Last Day of the Month – Lets All Clean our Sewing Machines

We use them (some of me over use them), we want them ready whenever we want to do something, so it is only right that we give our machine a little love now and then.

This year I have dedicated the last day of the month (today) as Clean Your Machines Day.

Today I am going to take you through what I do to clean each of my machines.

Tools

  • A clean soft bristle paint brush (this is perfect for getting lint out of the machine, and cleaning around bobbins etc.
    cleaning brush
  • Oiler. I love my precision oiler, because it gives a tiny delicate drop of oil in an exact position.
    oiler
  • Screwdriver – the one that comes with your machine is fine.
  • screwdriver
  • Magnet tray (or needle tray) to collect all of your screws and not loose them.
    place screw in magnetic bowl
  • Compressed Air Can, perfect for getting rid of the last of any dirt etc.
    compressed air
  • Spray cleaner – I like Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol) sprayed onto a clean wipe.
    rubbing alcohol
  • Microfibre cloth.

For top loading bobbin machines…

  1. Turn off the machine, and turn on a bright light near the machine
  2. Use your screwdriver to remove the needle plate.
    remove screw
  3. Place your screws into a magnetic tray, or with your pins so that you don’t misplace them.
    place screw in magnetic bowl
  4. Remove the bobbin case from the machine, and use your paint brush to remove any fluff from the case.
    remove bobbin

    dirty bobbin area

    This is my machine with only 1 month of lint and dust built up.

  5. Gently run the paintbrush around the inside of the bobbin area.
    cleaning bobbin area
  6. Take the can of compressed air, and blow a couple of sprays into the bobbin area. This will remove any excess fluff or debris from inside the bobbin area where you cannot get to.
    use compressed air
  7. Using your precision oiler, place a drop of oil onto the centre of the bobbin area.
    oiling your machine
  8. Lightly spray (I mean one spray of rubbing alcohol) the microfiber cloth with rubbing alcohol, and run the cloth around the threading guide on the top of your machine.
    clean thread path
  9. Run the cloth with rubbing alcohol over the needle plate to clean it.
  10. Replace the bobbin case.
  11. Replace the needle plate and screws.
    replace bobbin plate
  12. Run the microfiber cloth over the entire machine to remove excess finger prints, as well as any dirt and dust.
    clean outside of machine

For bottom loading bobbin machines…

  1. Turn off the machine, and turn on a bright light near the machine
  2. Remove the bobbin case from the machine, and use your paint brush to remove any fluff from the case.
    open up your bobbin area
  3. Gently run the paintbrush around the inside of the bobbin area.
    partially cleaned bobbin area
  4. Take the can of compressed air, and blow a couple of sprays into the bobbin area. This will remove any excess fluff or debris from inside the bobbin area where you cannot get to.
  5. Using your precision oiler, place a drop of oil onto the centre of the bobbin area.
    oil as per machine instructions
  6. Lightly spray (I mean one spray of rubbing alcohol) the microfiber cloth with rubbing alcohol, and run the cloth around the threading guide on the top of your machine.
  7. Run the cloth with rubbing alcohol over the needle plate to clean it.
  8. Replace the bobbin case.
  9. Run the microfiber cloth over the entire machine to remove excess finger prints, as well as any dirt and dust.

So I hope you will join me in Making today Clean Your Machine Day.

Until next time, have a Stitchin’ Day.

Julie

Refashion Friday – Capri Pants with Cutwork

cutwork pants

Once again, my love of the opportunity shops has won out. Last week I found this amazing pair of linen capri pants for only $5.50.  With just a little bit of love, I am jazzing them up with a beautiful cutwork hem.

Requirements:-

 

