Showing posts with label Techniques. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Techniques. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Spray Basting Tutorial

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Recently I basted my Broken Triangles quilt and it's not secret that I favor spray basting over pin basting. And I've had a couple friends ask me in the past what method I use when I spray baste. I don't know if my method is pretty standard or not, but this is how I do it. Ideally I would prefer to spray baste outside, unfortunately, if I'm basting at home I don't have an outdoor slab of concrete flat, large or clean enough to baste a quilt so I have to do it indoors. I usually clear out my dining room since it's pretty open, which means better ventilation. I also open all the windows to keep the air circulating. Spray basting isn't horribly messy, but you're dealing with aerosol glue in a can, so you need to protect your workspace. I wouldn't recommend basting too close to furniture you want to keep. 


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First, I lay my quilt back (right side down, of course) flat and use masking tape to adhere it to the floor so it stays as flat and taught as possible. I use 1.5" or 2" wide masking tape (the wider the better) and I tape the quilt back down with newspaper to protect my hardwood floors. I leave a small gap between the quilt top and the newspaper so the tape can also adhere to the floor, securing the quilt top. The first time I spray basted in the house I didn't use newspaper and it took me about an hour and a lot of elbow grease to get the dried glue off my floors. I learned that lesson quickly.


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Then, I lay out the batting over the quilt top, smoothing out any creases. Once I am happy with the positioning I fold up one short side about 12" or so and I spray the basting glue onto the quilt top all he way across and then I fold the batting back down, smoothing out all the creases and bumps. 

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After I've secured that end of the batting to the quilt back I move to the opposite side of the batting and I roll the batting all the way back to the other end, stopping where I can feel the adhesive on the other end doing it's job. I will be on my hands and knees (no shoes but with clean feet!) In the center of the batting that's been secured down and continue my way down through the middle of the quilt as I tack the rest.


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From here I start spraying the adhesive about 12" wide from one side of the quilt to the other. Depending on the brand of spray baste you're using will dictate how densely you apply the glue. I usually spray from one side to the other in a zig-zag motion, and then sometimes add one more spray, directly across in the opposite direction for good measure. (I hope that makes sense!) Then roll out the batting, to around the point where you think the glue ends and smooth out any bubbles and creases. Repeat this until the entire batting is tacked down to the quilt back. 


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After the batting and the quilt back are adhered together I repeat the entire process to secure my quilt top to the batting. Once it's all sandwiched, I remove the tape and it's ready to quilt. I am sure there are lots of other ways to spray baste out there, this is just the method I've developed that works for me. Do you do it differently? What works for you? 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Triple 'T' Tuesdays: Fabric Organization

Welcome back to another Triple "T" Tuesday. If you stash looks anything like mine (I'll be starting a support group for that later!) then organization is key. Now, I can't take credit for the way I organize my fabrics. I've seen this technique used in more than one place, unfortunately I can't remember the first place I saw it.I wish I could so I could give credit where it was due, but it was probably two years ago the first time I saw this. Then I tried it myself, fell in love and I've been organizing my stash like this ever since. Have you heard about magazine boards?

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Yeah, those little puppies are the key to my organization. You can find these several places online or at your local comic book store. Yep, that's where I get mine. They're called different things by different people and come in different sizes. If you go directly into your local comic book store ask for "Comic Book Boards". Then make sure you buy the "Magazine" size. Magazine size is 8.5" x 11" which is the perfect size for organizing all of your 44" wide fabrics - because what's 44 divided by 4? Yep. 11! I might not be great with math but even I could figure that out!

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So how do I do it? It's simple...
Step 1: Fold your fabric in half, selvedge to selvedge.

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Step 2: Fold it in half once more. I like to make sure the selvedge edge with the fabric name is facing out so I can see it even after I fold everything up.

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Step 3: Since I like having easy access to my printed selvedge edge, I flip my fabric so the printed selvedge edge is facing down, against my table (or whatever flat surface I'm using). Then place one of your magazine boards centered between the two folded edges and close to one of the raw edges of your fabric.

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Step 4: Make sure the board is close enough to the raw edge so you can fold the fabric over without covering the entire board, but far enough away that you have a fold of fabric substantial enough at the other end so you can secure it down well. (See Step 6)

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Step 5: Fold the board over several times until you reach the opposite raw edge.

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Step 6: Make sure there is enough fabric when you reach the other raw edge to fold back over securely.

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Step 7: Secure with a pin. Some people fold a triangle of fabric under first. I used to but, frankly, now I'm too lazy.

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By The Way: This works even if you're not working with 44" wide fabric. Simply play with folding your fabric to approximately the right width and you're golden!

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Easy Peasy! Hope this helps! Do you have a great Tip, Tool or Technique that you'd like to share? Email me and I'll set you up to do a guest post on an upcoming edition of Triple "T" Tuesdays.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Triple 'T' Tuesdays: The Slipstitch

Welcome Back to Triple "T" Tuesdays. Today I wanted to to talk about the slip stitch. I love this stitch because it's so versitile and hidden. Lately I've been using it a lot because I've been doing a lot of hand binding and garment construction. In fact, I jammed through a bunch of cowls the other day so I spent some time on my couch turning them right side out and finishing them off by closing the opening with the trusty slip stitch. So here's the simple technique I use for closing a seam.

