Original Sewing and Quilt Expo – Minneapolis, MN 2014

I have written about the OSQE before, and I was not complimentary. I have a new experience to share this year!

I have attended the OSQE four times now, and this was by far my best experience. To get the negatives out of the way right off the bat, the venue was not big enough for a conference of this size, making the vendor hall(s) and finding rooms confusing and frustrating. Next year they will be at a different location, which should solve this problem.

In the past I chose my classes according to the techniques or projects I thought sounded interesting, and I was consistently disappointed in the instruction and often in the projects. This year I took a different approach and chose the teachers instead of the topics. My classes were all I hoped for and I learned something in every class. The class I learned the least in was with an excellent instructor, but I apparently knew that topic better than I realized.

The instructors whose classes I chose were: Linda McGehee, Laura Murray, Cynthia Guffey, and Cindy Losecamp. Instructors I know are excellent, but I was unable to attend classes with this year are Lorraine Henry, Linda Lee, and Carol Steinbrecher. If you ever attend the OSQE, try to take at least one class with a few of these instructors and I think you will go home with new information.

Cindy Losecamp has great hands-on classes. The challenge is that although her projects are designed to be completed in the time given, and I have always finished mine, they are always tight on time. It helps if you know how to run an embroidery machine before taking her class, just because it will help you complete your project in the time allotted. Her projects are always beautiful and full of techniques you can replicate at home with your own embroidery designs.

Laura Murray is “the” Paintsticks lady, as far as I am concerned. I have owned paintsticks for a while, but I never took them out to play. It was fun to use them without being responsible for the clean-up. What a great workshop!

Cynthia Guffey is personality plus, but regardless of what you think of her personality, she is one of the most experienced dressmakers you will meet. She knows so much, and what I most admire about her is that she is constantly learning herself, and continually experiments and tries to improve on current sewing techniques. In her classes you will learn how to be accurate and sew more and rip less. She is one who believes in doing it right the first time. I tend to rush more than she would like… 🙂

If you want to learn about how to fit and alter patterns, Lorraine Henry is the teacher you just can’t miss! She will teach you how to alter patterns using the seam alteration method, and her experience as an excellent dressmaker means she knows how to fit patterns and then put them together beautifully. She is also one of the sweetest, most giving people you will meet.

Anyone who sews has probably had a friend or family member ask her to mend some clothing item, and we all know it is not as easy as it sounds. Carol Steinbrecher alters and mends professionally and knows all the ins and outs of replacing zippers and hemming pants, to name two commonly requested repairs. Take her image class also to learn about personal style and how to dress to impress.

I hope I will get more opportunities to take classes with these awesome instructors. I am so grateful that they take the time to pass on their incredible skills. If you get a chance to take even one class with them, do so. Not everyone is willing or able to share their knowledge or talents in a way students enjoy, so it is special when you to study with someone who can teach you something, whether you are a beginner or an experienced needleworker.

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Sewing and crafting classes online

Have you heard about Craftsy? If not, be sure to read on. If you have, I hope you’ve had a chance to take one of their wonderful, reasonably priced courses, especially since once you buy a course, you can watch the videos as many times as you want over any time frame. Learn in the comfort of your own home at your own speed. Not only that, but they have free classes you can download to try before you buy.  They also have apps for your tablets and handheld devices so you can learn anywhere.

My favorite way to watch video courses is to watch them all the way through first, then go to my sewing machine and try things out, referencing the video along the way. You may have a different style, which is why these courses are so wonderful; they fit everyone’s learning style in some fashion.

The downside to independent learning, of course, is the lack of social interaction, either with your fellow classmates or with a teacher from whom you would like feedback on that seam you just sewed. Craftsy and YouTube and other sites like this will never completely replace the classes offered by qualified teachers at your local dealerships and sewing machine shops, but they sure expand the range of who can learn and when, making them a fabulous resource!

Go ahead, jump in! The water’s fine! Sewing, cake decorating, knitting, and on and on and on…

Here is what Craftsy has to say about itself:

What is Craftsy?
Craftsy is a worldwide craft community offering online classes. It also has a patterns marketplace where independent designers can sell their patterns; a supplies shop with great deals on yarn, fabric, and class kits; and a projects section where members share pictures of their latest craft successes. With over two million members and counting, Craftsy has something for just about everyone, in categories ranging from quilting, sewing, knitting, painting, photography, cooking, and more.

