Friday, 16 November 2018

A touch of Christmas embroidery


Machine embroidery for beginners - thoughts on Embroidery machines

I have just made myself a Christmas sweatshirt and thought it was a good opportunity to talk a bit about Embroidery Machines in general. Of course the real experts are Jaycotts so if this post sparks some interest then please telephone them for a no-obligation chat on 01244 394 099

This is my experience with machine embroidery.


This is a very simple sweatshirt made in a looped back sweatshirt fabric. This particular fabric comes in about 16 colours and is inexpensive Looped back sweatshirting A top like this is perfect for lounging in..




I have made this pattern before and for details of how to make it see my blog post  -you can find it here Drama Llama sweatshirt


The first thing you need to decide is do you  want an embroidery only machine like mine The Brother innov-is 800e or a sewing/ embroidery machine combined.

An embroidery only machine is the obvious choice if you already have a sewing machine which you love and have space to store and use an embroidery machine too.



For normal sewing my Horn sewing cabinet ( ask Jaycotts for details and prices) has room for my sewing machine and overlocker. The embroidery machine has its home in a cupboard nearby. I have a dedicated sewing room which becomes a bedroom when my son comes to stay. The Horn cabinet closes completely to hide my sewing machines away leaving a very nice area for my son to use.




When I want to use the embroidery machine my sewing machine simply pushes down into the body of the Horn Cabinet, a perspex insert covers the cut-out and my embroidery machine sits on top. This works very well. There is no foot pedal on an embroidery machine so there is no need to sit on top of it.




If you are thinking about replacing your sewing machine too,or maybe you are short of space then you you may want to consider a sewing machine and embroidery machine combined. I have written a review of this one, the Brother Innov-is VQ2 which I think you will find interesting. This machine has a long arm which is much loved by quilters.

These two machines are only a very small part of what Jaycotts has to offer and I do strongly recommend that you visit them to try various models out if you can or at least telephone to discuss the best one to suit your needs and your budget. New machines are coming out all the time.


You will need accessories which you will become familiar with as you start to use your machine.

Stabiliser

The first thing you need is stabiliser. There are various types but all serve the same purpose which is to stabilise and support the embroidery as it is being worked on the fabric.
A good start is Gunold tear away stabiliser but as you become more proficient you will need self adhesive stabilisers and water soluble stabilisers. All available from Jaycotts.

Embroidery needles

Your needle is going in and out thousands of times for each piece of embroidery and you will get through them very quickly. Various Embroidery needles you will also need special needles ( shown on the link) if you intend using metallic threads.

Embroidery thread

This is a fun part, choosing your thread. There are plenty of Embroidery threads to choose from Embroidery thread I would start off with a box of thread and add to it as you need it. There are colour changing threads, variegated threads, lurex threads......

You also need Bobbin thread this is used in the bobbin as it is not necessary to use your embroidery thread top and bottom unless!you are making free stand embroidery for bookmarks etc.




You will need one or two hoops to start with, usually supplied with your machine, but you can purchsse different sizes.  Your stabiliser and fabric are placed tightly into the hoop and the grid allows you to align the centre of  your design and to place it correctly on your fabric.


Where do I get my designs from?



There are designs built into your machine to get you started . You can find free ones online to download from Brother and other companies and there are designs to purchase online. Take a look at the Brother UK web site for their designs and project ideas Brother Sewing UK





You will notice that I have used easily removable chalk to mark the positioning of my design.


The design is chosen  from one built into your machine or you can download one from the internet, load it into a pen drive and insert it into the USB port on your embroidery machine. It really is that simple.


 There are lots of designs available, not just for Christmas so it is really easy to personalise your garments. You could add a sprig of Holly to the corners of tablecloths and napkins too. You do not necessarily need to make the item to be embroidered yourself.



All you need to do is change the colour of the thread when the machine tells you to. This is a Sweet Pea design I am working on, but the process is the same.
The display shows an image of your design with a marker at the point you are up to.
On the right is a list of the current and following thread colours which are needed. I like to get them lined up ready whilst the machine embroiders the current colour



.

Should your thread snap or your needle break the machine will tell you and stop. There is then the opportunity to either go back a few stitches or to the previous thread colour.




I hope that this has given you a little insight into the world of embroidery. It is very simple and very addictive and I know that if you are a sewer or a quilter you will thoroughly enjoy using your new machine.

Choosing the right machine for you is the only thing you need seriously consider.so do contact Jaycotts and they will help you to make this totally exciting purchase.

The address is


Jaycotts Ltd, Unit D2, Chester Trade Park, Bumpers Lane, Chester, CH1 4LT, United Kingdom


And the telephone number is 01244 394099

Thank you for reading, I hope you found it useful
Angela
#sewangelicthreads

#christmas #gift #christmasgift #machineembroidery

Thursday, 15 November 2018



Soft toys for gifting

 plus some easy to sew Tree decorations


 Soft toys look daunting to make and I admit they can be fiddly, but follow the instructions carefully and you cannot go wrong. Who would not be delighted to receive one of these creatures as a gift.



