Few announcements to start with today –
1) If you have not been fully vaccinated, please wear your mask.
2) If you have been vaccinated, masks are optional. If you are uncomfortable with us not wearing masks (all the staff has been fully vaccinated), just ask us and we will gladly put ours on.
3) We need patriotic fabric for our Quilts of Valor chapter to sew with. If you can donate some fabric to us, thank you so much. If you are at a yard sale/estate sale and see some appropriate fabric, please buy it for us. Bring a receipt with the fabric and we will pay you for the fabric. The group will be meeting the 4th Tuesday of each month to cut, sew, iron, etc. Join us if you can, when you can. This month is June 22nd. Because there was no local chapter for so long, we have a backlog of people nominated for quilts and no quilts. Chapters from all over the U. S. have been sending quilts when they can for now, but it would be nice to have locally made quilts.
4) WE WILL BE CLOSED JULY 3
This will allow staff to have a long, holiday weekend.
Let’s get down to business.
Let’s start cutting your fabric. Stop, breathe, and remember it’s only fabric no matter how pretty it is or how much it cost.
Cut off a small corner/piece and glue it to the pattern page that has the fabric key. If the only key is on the back, make your own page or index card with the fabric and the corresponding number/name from the pattern. Many times the designer will have a fabric organization page for you.
Make sure you have a sharp blade in your rotary cutter, the correct rulers, and a clear space for cutting. Check to see how slippery your rulers are on the back. You may want to add some grip dots or InvisiGrip to keep them from sliding when you cut.
Cut your large pieces first. This way you will have enough fabric for the large pieces. Then graduate down for the remainder of the pieces to be cut. If you have several pieces to cut of one size and your ruler is larger, mark your ruler for lining up with the fabric edges. You can use tape, post-it notes, markers that will come off later. This works really well for specialty rulers that have several shapes and sizes to cut (hex n’ more, kites).
MEASURE TWICE OR MORE AND CUT ONCE
CHECK THAT YOU HAVE THE CORRECT FABRIC
Take your time cutting, make sure you are cutting the correct size and that your edges are square. Square edges are perpendicular (good 90 degree angle) to the selvedge or parallel to the selvedge. This keeps the fabric from being too stretchy when sewing. This is the weft (WOF, across the fabric) and warp of the fabric. If you are cutting strips for sewing (like for a log cabin), see if you can cut them parallel to the selvedge, along the warp. This keeps things even straighter because the warp stretches the least of any direction on the fabric. Many times the directions have you cut strips WOF and then cut the strip into other shapes. Check between cuts that your edges are square.
As you are cutting, make sure you are keeping organized. We mentioned last week several ways to keep the fabric organized. Thank you to one of my guild sewing groups for discussing recycling containers for organizing. Small pieces can go in egg cartons and you can label the lid. The large spinach containers will hold a whole project of cut pieces and the pattern.
I check off on the pattern the cuts I have completed, as I complete them. This helps me keep organized and not cut more than I need. I also check several times that I have the correct fabric when there are many choices and check what I’m supposed to be cutting. Designers usually have you buy more fabric than you may really need. This is to give you fabric if you make a mistake cutting. You can also use the extra for backing and a scrappy binding. Don’t put away the extra fabric. You may need this if something happens – one piece goes missing, you want to make a test block, you want to change the fabric arrangement in a block because you don’t like some together, just because.
One more step before you sew. Check your sewing machine.
1) Clean the machine – under the throat plate, behind the bobbin case, the sewing foot and area where the foot and needles attaches.
2) Check your needle – put in a new one, make sure it is the type and size you want to sew with.
3) Check you have the correct thread – 50 – 80 wt, color that matches what you are sewing, and a good quality thread. Quality thread fuzzes less, doesn’t have burrs to catch on the thread path (especially through the tension areas), is made from good cotton, and is colorfast.
4) Check that the tension is even between the top and bottom. Check your seam allowance markers. The foot should be right size for your seam allowance and project.
5) Check your stitch length. Not too tight that it won’t give with the fabric and seam. Not too loose that it will allow the fabric to pull apart and unravel at the ends.
6) Do you have enough space for your project as you sew? You don’t want the project to pull or not move when you are sewing. Do you have an extension table, is your machine set on a table with space around the machine?
NOW YOU ARE READY TO SEW and believe it or not, most of the work is done.
Holiday fabric and summer novelties are arriving. No it's not too early to start on holiday gifts. It's also time to start on graduation gifts for those going off to school in the fall. :0) Come in and see the new fabric.
Happy sewing everyone,
Phyllis and the QA staff