Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cool Ties for Oklahoma Storm Victims - Sew a High Tech New American Bandana for Charity

This month, Princeton American Sewing Guild Members will be sewing 'cool ties' to be donated to Oklahoma storm victims.  They have requested this item, since restoring power is taking time, and southern summers can be hot without air conditioning and electric fans.  The Hamilton Sewing Challenge is expecting to join  Browns Mills Sew Little Time at the Pemberton Library on August 6th, 6-8pm to work on this charity project.
Cool ties are woven cotton scarves that are filled with Miracle Grow Moisture absorbing beads.  The beads are made of nylon, and look like coarse salt.  These beads were designed to hold moisture when mixed with potting soil, but can increase cooling through evaporation when the cool ties are soaked in water before wearing.  I purchased a small bag of Miracle Grow Moisture Absorbing Beads at the hardware store for about $8.

Cool ties are so easy and fast to make, that you may want some for your family, too.  Since they only require 4" of 45" fabric, I used left over to create my cool tie.  Our completed item will be similar in size and shape to a rectangular neck tie.
  1. Put selvages of fabric together, and straighten cut edges.  Next cut a 4" strip from fold to selvage.
  2. With wrong sides together, fold cut fabric in half lengthwise, and press.   Serge or overcast about 1/4" on the long side and on one short edge.  Turn fabric tube right side out, and press.
  3. Fold cool tie in half, and mark the middle with a pin.  Use additional pins to mark about 7.5" on either side of center.
  4. Sew from short edge to short edge at the pin closest to the sewn end.  This will prevent moisture pellets from migrating to the tip of the scarf
  5. Next place a few teaspoons of moisture pellets in the open end of the scarf.  Work the pellets toward the center of the scarf.  This could get messy, and you may want to do this step out side.  I found a small thread cone made a handy funnel for the moisture beads.
  6. Sew the remaining end of the cool tie closed.  Work the moisture beads towards the center, then sew across the scarf at the second 7.5" pin mark.  Sew across the center of the scarf, dividing the moisture beads into equal volumes in each half of the cool tie.
Here is the care label:

    • immerse in cold water approx 60 min, until crystals become gel
    • tie around head or neck
    • regenerate by soaking 1-3 minutes
    • do not freeze
    • dehydrate to store
    • hand wash only, mild soap

Thursday, July 18, 2013

All laced up at Pemberton Public Library on Saturday, July 13, 2013

Nearly twenty members of the American Sewing Guild assembled in New Jersey for a day to learn about and practice using combination sewing and embroidery machines to create free standing lace.  Attendees came from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida for this Princeton Chapter event.  American Sewing Guild members are welcome to attend events presented by any Chapter, as well as national events.

Free standing lace is a thread design that may be stitched over fabric, or may be stitched over wash away stabilizer.  Wash away stabilizer (sometimes called 'vilene') is a fabric that sometimes looks and feels similar to plastic sandwich wrap.  This fabric is placed in an embroidery hoop that is attached to the sewing machine.  The machine creates stitches according to the design the seamstress selects.  After the stitching is complete, the seamstress removes the fabric from the hoop, uses scissors to trim the excess stabilizer, and then rinses or soaks the design in water to finish the lace.  An alternative to soaking in water, is to use a heat tool (which looks similar to a soldering iron) to burn the excess stabilizer.  However, the heat tool should only be used with synthetic (rayon, polyester, etc) threads and fabrics, to prevent burning away your design.

Test stitching lace designs is recommended, since not every lacy looking embroidery has sufficient overlap of stitches to remain intact after washing away stabilizer.  Look for the acronym 'FSL' in the notes of pre-purchased designs when evaluating which designs to try with wash away stabilizer.  An internet site with a nice section of designs is www.suebox.com.  Here are some samples created by assorted digitizers that our presenters shared:

Using two sheet of stabilizer, with grain lines perpendicular (rotate one sheet of stabilizer 90 degrees before hooping), can help produce results that minimize distortion due to movement of the stabilizer in the hoop. One member offered that medical supply laundry bags were a cost effective alternative to commercial wash away stabilizers.

If you elect not to rinse away the stabilizer, you can create a lasting three dimensional lace sculpture.  These may be used as ornaments, bookmarks, purse/picture frame decorations.  If the stabilizer was to be rinsed from the above baby shoe, it would become a free standing lace baby sock. You may dampen a completed design, and then allow it to dry over a pencil to create a bend in your lace once it is dried.  Plastic canvass sheets that were meant for yarn cross stitch, can be handy drying racks for free standing lace.

Some free standing lace designs were created to include a mylar tissue paper applique; these designs have areas free of satin stitch, whose densely placed needle holes could tear the mylar.  Mylar is similar to the material of metal birthday balloons; you may see this material offered to crafters as 'embroidery film'.  This is a fun way to add the bling to your crafts that catches the attention of so many teens.  If you are interested in using this type of material for clothing, look for Angelina, which can be dry cleaned and pressed.  Angelina is available in threads, as well as sheets like mylar.

In addition to our creating a mylar design, as well as our choice of a butterfly, napkin, or snowflake ornament, we were treated to a demonstration of Embird embroidery editing and digitizing software.

We are grateful to our lovely volunteer presenters, Bev (left) and Dutch (right), as well as Princeton Chapter volunteers Rosemary, Lily, and Helen.  We also thank our caterer, Chris, for serving a delicious hot lunch followed by blueberry shortcake; and the Pemberton Library staff for providing space for this event.

Free standing lace can also be used to edge t-shirt necklines and lingerie, create jewelry, and be a good way to create a design with cut outs, like this candle sleeve above.  What will you create with free standing lace?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fun at Pemberton Library on July 2, 2013

One benefit of American Sewing Guild membership is you are welcome to attend any meeting.  I am happy to report that the lovely seamstresses of Browns Mills, New Jersey, made me feel like one of the girls.  Thank you for a wonderful night.

We were practicing use of our sergers by creating fabric rose pins, similar to those seen recently on ready to wear purses.  I must admit that I spent most of the night threading my machine, but I understand that is part of the learning curve.  Before the night was through, we agreed to serge as a group again.

Here is my final entry for the American Sewing Guild contest ending June 30, 2013.  I am looking forward to winning the Babylock serger that is self threading.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tonight's Meeting of Hamilton Sewing Challenge American Sewing Guild Neighborhood Group was rescheduled for Thursday, August 1, 2013

Please mark your calendars and e-mail me to confirm you will be there.  Joen, our Browns Mills Neighborhood Group leader, is hosting a meeting tonight, so we will be sewing with her.  Have a blessed Independence Day!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Tomorrow's Meeting - UFO's - including dress from last meeting

I have a confession: I still did not finish the dress I started at our last meeting.  I have a feeling that I am not alone.  Our weather has been beautiful, and I have been spending more time outside.  Also, one of our American Sewing Guild members requested hand made items for her craft fair this month, and I could not resist that challenge.

Please let me know if you are planning to attend our meeting on July 2nd at the Hamilton Public Library, 6-8pm.  If you can't attend this month, we would like to see you at future meetings.  Your friends invited, too!