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Gathering with a serger

Thank you for visiting Threads and Stitches!

My name is Natalie Hidalgo and I am the owner of Tutu Cute Designs.

 

Today I have a tutorial on how to gather using your serger!  Everyone wants those perfect gathers.  Gathering with your serger, will give you that.

If you are sewing the skirt section of a dress and you want your gathers to be nice and even, follow these quick steps.

Place your two skirt pieces together RST.  Sew and serge down one side, making one long piece. 

Adjust the upper thread tensions on your machine to the highest setting, on my machine it is nine.  The lower threads need to stay on your standard tension.

Adjust stitch length by turning both dials all the way up. 

Serge your long piece of fabric through your machine to create a nice beautiful ruffle. 

Starting where you attached the two original pieces, attach the skirt to the bodice by carefully pinning all the way around.  You will have a small excess of fabric remaining.  

Attach the sides together and trim the remaining fabric off.  Sew and serge the sides together. Don’t forget to change your settings back.

Attach the skirt to the bodice, by slowly sewing all the way around and then serging the bodice to the skirt.

Flip right side out, top-stitch, and voila!!! Beautiful gathers. 

Have fun making beautiful and even gathers!

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Button, Button, Who’s got the Button?!

Something as basic as hand-sewing a button should be easy, right? Well when I first started sewing I kept having issues with my buttons not staying in place and coming loose after a run through the washer. I figured there had to be a trick to getting a button to stay in place and remain flush against my project. Today I am going to share my hand-sewing button routine in the hopes that it can help someone else who might be struggling with the most basic tasks. Haha!

You will need the following items- your project, your button(s), a needle, thread, Sewline Glue Pen (optional)

I start by cutting about 20-30″ of thread for my button since I like having extra to work with, especially if I’m going to sew on more than one button. Next I thread my needle and pull my thread so that the center of my thread is in the eye of my needle. My ends get pulled to the bottom and tied in multiple knots so they don’t slip through my fabric. This way the thread ends up being about 10-15″ from the needle to the knot. Having doubled my thread makes less work and a sturdier button placement.

The Sewline Glue Pen comes in super handy for keeping buttons in place while sewing them on. I just use a swipe or two on the spot I want my button, then I place my button firmly on the glue.

Once I have my button in place I start from the bottom and thread my needle through one side of the button. Going back and forth I loop through my button about 15-20 times.

Bringing my needle to the back of the fabric, I check to make sure my button and thread looks the way I want. Once I’m happy with how it looks, I take my needle and push it back up through the fabric. This time however, I don’t push the needle through the button. Instead I push the needle out beside the button.

Pulling all my thread through, I start to wind the thread clockwise around the base of the button. I make about 5-10 passes around the bottom of the button, making sure the thread is tight and not sticking out.

After I have made enough turns around the button, I take my needle and push it back through to the back of the fabric and pull taut.

To finish the button, I run my needle under my stitches on the back and then loop my needle through the thread and pull.

To finish completely I tie 1-2 knots in my thread before trimming the extra thread off. My buttons withstand the pulling of a toddler and the constant twisting and “inspecting” of a 4 year old. Using this method I haven’t had anymore loose buttons or buttons falling off.

 

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Simple Fabric Headband

The Simple Fabric Headband
By Madison Cox from Maddie Kay Creations

Hi everyone! Today I have a great QUICK fabric headband tutorial for you. These are comfy, easy to wear, cute, and most of all fairly inexpensive to make. This is a great way to use up some of those left over scraps of fabric you have laying around your sewing area. Another great idea is to use these for Christmas gifts. I know my daughter loves to give little gifts to all of her friends and sometimes just thinking about buying for everyone can give me anxiety. You could easily whip out a bunch of these fairly quick and use as presents or stocking stuffers.

Here is what you need:
About 15 minutes of your crazy day.
2 scrap pieces of fabric approximately 12 inches X 2 ½ inches
10 inch cut of fold over elastic
**any additional embellishments like trim or lace*
And then of course your normal sewing things like thread, needle, scissors, etc….

