Our annual Christmas Party was so much fun with a lovely group of our beloved customers. We announced our upcoming classes for next year including 3 block of the month programs including Spice Market, Twilight Time and Stitchers Garden. We had some great laughs, caught up with friends and enjoyed some drinks and nibblies.
As always the Show and Tell portion of the party was inspiring with lots of By Annie bags, quilts and machine embroidered projects. The image gallery below shows what our clever ladies have been up to throughout 2021. We think you’ll be just as impressed as we were by these fabulous makes!
We would like to thank everyone who came along for a fun filled morning. Our annual Christmas Party is on the second Wednesday of December so mark your calendars for 2022.
Kim, Christine, Maddie and Melissa would like to wish all of our wonderful customers and friends a wonderful Christmas and safe and happy New Year. We hope to see you all for another awesome year of fun, friendship and of course…. SEWING!!!
One of the most common questions that customers ask us here in store is….. Which needle do I use? With so many needles on the market, it can be hard for people to understand which needle is the right one for their project. For the best possible answer we ask 3 further questions to determine which needle is the right one for your project.
Are you using a Domestic Sewing Machine?
Luckily 99% of domestic sewing machines take the same type of needle, as there are over 7,000 different kinds used across the world. The domestic sewing machine needles are most commonly known as system130/705H which is generally displayed on the front of the needle packaging like the packets below. These 130/705H needles have a flat shank and a scarf (indentation on the back of the needle).
If you need needles for an overlocker, coverstitch, semi industrial or industrial machine, there is a good chance that the needle system the machine needs is different than that of a domestic needle system. Overlockers and Coverstitch machines will most often have a sticker located on the front of the machine that indicates the needle system the machine uses.
Always check your manual for the correct needle system required for your machine for the best experience possible.
What Type of Fabric are you Sewing?
One of the most important questions is what type of fabric you are sewing. If the incorrect needle is used for the fabric, you may find you have skipped stitches, fabric puckers, ticking or popping sounds or perhaps some other issues. Each type of needle has its very own feature which aids its interaction with the fabric.
Some of the more commonly sewn fabrics are listed below with the suggested needle type:
Stretch fabrics such as elastic materials and highly elastic knitwear require Stretch needles which have a medium ball point. Most commonly, skipped stitches are a result when using an incorrect needle with stretch fabrics.
Knit fabrics need Jersey or also called Ball Point (SUK) needles. The ball point is designed to separate and slide between the knitted fibers rather than cutting into them keeping the integrity of the fabric.
Denim and tightly woven fabrics require Denim/Jeans needles. These needles feature a modified medium ball point with reinforced blade for tougher fabrics.
Polyester fabrics, micro fibers, batiks and silks need a needle with a very slim acute point like the Microtex also known as Sharp needles.
Leather and artificial leathers need needles that have a cutting point, the Leather needle is especially designed for this purpose.
Universal needles are one of the most commonly requested needle. They are an all-purpose type needle with a slight ball point, so can be used with some knits, but is still sharp enough to tackle many different fabrics and fabric layers. Ideal for someone who just needs needles for odd jobs on different types of fabrics.
For a more comprehensive guide, I would highly recommend the Schmetz Needle App. You can search for the fabric you are using and it will instantly show you the right needle to use. I love this feature and there are lots of other tips and information in there that is definitely worth having a look at.
What Thread are you Using?
The type and weight of the thread you are using determines the size of the needle. The diameter of the thread you want to use should be a maximum of 40% of the needles thickness. Thicker threads like Wonderfil Spagetti 12 weight thread, need a larger sized needle so it fits through the eye and fills the hole made in the fabric by the needle. The overall goal is for the needle to easily slide through your fabric without damaging any of the fabrics fibers or creating too large a hole, and to carry the thread smoothly without damaging it when sewing.
The below table provides information on fabric type, thread type/weight and needle size. This table is located in all Janome sewing machine instruction manuals.
The combination of system type, fabric to be sewn and thread selection leads us to the best possible answer of which needle should you use…. so your sewing experience is the most rewarding it can be.
