Monday, June 20, 2016

Common Threads 2016!

Oh my goodness! What happens when you put half a hundred creatives in one room for two days? MAGIC! That's what! 

The Baby Lock sponsored "Common Threads" event is, for me, THE sewing event of the year and probably the most wildly original event ever invented. Why? Because they invite a wide variety of sewing enthusiasts from all over - authors, teachers, editors, bloggers, fabric designers, the list goes on, and then they just lay out their toys (, I mean Machines...) and stand back and watch what happens! Well, not quite, but that's pretty close. 

You might be sitting next to a fabric company exec and she is making the same project you are. You can't figure out something and she leans over and says, "here, press this button" or the author on the other side of you says "oops, I think I did that wrong" and you lean over and say, "here, I'll help you fix that." THAT'S the magic. And what is so wonderful about it to me is that this kind of magic happens not only there, at this super event, but in our own sewing community, each and every day. We stitchers understand the power and joy of giving, don't we? I am so thankful to be part of the sewing community and for YOU because you are part of it too!

Here's little glimpse of this year's Baby Lock Common Threads fun -

The people, oh my, each and every one so unique, so talented and so special. I wish I had a pic of all of them, but here are a few: Mary Polanc and Christine Hong, top left. Under that on the left, Heather Valentine of The Sewing Loft. Next to her, Melissa Mora of Melly Sews, and above in the top right corner is Becky Vandenberg of Becky Marie Designs from Riley Blake Fabrics. She designed the fabric used for the purse class project - super cute science fabric - it was so cool to meet her. (I can't wait to see what marvelous fabric she dreams up next!) Riley Blake Designs sponsored this event by providing all the fabrics for the projects AND extra fabric for us to play with during open-sew. This fabric company has won my heart. Not only do they have an amazing offering of fabrics, they also have an amazing sense of community and are owned by the nicest people ever. 

Catching up with old friends and meeting new! On the right, that's Patty Young of Mod Kid, Vanessa Wilson of Crafty Gemini (goodness, the stuff that girl knows!), Heather and Melissa again. All of these sweeties are so kind and so patient in helping this social media dinosaur (me!) get a bit more up to speed - and that's a challenge let me tell you. I am humbled by their friendship. And I met the most amazingly talented girl - Truly Alvarenga. See that dress? She whipped that up Thursday evening. Yep. AND she is as nice as she is talented! Funny fact we learned, Truly's parents bought the farm that Pam Damour of Pam Damour Designs grew up on, and no, they didn't know each other until they met at Common Threads, how's cool is that! I'm pretty sure a beautiful friendship is in store for those two dears, don't you?

Lindsay Wilkes of The Cottage Mama brought us the a heart warming class, "Little Dresses for Africa" and yes, we were all VERY determined to get our dresses done, even those of us, ahem, who ended up sewing way after class because they spent too much time talking during. (I won't mention names.) Then Sara Gallegos showed us how to make the cutest serger bag on the Ovation. Zippers put in with the cording foot, on the SERGER! With a decorative edge! 

I was honored to teach this year, and what fun that was! Check out these fashionable fabric shopper purses. Appliqued and then stippled on the Destiny. (How do you like that purple hair? Ha! That made my day.) Stefanie Knaus of Girl Inspired made my day too, she really enjoyed her venture into machine embroidery. I know she will be doing beautiful things with that soon on her blog and I can't wait to see :-)

And then there were the photographers, bless them. They followed us around all day and were rather good sports about us tripping over their cords and tripod legs...even got into the spirit of things too - as you can see! Some of the nicest, most patient guys ever. (No, Gym is not table dancing, I don't think, but he sure had our attention, ha!)

Some of my favorite moments - the ice cream parlor (yes we were shortly groaning); the teeny tiny mouse guarding the cord hole in the wall (just hanging out there, discovered when I had to dive under my table to find my seam ripper. Did I say seam ripper? Oops. I mean, un-sewing tool) and getting to show off Sassy Girl to Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter. (I can't WAIT to see what Amy does with that dear machine, cause I know it's going to be wonderful!)