I decided to jazz up the headband with some trims that I got from Threads and Stitches. A cute simple white lace and a Christmas-y woven trim. This is going to be a great headband for my daughter to wear through the holidays, to school, for pictures, you name it.

So let’s get started. I drafted my own little pattern piece. Mine was about 2 ½ inches wide at the top, 1 ¼ inch wide at the bottom, and about 6 inches long. The wider end is the side you will line up with the fold of your fabric.

Cut out two headband pieces.
Cut any embellishments the same length of the headband fabric piece and then sew to the top fabric piece. *Tip, I like to use my Sewline glue pen to get my trims to lay exactly how I want them without having to use pins.

Next, place your other headband piece on top (right sides together) and sew using a ¼ inch seam allowance.

Clip the corners at each end of the headband piece to reduce bulk. Turn your headband right side out. *I have found using a turning tool, turning tubes, or just a simple chop stick will make this so much easier* Then iron flat.

Then you take the end of your headband and tuck the raw ends in about ½ inch. Repeat for the other side. Insert your fold over elastic in the end. Make sure at that ½ inch of elastic is inside the fold. Stitch to secure. I went back over my stitch twice to make sure that the elastic was secure. Repeat for the other side.

And there it is! You’re done! You have a cute simple and easy fabric headband. You can make a bunch of these for every occasion. You can even pick two different fabrics one for the top and one for the bottom to have a reversible headband.

Trims provided by Threads and Stitches Fabric: (click links to buy)
Poinsettia
White

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Knit Undies

Knit Undies
By Madison Cox for Maddie Kay Creations

Hi everyone, Madison here from Maddie Kay Creations to talk with you about using up some of those smaller pieces of knit that you might have laying around. Many sewists like me make dresses or other clothing items on a regular basis. Often times after cutting out a dress or shirt, I am left with smaller pieces of fabric that I can’t get a full garment out of. Well I have a solution for you!!! Underwear. Soft and stretchy knits like Art Gallery or Michael Miller knits that Threads and Stitches carries in stock, are perfect material to make soft and comfy underwear. They are quick, don’t require a ton of fabric, and most of all are so much cuter than store bought undies.

So let’s get Started:
For this I am using the Bikini & Hipster Briefs Pattern for Girls from Monkeysbug Patterns and Art Gallery’s Star Bright Fog Knit from the Little Town Collection. The accent fabric for the waistband and leg holes are Riley Blake polka dot knit that I grabbed from my scrap pile as well.


As you can see, you don’t need a large section of fabric at all! This particular piece was approximately 12 inches by 10 inches and I still had plenty of room to cut out a girl’s size 5-6 pair of undies. The waistband and leg hole pieces are 2 inches wide so I was able to cut those from some of my scraps as well. Remember to follow along to your pattern’s directions. Most underwear patterns don’t you have you line up and sew the seam like normal. This one you use your pattern piece to line up and sew so that you have an overlap panel for the crotch.

A great tip for sewing your undies. For the crotch panel, I like to use my Sewline glue stick to help keep that panel in place while sewing. It is not necessary to actually sew it down but that little bit of glue will ensure it doesn’t shift around while sewing, once you have sewn your leg holes, the fabric is secured in place.

You simply sew your side seams and then make your waistband & leg hole pieces according to the pattern’s directions. Then I like to use my hand dandy Wonder Clips to attach, gently stretching the waistband piece evenly.

Sew or serge to attach your waistband and leg holes. I personally like to serge mine and then make sure to iron flat (a good shot of steam will really help those seams look nice and smooth). Top stitching is totally optional. I like it, just because I like a nice finished clean look and I like my seams to lay flat even after washing.

And there you have it, an adorable knit pair of winter undies for my little girl that took me 30 minutes from start to finish, even with being interrupted by my 2 yr old a few times and stopping to take pictures for you haha!!

