Thursday, July 21, 2016

explore your machine stitches

Hi Everyone! I know it has been a very long time since I wrote a blog post; I am just having too much fun sewing. : ) Really, I don't want to post just about whatever I've made, but I also want to help you on your journey sewing and quilting through my own experiences. Today, I would like to encourage you to explore your machine stitches.

If you know me, then you know that I DO NOT like to sew or applique by hand. Just about the only thing I really like to sew by hand is binding, but I am even finding that the machine can do this just as good as I can - most importantly, it is durable.

I currently have an orange peel piece in the works and needed to applique my orange peels down. I really love the look of straight-stitch applique, but since this is a pillow and might get washed a few times, I decided to go for a button-hole stitch (or is this called a blanket stitch?). It might be easier to do this by hand, but I am saving my hands for typing. Anyway, I first thought I wanted to use a blanket stitch with monafilament thread on the top and gray thread on the bottom spool so all of my different rainbow colored orange peels would stand out rather than a constrasting thread.

The problem I have with cleanr monofilament is that I struggle a VERY long time with tension problems. It scares me just thinking about it. A friend of mine, Katrin, convinced me to use regular thread and my trusted machine blanket stitch. I pulled out the colors I needed and bought a couple more that were missing.

I am very fortunate to have a blanket stitch or buttonhole on my Pfaff 2046 sewing machine. I use it regularly, at least once a year. Yes, that is regularly. : ) It just took a bit of time to get the right tension; I had to reduce the tension on the top thread and additionally loosened it a bit on the bottom spool as well.

If you have a Pfaff, check out these two stitches - No. 2 - a fake Sashiko and No. 28 a buttonhole or blanket stitch. I increased the stitch length on ths Sashiko to 4 on the length and increased the depth and length of the buttonhole stitch to 3.5 to get the achieved look of good even handstitching.

Here was my end result. This is really all machine appliqued and machine sashiko quilted. I promise you! Doesn't it look fabulous? I am pretty impressed with it myself. I was a little nervous with the Sashiko, because I didn't think it would come out this nicely with the machine. I used a very bright white cotton thread on the top (which I would normally never quilt with). My quilting guru, Sabine Feldmann always told me quilting with white makes it look like your quilt was just basted and not quilted. I agree, but here it totally worked especially against the "salt and pepper" lovely, yarn-dyed Essex Linen in black from Robert Kaufmann.

Click to enlarge

If you are interested in the printed fabrics I used, the charms are from Lecien Fabrics. I used two - one of cold colors and one of warm colors. Honestly, I was just waiting for a good excuse to break out these two charm packs. There is nothing more exciting than breaking open something new! : )

Now, there are a lot of other stitches on your sewing machine to test out. These were just two I decided could possibly fit this project. My machine has a lot of other decorative stitches which could really look nice too, if I sat down and played with them. Hey, that's a great idea. I think I will do just that tomorrow too - try out some more stitches on a scrap fabric and see when and how I can use them in the future. I hope you do the same?



After I finish up the packwork pieces in the morning hours, I like to put them on display. I can see them when I walk by (doing my other chores) or when I am preparing lunch in the kitchen. It helps to to see (from afar) if I need to tweek, improve or change something. I am really happy I decided on this design and the offset (asymmetrical) layout! 

Thank you for joining me today! I always get tickled when someone drops by to hear my rambling. Feel free to leave a comment here or on Instagram (@easypatchwork). I love hearing what you have to say. You really make my day! : )

Happy patching!