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I find it easier to iron the seam I am closing first, so it creates a natural crease along the seam line. This fold will act as your guideline and ironing it down will help ensure that your seam will lie flat and naturally against the rest of the seam.

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Loop your thread through your needle so you create a double strand, matching the ends together. Create a double knot to secure the ends. A double knot will better help anchor your thread in the fabric, so it doesn't pass all the way though.

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Bring your needle up though the right side of the crease on one side of the seam, as close to the end of your machine stitching as possible.

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Pull your needle and thread though all the way until the knot meets the underside of the crease. Now your knot should be hidden in the fold on the wrong side of the fabric.

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Working on the right side of the fabric, and side A of the fold, place the tip of your needle through the crease on the opposite seam edge (Side B). The key is getting it directly across from where you came up so the stitch essentially disappears and lies flat.

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Work the tip of your needle into the fold on Side B (and on the wrong side of the fabric) but not through both layers - only the top layer. You want to nestle your needle so it's sandwiched along the crease and between the two layers of fabric that create the fold of that side of the seam. Bring your needle back through the right side of fabric at the crease on the same side (Side B) about 1/4" from where you inserted your needle. Think of it as hiding your thread / stitch directly in the crease.

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Pull your needle and thread all the way through on the right side of the fabric on Side B and pull tightly to create your stitch.

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Repeat this on the opposite side of the seam (Side A). You stitches will alternate from one side of the seam to the other until you reach the end of your opening and the beginning of your machine stitching.

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To finish your seam, once you reach the opposite side and the machine stitching, loop your needle under the first stitch of machine stitching.

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Bring your needle through the loop and create a single knot around the stitch.

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Insert your needle at the knot and pull it back though the seam as far as you can go with the needle, then come up again on the right side of your fabric.

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Clip the tail of the thread as close to the fabric as you can without cutting the fabric. Pull the fabric slightly to pull the tail back down into the seam and hide the loose ends.

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Walla! Now you've created an invisible seam. You can use the same basic technique when hand binding your quilts. You binding will already have the natural crease, but your quilt backing obviously won't. Apply the same theory, but one side of your seam will be flat so you will have to "imagine" a crease there, but it will work the same.

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Please let me know if you find any of this confusing so I can clarify my instructions. I hope this helps. Do you have a great Tip, Tool or Technique that you'd like to share? Email me and I'll set up a guest post for an upcoming edition of Triple "T" Tuesdays.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Triple 'T' Tuesdays: New Way to Mark Fabric

Two things... You want to see the product of all the blood, sweat and tears I've expressed over the past eight months? Well then set your DVRs to record because the brand new season of Tabatha Takes Over premieres tonight at 10 PM EST on Bravo! This season Tabatha doesn't only take over salons, she also takes over a variety of other businesses. I've been working on this show since the very first season and it's a labor of love. And if you look really close you can see my name in lights!


Enough about that. Are you ready to welcome back one of my regular features, because it's Triple "T" Tuesdays. I know it's been a while since I posted a Tip, Tool or Technique around here. I've been busy. I'm so sorry. And I think I'm just going to make this a monthly feature for now, because the pressure of trying to keep up while working an insane schedule was getting to me. So today I want to share a technique I use for fabric marking. My sewing box is loaded with a variety of fabric markers, from disappearing ink pens to chalk. My general go-to tool used to be the disappearing in pen. And I do still use it, but I have found myself, more often than not, resorting to a new way of marking my fabrics as of late.


The problem with disappearing ink (or water soluble) fabric pens is that the ink will set if exposed to intense heat, like an iron. I've been getting back to my roots and doing a lot more garment sewing and I was finding that I would be working at a speed where I would need / want to do some pressing on my projects before the ink would completely vanish. I tried using water to speed up the removal process, but even that wasn't working for me, so I started using straight pins as markers.

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Straight pins are a great, cheap and easy way to mark your pattern pieces without leaving a trace behind on your fabric. Now, when I'm cutting out a pattern piece I use straight pins to "transfer" pattern markings rather than cutting into the seam allowance. It doesn't disrupt the integrity of the fabric and they don't disappear if I have to step away from a project longer than a ink marking might remain - although I do have to take care to make sure the pins are anchored deep enough so they don't fall out.


Also, when making pleats or darts it's so much easier to match up your lines using straight pins than ink marks on fabric. Recently when I was making a pleat I simply measured the required 2" from the seam and placed my straight pin in the fabric, flush with the edge of my measuring tape.

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After I made my marks I used the head of the pins as my guide and matched them up, removing one of the pins and then sliding it through both layers of fabric to secure my pleat mark. Then walla! I was ready to stitch my pleat seam parallel to my straight pin marker.

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When making a dart I use a similar method. I mark the top edges of my dart with straight pins and bring them together, joining the marks. Then I measure down, as far as I want the dart to go down the edge of the fabric and use another bin to mark the point of the dart.

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Start sewing in a diagonal between the two pins and there you go - a perfect dart without inking or chalking the fabric. Seriously, straight pins are my new favorite way to mark fabric. I think they're one of the most underrated, yet important tools in any sewing kit. How do you mark your fabric? What's your favorite method?

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Hope this helps! Do you have a Tip, Tool or Technique that you'd like to share? Email me and I'll set you up to do a guest post on an upcoming Triple "T" Tuesday. See you next month!