics that you are using, both for the blanket and the binding
  • Pins
  • Manual dexterity

Step One:

Corner 1 (1) sized Get your fabric prepared.  Here I am using the back fabric to wrap around to the front as the binding.

Step Two:

Corner 1 (2) sized Bend up the corner.

Step Three:

Corner 1 (3) sized Fold that up until the point of the top fabric is encased.

Step Four:

Corner 1 (4) sized Fold up the edge so that you will have a finished edge along the fabric. (ignore the selvage edge, I had to retake all the photos because I didn’t have the SD card in the camera the first time…)

Step Five:

Corner 1 (5) Corner 1 (6) sized Fold this up to meet the edge of the fabric that you created previously, and pin.

Step Six:

Corner 1 (7) sized Fold up the other edge and do the same thing, pinning when you’re done.

Step Seven:

Corner 1 (8) sized Here you are a beautiful corner that you can be proud of, and not put into the back of the bin. Just sew it down and you’re done!

The Other Way to Make Corner (I like to think of it as a “blanket corner”)

Step One:

Corner 2 (1) sized So this is one that I might have just made up…it works though and I like the effect of it!  Fold in the edge to have a finished edge.

Step Two:

Corner 2 (2) sized Fold up the finished edge

Step Three:

Corner 2 (3) sized Take the corner of that edge and then fold it to line up with the fabric you are binding (shown here as the white fleece)

Step Four:

Corner 2 (5) sizedThen fold up the other side (making a finished edge first) and you’re done!

Between these two different corner finishing methods I hope that you are able to complete a project without screaming, walking away or starting a fight with your significant other because you’re frustrated.  See it’s not just crafting help, it’s also relationship counseling. :)

wine glass 1.5 This is another 1.5 glass tutorial.  Really the project itself is not really difficult l but I think you deserve a glass of wine because you just finished something!  So sit back, and enjoy how accomplished you feel!

Do you have a different method for finishing corners?  If so I’d love to see!  Comment below or shoot me an email at brushesandthread@gmail.com.  I always like learning new methods because they create such different effects!  Keep Crafting!

How to Verify Your WordPress Site on Pinterest and Google

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How to Verify Your WordPress Site on Pinterest and Google

Those of us with a mild to severe Pinterest addiction, and a blog have the additional problem of needing to verify their blogs.  If you’re like me you looked into it, saw how difficult it appeared to be and decided it wasn’t worth it.  Well the problem was I couldn’t find any really helpful websites when it came to this problem.  While looking at an answer to another question though, I ran across the solution to my Pinterest problem, and it turns out that it’s really not difficult at all.

Step 1:

Log into your Pinterest account and click on “Settings” which is found under your name on the top right hand portion of the site.

Step 2:

Go down to “website” and enter your wordpress URL if you haven’t already, and click “Verify”

Step 3:

At the bottom you should see and click verify with meta tag.

Step 4:

Highlight and copy the tag that is provided.

Step 5:

Log into your wordpress account in another internet tab and go into your dashboard

Step 6:

Under Tools on the left taskbar, click available tools

Step 7:

Scroll down and input the tag that you received from Pinterest and click save at the bottom of the page.

Step 8:

Go back to the Pinterest page where you received the tag from and click below to finish.  I had a problem with this, where it continued to say Verifying… forever.  I refreshed the page which seemed to solve this problem.

Step 9:

Go to your Pinterest login page and you should now see your website at the top of your profile with a red circle with a check next to it.  This means that your blog is verified by Pinterest!

FYI

Verifying your page through google is very similar except you should go to www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ and follow the instructions there.

I hope that this helps others like it helped me!  If you need any other help please contact me here or at brushesandthread@gmail.com.

Knife Pleats and Box Pleats

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Knife Pleats and Box Pleats

First of all Happy Almost Valentines Day!  That is why this particular post is obnoxiously pink and red :).  I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow!

Much like the last tutorial that I posted, adding a simple fabric folding technique can add a lot to any project.  This tutorial covers how to make some of my personal favorite handmade effects, knife and box pleats.  These particular methods are beautiful on clothes or decorative pieces. It can so quickly take a bland project and turn it into something special and unique.

