Owl & Drum's Sew Very Modern
Tuesday's Tip - Cleaning Your Iron November 07, 2017 13:41
In this day and age of modern clothing fabrics, for some of us the only time we use an iron is when we are quilting or sewing. As a shop owner, I cannot tell you now many times I have heard new sewists say, "I don't even own an iron!" Now, of course, they do - as it's often crucial to beginning and completing a project. So, with that in mind, it's time for a mini-lesson on how to clean your iron.
One of the best home remedies involves items you already have - baking soda and water!
Mix together 1 tablespoon and 2 tablespoons of baking soda to form a paste. (If you have filtered or distilled water, that works best.) Apply the paste to the areas that need the cleaning. I usually use my fingers, but you may want to use a spatula to spread the paste. If you have a lot of build up, leave the paste on the iron for a few minutes.
To remove the paste, use a clean, wet cloth. Make sure you wring out the water before you start to clean off the iron plate. Once you have removed all of the paste, your iron is clean and ready to use!
Here's another tip . . . for dealing with those glue stains caused by fusible interfacing - use a bit of nail polish remover on a cotton ball, which should wipe the glue off just like that!
I hope you found this Tuesday's Tip useful and maybe, just maybe, it might even encourage you to clean your trusty ol' iron. As with all equipment and sewing tools, a little TLC goes a long way - and helps make our projects run smoother on the road to sewing success!
Thanks for reading and please check back next week for another Tuesday's Tip from Owl & Drum. Until then, happy sewing!
Introducing the Garment Getaway: Dress Fitting Weekend! October 31, 2017 17:10
Are you, like me, obsessed with Project Runway? Do you dream about being a contestant and hearing the always-dapper Tim Gunn tell you to "make it work"? Okay, realistically, being on Project Runway may not be in the cards for us, but we can still pretend!
So, with that thought in mind, it's great to introduce the Garment Getaway: Dress Fitting Weekend, co-hosted by Sew OK.
Started in 2013 by Jemellia Hilfiger, Sew OK was created to join sewists, quilters, stitchers and party people together, while encouraging friendships and building a community based on love, laughter, admiration and creativity. Each summer, Sew OK holds a popular quilt retreat in Oklahoma City, with past quilt instructors including Lizzy House, Latifah Saafir, and Sheri Lynn Wood.
This year, Jemellia wanted to shift from quilting to sewing and have the retreat be held closer to Tulsa. Owl & Drum has enjoyed being the featured pop-up shop at Sew OK's past retreats, so partnering up with Jemellia for this sewing retreat is a dream of ours. With the focus being on garment fitting, it was the perfect collaboration for us. We have been doing apparel classes here at the shop since close soon after opening. Plus, we already have the perfect instructor, Mary Perisho!
Mary, a fiber arts instructor, comes from several generations of seamstresses and tailors - and she adores sharing her skills with students of all ages. She began sewing as a child. Mary has designed and constructed everything from accessories, interior items, children's toys and clothing to custom formal gowns, theatrical costumes and clothing for her wardrobe. Mary enjoys all the stitching crafts - including quilting, embroidery, knitting and crochet - and has created original works in those mediums for various art shows and special occasions.
Mary earned a bachelor of arts in Humanities from the University of Oklahoma, and conducted academic study focusing on traditional women’s handcrafts. Currently a sewing teacher at Owl & Drum, where she teaches both children and adults in group and private lessons, she also teaches in public schools throughout the Tulsa area with the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa's Artists in Schools program. Teaching dressmaking and pattern fitting is a special focus for Mary, and she always helps sewists of all skill levels learn to make clothing they will love to wear!
The dress that we have chosen to teach at our Garment Getaway is from Alison Glass's Woven Essentials pattern booklet. We will be making the sleeveless version of the fitted bodice dress - with the option of the gathered waist or darted-sheath design. Plus, if you would like to add a contrasting fabric inset to the bodice that will be welcome, too.
During the class, each student will get a personal fitting with Mary, learn how to trace and cut the dress pattern, make a muslin and get the perfect fit - plus, learning all of the elements necessary to make this beautiful dress!
We have limited the Garment Getaway sewing retreat to just 8 students to ensure that each student will get plenty of one-on-one time with Mary.
So, if you are looking for a fun weekend trip that includes sewing, good food, inspiration and many laughs then the Garment Getaway is for you! The retreat fee includes lodging, all meals, the dress fitting class, dress pattern, and some extra goodies.
We have even made it easier by offering an option to pay half now and the remaining balance next January. As of this post's publishing date, we still have some places available, so click here to sign up . . . It's going to be a great Garment Getaway!
Tuesday's Tip - Knit Neckband Sewing Tutorial October 17, 2017 13:43
I've got to tell you, one of the easiest ways to learn a new sewing technique is to watch a video. This is one of the advantages to living in the "digital age".
So, here's one by Mary Perisho, aka Mary Make & Do. Enjoy!
Tuesday's Tip - Beginning Quilting Basics October 10, 2017 07:41
As a quilt shop owner, I meet many customers who say they have a dream to one day make a quilt. Well, it's a dream that can become reality - and I tell them that! As a quilter myself, I know that making a basic quilt is definitely achievable. Some students need a class to get them started, while others can pick it up by simply reading a pattern, book or tutorial.
