Tag Archives | tips and techniques

tools of the trade : needle-turn appliqué.

 

applique tools_2_carolyn friedlander

 

I like to slow down and enjoy each project that I’m working on, especially when it comes to some good handwork. That’s the goal anyway and a big part of my slow sewing studio. But like everything else, it’s great to have the right tools for the project. So I thought I’d put together a list of the things I like to use when I’m doing needle-turn appliqué. Of course, I know there are plenty of other good brands and products out there, these are just what I’ve found to work well for me.

 

+ fabric for project

+ thread for project (such as Aurifil Cotton 50 wt.)

+ appliqué needles (such as Clover Gold Eye Appliqué No. 10)

+ appliqué pins (such as Clover Appliqué Size 12)

+ large fabric scissors (such as Karen Kay Buckley 7 1/2″ Perfect Scissors)

+ small fabric scissors (such as Karen Kay Buckley 4″ Perfect Scissors)

+ removable marking tool (such as Pilot Fixion pen or chalk marker)

+ seam gauge (such as Dritz Measuring Gauge)

+ iron (not pictured)

+ heavy paper (like cardstock) or template plastic (for copying template)

 

optional supplies : thimble, needle threader, thread conditioner (such as thread heaven)

 

What are your favorites?

 

 

 

 

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herringbone card tutorial.

In honor of the holiday and the fact that I’m planning to do lots of sewing today, I thought I’d share a fun, little project with you.

herringbone sewn stationery set_carolyn friedlander

Being a card person, I like to keep several tricks up my sleeve for making my own. Most of my tricks are derived from available options and needs. This particular approach is inspired by a large pile of extra quilt blocks I have sitting in a drawer.

drawer of extra blocks

Oh my. Does anyone else end up with lots of extras??

Sewn cards are one way to use them, and here’s how to do it.

Ok, supplies: Nothing crazy here, just some card stock and a leftover from my herringbone runner. This would make a fitting accompaniment if you are giving the runner as a gift OR you can use it for any other purpose. It’ll be pretty and your friends will like it. As far as card stock goes, Paper Source is my fave – all colors and sizes, flat, plain, and simple.

I maintain a stash.

supplies_carolyn friedlander

First things first: I need to do something about my fabric block. It’s larger than my card, and that won’t work. Oddly enough it is exactly twice the length of the card, so I’ll just cut it in half. You could get crazy and cut it up more to use in a different way or on more cards. Your call.

just the right size_carolyn friedlander

It’s now freshly cut in half, and I need to decide which piece goes with which back.

Maybe this way…

cut in half_carolyn friedlander

…or this way?

or should they go this way_carolyn friedlander

Looks good to me.

Now you can pick out your thread. Keep in mind that you will be seeing it from both sides.

This red-orange looks pretty good here.

match thread_carolyn friedlander

And then how does it look with the other?

thread works here too_carolyn friedlander

Contrast is good, and I’m sticking with it. Otherwise you could switch thread.

Before you start sewing, adjust your stitch length to roughly 3.0. I’m using a straight stitch, but you could get crazy and try a zigzag or something. Just don’t choose a stitch that punctures the paper too much. That would weaken your card, and it could fall apart.

That would be bad.

stitch length_carolyn friedlander

Here’s a tip: Don’t worry about pinning the fabric to your paper. That would give you unnecessary holes. I like to hold it in place with my fingers.

Now you are ready to go. Backstitch a little at the beginning and start sewing…

start stitchin_carolyn friedlander

…needle down and pivot at your corners. Keep sewing…

keep stitchin_carolyn friedlander

…until you get to the end. Backstitch to finish. Trim your threads. Repeat with second card, and…

Voila!

stitched cards_carolyn friedlander

And you can also check out the back.

stitched card backs_carolyn friedlander

I like that you can see the stitching. Usually, I’ll use the box or lines as a guide for my message. In this example, I would probably fit the main portion of my note in the box and then use the top portion to create a fun header.

Then you can pick out an envelope for your first card…

envelope and first card_carolyn friedlander

…and one for the second.

envelope and second card_carolyn friedlander

Finally, think about someone special. Write them a note. Drop it in the mail. Repeat over and over.

Real mail is special, especially when you’ve made it yourself.

Have lots of fun and enjoy the people in your life.

Happy Fourth!

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(paper-piecing) tools.

When paper-piecing, this is usually what I like to have on hand.

 

cool tools

 

 

ruler no. 1 : (4″ x 8″) My no. 1 for sure. The small size fits in my hand and covers most bases. Plus, I really like the 1/8″ grid. It’s handy, except when I’m working on something longer than 8 inches. Then, I’ll move to no. 2.

 

ruler no. 2 : (4″ x 13″) She’s pretty good too, and along with no. 1, I’ve got most situations under control. The markings are OK, but I still prefer no. 1’s abundance.

 

rotary cutter  : You’ve gotta be careful with this one, no question. I had a little accident a couple years ago that resulted in a trip to the ER and some stitches. In architecture school, cut fingers were a right of passage for many, and somehow I managed to escape without partaking. There goes that.

 

cutting mat(s) : I have several, and each is good for different things. In general, whatever size work space you have, get a good, self-healing mat to fill it.

 

rotating mat : To be honest, I was a little doubtful when I received this one as a gift, but to my surprise, I use it all the time.

 

pins : I pin everything and have a growing collection of all types. Currently, I’m using some really thin ones that might be for silk (not sure). They glide right through the fabric. My magnetic pin cushion may not be a looker, but she keeps the pins together nicely.

 

multiple waste baskets : I try to limit the amount of waste that I produce, so I have one for paper (to be recycled),  one for fabric scraps (to be repurposed), and one for anything else.

 

other stuff : iron (very necessary, keep it close), seam ripper (for me, a little “reverse sewing” is needed from time to time), lint brush (always), extra needles (I’m getting better about my breaking needle habit, but still), some scissors just for paper, and some scissors for thread.

 

May you go forth equipped.

 

mini sunrise blocks

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