KNIFE PLEATS

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We are starting with knife pleats because these are the basis of the other technique. Much like ruffles, they are not too difficult to create.  Knife pleats are perfect for making A-line skirts, or a detail on a shirt.

What you’ll need:

  • Fabric
  • Straight Pins
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread
  • Measuring implement
  • Calculator

The most difficult part of making a knife of box pleat is the math.  When you pleat or tuck fabric the length quickly diminishes.  Because of this, if you need a particular length, like if it has to go around a pillow or if you are pleating in a skirt you must do the math.   If you’re like me though you HATE math.  I really would almost prefer winging it and hoping for the best, knowing I may have to redo something.  That thought though has been mainly drilled out of me by parents/teachers/the fact that I also hate redoing things…  So instead we shall do math.  If you are doing a full 1″ knife pleat that means that the length of the pleat is 1″ and the tuck inward in also 1″ and the fabric under the pleat is 1″.  This means that each pleat will diminish the length of the fabric by three inches.  So if you need a skirt to have a circumference of 34″ (including seam allowances) then you would need 3 times that amount of fabric, 102″ (2.9 yards), of fabric.

So the equation would be:

(The amount of fabric you need to end up with) x (The full amount of fabric used by the pleat ie the amount of the pleat x3)

In the example of the 1/2″ pleat the math would be:

34 x 1.5

God, I hope that makes sense…  Please let me know if that only makes sense to me.  Since we’ve gotten past the math (in theory) now comes the fun part.  To make a knife pleat first begin by pressing back 1″ worth of fabric under.  Pin this into place.

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From the edge of this pleat measure out one inch, then tuck under one additional inch and pin.  Continue this process until you have completed the length of fabric.  See!  I wasn’t kidding when I said the math was the hardest part!  When you’re done, simply sew the pleats down with a straight stitch across the pleats and you are done!

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BOX PLEATS

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Box pleats are very similar to knife pleats.  The only difference is after you do a knife pleat in one direction, you then go out two inches (or twice whatever your pleat width is) and create another pleat in the opposite direction.  This means that the open portion of the two pleats should be facing each other.  This slightly changes the math.  You will then multiply the (amount of fabric you need to end up with) x (The full amount of fabric used by the pleat ie the amount of the pleat x6).

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wine glass 1.5 1 1/2 glasses.  While the sewing is easy figuring out that math without the project in front of me (I was doing it in my head before I actually started the post) was kind of frustrating…and y’know wine is good :)

I hope that these three techniques help you to make beautiful projects!  I would LOVE to see what you make with these techniques! Keep Crafting!

The Simpliest Ruffle

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The Simpliest Ruffle

First of all, PSA, you really should not be working on a craft project that makes a bit of a mess while watching Hoarders.  It can make you incredibly uncomfortable and lead you to question your decisions…including your multiple bins of fabric in the corner…maybe that’s just me.

Okay, beyond that, a great way to make any project more special or just too darn cute is to add ruffles.

Dog Outfits 005

As you can see here, they can really make a difference.

Despite this, the process of creating a ruffle detail is deceptively simple.

What you’ll need:

  • Needle and thread or sewing machine
  • Material that you would like to make into a ruffle

HAND SEWN METHOD

If you decide to create the ruffle by hand and not use a sewing machine the process is just as simple, but it may take a bit longer and be less even.

With your needle and knotted thread begin to sew a straight stitch along the length of the fabric that will have the tightest portion of the ruffle.DSC_0299

In the picture of the dog above that would be the portion sewn to the fabric.  This generally doesn’t matter unless you have a finished edge on the opposite side or the fabric has a pattern that would need to face a specific direction.

Continue the straight stitch until you reach the other end of the fabric.  Remove the needle from the thread and hold the thread while beginning to pull the fabric towards the knot. DSC_0302

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The fabric will begin to gather as you move the fabric.  Continue until the ruffle is the length that you want.  Knot the now long thread that you have remaining and use the ruffle in your projects, it truly is that simple.

