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Vancouver Sewing Blog

Winter Rain & Sewing

January 16, 2011

Filed under: Judi,Sewing Tips — admin @ 4:55 pm

It’s a grey and drizzly January morning – typical Vancouver winter weather! It seems like a perfect day for sewing, and that’s exactly what I have planned for today. I’m so excited! After a very long time, I’m finally almost finished my Jenny Haskins Moulin Rouge quilt! I’m working on the last couple of borders now, but have the inside of the quilt almost put together – and I love it. There is a ton of embroidery in it, and I’ve used very rich-looking fabrics – velvet and silk dupionni, and it is stunning  – just what I was hoping for. And since I started working on it, Jenny and Simon have brought this pattern and it’s designs out on one of their Special Edition CD’s  – project instructions and designs just for this one project on one specially priced CD.

I have a couple of other embroidery projects on the go right now as well – and since I’m lucky enough to have two embroidery machines at home, I think I’ll have both of them going today! I’m also working on the Hoopsisters new Embroid-a-Block of the Month, Goose Tracks. This is unlike any of their other  projects with lots of variations and new techniques. I’m having lots of fun with it and am also loving the way it is coming out. A totally different look from the Moulin Rouge, but also quilt stunning.


I had a great phone conversation the other day with Linda McGehee of Ghee’s. Linda is coming up to our part of the world in March for one day of classes with us, and she was filling me in on a few more details about the classes. She’s sending me up a few samples, so as soon as they arrive we’ll have them on display in our Surrey store where she’ll be teaching. In the afternoon class, we’ll be making her “Quick Zip Bag”. This is a boxy tote bag that will unzip flat for easy storage, or to pack in a suitcase without taking up extra room. She’s going to share some great zipper ideas with us as well. I’m looking forward to seeing her again – she’s lots of fun to be around.

When I was doing some pressing the other day as I was working on a garment, I thought that now would be a good time to remind you of the difference that proper pressing can make to your finished projects when you sew.  I’ve learned that pressing properly is the most important step in sewing as it blends and sets your stitches, and helps to create a garment that will hang properly when you wear it. This seemed to be a good time to pass on my favourite pressing tips:

  1.  There is a difference between “pressing” and “ironing”. When you press, you place the iron, let it sit for a moment, and then lift it to move it to its next, overlapping position. When you iron, you slide the iron back and forth to remove wrinkles.  Ironing can stretch and distort a fabrics grain, pressing will not.
  2.  It’s important to remember to press as you sew. The cardinal rule of pressing is to never cross one seam with another until you have pressed the first seam.  I like to organize my sewing by working on different parts of a project at the same time so that I can take several seams to the ironing board at once instead of always going back and forth between sewing machine and ironing board one seam at a time.
  3.  To press a seam there are three important steps: first press it flat just as it came away from the sewing machine. This will blend and “meld” the stitches so that they become part of the fabric. Second, press the seam open. Seams need to be pressed open even if they eventually will be pressed back together again as in a collar or a cuff. By pressing the seam open, you will get a smoother, flatter edge. Press seams open over a seam roll or seam stick so that the raw edges of your fabric won’t embed a crease line into the outer fabric. Finally, press the seam from the right side of your garment, remembering to use a press cloth to protect the fabric from direct contact with the iron.
  4. Good pressing equipment is important, but you don’t need a lot of it. You’ll need a good iron with both lots of steam and dry capabilities, a sturdy  well-padded ironing board (if you have an old “moth-eaten” wool blanket, it would make a good pad under the ironing board cover), a press cloth (I like a fine cotton one – you can even use a man’s cotton or linen hanky but I also love the sheer silk “Project Runway” press cloth) and something long and rounded to press seams open over – I use a Seam Roll and a Seam Stick. If you make fitted garments with darts, you’ll also need a Tailor’s Ham. Pressing a dart just flat onto the ironing board without using a ham will press out the rounded shape you’ve just sewn into the fabric!

Practising your pressing skills will go a long way to helping you achieve the professional results we all are aiming for when we sew!

 Time for me to get to my sewing room! Talk to you soon,


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