If you would like to sew up some cute pairs of underwear and need some of the oh so soft Knits from Threads and Stitches, here’s a link to the KNIT section: http://threadsandstitchesfabric.com/?product_cat=knit

MANY knits are currently marked on sale, so make sure so snatch some up!!
And while you are at it, you can get your glue pen and clover clips as well from Threads and Stitches:
http://threadsandstitchesfabric.com/?product=sewline-fabric-glue-pen-plus-refill

http://threadsandstitchesfabric.com/?product=jumbo-wonder-clips-green-1-clip-not-sold-by-the-bag

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Key-chain Tutorial

Let’s talk about fabric scraps today. If you are anything like me, you can’t stand to throw away good pieces of fabric even if they are too small to use for an article of clothing. I have a giant Rubbermaid tote FULL of fabric scraps just waiting to be put to good use. This tutorial is a scrap buster or just a simple 20 minute sewing project when you are running low on time but need to be creative.

To start with, here are the supplies you will need to create this quick and handy key-chain. (All photos can be clicked to expand.)

Coordinating scrap fabric

Quilt batting

Key Fob Hardware

You want your final product to be 1″x desired length so I cut 2 fabric pieces (2″ x 13″) which will give a (1″ x 6″) key-chain. I use a 1/2″ seam allowance. I cut my batting (2″ x 12″) so that the end which goes in the hardware isn’t too thick.

 

Once you iron your fabric you are going to layer the pieces so you can sew them. Lay your inside or back fabric right side up, then place your main fabric wrong side down, so that the right sides of each fabric are touching. Lay your batting on the top. It will look like this.

Now you will want to make sure you center your batting, leaving 1/2″ of fabric showing on each end. Clip or pin your fabric now.

Starting on one end you are going to stitch with a 1/2″ seam allowance on 3 sides, leaving one end open for turning. Make sure you backstitch when you start and finish.

Trim your seam allowance and clip your corners for a nice crisp look when you turn it right side out.

Use a turning tool, chopsticks, purple thang, whatever you have on hand or usually use to turn the fabric right side out.

When you iron your strap flat you will tuck the open ends into the strap and iron them down, creating a closed seam to sew.

Take the strap back to your machine and top stitch closed, making sure you backstitch over the end you folded and ironed inwards. You can now quilt your strap or add decorative stitches to make it really pop.

Fold your strap in half with both ends touching and attach your key fob hardware according to the packaging directions. I had to use a pair of pliers to close mine over the fabric. (Make sure you use a piece of fabric or batting to cover the hardware so the pliers don’t scratch it.)

Now you can add your key ring and attach your keys or badge ID, or whatever you like!

These make great gifts and are a wonderful way to use up scrap fabric. Plus you can wash them since they are just cotton and batting, so no worries about it getting too dirty!

I used Art Gallery fabrics from Threads & Stitches for my key-chain.

I would love to see what fabric combos you come up with!

Sew Long 😉

Alex

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Adjusting Pattern Sizes

Let’s talk downsizing a pattern. Our guest blogger today is the talented Cassandra P.

If you have a little one under two years old, you may find that your favorite patterns don’t come in the size you may need. My Lilah just turned one (tear) and she’s currently wearing 12-18 months in both store-bought clothing and most pattern companies. When I can’t purchase a PDF pattern in her size I have to improvise. You can always use the cut and adjust method but I prefer to keep it simple and eliminate the guesswork.  

When resizing a pattern that’s too big I just print my pattern at a smaller scale using the formula below.

Actual measurement / *Pattern measurement X 100 = Print scale %

For example:

19” (child’s measurement) / 20” (given in your pattern) X 100 = 95

Print your pattern at 95% print scale.

*When sizing down choose the measurement from smallest size given in your pattern size chart.

To print.. click File > Print > Custom Print Scale > *enter amount from formula* > Print.

A few things to note.

I use Adobe reader to access my PDF patterns, if you use a different software your available print settings may be different. When you have a pattern that has slim straps or narrow pattern pieces you may need to make additional adjustments for ease of sewing. When choosing a measurement from the pattern size chart be sure to choose a measurement that is relevant to the garment. For example, if you’re making a dress with a fitted bodice you’ll want to use the chest measurement from the size chart in the resizing formula. If you were trying to resize a pant pattern you would likely use the hip measurement in the formula instead. I have also used this method to resize patterns that are too small.

Please keep in mind that there is always some trial and error in the fitting process!

Also, I fully support all my fellow designers and small businesses. If there’s a pattern available in the size that you need, buy it!