SEWING MACHINE TUTORIAL

The tutorial for making a ruffle with a sewing machine is very similar to how you would do it by hand.  Begin at one end of the fabric, near the edge.  Back-stitch or knot the thread before beginning a long straight stitch along the length of the fabric.  When you reach the other end do not knot or back-stitch the thread.

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Instead, lift the presser foot and remove the fabric from the machine.  Here’s where it can be a bit more difficult than doing it by hand.  Because you are using a machine that uses two thread sources (the bobbin and the main thread) it can be more difficult to figure out which thread to pull.  The easiest way to get around this though is to simply grab one and pull.  If the fabric won’t move, pull the other thread instead.  If you’re like me you WILL pull the wrong thread EVERY SINGLE TIME you do this, oh well…  Just like the hand sewn method you will continue to pull until you have achieved the ruffle that you want, then simply tie off the thread and use.

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As you can see, no matter what method you use, the ruffle will begin to curve up.  This is easily corrected when you sew the ruffle to whatever it is that you are working on. DSC_0305

If you are working with a material such as cotton that will fray you may want to add a shirt tail hem.  To do this, you can either do it with a hemming foot on your sewing machine (an upcoming tutorial) or fold the fabric by hand.  For more information on how to do that, look back at the shirt tail portion of this tutorial on making a pillowcase.

On my new scale of how many glasses of wine I would need to complete this and still be sane, this rates a..drumroll please! ZERO.  This is very simple and not very frustrating at all.  If, you would like to see what a FIVE looks like (I hope to not meet up with a project worse than that) please zip on over to this previous tutorial that had me pulling my hair out!

KEEP CRAFTING!

Sharing Crafts/

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Over the last few months I have been so busy doing the multitude of things that I’m quite sure you are tired of hearing me talk about, that the blog has been placed on the back burner.  Because I don’t want to close the blog, I am temporarily going to putting up daily (to the best of my ability) crafts that I have either tried, or are interested in attempting.  I know that it’s not as good as writing my own tutorials (something I would like to get back to very soon) I hope that it will be an interesting addition to the blog until I can return to the its original purpose.

So I guess the long and short of it is, the blog will be temporarily put on hold until I can get back to what I love doing/what keeps me sane.  Don’t write me off yet though, I am starting today to work on some new merchandise for Christmas and new DIY tutorials for the blog.   I don’t know how long the hiatus will be, could be a week could be a month but I thought I would give everyone the heads up.  Until then, please join our Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brushes-and-Thread/231012056980834.  Also if anyone has an idea for one of the daily posts please comment below.

OH YEAH…I ALMOST FORGOT!!! One of the comments below will gain an exclusive discount code for my etsy shop.  Just a little thank you for visiting and a sorry it’s been awhile. I can’t wait to see what you find!

But they’re so cute!

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But they’re so cute!

It all started out as a joke, “you should make dog COSTUMES!”  haha ok….well actually maybe I will do that.  The problem with making something like this though is that there are so many adorable ideas  that you start to get sucked in and just have to make more.  Before I knew it I had 9 costumes and it was quickly becoming less and less of a joke.  The end products were just so cute that it was hard to stop.  When people ask me what I’ve been doing lately I do feel a bit silly saying…”making dog costumes”, and they generally have one of two reactions; looking at me like I have 6 heads, or smile and ask to see them.  I must say I much prefer the latter, it makes me feel slightly less silly about the whole endeavor.

I’m not just making dog costumes though, I have revised the idea to have my own twist on it.  What I’m making, I call “Collar Capes”.  This is because the dog’s collar slips through the costume’s loop on the back and is secured around the belly with an elastic strap that closes with velcro, making it simple to put on and comfortable to wear.  Below are some pictures of the costumes, modeled by the adorable and patient Vera and Puddles.  All of the below can be found on my Etsy shop.

Native American Princess

Fiesta dress

 

Mummy

Poodle Skirt

Prissy Princess

Pumpkin

 

Black Widow Spider

St. Bernard First Aid Barrel

Victorian Vest

So that’s what I have so far, and I’d love to hear what you think, and remember Keep Crafting!