Product Review

There are times when I’ll review products from sewing machines to notions. Sometimes I’ll even do product head-to-head comparisons to find out what I like more. You’ll find those sorts of posts right here.

Machine Embroidered Applique And The Scissors That Make It Easy

Posted by on Apr 18, 2014 in Education & Instruction, Product Review | Comments Off on Machine Embroidered Applique And The Scissors That Make It Easy

Machine Embroidered Applique And The Scissors That Make It Easy

Anita Goodesign LOVES them some applique. In fact, I’d almost bet they have more applique designs than they have pure embroidery designs. Or not. What is machine applique? I get a lot of folks coming in who are surprised to learn that they can do applique using the embroidery side of their sewing machine. While the process is a bit different than doing it by hand or using the sewing side of a machine, it can certainly be done. A design which is nicely digitized will turn out gorgeous, but there is a trick to the end result. That trick is making sure that you trim the fabric precisely. Ok. Here’s the process. The machine will stitch out the outline, letting you know exactly where to place your fabric bits. I spray them with a dash of temp basting spray to make sure the fabric stays down nicely during the next part. Then the machine will do a securing stitch overtop of the line it just stitched out. Now is where you get to remove the hoop from the machine, and very carefully trim away the unwanted fabric. We did a standing lace haunted house from OESD in October. It was cute, but the fabric wasn’t trimmed very well. The result of that is little bits of fabric strands sticking up through the satin stitched edges. Yucky! It was during this job (there were like 15 different pieces which make up the single house) that I found *cue the music* The Scissors. They are made by Inspira and they have a lot things going for them which make them totally rock. First up is the curved blade. It’s a gentle curve, but more than enough so that I can easily and quickly trim exceedingly close to the stitched border without cutting through the stitches! Then there are those little micro points. Man those make it so easy to get right into even the tightest corners. They cut right up to the very tip of the point. The large finger handles also make them very easy to maneuver and comfortable to use. They truly do RULE! Less than $10. I am so not kidding. I snapped these up and tossed out my expensive duckbilled applique scissors and haven’t had a moment of regret. Don’t believe me? Here I’m cutting into a corner of the May Project candle wrap (do you have any idea how hard it is to take a picture while actively cutting??). Durn I love these things! Right to the corner, no slop, no slip, just precision and easy snipping. Here it is on one of those curved edges. Now it might look like I’m about to cut into the stitched line there. Nope! The curve on the blade saves me. Just a clean, close shave.    Here is half of the candle wrap all cut out. They make the job so fast and easy. I love that combination, most especially when that combination is paired with good results. It would be really difficult to get a better trim than that. *happy sigh* I’ll have to get a picture of the 2 projects – cleanly finished candle wrapped and fray-finished haunted house – to show you how important it is to do a great job trimming up the fabric on machine embroidered applique. I’m sorry I didn’t think of that before now. If you like to do this type of applique, or are thinking about it, here are some of the factors you want in your scissors. Here’s my personal checklist, though not necessarily in order of importance. * Usually, applique...

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Product Comparison: 2 Types of Covered Buttons by Dritz

Posted by on Mar 15, 2014 in Product Review | Comments Off on Product Comparison: 2 Types of Covered Buttons by Dritz

Product Comparison: 2 Types of Covered Buttons by Dritz

In the last post, I was less than pleased that every single covered button fell apart within moments of finishing the white wool vest. To be utterly fair, that was the result of operator error pure and simple. Why? Because I made the button holes the same size as the buttons. I am supposed to add 2 mm to the button measurement to allow for the height of the button. This is where having a sewing machine which does a lot of this for me makes me forgetful of such details when I switch to a machine which does not think of this for me. *sigh* Listening patiently as I sobbed over the fate of my lovely vest, Jane suggested that I try the covered buttons with the little teeth on them. Not having tried them before, I went out and got some. Tonight, I sat down to do them and it suddenly hit me: why not do a head-to-head comparison and record it on my blog? Yay! Fetching my camera, that’s exactly what I decided to do. So here it is, the comparison! Here are the products for comparison. Both of them are by Dritz, but one is the “Half Ball Cover Button” kit and the other is the “Craft Cover Button Kit”. The Half Ball kit features little teeth on the inside back of the face and the shank of the button in also attached to this face. The Craft kit features smooth edges and the shank of the button is attached to the back piece. I started with the Craft kit, because I’m most familiar with these, having used them on 3 vests now. Here’s what I needed: fabric, marking pencil, the stencil, scissors, the button punch top (blue) and bottom (white), and a button face and back. I could take up tons of room and post this series of pictures one at a time, but that would take waaaay too long.  You can read the text, or just look at the pretty pictures. hehe For this process, you first cut out the paper stencil that comes printed on the back of the package. Place that on your fabric and use a marking pencil to mark out the cut lines. Note: Dritz does offer clear versions of these stencils so you can place motifs perfectly. Very nice! Cut out your button face. Place the circle of fabric on top of the white plastic piece that comes with the kit.  Place one of the round button tops with the round side down (as shown), making sure that everything is centered! Push the button top into the white base, pushing the fabric in as well. After this, use your finger to push the edges of the fabric circle into the position so that everything is all contained inside the white plastic base. Once all of the material is tucked into the base, take one of the back pieces and position it on the center of the folded over material. Place the blue push piece over this so that the shank of the button goes up into the underside of the push piece. Push the blue piece down until you feel the back of the button “fall” into place. While this can be accomplished by leaning on your thumb, I can’t recommend that. Why? That’s a lot of stress on the joint, and I want to keep using my thumbs for a good long time. Instead, I use a leather mallet. When the base is snapped in, remove the blue piece and examine the button back. If it looks good to you, it’s time to...

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