October 18, 2016

The Blog Revival - Zipper Bags without a Zipper Foot

HELLO? Is anyone still there?  I abandoned this blog back in January with a 2015 wrap-up and then was not inspired to carry on. BUT, today I decided the give it another chance as I was stitching up some samples for my Etsy shop.  After making several hundred of these bags, I have developed a few tricks. Maybe I'm not the first to do these but I didn't see them anywhere else.

#1. No Zipper Foot Required

In this photo you can see that I am attaching the nylon coil zipper with the regular foot that came attached to the machine (Janome Memory Craft 9900). The foot is about 3/4 inch wide and clear plastic. Yours may be different but should still work. I lay the zipper down and simply stitch on that slightly raised line that appears on most zippers. I only use YKK.

Here I am attaching the other side of the zipper to the other side of the zipper bag.

Helpful Hint: Always start with the zipper halfway open and when you get to the zipper pull STOP, raise the presser foot and move the pull to the back and away from your stitching line.

This is the outside of the bag. Now attach the lining pieces on the other side of the zipper.

 My exterior pieces have been lined with a fusible batting and pre-quilted.  The lining piece is underneath and I stitch over the line I created when I sewed on the exterior fabric. I find this much easier than trying to align the two fabrics and the zipper all together.

AGAINAlways start with the zipper halfway open.

 Here is the lining AFTER I had opened it out and stitched lining the  edge of presser foot up with the nylon coil.  I only stitch through the lining fabric and the edge of the zipper. I do not stitch through the exterior fabric. This helps hold the lining fabric out of the way of the zipper.

#2. Use Grosgrain Ribbon for the Zipper Tabs

I really like the method of creating tabs on the ends of the zippers, but find it fidgety to cut little pieces of fabric and fold them to create a tab. I use 7/8 inch wide grosgrain ribbon which I have lots of since I use it on my jewelry rolls.  

Stitch a two inch piece of ribbon at each end of the zipper lining up with the exact length you want. I make my zippers 1 inch shorter than the top edge of the fabric I am using.

I know these photos are bad but didn't see that until it was too late. The zippers shown are the peach color used in the bag. I have no idea why they show up as PINK!!

Unfortunately, this photo is blurry but should still show how I fold and press each end to create the tab. I DO NOT stitch over this as the ribbon will be held in place when it is sewn into the bag.

Open that zipper halfway !!!
before this step.  With the right sides to right sides sew all around the perimeter of the exterior and interior fabrics leaving an opening in the bottom of the lining fabric.

Another Hint:
I sew a slightly larger seam allowance on the lining fabric than the exterior fabric because when it is turned and put inside the lining has a tendency to feel too big.
 When sewing over the transition from the exterior to the interior try to go just up to the edge, but not over that ribbon tab that you made.

 A boxed bottom is created with those corner cuts I use.  Simply open them out and match the seams up and stitch across. Again, I make the interior seams a bit wider than the exterior ones. And here is how they look from the top. A bit of ribbon through the zipper tab makes them look less naked.
So, let me know if this helps you in any way. If you don't care because you don't sew you can visit these bags and more at CherylThimbleFingers on Etsy.

December 18, 2015

2015 Wrap-UP

I bought this album when it came out on the occasion of Frank's 50th year. This year is the 100th year since his birth. I no longer have the original. It is on my iTunes.
To paraphrase the lyrics of my favorite Frank Sinatra song:

Its been a very good year
for small town* girls
of independent means.

*I've switched the small town and the blue-blooded girls

Last night I discovered I have been featured in a travel blog for my jewelry rolls. I am so flattered as the blog is quite beautiful.
                                                  Page by Paige-Female Travel Blog

My Etsy shop has done very well and I could have done even more if I had planned ahead and partially made up jewelry roll components during the slow times. But, not being a fortune teller, I sewed on new stuff instead.  I was getting so many orders that I had to curtail them early in the month or spend all day AND night sewing.

Actually I could have completed more items but then we have to depend on the speed of the United States Postal Service to get them delivered. The USPS does an excellent job but, like all the delivery services, December is CRAZY!

All of my packages traveled to their destinations with relative ease EXCEPT one that took a little side trip to Tampa, Florida!!  It saw snow in Chicago and split.  It eventually came back but the 2 day priority became 5 days...but altogether not bad.

Today was Christmas Cards Day.  Well, it was Finish the Christmas Cards Day. It took me a few.
I am so into this new embroidery machine that I decided to sew my cards. There was a stash of red and green card stock in a drawer complete with envelopes that I had forgotten about.  All I had to buy was some white linen which I overbought by about 2 yards so there may be more white linen projects.