  1. Take your sharp scissors and undo the hem of the pants, and up the hem, enough to lay out flat in the hoop.
    unpick pants
  2. Lay your unpicked hem out flat on your ironing surface, and press. Use spray starch to stiffen the fabric (I had to starch my hem 3 times). 
    press and starch
    Ensure that you don’t overstarch your pants, and scorch the fabric as you iron it.
    scorched
  3. Hoop your stabiliser, and using a wash away marker and ruler, mark up the stitching edge of the hoop (generally marked on the hoop), and the centre line along the length.
    mark stabiliser
  4. Take the wash away marker and draw a line along your pants (my pants had a clipped seam so I made my line where that hem began). This is the line you will match up with your centre line on the stabiliser.
    mark pants
  5. Spray gently on the stabiliser (try to avoid the actual hoop) with your quilt basting spray, and lay the hem of the pants on the stabiliser, matching the drawn lines on the stabiliser and pants (the basting spray should gently hold the pants down).
    spray adhesive
    place fabric in hoop
  6. Load your design into your machine.
  7. Use your machines features to ensure that your beginning seam is at the beginning of the hoop (each machine will do this differently, and you should consult your machines manual or user groups for ways to do this)
  8. Stitch out the first colour way of the design (I have stitched mine in green to show what the outline looks like, however I do recommend stitching everything in the one colour)
    stitch first colour
  9. Take the hoop from the machine and lay on a flat surface.
  10. Using the sharp curved squeeze scissors, trim away the excess hem.
    trim scallop
  11. Take your cutwork blade, and with a self healing mat behind your hoop, cut away the circles.
    cutwork blade trim
  12. Take a piece of WetAwaySticky© and lay on top of the trimmed area.
    wet and sticky overlay
  13. Replace the hoop into the machine, and stitch out the final colour way.
  14. Once the first embroidery is complete, remove from the hoop, and gently remove the excess TearClean© stabiliser. Leave the WetAwaySticky© on the embroidery, as this will be removed when you wash them at the end.
  15. Repeat steps 3-14 along the entire edge of the item (I had to hoop my pants twice on each leg)
  16. Once all of the embroidery is complete, re-stitch the side seam of the pants, and overlock or overstitch the edges.  I love using the Quilt and Sewing Clips to do this as they don’t pierce the fabric of your garment, and hold really well.
    restitch pants seam
  17. Wash your pants in a washing machine to remove all excess stabiliser.
  18. Press and you are ready to wear a one-of-a-kind creation!

cutwork pants detail

Hungarian Butterfly Quilt Project

Following on from my post on Tuesday featuring colour usage, today I am bringing you a brilliant  Hungarian Butterfly Quilt Project.

finished quilt

Mixing traditional and modern, this gorgeous butterfly wallhanging or lap quilt is sure to be a winner.

Requirements:-

  • Approximately 1.5m black homespun. Cut into 9 blocks 17×12”
  • Embroiders felt 1.5m cut into 9 blocks 17×12”.
  • TearClean© tear away stabiliser
  • Bobbin thread
  • Embroidery threads in bright colours, I have used Red, Light Green, Dark Green, Hot Pink, Orange and Blue
  • Hungarian Butterfly Designs by Julie Hall Designs
  • Black Sewing thread
  • Bobbin with Black sewing thread
  • ¼” foot for your sewing machine
  • 1.75m bright fabric for the border and binding
  • Fat quarter of green fabric for small blocks
  • Fat quarter of orange fabric for 1st border
  • 1.5m fabric for the backing
  • 1.5m pellon/wadding
  • Safety pins for pinning quilt together
  • Template vellum
  • Chalk marker

 

    1. Load the Hungarian Butterflys collection onto your embroidery machine, and select the first design.
    2. Print out the template for the first design – included with the collection.
    3. Mark up the first hooping, by piercing holes in the template, and marking with chalk. Join the marks together to form a cross hatch.
    4. Use the cross hatch to centre, with the cross hatch marking the centre of the hoop, and hoop the fabric in the hoop, with fabric, embroiders felt, and TearClean© stabiliser.
    5. Ensuring that the design on your machine is facing in the correct direction (if not, flip in the machine), stitch out the first design.
    6. Repeat steps 3-5 for the remainder of the design.
    7. Once the embroidery is complete, remove the design from the hoop and press. Remove any excess stabiliser.
    8. Repeat steps 1-7 for the other 8 blocks. (I recommend using blocks 1-9 as block 10 is longer, and more suitable for a cushion or statement block).
    9. Trim all blocks to 15½ x 10”
      stitched files
    10. From the green fat quarter, cut 16 blocks 3½”
    11. From the main bright fabric, cut 12 strips 15½“ x 3½“, and 12 strips 10” x 3½”
    12. Begin constructing the main quilt by taking your 10” strips and joining them with the butterfly blocks to form strips. Each strip should have 3 butterfly blocks, and a bright fabric on each edge.
      quilting clips help
      stitch seams together
    13. Using the 15½” strips, join strips together with a green block between each, and one green block on each end.
      alternate strips
    14. Join your strips to the butterfly lengths, ensuring that the seams match up. The easiest way to ensure you have lovely matched seams is to “lock” the seams, having one seam sitting to the left, and one to the right.
      lock seams together
    15. Press your quilt.
      completed quilt centre
    16. From the orange fat quarter, cut 2” strips, enough to go around your quilt. WARNING: Using a fat quarter, there is just enough fabric to go around the quilt. If you make a wrong cut, or the fat quarter is not cut evenly, there will not be enough fabric.
    17. Stitch the strips together to form one long strip.
    18. Working first with the sides, and then top and bottom, join the strips to the quilt edges.
    19. Press.
      first border
    20. From the remainder of the bright patterned fabric, cut two 4” strips to go on the sides of the quilt.
    21. Stitch to the quilt sides.
      side border
    22. Press
    23. From the remainder of the bright patterned fabric, cut 3 6” strips to go on the top and bottom of the quilt.
    24. Stitch to the quilt top and bottom.
    25. Press.
      finished quilt
    26. Make a quilt sandwich using the backing, pellon/wadding, and quilt top.
    27. Use safety pins to hold all 3 layers together.
    28. Quilt as per your preference. I have used a stipping technique and black thread to blend in.
    29. Cut your binding strips into 2.5” strips, and bind your quilt using your favourite method. I like to fold the strips in half, stitch to the front of the quilt, and then hand stitch around the back of the quilt.