Tree decoration


This is Donald the Owl showing you just some of the large range of patterns sold by Jaycotts Sewing patterns by Brand the patterns used for these toys are all from the Simplicity range at Jaycotts.


The Owl and the Deer are from the same pattern, and there are more versions to choose from! View the pattern and order it on this link Soft toy pattern




 This pattern is very easy to make and us suitable for a beginner.




Of course there are plenty of other craft patterns in the range to choose from , so do views the section above and take a look at other brands too!



 To start with the Owl, find some scraps of  cotton fabric - we all have lots of scraps don't we.
If not Crafter's companion is a fantastic online store catering for every craft imaginable - take a look! Crafter's Companion uk
They sell inexpensive fabric by the metre Fabric at Crafter's Companion .these are the seasonal fabrics, they have more.
And fat quarters Fat quarters

Of course I highly recommend Minerva fabrics as their choice and price range is outstanding.

Even if you do not have children yourself you could donate them to a charity raffle or give them to a child you know. Two of these little chaps are going in a raffle to help raise funds for charity. Donald the owl has found himself a job at Jaycotts in the advertising department and has flown the nest. We wish him well.


 Cut the main pieces out from your chosen fabric and before you cut the eyes and beak and eyelashes out of felt, you need to back the felt with some Bondaweb see it here -  Bondaweb if you cut out pieces of felt roughly the right size you can then trace the shapes directly onto the paper backing making it much easier to handle. Iron the Bondaweb onto the felt. Draw the shapes and then cut out. Peel off the paper backing and then iron in place. This binding is wonderful for all sorts of projects.
I went around each piece with matching thread using my open toe patchwork foot for my Bernina.


I am very lucky to have the Bernina Bernina 350 PE as one of my sewing machines.  Here  is Donald showing the machine to you.It comes with a lot if accessories and an incredible amount of stitches so do take a look. This machine is hardworking, reliable and is an absolute favourite.



Back to making the Owl. once you have the features sewn in place it should look something like this. Don't be afraid to do your own thing here though and make this expression your own.



Stitch the wing sections together and sew them in place matching the notches and dots.



Then sew the legs together, turn right sides out and stuff lightly with polyester FIBERFILL .Toy stuffing . Stitch them to the markings made on the lower body. Right sides together


Tuck the wings and legs in and carefully sew the back to the front without catching the legs or wings. Leave a gap at the bottom between the two dots.Clip the curves.turn right sides out. Stuff fairly lightly using a knitting needle to reach the corners.


Close the gap With a slip stitch or a gather stitch and there he is finished.




The other toys in this pattern are made in much the same way.On this one machine or hand embroider the eyes and the mouth and attach the nose in the same way as we attached the beak on the Owl



This is the face finished. I cut antlers out of felt. And glued them together with some temporary adhesive. This glue stick is a fabulous product Glue stick it holds things together whilst you sew them perfect for antlers.  Stick them wrong sides together and then sew round the edges with just an ordinary straight stitch.


Stitch the ears on and the antlers on , matching the dots.


Stitch the bodies to each front and back head.


Then make the arms and  legs as before, stuffing them lightly and stitch in place.


The arms need tiny paws stitching to them before making them up.


Fold everything in as before and join front to back, leaving a gap to turn right sides out.
I found it easier to break my sewing off and do the top and the bottom in two separate sections.

 Here he is ready to be turned right side out.

Stuff lightly and close the gap with a ladder or slip stitch.


Here they are together.



I wanted to make a soft toy which was more boyish and noticed on this pattern that one of the options is a boy monster.
This pattern is again Simplicity and is on this link Stuffed animals and monsters



Use your own fabric choices and personalise him how you want. Please note that if this is for a very small child then omit the buttons and use two additional circles of felt glued and sewn on as before.




Just as with the others, deal with the features first, and have fun with the expression, you don't have to copy the pattern exactly.


This is my face! Well, not mine personally but you know what I mean.


It has strings or Tufts coming out of it's ears, the photo above shows the different stages of making them.


Make the ears and sew giant  ric rac braid along the bottom of the face inside the seam allowance.


Then sew the body to the face. Now, this is where I went off-piste as it were. I found it too fiddly with my hands to finish the base in a box with the feet at the sides.
So I cut the bottom bit off and finished it exactly the same as the other two.


What you should really do  is to attach the feet to the sides and construct a square base, so it this is what you prefer to do then follow the instructions on the pattern sheet.

I am perfectly satisfied with my version, and he looks like the other two.




Here the three are together for the very last time as they are all on their way to new homes.
Don't be frightened to  make soft toys and accessories. They are easy, they don't have to be perfect - no child is going to object to a wonky ear - they will love it because YOU made it for them

Thank you for reading this post. I always love your feedback and photographs .

No doubt we will be seeing plenty more of Donald in his new job.