Cutting the linen to size and creating a bit of fringe on the edges created quite a mess of pulled threads and fuzz when I trimmed with the rotary cutter.  This photo shows only the teensiest portion of the fuzzy waste.

You can see that we are probably having a green Christmas this year!
Here is the machine stitching out the design. Its a simple wreath with minimal satin stitch and 24 of these ate up lot of thread.

The design used only three colors.  You can see my great new spool box on the right of the machine. It holds 80, I said EIGHTY! spools and has chambers at the top that you put them in with holes for the treads to feed into the machine. Really keeps them organized and easy to set up and use.

You can see the design I am sewing on the screen on the machine.

Sulky KK 2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive secures it to the card stock before more stitching is added to hold it permanently

Here I have switched over to my non-embroidery Janome to stitch the linen on to the card stock.  I chose a squiggly sort of stitch that looks kind of floral-like because it hides the fact that I didn't always get it exactly even.

I did green thread on the green card stock.

I could work on this machine while more embroidered wreaths were being churned out on the Memory Craft 9900. I only had to jump up to change threads and hoop the next one.

The greeting inside was printed out on some heavy paper and also sewn onto the card with the same squiggly stitch.  I momentarily considered stitching out our names, but that was going a bit TOO far. As it was, I had to go 3 miles to pick up a metallic Sharpie to show up on this dark green. A touch of elegance, I think!

For my blog readers and friends, my wish for you is to have your 2016 be as happy as 2015  was for me and
                         Merry Christmas

November 1, 2015

Building Heads and Houses

I have finally gotten around to exploring the embroidery capabilities of my Janome MemoryCraft 9900. I bought it to do monogramming on items in my Etsy shop because I had requests for them and it has been great for that. Not as many customers request them as I thought, however.

So now I started looking for things to embellish with thread, but I find that I dislike most of the available machine embroidery designs.  They are either overly fussy old-lady designs or for babies.

I decided to start with the babies...my grandchildren. They really aren't babies anymore but young enough.  I have been wanting terry cloth bathrobes for them, however working with terry cloth is a nightmare.  I found some really nice ones online and made them special with embroidery.

                                Thats a shark and a "certain kitty" on the front
                                                          Personalized on the back
That "certain kitty" is trademarked and really should not have been so easily available to me, but at least I am not selling the item as did the seller of the design.  I know. I'm aiding and abetting a wrong-doer. But what we won't do for grandchildren!

Like this:

This is the head of Freddy FazBear made from the instructions from a youtube video I was sent that says anybody can do this with "passion and patience". The instructions and my p and p ran out  when it came to the lower jaw.

The body was done as a dress-big felt dress made from only two pieces sewn together. I was given a very short time frame to whip this up.

In fact, I never got pictures of the grand-daughter's witch outfit and have not had any sent to me.

Hint, hint to son.

And then, as per my title, there are the houses.

I built six of them in a few days.  They are adorable little cottages from a design set that I won at an AnitaDoodDesign workshop this past summer.  As I said, I find most of these designs "old lady". I AM an old lady, but I still don't FEEL like one.
These,however, are a lot of fun because I can choose from 15 different ones and change them up in all kinds of ways with the fabric appliqué and thread colors.

Speaking of threads...I really have to get them organized. At top are my regular sewing threads all arranged nicely by color. The embroidery threads are a muddled mess in a small drawer next to my machine and overnight they can unwind and tangle themselves all up in a mess. Only bobbins are worse.
What have you been doing and how to you keep order among the thread?

And a last minute addition. The picture of a haughty little witch arrived after posting.  I made the garment but that fabulous lace witch hat was from the home "accessory wall". Project Runway followers know what that is. The scarf is a swath of glitter spider tulle.

I think she has the look of a 40's movie star. And to think that I wanted to have her face painted GREEN!!!

October 9, 2015

My New Best Friend

Is anyone still out there?  I haven't posted since June so I wouldn't be surprised if this just goes into
cyber oblivion.  I have been very busy with enjoying the summer sunshine which only appeared about the time of my last post on June 28th. But mostly I have been kept very busy with jewelry  roll orders from my Etsy shop.  I have now cut and stitched over 300 of them plus a few other items.

AND this is why I have a new best friend.

You probably can't see it very well. Underneath my rotary cutter is a clear acrylic rectangle. I have one of my Thimble Fingers stickers on it so I am better able to find it. The reflection of the light fixture above shows up on it.

Is this better?
Using  a little program called SKITCH, I drew a line around it.

This template arrived yesterday and was put to immediate use and now measuring and cutting jewelry rolls is going to go so much faster that perhaps I will blog more...or clean my house...or cook a meal. No promises, though.

