Monday, July 7, 2008

Sewing for the 4th of July

Note: I'm sorry about the darn paragraphs! I hate when blogger causes me problems and I can't create proper spacing between paragraphs. With all the div codes, you'd think I'd have tons of spaces but I don't. Anyway...

...About six weeks ago I started wall hangings. There was a sale at Embroidery Library/ on wall hanging designs so I bought several for various holidays. Two were for the 4th of July. For my non-American sewing enthusiasts, the 4th of July is a national holiday celebrating the 232 year of the USA, our country's birthday.

I haven't used my embroidery machine as much as I should be, so doing these were important to me. My embroidery skills should be much more proficient at this point having had this machine for about 2 years now. I pulled my linen out of my embroidery stash (fabric that was purchased in March for just this purpose) and got to work. Didn't have any pieces of stabilizer for my 5x7 hoop so I used pieces of heavyweight pellon sew-in interfacing on the first one (eagle). During the interim I was able to purchase Sulky Soft and Sheer for my 5x7 hoop and used that for the second one (bear). I adhered the linen to the pellon with KS2000 spray and hooped it. Got my designs going and ended up with what I posted last week, what looked like this:
Each design was done separately. Last year I bought a Janome Clothsetter for $55 from a PR Member but still haven't used it. I think it would have been perfect for joining the designs but with time at a premium, I took the easy route. My plan was to join the designs together with a horizontal seam which I did. Yesterday and today I worked on finishing them (you know, it's only July 7 now!) so I can at least hang them on my walls for at least one week before having to take them down.

I'm thinking these look fairly nice. I like the eagle one better than the bear one, just my preference. Here are the finished wall hangings:
Overall, I'm fairly satisfied with this project. I definitely would not classify myself as a home dec type of sewer, nor a quilter. However, I was very impressed with DebraH's wall hanging (Darn! I'd link to her review but can't get it right now) review at Patternreview so I decided to put my sewing skills to use and decorate my walls. I'm a terrible decorator so anything looks better than what is on my walls now.
The inside border are strips for each of the 4 edges cut to size. The outside border is a full piece of material with the red border/embroidery designs edgestitched right on top of it. The edges of the outer border are finished with a zigzag stitch, turned under and topstitched. Very simple really. Not terribly professional. But if anyone is looking at the backside of my wall hangings other than my sewing sister, they're just plain too nosy.
Here's the backside of each hanging:
Okay. Now here's the problem with my wall hangings. I'm hoping some of my embroidery-loving sewing buddies can help me out with this. Check out the pic below of my projects WITHOUT the flash! The problem is evident!!!
See how the "bear-ey" one is all mottled and the eagle one is much smoother? I attribute this to my stabilizer. The "inappropriate" stabilizer of heavyweight interfacing produced a much better embroidery design, whereas what I *thought* would be the appropriate stabilizer looks, well, not so good. What does this mean? Just use a thicker stabilizer? Two pieces, maybe three? v
Also, the stitching was a b*tch on the bear one too. I used different and new needles to see if it would make any difference. Played around with the upper tension. No difference either. The threads on top kept getting loopy in certain places. It didn't do that as much with the thicker, "inappropriate" interfacing stabilizer.
So, what gives? Just use a thicker stabilizer or more pieces (maybe 3)? I'd like to make more and try to sell some for Christmas so any help on improving the appearance would be greatly appreciated.
One thing's for sure, I underestimated the time it would take to do the designs. I was thinking I could do 3 designs/day for one hanging. Didn't quite work out that way. Between all the thread changes, I was lucky to get one design done per day. I don't sit at my machine either so the machine has to frequently wait for me to change the threads too. The good thing is, I'm learning. Getting a little better and more knowledgeable about Embird and embroidery in general.
Looking forward now to get started on a few more. First some for my own home, then some to try to sell.

1 comment:

Sewfast said...

Hi Kat, I do alot of embroidery and you are right...it most likely is a stabilizer issue. Embroidery Library designs are very dense, so I usually use a heavier cutaway or a couple of layers of a tearaway to get it to lie flat. Another trick is to size the design up just a bit without messing with the density, so the stitches are a little farther apart. Don't get me wrong...I love Embroidery Library and they get a lot of my money, but my theory is their digitizers get paid by the stitch count!!! :) Mary