Before she became a fabulous fabric designer, Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet was a quilting teacher. This not only gave her a chance to pass on her skills to a new generation of creative sewers and crafters, she also identified two things that consistently frustrate beginners: 1) fabric pieces turned the wrong way, and 2) not being able to keep an accurate seam allowance. Putting her inventive mind to work, Lori developed two simple tools to help solve these problems and make it easier to be precise, confident, and ultimately more creative... and they're not just for beginners! You'll love her Portable Design Boards and Sew Easy! Seam Guides. Our thanks to Fat Quarter Shop for bringing both cool tools to our attention so we can share the news with you.
The Artistic Edge Digital Cutter makes it easy to get creative with your sewing projects in ways that simply weren't possible before. If you look just at what it does in appliqué – one of its many capabilities – you're going to think of dozens... maybe hundreds of ways to use it. That's not an exaggeration. We've been immersing ourselves in everything this updated cutter can do, and it's almost overwhelming. If you have an embroidery machine, you're going to want to take a serious look at how the Edge can expand what you can do. If you don't have an embroidery machine, the Edge may just make you want to get one – immediately.
Thank you for your support! Words to live by when you're deciding how best to interface a project. Interfacing is one of those behind-the-scenes sewing materials that gives your projects a professional finish. You've probably heard of it, but maybe you don't know exactly what it is, what it does, or how best to choose the correct type for the job. This category is so large and varied, it's impractical to tackle everything at once, which is why we're focusing this article on the most common choices for bags and totes. You'll love the handy, printable chart we developed with our friends at Fabric Depot. Print out one copy to post in your sewing room and another to use when you shop. If you like the information here, leave us a comment below and let us know which additional interfacing categories you'd like us to review.
Since early this year, we've been having fun playing with several of the exclusive new fabric collections from Hawthorne Threads. Owners, Charlie and Lindsay Prezzano took the leap into the fabric design waters with both feet... that would be four feet with a running start. The motifs themselves have been lovely, and to top it off, they print their fabrics on-site using the latest digital technology. The process is very precise and the resulting cotton prints have sharp lines and vivid colors. And speaking of colors... today we're using the Hawthorne Threads online experience to show you a bit of what happens behind the scenes when we build a Sew4Home project. The Hawthorne Threads site navigation, and the way they've structured their integrated color palettes, is well-thought-out, user friendly, and built with creativity in mind.
In the past, there have been entire accessory systems to achieve this unique embellishment technique, sometimes referred to "yarn embroidery." Now, with the Janome Free Motion Couching Foot Set, you can do it with a simple change of your presser foot. It results in a cool textured effect and is very easy to do... like drawing with yarn. We're already scheming on possible uses for future projects.
Ruffles. Bet you can't use them just once. If you love ruffles like we do, you need to know about an accessory that makes ruffling and pleating easier, faster and more precise: the Ultimate Ruffler from Janome. This attachment is designed to work with any machine that can accept a snap-on presser foot, which means you don't have to have a Janome. Other machine manufacturers make similar attachments, which work in much the same way. It's time to go from flat to frilly.
There you stand in the fabric store, staring at that giant display of bias tapes and bindings in front of you, the shiny cellophane packages glinting in their neat, color coordinated rows. Single fold, double fold, blanket, quilt. Geeze! What's what? Do you just throw a dart and hope for the best? No! You study your Sew4Home Cheat Sheet and get exactly what you really need.
If a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, I'm guessing this three-in-one presser foot is easily worth a bird, a hand and a bush. We love a cool accessory that does several things. The Janome Clear View Quilting Foot and Guide Set comes with two guides: the Quarter Inch Guide and the Ditch Stitch Guide. The foot itself is clearly marked with red guide lines for ⅛" and ¼" seam allowances, as well as cornering marks for both ⅛" and ¼" seams in front and behind the needle drop. The foot is super easy to use and very lightweight. But be careful, the little guides are the Barbie® shoes of sewing; they could very easily get lost. Keep everything together in a little plastic bag. And don't let the name fool you; even though it says "quilting" on the package, this foot comes in handy for any project that requires precise seaming or topstitching. The foot is available in both standard width (7mm) as well as wide width (9mm).
Beads are a wonderful embellishment. They add dimension and texture and color in one fell swoop. But my-oh-my, putting them on can be a struggle and a half. Hand sewing in an option, if you have a few spare days. And machine sewing can be like trying to ride your bike over a field of BBs (no... I haven't actually done that, but I know it would be tricky and very slippery). Luckily for me (and my bicycle), our friends at Janome have a cool set of presser feet made exactly for what we want to do: quickly attach strands of beads of various widths. Can a glittering gown for next year's Oscars be far behind?!
A skosh, a wee bit, just a hair... sometimes, the distances we want to work with in sewing aren't quite as precise as the engraved inch and millimeter markings on our machines. Wouldn't it be great if there was a foot you could manually adjust to perfectly align with the exact distance you wanted? There is! Janome recently sent us their new Sliding Guide Foot. It has a perfectly balanced outboard guide you can smoothly slide to the right then lock into place, from ⅜" to 1⅛" from the center needle drop (10mm - 30mm). I love it when someone answers my "wouldn't-it-be-great" requests!