Archive | tips and techniques

Harriot Cargo Duffle.

I cannot take too much credit for this, but the Harriot Cargo Duffle is just adorable!

Harriot Cargo Duffle

Rhiannon sewed this up, and she did a beautiful job working all kinds of cool tricks with the scallop print from Harriot.

Harriot Cargo Duffle

It’s such a fun detail that really spruces things up. I also like this bag makes use of the mixture of textures and patterns from the collection–grids, stripes, scallops, texture–bring it all on!

Harriot Cargo Duffle

Robert Kaufman is planning to feature this project in an upcoming It’s Sew Friday, so stay tuned for that. I may need to follow along so I’ll have one for myself! It was hard having to give this one back.

The pattern is one of my favorite free ones from Anna Graham of Noodlehead. You can find it here on the Robert Kaufman website. I’ve made a couple of Cargo Duffles (here and here), and I think a new one might be in order.

Harriot Cargo Duffle

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A Batch Of Thread Catchers.

I did manage to crank out a batch of thread catchers for some of my local sewing buds. I’ve been wanting to do this for some time, and our holiday get together gave me the perfect excuse to do it.

thread catchers . carolyn friedlander

Even with a lot going on, I was very glad to steal away a few hours to make a little something for each of them. And, most of the fabrics were leftovers from other recent projects that were sitting in piles needing to get sorted, so it was kind of like tidying the studio a bit too!

thread catchers . carolyn friedlander

I used this tutorial to make a regular and a mini for each person. I’ve updated the tutorial to include both sizes. (Scroll down to the bottom of the tutorial for the adjustments to make the mini.) Personally, I like having both size options, because sometimes you need more and sometimes you need less. They each satisfy two different needs.

thread catchers . carolyn friedlander

I probably could have made myself a couple more while I was at it, because I didn’t seem to have one handy a few times this week when I could have used one. Does anyone else end up with makeshift thread piles or is it just me?

Next time…

thread catchers . carolyn friedlander

These guys are pretty speedy, and I really liked pairing up the different fabric combinations. In the end I let everyone pick their own. It was fun to see who picked what–many lined up as I thought they might and others surprised me a bit.

thread catchers . carolyn friedlander

Lots of thread catchers!

thread catchers . carolyn friedlander

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Thread Tips and Tricks.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

With the launch of my recent collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss, I thought it might be handy to throw some thread tips into a blog post. There are some super easy things that can make a huge difference.

  1. Work the thread in the proper direction, which is the direction that it is spun. Doing so will result in fewer knots. This might sound tricky and overly technical, BUT it’s super easy in practice and can just be a matter of creating a new habit. Here’s what you need to do; if you’re right-handed, knot the end of thread that you cut, and if you’re left-handed, knot the first end off the spool (or NOT the end that you cut). Keep in mind that this trick works with factory-wound spools and not any bobbins that you have wound yourself (because they’ve been re-wound in the opposite direction).
  2. How’s that thread length? If you’re having problems with knots, and you’ve already adjusted your knotting routine (see #1), then you might consider cutting a shorter length of thread. A shorter length might also be needed if your threads are starting to shred or thin out in the middle while you work. There’s always a balance between getting the maximum length of thread so that you’re not stopping and starting unnecessarily, BUT not too long that it’s wearing out the thread or getting knotty from all of the wear and excess length. Handwork is easily adaptable thanks to our ability to adjust the many variables in the process. Length is an easy adjustment to tinker with until you find what works best for you, the project and the materials. In general, I shoot for a thread length of 18″-24″.
  3. Work that thread conditioner! Yep, it makes a difference. I used to go back and forth on the subject–mostly because it was easy to get lazy over an extra step, but after so much handwork, I’m firmly on the side of using thread conditioner. While it is an extra step, doing it pays off in ease of use which in the end makes me feel like I’ve saved time and loads of frustration. My thread conditioner preference is the beeswax-based Sew Fine Thread Gloss, and I have some special collaborative scents available in the shop that you can find here.
  4. Tools and materials matter, especially when it comes to handwork. Always use the best tools and materials that you can. The reason I decided to stock some of my favorite scissors, thread and thread conditioner is because I believe in them, and I know how much they’ve helped me.

aurifil 80wt appliqué thread set . carolyn friedlander

Oh, and I just created a couple of quick thread knotting videos if you’re interested. First up is a Garment Knot, which I like using after conditioning my thread and before starting my appliqué.

And if you’re up for another good knot, here’s how you make a Quilter’s Knot.

Do you have any favorite thread tips? Feel free to share!

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