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Learning to sew thanks to my daughter.

We've started to learn how to sew around these parts and I am very excited about it. Honestly, home economics from high school was where I "learned" how to sew however it's been over 20 years, so I'm relearning the process.

My mother was a wonderful seamstress. (Apparently they are called sewist these days but that is for another time.)  She had a great Pfaff machine that had all sorts of bells and whistles that I inherited 5 years ago.  Since she isn't around for me to ask "What is this for? or What is the trick for this??", I have turned to the internet to help fill in the details.

In an argument with my 12 year daughter, I said that I could make a bag that looked better and was cheaper than the $100 bag she was begging me to buy.  So off to the races I went with this to prove her wrong.  I've quickly learned you can buy pre-quilted fabric; however the choices are very limited so I picked two coordinating fabrics and started quilting head first.  

Some of the basic techniques I already knew, such as how to thread the machine and cut/ follow a pattern however I had no clue about needle types, quilting feet, proper stitches for finished edges etc.  These things I've learned as I went with this project.

Let's start with the basic.  Here is how a sewing machine actually works. How a Sewing Machine Works I always knew there was an upper thread and a bobbin thread but never paid attention to how they combined together to make a sturdy seam.  Now, I know that the reason the bobbin thread must be sufficiently tight is to make sure it loops properly around the upper thread at the exact right time.  If it's too loose then it will loop more times then necessary and not give a secure stitch.

Also, through the quilting process I've learning that a quilting foot is essential to making consistent and evenly spaced quilting lines.  Basically, the quilting foot has an arm that you can space up to 1 inch away from your needle to give you a reference point to follow when you stitch a quilting line.  This give you the consistent spacing of your stitch lines.  It won't keep you straight on the line but that I think just take practice. Also, if your first stitch line isn't straight then all of your other followed lines won't be straight.  So the first is critical. For more information about various sewing feet check this link out: Sewing Machine Feet 

I also discovered there are specific needles for specific projects. I knew that there was a heavy duty one for demin but nothing else really.  After breaking a couple in the machine, I took a moment and became better educated. Who knew it was a big deal?? Once I got the right type things have gone better.  If you are into learning more about the various needles, stop by this website: Sewing Machine Needles They also have a lot of other great learning topics as well as parts for when you break your machine so it's a one-stop-shop!

I'm still working out the details on the quilted bag but so far they have finished out nicely. I did manage to get my daughter to admit that the bags I made were just as good as the one she wanted.  With the learning curve, I probably spent more time than it would have cost me to buy her one but don't tell her that.

As I learn my tricks, I'll keep sharing.  I hope to conquer the continuous bias tape soon. Continuous Bias Tape  It seems so easy however it had kicked my butt several times now.  

The internet has helped step in when otherwise my mother would have.  I bet she would still have a couple of tricks up her sleeve that the internet doesn't have yet but in the meantime it will have to do.



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