I don’t think there is anyone in the sewing community that has not heard of the name Tula Pink. Not only is Tula an illustrator, fabric designer, quilter, author, and maker, she is also a Bernina Ambassador who has transformed the sewing world with her quirkiness and love of design. Tula’s unique artistic flair has been featured on fabrics, sewing machines, ribbons, hardware and so much more. To say we are big fans of Tula’s work is truly an understatement.
Tula’s latest range of fabric aptly named Curiouser and Curiouser, features elements from the English fairy tale by Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (commonly Alice in Wonderland). We are obsessed with this range of fabric and have made some projects using these fabrics to inspire and delight.
Firstly we have Patch the Pussycat in our inspiration gallery . This lovely fellow is designed by Pauline of Funky Friends Factory fame. Pattern includes easy step by step instructions and templates but is not recommended for beginner sewers.
As you can see from our sample above, the Cheshire cat fabric in Daydream by Tula was the purrrfect choice, as well as her co-ordinating fabrics for that patchwork look.
Next up we have the fun Zip It Up designed by Annie Unrein of ByAnnie patterns. This handy zippered organiser features pockets made from both mesh and vinyl for easy visibility of your contents.
Again we’ve chosen the Cheshire cat fabric this time in the Wonder colour with Tula’s co-ordinating fabrics. The bright pink zip we paired matched beautifully with the the rich colours of the fabrics.
Lastly in our inspiration gallery, we have one of our wonderful customers quilt block. Deb has made this in the very popular “Oh My Block” class we have each month. This particular block is called Columbian Star and is available to download here from the Art Gallery Fabrics.
Fat quarter bundles are available including Daydream and Wonder colour ways. These bundles really make it easy to co-ordinate your fabrics for projects.
If you’re lucky enough to snag one of the Mad Hatter Quilt kits than you are in for a real treat! This gorgeous quilt features fabric ranges Curiouser and Curiouser, True Colors and Cotton Solids by Tula Pink. We love the whimsical tea pots, cups, hats and animals along with the vibrant coloured fabrics.
Pair your quilt with the perfect backing using Tula Pinks Big Buds sateen fabric from the Curiouser range. This is a stunning, large scale print wide back featuring Tula’s big rosebuds along with tossed playing card suit symbols. Perfectly seamless for the BackSide of your Tula Pink Curiouser & Curiouser quilts and other projects!
I hope this inspires you to create something truly wondrous from the Curiouser and Curiouser range of fabrics and if you do, please send us a pick…. we would loooove to see it. Tula Pinks next fabric range DAYDREAMER will be in store before the end of the year and we’re very excited! Need a preview of the new range? Click here to see them in all their glory from FreeSpirit Fabrics and we’ll keep you posted on when they will be arriving.
Including a Quilt Label to our finished quilts is something I’ve noticed many quilters tend to leave off. Why do we do this after we have laboured days, months even years to create an original work of art? Creating quilt labels may sound like a daunting task but really what you are doing is preserving valued information for future generations to enjoy.
So what information could you include on your quilt label?
Your name (you’ve done the hard yards, put your name on it and be proud!)
The date or place the quilt was made
The name of the recipient
If there was a specific event for which the quilt was made eg. wedding, birthday, graduation
Special care instructions to increase the longevity of the quilt
1. Write on Pre-printed quilt labels or Fabric
For this technique ensure you are using a Permanent Ink Fabric Marker like the Sewline Stayer Pen to ensure the ink does not bleed, smudge or wash out. If you are worried your handwriting isn’t the best, use a computer to create your label and print onto paper, dark enough to see through the fabric. Lay your label fabric piece over the top of the printout and trace slowly using your fabric marker. Pre-printed Quilt labels usually include a light printed frame and sometimes a cute image like the Bronwyn Hayes Quilt Labels pictured below.
There are also many downloadable blank quilt labels that you can use to add your information to. Here is one we have created for you as a free download.
2. Print your label onto Printable Fabric or use Transfer Artist Paper
Design a quilt label using your computer. Follow the directions included in the packaging and print onto Inkjet Printable Fabric. To use the Transfer Artist Paper, reverse your quilt label before printing. You can then iron to transfer directly to the back of your quilt or onto a separate fabric piece to then be stitched onto the quilt.
