A little creative serging! I wanted to share a quick serging stitch that you might find useful for restyling or adding embellishment to one of your outfits.
This is a 3-thread flatlock stitch with a decorative crochet thread in the upper looper. The left needle and lower looper have a similar color polyester thread. The photo above shows the front of the flatlock stitch and the backside. The backside looks like a ladder stitch. (the peach thread is just the serged edge of the seam).
I started with a basic gored skirt. The front has 2 seams and after I finished flatlocking those two seams I decided to add embellishment to the center front. So the center front really does not have a seam. Instead I drew a line with tailors chalk down the center front, folded the fabric in half along the chalk line, and ran through the serger. What a great way to create unique fabric!
Here is the back view. Again there are 2 seams on each side back and this time there is a seam down the center back with a hidden zip. In order for this stitching to look even (with the zipper), I stitched the flat-felled embellishment down the edge of each center back seam, then added the zipper and closed the seam. That part got a little tricky and you can see the stitches are not perfectly even. I haven’t decided if I am going to rip it out and start again or hope nobody is looking at my tush that closely to notice 🙂
Setting up the Serger:
- Set your serger up for a 3-thread overlock: I am using a serger from Brother and the standard setting for the needle and looper tensions are 4. When I give you new tension numbers you can compare this with your serger, if your serger has manual tension dials. If you are serging with an air-threading serger, like this Babylock, set up your serger for the 2-thread flatlock – wide.
- Thread the upper looper (or the only looper for the 2-thread flatlock) with a decorative thread. Use standard poly serging thread in the needle and lower looper.
Decorative Thread Ideas:
Get the idea – be creative!
Next, there are a few changes to the serger settings:
Stitch Width: 5mm
Stitch Length: 2-4mm
Needle Tension: Decrease to 0 -3 (remember my standard setting is 4 so adjust for your serger)
Upper Looper Tension: Decrease to 2 – 3
Lower Looper Tension: Increase to 6 – 9
Disengage the knife
These setting serve as a guide. It will depend on the fabric and thread you end up serging with.
See if you have a Blind Hem Foot, if not you can use a standard foot.
There is a setting on the foot that moves to the right and left, allowing the needle to pierce more or less of the fabric. Test the stitch on your fabric to determine the setting.
Fold the fabric in half or if you are embellishing a seam, fold along the seam line. Align the fabric along the shield on the blind hem foot (if using a standard foot, mark a spot to align with).
The idea is for the needle to pierce the fabric – half the stitch is on the fabric and half is off the fabric. In fact the stitches look really messy coming out of the serger!
Stretch out the folded fabric to lie flat and press.
Pretty simple, but so fun! Have you ever tried this before? I would love some more ideas for decorative threads or yarns to use with this stitch.
Getting new samples ready for It’s Sew Easy TV season 6 taping, I am finishing designing new dresses and experimenting with embellishing with embroidery. I have had this purple raw silk for years and really like the color, but it’s SO bright by itself! I will probably color block with black for one of the designs, but for this one I wanted to try adding a touch of embellishment. This is the start (obviously I have not pressed out the embroidery hoop marking) …
I found this flower in the Brother Quattro sewing machine. The flower was originally a medium size, so I tried to make it as large as possible for one of the flowers and as small as possible for the other. This was so easy to do! Using the touch screen I was able to enlarge the flower and move the design to the top left of the screen, which will embroider in the top left part of the hoop.
You can see below how the first larger flower is embroidering on the top left side of the hoop.
First flower looks great!
For the second flower – I turned the shape upside down, made the flower as small and narrow as possible, and moved the shape to the bottom right side of the hoop.
Looks pretty good!!!!! I used a silver metallic thread, although you can’t see that very well from the photo’s – clean and simple.
As far as designing, I cut the bottom of the dress to allow for a straight skirt or adding darts or pleats to the waistband. I am definitely adding the darts 🙂 I will post photos when the dress is finished.
Congratulations Wilma Coats the winner of my Creative Serging Class on Craftsy! Again, here is a coupon if you would like to join us in a fun, creative online class.
There is nothing more frustrating than sewing a gorgeous jacket with luxurious fabrics like faux fur, velvet, and leather (to name a few) and when it comes time to attach the lining to the facing, you end up with small puckers and an uneven feed – meaning one layer of the fabric ends up longer than the other. Well, I have great news for those of you that have the Brother PQ1500S.
You have already done the hard work sewing the jacket, why not use a few tools to make sewing the lining a breeze. The PQ1500 comes with an easy way to perfectly adjust your presser foot pressure and feed dog position, it’s color coded! Seriously, this takes all the testing and questioning out of the picture, heck you don’t even need to read the manual (which I know most of us are too busy to do :)).
First, look at the presser foot pressure indicator. You can see the color coding and the dial to adjust the presser foot height is on top of the machine. Simply turn it right and left to raise and lower, but here is the key … no more guessing where the height ends up. The colors on the indicator coordinate with the feed dog position and there is a fabric chart in the manual that you can use as a guide.
