“Just Curious”

In my early years of sewing, I was able to store everything I had in two small boxes:  one for tools and one for material.  Decades later, I am definitely past two boxes!  My current sewing room is an 11’x12’ bedroom that is not a dual purpose space.  I take up every inch of the room and closet, floor to ceiling!  I also store fabric in other closets around the house, but we won’t talk about that now.  Because space is at such a premium, I am always looking for ways to maximize that space and store fabric and other necessities in different ways.  I currently use plastic bins that are 66 quart for storage that is out in the room.  The room contains a large number of such bins and I can honestly say I know what is inside every one of them.  My curiosity was peaked today after watching some online videos on fabric storage.  None of what I saw online fit my collection of material, but I thought I would see if I could look at things a bit differently to change things up a bit.  My questions:  would rolling my fabric like spa towels take up more or less room than laying it flat in my bins?  Could I get more fabric in each bin thus eliminating some of my bins to use elsewhere?  Would the fabric be easier to locate and remove from each bin?  Pulling fabric out of the bins that is far down the bin tends to turn into more of a game of Jenga, with all the fabric on the verge of falling all over the place!  Let’s see what I found out. 

First, a sewing room tour! This is the room as you walk through the door.
Your view as you turn to the left around the room.
Continuing to turn to the left. Did you notice the blue doors on the left? Yep, that’s the closet. All the bins in front of the doors need to be moved to access the closet’s treasures. Although the effort to get into the closet is great, so is the reward!
This is the side of the room that holds most of the notions for my sewing endeavors.
This is the “older machine” part of the room. There was once a time when my sewing cabinet took up more room than my fabric and notions storage!
This is the 66 quart bin I used for my experiment. The fabric it contains is all for garments with yardage running 2 to 4 yards per piece. In this picture you see the fabric stored as I always have stored it: folded pieces laid one on top of the other.
The fabric, when removed from the bin, measured almost three feet high! Now that’s a new perspective for me. How far would my fabric go if it were laid end to end? Down the block…down the street…to the next town? Ummm….
After rolling the fabrics, I had two left over….
…so I rolled up the pink fabric and laid the blue fabric out flat. That answers the question as to whether or not the fabric would take up less room in the bin if it were rolled. Every piece that came out of the bin went back in, but it is a little easier to see each individual fabric now that it’s rolled.
To avoid cracks in the lids of my bins, I tend to slightly over fill them so the top of the bin is pushed up from the base of the top. This way, when the bins are stacked….
…the heavy bin on top seats the lower bin’s lid and all is supported. No cracked lids!

I hope you enjoyed my little experiment. Since everything that came out of the bin went back in, I think I will leave the other bins alone. No real gain will come by redoing all the bins at this time. I may change a bin at a time to the rolled fabric as I access a new bin. Oh, FYI: my knit fabrics did not roll particularly well and the best rolls were done with woven fabrics of no more than 3 yards. What will you discover this week? Happy Sewing!

“Take the Time”

Choosing to invest in a hoop driven embroidery machine is an exciting decision.  The embroideries are beautiful and can enhance any item you choose to embroider.  All the different hoop sizes can get the creative juices flowing as you decide which designs to add to which projects.  As embroiderers, we can sometimes get so excited about adding an embroidery design to a project that we don’t always take the time to set ourselves up for the most success.  I own machines from several different manufacturers and each of them handle hooping fabric in a slightly different way.  Some count on you purchasing an after-market help to keep the fabric firmly in the hoop, but Husqvarna Viking/Pfaff gives you a tool that works very well as included equipment with most machines:  hoop clips.  (If they did not come with your embroidery machine, you can order them from Bonny and Frank.  They are not very expensive).  These hoop clips fit into the slots on the larger hoops and help the hoop to squeeze the fabric/stabilizer and hold it firmly between the inner and outer hoop.  Because of the stress that is put on the fabric by the needle entering and exiting it, the bigger the embroidery area, the more the need for using the clips.  Not using them can cause your top thread to break more often due to the “flagging” of the fabric up and down as it is being stitched and can lead to the fabric becoming slack in the hoop if your stitch count is rather high.  Not using the clips can also allow your fabric to move enough in the hoop that if you are trying to match registration stitches, say with the turntable hoop, it can significantly affect your ability to match those stitches.  It only takes a moment to install the hoop clips on your larger hoops, so remember to take the time to use them on any hoop that has the slots for them.  By the way, if your project requires a specialty hoop, such as the Mega Endless hoop, clips cannot be used since there are no clip slots on the hoop.  In this case you will want to use the Hoop Grip that came with the hoop.  This is a non-woven tacky type of material that fits into the hoop and will grip the fabric/stabilizer and keep it firmly in place as you stitch.  It is especially helpful when stitching free standing lace on water soluble stabilizer! 