 

I used this method to resize the Runaround by Duchess and Hare from a 2 to approximately 12-18 months. Fabric is Moda, Merry Berry by Basic Grey provided by Threads and Stitches Fabric!

 

-Cassandra P.

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DIY Ironing Board Cover

For the past few weeks I have had a small project on my “to-do” list and this week I finally tackled it. It took me less than an hour and it made a major difference in my sewing room. If you’re looking for a quick DIY, this is the project for you. Have you looked at your ironing board lately? Does the cover look grimy/dirty/burned/like a swamp thing? Mine sure did!! I’m embarrassed to even share a photo but I think the before and after is too good not to share. 

Gross, right?! Ok so here are the list of supplies I needed for my new cover. (might vary depending on the style of ironing board you have.)

Original cover

1-2yd fabric depending on the size of your board

1/4″ elastic or cord

Scissors

Seam Ripper (maybe)

Foam or Quilt batting for under the cover

 

The first thing I did was remove my cover and bring it over to my sewing area. Turning it over, I checked the underside to see if it was gathered with elastic or with a cord. Mine has elastic so I just took my seam ripper and removed the elastic from it so I could reuse it!! Win-win there! Once I had all the elastic out I folded my cover lengthwise and smoothed it out flat. 

Then once I had decided on my fabric, I folded it and lined the fold up with the fold of my original cover.

Using quilters clips I lined the folds up and got ready to cut my new cover. http://threadsandstitchesfabric.com/?product=quilters-perfect-klip-purple-1-clip-not-sold-by-the-bag

I decided to create a casing for my elastic so in order to have enough fabric I cut about .75″-1″ away from my original cover. Once it was cut out I did a small hem on the very end by ironing the edge down 1/4″ then another 1/4″ and sewing in place.

Doing all this left me with enough space to create a hem casing to thread my elastic through. I didn’t take pictures of the following steps, but they are fairly easy to explain. I ironed the edges of my fabric down 1/4″ all the way around (mins the straight end that you’ve already hemmed) then I ironed it down 1/2″ again. Once again I used the quilters clips to hold this in place until I could sew it. Now you will have some gathering and fabric puckering around the curved edge on the front of the cover. Just make sure you sort of space them out and do your best, it will be hidden underneath later. If you space them, it’s better than one huge overlap of fabric also.

After I had ironed and clipped my hem, I took it back to my sewing machine and stitched it down with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Make sure you back-stitch at both ends. After I had it hemmed/casing made I used 2 safety pins to thread my elastic alllll the way through, making sure to evenly space my gathers. I secured each end of elastic with a few stitches at each opening. My ironing board had 2 grommets holding the cover down, so I decided to add button holes to my new cover.

I made sure to use Fray Check before opening my button hole to prevent fraying later on.  http://threadsandstitchesfabric.com/?product=dritz-fray-check

Before I opened my button holes I stuck a pin near the end so I wouldn’t accidentally seam rip through the entire thing!

The cover is finished now and all that is left is the batting/foam. Since I have 2 small children I decided to use a layer of Insul-Bright to help prevent the underside of the ironing board from becoming too hot. I used my original foam as a template and just cut my new batting the same size. I placed it on the board, then I placed my new cover over it and hooked the button holes onto the frame. Voila! New ironing board cover! It makes such a difference in my sewing room. I love this Art Gallery fabric so much! It is soft, pretty, and just makes me happy. I love when something utilitarian like an ironing board can become something pretty and decorative too, don’t you?

I love my new ironing board cover, and I would love to see yours if you make one!

