I have been accused of being addicted to post it or sticky notes. I don't deny it especially as I get older. If there is a yellow (or any color for that matter) pad close to me, I am going to use it. So my newest embroidery design pays tribute to having them at your fingertips. On my desk, they will wind up underneath a pile of other papers or stuff. So an elevated position on a stand will hopefully keep them visible to "Remind Me" of everything unless I have it staring right at me.
The L frame used along with the design is 3 1/2 by 5 inches and clear. It can be found at most Dollar or discount stores. The cover has a pocket on the back that slides right over the frame.
It uses a 5x7 embroidery frame and just a few pieces of fabric. This is a project that would be a great way to bust though your stash and begin working on those small gifts for Christmas.
These ITH Post It Note Holders stitch up really quickly and are fun to customize with fabric and thread choices. I did an instruction video below that takes you through the entire process. Also, when you download the design, you will receive a full set of color instructions. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
My Happy HCS2 1201 Embroidery machine has provided me with many hours of steady sewing. Let me first start this blog post by saying I am still glad I purchased it. I knew when I made the choice to upgrade to a multi needle machine that was not a predominant model for my geographical area, I would have some challenges when it came to maintenance. This coupled with the current pandemic makes it even more difficult. So I had to dive in and try to figure out my problem. As you can see from the picture above, I have my machine ready to load a cap and the arrow points to the position that the arm should calibrate to once it is turned on. If you have never used a multi needle machine, the arm will usually move through a rotation and settle back in the center ready for you to load your cap.
My machine would calibrate and settle to the far right position instead. When the machine is turned off, you can freely rotate and move the hoop right to left and back to front which is how I was able to take the first picture. When the calibration landed in this position, it made it impossible to load the caps with the bills pointed up ready to sew. Also, I later discovered if the frame was too far right when I turned it on, the machine would try to calibrate and make a terrible grinding noise when it ran out of movement room.The weird thing is my machine sewed fine one day and the next time I put my cap frame on, it started doing this. So I was really worried I wouldn't be able to center any of my designs to sew. The trial and error period began.
I looked at the screen and noticed that even though the arm of the machine was situated to the far right position, the screen showed my design should be in the center. So that told me there was a miscommunication between the brain or computer and the arm.
I took the cap frame off and then noticed that when the machine did not see caps sewing, but a standard frame it would calibrate to the center as it should. That was the really hard one to figure out. Mechanically, the calibration cycle worked for standard but not cap frames. So I started looking at what controlled the machine knowing how to see caps.
My first thought was the small plunger underneath the arm. The small black unit in the picture above is what tells the machine you will be sewing caps. When you load the frame on the machine, it pushes that little plunger in. Sometimes I have noticed that when I take my cap frame off, the plunger will stick and I have to manually pull it out. I now make sure there is no trash in it and keep it lubricated. Even doing a thorough cleaning and oiling didn't solve the frame centering problem so I moved on to my machine manual, centering instructions. There wasn't a whole lot of information to go from. I also looked at other Happy machine manuals online and spoke to the techs at the service department where I purchased my machine. To say the least it was a head scratcher. I even re initialized the machine thinking I may have changed a setting inadvertently. Nothing worked.
Then I got brave and started taking covers off the arm. The first time I did that I noticed there were several sensor boards and wires with connectors. I did see one that looked like it might be loose, so I pushed all of the connectors in as tight as I could. I also unplugged and re-plugged the large black cable that goes from the machine to the arm unit. I loaded the cap frame on the machine and the calibration moved to the far right. This was very disappointing because what else could it be? I began to wonder if it was something in the control box so I looked up the electrical schematics and tried to figure out which sensor board and pulse motors controlled the arm. The worst part was I could see all of these parts in the list, but no real explanation of what each one did.
So naturally panic set in because I figured I would not be able to get this figured out. As long as I had a small design to sew, I could move it around in the hoop and get it stitched and over this period I still had cap orders coming in. This was very stressful so I created a work around while I still tried to figure out what was going on. When these machines are turned off, the arm becomes free and you can move it easily. This assists when you are doing maintenance or changing your frames. Once it is turned on, the arm becomes immobile. So I played with my arm position. I knew that when I turned it on, it always moved to the far right. So each time, I would move the arm starting position farther to the left, turn it on and see where the calibration landed. I did this until I got it to the center. I put a mark on the arm and matched it to a placement on a piece of painters tape. I did this for standard and wide cap settings. Each time I went to sew caps out, I just moved the arm to that location, turned it on and it always moved to center. So this took some of the pressure off and I could get my orders completed still. I have to be honest, this situation rocked on for a year until this week when I said I am either going to figure it out or load it up and make a trip to where I purchased it from which for me is about 6 hours away.
So have I got you confused enough and are you ready for the fix? I pulled out my screwdriver and once again pulled the cover off the arm of my machine. Remember I said earlier I noticed there was a connector that looked loose and I pushed it back in tight? Well, when I took the cover off this time, I saw that it was loose again. Weird right? See in the picture above I am pointing to the small screw that holds the center of the cover when it is installed. There is tape wrapped around all of the wires. When I looked closely, the tape had come unwound and all of those wires were tucked beneath the screw instead of on top of them where they are in the picture.
Here I am making sure they are all above that location and out of the way.
This connector is the one that looked like it was loose and after seeing the wires underneath that screw, I figured out that when the cover was being pushed back on the arm, it was putting downward pressure on those wires and pulling the connection loose. This of course I could not see because the cover was on top of it and I thought everything was secure because I had just pushed everything in nice and tight. It also explains why the machine sewed fine one day and the next it did not. I estimate that the wires were in this predicament when I purchased the machine and through the movement vibrations over time, the connection finally just gave way. Such a simple problem but because it was not consistent between the standard and cap frames, it was a hard one to diagnose.