This is the package of hoop clips that came with my machine. In my experience, this package contains more than enough clips for any one hoop.
This is the standard 120x120mm hoop. It is small enough that hoops clips are not needed. There are no slots around the edges for the clips.
The 260x200mm hoop is large enough to need the clips; thus the slots around the edges.
The clips have a lip on the side that faces the inside of the hoop’s embroidery area.
When the clip is inserted into the slot, the clip’s lip faces the inside of the hoop. The clip is securing the inside and outside hoop together.
The clips are very easy to insert and remove. Hold them from the top and push down gently to insert, pull straight up to remove. If they are not going into the slots easily, you may have them turned backwards!
Place a clip into each of the slots around the hoop. This gives a nice secure grip all the way around the hoop.
The two hoops side by side. Remember to put a clip into every slot on the big hoop for the most effective hold!
This is the Hoop Grip for my Mega Endless Hoop. The Mega Endless Hoop is large enough to need this extra help when your project fabric is very thin or if you are stitching out free standing lace on water soluble stabilizer.
This is the Hoop Grip attached to the Mega Endless Hoop. It is secured to the top part of the hoop and lifts when the hoop opens so the fabric underneath can easily slide to its next position, then get gripped firmly again when the hoop closes.

Happy Sewing!

“Plate Choice”

With such a variety of materials that can be sewn on a home sewing machine, it’s always wise to have the right tools for the job.  Everyone has a stitch plate that comes with their machine, which usually has what is called a zig-zag opening.  This wide opening allows the machine to stitch out all the widest stitches without letting the needle hit the stitch plate.  This is a good thing unless you are sewing on a fabric that is very thin, has a very soft hand or tends to get sucked into the plate every time you start a seam.  In these instances, the zig-zag opening becomes a source of frustration that no one needs.  If you do a lot of work in the center needle position or if you often work on fabrics that get sucked into the plate, you may want to consider getting an optional straight stitch plate.  Most machines have this accessory available, but if you’re not sure, check the Husqvarna Viking (page 94) or Pfaff (page 64) online accessory catalog or give Bonny and Frank a call.  If you own an embroidery machine, you may want to consider purchasing the straight stitch plate (if your machine did not come with one) for stitching out your designs.  Using the straight stitch plate doesn’t allow the material to move up and down as much during stitching, giving the material support which allows the stitches to seat themselves without distorting the fabric.  If you do use the straight stitch plate for your next project, remember to choose the Stitch Width Safety option that is found in your machine’s Settings Menu.  This lets your machine know it cannot stitch out anything but a straight stitch in center needle position. 

Here are the three stitch plates I have for my Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond Royale. The top left zig-zag plate came with my machine: it displays metric measurements. The bottom left is also a zig-zag plate but it displays measurements in inches. My straight stitch plate is on the right.
This zig-zag plate has a 7mm opening, which is the widest stitch width my machine can sew.
The straight stitch plate has a restrictive opening which supports the fabric as the needle penetrates it. Nothing gets sucked down the opening of this stitch plate!
The zig-zag plate allows the needle to move all the way to the left,
… all the way to the right and everything in between.
The straight stitch plate only allows the needle in one position: in the center.
Remember to tell your machine it cannot use a needle position other than the center one by choosing the Stitch Width Safety in the machine’s Settings Menu. If you do not remember this step, your machine will sew any stitch and you will have a broken needle that breaks in a very dramatic event!

Happy Sewing!

“Straight Along the Very Edge”

At some point, almost every sewer will need to add some top stitching to a project.  As a garment sewer, I use top stitching all the time, but I also use top stitching in my quilting and home décor projects.  Even though I use the technique often, I cannot top stitch in a perfectly straight line without the help of some terrific presser feet for my machines.  Since I am a “just in case” buyer, I have all these feet.  If you do not have any of these feet, you may want to start out with just one or two, choosing the foot that best suits the needs of your current project.  With a combination of the correct presser foot and your adjustable needle position, you will be top stitching, maybe even in a contrast color, straight as an arrow and right along the edge of your seam, to your delight.  You also may want to give the blind hem foot that came with your machine a try as a top stitching foot.  It does a great job of allowing you to stitch in a perfectly straight line with a simple adjustment of your needle position! Happy Sewing!

