Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lilo's First Adventure

When reading all the talented craft blogs, I could not help but think that I should get up the courage to learn how to sew. I never had a home economics class in school, nor did I grow up with sewing around the house -- unless you count sewing on a button. And that does not even count, since they do not tend to stay on long!

So my first mission was to do research! I asked a few friends, who asked other friends for me, and before you know it, I had expert sewing advice coming about. In addition I remembered Becky having a few awesome sewing post where she shared about her new purchase. So shout outs go to Inés, Becky, Talida and Nat for helping me with my purchasing decision.

When deciding on a machine I had to ask myself a few questions, and along I realized there were two main points I learned were most important to me: 

  • I do not know how to sew - I might hate it or I might be terrible at it. I should put a small investment down to see if I like it. So purchasing an expensive machine was out of the question. If I loved sewing, then it would be natural growth progression to upgrade to a better one. A Bernina perhaps ;)
  • I wanted enough sewing functionality to experience the whole spectrum in sewing. My stretch goal is to create a quilt one day. In the meantime, the sewing machine had to serve as an embellisher for cards and clothes, or a fixer-upper for hemming pants (for short people) or fixing a trim on a shirt.
Without further suspense, I decided on a Brother CS6000i, which I baptized Lilo. As in Lilo & Stitch. Get it? ;)

Lilo - the Sewing Machine

Inés was kind enough to show me the basics, and I went crazy trying to try every stitch setting. I basically sewed over every inch of my 5x4" scrap that Inés gave me. After about 10 minutes of playing around, I felt super confident that Lilo and I could make something.

Incidentally, Scrap Our Stash was having a June Stitch Challenge. Perfect opportunity to get down & dirty with the basics of sewing. So off I went to design a card based around stitching. Other sewing projects were also on my mind and I was picking up fabric, when I decided that I would cut a little corner off and use it in my card. I thought of creating an easy shaped template to cut out the space, fill the negative space with fabric, backing, and poly-fill to create a cushiony, three-dimensional card, and add a hand-written sentiment on the bottom to give it more of that "stitched with love" feeling. 

Paper: Card stock - Close to Cocoa (SU!)
getments: Fabric (Joann's); General Purpose Thread - Coral (Coats & Clark)

Here is what I learned:
  • Do not use organic shapes as your first sewing assignment. Stick with straight lines. And practice navigating around.
  • Read the sewing machine's manual. There is a tension knob to help adjust threading so that the bottom thread does not poke through the top. And practice various tension settings on card stock.
  • Choosing the stitch length directly effects how easily one can navigate the curves. Practice in this would have also helped.
  • Pre-piercing the sentiment with a pushpin or needle makes it easier to hand-stitch the sentiment.
  • Use heavier card stock.
I am a little disappointed in some of the off-track stitching and boo-boos that happened, but as a first-attempt or proof of concept I think I managed to achieve what I wanted to. I will definitely try this kind of card again after I have become more comfortable sewing and getting to know the ins and outs of my sewing machine. Let's see if I can't give it a cleaner look then...In the meantime wish me luck on my pajama pants. Here is hoping that both pant legs come out the same length! What was your first sewing project? Any pointers?


aus_chick said...

well done! a pointer for putting the elastic/drawstring into your PJ's - use either a "loop turner" or a safety pin on the end of the elastic as you pull it through the casing - makes it a lot easier!

Belinda said...

Darnit! Now I want this machine! Haha, no fair! I can't afford more toys right now -- especially when my sewing machine kinda works....

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