Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Embroidery Tips and Tricks Edition

I've been crafty for a very long time now and I have learn (some the hard way) tips and tricks along the way. I feel the need to spread them around for other people to benefit from.

Here are a few that are very handy and true.


12 to 14 inches of floss at a time have greatly helped my frustration of the floss twisting up on my in mid use and knotting. 

With the floss twisting up on me, I will hold my project out in front of me and let the floss hang to unwind itself from the weight of the needle. Just make sure the needle wont fall off.

 I find the less floss you have on the needle, the easier it is to pull through the fabric. I use about three strands at a time.

Nice and tidy storage is the key to less stress! To me anyway. Still wrapped in the bands or wound neatly on a bobbin.

Loose tension of the floss makes nice and neat stitches.
When I first started (cross stitch at the time) I pulled way to tight, and all my stitches were uneven. It looked shabby.

The size of your needle plays a big part in the appearance of your handy work.
-Not too large to leave a large visible hole in the fabric, not too small to not be able to even thread it with multiple strands. Play around with the size that you would need for a project.

Also be aware of the type of fabric you are stitching on. Canvas is a very thick material, and can be diffacult to stitch with a larger needle.


I use couple of different types of interfacing for my stabilizer.

For dark fabric I transfer my design on the interfacing itself and put it on top of the fabric and start to stitch.

I use a tear away interfacing for this method.

If it's a thin or stretchy material, I'll use a thicker, but not so thick to where you can't poke a needle through it and fabric comfortably, underneath.


If you have a project that requires a lot of colors in small areas, try to have a couple of needles already threaded in the colors you need.

If you want to color tint (color with crayons), do so before you start stitching.


A nice sharp pair of scissors are your best friend.
Back stitching can be the devil, but a necessary evil, just like french knots. But with practice, they become very easy. 
Well, back stitching is very easy to start with just a pain in the neck.

And speaking of which, Keep your shoulders relaxed. Try not to bunch up. 

 I hope that this tips have come in handy to some. I love learning new and different ways to do things to make it easier to stitch.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Wonderful World of Freezer Paper (tutorial)!

I love to sew. And believe it or not, I like to hand sew (I use to hate it with every fiber of my being!).
But most of the time I hand sew is small things. Those are mostly stuff made out of felt, and the ones that are not turned inside out and all the "markings" are hidden.

I will draw out what I want to make and cut out my patterns and tape them to my felt and start cutting. 
The thing about doing that is well, it sucks. The tape is too sticky and causes the felt to "fluff" and distort when I peel it off.
And if I would trace a marker around the pattern, it would show, all the edges would be a different color and, and, ...  A HUGE MESS!


SO when I read about freezer paper, I got my hopes up.

 This thing is HUGE

And now I will sing praises and do little dances to show my love for this wonderful stuff of wonders!

I thought that I would show you how awesome this stuff is.
I tried it out on my dolls.
Worked perfectly!

 First of all:
Freezer paper has two sides, a paper side and a plastic-y/waxy side. 
The latter side is the side that temporarily adheres to the fabric. 

I had a pattern ready to trace on the paper side of the freezer paper.

 Next, lay the pattern on the piece of fabric, pattern facing up with shiny side down.

 Now with a hot dry iron, press the paper to the fabric and hold for a moment. 
All of the ones that ironed, took under a minute to adhere, test it by trying to peel the paper off the fabric, if it sticks, it's ready.

 After I cut out my shape, the paper stayed suck to the felt.

 With almost no effort, the paper easily peeled away!
No residue, nothing!

This last picture is to show the difference between the ones I used the freezer paper and traced directly onto the felt. The top one you can tell by the orange maker left on the edges.

So I can't say enough about how happy I was with this technique. I will NEVER go back!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Yo-yos, Yo?

A little while ago I tried my hand at making yo-yos. I'm not a quilter but I think these things are adorable. I started making them and then I didn't realize how many I made. I just cut a bunch of circles and one thing lead to another (great, now I have The Fixx stuck in my head).

 They're like cute little button flowers.

I made a tutorial for these little guys. They are fairly easy to make and they do not take too long to make. Once you get the hang of it, you'll zip right through them.

 Here is what you will need:

5x5 inch cotton fabric squares
something to use as a circle template (I used a tin container for coasters)

Place your template on the fabric and trace. 
*note: you really should iron out an wrinkles in the fabric, but I was lazy and didn't (they came out just fine).
 I traced out all my circles before I started sewing anything.

Then cut out the circles.

All ready to go!

Now it starts to get only a smidgen tricky. And by tricky, I mean trying to keep the fabric folded over to sew together.

Begin by folding over the fabric by a 1/4 of an inch (wrong sides together) to get a folded seem.
LOL! Sounds a lot harder then it really is. I made sure to take loads of pictures to help explain.

Knot off the beginning of the thread, then begin threading though the fabric all the way around.
So, now you are sewing through the top and the "bottom". 
DO NOT knot it and finish off the thread.

Next, you grab a firm hold of the thread and begin to pull gently until the fabric starts to gather or pucker.

I took a photo of another one that shows the gathering.
 Once the fabric closes in on itself, tie off the thread and trim the excess thread.
And you are done!

You have just made your first yo yo! Pretty easy, right?

The circle that I started out with was roughly 4 inches, and the finished product is around 3 inches.
You can pretty much make any size you want.