Husqvarna Viking’s Edge Joining Foot works great when you want to stitch very close to the edge! It also joins two fabrics together with a narrow zig zag as in heirloom sewing.
If you have one of the newer Husqvarna Viking machines with the IDF feature, this is the foot you would choose. Same as the foot above, it is used with the IDF feature.
The Husqvarna Viking Edge Stitching foot works best for me when I want to stitch a bit further from the edge of the fabric. It also makes great tucks!
Again, if you own one of the Husqvarna Viking machines that has the IDF feature, this is the Edge Stitching foot you would choose.
I find the Husqvarna Viking Left Edge foot very helpful when I need to top stitch something on the right side of my foot. The left edge foot runs along the left edge of the seam allowing a precise top stitch along a side of the foot we usually don’t use for this technique. This is a great foot for hemming drapery!
The Pfaff Narrow Edge Foot works the same as the Husqvarna Edge joining foot. This is great to use for very narrow top stitching. The middle guide lets you get very close to the fabric’s edge. Of course it joins fabric really well, too!
Pfaff’s Bi-Level foot allows the edge of the fabric to run along the left of the foot. Great for varying widths of top stitching off the right side of the foot. Needle position is adjusted to the positive numbers. This is Pfaff’s foot for hemming drapery!
Last but not least is the Pfaff Right-Edge Bi-Level Foot. It allows you to top stitch close to the edge, as do all the feet, but it allows your fabric to run to the left of the needle. This is especially helpful with top stitching things like cuffs, where the sleeve cuff opening needs to be sewn using the free arm of the machine.

Just for fun, you may want to check out this video on a new piecing technique. It’s always fun to learn something new!

“Sewing Sideways”

Have you ever tried to sew a patch on a garment or straps onto a tote bag and struggled with positioning the fabric?  Sometimes, especially if you are trying to sew something to an existing garment, it is almost impossible to sew in any direction but one without opening up at least one seam.  We’ve talked before about 4-way stitches, but does your machine have 8-way stitch capability?  My Viking Husqvarna Designer Diamond Royale does and I love it!  If your machine has this stitch capability, I encourage you to practice with it so you are comfortable using it next time the perfect project presents itself.  Here are some tips and observations to help with your success using this great feature. 

If your machine has this feature, it will be found in the stitch menu.
On my machine these stitches are in category T. The arrow icon is what you will be looking for on your machine.
On my machine there are two stitches from which to choose: a single straight stitch…
…and a triple straight stitch. Be aware that as the triple straight stitch is sewn, it behaves as if it is a patterned decorative stitch. I’ll explain that further a little later on.
You are able to change the length of your stitch, but not very much. The stitches going forward and backwards can be increased and decreased in length.
The width icon is used to change the length of the left/right directional stitches, but you can only decrease the length from the default length, you cannot increase the length to be greater than the machine’s default length.
The diagonal stitches’ lengths can be adjusted with both the length and width icons since the stitch is going in such a unique direction for a sewing machine. Keep in mind that the only adjustment you can make here is to decrease the stitch length, the same as is possible with the left to right directional stitches. Also keep in mind that you will need, if you make a change to stitch length, to manually re-set that change each time the stitch goes in a different direction.

One of the things that may be hardest to remember as you are sewing is that, if you make a change in stitch length to any of your stitches, that change disappears each time a new direction is chosen. It is not a “one and done” adjustment. I have personally noticed that changing the stitch length does not really look much different to me with this feature. I tend to leave the stitch length alone rather than have to remember to change it with each new direction.