Here is another shot so you can see the back of the arm with the sensor boards, connectors and wires. It feels so good to have this figured out. Now I can confidently sew moving forward and know each time I load my cap frame, it will center correctly and I can get on with the process. I filmed several snippets of the process and then the solution which you can watch below. My wish is this helps someone out there having a similar problem or maybe it will give you courage to pull out your manual and tools and try to fix your embroidery machine. Especially right now when our technicians are social distancing or working minimal hours. **Always make sure you unplug your machine before making any repair attempts.** I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with that you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
We are in that time of year where back to School plans are being made. If you have a child that is just starting school or you will be homeschooling, this little soft book is an excellent way to introduce them to ll of the things they might be doing every day. Check out our blog post about the book here. The best part is you will get multiple embroidery designs with the download and an easy pattern to sew your own soft book. It will be on sale through the end of August so don't wait!
Another great embroidery design perfect for back to school is my calendar topper. I absolutely love mine and use it for all of the things I need to be reminded to do. It along with the magnetic pen holder will be on sale through the end of August!
Both of these designs are easy and fun. I use a Dollar Tree Calendar so it is an inexpensive project and looks very nice on my refrigerator! Check out the Calendar Topper Project Here. Look for the Magnetic Pen Holder Project Here.
Who can leave out one of my favorite things in the world? COFFEE??? Yep my Coffee Mug Wrap Embroidery Designs are on sale and I know many of you teachers are going to be reaching for that morning cup. What about you parents who are going to be homeschooling? You will probably enjoy these mug wraps as well.
I hope you are well in your corner of the world and you enjoy what you do, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
My latest sewing project is not only fun but economical. I am always scanning the clearance aisles of my big box stores and when I see something that is really reduced and made of any kind of material that can be stitched, I will usually grab it. On a recent trip I found a package of 30 microfiber towels on sale for $6.00. The regular amount is $9.97 so still a great price for this project.
Check out this cute drawstring bag and my (*click link*) latest embroidery design Shark Towel Applique. This bag can be used for wet swimming suits, flip flops, beach toys, you name it. If you are looking for an inexpensive gift to sew for a group of people this is almost as cheap as you can get for 20 cents per towel. Even full price they are just 33 cents each.
The embroidery design has been digitized to include a knockdown stitch you can see here. So you can put the Shark on the fluffy side of the towel and he will really stand out. Also, with the knockdown stitch, you don't need to use any wash away stabilizer on top. If you want to embroider the shark on woven fabric, just bypass the knockdown stitching and move directly to the applique parts.
This design is fun because it has two areas of applique. So if you have never done a project with multiple areas of placement, trimming and satin stitching, you will love playing with all of the different options just by alternating your colors of fabric. As you can see, I used a plain blue for the back area but the tummy has a small print. Can you imagine using stripes or polka dots for your shark? Or making some for girls or boys just by changing the towels? Look for these microfiber towels the next time you are in the automotive section of your store. They have a good selection of colors in most stores which are perfect for cute drawstring bags.
Sewing the bag is just a few seams and I thought you might want to see the complete process so I created a video you can watch below. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Changing the thread on a multi needle embroidery machine can seem like an overwhelming task. When I bought my machine, I had to adjust from my usual threading practice because I was familiar with my single needle machine. Each time the thread color changed on a design, I was used to re-threading through the single needle machine path and moving on. A multi needle machine has many different colors on the machine and as the design stitches, the machine trims the thread and the head moves to a different position to continue sewing.
The multi needle machines are taller and usually on a cabinet so reaching up and around to change each cone is a little harder. The most efficient way to change colors is to tie onto an existing thread and pull through your tension discs and the needle. In order to do that you have to use a very small knot.
This picture shows the path that the thread follows from the top through all of the tension areas, take up levers and eventually through the needles. First you pull a long length of thread from the cone you are replacing. Cut that so there is something to tie onto left on the machine and remove the cone. I like to have around 24-30 inches. Then you place the new cone on the machine and pull a long length equal to the first thread. Next you need to tie your knot.
The original thread left on the machine is wrapped around your two fingers and held by your thumb. This creates a open loop on your middle finger.
The new thread is laid over your hand. So here you see my old thread is black. My new thread is white
Then you reach your finger through the open loop and pull both pieces of thread through. This creates a very small knot.
Looking at this type knot you can see that it does not resemble a traditional square knot. It actually looks like half the size and will be narrow enough to go through the sewing needle eye.
Once your knot is secure, you can start pulling the existing thread through the needle from the bottom of the machine. I usually hold the new thread ends taut while they go through the top tensions, Once they get past that area I continue to pull until I can see that the old thread is gone , the knot passes in the needle and the new color is ready.
This view shows that black thread tied to the white and the knot has just passed through the eye. I clip the excess off, secure my new thread to my spring and move forward.
Now you know you can quickly change those empty or wrong thread cones. It is difficult to imagine tying that knot from pictures, so I made a video you can watch below that shows the entire process with very close shots. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Bowl Cozies are one of my favorite things. If you like to reheat food in a microwave they might become one of your new favorites. The purpose of a cozy is a place to set your bowl in the microwave while it is heating. Once the food is hot, you just use the cozy to lift the bowl out. You can also eat your food comfortably so your fingers don't get burned. I like to use mine for cold items like ice cream and cereal as well. They are perfect to catch those drips. When they get dirty, I put mine through a regular cycle in my washer and dryer. You want to make sure you use 100% cotton or natural materials. Any polyester or blends may cause a spark or melt in your microwave. So use 100% cotton batting, thread and material.
