Friday, November 13, 2015

Free and (not so) Easy Sewing

The program at this month's Sewphisticuts meeting was Free-Motion Sewing, presented by Judy L.  Although sometimes called free-motion embroidery or thread-painting, it encompasses much more than those two categories.  Basically free-motion sewing means that you are making your own path, sewing by moving the fabric in all directions under the needle without turning the fabric.  A couple of tips:  don't look at the needle but instead look at where you want to go next; sew at high speed and keep the fabric moving at a consistent rate.  Although a speed adjustment setting is not required for this technique, it is helpful since limiting the speed to a slower setting lets you keep a consistent speed at a rate that is still manageable for sewing.  Two requirements are a special machine foot (darning, free-motion, or similar), and dropped or covered feed-dogs.

After hooping some muslin-type fabrics, we practiced the looping motions we would be using once the hoop was under the machine foot.  Then we began sewing, just getting the feel of moving the fabric smoothly under the foot:  too fast and you get big stitches, too slow and you get stitches piling up in one place.  It took some time but a few of us began to actually make some halfway decent curves and loops, trying to achieve a stippled effect.  By layering fabric and batting, then outlining designs, we could imitate trapunto.  Cindy tried some thread-painting, using some decorative thread and sewing back and forth within an area to lay in color much as one would with a paintbrush.

The techniques we learned could be used in a variety of ways, from quilting to garment embellishment to home-dec.  Some of the methods also have a steep learning curve.  But it was interesting to try out something we might not otherwise explore on our own.
Judy shows an example of outline work and some thread painting.

Kathia works while Connie watches.

Cindy tries some thread painting. She used garden gloves for better grip on the fabric.

And we had some Show-and-Tell.

Peggy's Christmas ornaments
Tree made at the Sew-In

Peggy's blouse - great motif placement!

Maura's yoga pants

Peggy's cutlery holders

Friday, October 16, 2015

Hats, hats, hats, and a few scarves

The Sewphisticuts kept up with the theme of community service from last month's meeting and did some more charity sewing this month.  Hudson River Housing will be the beneficiary of fleece hats and scarves to be given to clients just as the chilly weather begins to move in.  Eight of us showed up to cut out hats and scarves and sew them up.  Ninety minutes later, we had a stack of over 20 hats made with a few matching scarves.  About a dozen more hats were cut out and a few of us took them home to finish up.
Finishing up some hats
A large size hat is modeled!

Judy did a short presentation about free-motion embroidery to prepare us for trying it at next month's meeting.  She gave us a list of materials we will need and got us thinking about what we want to try.  The list will be emailed to members before next month's meeting.  We also had Show and Tell; pictures follow.

Peggy made a purse for a friend.....

....and a top for herself,

as well as a knitted neckwarmer.

RoseAlice has an embroidered quilt started.

Maura's sheath dress from vintage pique, and skirt from stash remnant.