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Over the Top Modified Ruffle Dress

Hi!! I’m Bee J Stanley, owner of Blutterfly Baby Boutique -Facebook group-https://www.facebook.com/groups/951041588270905/ .  I am a mother of 4 beautiful children. I have a wonderful husband who supports all my sewing habits, sometimes unknowingly, OK mostly unknowingly…LOL.  I have been sewing little girl dresses now for over 2 years. I’m self-taught from using blogs, internet, YouTube and simply watching others and feel like I’m learning more every day.  I’m always willing to help new sewists with questions and hope to learn some amazing skills in return. Not that I’m the expert, but having someone help with simple things that make everything easier can really help.  I work a full-time job 50 hours a week with a 3-hour daily commute and I do all my sewing on the weekends-  I call it my “play time”. Making crazy over the top modified dresses are my new favorite creations and are so much fun, so I thought I would share a little on how I do that.  Threads and Stitches sent me some fabrics to play with and create this blog, so here we go.  I’ve never written a blog before so I hope you like it and please come share with me once you have tried this- or one of your own over the top designs! I am super excited to showcase one of the best designer fabrics in the world- Jennifer Paganelli’s Sunny Isle Collection, Sis Boom- Free spirit fabrics.   https://www.facebook.com/SisBoom/

The following is a modification using 2 patterns.  I don’t necessarily always follow the patterns themselves – but I do use the techniques and measurements to create, as I did in this dress- a masterful Over the Top Modified Clara Ruffle dress. This dress has a modified bodice of a Clara purchased from Violette Fields Threads (VFT) patterns, link to Clara: https://violettefieldthreads.com/products/clara-pattern-set mashed with a modified Francesca skirt from Creative Kids Couture (CKC), link to Francesca http://ckcpatterns.com/francescas-girls.html .  If you would like to make this dress, please purchase both patterns as I won’t be explaining anything from the patterns themselves-  Only how I modified them.

Both patterns play well together creating the perfect Over the Top Clara Ruffle dress.  First, I decided on how many layers of ruffles I wanted. You can do as many or as little as you like. I added 6 layers of ruffles to the skirt, this particular one is 3.25“ wide for each ruffle.  Follow the pattern to get the connector piece sizes (I don’t want to give away the pattern measurements!!) Also, the bigger the ruffles the bigger the connector piece- so less confusion if you follow the CKC Francesca pattern for the measurements you need.

Share secrets!! If you don’t have this cutter attached to your ruler you must buy one- These are perfect and keep your fingers safe! It’s a Fiskars – Fabric Rotary Cutter and Ruler Combo Tool.

For the ruffles on the Clara top I cut 4- 4” wide strips the WOF for an added wow factor and lots of puffiness. If you don’t want as much poof then cut them down as you wish. (I used 2 different prints, 2 strips each color)

Now time to serge. I prefer rolled hems so here we go- The best rolled hem threads I have found Is from Thread Arts called Wooly Nylon.

Tip- Be sure to file the top of the plastic so its smooth with a fine nail file to prevent the threads from being caught in the rough plastic- trust me it will pull and ruin the hem if you don’t do this.

 

Best way to thread this is by tying the thread and pulling it through- The wooly nylon goes through the upper looper.

Also note contrasting threads are perfect for rolled hems. If your main skirt is blue but the ruffle is pink, don’t be afraid to use a blue thread for rolling hems as I did.

Set the serger for rolled hems- Use your manual- then I suggest playing around. There are many different settings depending the machine. The lower looper is the one that needs to have a higher tension. I set mine at a little over 8 and the rest of the tensions stay set to normal (mine are 4). The stitch length needs to be on a lower number (mine is set to a 1).

You also need to adjust the cutter so it has fabric in the roll but not too much.

Again practice makes perfect as all machines are different. Practice on test fabrics until you get the perfect rolled hem. They should look like this.

Here are all the ruffles after the hems are rolled.

Assemble all the ruffles from bottom to the top, keeping the ruffles in order in whatever pattern you decided on – if any. Once you get to the top ruffle stop before adding it- you need to measure the ruffles from the bottom ruffle hem to the last layer of the connector piece, then subtract the seam allowances and add the rest of the desired length for the skirt. Use this main fabric as the final connector piece. You will sandwich the last ruffle with the main skirt to the last connector piece (as you have done with all other layers). I do this all in one step to save time- You can always sew the ruffle then sew the connectors. Then, you have to serge and then top stitch…so see why I do it once. Saves me time and thread, haha. When done it will look like this below.

