Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Continuous Bias

I am working on several projects right now that require a large amount of piping. Instead of piecing several bias strips together I prefer to make a continuous bias strip.

First, I start with a piece of fabric. I am using white pique. I have pulled a thread to find the horizontal straight of grains. I do not want to tear my fabric for this because it will distort the fabric edges a little.

Then I cut the fabric on a 45 degree angle. The longer my bias edge is, the fewer seams I am going to have. This is great for sewing because I don't want to have a seam line in the middle of a collar edge or the front of a bodice.

For this tutorial my bias fabric is 15 1/2 inches wide and 17 1/2 inches long.

On the wrong side of the fabric I have marked bias lines that are 1 1/4" apart. Notice on the left side that I have a little bit extra. Not a problem. This will be trimmed off later.

Now for the tricky and the most important part. I am going to match up my bias lines, but I am going to offset the first row. If I don't do this and match up my lines perfectly, I will end up with pretty little circles instead of a continuous bias strip.

Here is a close up of how I pinned the lines together. My straight pin is going through the middle of both lines, 1/4 inch from the edge.

After everything is matched up, I stitch a 1/4 inch seam. The seam is pressed opened, then it is trimmed down to about an 1/8th inch. My sleeve board works great when I am pressing open little seams.

With a good pair of shears I start cutting on the lines. I start on one end and just follow the lines that I drew.

To make the piping I place a cord in the middle of the bias strip. In this tutorial I have used gimp cord. I am using my #3 foot on my Bernina. This foot is actually a button hole foot but it works great for piping. My needle position has been moved over to the left and my stitch length has been set to longer stitch.

And I end up with 138 inches of piping! That is almost 4 yards.

Don't need piping? Here is my tutorial for making double fold bias tape

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Smocking Challenge

It is almost my first Blogiversary! As a gift to y'all I am posting a smocking challenge.

Here is a smocking plate and the bishop version. The designs should be clickable so you can enlarge and print them. Please let me know if they are not.

The plates are in black and white so that you can use your imagination. There are also areas to embellish if you want to.

There really is not a prize for doing this challenge but I would love to see every one's interpretations. I will post my own version of these smocking plates in a couple weeks.

Please feel free to use these smocking plates for your smocking guild/group.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Narrow Hem

Once again I am apologizing for not posting anything here. It is First Communion and Wedding season here. So between that and Sew Beautiful assignment I am super busy.

I have been doing several narrow hems in the past weekend. I do not use a narrow hemmer foot. We just don't get along very well.:-(

I tried to explain how I do a narrow hem to Angie over the phone, who was working on my "Little Heart of Mine" dress from SB.

A picture is worth a thousand words so here it goes......

  • I first stitch a basting stitch about 1/4" from the raw edge. I am using a contrasting thread for photographic reasons....Honest. :-)

  • I then fold the fabric on the stitching line and press.

Next, I thread my sewing machine with water soluble thread. I love this stuff but if you lick the end of your thread like I do before you thread your needle, it doesn't work.

  • With the water soluble thread I am stitching very close to the fold line (about 1/16").

  • The next step is very important! Remove the water soluble thread from your machine and put it away. You don't want to accidentally use it to make a bathing suit or something.

  • With applique scissors, trim the excess fabric as close as you can to the stitching line without cutting through the stitching line.

  • Rethread your machine with matching thread. (Remember I am using a contrasting thread.) If you have an edge foot for your sewing machine go ahead and put it on.
  • I then turn the edge of the hem up and stitch on top of the water soluble thread stitching line.

  • When I press the finished hem with a steam iron, the water soluble thread will disappear. Or I can spritz it with a little bit of water and press.
  • And I am done!