 

Your beautiful Hungarian butterfly quilt is now ready to gift or enjoy.

How to Starch your fabric for Embroidery

This post sounds incredibly simple right?  You simply spray the fabric with starch, iron, and you are ready to go?

Fundamentally that is correct, however there are a couple of tricks that you can use to ensure that when you starch your fabric you end up with the best possible result.

The first question I get from a lot of people is why starch?  Starching your fabric acts as another stabiliser – only this time inside the fabric.  Ensuring that the fabric is starched makes it that much more difficult for the fabric to “suck in” whilst stitching.

Notes for perfect starching:-

Less is more – don’t over spray.  I like to iron my fabric, and make sure everything is straight, then lightly spray, iron and let cool, before lightly spraying, iron and let cool.  Repeat this until you get the required stiffness.

Spray until it is stiff – Depending on the fabric, and the composition of the fabric, you may need 3 of 4 different layers of starch.

Align the fabric first – Ensure that your fabric is lying straight before you initially spray.  Once you have starched it will be so much more difficult to straighten out the grain of the fabric.

If you do happen to overspray, wait for the starch to settle into the fabric and dry out a little before you press, as ironing straight away will leave a scorch mark on your fabric.

scorched

In my experience, most brands of spray starch that I can find in the supermarkets here in Australia seem to work well for starching my fabric.  I understand that there are plenty of specialty starches especially for crafters on the market, and whilst these are wonderful, I have not found them easy to access here in Australia, and find that the home brand starches work just as well.

Until next time, have a stitchin’ week.  Julie

Getting out of your Colour Comfort Zone

I am the worst person for picking colours.  I have a pallete that I like, and I tend to stitch to those colours.  So this week I have challenged myself to work with a different pallete of colours and threads, and I am looking forward to sharing the results with you.

This colour story begins as with the creation of a new collection of Hungarian butterfly’s.  I love the simplicity in Hungarian art, and particularly the bright primary colours that are used.

butterfly9

I went out to my local fabric store yesterday, with a few of the blocks that I have completed, as well as an idea of using a black background with a floral print on it as the main fabric.

butterfly2

Naturally, as soon as you have an idea, there will not be a fabric that meets it.  Luckily, the staff at my local store are more than willing to help, and really assisted me in moving outside my zone, with this fabulous modern circle printed fabric.  I had passed this fabric 3 times in walking around the store, and didn’t see the possibilities.  As soon as we spread the fabric out with the blocks on top – it was just WOW.

searching for fabrics

In my stash at home, I had this orange/red and green fabrics (I love it when I get to use something up), and I am so happy with the finished result that I will be bringing you tomorrow.

Until next time, have a stitchin’ day.  Julie

Anniversary Gift

Today is my wonderful parents (Graham & Lyn) 47th wedding anniversary.  As a whole we don’t make a big deal out of anniversary’s in my family, however I wanted to do something special for them.

The Anniversary tea towel.

anniversary gift

This tea towel is so quick and simple to stitch.  Simply select a colour that goes with your giftees kitchen, and get stitching.

I like to use a simple block stitching, and have designed the stitches so that the surname is the exact same size as the first names, which to me adds a little bit of symmetry.

I searched for a long time for tea towels for embroidery, and now offer these beautiful 100% cotton tea towels for only $3.00 each.

You can use either the stitching included in your machine, the software you may own, or I can create a beautiful custom design for you here.

These tea towels would also make a wonderful item to sell at fetes and stalls.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful project as much as me.

Have a stitchin’ day.  Julie.