And that's a wrap! No event is truly ended until there's a selfie, right? THIS is what a group selfie looks like from the other end :-)

This is a really brief summary of two super days, but guess what!?

Thank you Baby Lock - you ROCK at putting Love into the "Love of Sewing!"


Friday, June 17, 2016

Fabric Shopping, oh yeah! A Baby Lock Destiny Project

I’ve been hearing from some of you new Baby Lock Destiny owners - you are just as wowed by that sweet machine as I am! Here's a new class project hot off the press, want to make it? Read on!

For starters, let me tell you how much I love that the Destiny has an ACTUAL CAMERA in the machine! Oh my goodness. What a brilliant idea. You can take a photo of what is in your hoop and then SEE what you are doing to it right on the screen! Add lettering? Makes it a snap. Add embroidery on a very specific spot? A snap! What about adding stippling around a design? A double super snap! How cool is that? Let’s do it!

My finished purse is approximately 8.5” x 11” in size. I started with a nice, big block of fabric – big enough to fit in my 8x12 hoop. That gave me plenty of room to add stippling around a 5x7 design. So choose your fabric, embroider your chosen design, remove the stabilizers, and press well.

The design I used is the “Fabric Shopper” from my Sewing Girls collection. All the fabrics are from Riley Blake Designs.

Cut a piece of quilt batting and No Show Mesh stabilizer slightly larger than the 8x12 hoop. Place the embroidered fabric piece on top of that, and hoop all three layers together. Don’t stretch it, but make sure all layers are smooth and taut. Center the design within the hoop. Use the hoop grid to determine the best placement, centering the design within the grid.

Okay, you are ready to add stippling!

Go to IQ. Click on the machine menu at the top of the screen. Choose “show hoop” and click the arrows until you see the 11- ¾” x 7 -7/8” hoop. Click OK. You should be able to see the outline of the hoop on the screen.

Next, click on the scan button (that’s the one with the flowers – center photo above) under the camera icon on the top left hand corner of the screen. Make sure nothing is going to impede the movement of the hoop, (including you!) and click OK to scan. You should now see a grayed out photo of your hooped fabric. There is a little sliding arrow immediately under the scanned photo on your screen. Slide that arrow to the left to adjust the image so you can see it better (see photo above on the right).

Click on the fill box next to the pencil, then click the grid box below it. On the next screen, choose --/-- (no line), then click OK.

Click the pencil. Use your stylus to trace the girl. Draw RIGHT ON TOP of the edge of the design. You don’t need to draw all the way up inside the legs of the girl or fabric table; just swoop up there a little. Make sure the line you draw ends where you began. It must meet and complete the shape. You should be able to see the shape you drew in the little box at the top right hand corner of the screen (see photo above on the right).

Click the shapes icon (circle/square), choose the square, and click OK.

Click on the size icon and then use the arrow keys to resize the box to fit the hoop. The box does not need to be as tall as the hoop; half an inch below and above the top and bottom of the hoop is about right if you are using a 5x7 design. The box should fit the width of the hoop, though. Just don’t let it extend past the hoop outline.

Click the fill icon, then click the grid box below it (see photo above on the top left). On the next screen, choose the stipple setting (circled in pink in the photo above on the right) and choose red, then click OK. You could choose any color, but red is easy to see.

Now click anywhere on the screen between the box and the traced girl. You should see a stipple pattern surrounding the girl design. If you see just a big box of stipple with NO cutout for the girl, that means the line you drew around the girl was not complete or had a weird bit that didn’t connect. Click the “un-do” (back-wards arrow) at the bottom of the screen to un-do the stippled box and the traced girl shape. Start again at #4 and repeat the above steps.

When the stipple is set correctly, the shape you drew around the girl should be blank inside with just the stipple pattern showing around her. The stipple will look wonky! Don’t worry, that’s just a place-holder. It will be pretty in a minute!

If you wish, click the pencil icon and draw another shape inside arm/fabric/body to fill in that area. Once again, trace right on the shape of the design and then click inside the area you just drew to assign stipple there (see photo above on the right).

