Friday, January 21, 2011

So many projects, so little time...

My lack luster posting I blame on being insanely busy, and getting the flu. But, this week I have delivered all orders, and am on the mend from the flu bug!

I made a few more of the personalized burp cloths, super cute!

Finished making some pillows, with welting and zippers! (I even made the welting myself)

Finished putting a leopard print binding on a blanket for my mother-in-law

Had the fam over for a little sewing...

And cleaned out and organized my craft room closet and my fabric stash...

I'm hoping to organize my fabric a bit better with the help of some comic book boards, I saw the idea on another blog and loved it, I'll post pics of the finished project...

I'm pooped! So many things finished, now I can finally get back to finishing my quilt! I haven't worked on it in what seems like forever!

Happy Sewing!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sexy Silk

Silk, the name it self inspires thoughts of luxury, refinement, and quality. Well, in this case, it definitely lives up to all of the promises its moniker incurs.

Silk threads are among the more expensive thread materials. It is considered one of the most durable threads, and comes in a variety of colors and weights, capable of tackling a variety of sewing projects. Despite this fact, it is predominantly used in delicate garments.

There are two different types of silk thread, filament and spun thread. Filament silk thread is made from the long unbroken silk threads un-wound from the silk worms cocoon in one long piece. Spun silk thread is made from broken cocoons, it is comprised of a bunch of short silk fibers spun together. Filament thread is more expensive than spun thread.

Silk thread is a great choice when you want your stitches to lie flat. It holds color really well, and also has the ability to stretch and regain its shape, making it an option for stretchy fabrics.

The biggest question question I had when it came to silk thread was, how do you wash the stuff? I know every shirt I have that is silk says "dry clean only," Unless I'm making a garment that is going to be exclusively "dry clean only" I want to be able to wash it.

From everything I've read silk thread can be machine laundered and dried on the gentle cycle. Just be sure you don't use bleach, it will severely compromise the integrity and strength of the thread.

I haven't had the need or opportunity to use silk thread, and to be honest, the care still leaves me a little wary. I'm going to save it for sewing something super delicate... Until then I'm going to stick with my cotton and cotton wrapped poly, and a little of the rayon now and then for when I need some sheen...

Hope this was helpful!

Happy sewing,


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rays of Rayon

Going into this, I knew NOTHING about rayon thread. Really, I didn't even know they made rayon thread. So starting from absolute zero, here is what I learned:

Rayon was originally made as an alternative to silk thread, so the look of rayon thread is going to be very shiny, and well, silky.

It is made out of plant fibers, and because of that fact, can be dyed in some brilliant colors. There is a little caveat to this abundance of hues, it fades and degrades, and will yellow with age. Bummer! :(

Light (ie: storing in direct sun light) and frequent laundering will both weaken the strength and fade the color of a rayon thread.

Another factor to take into consideration is that rayon thread will age and become brittle. To combat this you can either only buy thread for a current project (rather than stock up), and if you are storing rayon thread, do so in the freezer. Just make sure you completely defrost it before sewing with it.

Despite these downsides, rayon does have its place, and many uses. It is very popular as a machine embroidery thread and hand embroidery thread. It remains an affordable alternative to silk thread. And, if you avoid bleaching, and always launder on a gentle cycle, makes a very nice thread for sewing delicate garments.

One particular use I find for rayon thread is when attaching one of those pesky satin blanket bindings. The rayon's finish matches the finish of the blanket binding very nicely, and looks very pretty when done in a satin stitch all around the blanket binding.

I found a few spools of SULKY brand thread in my box, and low and behold, they were rayon! I had no idea what it was, and chose it simple for the aforementioned purpose. I love sewing with it, and it is not a very lint-y thread. One thing I have found, though, is that it is very, very weak. I don't even need a seam ripper to take stitches out with this thread, they rip out with just a little tug.