Next, I’ll work on the bodice.  Don’t forget to purchase the Clara so you can create this most desired bodice.  I already had all the pieces cut, so first step, I gather all the ruffles the width of the bodice from front to back, use any gathering method you desire.  I set my machine to do all the work for me. (I use a gathering foot with the basting stitch and I set the tensions between 8 and 9 so it gathers as it sews).   Then I serge the gathers so I have a clean finish and they don’t come apart.

I really modify this bodice as I don’t assemble the way they explain so I’ll give those tips below. First add the ruffles as the pattern explains to the main bodice, but before adding the lining. We will do that step after all ruffles are on and top stitched. Make note you may need to move them over so that when they lay down they are not crossing the center armhole- (they can touch but you don’t want them overlapping- you can always move them after the sides are sewn a little but too much would cause you to have to do some awkward folding)

This is a picture of the main bodice with the ruffles already sewn on. The lining is not attached as the pattern shows. I don’t like to see all the threads in the lining so I altered this, especially if you also decide to add lace- there would be lots of stitches and puckering of the fabrics. Also, if you want more OTT- add lace now over the ruffle top stitch- before continuing.

I will use a method some call as the burrito method to tuck the ruffles in as assembling the lining onto the main. First, pin the outside edges of lining to outside edges of main. Then, sew them together.

Then pin the inside main to inside lining. Note how I roll the ruffles in so they are out of the way. You can pin these so they stay. I just use my fingers to hold the roll in place careful not to sew them while securing the lining to the main.

Then from the front of the bodice pull through the ruffles. Example showing how easy that is (don’t forget to use pinking shears to cut the rounded edges so they lay flat, and cut the corners).

Since the ruffles are so large I sew them in place and cut any excess from the bodice so its easy to assemble the top- and you don’t have to worry about making sure the ruffles are where they should be. Also I suggest you add the button holes now as once the skirt is on that’s a lot of fabric to work with.

Then attach the skirt to the bodice and Viola- Perfection! DON’T forget to top stitch!! There are a lot of ruffles and they will pull, so top stitch for added strength as well as a more professional look.

And here is the completed look-

Try changing up the ruffles and making a variegated look. I absolutely LOVE this!! All 21 prints in this dress are from the Sunny Isle Collection- Jennifer Paganelli- Sis Boom- Free Spirit. Yes, did I say she is my all-time most favorite fabric designer EVER!!!! And she knows it! Ha-ha. I use her prints in a lot of my dresses. Better grab yours today!! Before its gone.

 http://threadsandstitchesfabric.com/?s=jennifer&post_type=product

Hair pretty by Heart’s Desire


 

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DIY Cowgirl Stuffies from Moda

blogpromo

I got a chance to sew up this sweet set from Moda.  It’s a 1 yard panel printed with all sorts of goodies for you to cut and sew. It includes this doll, bandana, quilt with backing, hobby horse and several other fun items.

 

My daughter actually helped me make all of these.  I sewed and she stuffed and trimmed threads and, of course, she played with them.  She had the clever idea of turning the hobby horse into a fun pencil topper.
blogpencil

She pulled out all of her homemade dolls and took them outside to play after deciding that the new doll’s name was Maria.

blognote

blogdown

Her note has a picture of Duchess, Hare and Maria playing ring around the rosie with Poney in the middle.  It reads, “Duchess and hair and Poney and maria BFFS forever.”
blogrocks

Maria and Duchess and Hare like to collect rocks.  These are the most beautiful of the rock collection, in fact, one of them is a rare jewel that Duchess may put into her crown.

bloglow

They sit around and tell each other stories.  Duchess and Hare particularly like the story of how Maria and Poney fought off the alien invaders that were trying to capture Duchess and Hare.

blognap

Stories always make Hare sleepy, so she laid down in Duchess’s lap and closed her eyes.

blogdollsrosie

Then Poney joined her, followed by Duchess and Maria.

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Then Bridgette joined in.  Few things are nicer than a late afternoon nap in the summer shade.

 

Link to product. http://threadsandstitchesfabric.com/?product=moda-howdy-stuffy-diy-cowgirl-doll-and-small-prints-misc-20550-11

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Clover Wonder Clips

Hi fellow fabric lovers! This is Madison from Maddie Kay Creations. I am here to talk with you about something I discovered about a year ago that has changed sewing for me in a whole new way: Clover Clips.