If you have read my other articles you may have seen a couple of other projects using these character towels. I have used them for drawstring bags which you can see here. I have also used them for adult bibs which you can see here. When I walk through the Dollar Tree I am always scanning for new materials to remake. These towels are so vibrant and fun that they have become a staple I keep in my studio at all times.
They are also 100% cotton so perfect for these cozies. The size on the package is 11.75 x 11.75 inches and once they are washed and dried the first time, they will slightly shrink. You may also see that the shape gets slightly skewed but that is not a problem. The care instructions state they should not be ironed, but I do press them with a medium setting and a press cloth. This will protect your iron plate from any residual ink on the towels.
The cotton batting is cut to 10 x 10 inches and adhesive spray is used on the towel to keep everything together while you sew your first quilting seams. Once the towel and the batting are adhered, you can trim away any extra towel. The batting will assist in keeping the cozy square.
These bowl cozies are a simple project but they do include darts on all sides. The darts help them stand up and form the bowl shape. This is a great introduction to learn how to sew darts if you have never done them.
Here you see me marking the dart placement with a heat erase pen. It is not hard to accomplish and great practice with your measuring tools.
There are so many of these bowl cozy projects on the internet and they are all similar. Using these character towels will present one challenge that you won't have if you use cotton fabric. The terry cloth coupled with the batting makes these thick along the seams. When it is time to close the project after turning, I like to use a needle and thread instead of my machine. This way I ensure I have grabbed both edges of the towel. You will be washing and drying them frequently so you want to have a durable closure. I love to use a ladder stitch for this part because the thread is hidden. Once I have it closed up, I will go around with a top stitch on my sewing machine but well away from the edge. This is slightly different than other bowl cozy projects you may see on the internet. A regular sewing machine can be used with these towels, but you may have to help it just a bit when you get around those thicker seams. Just take your time and you should be good to go.
When all is done, you will have a reversible bowl cozy that is not only practical, but cheerful.
Look at all of the different cozies I made in just an afternoon. These are great for kids, teens and adults. Everyone in your family will want their own.
So are you ready to make this project? Click on the video below to watch me sew a complete bowl cozy. All materials, measurements, sewing machine settings are included. Don't forget to Like and subscribe to my You tube channel. Then every time I upload a new video, you will be notified. I hope you have enjoyed this blog post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
This project is perfect if you love to re-purpose things from Dollar Tree. I am always looking for items I can alter with my sewing and embroidery machine when I walk the Dollar Tree aisles. This one doesn't take a lot of materials and you can complete it in an afternoon.
These drawstring bags are made of a rip stop fabric which is just right for windsocks. They already have a casing sewn into them and they come with a drawstring that you can use to hang your windsock. So most of the materials are already in the bags. *Note* You just have to deconstruct them, and reassemble. You can add any kind of embellishments you want. I digitized two new designs for birth announcements since my bags were blue and pink. Click on the pictures below to visit my store and see the embroidery designs.
I added ribbon to each of my windsocks which helped maintain a heavier structure and added weight so they really catch the wind.
After making these two, I wanted to show you a variation, so I digitized another design perfect for your garden. Click on the picture below to visit my store and see this design.
This design has outline text and a simple applique flower in the center. I used some scrap floral fabric for the applique. Ribbon was added to the top and bottom of the embroidery design with a zig zag stitch. It is amazing how beautiful a project comes together using just a few elements.
Here it is adding a pop of color to my garden space. The drawstring that comes in the bag was used to hang the windsock. This bag had two fabrics instead of one plain color. The stripes you see on the streamers were one side of the original bag.
I have a complete project video below that you can watch. It will take you from disassembly, making your cuts, embroidery, sewing everything together and hanging options. I know you are going to love it. The best part is you can make as many windsocks you want for all holidays and occasions. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Summer is in full swing and I bet you are having fun decorating your outdoor living spaces. Embroidery is a great way to freshen up those pillows that are showing a little bit of wear and tear. Add a big beautiful sunflower to make that garden chair really inviting.
Maybe you have a special outdoor dinner planned and are looking for ways to make those napkins extra pretty? Simple seashells would be so elegant
How about creating an oasis in your bathroom? Embroidery has a way of elevating a space and it doesn't take a lot of time to complete smaller projects. See the towel on the tub above? How would it look if you added a design with a summertime feel like the seahorse , turtle or fish?
We have a great sale going on many of our summer designs through July 31st. Visit our SALE SALE SALE page here to check them out! I have one EXTRA special offer for you. Visit our FACEBOOK page for an additional 20% off coupon on those sale items! (HINT- the link is at the top of this blog) All you will need is the coupon code to enter at checkout! That is too easy. I hope you have a great Summer, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Can you find the problem towel above? If you have done any kind of Machine Embroidery, you have probably had a moment when an issue came up. I think more people would enjoy doing embroidery if they gave themselves a break and understood that things don't always work out the first time you sew a design. Frustration will usually cause them to give up but trust me, practice really is necessary to consistently get good results. I do machine embroidery pretty much every day and I have some doozies in my studio. In fact I have a path around my house that gets used quite a lot while I clear my head and get out of my workspace. It is the nature of working with an unpredictable medium. You have so many variables that you have to work through. First you have the complexity of a machine that wants to stitch in one direction. Think about it. There really is only one way a stitch forms. The arm on the machine moves in multiple directions in time to that stitch forming. If everything is in time, you should see a design taking shape. Other possible issues are material you are applying the design to, stabilizer needed, type of thread top and bottom, trimmers, needles, digitizing, dirt and dust, the day of the week- no wait that doesn't matter. There are just so many things that can go wrong. So why even do it? It is beautiful when the work comes into focus and a design starts to peek out. Hypnotic to watch that arm swing and sway and the hum of the machine lulls you into a calm place. If you are a person that likes a challenge and puzzle solving, you might grow to become an embroidery addict. You just need to develop and have some tools in your back pocket for the times when trouble arrives. It will arrive.
