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Fabric: To Wash, or Not To Wash…that is the Question!

13 Feb

 


So this may seem like a silly question to those of you who have been sewing garments for any length of time, but for a novice like me who’s only made craft-type things and hasn’t sewn anything wearable – I found it to be my first question when I brought out my bright, crisp, and beautiful fabric in preparation for my first-ever clothes making project! Should I wash the fabric before cutting it…or is it really necessary to take that extra step?? Will it really make a difference one way or another?!

Okay, okay…so it’s not really clothes that I’m making..it’s an apron! : ) I’m excited about it though and I’m even attempting to follow a store bought pattern. Of course, I have used patterns before…but they were those easy templates printed from the internet that guided me to outline a shape, or I’d draw my own pattern to make a crafty project…but a real pattern on that flimsy, thin paper from an envelope for what seems to be a simple apron was…well – it was kind of intimidating when I laid it all out! Then, this fabric question popped into my head! Wash it? Don’t wash it?? What to do!?

As usual, I went surfing (on the internet of course) and found a great article about this exact subject at Makeit-Loveit.com and thought I should share it with all of you since you too may have had the same question! After all, if I have heard conflicting opinions, maybe you have too! Some quilters say NEVER to wash the fabric first, some crafters say it’s not necessary, and others say that washing fabric ahead of time may cause the colors to fade and only delay starting your project! Still, there are some who swear that washing beforehand is the only option, without exception.

Opinions on this subject may still vary but what I found img_8663to be the best choice was…(drum roll please…)….WASH, DRY and IRON….and always, always, ALWAYS iron after washing. I admit, I hate ironing. Ironing the freshly washed fabric, however,  ensures proper measuring and cutting, and makes the fabric easier to work with than a freshly washed and dried crumpled and twisted piece of fabric would be.

If you want to know more, click here for the ins-and-outs of why fabric should always be washed before sewing anything – yes even before sewing those crafts! You’ll also learn why we should wash our crisp new fabric as soon as we bring it home from the store!

Hopefully this little tidbit of info will help you get more out of your sewing experience and keep you happily sewing along!

If you have any sewing tips you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Sewing!!

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Sew Great to Read About It!!

25 Oct
Cover of "New Complete Guide to Sewing (R...

Cover via Amazon

 

If you are like me and have a desire to broaden your sewing knowledge as well as try your hand at new projects all the time, you may want to invest in a good book!

 

I have found a lot of helpful information on the internet by following sewing blogs (both novice and expert) and learning about different techniques I can apply to my projects. While free information on the internet is fun and a wonderful resource for learning, I also found the book New Complete Guide to Sewing by Reader’s Digest to be an abundance of information! Not only does it explain the basics of what is needed to get started as a newbie to the sewing world, but it also has illustrations and step-by-step techniques for home projects and for making clothes! My friend who is a pro (nearly 60 years of experience!) at sewing everything from clothes and stuffed animals, to everything in between, was so impressed with this book she purchased one for herself after reading mine!

 

I know there are a ton of good sewing books and guides out there. This one seems to cover it all in a user-friendly, easy-to-follow way, and because of that – I thought I would share the news!

 

Do you have a favorite sewing guide?

 

Hot Handle Pot Sleeve

13 Oct

Although I love cooking, I can sometimes be a bit clumsy in the kitchen…which is what inspired me to create this Hot Handle Pot Sleeve! Easy to make and it matches the tortilla cozy I made last year!

Here’s how I did it!
First I measured the handles on my pots and pans for which I will be using the “sleeve” for, so it will fit on all of them.  I made a dome-like pattern that measured 3.5″x7.5″. Then, using that pattern I cut out 2 pieces of fabric and 2 pieces of Insul-Bright and sandwiched them together so the fabric connected to the Insul-Bright was facing down and the wrong-side of the patterned fabric was against the batting of the Insul-Bright.

I then basted around the edges to keep the fabric and the Insul-Bright together.