The picture will help you remember which direction your stitch is set to sew. The black dot in the picture represents your starting needle position.
For this demonstration, I created a shape that I could stitch out without having to move my material. I could sew this shape with the picture always facing me and not have to remove the material from the machine to start again. The numbers and arrows let you know where I started (in the upper right corner at the #1) and I followed the arrows through #8, finally stopping at #3 to join with the previous stitching.
I copied the picture onto a scrap piece of cut away stabilizer and followed the sewing path I had mapped out.
Since I would be sewing in all directions, I changed my regular sewing foot (on the left) to my S foot (on the right). The S foot is much larger which enables it to have a lot of contact with the feed teeth.
When doing precision sewing I always slow the speed of my machine. This is the shape stitched out in the single stitch option.
Here I am stitching out the triple stitch option. Notice no matter what direction I am sewing, my material always stays facing me. This is what makes this feature so great. Once you set your material, its’ orientation in the machine does not change: only the stitch direction changes.
Here is the example using the triple straight stitch option. This option is much harder to control and is more difficult for me be as precise. I also found I needed to sew a little faster in order to have the stitches keep from developing loops.
Remember I said earlier that the triple straight stitch acts as a decorative stitch? The stitch has to finish each repetition of the complete pattern before it can stop. This means that, unless you are watching closely and counting the number of times the needle goes in for each stitch completion, you can end up with an unintended extra stitch, as I’m pointing out above. It’s not a huge issue, but if you are looking for accuracy, it matters.

I hope these observations and tips prove helpful with this feature. Have a great week and Happy Sewing!

“A Stable Decision”

Have you ever stitched out a beautiful decorative stitch or embroidery design on a project only to have it pucker the fabric?  Just about every stitch that is complex needs some type of stabilizing, be it spray sizing, starch, Best Press or a separate cut of stabilizer.  This applies to decorative sewing stitches, complex stitches on sheer fabrics, machine embroidery or free motion embroidery.  There are many stabilizers on the market for a large variety of applications, but a little information will help you navigate this sea of options and get you the product that is best for your project.  There are several broad categories of stabilizers, each containing several products of differing weights and types from which to choose.  These stabilizer categories include:  paint on, fusible, tacky, tear away, cut away, heat soluble and water soluble.  Regardless of who sells the stabilizer, these categories are universal.  Once you find the products you like to use, you will gain confidence in expanding your stabilizer stash.  Take a moment to view these videos from the John Deer Embroidery Legacy Series and from Heirloom Creations Sara Snuggerud. I think you might be surprised at some of their information which I hope, might be helpful to you in making the best choice for your next project.  Happy Sewing!

“Learning Curve”

Rolled hems on the sewing machine are something I just don’t do all that often and there is a learning curve for these terrific hemmer feet.  As I have said in earlier posts, I tend to make quite a few items for my family by request.  This time a request has come to me from my nephew’s four year old daughter.  She is requesting a t-shirt dress with a ruffle that matches a ruffled t-shirt dress for her 18” doll.  The request is so cute and sincere, who could say no?  Anyway, after getting the preferred colors nailed down and her current size, I thought I should spend some time practicing with my rolled hemmer foot so I can hem those all-important ruffles that will make the plain t-shirt into a frilly dress.  Did I already mention that rolled hems are something I just don’t do all that often and that there is a learning curve for these terrific feet?  Before using any of my project material, I wanted to practice on some scrap material I had in my stash box.  There are several sizes of hemmer feet both from Pfaff and from Husqvarna Viking, but I tend to do best with the larger hemmer feet, so I use the 4mm or 5mm.  If you give this technique a try, I would suggest you start out sewing at a slower speed, but as you gain confidence, you will be able to sew at a normal speed and do quite well.  I also suggest you use the method that starts your hem on a piece of water soluble stabilizer since getting the hem started, at least for me, is the trickiest part.  I have included three video links at the end of this blog entry that show you, in detail, how to use the hemmer foot; each video shows a bit of unique material from the other videos.  Also, at the end of this entry, I have included four more video links just for fun.  I didn’t know that quilting while camping was such a thing.  I thought with summer here, if you didn’t know about this either; you might want to check it out!  Happy Sewing!

Narrow hem video #1 , video #2 , video #3

For my project’s ruffles I will be using my Husqvarna Viking 5mm hemmer foot.
I find that my tweezers and my stiletto are very useful in this technique.
There are basically two ways to begin the rolled hem. I tend to use both methods shown in the videos and that works for me. I start by sewing a couple of stitches into the flat material, guiding the material along the outside of the foot.
After sewing those three or four stitches, I leave the material in the machine while I fold over the material into its final hemmed shape.
This method, when the fabric is folded then folded again, places the first couple stitches I took, on the top of my rolled hem. I now have the thread tails to hold onto as I begin to fit the material onto the foot and stitch.
I put the needle into the fabric with the foot up and position the material into the hemmer foot. I know if I keep my material riding along the left of the foot (where my pointer is) while I sew, my hem will come out looking great.
This is the final product. This material is a bit thick so I was able to use the center needle position. When I finish practicing and begin the actual hemming of the project material, I will need to do a quick test sew out to check my alignments with the foot and needle position.