Happy toy sewing


Very easy Christmas  Tree decorations 



I wanted to show you how to make some very easy Christmas decorations and table accessories.
These are perfect for you to sew with your children as no special skills are needed for any of these.


 These are some of the items which I am going to show you how to make



You will need a pattern . This one is by Simplicity and is available from Jaycotts It is  Simplicity 8935 There are other simple toy pattern's in the range so do take a look.
You will need some felt pieces in assorted colours,  I bought mine from Minerva Fabrics. There are plenty of colour choices plus some sparkly ones see the range here  Felt  I used sparkly felt in white, green and black as well as other plain colours. You choose which ones you like best, there are no Rules!


When making the smaller ornaments I found it easier to photocopy the pieces and to cut them out in thin card so that I could then draw around them on the wrong side of the felt to make cutting out easier.
I am starting with the stars which I think are really cute, and I am using white felt which has a sparkle all over it.
Cut the felt shapes out and mark the position for the eyes and the mouth. You will need to embroider the mouth with a back stitch or a stem stitch. The eyes are safety eyes and are available from MinervaCrafts you will need various sizes according to which decorations you are making. The sizes are included on the back of the pattern envelope Toy safety eyes
The cheeks are made by colouring them with a soft red pencil. Once you have done the features sew two stars together with a blanket stitch, or even  a straight stitch or to be honest any stitch you fancy so long as it is small. Enclose a hanging thread at the top. This can be ribbon or string or a thick embroidery thread as I used. Remember to leave a gap so that you can stuff it.



You need some toy stuffing, pull it apart a bit to get rid of the lumps and push it gently into the shape using a chopstick or something similar so that the stuffing gets right into the corner's.
Then sew up the gap and  sew on a felt bow, which is just a small rectangle of felt gathered in the middle and sewn on by hand .


I made the large star too, you will find it fiddly to sew up the gap where you put the stuffing inside on a machine so iether sew it by hand or use your normal zipper foot. Please take care that your chosen stitch  is not too wide though or you will break your needle.



This is the start of my Star family.


The gingerbread man is slightly trickier, but to make it easier I cut out the body, head, legs and arms all in one piece. Make it up the same as you did the stars, stitching the frosting on the head on before joining the two bodies together. After you have finished sewing ,glue the arm and leg bands in place, Holding them with clips.
Cut out the holly in green felt and stitch it on along with a tiny red pom pom. He also needs a felt bow tie which you make exactly the same as the bows in the stars. For the buttons you could glue on tiny felt circles or just make a dot with an indelible ink pen.



The stars and the gingerbread man are having fun playing with the machines at Jaycotts.co.uk

The other toys in this pattern are all made the same way. The Yeti is made from some fur fabric but if you do not have any use some cuddle fleece or similar.


You will notice a Christmas tree sat among the ornaments. There is no pattern for him, but he is easy to make too. I will show you how to make more decorations.


 If you are good at drawing then draw some other Christmas shapes into thin card and cut them out. Hearts are also a good choice as are snowmen.
I made two Christmas trees, one is stuffed and has features made from safety eyes and an embroidered mouth.


The other tree and the stockings are made by simply stitching two felt shapes together and decorating in your own style.
You will find that these wonder clips are so much better than trying to hold two pieces of felt together with pins. They come in various quantities and sizes Clover Wonder Clips I love them and use them as much as possible in place of pins.



When you sew your tree decorations together it is nice to use a metallic thread or a variegated thread. For the metallic threads you will need to use a metallic needle , they have an elongated eye which helps prevent the thread from shredding.  Machine needles for metallic thread
For some of my decorations i used a variegated thread Variegated thread  and used some fine ricrac as a hanging thread.
I also used various colours of Gutterman Sulky metallic thread when I was making them which add extra glitter to your project.


I make plenty of these stockings every year, and I put sweets inside them (the top is left open) Some go on my tree but I also hang them on drawer handles. They are always popular with both expected and unexpected guests of all ages.



These are two Christmas trees, one has a face and is made in the same way as the stars.The other is made by stitching two tree shapes together with a metallic thread and sandwiching a hanging loop between them The felt has a glitter pattern all over it.


Nobody says that decorations have to be red or green, these glitter sparkled black stars are lovely. You could use whatever colour matches your decor. My friend has pink and purple on her little girls own special tree.

 I am extremely pleased with my hand made Christmas. You can of course make all the decorations in the pattern and decorate your tree exclusively with your own makes.
This is a project which does not take long and which you can get the children involved with. The decorations could be glued together with a PVA craft glue so long as any young children are properly supervised of course.



Thanks to Jaycotts for the fabulous machines and accessories. Please do visit their web site and do not hesitate to contact them with any enquiries, the customer service is excellent and they will advise you on the best product for your needs without obligation. CONTACT JAYCOTTS

Thank you for reading this post, I hope you will have a happy time doing your Christmas sewing.

 Angela




#Christmas #decorations #christmastree #sew #sewing #sewangelicthreads #sewingblogger #imadeit #handmadechristmas #Easter