For all of you self-learners, I highly recommend Lucky Spools' Quilt Making Basics PDF. This 8-page tutorial is jam-packed with easy-to-read tips and instructions for making a quilt from start to finish. Plus, its all free! Click here to download your copy.
Perhaps, you may feel a quilting class is the best way to get started. The easiest way to find a quilt class in your city is to do a Google search for "quilt classes" or, to be more exact, "modern quilt class." If you happen to live in Tulsa, you are in luck! Ann Olson of Ann's Quilt n' Stuff will be at Owl & Drum in November to teach students how to make our Modern Starter Quilt. If interested, click here to sign up and get more details.
Whether you get to take a class or decide to teach yourself, I suggest adding quilting to your hobby list. It's very satisfying, tactile, therapeutic and rewarding! Not to mention, you will have an awesome quilt when you are all finished. So, get out there and give it a shot - you'll love it!
Thanks for reading Owl & Drum's latest blog. We appreciate your interest and support - and love of all things crafty! Until the next time . . . happy sewing!
Fabric Friday - Beauty Shop by Melody Miller & Sarah Watts October 06, 2017 06:45
Here's a Cotton + Steel Fabrics first! Two designers, Melody Miller and Sarah Watts, have combined their skills to collaborate on an entire fabric collection from start to finish. Titled "Beauty Shop," it's a retro-inspired line featuring five cotton, 13 unbleached cottons and two canvas prints. Both designers worked on each and every print. To create this new style, Melody and Sarah passed the designs back and forth in order to edit and perfect the patterns for these unique fabrics.
The inspiration behind Beauty Shop comes from Sarah's childhood and her memories of spending afternoons at her grandma's beauty shop - from the treat bowl filled with strawberry candies to the vintage designs of the hairstyling and beauty tools. Then add in the influences of Melody, a veteran in retro design. Mixing Melody's love for vintage with Sarah's beauty shop memories proves to be a winning match!
In addition to the prints above, "Beauty Shop" consists of two quilt panels called Hankie. Offered in either a blue or peach color-way, these panels contain squares that are hankie-sized and include designs reminiscent of vintage handkerchiefs.
The versatile hankie prints can be used in quilts as borders and backings or even fuzzy cut into a whimsical patchwork. However, they can also be cut apart to make a variety of sewing projects - such as the pillow and hankies shown below - just to name a few. What would you make with these fabric panels? If you have some clever ideas, please leave them in the comments section!
Maker Spotlight - Kelly Crowley of Bake Simple September 30, 2017 09:47
Tulsa is a treasure trove of makers and here at Owl & Drum we have been lucky to get to know some pretty special ones. So, that's why we would like to introduce you to our new blog segment - Maker Spotlight. Now its your chance to see what makes these makers' tick, their inspirations, backgrounds and accomplishments.
Our first Maker Spotlight features talented local "baker & maker" Kelly Crowley of Bake Simple. Store customers may recognize Kelly as she is also a part-time sales associate at Owl & Drum. We love the different point of view and sense of style that Kelly brings to the shop and, as you will learn, she's a pretty clever sewist, too!
Kelly wearing a Fen Dress that she made with fabric by Carolyn Friedlander.
When did you start sewing/quilting?
I was living in Austin and found myself making up little projects and sewing them by hand a lot. I investigated sewing machines and pretty blindly bought myself a Baby Lock. My skills stayed really basic for a few years. I eventually moved up here to Tulsa - and took the "Absolute Beginner Sewing" class with Mary during my third week in town! I've learned everything I know from Mary, Ann Olson, Bianca and all the nice people I've met through the shop. I finally have sewing friends!
Tell us about an early pattern learned at Owl & Drum?
During the Absolute Beginner Sewing class that got me hooked, I learned how to do the envelope pillow pattern. I've used the famous pattern a number of times to decorate my home or my friend's home since then. Even though I had been sewing for a few years at that point, I was completely self taught. It helped me feel confident in my skills and brave enough to try new patterns!
Please tell us which Owl & Drum classes you have taken.
Oh geez, so many . . . Working with Sewing Patterns, Fen Dress class, Modern Starter Quilt, Modern Triangle Quilt, the embroidery classes with Retro Den, the dress workshop at Owl & Drum's Urban Quilt/Sew-In and various private lessons with Mary, such as learning how to work with my serger. I'm sure I'm forgetting one or two!
What benefits do you find that sewing/quilting provides?
It helps get my creative energy out. Picking out patterns and fabrics - or even just making it up on my own - is experimental and fulfilling. Then, when you're all done, a lot of times you've created an actual useful item! My handmade items make up a majority of my wardrobe, along with my pillows, blankets, aprons and so on.
How has sewing influenced your business Bake Simple?
Sewing influences my baking in a number of ways. I'm inspired by color schemes and quilt designs. Sometimes, the relaxation I get from sewing allows my mind to dream up new flavor combinations. I love hand-making aprons, napkins, bread covers and other things to make my time in the kitchen full of thought and purpose. Creativity begets creativity; anytime spent at my sewing table inspires me to dream and create!
Kelly doing her thing - and wearing an apron that she designed!
What are current your favorite sewing/quilting projects?
I love making clothes! Dress and tops are my favorite. Dresses with pockets, to be exact. Quilting is still a new adventure for me and I've dipped my toes into improvisational quilting. I definitely find that satisfying. I've made just a few improv quilting blocks - and want to make more.
A couple of Scout Tees that Kelly made.
