Tuesday Tip….What is Thermore?

Thermore_151202_2718

Thermore® was originally designed for clothing and miniatures. It is exceptionally versatile and can be used successfully wherever low loft and stability is needed or preferred.

Thermore® is made with 100% polyester and is surface treated with a unique process by the makers at Hobbs. This polyester batting is guaranteed not to beard or migrate. This batting is excellent for hand or machine quilting and works well with light and dark fabrics. You can confidently machine, hand wash or dry clean your project. It may be quilted up to 9” apart and will not shrink.

Here at Hamels’ Fabrics, we especially like using Thermore for placemats and table runners because stemware (wine glasses, etc.) or that favourite vase from Granny will not rock or tip over easily if placed on a quilted project that has Thermore inside as batting.

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Also, we all know that some recipients of our quilted items like to launder their items through a regular wash cycle and throw the quilted item into the dryer! Relax, because if you have Thermore inside as batting, there will be not be any shrinking or bunching–that’s the beauty of it. We have Thermore at the store in either packages or straight off the bolt (45″ wide).

Try this batting the next time you have a table runner that you want to complete with a thin, low loft stable batting.

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Tuesday Tip: Make a Portable Pressing Mat

As you attend various classes to learn new techniques and skills for your quilting projects, a portable pressing mat can come in very handy to have close to you as you take a class. They are easy to take along to class each week, guild meetings, retreats or a sewing date with a friend.

A portable pressing mat does not have to be large, thus “portable” is the concept here. You just need a surface large enough to press blocks or to lay out a fat quarter, precut Layer Cake square (10 x 10″) or spread out a small amount of fabric on top for a quick pressing. Make it whatever size you want!

How do you make your own portable pressing mat? Well, my own came from a cast-off small portable ironing board I found at a garage sale. I ended up recovering it by first pulling off the previous covering and then layering up batting and insulation before recovering with a cotton denim-like fabric.

Other ideas are to make your own mat with layers of flannel, batting and a product called Solari which we sell at Hamels. Solari is a 100% polyester batting used primarily for lining the insides of oven mitts and hot pads or any item needing a protective heat layer. The outside of the product is silver coated with a heat resistant surface. It is 60″ wide. Layer Solari with batting and a layer or two of flannel and you have a pressing surface fit for your next quilt piecing project. An old towel is another suggested item for “padding” underneath your pretty fabric covering your pressing mat. You basically want to built up enough thickness so that your hot iron won’t damage anything you press against.

You can create your mat to be just to sit on a table top and roll up afterwards or you can go a bit more elaborate. Recently, I have heard of quilters converting old “TV trays” also know as portable folding tables into a pressing station. What a great idea! Take a look at these pictures.

Final Process Tabletop ironing board diy tutorial via lilblueboo.com

 

Portable Ironing Board

Hope this post inspires you to see what you can create for your pressing needs. Happy stitching!

 

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…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?
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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!