3. Machine Embroidery or Alphabet Stitches
Using computer software that digitizes embroidery designs (like Janome Artistic Digitizer or Bernina Embroidery Software), create your label and save as a file your machine will recognize eg. Janome = jef, Bernina = exp. Upload the file to the embroidery machine and stitch out onto hooped fabric. You will need to have an embroidery machine to make this type of quilt label, like the samples below. Alternately if your sewing machine can stitch letters, you can also use these for a similar type of quilt label.
Whichever method you choose to create your quilt label, I highly encourage you to add this personal touch to your finished quilt, as it lives on through the decades and is cherished for the warmth and comfort it brings.
This cold weather makes for the perfect atmosphere to stay inside, enjoy a warm drink and start a new sewing project. Let’s have a look at some of our favourite latest trends in sewing to test our skills with over the colder months.
Full Tulle skirts Tulle is always an interesting fabric to work with, it is known to be one of the trickier fabrics to sew, however the many possibilities for volume and shape in your design make it a challenge well worth taking.
Kimz tips for sewing with Tulle; Use needles Universal 70/10 or 80/12, select a straight stitch with a length of 1.5mm and press using a low-temperature dry iron.
Huge Puffed Sleeves Puffed sleeves are everywhere at the moment. Spice up your favourite dress or top pattern with a pair of puffy sleeves for a very in season touch.
Kimz tips for sewing gathers for Puffed Sleeves; Use a Gathering presser Foot, select a stitch length of 4.0mm and use a different colour thread in your bobbin to make it easier to see which one to pull.
Feel good patterns and prints With early 2000’s fashion making a comeback, now is the perfect time to spice up a garment design with a bold, feel good pattern or print. Especially anything in pink, orange, light purple and sage is sure to be on trend this season.
Basics with a twist Layering is a staple in these colder months, so basics with a twist are always fun to spice up a look. This usually means constructing a look predominantly with basics but including one or two staple items to be an eye catcher. This is your chance to try your hand at upcycling those second hand finds to turn a bland item into a staple; whether it means embroidering, tailoring or decorating however you see fit.
Check out these embroidery machines, which are perfect for adding those extra special touches to garments for a one of kind look.
Patchwork & exposed seams Patchwork fabrics are also getting a moment in the spotlight this season. Pick up a few fun fabrics with your favourite colours or designs, try your hand in patchworking and make a super fun new winter garment. Bonus points if the seams are exposed (let’s see how neat your seams truly are).
These new cotton fabrics designed by Anna Maria Horner from her “Bright Eyes” range, would be perfect for snazzing up your winter wardrobe.
Getting ideas but not sure where to start? Our timetable includes popular workshops in Dressmaking, Quilting, Patchwork and Bag Making. We have many options including sit and sew groups and classes with tuition from our experienced teachers helping you get the most out of your sewing journey. Check out our latest classes below and book in via our website, email, phone or drop in to book.
With our brand new website off the bat, we’ve had some great feedback with how easy it is to navigate from our lovely customers. We’ve even had some great orders come through with our recent coupon sale, so thank you all so much for getting involved with our online store. We’d love to hear your opinions.
Don’t forget to use our coupon code LOVE2SEW for 20% discount on patterns in store until the 10th of June 2021. With loads of ByAnnie, Sew to Grow and Jen Kingwell Designs available, now is a great time to grab some patterns from your favourite designers.
Also we have the amazing BERNINA Q Series quilting machines set up in store for you to come in and check out. We the Q20 longarm set up on the Koala table as a sit down quilter and we have the Q24 longarm set up on the Classic frame. Maddie is already starting to quilt some amazing designs on quilts with more information on quilting services coming soon.
New fabrics are constantly arriving from designers such as the Curiouser and Curiouser range by Tula Pink, which features a total of 25 detailed prints in full, vibrant colour. The collection is designed to be loud and exuberant while working seamlessly with True Colors! We also stock Kaffe Fassett, Libs Elliott and Guicy Guice fabrics as well as Moda and a gorgeous selection of Batik fabrics.
Our timetable includes popular workshops in Dressmaking, Quilting, Patchwork and Bag Making. We have many options including sit and sew groups and classes with tuition from our experienced teachers helping you get the most out of your sewing journey. Check out our latest classes below and book in via our website, email, phone or drop in to book.