Recycle with Embroidery – Shopping Bag T-shirt

tshirtbag1

From the first Christmas my now husband and I spent together, I have embroidered a t-shirt for him. Now, after 15 Christmases together, he has quite a collection.  For some reason, his t-shirts don’t seem to wear out at the same rate as mine, and he had more t-shirts than he knows what to do with.  I was looking through pinterest last week, and found a wonderful project for using up his worn t-shirts, whilst at the same time, getting shopping bags that won’t wear out quickly.

This project can be made within 20 minutes, and will be useful for years to come.

The shirt that I am using here is about 11 years old. I made it before I really got into digitising, and had purchased a design off a dodgy site.  Whilst the stitching has held up over the years, if you look closely, the stitches are not uniform, or pretty.  Perfect for re-purposing into a shopping bag.

Requirements:-

  • T-shirt – I have used an old, stained t-shirt of my husbands
  • Scissors
  • Sewing thread

 

  1. Take your t-shirt and press.
    tshirt
  2. Trim the t-shirt using the layout below Depending on the size of your shirt, you may need to cut slightly higher or lower on the sleeve.
    tshirt trim lines
  3. Turn the shirt inside out, and stitch along the bottom hem.
    tshirtbag3
  4. Create a gusset along the bottom by pulling the bottom hem to the side seam, and stitching 2” down.
    tshirtbag2
  5. Turn the t-shirt right side out, and you are ready to go shopping.

 

Enjoy.

New Article in Machine Embroidery & Textile Art

I am so happy to share with you a new article that has just come out, featuring the Stained Glass Iris Wall hanging.

sgirismag layout

This article has been featured in Machine Embroidery & Textile Art (Australia) magazine, which is out this week, and is truly one of my favourite designs.

I love that with a small 5×7 hoop, you can create a large feature quilt piece.

This wall hanging gets is “glass” like look from Iridescent Embroidery Film (Mylar). You can get your Iridescent Embroidery film from my shop, for only $5.00 per sheet.

If you are interested in the Stained Glass Iris Collection, you can find more details here.

You can collect your own copy of Machine Embroidery & Textile Art (Australia) magazine here.

Until next time, have a stitchin’ day.

Julie

Emma’s Amazing Alphabet

emmaalphabetquilt

Today I am so happy to share with you a beautiful new collection and quilt that my daughter Emma and I made together.  Emma’s Amazing Alphabet.

The Emma’s Amazing Alphabet collection contains all 26 letters of the alphabet, perfectly sized for the 5×7″ (180x130cm).  Each letter includes an image to match the letter, allowing children to visually see the alphabet, and what each letter stands for.

My Beautiful Emma helped me to make this quilt – she stitched out all of the letters by herself, and chose the colours.  If you can ignore the mess in the background of the image below, you will see that just like her mother, she is compulsive about lining up her threads ready for stitching in order.
emmastitching

Below are the instructions for our quilt.

Emma’s Amazing Alphabet Quilt Instructions

It’s never too early to teach your young one the abc’s. I have been so happy this Christmas to find out that one of my beautiful nieces is expecting her first child.  Immediately I wanted to make a keepsake for the baby.  This quilt is perfect because it can be used as either a wall quilt, floor quilt, or on the baby’s bed.  Choose bright colours to engage the child’s imagination.

Requirements:-

  • Approximately 1.5m white homespun. Cut into 28 blocks 11” square.
  • Embroiders felt 1.5m cut into 28 blocks 10” square.
  • TearClean© tear away stabiliser
  • Bobbin thread
  • Embroidery threads in bright colours
  • Emma’s Amazing Alphabet Collection by Julie Hall Designs
  • Sewing thread
  • Bobbin with sewing thread
  • ¼” foot for your sewing machine
  • 1m bright fabric for the border and binding
  • 2m fabric for the backing
  • 2m pellon/wadding
  • Safety pins for pinning quilt together

 