Why should I take a class online?
Online education isn’t just for schools and universities anymore. Craftsy courses provide you the convenience of a world-class instructor in your home, whenever you want to learn. Online education, no matter what subject, is a great alternative to in-person classes for a number of reasons.

With many online learning opportunities being on-demand, you are able to learn at your own pace, anytime. Online learning is a fantastic alternative to in-store craft classes for people with busy schedules or who have difficulty leaving the house. It also allows you to watch a troubling section over-and-over again, so you can see exactly how a technique is carried out, or refer back to your class for relevant concepts before beginning any new projects.

Quilt-as-you-go, Serger Quilt: tutorial Part 2: BORDERS

Last week we started a baby quilt by serger.  I hope some of you are sewing this along with me and will send me pictures of your completed project.

Part 1 ended here:

Fabric Preparation for Borders

Cut the following from Border 1 fabric AND from batting:

2 – 2 ½” x 30”*

2 – 2 ½” x 38”*

*Cut borders 2” longer than length needed.

Let’s put these borders on, shall we?

The reason I suggested you cut your borders 2″ longer than the length needed is to give you a little wiggle room at each end.  As we practice quilt-as-you-go by serger, I find that sometimes my fabric shifts at the beginning of my seam.  I have gotten to where this rarely happens any more, but this extra length will help alleviate that, if you find it happens to you.

CUT BACKING STRIPS:

I just realized I forgot to tell you to cut your backing strips as well, so now go ahead and cut 4 backing strips to match your border 1 and batting strips.  These backing strips might match the backing for the central square, but that is not necessary.  This is a perfect opportunity to have a pretty pieced backing.

The order of the borders, based on the measurements I gave above, is to serge the top and bottom borders first, followed by the side borders.

For serger quilt-as-you-go, you will layer your fabric from the table up as follows, with top raw edges matching:

Backing strip: RIGHT side UP   (green in picture)

Quilt sandwich: RIGHT side UP   (pieced in picture)

Border fabric: WRONG side UP    (orange in picture)

Batting: on top.

border arrangement

The raw edges are not aligned in this picture, but you want to align them.

Start your border strips about 1″ before the central square.  Pin all layers together carefully.

*Pinning Recommendation:  I use LONG quilting pins when I serge.  I will often pin parallel to the edge, which keeps my pins out of my knife, but if I pin perpendicular to  the edge I place my pins so they hang off the edge of the fabric about an inch.  That way they are both easy to see and easy to remove.  NEVER serge over a pin.  I have only had to replace my knife once in 12 years, and that was after serging over 1 pin.  That is all it takes.

**If  you find your fabric edges slip and slide around despite pinning, use glue in the seam allowances to hold them together.  I use glue stick or Elmer’s blue gel a lot, especially when serging.  If the glue does not dry fast enough, iron the two fabric layers together as you glue and it will dry quickly.

Serger Setting for SERGING SEAMS:

4 Thread Overlock
Stitch Width: Widest Setting
Stitch Length: 3 mm

Serge the long seam trimming off an even amount.

Flip the border pieces out from the center and press on both sides.  Press to flatten seam as much as possible, pulling on the fabric against the seam to be sure it was caught in the stitching everywhere.

flip borders out 1

flip borders out 2

Change serger stitch or cutting width to narrowest width and serge baste the long edge, without trimming, to hold the 3 layers (backing, batting, and border) together.  * As you serge, continue to smooth the fabric out from the seam to be sure the raw edges meet and all layers are caught in the basting.

Return stitch or cutting width back to widest setting.

Repeat for opposite border.

You can cut off the 1″ of border that hangs off each end with a rotary cutter to square up the center, or cut it off when serging the side borders.

Arrange the fabrics the same way as explained above for the side borders, serge, press, and baste outer edge.

