WEEK 5

This week I decided to look up the best brands of fabric and thread for the best prices, and where to find them at.   So far I’ve looked at the ones from Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and WalMart .  At Hobby Lobby you can  buy a yard of fabric ranging from one dollar and thirty nine cents to fifteen dollars depending on the type of texture you want.  At Michael’s you can buy a yard of fabric for  one dollar and fifty cents to ten dollars and thirty five cents. Apparently you can even purchase hog hair to sew with as well, which just seems kind of gross and itchy to me.  Wal Mart sells just about any kind of sewing fabric by the yard such as flannel, cotton, fleece, and very ugly patterned fabric. The prices range from four dollars and thirty nine cents, to ten dollars and ninety seven cents.

When I found all of the prices I wrote all of them down and then compared everything. I asked myself “Would I rather have cheap fabric that might make a decent blankets, or would I rather have a more expensive fabric and It last longer?” So I have decided to go with the fabric from Hobby Lobby, simply because some of it is cheap and seems durable but also they have more expensive fabric that I could see lasting for a long period of time in the future. I’ve also found some other good stores that sell fabric that aren’t around here that if i really wanted it, I would have to order it and it be much more expensive.

Here are some stores I found online that are apparently very good:

5 Awesome Places to Buy Fabric Online

 

Fabric.com

The first time I ever bought fabric online was from Fabric.com and I was not disappointed.  What I love most is the free shipping when you spend $35 or more which, for a fabric addict like myself is not at all hard to do.  They have all types of fabric but I especially love their home decor fabrics.  I’ve used home decor fabrics from Fabric.com on projects like my slip covered ottoman, my reupholstered dining chairs, and in my little mister’s nursery.

They have their fabrics categorized by designer so if you know of a certain fabric maker that you like, you can browse that way.  Or if you are looking for a certain color you can search by color.  I also love that they suggest coordinating fabrics, but I have to admit sometimes they are a little too matchy matchy for me.

If you are just getting acquainted with Fabric.com check out some of my favorite designers there:  Michael Miller,and Premier Prints.

Online Fabric Store

Online Fabric Store is another fabulous resource for fabric.  It is so easy to find really great prints in this online store and they carry one of my favorite fabric lines, HGTV!  They also have free shipping when you spend $50, but keep your eyes peeled because they often have free shipping days and coupon codes noted right at the top of their site.

I also love that they carry a lot of supplies like grommet tape and upholstery supplies that I need for some of my home decor projects like my DIY Grommet Top Curtains.

West Elm

This is one that very few people know about but it’s true.  You can buy fabric by the yard from West Elm!  I discovered this awhile back when I made over this vintage chair.  I had the dark grey herringbone fabric in mind for my project but couldn’t find it anywhere. It was by some happy accident that I discovered that I could buy the exact fabric I was thinking of by the yard and do the chair myself!  Hot Dog!!!

They don’t offer every single one of their fabrics by the yard, but they are a great place to go when you need upholstery fabric because their furniture and the fabrics they use on them are high quality so you can get that same quality for your own project.  They also have some of their popular prints available so you can sew up your own throw pillows or make drapes!

One more thing to note about West Elm.  I have more than once used their shower curtains for projects because they come in some great prints and they are a perfect weight for home decor projects like pillows and drapes. A total cheater, I know.  But when this girl loves a print, I make it work! Want to see their shower curtains in action? Check out my DIY Grommet Top Curtains.

Spoonflower.com

Be careful with this one.  It can be addicting!  Consider yourself warned.  Spoonflower is unlike any other fabric resource because the fabrics are designed by individual designers, not big brand names.  Think of Spoonflower like etsy, but for fabric. It is pretty much a collection of art in fabric form and you can search by color or by theme which is really fun.  Back when I was doing the little mister’s nursery I would search themes like “typography” or “bicycles” and got so many fun ideas for his bedroom.

You may remember the DIY Duvet Cover that I made for the Grand kid’s room over at my mom’s house.  That duvet cover was a huge hit and I got so many questions about the teal watercolor chevron fabric that I got from Spoonflower.  I’ll admit the prices on Spoonflower are a bit higher than the other fabric resources I have listed here, but you can’t find them anywhere else and so you are paying for the uniqueness and supporting some uber talented artists.

Joann.com

Most of us know about Joann stores and if you are into any type of crafting or sewing probably frequently shop there, but when I discovered that you can buy fabric online from Joann.com I was so excited!  And I was really surprised at the modern home decor fabrics that they have available! There is nothing better than NOT dragging my 2 crazy kiddos to the fabric store and NOT waiting in line behind 20 quilters each having 20 different fabrics cut right? (Nothing against quilters, they are just getting their creative on too.)

Joann.com has a great selection of home decor fabrics too and they are on sale frequently along with some basic use fabrics in all sorts of fun patterns.  Joann is my go to for any DIY baby gift that I may be working on because their selection is huge and their coupons are so easy to find which really helps keep cost down.