What are your future sewing/quilting goals?
I've been working on my second quilt, which will be my new bed spread. With the help of Ann (Owl & Drum's quilting instructor), I'm adjusting the pattern from a throw to a queen size quilt. It feels challenging, but I know I can do it.
What is one project or skill you really want to tackle?
I would love to complete an improv quilt big enough for snuggling. I have a new shirt pattern with buttons all along the center back. I know this may be challenging for me, so I'm going to take a private lesson with Mary very soon. I also bought some blush pink shirting fabric from a fabric shop in Austin that I know is begging to be turned into something beautiful - I just do not know what yet!
Do you have any favorite fabric designers?
That's a tough one because there are so many that I enjoy. I have to say that the one I've used the most is fabric from Carolyn Friedlander. Her subdued and organic designs lend themselves to any project. I've made a dress, top and quilt from her current line, Friedlander. In fact, I want some more so I can make some pillow cases!
The Willow Tank, a staple top of Kelly's making.
How often do you get to sew?
I sit down to sew, crochet, needle felt or embroider at least a couple times a week. It helps that I can do the last three in bed while I am watching TV - it's the best way to wind down after a long day!
Which project are you most proud of so far?
I am really proud of my first quilt - the Modern Starter Quilt with Les Fleurs fabric from Rifle Paper Co.'s first fabric line. I originally started classes with the end goal of making a quilt, so it felt like a huge accomplishment. My other proud moment was from an Owl & Drum's Stitch Society craft swap. I made a pillow and needle felted a painting originally painted by the recipient on to it. It felt really special to me and ended up meaning a lot to her, as well!
The Modern Starter Quilt featuring fabric from Rifle Paper Co.
Kelly's own creation, a needle-felted pillow for a secret craft swap.
Any last thoughts on all things sewing?
Sewing is a constant journey of learning and creativity. The more you learn, the more there is to find out - and the more creative you will be! I am regularly inspired by the community I've met at Owl & Drum. I count my blessings to be surrounded by such creative people who are happy to share their knowledge. A great example is all the guest teachers who show up at Owl & Drum to teach different textile and fiber skills. There are some things that are not my favorite, like tracing sewing patterns and attaching sleeves, but I've found once I start going it doesn't feel like a chore at all.
Wow, thank you so much Kelly for taking the time to share your ongoing sewing and making journey with us! Any readers who would like to get to know Kelly more you can follow her on Instagram under @bakesimple and check out her baking shop over at www.bakesimpleshop.com.
Thanks for reading the debut edition of Owl & Drum's Makers Spotlight. Please keep an eye out for our future profiles on talented local artists. There are so many! Happy sewing everybody!
Tuesday's Tip - Machine Button Sewing September 26, 2017 07:55
Did you know that you can sew on a button with your sewing machine? Amazingly, you can! It's very simple to do and can be a real time-saver.
Here's a run down of the steps to sew on a button:
1 - Switch to the button foot on your machine.
2 - Position your fabric and the button under the foot. It is helpful to use a fabric marker to mark the spot on the fabric where the button is to be sewn.
3 - Set your machine to a zigzag stitch, and lower the stitch length as low as it will go. This will set it so the feed dogs will not move the fabric through, and the needle will only go side to side. Another option is to use the feed dog cover that comes with some machines.
4 - Use the hand wheel to be sure the zigzag stitch width is the correct width for the holes on the button. Adjust if necessary.
5 - Once the stitch width is good, use the pedal to make about 12-15 stitches.
6 - Remove from the machine.
In the video, we snip the threads. However, you might like to secure them with a knot on the back. To do this, leave the threads long, tug on the back threads a bit to draw up a loop of the threads from the top to the backside of the fabric, pull the loops to draw up the tail of the threads through to the back side, and then you can knot all the threads on the backside.
Thanks for reading another edition of Owl & Drum's Tuesday's Tip! We have really enjoyed providing a few of our favorite tips and tricks for modern sewists. And there are more to come! But, if there is ever a subject you would like for us to to cover, please feel free to leave a suggestion in our comments section. We love hearing from our readers. Good luck with your various projects - and use today's tip the next time your child pops a button . . . Happy sewing!
Fabric Friday - Birch Fabrics' Camp Sur 3 September 22, 2017 12:51
Being a big fan, I discussed last Friday what is organic cotton and gave some insights into why it's so great to sew and quilt such a versatile, luxurious fabric. Free of toxins and eco-friendly, the designs and textures are also sometimes - in fact, many times! - just too cute to resist! This is totally the case with Birch Fabrics' latest line, Camp Sur 3.
Designed by Jay-Cyn Designs, Camp Sur 3 is inspired by a California camping lifestyle. Pitching tents, fishing and relaxing by the campfire, this collection beautifully embodies the spirit of being in the great outdoors in the great Golden State.
In addition to quilting cottons, I have also brought in a couple of the Camp Sur knits. Birch Fabric knits are 95% organic cotton and 5% spandex, which allows them to have a two-way stretch. They are the perfect fabrics for fall baby clothing, especially as they feature lovely autumnal colors. Wouldn't these prints make the cutest baby leggings? Yes. Yes, they would!
If you happen to live in the Tulsa area, I highly recommend stopping by our shop to take a first-hand look at these really fun fabrics. Otherwise, just click here to view Owl & Drum's Birch Fabrics' curated collection. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend. Happy sewing!
