Sunday, May 31, 2009

Elena's Sewing Tutorial

Happy last day of May, everyone. One of our very talented, Ink Girls, Elena, has a special treat for you today. Actually she usually has special treats because she is so talented! I have to say I've enjoyed having her on my team so much these last few months! She is a special gal with a sweet outlook and a joy for learning.

Today she wrote a very informative sewing tutorial for us. I've been sewing since I was a teen and I even learned some new things from this wonderful information she is sharing - I hope you do to!

Elena's Sewing Tutorial

What is common about these cards? They all represent Artful INKables stamps and they have sewing. Do you like sewing? I do, and not only on fabric but on paper too. I think sewing on cards gives a very nice touch to the layout. Let me ask you one more question – how many times did you feel frustrated trying this technique? You will not feel this way anymore after learning about the theory I just discovered!

“If you can drive, you can sew!” How easy it is!

What is the sewing machine? It’s a mechanism, so is a car. Does the sewing machine have a pedal? Yes, and the car have one too! Does it have wheel? Another yes. Lets start our driving-sewing lessons!

Before starting your engine you always check if you have enough fuel. In sewing – you need to check the amount of the thread in your bobbin. This way you will not feel frustrated when you will run out of thread in the middle of sewing. (Even if it happens, you can always come back and sew back in the holes very carefully, or you can just keep on sewing till the finish line, delete some stitches (also very careful) in the beginning and leave the holes by it – you will have a paper piercing!)

Before you start driving on the real road you always need to practice on a parking lot, rare used traffic areas etc. The same rules with the sewing machine – always try first on a scrap of paper that you will use. This way you can see how the stitch will lay. The main thing in stitching is tension, no worries here – you can always fix it. There are two types of tension – tread tension and bobbin tension. Very often you can solve the problem by changing the tread tension.

Perfect stitching is when the bottom and top threads don’t have loose and tight treads, the little knot between threads is hidden inside the papers.

If you see loops on the right side of the paper (they are coming from the bobbin), your tread tension is too tight. Turn your (upper-thread) tension to a lower number and try again.

If you see loose thread on the reverse side, it means that your thread tension is too loose. Just turn the (thread - upper) tension to a higher number. This should solve the problem.

Now lets talk about the bobbin. Be sure that the bobbin thread is properly wound with no loops or loose threads. Always check that your bobbin is staying inside the shuttle notch, when you put it inside you should hear a little sound (click). When the bobbin (lower) tension is too loose, knot is on the right side, tighten the screw on the bobbin case about 1/8 or 1/4of a turn. When the lower tension is too tight, knots are on the reverse side, loosen it by turning it to the left.
“Righty – tighty, lefty loosey” – is a rule to remember. I would recommend this adjustment only if nothing from above didn’t help. Be careful with this screw movement.

Also check if you threaded your machine correctly. If you don’t know how to do it, check the instructions that come with your sewing machine. But even if all of those things didn’t help; it is better to check with a professional.

When you are happy with the tension and the length of your stitch you can start sewing. To give a straight line, use the side of your presser foot as a guideline. Line the presser foot with the edge of the paper layer and just keep stitching. Or you can always lightly draw a pencil line and sew straight in to the line.

With a zigzag stitch, keep the edge of the paper layer in the center (slit) of the presser foot. It will give even zigzags. When you will be close to the edge of the paper corner, be sure to stitch one or two stitches over the corner and stop with the needle on the outside edge of the corner. Remember that your needle should be in the right position! That will create a nice finished corner. Leave needle down in the paper, put the presser foot up and turn 90 degrees. Then lower the presser foot down and continue sewing along the edge. Check if the presser foot is centered for even zigzag again after your turn.

You can do another kind of a corner (open corner), by leaving your needle on the left position and doing the same steps as I described.

The same with the straight stitch to make a perfect corner - leave your needle in the cardstock and then turn it 90 degrees and continue sewing. Does it sound hard to you, almost like parking on sale days!

Don’t use backstitch in sewing on the cards. Just go over the stitched area further. When you’re done sewing, cut the treads, not very short, pull the front thread to the back with the help of a needle and tie a knot. Then cut the ends leaving little tails and secure it with a tape.

You can always sew straight to the card base or to the panel and then attach it to the card base. Don’t put too much adhesive if you sew two layers, just put enough to hold it together, not very close to the edge.

One more thing I wanted to share. Needles are like the tires of your car. You need to change them occasionally, because paper can make them dull. The same with scissors never use your paper scissors to trim ribbon. Use a smaller size needle; it will prevent you from making big holes in the cardstock. I use a number 75; a smaller number will be even better.

Try to use the same size of thread for the bobbin and needle. I usually use Coats and Clarks All-Purpose; I heard that Gutterman is good too. When you sew in a circle or oval, go slowly. I usually do it by turning the sewing machine wheel by hand, without using the pedal. It is slow, but the result can be effective. Color of thread – try to match it to the ink or colors of the papers you use.

To give your machine longer life try to make sure it is clean, keep it from dust by covering it, “feed” it with special machine oil (but don’t sew right away after this procedure).

Don’t afraid to use your creativity and fantasy! You don’t always need to give a straight stitch; freehand stitch is very popular now!

So I hope this information was helpful! And you will enjoy sewing as much as driving! And who knows maybe soon you can start making your own clothes and alterations!
Thank you so much for reading it!!!


Dawn said...

Fabulous tutorial Elena!! It's great to have all the pics to go by! Someone taught you well...I would have loved having you in my 4H sewing group!! =)

Elena said...

Thank you Kristin, I am so happy and honored to be in your fantastic DT! Hope this information will be helpful for some crafters!

Joanne Travis said...

Love this tutorial!!What fabulous instructions, I can't wait to try some of these stitches. It has been SO long since I have done any sewing at all, this may be the motivation I need!

Kerri said...

WOW, Elena! This is fabulous!!! I love your awesome tips : ) I'm sure this will give a lot of people the push they need to give sewing a try!

Sue from Oregon said...

great job Elena!

Shirley said...

Elena, you are just wonderful. What a great tutorial and what wonderful, cute and pretty cards! I wish I had a sewing machine too!

Lil Sis said...

Love the cards and tutorial really good
hugs Beccy x

Velta said...

Elena ~ You did a spectacular job showing us your sewing techniques!! Your cards are fabulous and your sewing on them adds such a nice touch :)

Risa said...

Very very good tutorial Elena! I learned some great tips about the bobbin tension, things that I was clueless about. Once again, thanks for the fantastic tutorial!

toners said...

Wow! What a terrific tutorial! Fabulous job, Elena!

Loretta said...

Oh wow, Elena! Wonderful tutorial!

Kerry D-C said...

What a FABULOUS tutorial!!! Lots of great tips! Hmmmm...the driving and sewing comparison is perfect...I'm a little bit all over the place with both! hahahaha!