 

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WEEK 4

 

I’m not going to lie I haven’t really done anything with making blankets or even learning new things about them this week. I know I’m even posting this later than I should be, but I have had a beyond crazy week.  But last week end I had started to make one of those knit tie blankets, but it actually ended up being a pillow. Which I’m not sure how it went from me planning on making a blanket to it slowly looking like a pillow.  I can’t put a picture of it from my home computer but you’re not missing out on anything because it looks very bad.

I was hoping in the next few days to start learning things about a sewing machine. I don’t have to buy one because apparently my mom already had one in one of our spare rooms. I’m sure learning how to sew a blanket or just about anything will take a lot of time and practice. Since I will be spending these next few weeks at home hopefully I can learn plenty of things on how to use a sewing machine. I looked online a bit just to find some tips about using the sewing machine and this is what I found:

Sewing Tip #1. Say: “Cheese!”

Snap some shoot to existing threading, just to be sure you’ll be able to re-thread when you’ll need to (and you’ll need it soon, promise!)

Sewing Tip #2. Leave the thread guide up

This is an important tip! When you start sewing, the thread guide right above the needle have to be in its higher position.

Sewing Tip #3. Start by Hand

To be sure everything is perfect while you start, always do the first 1-2 stitches turning your hand wheel anticlockwise, so you can check if the needle is getting smoothly in the fabric, see if your fabric’s thickness is a problem (think hemming your jeans!), and avoid thread jams, plus, you’ll accurately define the first stitch placement.

Sewing Tip #4. Keep it down!

Never stop with your needle up, out of the fabric,while sewing a corner or when you need to slightly move the fabric (such as in a curved seam) or to pull out a pin.

Leaving the needle down and pivoting in the fabric, will help you to achieve a perfectly aligned seam.

 

Sewing Tip #5. When things goes bad, rethread

This is a rule, whenever you find in your seam a thread too tight or too loose, or your machine is skipping stitches, try rethreading everything, spool and bobbin (also if you think it’s all perfect!) – 99% of the times you’ll solve your problems!

  • To help yourself, keep the pics you took in Tip 1 on your phone or tablet, ready to check!

While you’re repositioning the bobbin, check for lint/bird’s nest right below the needle plate… this is often what causes thread wonkyness or missing stitches!

Sewing Tip #6. Check needle type and conditions

While an Universal needle can be perfect for starting (a n° 90-14 will be the right choice), with special kinds of fabric you’ll better choose the proper needle:

  • lightweight fabrics (like sheers or thin cottons) want a smaller needle (n° 60-8 or 70-9)
  • with thicker fabrics like denim, better use a bigger needle (like 100 or 110!)
  • to hem with a coverlock look (if you don’t know what it is, simply look at your double row t-shirt hem!), a twin needle will be your best friend
  • The most important kind of needles, for me, is the knit/stretch/jersey one: we call them ballpoint needles because they have a rounded tip that goes between knitted threads, separating them; if you use a Universal needle, chances are that you’ll end with unwanted holes in no-time… believe me or not!

Sewing Tip #7. Check thread type

A rule of thumb is to use the same thread type in both bobbin and spool (unless you need to use embroidery thread, that will go only in your spool).

There’s no problem using different colors in your upper and lower thread (and it’s nice when you are topstitching a lined dress, to match both outer and inner fabric’s color with thread), but choose them from the same family (no polyester spool and cotton in the bobbin…) to avoid thread jams or breakages.

Sewing Tip #8. Clean her!

This sewing tip is a rule for your sewing machine health and longevity: try using an air duster or, better, a compressor to blow out any tiny thread or lint, hidden inside your sewing machine.

Check your sewing machine’s manual to see if you can unscrew something to clean your machine more in-depth and if you have to oil it and where.

Check this FREE Craftsy lesson or this one to learn more!

Sewing Tip #9. How to sew a straight line

The trick is: never look at your needle! Being steadily in movement, can’t be a focal point for your eyes, it would be confusing!

Measure your seam allowances distance from the needle and (if your needle plate is missing those tiny parallel etched straight lines) mark the one you need on the needle plate somehow (an elastic band, Washi tape, painter’s mask tape, sticky notes are all perfect candidates!), creating a repositionable seam guide.

Try now to keep your fabric’s edge aligned to your improvised seam guide, then admire your straight seam!

Sewing Tip #10. Try on scraps first

When you cut out your pattern pieces, never throw away your fabric’s scraps, but keep them for practicing (and calibrating) your stitchings!

From left to right you can see I’ve adjusted stitch length and width to have a perfect decorative stitch!

 

Here’s the website I used to get my tips from, hopefully they help me out some!

15 Top Beginner’s Sewing Tips – Sew Basic Series