On The Bias

Final-Seam-Binding-5-
Finished Bias Binding

I’m not sure what sewing rock I’ve been living under, but I spent some time this weekend  relearning how to create buttonholes (with an attachment), and learning how to make my own bias binding from my fabrics.  As to the buttonholes, I learned the “old school” way how to make them using the zig-zag stitch on my machine many years ago, and am able to do this very well.  I have to admit, though, that using the special buttonhole foot for my Baby Lock machine makes it a fairly simple task!  We’ll call that discovery Number 1.

Final-Bias-Binding-1-

1/2 Yard fabric squared, 1/4″ seam stitched on three open sides, and first diagonal cut made in top layer of fabric.

Discovery Number 2, however, really is just a sewing wonder.  I’ve now learned how to *somewhat* easily make bias binding.  I say somewhat because it involves a few steps, but after my second try I had it figured out, and I have to tell you it’s like magic!  I still don’t quite see how it works; all I know is that it does.  If you are a quilter you may already know how to do this, but in case you don’t let me refer you to the website of Pat Bravo.  She has a simply fantastic tutorial there that will guide you through the steps to make your own bias binding out of any fabric.  No more limits to the few colors of bias binding that they stock in your local fabric store.

Final-Bias-Binding-5-

Seams pressed and cutting lines being drawn.

Final-Seam-Binding-3-

Rotary and scissor cuts being made.

That knowledge, along with my Simplicity Bias Tape Maker that folds/presses the bias tape for you, gave me exactly what I needed.    Once complete, my original 1/2 yard of fabric yielded a little over 9 yards of bias tape. I also see from searching online that there may be a special foot for my machine that will fold and sew the bias binding to my project, so I may still check into that via the shop where I purchased my machines.

Final-Bias-Binding-4-
Simplicity Bias Tape Maker at work.

Also, in looking further at Pat’s website, I see that she designs fabrics and creates her own patterns, both of which are sold at my favorite online store for quilt cottons, hawthornethreads.  So yeah, you bet, I ordered some of her luscious purple and aqua fabrics.  They have the modern, clean, crisp designs I love so much.

So why, you ask, did I need to learn how to make buttonholes and create my own bias binding?  I’ll reveal the reason tomorrow!  Do you have a favorite way to create bias binding?

Advertisements

So Very Taxing

Calculator

Taxes.  Bookkeeping.  Accounting.  Not my favorite subjects.

However, after discovering Outright, I have eased the burden of bookkeeping significantly.  Outright was recently bought by GoDaddy.com, but is the same software program.  As a small business owner, you can create a free account with access to one year’s worth of records.  There is a yearly charge if you want unlimited access to all records, and/or assistance with tax forms.

You connect your business accounts directly to Outright, giving them authorization to pull information nightly and keep your records updated.  You can include accounts such as:

Paypal, Etsy, Ebay, Amazon, and even banks and credit cards

After linking, Outright immediately starts importing your sales and expense transactions.  You are able to add your own expense records into categories, very much like Quicken does.  As for me, I use Outright strictly for tracking my income, and still use my own Excel spreadsheets for tracking expenses.  But the option is there if you need it.

So if you need a little help in the bookkeeping department for your small business, check them out.  You will be amazed at how easy it is to set up an account, and impressed with the time saving options this software provides!

Sewing Space

Final-Shop-DSC02951

Sewing Studio

As today is the last day of September and National Sewing Month, I thought I would share a few other ways I have my sewing studio set up for ease of use.  Please see my post from last Monday to see my favorite methods of fabric storage.

There’s one thing you can’t ignore with sewing, and that is how you set your space up for cutting fabric.  One of the main reasons I like to sew smaller items is that it makes setting up the space for this task much easier.  I only use a 2′ x 3′ cutting mat, along with my 2′ Omnigrid ruler, 6 1/2″ Omnigrip square, and rotary cutters for all these chores.  The real trick here is to get your cutting board at the right height for you, so that you don’t develop unnecessary back problems!

Final-Cutting-Table-2-DSC05

Cutting Table

Along with my cutting space I also wanted an organized area to store all my patterns I have developed.  I knew that narrow trays would be the perfect solution.  I found the right combination for cutting/storage at the Container Store, by combining two of their 16″ stackable Elfa drawers with six narrow trays and one medium tray. These trays pull out for easy access to my patterns, and in fact the top tray holds my rotary cutters and extra blades as well.  The deeper tray at the bottom holds my Toughtek fabric, which is quite heavy, and the freezer paper I use for all my pattern making.  Labels on the fronts of drawers make contents quickly known.