Tuesday's Tip - Seam Finishes September 19, 2017 00:00
One of the many benefits to sewing is you can make a number of items that you would otherwise buy in a store - making you self-sufficient, stylish and, of course, unique!
However, when making garments you want to make sure that your sewn pieces will withstand quite a bit of wear and tear. One way to prolong the life of your creation is to use a seam finish on the edge of the your fabric.
We have outlined below a variety of helpful techniques to finish those edges. From easy to a more involved, these finishes will add professionalism and durability to your sewn pieces.
Pinked seam - Use pinking shears to trim some of the seam off near the edge of the fabric. Try not to cut off more than half your seam.
Zig Zag - Use the Zig Zag stitch or the Stitched Zig Zag stitch (also called Tricot Stitch) along the cut edge of the seam allowance.
Serge - Use a Serger Machine, with 3 or 4 cones of thread, to cut and serge the raw edge of the fabric. Sergers can look intimidating (and you might hear some horror stories) but don't believe them! The serger can be a sewist's best friend (right up there with the seam ripper!) Just be sure to take some time to get to know your serger, and its mystical threading trails, before you use it on a project.
Machine Overlock - A mock serger stitch you can do on many domestic sewing machines. Check your machine manual, as a mock overlock foot is often included with all those extra doo-dads that came with your machine when you took it out of the box and said, "What the heck are all these thing-a-ma-bobs?"
Clean Finish, or Turn & Stitch - Use a slightly larger seam allowance, like 5/8" or 3/4", press open and turn under each cut edge to meet the seam stitches. Press well, stitch like you would a hem, and close to the folded edge.
French Seam - This fancy seam makes a closed-in seam on the inside of your project. Start by sewing the two fabrics wrong wides together (what?! Wrong sides?!) with a small seam allowance, like 1/4" or 3/8", and then trim to about 3/16". Press the seam allowance to one side, then press the seam well from the opposite side, and make sure the fabric opens at the stitches. Next, turn the fabric around right sides together and sew with a 1/2" seam allowance.
Flat Fell - Looks like a french seam that is stitched flat, but it's done a little differently. Sew the seam with a larger seam allowance, like 5/8" or 3/4". Press the seam open. Trim one side of the seam only, by about half. Take the untrimmed side and fold it around the trimmed side, and tuck the cut edge in to meet the stitches. Press well. Stitch like a hem, close to the folded edge.
(Please note: When using one of these finishes, you might need to add extra fabric for the larger seam allowance when cutting, if the pattern does not already call for it.)
So, next time you are needing to finish the edge of a hem try out one of these techniques. You may be adding an extra step to your process, but the outcome will be visually pleasing, will help keep those fabrics from fraying, and will increase the life of your project. Happy sewing!
Fabric Friday - What is organic cotton? September 15, 2017 13:54
Ever since Owl & Drum opened five years ago, we have been delighted to find customers have flocked to our wide variety of organic cotton fabrics. With great designs from such leading companies as Birch Fabrics and Cloud 9 Fabrics, organic cotton has become quite a game changer in the quilting industry.
Not only do they feature some of the most unique, exquisite designs available, but they also have some advantages that other fabrics do not. So, what exactly is organic cotton - and what makes it different from other cotton fabrics?
To be classified as organic cotton it starts from the very beginning - growing the cotton. The cotton must be grown in soil where the fertilizer is organic or natural and free of toxic pesticides.
Using organic fertilizers and pesticides helps reduce greenhouse gases and, hopefully, creates a more balanced eco-system. Also, growing organic cotton uses far less water! So, you can see how the environment, the workers and consumers can all benefit from cotton grown organically.
So, how do you know if you are using an organic cotton? For starters, if you buy fabric from industry-leaders like Birch and Cloud 9, you can be assured it is 100% organic cotton. Otherwise, you can want to look for fabrics that have a Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or OE100 symbol.
To obtain these certifications, the companies that produce the fabric have to prove the whole process of production - from growing the cotton to producing the fabric - meets the organic standards. (Both Birch Fabrics and Cloud 9 Fabrics have met the requirements of the GOTS.)
Another advantage to organic cotton fabric is the types of dyes used when creating the prints. Birch Fabrics uses low-impact dyes and describes them as:
"Low-impact dyes do not contain toxic chemicals or mordants, require less rinsing and have a high absorption rate. High absorption rates and a decreased use of rinse water create less wastewater and runoff."
Do keep in mind though that low-impact dyes does not necessarily mean they are natural dyes. They just happen to be a non-toxic form of a synthetic dye.
It's important to consider using organic cotton fabric if you are making a baby quilt, clothing or nursery items. Because of the reduction of toxic chemicals in the fabric, a new mom may feel a bit of relief knowing the fabric is safe for the baby's delicate and sensitive skin.
However, don't feel like you cannot use regular cotton, too. You can - because the majority of the toxins are removed during the fabric production cycle! All in all, organic cotton fabric reduces our carbon footprint and is a win for the environment, which is never a bad thing!
Before we leave you on this beautiful Fabric Friday, take a look at the some of the fun and unique prints of organic cottons that can be found at Owl & Drum. As you can see, they are true gems in the quilt fabric market!