Here is a recent problem project I was working on. If you look at the photo above, you will see an unfinished towel. I had several of them to do and as this one was stitching, I noticed a dull thumping sound when the needle struck the fabric. That always indicates to me it is time to change the needle. When you embroider on a machine and become friends with it, you can hear changes. So , I replaced the needle and immediately, my bobbin wound up tight causing the towel to pull down into the bobbin case. This skewed the towel in the hoop. There was no way to salvage the design in that hoop. When I removed the new needle, I felt a burr on the end of it. So even though it was brand new, it was faulty. I had to cut away the thread that had wrapped around the inner case. Luckily the towel wasn't damaged. Another good reason to stay close to your machine while it is working. First thing I did was make a note of the stitch number where this happened in the design and I wrote it down. I would need it later.
I was using my multi needle machine to embroider the group of towels and I didn't want to lose any production time, so I replaced the faulty needle, hooped another towel and started it stitching while I worked on my problem piece. This particular machine does not have a camera function. So if I have to re hoop a design to complete it, I will usually move to my other machine that helps me ensure a good stitch out.
I floated the towel on the hoop with some adhesive spray and tried to get the towel straight but perfection is not necessary when you can scan a picture and see placement.
Here is the hoop loaded on the machine and you can see the screen shows the towel and the design overlaying it. This type of embroidery machine really gives you great options instead of trying to rely on your hand eye coordination to re hoop and get correct placement. I can see the previous design stitched on the towel in real time. This allows me to line up the electronic design in the machine for better accuracy.
Here you can see the movement and rotation options available. So even though my design was slightly skewed in the hoop, I was able to rotate in one degree increments until I got it right where I needed it. I will usually go into the embroidery function and test the first few stitches to make sure it is where I want it to be. Sometimes you need to do this a couple of times to get it right. Don't rush it. Then I use the number that I wrote down from the previous stitch out and I forward through the design to the place where it had a problem to begin sewing. Each machine has different functions to accomplish this. Use your machine manual to verify your tools.
Here it is completing the design. I was able to get it just about right. As it is a towel there will be slight fudge room because of the pile. Still it is very close to the original placement.
The best part of having a second machine is my other towel completed while I was working with my problem piece so no production time was lost.
Now this is a trick that I have seen at many trade shows and classes. Most embroidery artists have a good supply of permanent markers. If you have a few threads that are not perfect while you are working on that placement, you can very lightly touch them up. Especially something with a pile. Just be very ginger when using these type markers as your fabric will really want to soak up the ink.
So here they are side by side. Left side is an original towel, right side is the re hooped towel. Unless I told you I had any problems, you might not be able to tell. An embroidery machine with a camera function is a very good investment if you are doing commercial work of any kind. You can see I was able to save product and keep production rolling along.
I have a You Tube video showing my process below. If you are considering a purchase to upgrade your studio or if you already have a machine with camera, you might enjoy seeing it in action. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Summer's official start date is right around the corner. In honor of those long lazy days we have created some really cute water creature designs just released today. Whether you are on the lake or at the beach, these will help you decorate your summer projects! Let's take a look at them.
Our Crab With Shell embroidery design stitches up in a 4x4 hoop and would look precious on beach bags or home decor projects. His friendly grin will make you smile.
This Fish Embroidery Design is also a 4x4 design and has beautiful blended colors. Stitch him in the suggested orange tones or customize with different colors and group them on bathroom decor.
Our 4x4 Seahorse Embroidery Design is very simple and sweet. Blended threads and an innocent expression makes this a perfect choice for children's decor such as linens or blankets.
Our 4x4 Turtle Embroidery Design is so friendly. He would be another awesome choice for children's items. Look closely and see his shell has beautiful scroll work.
Our 4x4 Frog On Lily pad embroidery design has several greens that blend together and really make him look plump and cute. He looks ready to hop right onto your next project!
Here are all of the summer critter designs on towels. If you are looking for a unique way to dress up your kitchen, these just might do the trick. Not at the beach or the lake? No problem, you can pretend to be by decorating your home and having a "staycation" These would be really precious stitched on a table runner out by the pool. Add some custom text with summer quotes to make these designs perfect for your decor. I hope you have enjoyed and been inspired by this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Who doesn't love Spicy Mexican Food? I know I do and after several months of being at home, I was able to finally dine inside one of our local restaurants. I can tell you I savored every bite. After enjoying that awesome meal I decided to release several new designs that pay homage to one of my favorite food types. Let's take a look at them.
There would be Tacos design is perfect for that person that has to be bribed with tacos to show up. Or maybe that person who looks forward to Taco Tuesday every week? It is a fun way to tell everyone that you are a taco expert.
Of course you have to have Chips Dip and Margaritas with those tacos. I think those hot crispy chips are my favorite part. Add some cheese Queso and I can make a meal right there.
The Extreme Sauce embroidery design has several choices of heat. It looks like you might go for the hottest of the hot though. This is perfect for that spicy foodie.
The Born To Be Mild embroidery design shows two peppers talking about their "personalities" This is a cute design for that person that might like their food a little tamer. Check out the examples stitched on kitchen towels below.
