Last night I had a bunch of my girlfriends over to bring their sewing machines, wine and snacks and we had a fabulous Stitch-N-Bitch evening! There was some good projects and sewing instruction, as well as some good ole gal bitching time 😉
Check out all our machines! This is minus my Babylock and my serger since they didn’t fit on the table. It was like a sweatshop in my crib!
Two of my friends Sarah and Rachel are rookies and came over to learn the basic mechanics of how to load the bobbin and how the machine works with tension and stitch lengths, how to feed the fabric through, etc… One of the projects they tried out was a scrunchie “10 minute scarf” that Rachel found on Hope Studios blog. This was an interesting project for them to start with since it required for handrolling elastic thread on the bobbin and taking the tension to zero, and using a baste stitch in order to create the gathers. The scarves ended up turning out pretty well in the end though! Here they are in action:
Purple knit fabric, pre-cut:
and… the final product!
My friend Jackie is probably the most experienced sewer of all of us, she went to SCAD and knows al sorts of techniques and has her own industrial sewing machine at home. She wanted to try out one of our fancy schmancy elctronic commercial machines, so she brought over some projects to test out. One of them was a bright pink bridesmaids dress that her sister asked her to make into something wearable (AKA make it super short for the clubs)
And here she is taking in a sweater, something I have never tried to do before
My friend Jo who I’d say probably has the most comparable skill set in sewing to myself. She brought over her Mom’s Husqvana Serger that she is borrowing, this is new territory she’s trying to conquer! Her Mom’s machine was crazy complicated, I felt silly ever thinking my serger was confusing because compared to this beast my machine is like the hooked on phonics version. She had to sit down with the manual and get out the tweezers and thread through all sorts of hooks and holes, it was like a logic puzzle. She got a little frusterated to say the least, this is where less “stitching” and more “bitching” came into play-
Reading the instructions…
On a happier note, Sarah completed her first placemat- check it out!
Finally my friend Anne who doesn’t do too much sewing, but does do a whole lot of crafting brought over some coatsers shewas making for her mother for Christmas. She just used white tiles (like you would use in the bathroom) from the hardware store, and decoupaged them withdesigned paper. That is she glued them onand added another glue coat on top to give them a protective seal and add some shine.
The coasters looked super cute!
I didn’t get too much of my own Christmas craft projects done since I was helping out with the others, but that’s ok because it was a blast! I highly recommend getting together with your sewing friends and having a sewing night, its the perfect way to trade tips and knowledge base as well as ideas- sewing CAN be a fun social event!
I am soooo excited, I finally got to go to Cincinnatti on Saturday and pick up my new Baby Lock Elizabeth sewing machine! She is amazing, I already feel so spoiled >:)
Right off the back I noticed how quiet she runs, she sews like butter. Chris was in the other room and didn’t even realize that I was playing around with it. Since I already played with Jo’s machine I had a good idea of how to do all the basics. The needle threader is super convenient and I don’t have to worry about licking the end of my thread ever again! One of my favorite features is the auto thread cutter, its always such a pain to have to search around for my scissors and end up finding them in the kitchen. Whoever came up with this function is a genius, thank you!
All the stitching functions are super easy and there are soooo many of them, there are three alphabets which will be great for making gifts. There are a lot of different button stiches as well, I haven’t tried any yet but I hear that this machine is known for its neat and tidy button holes. Check out all the stitches on the card, its crazy!
Here is a test run I did, I had to try out the little allligator, how cute is he?
Here is the dashboard, there is a pocket that you can save stitch patterns in, I haven’t started diving into that just yet though.
I already have my first project planned out, I’m so stoked to finally have a big girl machine!
I have been rocking my $100 Singer for a while now, and I think it is getting to the point where it is hanging on by a thread <pun intended nyuk nyuk nyuk>. The bobbin is good for about 3 or 4 runs and then the thread pulls itself loose and I have to stop what I am doing and open up the machine and start messing with it and tricking it into working properly. I have tried everything, the tension, tightening and loosening the little screw on that plate thingy, nothing works for very long. Needless to say it is driving me nuts! Now that I have my new Serger that runs so well and makes such good clean stitches I really have the bug to upgrade to a sleeker, higher end, computerized model. However, good sewing machines (especially with all the features I want) come at a price- usually a high one. Lucky for me my husband is in the market for an upgrade on his hobby too- a new kayak playboat- so we struck a deal 😀 I get a new sewing machine and he can buy a new kayak. Guess we will be eating a lot of ramen noodles for a while!
My dear friend Jo heard about my quest for a new machine so she graciously lended me her Baby Lock Decorators Choice to test drive for about a week. This machine is fabulous! It has all the features that I am looking for: drop in bobbin (no more struggling and tighting screws), over 200 stitches including 3 alphabets and even a cute little crocodile stitch, automatic threader, automatic cutter, start and stop self stitching without the footpad- sorry don’t know the technical term, dual needles, and it can sew through layers of heavy fabric. It also has tons of accessories, and something she was sure about which I have now confirmed through usage; if you make a mistake or do something wrong it will pop up a message telling you what the error is and what to do to fix it. Pretty bad ass!
Here is the threading trail for the machine- it reminded me a lot of my Serger.
For my Mom’s birthday I used McCalls 6338 to make her the casserole dish carrier. This pattern had called for hot and cold prequilted fabric, but I couldn’t find any. The regular prequilted fabric was crazy expensive so I opted for terrycloth instead. Since she will probably use it for things other than casseroles as she doesn’t really make casseroles then I think the terrycloth lining will work fine. This was the perfect project to test out on Jo’s Baby Lock since it had so many layers of thick fabric, I wanted to see if it could handle it! Well let me tell you, the Baby Lock sewed through these layers like a champ! Here it is in action:
And through a layer of terrycloth, and three sheets of cotton:
And the finished product, not as sturdy had it been made with quilting but I think my mom wll like it:
Overall I am really enjoying the Baby Lock Decorator’s Choice. The only complaint I have so far is that since the bobbin drops in and the thread stays down with it, there tends to be kind of a sloppy start to the stitching because the ends get caught up, but its not a big deal, it can easily be pulled out and snipped.
I have looked for it online and have had some trouble finding it so I am not sure if it is even an available model. It is also pretty expensive, about $800. There are some models I have been looking at that are similar, the Brother IS Innov series have gotten great reviews on Consumer Reports, however the one that I think I am pretty dead set on is the Brother PC 420. It is very similar to the Baby Lock DC, all the same features, 294 stitches, and it is a Project Runway Limited edition so there is an added feature to create and program your own stitch. Not sure how it works or how much I will use this feature, but it sounds really cool!
This model has tons of great reviews, and it costs about $450-$500, more reasonable than a Baby Lock. I saw a lot of really cool embroidery machines, however I only use my machine for construction of garments and crafts and I know I will never embroider anything. If anyone has used this machine or has any other recommendations I would love to hear from you! I am trying to stay in the $500 range.
On a final note (off topic) my SuedeSays prizes finally arrived! I received the 2011 Simplicty Autumn catalog and the two Fall SuedeSays patterns yesterday, all signed by Suede. The patterns are pretty cute, I really like the jacket and the flowy bohemian top. I’m still enjoying summer, but these patterns make me look forward to Fall outfits!