Piping makes an impressive addition to bags, cushions and sew much more. Some of the patterns I have come across that include the addition of piping, have often given the instruction to overlap the piping cords and sew straight over both, leaving a bulk that, I think, detracts from the overall finish.
For a nice professional finish when joining your piping, here is my go to technique. For this tutorial I had already made my piping with a size 0 cord and fabric strips cut on the bias. This technique will work with any sized piping whether it is pre-made or self made.
With the start of your piping, unpick approximately one inch of stitching. Open out the fabric and trim the piping cord back to the stitching.
Refold the fabric and place on the project you are making. Gently angle the unpicked fabric off the edge (see above) and start sewing the piping cord in place around your project reversing at the start.
Stop when you are close to the start of the piping and reinforce. Overlap the ends of piping and feel where the shortened cord is, which was cut at the start. Place a pin in the piping end at the same point. See middle image. Unpick the stitching on the piping to the pin.
Open out the fabric and cut the cord up to the pin. When the piping end is placed on top of the piping start, the cords should not overlap, but butt up to one another while encased in fabric. This ensures a nice smooth finish.
Angle the fabric ends off the project as shown in the images above and continue to sew these into place. There should be no resistance from overlapped cords and no empty piping leaving a dip.
It should now look like the above image when stitched in place. Trim your fabric ends to remove any bulk from the seam and continue making your project. Your piping is now joined.
Room With A View is another fabulous By Annie pattern which focuses on storage. These handy storage cases can be made in small, medium and large sizes and with the clear vinyl window you can see at a glance just what's packed inside.
The great structure is from the By Annie's Soft and Stable which is easy to sew and creates soft cushioning for your items tucked inside.
Our Room With A View samples have been made in the stunning Libs Elliott "Stealth" range of fabrics available here. Don't they both look amazing?
We have upcoming classes so you can make your very own Room With A View. You can contact our store for all the details and to book in. You must own an original Room With A View pattern to attend this class. All supplies are available in store and online.
Fashion trends always repeat and the good old Scrunchie from the 90's has made a massive return. Using scrunchies is also better for your hair than elastic hair bands as they create less friction and breakage on hair.... plus we can make them ourselves in fabric that we love.
We've chosen a super cute Golden Grove Cockatoo fabric available here to make our scrunchie sample. You can use many different types of fabric to create your own one of a kind hair accessory so have fun with different types of textures and colours.
To make one scrunchie, you will need the following:
Fabric piece measuring 4" x 18"
Elastic 8"-9" (8" for finer hair 9" for thicker hair)
Thread that will match the colour of the fabric
Sewing machine, pins and scissors
Fold your fabric piece right sides together along the long edge. Measure in from both ends approx. 1" and pin (if you use red headed pins it will make it easier to know when to start and stop). Pin in-between the red headed pins using different coloured pins to keep the raw edges together.
Now at your sewing machine, align the side of the presser foot with the raw edges of the fabric and start sewing at the first red pin ensuring you back-stitch to secure. Remember to take the pins out before you sew over them as this can damage your machine and/or break your needle.
Stop at the last red pin and back-stitch to secure.
Turn the fabric tube right side out. This can be a little fiddly so to make this task easier you could use a Loop Turner or a Turn it All tool.
Take the raw fabric edges from both ends of the tube and align these edges with right sides together. You won't be able to align the whole length of the seam, just the start to begin with will be fine.
This step can be a little awkward. Just go slow and just start at the beginning, working the raw edges together as you sew until you get to the end.
Pull on both sides of the joined tube until the seam you have just sewn slips inside.
Keeping one end of the elastic out of the fabric tube, thread the opposite end through, until both ends of the elastic are coming out of the tube coming from each direction. We've used a
Insert the elastic inside of the fabric tube and tuck the raw edges of the fabric into the opening.
Edge stitch along the folded edge to enclose the raw seams and to close the opening and.... VOILA!!!
I hope you enjoy making these fabric scrunchies! They really are fun and quick to make and great to teach kids who want to learn how to sew. Please share any that you create with us because we'd love to see them.