Final-Cutting-Table-2

Layers of Cutting Table Top

I added the Container Store’s “stick on” silver melamine to the top of the unit, and attached four casters to the base.  I have never needed to use the locks on the casters (stays steady enough for cutting without the need to do that), but  this addition makes the entire unit easily movable for times when you might need the space for other things.  Since the melamine top is approximately 21″ square, it is not quite the right size to support the 3′ x 2′ cutting mat.  Another solution – I purchased a lightweight 1″ thick drawing board, which just happens to be exactly 3′ x 2′, from my local Michael’s store to give my cutting mat the support it needs.  Perfect!  And again if space is needed you can easily take the cutting mat/board combo off the top and store away as needed.

Thread-2-DSC02936

Sewing Table Drawer

The other thing that helps me the most with my sewing tasks is my large sewing table.  I have to admit I splurged here and purchased a dining table for my main work area.  This table is big…long enough to hold three sewing machines side by side.  And yes sometimes I have them all set up at once, and can quickly roll my work chair from one to the other.  I have my regular machine and my serger, and a second regular machine that has black thread and a walking foot for sewing the Toughtek bases to my pet beds.  And the best thing about my table is the built-in narrow drawer, which stores all my thread, scissors, and other sewing instruments.  Keeps all that away from the kitties and neatly stored.  All in all, a perfect sewing room guaranteed to keep me happy!!

Do you sew, and if so do you have a favorite way to set up your sewing space?

 

Fabric Storage

Ikea-Bookshelves-DSC05244

In honor of September’s National Sewing Month, I thought I would share my favorite methods of fabric storage.

To store my lovely fabric stash of quilt cottons, I recently purchased some white glass front shelves from Ikea. The glass doors help protect the fabric from dust and my kitties. But the best part is that you can easily see just what you need, without digging through a stack of fabric. And to be honest, I just love looking at them all neatly folded and color sorted. It’s like a nicely organized bookshelf, except there is fabric instead of books!

Canvas-Bins-DSC05246-copy

I have all of my scrap or small yardage quilt cottons, that I typically use for my quilt block beds, stored in small canvas bins on Elfa shelving from the Container Store. These little canvas bins are available in different sizes, and are nicely accommodated on different shelf depths. They also come with a clear plastic label area. Again I have them color sorted, but rather than type out what colors are in what bins, I just used the fabrics themselves for the label fronts, so that I know which bin to grab on my next project.

Final-Canvas-Tubs-DSC05256

For bulky fabrics, like my minky fabrics, I have found that nothing works better than these large canvas pop-up laundry bags I found at the Container Store. They are wide enough, and deep enough, to hold quite a few yards of the fabric. Since I stock 37 colors, I purchased several bags for color sorting.  And, in my case, the bags fit beautifully underneath my large sewing table. An extra bonus!!

My utility fabrics (canvas/muslin/batting) are stored in large clear plastic tubs with lids that I got at my local Target store. I do have some unwashed bolts in the room, but like to transfer the fabric to these tubs once washed. Choosing clear containers lets me quickly keep track of my inventory of fabrics washed and ready for cutting.

Thanks to Lucy for assisting with the photography.

How do you store your fabrics? I would love to know!

Moo Ahh

Final-Moo-1-DSC05227

Box of Goodies from Moo

Moo Ahh – a new descriptive term for what you say when opening a package from Moo, Inc.

This is just the most amazing advertising company.  As they say in their logo, “We love to print”.  Well I’m certainly a believer!  I came across this company quite by accident, in an internet search for an online company that could print some new tags for my products.

This is something I have been thinking about doing for quite some time.  And within just days after finding this company online, I saw a notice in an Etsy Success newsletter that they were offering a 30% off sale on any and all products ordered by Sunday, September 8th via the Etsy link provided.  So I spent the better part of that weekend working in Photoshop to format my photos in the correct size and resolution for printing, and placed my order.  Moo has excellent online instructions for submission of your order.  The best part is that they can even pull your photos directly from your Etsy site, although I preferred to rework mine so that they were saved in a higher resolution for print.  The one piece of advice I have here is to allow Moo’s system to “enhance” your photos.  It provides better contrast and brighter colors for any photos you are using.

Final-Moo-2-DSC05236Moo Mini Cards

This is just the neatest company.  Not only are they are able to print in full color on both sides of the card, but they have a technology called Printfinity that gives the option to print a different image or design on every business card, mini card, sticker, etc.  Truly amazing!  Just think about that for a minute – you can showcase your entire portfolio of products on your cards.  Explore Moo’s “inspiration” tab on their website to get loads of great ideas and a feel for what your order will look like.

Not only are my new cards beautiful, but they arrived within one week, and were wonderfully packaged.  Opening the package was like opening a lovely gift, with each of my sets of new mini cards and business cards stored in the prettiest little boxes with colorful wraps.  It was like opening a rainbow!

Final-Moo-3-DSC05231

Tyler wonders why Lucy is on my business card

I am so excited to be able to offer these new tags and business cards when shipping my products.  They will definitely boost the professional appearance of everything I create.  If you have ANY need for superior advertising, I would definitely check this company out!  They received an all paws up in this pet household!!