As promised, here are the video links for the glamping quilting adventures. Who knew? This looks like a whole lot of fun!

video #1

video #2

video #3

video #4

“Speedy Basting”

Whenever I have a project that involves quilting, my least favorite part of the process is pinning the layers together before quilting and then removing the pins after I have finished.  It usually takes me upwards of 45 minutes to pin a quilt and my back is not very happy with the continuous bending over the table.  Whether I am channel quilting, using stitch in the ditch, free motion or quilting with embroidery I still have to pin the layers so they don’t shift.  When I have larger projects, I do pin using safety pins made for quilts, but when I have smaller projects, I like to use the basting stitch on my machine.  You may have this special wonder on your machine too.  It is a special stitch that only makes one stitch or tack down and then stops and waits for you to manually move the material to the another spot for the next tack down stitch.  My machine automatically drops the feed teeth as soon as the stitch is selected and automatically lifts the presser foot after each stitch so I can move the fabric.  It’s very easy to get into a rhythm using this technique and you might find the basting stitches and rows become very uniform.  I still turn my quilt with each row of basting, but for small projects, it is so fast and easy.  I am currently using left over material to make hammocks for the wildlife rescue center.  They are 21”x21” before quilting.  I used regular sewing straight pins to pin only around the first row of basting in the middle and after that I just used the basting stitch itself while holding the fabric and batting layers together.  I was able to baste the square in less than 2 minutes.  After you finish your quilting, the basting stitches are easily removed just by pulling on them with your fingers:  no seam rippers needed!  Check your owner’s manual to see if, you too, have this time saving stitch on your machine.  Remember, it’s for basting anything, not just quilts!  Happy Sewing!

I laid the backing fabric on top of the batting for this little wildlife hammock, right side up. The directions ask for the quilting to be on the back of the hammock only. Apparently the wildlife can get their nails caught in the stitches so I only have two layers here instead of the regular three layer sandwich.
Next, I used two rows of straight sewing pins to hold everything together until I got to the machine.
On my machine the stitch is #5 in the utility group.
The picture shows a short and long stitch. The short stitch is the one the machine makes and the long one is you pulling the fabric to the next spot where you want to place a stitch. Remember, there are no feed teeth up so you have to move the material manually. Your basting stitches can be as close together or as far apart as you want.
This is how the stitch appears on my screen. It’s showing just the one stitch.
Here are the first two basting rows. Since I hadn’t decided how I was going to quilt the piece, I left the middle between the rows open. Always start quilting in the center of your work to reduce fabric shifting.
I am making multiple hammocks of different fabrics and colors. Can you find the four rows of basting stitches? Next step is to add the quilting and finish the rest of the process to complete the hammock.
When you are finished with the basting, just pull on the threads and everything comes out easily. I use this stitch in garment construction because it is so much faster to remove than a standard lengthened straight stitch.

“It All Started with a Fledgling”

Just like many of you, I have sewn for charity for a number of years.  I have sewn for all types of charities, but all of them have been people-oriented charities.  About a week or two ago, while I was sewing walker bags for the local rehab center, my husband went outside to sweep away the cicada shells from the front steps when he ran across a baby bird on the ground.  The bird seemed glued to its spot in the lawn and was so mournfully calling that my husband came in to tell me about it.  We have had birds for years nesting under our deck and we have put more babies back in their nest than I can count, but this was different.  This wasn’t a helpless little bald bird:  it looked older.  After listening to it calling for about an hour, I gave in and called the non-emergency animal police number.  I talked to them and they said it was probably a fledgling and to keep an eye on it and call back if I was still concerned; which I did three more times that day.  If this bird was learning to fly, I wanted it to learn a little faster!  After 8 hours of calling for its mom, I was so worried I could barely stand it.  That was when I was directed to the Wildlife Rescue League for Fairfax County, an all-volunteer group that looks after our wildlife year round.  They were so kind and were so informative that, even though the bird continued to call for its mother for the next two days, I did not go to help.  I found out that would be the worst thing I could do.  Who knew?  When the next two fledglings showed up in our yard, I knew exactly what to do and all three birds are now happily flying over our heads when we are outside.  I decided if I could do something to support this group, I wanted to help.  I went to the website and, what do you know?  They have a need for people who know how to sew, knit and crochet.  I’m in!  I thought you too, might like to help in an area where we usually may not think of to help.  If you already help this type of group, thank you so much!  If you think you might like to add your talents to their list of needs, here are the links.  I see this as a way to help this important group of volunteers and our local wildlife while using up some of my fabrics that have long ago gone out of style or just need to be used instead of sitting in a bin or in my closet.  It’s a win-win and I’ll be starting my projects tomorrow!  Good luck on all your projects this week and Happy Sewing!

