Posted by McKenzie on November 15, 2010 | No Comments
Minky, or microfiber plush fabric, is quite popular. It’s great for babies, children, tweens, teens and adults. When it comes to minky, everyone loves the soft texture and the happiness it brings (how can you not smile when snuggling a minky blanket or pillow?).
Another plus for minky is the variety that it now comes in — plush, ultra plush, rasied dots, raised rows, etc. The new variety makes me want to use it more, becuase I can mix and match the different types in my project, making it fun and more creative.
The down side to minky — it can be a bit pricey. So, when I purchase it for a project, I want to be sure I don’t mess it up. Here are a few tips on achieving great embroidery on minky fabric:
• Needle — use a sharp 75/11 embroidery needle to help achieve a crisp sew out
• Design selection — you want a design with solid areas of embroidery (a redwork or running stitch design can disapear into the mat) and designs with open spaces will allow the fabric more flexibility
• Embossed embroidery — these designs look great on minky, the plush fabric really pops off the embroidery part for an amazing affect
• Stabilizer — since minky has a little bit of stretch to it, you should use a medium-weight cut-away stabilizer; this will give the fabric the stability it needs for the embroidery
• Topping — to keep the mat down while embroidering, keep the fabric from poking through the embroidering and to achieve a stitchout with less gaps, use a water-soluable topping while stitching
Posted by McKenzie on September 27, 2010 | No Comments
So, I know there are a variety of needles on the market — different brands, different sizes, different uses. But, what are the basics when it comes to needles; what is the anatomy of a needle?
Butt: Beveled end allows easy insertion in the needle bar
Shank: Household neeldes have a flat shank and allow perfect positioning of the needle in the sewing machine needle bar
Shoulder: Sloping area transitioning between the shank and the blade.
Blade: Needle size is determined by the blade diameter
Groove: Cradles and guides thread to the eye; may vary according to needle type
Scarf: Indentation above the eye that allows the bobbin hook to smoothly grab the thread under the throat plate to create a stitch; varies based on size of the needle
Eye: Hole through which the thread passes; size and shape vary based on needle type
Point and Tip: Penetrates material; length, shape and size vary according to needle types
For additional needle information and our source for this information, visit Schmetz.
Posted by McKenzie on June 29, 2010 | No Comments
Debbie Cleek, one of our talented sewists, has these suggestions for use specialty needles when embroidering. And, don’t forget that when you buy 2 needle packs, you get one FREE at Sewing and Craft Club!
For most of your embroidery, using 40 wt. threads, either rayon, polyester, cotton or acrylic you will use an embroidery needle. These needles have a larger eye and allow smooth thread flow AT the higher speeds used for embroidery. The most common size used is a 75/11. However, embroidery needles are also available in sizes 80/12 and 90/14. Embroidery needles are also available with a titanium coating. These needles do not heat up as much from the friction during embroidery which makes them a great choice when using spray adhesives and sticky stabilizers.
Metallic threads can be tricky to work and without the right needle it can quickly turn into a nightmare. Metallic needles have a larger, specially coated eye coupled with a large groove in the shaft. These things are critical to reducing the friction when working with metallic threads. These threads do add a striking touch to your embroidery so don’t avoid them, just be sure to have the proper needle and slow the sewing speed down as well.
Beautiful embroidery can also be achieved using a wing needle. Wing needles are primarily used for heirloom sewing and with the right design can add an heirloom touch to your machine embroidery. There are a couple things to keep in mind when selecting a design to stitch with a wing needle. First, make sure the design is a simple outline stitch design, fill stitch designs do not work well with a wing needle and should be avoided. To achieve the maximum benefit of the wing needle its best if the design uses a bean stitch or similar stitch where the needle will pass through the same point more than once. This will allow the wing needle to create a nice opening at the stitch point giving the design a nice heirloom look. As you would with any specialty technique, be sure to slow the sewing speed down on your machine.
A twin needle yields beautiful results when sewing decorative stitches built into most machines but, don’t stop there. With machine embroidery, even a basic shape with a basic running stitch will have pizzazz when stitched with a twin needle. Expand your creative horizons by trying some basic motif stitches. When trying various stitches, be sure to slow the sewing speed of your machine. Remember, slow and steady sets the pace!