All of these designs are available in my store. Click on the links above to be taken to each one. Maybe this will inspire you to enjoy some of your favorite spicy food. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
My latest embroidery designs are being released today. These patches are a unique way to customize suspenders. If you are looking for something "different" for Dad, Grandpa or Husbands this might just work. There are several designs that the ladies would rock also. I think suspenders should make a comeback. They were popular in the 80's after Marty from Back to the Future wore them. I had a rainbow pair that I wore because Mork from Ork was a favorite TV character. My husband is in the picture above showing off his custom patch. Let's look at all of the different designs available. Click the links under each picture to visit my store. Remember you will need an embroidery machine with a 4x4 hoop to sew these patches. The designs are digital and not fully made patches.
The Biker Suspender Patch is perfect for anyone who loves to ride motorcycles. Best part is you can customize the colors of this patch to match their wheels.
The Dressy Attire Suspender patch is perfect for that person who loves to be comfortable wherever they go. Take them as they are because their suspenders are how they dress up!
The Gone Fishing Suspender Patch says it all. They won't need to explain where they are going as you watch them walk out the door.
The I'm Retired Suspender Patch will let all of their friends see the official dress code of retirement.
The Mister Suspenders Patch is the design that raises it's nose to the belt establishment. No more uncomfortable bellies in tight pants!
The Nerd Suspender Patch proclaims it loud and proud. Remember yesterday's Nerds are today's and tomorrow's Billionaires.
The Veteran Suspender Patch is a great way to honor that person in your life. If you see a Veteran thank them for their service.
The Groom Suspender Patch is perfect for the groom on his wedding day. Hidden under the jacket but out and proud for the reception.
The Best Man Suspender Patch will let everyone know who the special person is standing beside the groom.
The Groom Crew Suspender patch would be a great gift for the wedding party. After all, what is a groom without his buddies?
Customizing your suspenders with any of these patches is very easy to do. In fact, when you download the designs, you will receive full color instructions. If you would like to see all of my tips and tricks, you can watch the You Tube video below. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
My latest project for my home has recycling, gardening, sewing and embroidery all together. I really hate to throw away any kind of container and when I recently had problems with my washing machine, the leftover parts gave me all kinds of crafting ideas.
Here is the original tub from our front loading washing machine. It is the back end of the tub. The front end has two large pieces of concrete that act as counter weights so the tub will spin correctly. My washer sounded like an airplane taking off when it would spin. In fact it was so loud, we had to close doors to hear anything. We tried to first change the four shocks on the tub which was the "Hopefully Easier Fix". After taking everything apart and rummaging around in VERY tight spaces to change those shocks, it helped but we realized it didn't completely solve our issue. We ordered the rear tub part and found that our bearing had blown out when we disconnected everything. The tell tale oil dripping out confirmed we had found the problem. We did have to move the washer in and out of our home twice and that is how I can assure you that if the repairman gives you a price, you may want to bite the bullet and pay the man. Unless you have a handy husband and two grown sons to help disassemble it. Or you are extremely cheap with your money and are too stubborn like us to at least give it a shot. I can say that instead of purchasing a new washer that might have cost upwards of $1500, we spent $127.00 on the parts. So not too bad.
The silver lining to all of this besides being able to run my laundry with all doors open is I had a very heavy duty container complete with drainage holes. I knew a planter would be a great project.
First I painted the tub with spray paint. It is amazing how a little color can transform any object.
I had already started a flat of zinnias and marigolds from seed several weeks ago, so plants were ready to go in. It's almost like I planned this. No I wouldn't wish that repair on anyone.
I love garden flags so I knew I needed to come up with some kind of hanger. I had several PVC pipes and a T connector from other projects. When I tried them in the bearing hole, it was light bulbs and excitement as I began to figure out my flag options.
Using a spray paint that resembles metal helped hide the PVC pipe and gave the stand a sturdy look.
I digitized a sunflower design and added some fun text to stitch on my fabric which by the way is Duck Canvas. Canvas is a great choice for outdoor projects. It isn't UV rated, but should last for the season. This embroidery design is available in my store in a large 9.5x14 size here or a 5x7 size here.
I sewed the flag and added buttons with elastic to the back so it would be very flexible on the stand. Then I planted everything and added rocks from around my yard. This was such a fun project and I filmed a You Tube video showing the entire process including how I sewed the flag. You can watch that below. Maybe it will inspire you to recycle containers for planting or sewing a garden flag. Or repair your washing machine????
I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Sewing Math. If that gives you a headache, I totally understand. My math skills have always been something that is continually evolving and also a disappointment when I just don't "get it". I can't blame my teachers because they taught math in the setting that was available to them and it was the only one I had access to. Now with the internet and so many generous people out there, we have a lot of different learning methods. I am convinced if someone would have found out my sewing interests way back then and applied Math Skills directly to that, my skills might have improved. I "see" measurements and projects in Pictures more than numbers. Another thing that I have come to understand is memorizing formulas is only as good as being able to physically practice them. This tactile learning process is so much more helpful to me than say a WORD PROBLEM. YUCK. Also, a little advice to you out there who beat yourselves up when you can't remember those formulas? Don't. You can never remember everything, but if you have a general understanding and can look it up, you will be A-OK. So how do you figure out the circles you will need when you want to make a bolster or neck pillow?
Here is a remnant piece of fabric I used to test out a Waving Flag Embroidery Design. Which you can see here in my store. When I stitch out my designs, I always have a lot of these around my studio and I like to make small quick projects with them. I am not working from a pre-determined pattern. Instead, I am using the piece of fabric in the size I have available. So, to make a bolster or neck pillow, I need to figure out how big the circle needs to be for that specific size fabric. First you need to do some measuring.
I know that when I sew this pillow I am going to fold the right sides together and sew that long edge to make a tube.
