TUESDAY TIP: Self-threading Needles

Image result for 2006CV clover needles

Recently, I came across a “stash” of Clover Self-Threading Needles here at the store and though it was time to share their secrets. These needles are very interesting, indeed! The needles from Clover, have a convenient built-in threader (a notch at the top allows a sewist to “click” the thread into the eye versus threading through a regular needle eye. The Clover Self-Threading Needle where you place your thread, then proceed to pull it down gently for it to go into the top eye. Voila, you have threaded your needle without much effort! The package comes with five different sizes for use on normal cloth to thick fabrics.

Here’s a quick video demonstrating these unique needles in action. These self-threading needles work great for burying threads in your quilt. Check this out!

Happy stitching!


Tuesday Tip: Using Bias Bars

So what are “bias bars”? How do you use them?  Well, if you have project you are working on that requires appliquéd vines, curved handles on a basket block, or a Celtic design, then you will love having a set of bias bars in your quilting tool kit! They are very nifty and work really well. This method of creating bias strips with the seam allowances hidden underneath the strip itself is quite easy to create and any quilting cotton fabric will work!

Bias Press Bars are the perfect tool for making small bias tubes used in applique, quilting and craft projects. These flexible bars are high heat resistant nylon; easy-to-see School Bus Yellow. The no melt set includes five sizes that are each 12″ long. The set has offers 1/8″, 3/16″, 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2″ widths and there are instructions right on the package from Collins.

This is an example of bias stems appliquéd onto a background before leaves and flowers, etc. are applied. See the nice curves?!

The handle on this basket block below was appliquéd on using a bias piece created using a selected pressing bar.

Cute basket with appliquéd bias handle. Bee In My Bonnet

Below is Celtic appliqué where bias strips are created and applied in a continuous knot formation replicating an ancient Celtic design.


Check out this video which explains more on how these bars work. Note: Hamels can special order in any of these brands for you, however we currently stock the Collins set of bias bars. The bars are very easy to use and can create all kinds of curves as you apply the pieces to your project.

Hope you enjoyed this video and will incorporate the use of these bars into a project either now or in the future. The results are so worth it and everyone will wonder how you sewed those skinny strips without any seam allowance showing. Happy stitching!

Tuesday Tip…What is the Rule of Threes?

choosing fabric

From the story of the Three Little Pigs to movie trilogies and three movements in classical music, the number three provides a comfortable framework for creativity and design of all kinds. Quilting is no exception.

The basic idea of the rule is that details and objects that are arranged or grouped in odd numbers are more appealing, memorable and effective than even-numbered pairings.color fabric choosing

Often there are fabrics printed with different shapes (i.e. dots, stripes, florals) and scales (larger, medium, and small) and the colours are coordinated to play well together. There’s no such thing as cheating when using a fabric collection – they’re a great way to ensure a coordinated color palette with built-in contrast.fabric light medium dark

When you pick up a precut collection of fabric in our store, you will see it contains lights, mediums and darks. See how the rule of threes plays out?

If that still feels overwhelming, a good jumping-off option is to use a single print for inspiration. Walk around the shop and pick out 2 or 3 bolts that “speak to you” and then we can help you choose fabrics that would go with them.

Tuesday Tip: How to Fix and Prevent Flipped Seam Allowances

Have you ever been faced with “flipped seams”? Well, they are fixable and they happen to every quilter at some point.   You’ve nested your seams and pinned them securely. You stitch your seam like always and when you turn it over, you see the bottom seam has flipped. How frustrating! But, it’s not you; it’s your sewing machine.

How to fix and prevent flipped seam allowances. It's easy! @ The Crafty Quilter

How to fix and prevent flipped seam allowances. It's easy! @ The Crafty Quilter

In the example above, only one half of the seam allowance has flipped over.  It looks like an open seam allowance. Usually it’s the complete seam that has flipped over.  Let’s start with how to fix this little problem. There are three things you can do:

1. Leave it be. Iron it the way you want it to go. So what if you have a little twist at the seam. Nobody will ever know!

2. Un-sew that small section and re-sew it again. No fun!

3. Snip into the seam allowance just behind the seam. This allows the seam to lay flat. This is an easy quick fix.

To snip the seam allowance, you’ll need small, sharp scissors. Be careful with this! You just want to snip up to the seam by a few threads. Err on the side of “not too close” but close enough.

How to fix and prevent flipped seam allowances. It's easy! @ The Crafty Quilter

How to fix and prevent flipped seam allowances. It's easy! @ The Crafty Quilter

Now your seam allowances will lay flat. Pretty as a picture!

How to fix and prevent flipped seam allowances. It's easy! @ The Crafty Quilter

How to fix and prevent flipped seam allowances. It's easy! @ The Crafty Quilter

Now let’s get to the really important part of this lesson.  How to prevent flipped seams from happening in the first place!  It’s such an easy solution; you’re going to love it.

The reason your seams are flipping is because there is a “lip” or a raised edge on your sewing machine bed. Right where the throat plate meets the arm or extension table. When your bottom seam allowance runs across that edge, it flips over.  It will only happen with the seam allowances that are facing the needle/throat plate.

How to fix and prevent flipped seam allowances. It's easy! @ The Crafty Quilter

To prevent that from happening, just take a piece of tape (Washi tape works really well) and place it across the raised edge. Don’t press it down too much along the raised edge.  You want it to act as a bridge. This will put an end to your flipped seams.

How to fix and prevent flipped seam allowances. It's easy! @ The Crafty Quilter

In case you’re wondering, this picture above shows a starter scrap under the presser foot and that purple, thick tape is the sewing edge. This gives a perfect, scant 1/4″ seam allowance.

Of course, there is a product made specifically for the task at hand.  It’s called the Betty Bridge Supreme.  This notion works really well. It smooths out the height difference with a little more “oomph” than a piece of tape.  But first try the tape!  I think you’ll find it makes a big difference.

How’s that for an easy fix? Now go forth and make beautiful seams!