Charley Harper "Western Birds" by Birch Fabrics
"Squares" by Leah Duncan for Cloud 9 Fabrics
"Pears" by Carolyn Gavin for Windham Fabrics
Charley Harper's "Mountain Blue Birds" by Birch Fabrics
"Little Whales Gauze" by Tout Petit for Cloud 9 Fabrics
Tuesday's Tip - How to Sew Mitered Corners September 12, 2017 00:00
Knowing how to sew mitered corners can be a very useful skill. Mitered corners are used mainly when making cloth napkins, but they can also be used for such other household items as blankets, table runners and placemats. Luckily, getting that perfect mitered corner is very easy. All you have to do is follow these steps!
1 - Fold all of the four sides of your fabric. For my napkin, I first pressed each side 1/4" and then I pressed a 1" fold. Of course, you can adjust your measurements to meet your specific needs. (A typical napkin will measure about 18"-20".)
2 - Open up your corner. You will see the pressing marks - and they will act as your guide for your next press.
3 - Now that you have your folding marks, fold the corner in so that the folds meet those marks, and then press.
4 - Open up and fold the corner in half with right sides of the fabric touching. Pin on to place and sew along the fold mark. Be sure to backstitch when you start and finish.
5 - Trim the end 1/4".
6 - Open up your corner and press your seams open.
7 - Repeat this process on the other three corners. Once you are finished, flip your corners right side out. Be sure to poke your corner out so that each point is nice and pointy! Give your corners and all sides a good press.
8 - Now, you will want to top stitch your sides in place. I like to sew with the back of the napkin up and use a 1/8" seam allowance (as shown). When you begin sewing, make sure you backstitch, at each corner pivot your fabric with the needle down, and then backstitch at the end. Give it a good press and you are finished!
Now that you know how to sew a neat mitered corner, make a variety of these napkins in different prints and textures. Not only are they a great way to dress up your dinner table, but they're a beautiful and eco alternative to paper towels. Just wash and reuse!
Fabric Friday - Magic Forest by Sarah Watts September 08, 2017 12:20
Another week is coming to an end, so you know what that means . . . it's time for Fabric Friday on Sew Very Modern!
I hope you are feeling inspired by these beautiful prints to make something magical for yourself or a loved one. Maybe a baby quilt for your best friend's new baby or a back-to-school dress for your little girl? Either wa, you will love these new fabrics from Sarah Watts!
Join us next week as we feature yet another amazing fabric collection that can be found at Owl & Drum!
How to make a fabric textbook cover! September 05, 2017 11:14
It's that time of year again - Back to School! To celebrate the kids returning to class, I have created this fabric textbook cover, so your child can have a unique book cover!
Materials needed: 1/2 yard fabric, sewing machine, rotary cutter, ruler, cutting mat, other basic sewing supplies and, of course, a text book.
1. Open your textbook to measure the length and the width.
2. To determine how much fabric to cut, we will add 2" to the length and 6" to the width. For example, my book is 20.5" by 11", so I cut a piece of fabric that is 26.5" by 13". To cut your fabric, I find it easiest to use a rotary cutter, ruler and mat. That way you will get the most precise cut.
3. Fold your short ends 1/4", sew them with a 1/8" seam allowance, and press.
4. Place the book in the middle of the fabric, right side of fabric facing up. Fold the sides of the fabric over the cover of the book on both sides - paying close attention that the book remains in the middle. Mark your stitch lines on both top folds, place a pin in each fold and then sew. Make sure you do not sew over the folded hem and be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of each sewn line.
5. You will repeat this process for the bottom corners, too. But, first, re-fit the book with the tops completed and make any necessary adjustments needed to insure you have a snug fit.
6. Now its time to turn the side pockets right side out and press the top and bottom seams, as well as the sides.
7. And, voila, you are finished - go ahead and place the cover on your textbook!
I hope you have enjoyed our first-ever sewing tutorial here on Sew Very Modern. And we hope your child enjoys having a one-of-a-kind book cover!
Look forward to more sewing tutorials, tips and new fabric spotlights in the future . . . Thanks for reading and happy sewing!
Tuesday's Tip - Topstitching August 29, 2017 14:27
Topstitching - to make a row of stitches on the top of a sewn item, or the right side of the fabric. Usually used as a decorative stitch, or to stabilize the seam.
Topstitching is widely used and can be tricky for lots of beginning sewists. It's the one stitch that is on the outside of your item, so it can be seen. Like most things, you can excel at topstitching by lots of practice but here are a few tips to make your first attempts your best.
- Use a similar colored thread that matches your fabric. For example, using a black thread on a black fabric easily hides any imperfections.
- Follow that seam allowance. Go slowly and make sure you have your seam allowance marked on your machine, (I like to use washi tape). A common seam allowance for a top stitch can be between 1/8" to 1/4" for a neckline and 1/2" to 1" for a hem.
- Use a longer stitch length. Your topstitch will look nice and neater with a long stitch length. I like to use a 3-3.5 length. Plus, if you feel the need to rip out those seams it is much easier. That being said, do not be afraid to take out your topstitching if it is not up to par. Even the most experienced seamstress will use a seam ripper from time to time. I know I do!
- I prefer to use a regular straight stitch for my topstitching. A lot of machines these days do have a variety of decorative stitches and you may choose to use one of those occasionally. I would suggest trying out those stitches on a scrap of fabric first.
There you have it! Thanks again for stopping by our blog, Sew Very Modern. It's been a pleasure sharing some of my favorite sewing tips and I hope you will come back on Friday for our Fabric Friday feature.
