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?

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!


Tuesday Tip….What’s Grunge?

grunge 2

Grunge… a name that describes the fabric – that kind of smudged, painterly, drop-cloth kind of look.   Grunge… it’s so much better than that! Grunge is the creation of Rachel Benchley and it has been part of every Basic Grey collection since her first – Urban Couture –  in 2008.  It became a Moda Basic a few years ago with new colors being added every year. We have even more colours on order from Moda that are due to come to Hamels Fabrics in the next few months. We are always craving more basic blenders to have in the store to match other collections.

grunge 1

Rachel Benchley launched BasicGrey over fourteen years ago as a surface design company. Inspired by her crazy, hectic and colorful life, her sweet husband and four fabulous children, Rachel loves to mix things up with unique color palettes applied to bold prints and patterns – eclectic representations of her eclectic world. She is the creator of all Grunge fabrics and we love all of the colours!

What does she think is the best part of her design work? Seeing her designs become YOUR amazing creations!

If you’re not familiar with Grunge, it’s a unique fabric that is dyed first, then printed on one side to create a unique, textured look.  While the printing is the same for all Grunge fabrics, the final look of them can vary widely depending on the number of colors applied, the subtlety or contrast of those colors, and so on.

Our store has not only classic Grunge Basics in dozens of colours, but also Grunge Hits the Spot and Grunge Seeing Stars and a few extra wide Grunge fabrics for quilt backings. These amazing collections offer a palette of colours to choose from. They are just perfect for bindings, borders, backgrounds, appliqué and so much more!

grunge spots

Grunge can also be used on the wrong-side as a solid – either on its own because it’s the perfect color or just to add a little variety to a Grunge project.

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grunge stars

We have all of the Grunge fabrics listed on our website and the fabrics come to us from our supply warehouse in Vancouver, British Columbia. Check out the Grunge fabrics either in our brick and mortar store or on the website as you look for fabric to compliment your next quilt!

Tuesday Tip….How to Clean a Cutting Mat

Mat 1

Lately, many of us are making Jelly Roll rugs. As a thrifty, somewhat cheap, person, I cut my own strips of batting from scrap bits of batting in my sewing room to make my jelly roll rug. Great money saver vs. buying pre-cut batting strips, until after I was done and my cutting mat looked like the one pictured above!

This predicament can also come along if you cut batting squares for a rag quilt or if you sew a quilt- as-you-go blocks and trim the finished blocks to size on your mat. These activities can create quite a fuzzy mess. All those cotton fibers get embedded in the mat and no amount of rubbing with a rag will get them out.

mat 2 eraser

How can you remove the fuzz from your mat? Well the solution is as easy as a white eraser purchased from the dollar store. Yep. One of those inexpensive white artist erasers!

mat 3 fluff

Just rub it on the mat wherever it’s fuzzy and the fuzz comes out. With only a little bit of elbow grease, my mat is clean again and ready for my next cutting session. Voila!

mat 4

Happy stitching everyone!