    1. Load the Emma’s Amazing Alphabet Collection onto your embroidery machine, and select the first design (a).
    2. Take a piece of TearClean© tear away stabiliser and lay on your work bench. Place the Embroiders felt on top, then the white homespun on top of that. To finish the “sandwich” place an extra piece of TearClean© tear away stabiliser on top of the homespun, and hoop all 4 layers together. Using the Embroiders Felt gives the stitches something to form over, and the extra piece of TearClean© will ensure that the homespun does not move or retract in the hoop.
    3. Embroider the block following the colour guide included with your designs. Ensure that you trim any jump stitches between each colour change; this will help keep your embroidery looking fantastic, and help with not having a huge mess of threads to trim at the end.
    4. Remove the embroidery from the hoop, and trim the last of any threads.
    5. Once the embroidery is removed from the hoop, remove the TearClean© from the top layer of the embroidery.
    6. Repeat steps 2-5 for each of the 26 alphabet letters.
    7. Press all of your blocks, and trim to 9” square.
      quiltinstructions4
    8. Create your signature block by cutting a rectangle of fabric 11×19”
    9. Embroider the included saying, and personalise with your own name and date (using the fonts included with your machine)
    10. Press the signature block, and then trim to 9×17.5”
      quiltinstructions2
    11. Using the template below, begin stitching your blocks together, using a ¼” sewing foot.
      quiltlayout
      quiltinstructions3
    12. Once the quilt is together, take the border fabric, and cut 4½” strips to go around the quilt. I required 6.
      quiltinstructions1
    13. Join the strips to form one long strip, and begin to stitching the border fabric to the sides of the quilt. Press
    14. Stitch the border fabric to the top and bottom of the quilt. Press.
    15. Make a quilt sandwich using the backing, pellon/wadding, and quilt top.
    16. Use safety pins to hold all 3 layers together.
    17. Quilt as per your preference. I have used a stipping technique and white thread to blend in.
    18. Cut your binding strips into 2.5” strips, and bind your quilt using your favourite method. I like to fold the strips in half, stitch to the front of the quilt, and then hand stitch around the back of the quilt.

Your quilt is now ready to gift to your favourite young person.

Enjoy.  Julie.

Recycle with Embroidery – Denim Skirt to Apron

Take a look through your local opportunity shop, and you will find some amazing bargains.  I love re-cycling clothes to make new combinations, and love the prices that can be found at these stores.  When I found this skirt, it had a mark on the back that would have been difficult to work with, however this apron project was quick to make, and will make a fantastic gift for the caravan enthusiast you know.

Requirements:-

  • Denim skirt – I found a great denim skirt at my local opportunity shop for this project, and paid only $6.50 for it!
  • Scraps of fabric from your stash for applique
  • Embroidery thread to match your fabrics
  • TearClean© Tear-Away stabiliser
  • Crusin’ Caravans Collection by Julie Hall Designs
  • Cutie Applique Cars Collection by Julie Hall Designs
  • Squeeze Embroidery curve tip scissors by Julie Hall Designs
  • Sewing thread to match your skirt
  • Bobbins filled with embroidery thread
  • General sewing implements
  • Printed templates of your chosen designs on vellum
  • Re-positionable mounting spray (I use Elmers)
  • 1 metre contrasting fabric for the frill and sash

 

  1. Take your skirt and press with a hot iron.
  2. Using sharp scissors cut up the side seams of the skirt.  I like to cut after the seam, so that the pocket stays easily intact.
  3. Decide how long you are going to make your apron, with the skirt folded in half, trim away any excess fabric, curving the sides as you go.
  4. Load the two designs onto your embroidery machine; I have used Caravan 6, and Car 5.
  5. Print out your templates onto vellum paper, and roughly cut around them.
  6. Use a small amount of Elmers re-positionable mounting spray on the back of the template, and take the time to place each template carefully onto the skirt.  Once you are happy with your positioning, hoop your fabric, and stitch out each of the embroideries.
  7. Once the embroideries are complete, remove from the hoop, and trim away all excess threads and stabiliser from the back.
  8. Measure around the skirt from waistband to waistband.  This will be the measurement you will use for the frill. (my measurement is 136cm)
  9. Take your contrasting fabric, and cut into 7” (18cm) strips to go around the skirt, from waistband to waistband twice.  (for me that will be 272cm)
  10.  Join the strips into one long strip, and then fold in half.  Press.
  11.  Turn your sewing machine onto the longest stitch length (for me it was 5mm), and stitch two rows of stitching along the exposed edge of the strip, leaving a long tag of thread at each end.
  12.  Find the middle of the strip, and pin to the middle of the skirt/apron.  Pull the two thread tags to begin gathering the fabric.  Ensure that the fabric is evenly gathered as you go along, and pull the gathering to make the fabric evenly gathered to the end.  Pin all around.
  13. Stitch the gathering to the skirt, using a 2.0 – 2.5mm stitch length.

  14. Overstitch the seams you have just sewn to stop any seams unravelling.
  15. Top stitch the frill to the back of the denim to ensure that the fill is always sitting nicely on your apron.

  16. Using the last of the contrasting fabric, cut two 7” strips, and fold in half with right sides together.  Stitch and turn through to create your apron strings.  Turn under the exposed edge and stitch closed.
  17. Pull each of the apron strings through the belt loops, and knot together.  At the edge of the denim part of the apron, stitch the apron strings to the denim.

Your funky, cool apron is now ready to show off to family and friends.

 

Enjoy.