BORDER 2

Cut border 2 fabric, batting, and backing strips as follows:

2 – 4″ x 32″

2 – 4″ x 42″

Repeat the same procedure with the first borders.  When you are finished your outer edge should be completely squared up, basted and ready for binding.  If your quilt needs additional squaring up, it is fine to trim away some of the serger basting.  If you trim away all of the stitching in an area, rebaste that section without trimming on the serger to hold the layers together.

BINDING Prep:

Coming up in the last installment of this series will be adding a straight grain binding with a faux serger piping.

1/2 yard binding fabric.

Cut 5 strips 2 1/2″ x WOF (Width of fabric).

Thread: at least 2 spools of 40 wt. polyester or rayon embroidery thread, or 1 spool of a 12 weight decorative thread like Sulky Blendables, Jean Stitch, or Pearl Crown Rayon.

Part 3 Binding here.

Until next time,

Sherilyn

Decorative Quilt Binding

I had planned to bind my husband’s flannel lap quilt in a traditional manner – sew the French double fold binding along the edge of the quilt sandwich, matching raw edges, then hand sew to the back of the quilt – when I ran into some difficulties.

The quilt was pieced with lovely high qualify flannel and a low-loft polyester batting.  It was all fluffy and soft, which makes for a nice quilt, but not for a nice binding experience, I discovered.  As I tried to wrap my binding around the quilt edge, I found myself tugging and pushing on the binding to make it completely cover the edge.  The three quilt layers were so fluffy that they were puffing up around the edge, making wrapping the binding difficult.

Image

Image

I am always looking for ways to use the decorative stitches on my machine, so I chose to flatten the edges by stitching the binding to the edges with a decorative stitch first.  I considered stitching only the quilt sandwich seam allowance, under the binding, with a triple zig zag, and this would be a good choice for solving this problem if I really didn’t want any stitches showing on top.  Instead, I chose to practice my feather stitching on the top of the binding, stitching it all the way around the edge with the binding flattened out.  I aligned the left hand edge of the stitch with the ditch of the binding to keep the whole stitch on the top of the quilt.

Image     Image

This flattened my seam allowances down and I was able to finish my binding. Although I usually hand sew binding, I wanted to get this one done, so I machine stitched it in the ditch from the front.  It worked beautifully after I flattened the fluff.

Image

Try this out.  Think of all the decorative stitches you can try out!

Additionally, I learned something very important about quilting with flannel.  I knew flannel stretched more than other cottons, but I didn’t realize how much that affected my quilt until I was finished.  I confess my edges came out a little wavy.  Next time I quilt with flannel I will stay stitch the edges before sewing the binding on. 

Favorite sewing projects

I have been thinking about designing a nice beginner – intermediate project for those of you reading and following my blog, as a thank you, but I am having a terrible time deciding what type of project would be best. I do know I would like to include a serger component, and my preference would be to incorporate machine embroidery as well, but sometimes I know I get carried away and try to include every technique I know into the same project. Does anyone else have that problem?

So, with that in mind, I have created this poll and I would greatly appreciate your input on what I should do, at at least what I should do FIRST. I do hope to create more projects as we go along.

Since I am still recovering from my horseback riding accident, mentioned in a previous post, the project itself won’t start for at least a week, so there’s plenty of time for your input.

You can choose more than one option, but if I left off your favorite idea, please leave it for me in a comment. Thanks! I am excited to see the poll results.

A SIMPLE WAY TO MAKE A FRONT FLY ZIPPER

This is a really nice video showing a fly zipper installation.

dianedziel

Get a few zipper, cut a few practice of my pattern in fabric and try this…

Clic on this to get the pattern Practice the easy fly by Diane Déziel

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Another Sale Not to be Missed

Craftsy is currently having its wonderful up to 75% off summer sale. That means you can sign up for up to 4 classes for the same price as you would usually pay for one class. Wow! And once you “buy” a Craftsy class, you can watch it and refer back to it over and over for the indefinite future.

To be honest, I have not tried the beginner serger class, since I didn’t think I needed it, but I have heard excellent reviews of that class on my Yahoo groups. The diversity of classes offered just keeps growing, so click on over to the Craftsy Sweet Summer Sale 7/17-7/21 and see what they have to offer!

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