Fabric Friday - Daydream by Josephine Kimberling August 25, 2017 12:16
Blend Fabrics, a high-end textile design company based in Atlanta, features great designers who always have a fresh and on-trend approach - and Josephine Kimberling is just one of them! As a veteran in surface design, Josephine's style is all about vibrant color, a dash of vintage and a twist of whimsy.
Inspired by Asian designs and motifs, Josephine's new collection - titled Daydream - features origami animals, mountain landscapes and hot air balloons in blues, greens and grays. These new fabrics are sure to whisk you off in a dream-like state!
These 100% cotton fabrics are perfect for baby quilts and nurseries, especially for a young boy as suitable, cool fabrics can be harder to come by - so visit Owl & Drum and snag some while stocks last!
Thanks for stopping by Sew Very Modern - and check out next week's Fabric Friday!
Tuesday's Tip - Basic Sewing Terms August 22, 2017 00:00
When you start your sewing journey you start to see a lot of words that may seem like a foreign language to you. So, I would like to help you out and give you the meanings of some of the most basic sewing terms out there.
Baste - either by hand or machine, long stitches that are used, temporarily, to hold together two pieces of fabric so that they stay in place while you sew them together.
Bias - diagonally across the fabric grain. In woven fabric, this is where there will be the most stretch.
Bobbin - the spindle that is placed on the bottom of the sewing machine. The thread from the bobbin is what forms the lower part of the sewing machine stitches.
Fabric Grain - the layout of the threads that make up fabric. These threads run perpendicularly and parallel to the selvage.
Feed Dogs - the jagged, metal piece underneath the stitch plate that helps to push the fabric along by moving up and down.
Hem - the edge of a sewn item that is folded over at least once and sewn. A hem is used to enclose the raw edge of the fabric to avoid fraying.
Muslin - fabric that is used to create a sewing pattern prototype, usually an un-treated or un-dyed piece of fabric, in order to be able to fix mistakes and improve fitting.
Presser Foot - part of the sewing machine that holds the fabric is place while you sew.
Seam Allowance - the area of fabric between the edge of the fabric and the seam, the stitches. Typically, it's 1/4 inch for quilting and 5/8 inch for apparel sewing.
Seam Ripper - a sewing tool that has a pointed edge to help you remove stitches from a piece of fabric.
Selvage - the raw edges that run along the grain of the fabric.
Sewing Notion - a tool used for sewing, as well as an item sewn to fabric such as a button or snap.
Warp - the threads that run along the length of the fabric, up and down.
Weft - the threads that run along the width of the fabric, side to side.
Being familiar with sewing and quilting vocabulary will help make your experiences with patterns, tutorials and sewing classes much easier. While these selected terms are just a start, I hope this encourages you to explore more!
Student Spotlight! August 18, 2017 15:37
Hello! It's Mary here today to share Owl & Drum's Student Spotlight!
Each month or so you will get a chance to get to know some of our students as we shine the spotlight on one of the many wonderful folks who frequent our sewing, quilting and other fiber art classes and workshops.
There are lots of classes that we offer at our little store, but none of them would happen without people to attend them! We love teaching our craft, and we have had the good fortune to meet all sorts of wonderful folks through our events. We appreciate each and every one of our students, and it would not be possible to do what we do without you!
This time the spotlight is on Tarynn Venable! You might recognize Tarynn as the lovely gal who made the spectacular red Rifle Paper floral dress (pictured below) at our Urban Sew-In Retreat last April. Tarynn's first sewing class at Owl & Drum was one of our very first Beginner Quilting Classes, before Ann Olson began teaching for us. But her first class with me was a Beginning Sewing Boot Camp that ran for 4 weeks. When those 4 weeks were over, she did another 4 weeks of Advanced Beginner Boot Camp, and then another and another until it became an Open Sewing session each week. She even brought her family in for a Stuffie Sewing party! Tarynn is one of our most devoted students, and a dear friend!
Here is our Q&A with Tarynn:
Tell us little bit about yourself!
Hi! My name is Tarynn Venable. I am a Tulsa native, I am a self employed esthetician, and I love to create! I have a husband, 3 step children and 3 pups.
When did you start sewing/quilting? Was it at Owl & Drum?
I grew up with my mom and grandmother, and my grandmother was always sewing or making flower arrangements (she really LOVED Memorial Day). She made the whole family these sequined stockings for Christmas. She loved telling the story about when I three years old she was making a stocking and had all these little dishes out with a bazillion sequins in them. I came over and she warned me to not touch her tray. I looked down at it, and "whoop!" Smacked the tray and they went flying everywhere. Ha! Who doesn't love watching glittery things shin through the air? Getting back on track now, the older I got the more I loved fashion and shopping. I took the Fashion Design program at Tulsa Tech and loved it. I made my prom dress, and it just makes you feel like a rock star wearing something you made! Then as adulthood began I kind of feel out of sewing. And then my life changed when Owl & Drum opened! They have restored my hobby, and keep me totally inspired! I'm so grateful for Mary and Bianca.
What was your first class at Owl & Drum?
My first class at O&D was the the Beginning Quilting Class, I am not sure of the name of the instructor! Ha! What I do remember is taking forever to pick out my fabric, and Bianca was so patient with me, and helped me select the best fabrics.