The main features I am going to show in this video involve the “pin feeding” that you will find in the feed dog position and the “fabric separator” that is used to join lining to the fabric. This is so easy you won’t believe it, so watch the video and if you want to see my previous post on how to mark and cut faux fur click here. Cheers 🙂 Angela
In my mission to come up with fun and unique fabric manipulations, I thought I would test out quilting (taking a short break from embroidery this week :)). And yes, I said QUILTING! I am not sure about you, but as a fashion designer when I hear the word “quilting” I typically cringe! It’s not that I don’t think quilts are beautiful and I sure wouldn’t want to offend all my friends that have a passion for this art (especially my mother :)) – but the fact of the matter is, the word itself makes many apparel sewer’s run the other way. The term quilting gives me an instant vision of cotton, LOTS of cotton, and bins of more cotton scraps that can be added to some project down the road. I know, I am so judgmental! I obviously overlook my bins of silk scraps that I know will fit into a pocket eventually.
But I think I should really take another look at this art, especially with fabric manipulation on the mind. Besides, who made the rule you can only quilt cotton. What about my favorite sewing technique, that is very Chanel inspired, where the silk charmeuse lining is “quilted” to the jacket fabric. Very luxurious and looks fabulous! Although we call it “Chanelism” not quilting. Go figure!
Or have you seen the quilted leather shown by Proenza Schouler – definitely on the short list for a fall must-have! Givenchy and Chanel both added some form of quilted leather to their collections. I really love the way you can use quilting to create a unique looking fabric or you can place the quilting in particular area of the garment to add a custom design element.
So, as to not risk ruining a large piece of luxurious fabric, I thought I would try a small sample. I am going to use silk charmeuse with batting and create Eye Candy (those of you that travel often will understand the name.) This only requires a little fabric and should be easy for testing the quilting method before I add quilted silk to a garment.
Start with 2 pieces of silk charmeuse and 1 piece of batting.
Pin together the layers.
Use clay chalk to mark a straight line, diagonally across the fabric.
I am using the MuVit Digital Dual Feed Foot on the Brother Dreamweaver XE . You could also use a walking foot or just a standard foot if you don’t have a the fancies 🙂
I am going to start the first row of stitching using my laser-vision as a guide to follow my chalk line. Although, the light is a little hard to see, probably because I have the bright light turned all the way up on the machine – I swear I can get a suntan from the brightness LOL!
Then, using my foot as a guild, I am stitching row after row. I noticed that sewing at a medium speed with the MuVit foot works the best, in fact the same is true for the walking foot on my Quattro.
After quilting the entire piece of fabric, I laid my pattern on top of the quilted fabric and cut it out.
I added an elastic band to the back, pinning in place at each side.
Then finished the edges with bias tape. Here is a quick video if you want to see an easy way to make your own bias tape.
That was very easy! In fact this was going to be a gift, but I think I might have to keep this one for myself 🙂 So you can see the technique of quilting is pretty easy and it does work on other fabrics besides cotton. I have a few more fabrics I am going to try, I will let you know how they turn out. But I can definitely see this quilted silk charmeuse used in a jacket or vest. If you any photos of fabric manipulation post them on flickr here is my link to share or add them to facebook! Inspire others by your creativity! Cheers, xoxo Angela
Brother™ has provided me with the DreamWeaver XE, but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
Fashion Designer: Angela Wolf ... Photographer: Johnson-Rauhoff ... Models: Laine Lu VonBehren, Jennifer Knapp, Jenna Warren ... Hair & Makeup: Shawn Frandsen and Sarah Schilling
If you saw my post a few months back, I showed off a few pieces of gorgeous faux fur that I bought at Haberman Fabrics. Well, I promised to give a rendition of the experience of sewing with faux fur and hopefully pass on a few lessons. I must admit this time around seemed so much easier than I remember. One of my first faux fur jackets, a thick white shaggy fur … I still have visions of coughing up fur balls for weeks, right alongside my cat. Not only that, I ended up with white fuzz/fur all over my clothes for weeks!
Either the furs are easier to sew or I learned a few lessons from the first episode. So here are a few tips:
- Trace your pattern, with clay chalk onto the back of the faux fur. (I love the backing on this fur!)
- Use sharp scissors! Start cutting from the back. Slide your scissor tip between the faux fur and the backing and cut in small snips, being carful to only cut the backing and not the faux fur.
- I use Kai Scissors. These scissors are so sharp, I can literally slide the tip of the scissors right around the pattern pieces. (They work great when trimming Sherpa fabric as well).
- Notice that I am only cutting the backing, leaving all the faux fur intact. Cut small snips at a time.
- I used the salvage as the front seam and then folded it back and tacked it in place.
- Trim your seam allowances. This really does not take long, again my Kai Scissors worked fantastic. I read that I should try an electric razor, but this worked perfectly. Maybe, I’ll try the razor next time 🙂
- You can see here the seam allowance is all trimmed and ready to sew. That was it! I used the same process on all of the faux furs.
All in all, I really enjoyed sewing up these faux furs and believe it or not, one quick vacuum and the studio was back to normal. Although, I must confess, I could not part with the cute little faux fur scraps. So I have decided to use them as bows on my Christmas gifts 🙂
Fashion Designer: Angela Wolf ... Photographer: Gregg Rizzo ... Model: Dawn Yarborough ... Hair & Makekup: Shawn Frandsen & Sarah Schilling