When you are happy with your work click Preview, then set stipple spacing on the next page and click OK. I like a 5.0 mm spacing for the stipple, but you can experiment and see what you like best.
Finally, click Set and then OK. A message will appear telling you that this data will not be saved past this point. That’s okay because you are heading to embroidery! Go ahead and click OK, then Set, and OK again until you come to the screen that has Embroidery at the bottom. Once you click on Embroidery you will be able to move the stippling around if you need to. Just click Edit and Move. Either touch the design and move directly on the screen or use your arrow buttons.

Your background fabric in the hoop will show up on the screen. Don’t worry if it doesn’t all show. As long as you can see the stippling you created and have the right size hoop for that stippling, you are good to go. Stitch the stippling!

Create a solid back piece by following the same steps to make just a box, with no traced around design in the center. Hoop another piece of fabric/batting/No Show Mesh stabilizer, and stipple the purse back piece. The girl design background image probably will still appear. You can turn off the background image on page 9 in machine menu.
Use regular sewing thread or quilting thread for the stippling. I love Madeira’s Aerofil thread for stippling in the embroidery machine.

Now let's construct the purse:

Trim the front and back pieces to 8.5” x 11”. (It’s okay if you end up trimming off a bit of stippling.) Cut two lining fabric pieces 8.5” x 10.75”. You will also need a zipper, a clip-on chain purse handle, and 3” of skinny ribbon (grosgrain works best). I find it’s easier to apply a zipper that’s a good bit longer than I actually need. So for this project I used a 12” zipper, matching it to the purse fabric.

Place the zipper wrong side up, aligned with the top edge of one purse side (see top left photo below). Place one lining piece wrong side up on top, zipper sandwiched in between and top edges aligned, and use your Wonder Clips to fasten the layers together.

Use a narrow zipper foot to sew through all layers close - but not too close - to the zipper; it’s best to leave at least 1/8” gap between the stitching line and the zipper teeth so that the zipper will open easily later. Open out the lining and purse piece flat. Pull the lining over the seam allowance selvage flat and smooth. The zipper will be on top of the purse side, wrong side up. Top stitch the lining to the seam allowance selvage a fat 1/8” (no more than ¼”) from the seam. Make sure the lining is pulled smooth and taut as you sew (see bottom right photo above).

Repeat these same steps to apply the purse fabric and lining fabric to the other zipper side as shown below on the top left and right. Take care to align the purse pieces with each other at the top edges.

On ONE purse side (front or back), sew two small ribbon loops directly under the zipper at the top of the purse - one on each side, loop facing in, raw ribbon edges facing out past the selvage edge of the purse side (see bottom left photo above.)

I used a seam allowance of ½”. Keep your seam allowance in mind as you are tacking the ribbon loops in place. You will need at least ¼” of loop extending past the stitching line when the two purse sides are sewn together.

Don’t forget to open the zipper a little more than half way before you sew up the sides!

Align the purse pieces with each other and the lining pieces with each other. Make sure the open zipper ends are aligned, and Wonder Clip the pieces together.

Sew the purse/purse sides and lining/lining sides together with a ½” seam allowance, leaving a 5-6” opening in the bottom of the lining.
Note the arrows in the photo above. For best results you may find it helpful to begin sewing AT the zipper and continue down one side of the quilted purse fabric to the bottom edge. Stop, begin again AT the zipper and sew down the other side. Then sew across the bottom edge to finish the quilted purse side half. Begin again AT the zipper, sew down to the opening in the bottom of the lining, then begin AT the zipper again and repeat. The zipper tape will be caught in the lining seams. You do not need to sew through the teeth of the zipper on the quilted side – just sew up to it as close as you can.

Clip the corners and trim away the excess zipper tape. Reach inside the lining opening and wiggle the zipper open the rest of the way. Turn the purse right side out. Clip on the handle. Voila! You just made a quilted purse!

See how easy it is to add stippling to an embroidery design with your Baby Lock Destiny and make a really fun project! Isn't that cool? Now go play with that beautiful machine of yours!