Please tell us which Owl & Drum classes you have taken – whatever you can remember!
After my quilt class I didn't take another class for a couple of years, but I'd pop in occasionally. Then I signed up for the Beginners Sewing series with Mary. Mary quickly became one of my favorite people. I sewed with a couple of other girls and really enjoyed my time with all of them. I also really enjoyed my "ME" time up there. Working at O&D there's no distractions, and you're constantly inspired. I took several classes following that Beginner Knits, Improv Quilting Camp (yes this was for kids, but I wanted a stay-cation). I've mostly done open sew since my skills have grown.
What, if anything, surprised you most about learning to sew?
The thing that has surprised me the post is what you're capable of... now I'm more selective about what I buy to wear. Can I make it? What's the value? Do I want to make this? It's also inspired me to make other things. I've signed up at FabLab, I want to make some jewelry. I'll never stop sewing though!
What benefits do you find that sewing/quilting provides?
It relaxes me... in a weird way... Sometimes it makes me tense if I'm in a complicated moment, but I'm only thinking about what's in front of me. I can't plan or worry or think about the day when I am sewing. That's really nice. It's definitely a form of meditation for me.
What are your favorite sewing/quilting projects?
I've started making formal gowns for myself for the Junior League of Tulsa's Gem Gala. That's been really fun. One of my proudest pieces is the Improv quilt I made with Mary's guidance at my Improv Quilting Camp. It's just a crazy way of sewing if you've never done it. It's so organic, and mind blowing! Super love it, and I'd like to make more... Lord knows I have the fabric!
What are your future sewing/quilting goals?
I'll continue to make formal gowns, and I'd like to get more into improv quilting.... I also have a stack of projects I can see as I type this...
What is one project or skill you really want to tackle?
Hm... A skill I'd like to have, but haven't had the drive to pursue is hand quilting. People who do that blow my mind! Talk about patience!
Do you have any favorite fabric designers?
I don't... Or better yet maybe I should say ALL OF THEM!
How often do you get to sew?
Depends on my other extracurricular activities, I do love a deadline. I try to sew weekly.
What would you sew right now if time and budget allowed?
EVERYTHING! I would make clothes, quilts, bags!
Which project are you most proud of so far?
Oops, I think I said this earlier, but probably my improv quilt. I love it. I can barely use it!
Tell us more about your sewing experience- anything that comes to mind! For example: What challenges you? What do you dread as a necessary evil? What have you impressed yourself with? What do you love about Owl & Drum and our classes?
I really can not enjoy hemming, but it's an absolute necessary evil. I impress myself with my neatness and efficiency combo. I LOVE taking O&D Classes because I leave ready to take off for more! I also LOVE working with Mary. I've been working embroidery lately, and just added 20 more embroidery projects to my pile! O&D has helped me grow into my favorite hobby, keep the fire fueled. O&D inspired me to think outside the box of creating for myself and friends, to share my creativities with others.
Thank you very much, Tarynn! We are so happy that we have had the opportunity to influence your skills and creativity! Thank you for supporting our small business, and our classes!
Tuesday's Tip - How to Use Pins August 15, 2017 10:42
As a sewist, Inevitably, you will use pins when sewing or quilting, whether you like to or not. They can be very helpful when working with slick fabrics such as rayon and can help you stay on track when sewing a curve.
Have you ever wondered whether you are using your pins correctly? Believe it or not, but there is a right way to use them. First of all, when using a sewing machine, you will want to insert your pin horizontally and have the ball of the pin on the outside of your fabric, as pictured below.
It is in your best interest to remove your pins before sewing over them. So, having the ball of the pin on the right makes it so much easier to remove them as you are sewing.
If you are using a serger, your pins will lay vertically, at least a quarter inch outside of your seam allowance. While you are feeding your fabric through, you will not have to remove them and you will avoid the pins hitting the blade that is to your right.
Other tips to consider: Throw out any bent pins you may have in your pincushion. Use glass head pins if you can. This way, you avoid melting the ball of the pin when you need to iron. Lastly, keep your pins sharp by using a pincushion filled with walnut shells or emery sand.
I hope you have enjoyed this week's helpful hint. Stay tuned for more sewing and quilting advice from Sew Very Modern - an Owl & Drum blog!
Fabric Friday - Lagoon by Rashida Coleman-Hale August 11, 2017 09:19
It's always an exciting time whenever the new collections from Cotton + Steel debut. Customers eagerly await the time when they can head to their local quilt shops and see the beautiful fabrics up close. And store owners always love to offer great new designs from a company with a terrific aesthetic and sense of style.
Well, happily, it's that time again! This week we are featuring Rashida Coleman-Hale's newest Cotton + Steel collection. It's called Lagoon - and it's fab!
Rashida used her immense imagination and creativity to develop a fictional tropical jungle, complete with lush colors and whimsical characters. Prints include playful lemurs, maps and colorful leaves and vegetation.
Here's a sampling of some of the lovely fabrics in this thrilling collection:
Now that you have gotten a taste of Lagoon, I invite you to stop by our shop on 15th Street in Tulsa and take a look at the full collection. It's truly gorgeous!
Tuesday's Tip - Rotary Cutter Basics August 08, 2017 10:02
Whether you are a quilter, sewist or crafter, you probably use a rotary cutter. Rotary cutters help with accuracy, speed and efficiency. Plus, they're just so handy! In fact, your creative world was probably turned upside down when you first used one - and it's hard now to imagine a time when we all had to rely solely on scissors.
