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!!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pre-Summer Madness

WOW, long time between posts! I really dislike this time of year, it seems like we are just so busy! Im a devoted 'soccer mom' who's son just had end of year tournaments and parties followed by tons of tryouts for the next level teams and meetings for said teams. Plus my little dancer just had her recital this week and all my kids are working on end of year projects. I cant help thinking that school cant end soon enough but I know it wont help, lol. We will just move on to bored children that need entertained, summer day camps, more soccer practice, swimming lessons and vacation! *grin* You gotta just roll with it I guess!

I do however, have some fun things to share with you today...first of all a belated CONGRATULATIONS to Becky Fidelman who is the winner of this month's blog candy posted over on Holly's blog. She will soon be getting her four free new release sets in the mail!

Also, I took some time to make a card yesterday. I hope not to offend anyone but this idea has been brewing in my head ever since I drew the image.

I REALLY wanted to put a sentiment in the set like the one I wrote on my card but I chickened out! LOL I recognized that not everyone has my sense of humor. *grin* I do hope you get a kick out of it 10 yr old son saw it and just took it at face value, with no idea it was a 'tongue in cheek' sentiment.
And lastly, I've been working really hard to bring you something fun and different next month, though we may end up getting it out a bit later than mid-June, like I had planned. Hopefully, you will consider it worth the wait. I'll be sure to update you as soon as I am more sure of a release schedule.
Have a great weekend ya'll!
Card Deets:
Stamps: Music a la Carte by Artful INKables
Paper: Queen of Hearts dp by Rusty Pickle, All other by SU
Ink : Black by Momento, Coloring with Copic Markers
Accessories: Making Memories snap, Glitter stickers by Stampendous, Flowers by Prima and Hero Arts (I think).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Stampin', Hoppin' and Sharin'

It's Great day for HOPPIN'! Come blog hop along with us today as we share with you some of our creations with Artful INKables FOUR new Stamp Set Releases.

The card that I am sharing with you today is a bit of a departure for me. It is a very simple, monochromatic card. But I felt that the detail in the instruments of the Music a la Carte set can really be shown off with a more simple card. The strip of background paper I used is from my scraps pile so I cant share the manufacturer but I really thought it mirrored the swirls around the guitar in a pleasing way. I also used one of our new guitar charms to add some bling to this card. (It can be found in the AI store along with 2 more new ones.) I think adding a charm to a card is a fun way to give the recipient a special little something. They can either enjoy it on the card or take it off, add it to a charm bracelet or necklace and always remember you for it. I hope you like my card and can see the possibilities that this set, Music a la Carte, can bring to your stamp set collection.

There are also three other sets available to purchase today and all are of a different variety. Please visit the home page : to view these other sets and the other stamps available in this set. And don't forget, we have low prices EVERY DAY and free shipping for any order over $45.

Now, it is time for you to hop on over to Elena's Blog to enjoy her talented creation using a new AI set. And be sure to follow the blog hop all the way to the end because, as usual, there is blog candy involved!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Paper Piecing Tutorial

I have a special treat for you today. Toni Armstrong, another of our INKgirls has prepared a fun tutorial for you on paper piecing. I really think you will enjoy the results of this technique and hope you will give it a try for yourself. Toni is a joy to workwith and we are lucky to have her on our team.And when you are done here be sure to visit Toni's blog to enjoy loads more if ther talented creations and fun musings.

Paper Piecing Tutorial

Paper piecing is a technique that can add lots of dimension to your stamped creations. Another great thing about paper piecing is that you can easily match the colors on the piece, because you’re using in most cases the same papers for your paper piecing as you are on the rest of the card. Want to know how to do it? Here goes…

Start with a stamp set that has large sections that can be used for the paper piecing. The “Think Big” set by Artful INKables is perfect for paper piecing. The sections we are going to work on in this tutorial are the little girl’s shirt and jeans.

Here is a photo of the card I’m going to make. You’ll see that the stamped image has been stamped simply with black ink (I like VersaFine Onyx) on a white panel.

I chose kraft paper and some patterned paper (“Basic Grey Wisteria”) for my paper piecing, and I stamped the image on each of the 2 papers.

Next, cut out the pieces you’re going to use. In this case I cut out the jeans from the kraft paper and the shirt from the patterned paper. Attach them to the main image as shown.

Color the rest of your image (including the paper pieces, if you’d like), and embellish the front of the card. Here’s the end result: