Showing posts with label sewing supplies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sewing supplies. Show all posts

Monday, March 14, 2016

What about those Scissors?

I'd like to believe, that scissors can be found, in every home around the world! They are a tool that's believed to have been created in ancient Mesopatamia 3-4 thousand years ago. Can you imagine the wonder and sensation, this handy tool created for people? Shall we explore the world of scissors?

Cutting tools have been a constant for every culture around the world throughout the ages. They've been needed for cutting up meat (vs traditional tearing with your hands and teeth), found in use, for agriculture, textiles, shearing coats of livestock, food, and hair.

Practically, every industry can be found having a use for scissors, again, around the world. They were once, only available to those in Guilds and merchant circles.

Superstitions were created around scissors. Usually recommending and/or advising placing scissors under your pillow, or gifting scissors with money in return, to be wary and avoid scissors that could 'cut in half' friendships, pain, joy, luck and prosperity. These beliefs in the omens about scissors, were probably more to spread messages of, respect this tool. Do you notice how we, or others, take scissors for granted?

Where Scissors began?

The construction of scissors began, by connecting two blades with a flexible metal loop, that required hand strength, to perform a cut, called 'spring scissors'. This would be the basic design, for many years. It's believed that scissors had traveled through trade, exploration and with the Romans. 
The Roman iron workers would eventually build upon, and re-design this tool, two crossed blades with a fulcrum but did not close. Even the doomed city of Pompeii, has been found to have had iron blades that were riveted to a bronze spring. In Finland, Fiskars would open an iron forging smithy, in 1649, manufacturing scissors, another company in Hangzhou, China made scissors since 1663 plus William Whitely and Sons (Sheffield) Ltd., would make scissors in 1760. 
Today's modern pivoted design, is believed to have started in 1761, by Robert Hinchliffe, in London, and manufactured in larger numbers. They are still in business and considered one of the oldest scissor manufacturing company, in the West though there may be some disagreement. Scissors are still that one seriously awesome tool, that is greatly appreciated and worth owning.

Let's fuss about our Scissors

Ownership of scissors shows us two blades, made of steel. We also know, that steel can rust, and! through long time use, the blades will dull. As we have learned in life, all good things must come to an end, including our beloved scissors but! we can extend the life of our scissors with learning how to care for them. For this case, I will stick to fabric scissors aka fabric shears since I'm one of many, sewing enthusiasts. It's important to take care of our fabric scissors and/or shears, and recommended as follows:
  • Avoid water and moisture to help prevent rust. Rust spots can accumulate around the 'pivot' point (that little center screw), so use a steel wool brush, to clean it up.
  • Sticky with some sort of residue (glue from self-adhesive something or other?) then use a little water to wipe it off and dry thoroughly.
  • Wipe the blades regularly especially if cutting through brittle types of man-made fabrics. Pieces of fabric lint can build up around the pivot.
  • Keep blades sharp. A few various recommendations such as, cut through folded sandpaper, foil, or my favorite, use a diamond file, your friendly neighborhood professional sharpener or purchase scissor sharpener tool. Check to see what works best for you.
  • Store in a dry container.
  • Do not use fabric scissors for anything else other than fabric.
  • Keep extra scissors nearby for specific cutting of threads, paper, cardboard.
  • Pay attention to that pivot screw. It may need tightening or loosening but be careful since blade alignment may be set off.
  • Oil the pivot screw with 1-2-3 or sewing machine oil.
A few simple steps can help us preserve the life of our beloved scissors. My own sons, one day, heard a banshee, for the first time when I seen them cutting thick plastic packaging with my fabric shears, just because they looked big enough to handle the job. Has somebody in your family heard a Banshee too? 

Learning with Video


Extra Reading

I hope you found this article informative. Please feel free to leave your comments, share your thoughts, and Share with others who may be interested. Send a Email if you would like to place a Order today or to say, Hello! Visit the Galleries! I hope you visit again.
Article (C) 2014, all rights reserved. Gin G. creates and posts articles online about Crazy Quilts, business development, second income idea's. Gin G. Is a graduate in business development, Nursing, and passionate about arts and crafts.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Fabric Water Proofing in the Sewing World

The season of winter has passed and a few months of spring, summer and fall will be coming soon! We get to come out of hibernation and spend time outdoors. This is also the season for the few sewing enthusiasts, to consider updating their outdoor furniture. Do you update your patio furniture covers?

One of the problems faced with being outdoors are the elements of weather. It can get humid, wet from rainfall and/or morning dew along with exposure to the sun and can quickly damage the fabrics on our outdoor decor. It's time to pull out some available products specific to handling the elements of weather especially water-proofing.

Water proofing products are in the realm of science and chemistry with the production of designing a product to withstand water (A great career to consider, if I may add!) Many artists understand the importance of including steps, to safeguard the longevity of their work and slow deterioration. Products that can help provide that shield of water-proofing can be found in marine, crafts, RV, furniture upholstery, and auto store sections. There may be other outlets, please leave a comment to let others know! Thank you :)

A point to keep in mind with adding any chemicals to our projects is the surface will change and these products will or can be, costly. Remember to take a scrap piece of fabric and test the product FIRST. Allow your scrap to thoroughly dry and again, check the results. It's best to find out early if we are going to like the final results or try another product. Maybe a good time to ask if there are 'sample' products in smaller ounce bottle?

The following are products that can be found and are available in a store near you or online. Checking reviews and researching product sites, new reapplications of spraying, appears to be necessary after some time has passed. So, we must pay attention to eventual 'wearing off' of first applications of water-repellants, to our outdoor projects but they are re-newed after new applications. Now, that's great news. How many of us are guilty of 'falling in love' with our fabric choices?

One product brand that's recognizable amongst us 'artists' is Mod Podge. They have a product called 'Plaid Fabric Mod Podge'. It is a glue and sealer in one. Apply a thin coat to fabric with a brush and it's washable in cold water, air dry or gentle cycle dryer after 72 hours of air drying. I rather like air drying since there's a distinct 'aroma' that's quite lovely but that could just be me, since I live in the forest?

A second product is 'Thompson's Water Seal Fabric Seal'. It's specifically designed for outdoor decor such as cushions, umbrella's and pillows. It will prevent color fading and mildew since it has 'UV inhibitors and sealant' to block moisture. It's not designed for 'high foot traffic' items nor certain 'synthetic' fabrics. It allows fabrics to 'breathe' so it doesn't cause discoloration, stiffness nor stickiness. I think they've sold me!

A third product is 'Aqua Armor' and is availabe at Amazon, for online shopping. It provides water-proofing protection for many types of fabrics. It has been used on clothing, awnings, fabric gazeboes and patio furniture. It won't cause discoloration, no stiffness, provides water-proofing, allows fabrics to breathe. Research into reviews shows that it may require several coats and the spray pump nozzle may clog. There are MANY other water-proofing products available.

Fabric sealants for water-proofing has found it's way for many home uses. In depth research finds those products made with silicone provide the best water repellant qualities. We know it's used in bathroom construction therefore must be a great product. There is also one more method!

A few may not want to be using chemicals for water-proofing their projects. Another method is the use of bee's wax. Use a double-broiler method to melt and mix approximately 1/4 c bee's wax and 3/4 c olive oil. Once melted, remove from heat, let cool and harden. Spread this mixture on your fabric or item to provide water-proofing protection. This is only one alternative and am sure there are many other 'recipes' to choose. A last note, there may be discoloration due to the oil, so again, do a TEST on scrap piece of fabric first! most of all, have FUN! :) 

Extra Reading

Knowledge in Video

I hope you found this article informative. Please feel free to leave your comments, share your own observations, share with others who may be interested. Send a Email if you would like to place a Order today or to say, Hello! Visit the Galleries! I hope you visit again.

Article (C) 2014, all rights reserved. Gin G. creates and posts articles online about Crazy Quilts, business development, second income idea's. Gin G. Is a graduate in business development, Nursing, and passionate about arts and crafts.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Embellishments, Crazy Quilts and Projects

The artist in the world of crazy quilting, has a passionate affair with embellishments next to embroidery and sewing. One cannot imagine the delight to be found in this particular area of quilting. Mind you, embellishments aren’t just relegated to a crazy quilt but have been around in the clothing industry for - well, a very long, long time as mentioned in my Sewing Chronicles article.

Fabric offers the artist, a blank canvas to work upon. Now who wouldn’t take delight in filling up all this ‘space’ with this, that and the other thing? how many people would get bored, just looking at a ‘empty’ space? how long would you last? I’m not suggesting hoarding, but least, we like to hopefully ‘decorate’ a space at least, pleasing to the eye for not just ourselves but for others to enjoy.

Embroidery is a embellishment and applied in a variety of colors and stitches on, over and around, the seams of each quilt ‘block’ in a crazy quilt. It can be applied to other sewing projects besides quilting. It does require patience and care in use of colors,  for visual appeal and interest.

Embellishments to add to a crazy quilt besides embroidery can be an array of objects or more stitchery. Items such as the following can be added ;

- beads - sequins
- rhinestones - cabachons
- lace - appliques
- buttons - charms
- tatting - ribbons

Sources to locate these items can be craft stores, sewing supply shops, thrift stores, craft guild members, family and friends. There will be costs to consider therefore best to investigate first before deciding upon your purchases. If you have other idea's, please share them in the comments.

I highly recommend visiting your local quilt show and visit a Crazy quilt booth. I am positive you will find them irresistible and beautiful. Every quilt on display will vary in design and embellishments so pay attention to the details. As I’ve said numerous times, no two quilts are the same. Also, don’t be shy to speak with the artist about their quilts, and if interested in purchasing one, enquire about payment options. One can also visit  museums to view antique crazy quilts.

Extra Resources

Needlework Tips and Techniques

The Embroiderers Association of Canada, Inc.

Sublime Stitching 

I hope you found this article informative. Please feel free to leave your comments and share your own thoughts, experiences and/or observations. Send me a email if you are interested in placing a Order, visit my Gallery, or say hello. It's FREE to subscribe by Email or my RSS Feed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Gifts Crazy Quilt Wall hanging

The Christmas holidays are upon us and ideas galore swim through our minds. Some gifts are easy to choose for friends and/or family whereas ideas for others may leave us stumped and we wander through store after store trying to get inspired.

One gift idea can be giving a handmade home decoration such as a Crazy quilt wall hanging. Now why choose this? Home decorating can be fun for everybody but will depend on personal taste and styles. One has to like color, details and whimsy since a crazy quilt encompasses these qualities.

The days of yore with castles and monarchies, wall hangings and tapestries, of all sizes, were used for decorative purposes. Royalty, monasteries, nobility, wealthy merchants and farmers were the main patrons of fiber artists to provide these decorative pieces for their homes therefore were quite splendid and beautiful. These wall hangings and tapestries also sharpened the acoustics of a room. This particular piece of home decoration slowly diminished over time changing fiber crafts into industries.

A crazy quilt wall hanging can be made in various sizes, colors and embellished with embroidery, ribbons, beads, buttons, lace, charms, and assorted embroidered designs. Fabrics can range from simple cottons to expensive silk, satin, velvet and brocade. It’s the finished product that will provide the visual delight, interesting topic of conversation, become a art collection, and one-of-a-kind showcase gift.

Crazy quilt wall hangings are gaining popularity amongst art collectors due to the skill and labor involved in the creation not to mention, no two quilts are the same. We can give three colors of fabric to three individuals and each will piece it together with their own distinct style and therein lies the beauty of a crazy quilt.

A crazy quilt wall hanging can be found online with a search query. Numerous quilting guilds can also be found online and in our telephone books. It’s considered a textile and/or fiber art and can be a collector’s item. As I mentioned before regarding choice, it’s best to choose one for somebody who can appreciate something beautiful and unusual. I wish you a Merry Christmas, safe and Happy New Year!

I hope you enjoyed this article. Please feel free to leave your comments and share your own observations. Send me a Email if you have a request on a topic of interest, place a Order or to say hello and visit my Current Projects gallery. It's FREE to join my Fan club, subscribe by Email or my RSS Feed.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Tripping Date

The world of quilters have a common passion for quilting and all that encompasses the craft, to produce their quilt. A store related to sewing will capture their imagination and stir excitement. A fabric, notions or quilt store is wonderful eye candy. Would you consider adding visits to such shops while travelling?

Travelling to another region within our homeland or abroad overseas, opens the door to explore new markets. Along with exploring the regular tourist destinations is the opportunity to inspire learning new quilting methods, patterns and designs or integration.

A couple of methods to locate these shops will require planning ahead of time. As we know, travelling starts with the destination. Including this information gathered ahead of time will make travel that much smoother and stress free. A few methods to locate shops:

 - Search engine, to bring up general highlights
 - Advanced search, use keywords for specific information
 - Yellowpages online
 - Online Directories, will list participating shop sites
 - Quilt Event Calendar plus your destination search
 - Quilters Directory book from local book store

Once you have your  shop list(s) compiled -take a few more steps. Visit the US Customs websites to learn what is allowed vs prohibited items to bring back home and the duties that will be required. Plan to find out early if the retailer can ship the item home for you as they may be more adept and knowledgeable with shipping brokers and customs. Ensure you gather all tracking forms and documentation. Exchange contact information for yourself and the retailer in the event there is damage or loss.

Planning ahead is always good advice to follow. One last stop before beginning your trip is to visit your FedEx, UPS sites. Explore the international costs of shipping home from your upcoming destination
point. As has been mentioned before about shipping -include your insurance costs.

The costs of international shipping may be high so consideration to budget must be followed. We must ask ourselves would I pay this price at home? is the over all cost worth it? Using a shipping service vs risk of lost
luggage is another factor to consider when packing purchased gifts in your suitcase.

Foresight and pre-preparation planning is important. Other sources of information may be found with;

 - Embassy newsletters
 - Tourist brochures
 - Flight/Cruise booking agent

A safe journey and enjoyable shopping will only be part of a trip but to have potential risks overseen will only make the experience so much better!

I hope you found this article informative. Please feel free to leave your comments and share your comments plus give your Vote. Send me a Email if you have a request on a topic of interest, interested in placing a Order or to say hello. It's FREE to Follow my site, subscribe by Email or my RSS Feed.  

Article(C)2011 GG9909, all rights reserved.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quilt Fashion Sense

The rules of fashion is individual as each person in choosing their clothing style. History tells us that clothing has been been used to send the message of our place in society and express our identity without verbal communication necessary. Fashion trends are known to change when the style has saturated the market and ceases to be distinctive.

The world of sewing includes the fashion world therefore only natural that a touch of our quilting skills get added. This may be the simple addition of applying a applique, quilt blocks or embellisments with embroidery. Not everybody wants to follow the crowd of fashion trends so adding or creating our own finishing technique can help set us apart. Look at how the many music bands and singers will have their own fashion styles going on.

Quilt blocks can be added as decorative edging, insert, or a whole garment. Colors will coordinate, complement or add contrast and change the overall appearance. We can have clothes that are fun and playful, romantic, daring, conservative and whatever mood happens to inspire the creation. It's a process that's open to the imagination of the owner. Even people with no sewing skills will seek out somebody who can make the addition to their garment -same as the fashion designer assigns such tasks to the seamstress.

Applique designs are added atop as a layer to the garment and can be simple or complicated depending upon the effort one wants to apply. Appliques can be sewn by hand or machine and embellished with embroidery, fabric paint or beads for a extra decorative effect. Decorative embellishments such as the afore mentioned can again, be simple or complicated depending upon the effort one is willing to put into producing the finished product.

One project involving my joy of Crazy quilting -I up-cycle some skirts for myself,friends and family is with adding a crazy quilted ruffle to A-line skirts. This changes the length and I enjoy wearing semi -long skirts.  We know that crazy quilting can have a haphazard look therefore one will get a 'distinctive' appearance with the various shapes and colors. The addition of embroidery and other embellishments allows the 'artist' in me to get creative. I prefer not to add a lot of embellishments since I don't want the weight of the ruffle to have my skirt hanging wrong when wearing it!

Ruffles on a skirt come in different shapes and are easy to add. We can take any skirt with a ruffle pattern and convert it into a unique piece to call our own. Other gals admired my skirt and requested skirts of their own and each one is different and I don't have to worry about a 'duplicate' skirt to compete with my own. I use a very light fabric for the foundation to lay my crazy quilt fabrics and line the back before attaching it to the body of the skirt. Lining the back will hide my sewing and embroidery threads.

The profession of the clothing designer is competitive and associated with creativity and glamour. Who doesn't want to create their own 'haute couture' fashion statement that may lead to inspiring a trend? So go ahead, take a look around and see how you can set yourself apart with your own project and step out with your own personal fashion statement.

I hope you found this article informative. Please feel free to leave your comments and share your own observations plus give your Vote. Send me a email if you have a request on a topic of interest, place a Order or to say hello. Feel FREE to Follow, subscribe by Email or my RSS Feed.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sewing Chronicles

Sewing is the use of a thread and needle to stitch two pieces together forming one piece. Sewing has been around since the Prehistoric ages. I'm sure we are quite familiar with the fashions of the Homo sapiens neandertalensis, Cro magnon, Ardipithicus ramidus, Homo habilis and other homonids listed in the standard taxonomy of human evolution. We can always visit our local museum.

The types of 'thread' used varied from fibres, sinew, veins, and plants. Fibres were gathered from different parts of a plant such as bark, stem, leaf, husk, seeds, and even grass. Sinew and veins were gathered from animals. Unfortunately, very few samples from ancient civilisations have survived since natural fibers are perishable.

Needles were made with bone, ivory, wood, and thorns. They served only utilitarian purposes only. Some were made to serve more like awls and most likely to puncture tough materials such as bark and hides. Eyes in needles would not be invented until about 17,500 BC.

Today, Threads usually consist of two or more plys of yarn and twisted tightly
together. They are spun onto spools or cones and labelled with length, type of fiber, and name of the manufacturer along with the price. Some threads are made of basic cotton while others are used to match the fabric such as silk. Dyes provide us with every color possible but that's a different topic altogether.

Needles have also evolved to serve different functions. We will have beading needles for seed beads, upholstery needles, embroidery needles, yarn needles. Each needle will have their individual manufacturing process to withstand their designated use. Stitching by hand was done for thousands of years till the invention of the sewing machine (1845, Elias Howe & Singer) which changed the whole industry.

The world of Crazy quilts, embroidery evolved from sewing. As we know, sewing is stitching and embroidery is the use of decorative stitching and adding ornamentation. Embroidery adds a sense of quality and durability that no amount of printing or painting can achieve.

Hand embroidery can be expensive because it's time and labor intensive for the artist whereas costs are lower with the machine embroiderer and service is far quicker. The overall value of which type of embroidery is preferable - will be the personal choice of the customer.

I hope you found this article informative. Please feel free to leave your comments, share your own observations, share with others, link to me and give your Vote. Send a Email if you would like to place a Order today.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Labor of the Quilt Artist

The art and skill of a quilter has to be greatly admired. The time, effort and over all labor involved in the production of a quilt is intensive especially when handcrafted. It takes a genuine passion and love of the skill to produce - literally - a work of art.

One thing that cannot be forgotten is that the repetitiveness of movements can also produce strain and minor injuries. A quilter can develop fatigue in muscles leading to pain in their hands, wrists, shoulders and back and even their fingertips. Luckily, there is relief found in sewing supplies that offer protection along with use of our common sense.

Now, use of the various supplies available will require getting used to such. I know that I'm not comfortable having to use a regular thimble. My own thimble is one of the little metal sort with dimples. I have found that while doing my embroidery - threads may stick or get misaligned in the needle and create havoc trying to keep them straight and royally annoying - gasp! - if the threads become entangled and knotted altogether.

For now, I've settled on the leather thimble. Mine sits on my finger like a ring and use it on my most prickled finger. I would guess that it acts as a protective pad against punctures and needle pricking. It has taken some getting used to - like wearing a wedding or engagement ring? but at least I'm assured of no further injuries to my fingertips.

Other available tools of the trade include finger cots (look like condoms, oops!), adhesive pads, leather thimble, and gloves. I'm sure there are other options too and if you have suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment and share it. Thank you.

Fatigue of muscles and tendons also occur for the quilter. Remaining in a stationary prolonged position and repetitive motions can cause discomfort. I highly suggest taking intermittent breaks while quilting to stretch and relax your muscles. Better yet, if you have a partner, get h/im/er to give you a massage or use one of those electric massage tools.

I know how difficult it can be to 'have' to stop for a break especially when in the throes of artistic creativity but for maintaining health - do stop and take a break. Fatigue can result from exertion of muscles and tendons, need for energy, lack of calcium and/or vitamins and minerals or other health disorder such as arthritis, diabetes, etc. Pay attention and your body will let you know.

I hope you found this article informative. Please feel free to leave your comments, share your own observations and give your Vote. Send me Email if you would like to place a Order today.