This opening on the ends of that tube is where the circles will be inserted into. So I will need that measurement. It is too hard to try and get it measured right when it is in a circle.
If I open it back up and lay it flat, I will measure that edge. This is called the Circumference. Now stick with me if that makes the brain fog start to come over you like it does to me. For some reason, the word Circumference is confusing to me. It sounds so much like the word circle. If you remember that circumference can be a "Linear" or a flat LINE measurement it might make more sense. When I lay out my fabric edge flat , I have a "Line" or "linear" measurement that will be my circumference.
If you look at the formula above, you will put that measurement where it says Circumference. My edge was 13.25 inches. Then you will divide that number by pi (3.14) Once you have done that, you will have the Diameter of that circular opening. Mine was 4.219. That is all you need to know. If I keep my fabric edge length this size I need to cut a circle that will measure 4.219 inches across. Using this formula, you can work with any size fabric you have in your stash to make a quick bolster pillow. I didn't want to try and cut out a circle that had all of those numbers after the decimal point, so I figured out my formula again until I had a number close to 4.
I cut my fabric edges to 12.5 inches and my formula showed 3.98 inches. I rounded it up to 4 so now I know I should be able to cut a circle that is four inches wide (Or has a 4 inch DIAMETER) and if I use the same seam allowance on that long edge and when I sew the circles in, everything should fit. How will I cut out a perfect four inch circle though?
You have many different choices. You can use a compass, ruler with many holes or a pencil and piece of string.
Another great option is to make your own circle template. This is my choice because it makes more sense to me and the way I "see" measurements. Also, the circle sizes are already figured out for me. Once I know my size circle, I just pick the right number and the template does the heavy math lifting. If you will be sewing bolster pillows on a regular basis and you want to be able to quickly cut out circles, this template will make your measuring and cutting easier.
I really like to use the cutting mats from Dollar Tree for my templates. They are easy to lay on top of things I have drawn out on paper and trace.
So here is how I drew this circle template out. I used my cutting mat and since I will be drawing circles by placing something on one end and tracing around, I know that I need to use half of my circle measurements. See the one inch mark on my mat? If I place my pencil there and move the template around, I will actually trace a two inch circle. If I use the two inch measurement it will make a four inch circle and so on.
Here is my circle. I used the mark at the 4 and now I have a four inch circle.
I sewed the long seam on my pillow right sides together. Leave a small opening in the middle of that long seam so you can turn the pillow later. Then I pinned the circles with right sides facing in to the tube ends. If you finger press the circles and the pillow it is easier to match your seam.
Sew around the circles, clip the curves and turn the pillow. Stuff it and sew the opening closed.
Now you have a finished bolster pillow. These are really nice when lounging on your favorite couch or chair. I am using this one in my studio at my desk chair for lower back support.
Here is a graphic if you want to try to create your own circle template. I also have a PDF download below. If you print it out, use the one inch scale to make sure it is accurate. Then trace over it onto one of the Dollar Tree Cutting Mats. I also have a You Tube video that shows the template in action and sewing the pillow. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Did you know you can sew your own garden flag? I am a fan of exterior decorating throughout the seasons. Flags are one of the ways I do that because they add that extra pop of color and excitement. Even when my landscape is in the cold dreary days of winter, I will usually have some kind of flags stuck in the ground to cheer me up. Memorial Day is fast approaching and I digitized this design in honor of that.
Here is my flag installed on a hanger. I used a fabric called Oly Fun. You can find it at most hobby or craft stores. It is a synthetic fabric that will melt if you apply too much heat. You can sew with it easily though. I have seen projects where it is used for costuming because of the light weight and non fraying quality.
I have a You tube Video below that shows how I created my garden flag. If you don't have the Oly Fun Fabric, you could use another type and have a lot of fun changing with the seasons. Check out the design in my store here.
Thank you to all who served our country in the past and currently. We all owe our freedoms to you. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Mother's Day should really last a lot longer than 24 hours don't you think? I wanted to do several embroidery designs in honor of my mama. I know she would love this Mom Frame design. When I was growing up, one of my chores was to press laundry. My mother loved to see crisp linens and she always had beautiful things in our home that were feminine. This design would be right up her alley. Perfect for pillow cases or tea towels.
Mom really does make it all better. With a kind ear and sage advice, most moms can sooth frustrations away and keep us in check so we don't feel too sorry for ourselves. This design is digitized to stitch out quickly. It would be precious on pillows or bags for your mom. Check it out here.
Mama Needs A Nap. Oh yes she probably does. What better way to let her get some rest than an eye mask that will tell everyone to SHHHH!! We stitched this one using some really pretty elastic with ruffles.
If you are lucky to still have your mom, give her some love and let her know how much she has helped you. You know moms show up everywhere in our lives. Don't forget those moms that are mentors, co workers, friends and family members. The best gift for moms is your TIME ... and a NAP. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Cord stops are a great little piece of hardware. You probably have a jacket or bag that uses one on a drawstring. Here you see I am using one on a mask. I originally created a pattern with shoelaces because I was having a difficult time finding elastic. I also did a You tube video showing how it was put together. After wearing that mask for a while, I decided to try and see if I could eliminate one of the shoelaces and add a nose piece. This allowed me to use the cord stop with just the two mask ends. It really works great. See the original blog post with the video and updated pattern here. Now that I am looking for the cord stops, it seems that they are becoming harder to find in a short time frame. I can order them online but there is a lag in the shipping dates. So I wanted to find an alternative and here it is.
