Quilting/Sewing Tips

    • Hexagons: an easy way to cut them can be found here: http://www.kayewood.com/tips/hexagons.pdf 
    • Quilting Class Tips: http://www.quickquilts.com/articles/quilting_class_tips
      Basic Sewing Supplies
    • 1. Sewing machine in good working order. Make sure your machine is ready to sew when you come to class so you don’t waste valuable time in class trying to get the tension correct, etc.
      2. Pins: straight pins as well as safety pins if you plan on pin-basting your quilt.
      3. Thread: sewing thread in neutral or color to match project, quilting or specialty threads as needed for project.
      4. Needles: sewing machine needles for piecing or appliqué or quilting. Plus hand sewing needles for specific project, such as appliqué, embroidery, etc.
      5. Bobbins: bring extra bobbins and have a couple already filled with the thread you plan on using.
      6. Cutting mat
      7. Rotary cutter
      8. Ruler: bring at least 6” x 12” ruler. Extra rulers are handy as well, such as a square-up ruler to fit the size block you are making and any special shapes rulers applicable to your project, such as a triangle shape, etc.
      9. Iron and ironing surface
      10. Thimble, if doing hand sewing
      11. Scissors: both for paper and another for cutting fabric/threads
      12. Pencil or pen and paper for note taking.
      13. Marking tools, if needed for your project.
      14. Seam ripper…just in case!
      15. The pattern/book that you are making in class.
      16. Power strip and extension cord for your sewing machine is handy when there are not enough outlets.
      17. Other items may be needed that are specific to the project you are making, such as fusible web, interfacing, glue stick, light box, etc…. Consult the supply list for the class that you are taking and be sure to bring those supplies listed as well as the basic sewing supplies above, as needed.
    • Is your steam iron acting a little sputtery and doing an inconsistent job when ironing? It's probably just clogged with mineral and lime deposits, all it takes is a simple cleaning job to get it back to like-new shape.Here's how to do that (plus a few more tips & goodies):
      How To Clean A Clogged Iron:
      1. Fill the water tank half way with household vinegar. Top up with water.
      2. Turn on the iron to the hottest setting and allow the vinegar/water mix to heat. Let it sit for a couple minutes to get things good and hot.
      3. Take a clean towel and iron it with high heat–steam on, steaming as you iron. The hot vinegar will work through the mineral buildup. Iron until all the water in the reservoir is gone.
      4. Fill the iron with water and allow to heat again, this time iron the towel to test the cleaning job. If things are good as new, you're done and dump the water (this will rinse out the vinegar as well). If not, dump the water and repeat the hot vinegar process above.
      5. If the steam spray nozzle is clogged, wipe it with a hot, wet cloth then carefully poke through the clog with a thin needle. Make sure the iron is unplugged before you do this. While you're ironing with the hot vinegar mix, make sure to press the steam button so you get some hot vinegar flowing through the spray nozzle as well.
  • Needle Tips from Beryl Taylor:
    1. When your sewing machine needle makes a popping noise going through the fabric, it usually means that you have a blunt needle and it's time to change it.
    2. Don't throw old blunt needles away; you can use these for stitching on paper.
    3. When you sew with metallic thread it helps if you use needles made for that purpose.
    4. When using metallic thread, keep the spool of thread a distance from the sewing machine so that the thread can uncoil.
    5. When beading, use small quilting needles rather than beading needles; quilting needles are firmer and easier to hold.
    6. When stitching metal, use needles made for use on leather or denim.
    These tips above are from Quilting Arts Magazine from their email newsletter
  • Tension Disc Tips from Lora Fenter: (*note I copied this great tip from The Mt. Bachelor's Quilt Guild located in Bend, Oregon)I got this from my Naples, Florida quilting group and thought others might like to know why we are told to do this when we change thread. Years ago when I took one of my sewing machines in for a tune-up, the repairman gave me a tip. He told me the most common problem with machines is the thread tension going bad, and one thing that causes it is repeated misuse of the tension disc. When you change your spool of thread, you most likely take the spool off and just pull the thread out of the machine. By doing that, you are actually forcing the thread to go backwards through a path that it is only meant to go forward. Instead, you should snip the thread near the spool, then grasp the other end of the thread and pull it out of the machine so that it follows the same path as it does when you're sewing. Yes, you might be "wasting" several inches of thread by doing it that way, but the small waste is much cheaper than taking your machine in for service more than should be required. I've been following that repairman's tip for years now and have found it to be true. I only have my thread tension checked/adjusted when I take my machine in for its annual tune-up." 
    • When you stop quilting for the day, pin a bright colored scrap to that place. When you resume quilting (whether by hand or machine) you’ll know exactly where to start.
    • For quilting circles without marking on the quilt surface, cut a felt template the size you want your circles. Position it where you want to quilt, then stitch around it. The felt clings to the fabric while you stitch.
    • From the Journal’s sewing page: “Often when you use those blue temporary fabric markers, the color will reappear. To permanently remove them, mix ¼ T. baking soda with ¼ cup water. Dab the blue mark with this mixture, and it will spot reappear again.”
    • When your bars of soap get thin and unmanageable, put them aside and let them harden and dry. When you need a quick and easy way to mark those dark prints for quilting or embellishing, grab the soap sliver and mark away. The line will remain long enough for you to finish the job at hand and if any line remains after the stitching, simply press over it with a hot iron.
    • Leona V. L. (a long-arm quilter) has a sample book that she shows to her clients so they can pick out both the design and colored thread that they want for their quilt. On medium-to-heavy weight clear vinyl (8.5” X 10”) pages, Leona has stitched numerous quilting patterns that she does on her long-arm quilting machine, directly onto the vinyl. She used a variety of plain and variegated threads in the designs. She can take each page out of the loose leaf notebook and lay it over the client’s quilt so that they can see how the thread color looks on their quilt as well as how the quilting design looks. You can duplicate this at home. Cut the vinyl/plastic into manageable strips for the sewing machine. Trace or draw your quilting pattern on the plastic with a water soluble marker so the markings will disappear later. That way you will see only the thread color and design. It really helps to sew on the vinyl/plastic if you have a Teflon foot. Sew the quilting design with the thread you are thinking of using. After the design is stitched onto the vinyl/plastic, lay it over the area of the quilt that you want to see the design on. Do you like it or do you want to try other designs and thread colors? Pick another and try again. Then collect your favorite designs and try them in different colored threads and put them in a notebook for future quilts.
    • When trying to thread a needle with invisible thread, mark the end of the thread with a dot of black permanent marker ink to make it easier to see the thread.
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