Now, I am going to be brutally honest here. I saw post after post on facebook about how amazing these things were, I bought them, tried them… and well…I wasn’t impressed. I was hesitant at first because I am one of those ladies who just sews right on over her pins. *Gasp* (I know, I know! Its terrible) I hated the act of having to “slow down” to remove my pins. So naturally, when I first tried the clips, I felt like they were SOOOOOOO much more time consuming and downright clunky as I tried to move my fabric around.

Then one day I was using my serger and missed a pin. If you have ever had this happen IT IS NOT PRETTY! I was so scared. I had to replace my knife blade, locate and dig out a broken piece of a pin, and replace both needles all while freaking out that I had broken my BabyLock Imagine – which is not exactly a cheap machine ((my husband would have KILLED me)). Luckily there wasn’t any major damage, but after that day I refused to use pins in places where I was going to be serging. That means: T-shirt necklines and sleeve cuffs, gathered ruffles, gathered skirts, and then any other seam that I would normally finish off with my serger. I know the rule of thumb is to sew everything on and then just finish with a serger but I frequently like to skip that step, especially with knits. Hey a busy mom who sews at 2am while the kids are sleeping has to cut corners somewhere on occasion. I have a 4 – Thread overlock on my machine so in truth, I find that I don’t “need” that sewing stitch to keep my seams secure. For me, sewing first is purely to keep the fabric in place before serging. Insert my new love for clover clips.

After you have gotten over the initial shock of no longer using pins, you will find that clover clips hold your fabric in place so much nicer. *I am going to preface this by saying that I don’t sew with a wide range of fabrics. I generally stick to quilting cottons and cotton/lycra knits. Afterall, I do buy almost all of all my fabric from Threads and Stitches and those are the types of fabric that Christine specializes in* So let’s get to ways that I use my clover clips:

T-Shirt Necklines & Sleeve Cuffs
-Total game changer. Made things so much quicker. I simply clip two different half-way points on the bodice neck and then on the neckband.

-Then match up the clips. And clip on the neckline.

-Then head on over to your serger and serge on the neckline. (or if you can, do a ziz zag on a sewing machine). The clips do a great job holding the fabric in place and there is zero chance of sewing/serging over them! I keep a little box next to me and literally just toss them in there quickly so they are out of the way.

2. Bindings. This is actually where I have found the clips to for sure be the better option over pins. These can be tricky to get them looking nice and flat, especially with knits. Since using clover clips I have found that my stitches actually look smoother and the fabric lays nicer. You use the clips just like you would do pins.

 

3. Attaching skirts to bodices

4. Attaching a gathered ruffle

5. Holding down seams flat so that they stay in the direction you need them to. I know this sounds a little silly but yes, I do this. Things like side seams in bodices or shoulders, I find if i clip them down before attaching anything to them or stitching, I don’t get seams that are facing the wrong direction.

6. Ironing bindings. This has been one of my big game changers as well. I sew with a lot of knit bindings and woven bindings. To me, nothing is more frustrating than pressing it out nicely with the iron and then 5 seconds later they pop open and you can barely see your press line. Here is where the fabulous wonder clips can help. After I fold and press, I grab 1-2 clips to help keep those press lines and folds in tact. Some fabrics press easier than others – I don’t always need them but especially on some pesky knits that often flop back open after I’ve pressed.

 

But I am going to save my best feature to show you last. I have found clips to be easier with knits because you have to stretch them sometimes and manipulate them a little differently than woven fabrics. When it comes to wovens, I haven’t found clips to be easier. They are exactly the same in my eyes as far as that goes… HOWEVER … I love that clips don’t leave any pesky pin holes in your fabric! Yes most of these will wash out or you can steam out with your iron. But wouldn’t it just be nice if you never had them in the first place?? As someone who sells garments, I don’t want to send someone a dress with a pin hole and tell them “not to worry, it will wash out”. Clover clips eliminate that completely.

So if you haven’t already, get some clover clips and try them out. At first they might feel weird. Kind of like driving a new car lol! But after that, you will find they come in handy for so many different things!