Where did this come from, you ask.  Well, I found Eric of AllThingsAcrylic on Etsy. I'm not even sure what I was searching for.  He makes a lot of templates for quilters and best of all, he will custom make stuff.  I immediately sent him a message requesting this simple rectangle and he replied promptly with a VERY reasonable price and even included some markings (which you cannot see) at no extra charge.
Now I can measure and cut with one simple pattern.  My old paper patterns had to be remade often since they would often get accidentally "trimmed" by the cutter.  The template will be especially helpful when I want to line up a print fabric and get a motif centered or placed a certain way.

Here is version 5 or 6 of my Kraft paper pattern which was due to be replaced shortly.
I may add a few more markings on my buddy...I think I will call it/him Buddy...with permanent marker.
My second best friends are the twins in photo 1and 2.  The magnetic pincushion is wonderfully practical. Pins don't have to be placed on it. You can practically throw them from across the room. Pickup from the floor can be done blindfolded. But, TWO! Yes, because I keep one on the ironing/cutting/pinning table and the other next to the sewing machine.  The table one is constantly being emptied and the one by the machine is constantly being filled. I just switch them back and forth and save myself a lot of getting up and GOING back and forth.

Do you have a sewing best friend? Please comment and tell me about yours.

June 28, 2015

Sewing in My Sleep

My little shop on Etsy is keeping me pretty busy since I jumped on the jewelry roll train. I have sold near 150 of them since mid-January and though things have slowed a bit they are still steady sellers.

A friend commented that I "can probably make them in my sleep now" and if it wasn't for the sharp objects required, that might be possible. I stab myself daily when awake so sleep-sewing could prove deadly. I am expert at removing dabs of blood from fabric.

However, even though I make the same thing over and over, I still find it thoroughly satisfying.

This ugly wrinkled bit of brown Kraft paper is my trusty pattern. It is the second one I have made.
I know that I could just measure rectangles and cut them, however since I am not ALWAYS alert, there is too much chance of mis-measuring and this works better for a semi-sleep state.

           I think these run the gamut from gaudy to gorgeous without being too much or too little.  

If you sew, do you always want the challenge of working on something new and challenging? Or do you  find just the process of sewing satisfying in itself?  I admit to being the second type.  That is probably why making these and selling them is something I love doing. As a retired person, I want to support my sewing habit without the concerns of screwing up!  

Now, if I could just think of as many blog topics as jewelry roll designs!

June 9, 2015

Blogging Excuses

When I began this blog I promised that I would post once a week. Promises! Promises!

I am glad that I can manage once a month now. Here's why.

I am lazy.

I was away on a trip.

I got sick.

I have nothing to say.

I have nothing new.

And no one really cares!

But I will show you what I have stitched up with the fabulous Liberty of London fabric I bought in LONDON.

They are in my Etsy shop at:

May 14, 2015

Jacket Reveal + Give me Liberty or Give Me Shaukat

My new Marcie Tilton Vogue jacket went to London last week. It was a perfect travel companion. I kind of felt like the Union Jack with the blue pants and the white print shirt.

Taken at Windsor Castle

I'm thoroughly chuffed ( a bit if Brit slang) with the topstitching but unfortunately red is a pistol to photograph and red on red detail even harder. The seaming on this pattern is so cool. See previous post.

The fabric is a wool knit from Italy that looks and feels great. The jacket is unlined and is like wearing a fancy sweater.  The weight of it was just right for the weather while we were in London.

I wore it at least 3 times in the six days we were there. AND in other sewing related aspects of the trip we visited Liberty of London for the fabrics. The store itself is worth the walk from Harrod's where EVERYBODY goes and no one can afford a thing but a souvenir bag and some candy.
     It looks medieval but was actually built in the 1920's by a man named Arthur Lasenby Liberty from timbers of two old ships.
                                        This is the third floor fabric department
Looking down through the atrium. Only spent time in the fabrics and purchased 1 meter of 3 different fabrics:


            Visit the link and get a panoramic view of two floors of this fabulous find for fabric.
Visit Liberty's store but come HERE to buy. The prices were about 1/3 less if my conversion from pounds to dollars is anywhere near correct. AND the selection goes on and on and you can purchase online if the shipping doesn't bother you. Most of what I purchased will end up in my Etsy shop after it is transformed into some sort of useful goody.
Left Shaukat with:
Twill that will become handbags & totes
Lovely to look at and even better to touch
This cotton duck  picked up at Cath Kidston. A great store of fun pretties.
Watch for more about London here and on my other blog as I recover from the jet lag.