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Its Sew Easy

Its Sew Easy

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Published by MBryt1

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Published by: MBryt1 on Apr 12, 2010
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It’s SEW Easy
Georgia Hauglid (georgia@myctmh.com)
Before we start sewing, let’s review thread. Thread comes is a variety of colors, fibers, andweights. It is important to select the right type of thread to get the look you want.For sewing on layouts and cards, I generally use poly or cotton thread. These are the standardthreads for garment making (poly) and quilting (cotton) and can be found at the local sewingstore. In general, cheap thread is cheap. It will break and lead you to frustration so stay awayfrom cheap thread.Embroidery floss is widely used for hand sewing because you can get a nice “thick” stitch.Embroidery floss comes in thousands of colors. It typically comes in multi strand form. Use asmany strands as will work with your needle.For papercraft sewing, I use a bobbin thread in the bobbin. Bobbin thread is a very lightweightthread that comes in the basic colors but I find I never use any colors other than black or white. Ilike a bobbin thread because if your tension is set right, the bobbin thread will not show on thetop side of the stitching. And you don’t have to change the bobbin every time you switch colors,only when switching between light and dark.Other fiber materials work great for hand sewing. This can include yarn-like fibers, waxy flaxand hemp cord. Ribbon is another great option for hand sewing.See listing of DMC floss colors that match the 60 CTMH colors at the end of this document.
Machine Sewing
If you don’t already own a sewing machine, there are many standard models on the market for areasonable price. I have not found a small inexpensive craft type sewing machine that I wouldrecommend. I recommend sticking with the full size models and avoid the frustration of threads breaking and really bad tension that seems to occur in the mini craft models.You don’t need to have a sharp needle when sewing on paper. In fact, the paper will dull theneedle so be sure to replace the needle before using the machine for other sewing purposes. Ikeep a pin cushion just for dull needles and use them for papercrafting. Also, you don’t want tolarge of a needle. I suggest using a size 70 or 80 needle for most papercraft projects.Take a look at the presser feet you have available for your machine. The most useful presserfoot is one that is clear. With this type, you can easily see where you are sewing. If yourmachine does not have a clear foot, check with a local sewing machine dealer. You may be ableto order one that is compatible with your machine.Before you start, ALWAYS test your stitches on scrap paper. Use the same paper or anequivalent weight.
For best results, do not sew through any more thickness than absolutely needed. Sometimes youneed to sew through multiple layers to hold pieces together but with a little planning, you canminimize the thickness and improve the quality of the sewing.As an example, take two cardstocks to have a zig zag stitich connecting. Do not overlap thecardstock. Please the cardstock side by side and feed it into the machine. Sew at a mediumspeed to have the best control.I suggest sewing at a medium speed. You might think you have more control when going slowbut a little faster can be easier. Give it a try!
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER sew over adhesive!
Adhesive will goo up your needle and may jam up your machine. If you need to adhere the items you are sewing, do it in a place that youwill not be sewing over.Always be sure to finish off your thread ends. The easiest way to do this is to pull the loosethreads to the back and tape down. I use photo safe scotch tape. If your sewing ends in themiddle of the paper, pull the threads to the back by gently pulling up on the bobbin thread. Asyou pull, you will see a loop from the top thread peaking through the hole. Catch the loop of thetop thread (using a pin, paper piercer or similar object) and pull. The top will look nice andclean and simply tape down both loose threads.Another option for reinforcing those loose ends is to backstitch. A backstitch is simply areversing of the stitch to provide reinforcement.
Hand Sewing
I love hand sewing. I think it is very relaxing and gives you lots of flexibility in how to placeyour stitches.*tip* Avoid using paper that is very lightweight when hand sewing. It can tear easily. Or besure to use a stabilizer (see section below).Start with a template to identify where your holes will be placed. This could be (1) a stamp set(2) a plastic template (3) an image (i.e.: patterned paper, dies cut, or hand-drawn line/shape).CTMH carries 2 stamp sets designed for hand sewing: Placement Guide and Stitch alphabet.These are my most used sets. Each set stamps the holes only. The straight stitch stamps onplacement guide set have a variety of distances between stitches and include correspondingstamps for proper corner placement. There are also zig zag and other stitch options. To usethese sets, stamp the holes onto the paper, place the paper over a piercing pad and use a piercingtool to punch the holes where indicated.To use the template, simply place you paper or cardstock over a piercing pad and place thetemplate on top. Use your piercing tool to punch holes where indicated. I “hold” the template inplace by using a thumbtack through a section of the template not being used holing it onto anarea of the paper that will be trimmed away or simply into the piercing pad.
 To sew using an image, outline the image with holes spaced as needed to form the image. Forexample: sew a word from a stamp set or printed font, use the lines of the word to pierce theholes. Example of a template made from a stamp:Once you have your holes, you need to thread a needle. In hand sewing, I prefer to use heavierweight thread or embroidery floss. Start sewing by placing the needle in the hole from the wrongside of your project and pull to the front. Don’t pull all the way through. Be sure to leave a tailof an inch or two of the thread/floss and tack it down with a piece of tape. You could also tie aknot in it but it is quicker to tape it down.You then start sewing from hole to hole by coming up from the bottom, moving to the next holeand going down from the top. It is really that easy!What is a piercing pad? There are piercing pads sold specifically to use with templates. Thesepads are thick and have a surface that “grips” the papers. Many other surfaces can be used as apiercing pad including a mouse pad, Styrofoam or think craft foam.
Using Stabilizers
Why do you need a stabilizer? Keep in mind that when a needle punctures fabric, the fibers formclosely around the hole. This is not the case with paper. When you puncture paper, you are leftwith a hole the size of the needle.If you use a dense stitch on paper or cardstock, you have weakened the surface and it could fallapart on you. To avoid this, place a piece of stabilizer (woven or pressed) on the wrong side of your surface.

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