So, as we use our rotary cutters in most projects, it's time to share some of the basics of rotary cutter care and use:
- Keep it sharp. Your rotary blade should always feel like its gliding through butter. Whenever you feel you are having to press harder to cut your fabric it is time to replace your blade.
- Always use a cutting mat. This may go without saying, but you always want to make sure you have a cutting mat under your fabric when using a rotary cutter. It will protect your surface underneath, as well as prolonging the life of your blade.
- Cut away from you. It's safer, you get a nicer cut and it helps when trying to apply even pressure.
- When not in use, close the safety. It's always best practice to set the safety on your rotary cutter when not in use - especially if you have "little hands" in your house.
- Cut standing up. Cutting your fabric while standing up will allow you to put your body weight into the cut. Plus, while you are standing over your fabric you will have a better view of the fabric you are cutting.
- Apply even pressure when cutting. This helps to give you a straight and even cut and - in the case of cutting through multiple layers - it will prevent you from having to go back and cut those gaps that did not get cut.
- Throw your blade away safely. I like to use blades by Olfa. These blades always come in a handy, plastic yellow case. Whenever I'm ready to replace my blade, I put the old blade in the case and throw away. Easy.
So that's another Tuesday's Tip from the Sew Very Modern blog in the bag. We hope you enjoyed it and check out next week's helpful advice, too!
Fabric Friday - All About Chambray August 04, 2017 07:22
You may have been noticing a lot of blue clothing items on the store shelves these days. They look kind of like denim but they are much more lightweight. What you are seeing is one of the hottest trends in the fashion and fabric markets - cotton chambray.
Originating in the early 19th century, chambray gets its name from a small town in northern France called Cambrai. Originally made from linen, it is now more commonly made of cotton.
Usually constructed in blue hues, chambrays consist of a white yarn in the weft and a colored yarn in the warp. Because it is evenly woven, chambrays give off a softer shade. With the popularity of chambray, we are now seeing some color pop up. So far, black, gray and red have been popular colors for chambray shoppers.
For all you apparel sewists, I would definitely recommend picking up some chambray for your summer wardrobe. You can make a variety of pieces including skirts, tops, shorts and dresses. One pattern I would definitely recommend is Made by Rae's Gemma Tank, as pictured below on Tulsa's own Ashley Daly. Another great pattern for chambray is Grainline Studio's Willow Tank and Dress.
We are finding that chambrays are being used for a lot of sewing projects and quilting, as well. Because chambray is a plain weave, like quilting cotton, it can easily be combined with other types of lightweight or medium-weight fabrics. The soft tones of the chambrays really make bright colors pop!
Hope you enjoyed a little cotton chambray primer - and hope you can sew with some very soon. It's great to work with! Owl & Drum has a nice selection of chambrays that can be found in our Tulsa and online shop. Click here to check some of them out!
Tuesday's Tip - Sewing a Straight Line August 01, 2017 09:25
As simple as it sounds, sewing a straight line can take time and practice. While most sewing machines will have seam allowance lines these lines can be short and often hard to see. Our solution? Washi tape!
First, you will want to find a bright, fun and cheery printed washi tape or masking tape. Second, determine your seam allowance. Next, cut off a piece of tape that is around 2-3 inches. Following the seam allowance guide on your machine, lay the piece of tape along that line. Make sure the tape is as straight as possible - this will now be your seam allowance guide. Just match up the end of your fabric with that tape and sew. It's as easy as that!
Tuesday's Tip - Backstitching July 25, 2017 00:00
If you've been sewing for any length of time you know how important it is to backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam to reinforce the stitches so they don't come undone. Well, here's a little tip to make your backstitch serve you well by preventing the machine from eating your fabric:
When you start a seam, place the fabric under the presser foot so that the needle is about a half an inch in from the back edge of the fabric, and backstitch to the edge of the fabric before stitching forward, rather than starting right at the edge.
By starting with the backstitch, your machine can grab and move the fabric because the feed dogs and presser foot are in full contact with the fabric. If the edge of the fabric is placed up against the presser foot to start, rather than being fully underneath it, the machine cannot move the fabric as easily, and the needle will often just "chew" at the edge and create a knotted ball inside the machine under the needle plate.
Fabric Friday - Soul Mate by Amy Butler July 21, 2017 00:00
Especially for this week's Fabric Friday, we have Soul Mate, the gorgeous new collection from Amy Butler for Free Spirit Fabrics. Consisting of 24 prints in a cotton poplin, Soul Mate is pure Amy Butler - from the stylish prints to the vibrant colors!
Amy describes Soul Mate as:
"A sweet reflection on love and the perfect co-creation that happens when synergy and beauty meet. The two peacock lovers in It Takes Two are the stars of the collection and - in a light, tongue & cheek way - represent finding my soul mate in my husband, David. Being in tandem and mixing elements go hand in hand with making a great relationship and, of course, an amazing quilt!"
Owl & Drum is happy to offer customers the full line - that's 3 versatile color ways and 24 prints! Soul Mate is printed on a cotton poplin, which is very soft to the hand. We would heartily recommend these fabrics for quilting, as well as apparel.
Soul Mate is available in our online and Tulsa shops. Feel free to stop by and take a look at these fabrics in person. They will not disappoint!
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