This little knot works pretty well. I used para cord to create it and so far it is proving to be a good substitute. The knot will slide along the mask tie and stay put. It does work best on synthetic materials as they will slide but bind as they are tightened. Cotton will bind but it might not slide as easily. The best thing is I can make a new one if this one gets lost or wears out. I have a You tube video below that shows how easy it is to make. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
I am rarely able to surprise my husband with gifts. This past Christmas I really did good because I bought a back up camera for his Jeep. He loves to drive that vehicle but the only problem he has ever complained about is it didn't come with a back up camera. Weird because it has that tire on the back that creates blind spots and takes up part of viewing area of the glass. Anyway, I made myself pretty proud by actually finding the one that would work for his model and getting it delivered to my house without him even suspecting it. Since we are currently at home social distancing , he got brave and finally installed it and wow it works great! Only one issue though. I had sewn a tire cover for him last year that either needed to be retrofitted or re sewn. I decided to make a new one because the last material I used was vinyl and it was starting to show some wear and tear. He also has a birthday coming up so bonus opportunity.
Sewing your own tire cover is not hard. See the graphic above. I took a measurement across the tire, then I measured the thickness of the tire. I overlapped the tape measure toward the back so when it was installed, the cover would go over the sides a bit. The third measurement was around the tire. That's the tricky one unless you are good at math. (I'm not) Once I had those I added one inch to A, Two inches to B and 10 inches to C. I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance so my final measurements were A=33 inches , B= 16 inches C= 110 inches. Those will vary according to your tire sizes. I added 10 inches of extra length to C because it gives you a little bit of fudge room as you are sewing the gusset to the circle fabric. I did have several extra inches that were cut off once it was sewn together. I am always scared to cut exact on gussets so I always seem to leave extra for mistakes. Again, I am Math challenged but if you are not, you will probably be able to figure that out just fine.
I used a tape measure and french curve ruler to get my circle just right. This would be the front of the cover.
The gusset had to be pieced because of the length. I also had to use two different color fabrics due to my stash. I am using DUCK canvas which is good for outdoor projects. It is not UV rated so I do expect fading but this is an easy project and I can make a new one in a year or two.
Here you see the gusset has been sewn around the circle right sides together and then I did a dry fit before I added the elastic. I used my chalk marker to trace around the small triangle where the camera was mounted.
I picked a center point on the drawn triangle and then drew lines to each corner. I cut on each of these lines toward those corners so I would have three flaps.
This shows me cutting the flaps and then folding them toward the back.
I did a quick stitch around the perimeter and trimmed the fabric edges with pinking shears. If you wanted to do a bit more, you could sew binding around also but I think this will be good enough for me. The thread I am using is a heavy duty outdoor type also. I used a denim needle to put the entire cover together.
I created a casing for the elastic by double folding the edge 1/2 inch. Then I stitched around leaving a small hole so I could pass that elastic through.
I used 1/4 inch elastic and a bodkin to make it easier. Then I stitched the elastic ends together and sewed the opening. Time to install on the Jeep.
Here it is! I made sure I had the placement where the camera still worked and surprised him again. I think the color looks so nice with the Jeep. I will probably use some clear fabric spray just to protect the colors as long as I can. This was an easy project and if it only lasts a year or so, no problem making a new one. This would be a great project for Father's Day which is coming up! Maybe do some embroidery on it too? I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Have you ever tried to draft and then sew your own pattern? Maybe you have walked around a craft fair and instead of purchasing a home sewn item, you said to yourself I could make that. Or you search the internet for ideas and think to yourself " I could totally make that " You can do it but it is a challenge. I made the bag above and wanted to show you my process because as I moved through it, there were several moments when I really wanted to put it away but I had a birthday deadline to meet. I also had a special request from my son and you know I was not going to let him down.
This bag was my original design. I drafted and sewed it several years ago. In fact I did a blog about embroidery machines and sewing the name on the front of it. You can check that out here. This bag came about from a Christmas gift my son received. We bought him a laptop that year and he needed something to carry it with. Both of my sons are computer geeks and their devices have always gone everywhere with them so I knew it would have to be sturdy.
My main design goals were a safe place to cradle his laptop and lots of pockets. There were so many different techniques in this bag. I had an exterior zippered pocket with lining. An interior quilted "hammock" for the device. Interior zippered pocket for smaller items. A heavy duty padded handle with D rings would need to be secure as he wore the bag on his shoulder
Here are a few views of the bag today. When I looked closely I saw some things that I wanted to change, but for the most part, it has done really well and he has used it every day. This bag helped him finish high school and it took him almost all the way through college.
The one area that I knew I had to improve was where the strap connected to the bag. I repaired these at least two times. The last repair brought the request from my son that he might need to commission a new bag from me. When I originally designed the pattern, you can see the strap connection is right at the top seam of the bag. It performed pretty well but needed to be further down into the gusset. I also wanted to add more interior pockets. So there were some changes that had to be drafted.
When I originally created my pattern, I used brown wrapping paper so I would have something to use in the future just in case. I am so glad I did that.
Then I found my original instructions. I wrote these down as I sewed the original bag. As I read them, I thought why didn't I re-write these and type everything up really neatly? It took me a day of looking over everything just to get my bearings on how this bag went together the first time. So I tried to organize it better. I got on my computer and drafted up some cutting layouts.
Then I made fabric lists and little tabs for cutting each piece out.
And it grew..... And grew...... Until........
My entire working table was covered with instructions, and layouts and templates and my first wave of defeat. I didn't know if I had everything in my fabric stash. I have a lot of fabric and my other challenge was to use some of it. Since I am home and social distancing, I am not going out to shop for anything new. I did look online to see if I could find fabric to order but that didn't last long as the shipping times would be after his birthday. So I had to use available materials. I didn't have one color for the entire bag so I had to make another list showing which colors I would use for each pattern piece.