Then I folded down 1/2″ of the straight edge on the short side of the basted piece and zig-zag stitched it down, folding the fabric in to make a soft edge. (Of course using scrap bias tape would also work if you prefer that look instead.)

Now take both finished pieces and place the patterned fabric sides together and zig-zag stitch around the edges, careful not to sew the short, straight side which will be the opening.

Trim the edges so they are even, then turn inside out.

And that’s it!

Sew Easy, even a novice like me can do it!!

 

Share Your Love for Sewing

11 Oct

I recently had a co-worker bring me a bunch of different fabrics that range in texture, pattern and size and with the cost of fabric, even for remnants, I certainly appreciated it! She said when she heard I sewed and how much I loved learning new techniques and trying my hand at new patterns, she wanted to give me some of her fun patterns and lots of fabric to create with, especially since I’m trying my hand at quilting! She is one of those talented ladies who makes her own fabulous work clothes, among other things, and always looks great! Not only did she give the gift of fabric but I also have a new resource when I have questions about a project. 🙂

So the lesson learned here is to share the news about your sewing hobby and maybe your friends will share some free advice, patterns, or…free fabric!

Sew, what do you have the “notion” to share?

Reverse Applique

3 Oct

Ever wonder what a “reverse applique” is? Well, I had no idea but found it to be a simple technique to show depth in a sewing project. Reverse applique can be used on various projects, such as adding dimension to pillow designs, quilts, purses, etc.. In my case, I will be using a reverse applique on a quilt intended as a wall display.
Reverse applique is accomplished by pinning two fabrics together, drawing the pattern to be cut on the top fabric and sewing around (by hand or machine) the pattern. Then, with sharp scissors, cut along the pattern lines for top fabric only. The bottom fabric shows through and is framed by the upper fabric. I have seen reverse applique done in multiple layers too, just be aware that the project can become quite thick if too many layers are added to the project. I will share an example once I have my project started! Do you have one you would like to share?

Happy sewing!

Sew Savings

3 Dec

When I first stepped into the fabric store after getting my sewing machine I was surprised to see how expensive fabric and all the notions can be! So I did a little research, chatted with some friends and spoke to some very helpful employees at a local fabric store and found it really doesn’t have to be expensive to sew! Save money by signing up for fabric store mailers and sign up online to receive store emails – before you know it you’ll get coupons in the mail and right to your inbox! I’ve even found my Entertainment Book had coupons for fabric stores in my area. Some stores like JoAnn Fabrics allow more than one coupon per purchase too, but be sure read the restrictions on coupons for details. Another money saving idea is to visit your local thrift store…purchasing some used curtains made with pretty fabric for a dollar will make creating your next project just that much more rewarding! And don’t throw away that old sweatshirt or t-shirt with your favorite team logo! You can find free patterns online to transform them into stadium seat cushions or tote bags and you can even create really cute Jean Purses with those old jeans your daughter has outgrown!

What money saving ideas make you Sew Giddy?

Sew Convenience Is Key

2 Dec

When I was a kid I remember my mom spending a lot of time preparing to sew a project by having to dig her sewing machine out of her closet, lug it to the dining room table and get her sewing supplies laid out, then make time to pack it all up so it wasn’t in the way – only to repeat it all again the next time she wanted to sew. NOT very convenient..in fact, kind of a hassle! Lots of time setting up and packing up takes time away from the project and takes the GIDDY out of your enthusiasm! As a busy mom I know there’s no time for hassles like that – I just won’t do it. One of the things I found helpful was to set up a sewing “station”. Time is always an issue so convenience is key! By setting up this little area where I can leave my sewing machine and unfinished projects out, I can work on them when I have some time, even if it’s just 30 minutes!  If you’re worried about how it looks (which was certainly my mom’s concern) then keep it organized and clean up as you go.  You really don’t need a lot of room and having your tools ready and waiting for you will make all the difference in your motivation to keep sewing and enjoying it!

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