So while I like it for certain projects, anything needing strength, durability AND sheen, go with polyester or a silk finish cotton.

Hope this was helpful, I know I sure learned alot!!

Happy Sewing,


Friday, January 7, 2011

Inspiration can come from anywhere...

The other day I received a friend invite on Facebook. Little did I know that by clicking "accept" I would be, in a matter of moments, completely awestruck.

Stickypicky Wallets, I am totally blown away by your creativity (not even considering the fact that you are just kiddos!) A little creativity, and you guys have turned the simple "duct tape wallet" into something stylish, super cute, quirky, and very trendy ! I am so inspired by you guys!

It really makes me strive to be a little more creative with the projects I am working on. On a side note, I am totally blown away by the AMAZING duct tape collection you have.

Prepare to be impressed...

Seriously though, I am a little jealous of the duct tape collection (scratch that, REALLY jealous). I think my faves are the Sesame Street characters, though I am wondering, where's Big Bird?

I'm seriously considering ordering one in either the zebra stripe or the black and white floral pattern, I can't make up my mind...

Happy sewing & sticky-ing :)


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pretty Polyester

The next thread I researched was polyester. In all of the reading I have done, I've come to one conclusion about polyester thread.

It is BULLETPROOF. Period.

At this point I'm convinced that its up there with Twinkies in its ability to survive a nuclear fallout.

Just to prove my point, here are a few facts about polyester:

It is the only thread made in single ply
It does not shrink
It has the ability to stretch and regain it shape over and over again
It is also produced under the names Kevlar, Teflon & Nomex and is used when making fire-retardant material
It is extremely color fast and will not fade or bleed
It can be machine washed and dried, without weakening, and ironed on a low setting
It can be used on high speed machines without breaking

Now that we have its "bulletproof" qualities out of the way, lets look at how it sews. There are three different forms polyester thread takes. Spun, filament and trilobal.

Spun polyester looks similar to cotton because it is made similar to cotton thread. Polyester fibers are spun together to create individual plys that are then twisted together to create the thread. This thread will lint because it is made up of many polyester fibers.

Filament polyester comes in both single ply, which is one continuous fiber, and multi-ply, which is several filaments spun together. Each ply or filament is made by being extruded. This is also a lint free thread.

Trilobal polyester is a high sheen continuous fiber thread. It has the appearance of silk or rayon and is lint free. This thread is usually used for embroidery.

Polyester thread is a great all around, all purpose thread. The only real area that you have to be careful with is when dealing with delicate fabrics. Because polyester is so strong, it can actually wear through a fabric that it is being used to sew together. This is definitely not an every day occurrence, and is happening less and less because of the advances made in the production of quality polyester threads that are softer, but still very strong. When dealing with a medium weight fabric like a cotton broadcloth, I personally wouldn't worry about it, but if you're sewing something like a silk or a delicate chiffon, I would chose a lighter weight thread to match the nature of the fabric you are using.

So there is my 2 cents on polyester. Basically, there ain't much it can't do. It is definitely a go to thread in my stash, (especially the cotton wrapped polys). Much like cotton, higher quality polyester will feel better, sew nicer, and lint less (and even not lint at all!) So the next time you're in the notions department, check out some of the polyester threads there, with a little info, you can be assured you're choosing the right thread for your project :)

Happy sewing,


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Project 365

I have only recently discovered Blogger's ability to add pages to your blog. I have taken advantage of this to add a few things to my blog.

While the page on my equipment is basically a list of machines and cameras I use, I thought it would be a nice (and easy to find) spot to put photos of finished projects. While I'm still sifting through photos for this, I have gone full steam ahead with my project 365.

While I can't promise that I will be updating these photos daily, I am doing my best to take a picture for every day of the year. I'm hoping this will improve my photographers eye, making my photos of projects a but more artistic, and a bit less amateur-ish.

Here's hoping any way... Enjoy!

Happy sewing & shutter-bugging :)