Fast forward to all of my pieces being cut out, labeled and nicely waiting for me to begin sewing. All I can say is a lot of coffee made this possible.
Here is the quilt batting ready to sew for the device hammock.
The first thing on the bag was that name being embroidered and then the zipper being installed on the flap. I love messenger bags and I think not making use of that flap for a pocket really wastes material. It is an extra step but my son uses it all of the time.
The fabric I had in stock is Duck canvas. This created new challenges because it is very thick.
Another big issue for me was the interfacing I had in stock. The original bag used an iron on interfacing. I didn't have that in my stash but I did have Soft and Stable foam. It had to be sewn in so that added an extra task to each step.
Here are the finished views. The front pocket is fully lined.
That connection has been sewn farther down into the gusset of the bag. I also created the strap this time instead of using pre-made strapping. This one is also adjustable which the original was not..
The quilting is vertical on this bag and I added bias binding to the top instead of using the lining fabric to finish the hammock seam.
I added an elastic expandable pocket for the laptop cord to have it's own storage place.
Several smaller pockets for pencils and other loose items were added this time.
The zipper pocket is the same as the original bag. I noticed my son really used this one. It might be hard to see from these interior pictures but another change was my having to hand sew the lining into this version. My sewing machine did have a hard time when I sewed the straps to the bag. The duck fabric coupled with the soft and stable foam gave it a workout. I did some creative trimming on the foam but by the time I got to finishing the interior, I was tired of wrestling with the arm of my machine and the bulk of the bag.
Here is the back pocket and a view of that adjustable strap. So altogether from start to finish it took me six days to complete this bag. I would estimate I have over 30 hours total invested in putting it together. That includes all of the redesign, layout, cutting and sewing.
Did I go back and rewrite those pattern notes you ask? No I did not. I put them neatly away as I remembered why I didn't do it the first time. I was too exhausted. Proud that I completed the bag but brain dead and ready to move on to an easy project.
My process might look hard or too entailed to you but it is only one way that patterns can be drafted and sewn. You would probably have a different way to make your own and that is perfectly fine. If you have tried in the past and not had success, don't give up. There is no correct way to make this happen. That is why you may enjoy sewing with certain ready made patterns and not others. Reverse engineering is a great way to expand your sewing skills and all of this will follow you toward your next sewing adventure. So are you ready to challenge yourself and try your own pattern? You can do it. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Social Distancing has become our new normal but we know it will come to an end. It is sometimes hard to know when we are living in a turning point in history. I don't think any of us would doubt that right now. As our lives get back to normal we will remember this time. I wanted to create a design that you could send to your friends and loved ones so they can look back and talk about. When I was growing up, we kept photo albums and I loved to sit with my parents and ask questions. It always sparked some great family discussions. This "Sewcial" Distancing Embroidery design just might do the same thing for you.
At the same time that we are sheltering in place and trying to stay well, there are "Essential Workers" who are on the front lines. I have a brother who is a nurse in Houston. Now he is always a hero to me because the medical facility where he works specifically helps patients on respirators. With the increase of patients and lack of some important PPE supplies, he is more than ever risking his own health every day. I wanted to create a second design in his honor and this Hero Social Distancing Embroidery design does just that.
So there are TWO FREE DESIGNS! Both of the postcards stitch out in one hooping and do require a 5x7 hoop. The back of the card can be customized with any fabric. My brother was in the Army so I used that for his postcard.
The materials needed besides your fabric are cardstock and a firm interfacing. I used Pellon with an adhesive because I had it in my stash, but plain interfacing would work also.
The design includes a PDF pattern that you use to cut out all of the pieces. An SVG cut file is included also if you have an automatic cutter. I would advise exact cutting because the design is very precise around the blanket stitch edges.
All of the details sew and then the fabric goes on the back so you hide the stitching.
Sewing card stock on your embroidery machine or sewing machine for that matter is not difficult. I used a Sharp 75/11 embroidery needle. A little embroidery tip is to pull just a length of extra thread after each trim and when each embroidery object begins to sew. These designs have been digitized so there is a color change after each trim. This will give you the opportunity to grab that thread while the first couple of stitches begin. It really does help resolve any thread shredding or tangling.
You can use a white bobbin or match your color to the blanket stitch around the edges.
My firm interfacing was adhesive on both sides so I did an extra step of pressing it once completed. This just strengthen all of the layers and should help as it travels through the postal system.
Mailing these postcards should not be a problem. I brought both of them to my local post office and cleared the designs with them so they should be deliverable. The USPS has some guidelines that need to be followed with postcards. At the time of this post, the size must be no larger than 4 1/4 inches x 6 inches and the thickness no larger than 1/16th of an inch. I weighed mine and they are 4 ounces so well within the limit of postcard postage but double check that when you mail yours. I will however be using Forever stamps so I hope there is enough postage. Once the Postal service receives and stamps the postage as being cancelled, your receiver will have a part of history they can save. Kind of like a newspaper clipping but special because it came from someone who cared about them.
Here is a picture of one of my postcards after it was received. You can see that the USPS did stamp it as Non Machinable and the Forever Stamp postage did have to be increased with an additional ounce stamp. You will need to verify the required postage with your local Post Office before mailing.
Are you ready to make these postcards? Visit my Free Designs Page and download them. Remember that a 5x7 hoop is required. There is a graphic that you can look at to see the design types and sizes to verify your machine can stitch these out. I also have a You Tube video below that you can watch the entire stitch out. There are full color instructions in the download also. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Lagniappe Peddler believes that the process of working with our hands can be one of the best forms of healing the hurts in our lives and welcomes all who visit this safe little corner of the world.
What is a Lagniappe Peddler?
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift
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