Wildlife Rescue League

Crafting for Wildlife

The fledgling that started it all. I think all the cicada shells around it just made it look that much more desperate!

“Slip Sliding”

Last week I thought I would have my niece’s top done and in her hands by now, but the rehab center for whom I sew walker bags called and needed some bags ASAP.  At about an hour a bag, it took about 20 hours, so, with those now done, I am back on track with my own sewing.  I thought I would share with you some tips on working with silky materials.  My niece’s top happens to be a polyester silky print, but these tips are useful on all kinds of slippery fabrics such as satin, silk dupioni, silk, flannel back satin, crepe back satin and anything else that has a silky quality.

First of all, you need to make sure to save a piece of scrap material from whatever you cut out.  You really need to do a test on any machines you plan to use; sewing machine, serger, iron, etc.  Test what stitch lengths, needle size (I used a 75/11 embroidery needle. I liked the thin needle, sharp point and large eye) and presser foot pressures are best as well as what temperatures your fabric can tolerate.  Next, look at your pattern to understand the order of construction.  I must admit, I rarely follow the steps in the order given in a garment pattern.  I tend to do all the fussy stuff, such as applying interfacings, serging raw edges and pressing in all hems first.  This leaves easy construction and pre-pressed hems when all the pieces are being assembled plus I get to stay away from trying to manipulate larger pieces of fabric in awkward ways.  Lastly, pinning will be essential.  The fabric will move against itself and against the machine in unpredictable ways.  Some fabrics will even catch on your hands as you manipulate the fabric! When going around curves, (like this top’s neckline) make sure to pin any facings or cut pieces starting in the middle and work your way around each side.  

Let’s take a closer look at some points along this slippery journey!

I like using a fusible knit tricot interfacing with silky fabrics. It gives the fabric a nice hand but does not tend to weigh it down and get stiff.
Of course, using any fusible will leave a sticky residue on your iron. Some people use a designated iron for fusibles. I don’t, since allowing the glue to build up on an iron makes it more unpredictable in its heating due to resistance. I clean it off as soon as I finish fusing.
I have found this cleaner works well. You just need to use something designed for the job that can remove glue from your iron safely and not stain your fabric after the cleaning. Never use a cleaner that is flammable, for obvious reasons!
Once the iron no longer has those spots of glue, you are ready for the task ahead!
Remember to test your fabric to see if it will “heal” after pinning. You will need to pin a lot, but not too close together. You will need to readjust your fabric often as you stitch. If pin marks show and don’t heal, you will need to pin in the seam allowances only.
Did you know you can use your standard foot to maintain a 3/8″ seam allowance? Put your needle in center position and run your fabric edge along the outside edge of the foot. Also, when sewing slippery fabrics, set your machine to stop in the “needle down” position to help you hold the fabric in place.
If you have to sew any fabric tubes, the “Fasturn” tools work great!
The tube I needed to sew and turn was a fabric tie that goes around the waist. The “Fasturn” completed the job in less than two minutes.
Curves are hard to sew with a slippery fabric. I sewed the neckline with the interfaced facing on top and the silky unstabilized fabric on the bottom. I disengaged the IDT system so the fabric on the bottom could be eased into the facing using the feed teeth.
Once I was happy with the neckline sewed on the sewing machine, I trimmed the seam using the serger. This allows the curve to stretch a bit and eliminates the need for me to clip the fabric around the curves. Fabric always remains stronger when you don’t have to clip it.
When topstitching the neckline, I pinned everything starting in the middle of the back of the neck. The fabric wanted to twist as it went around the circle. I also used my right side bi-level foot and ran the edge of the material right up against the guide. I changed my needle position to the right to give me a very small topstitching distance from the edge. This eliminates any fabric twisting as the curve transitions through the different fabric grains.
I will continue working on the top more tomorrow, but I am glad my print matching from last week is paying off! The patterns on the front are matching…
…and there are no complete circles at the points of the darts!

I hope these tips help you should you choose to sew on one of these great fabrics. Happy Sewing!