WHO WILL BE CROWNED “BEST ON THE BLOCK”!

Do you dream in triangles and squares? Then go head to head in our BLOCK PARTY CONTEST. Submit your best block to: contest@allbrands.com by April 16, 2014 to enter. Click to see our special instructions here:

Block Party Info & Rules

We’ll post your photos in our BLOCK PARTY Album on Facebook. The block with the most likes will be crowned “Best on the Block!” and win an Ultimate Table Package by Sew Steady which includes a Quilter’s Wish Table, travel bag, polish kit and Universal Sew Straight Guide, valued at over $210! So fire up those machines and be a BLOCK PARTY Superstar!

We will announce the winner on our
Facebook page & BLOG Monday, April 21, 2014!

HOW TO MAKE 8 HALF-SQUARE TRIANGLES

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In this tutorial we’ll show you an easy way to make 8 half square triangles at once. The cool thing about this method in comparison to the 4 at a time method is that the bias is where it’s supposed to be. Plus, your final edges are on the straight of grain.

Good ole math! Start with 5” squares and the half-square triangles are a bit over 2” and will end up being 1 1/2” once in the quilt. About 1” will be loss using this method.

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Simply place two squares right side together and draw two lines diagonally on one of them like in the example above. Next sew 1/4” on both sides of each line, that’s four seams total.

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Now, use the center line as a guide to cut a horizontal and vertical line.

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Cut along the pencil lines and there you have it, a half-square triangle.

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All there is left to do is trim to size if needed.

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Stay tuned for more great tutorials, tips and tricks from AllBrands.com!

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Easy Embellishments with Ordinary Ribbons- Part One

JoanneBanko

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About the author: Joanne Banko is a freelance sewing educator and a self proclaimed sewing cheerleader. She is a frequent contributor to Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine and author of the book Wrapped in Embroidery available at AllBrands.com. You can see Joanne’s online teaching segments broadcast on the popular PBS TV show, It’s Sew Easy, and online at www.itsseweasytv.com. Visit Joanne and read her blog posts at http://www.letsgosew.com/.

 

The sewing tools we have at our fingertips these days make it easy and effortless to create embellishments for garments, crafts, home decor, and more! From incredible machine features to fantastic presser feet and helpful accessories, there is so much to love about sewing these days! Beginning with this article I’d like to share a few of my favorite techniques for creating embellishments with ribbons.

Since this is my first article for the ALLBRANDS newsletter I’d thought I’d give you a bit of background. I believe I was born with sewing in my genes. You may say I inherited the “tendency” to sew but I view it as a gift from my Creator. My Grandmother and Mother were both accomplished seamstresses but ironically, I was not taught by either of them. I was the last of five children, with a long gap in between. By the time I arrived on the scene my Mom had stopped sewing. My first stitch was in a Junior High Home Economics class. I remember taking that very first stitch and was hooked from the beginning! My wonderful, wise Mother saw the spark that first stitch created and at the beginning of the following school year she offered me a choice between ready-made clothes or a new zig-zag sewing machine and fabric. I chose the machine and have been sewing ever since!  Seeing my enthusiasm my Mom started to sew again herself. We had so much fun shopping for supplies and sewing together. She stitched in the living room on her machine, while I sewed on my very own machine in my bedroom. I zig-zagged my way through junior high and high school making almost all of my own clothes.

We’ve come a long way since the days when we thought an ordinary zig-zag stitch was a big deal. Now we can choose from literally hundreds of decorative stitches built-in to the sewing side of our machines. Beyond that, we can stitch multitudes of embroidery designs with “hoop” capability. Yes, sewing today is better than ever and I love to do it all… sew, embroider, quilt, and craft! In this article I’d like to share a simple technique for creating decorative ribbon using your serger and your sewing machine. Are you ready? Let’s go sew!

Here are the supplies you will need:
  1. Serger with rolled hem capability.
  2. Sewing machine with decorative stitch capability. Recommended presser feet for this project include a clear foot for decorative stitching and an adjustable blind hem foot for stitching the ribbon on your chosen item.
  3. Ordinary grosgrain ribbon measuring approximately 1-inch wide. Note: Cut a length of ribbon measuring twice the amount needed for your finished project so you have enough to test your rolled hem stitching and your decorative stitching.
  4. Serger Thread to contrast with your ribbon.
  5. Embroidery Thread to match your serger thread.
  6. Size 11 embroidery needle.
  7. Strips of stabilizer – Use tear away stabilizer if you don’t need reversible ribbon. Use water soluble mesh stabilizer for reversible ribbon.
  8. Seam sealant to treat ribbon ends.

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 Here is how to decorate your ribbon:

Set up your Serger for a two or three thread rolled hem.

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Disengage the cutting blade and serge along each finished edge of the grosgrain ribbon. Note: You are not actually rolling the edge of the ribbon. You are simply using the rolled hem stitch to accent the edge of the ribbon. When stitching, be sure to guide the ribbon evenly so that the rolled hem stitch forms right along the finished edge.

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Press ribbon. I like to use Mary Ellen’s Best Press to smooth out the ribbon in preparation for decorative stitching. Set up your sewing machine for decorative stitching. Thread your machine with Embroidery Thread that matches your rolled hem, threading top and bobbin with the same thread. It is important to use a Presser Foot designed specifically for decorative sewing. In addition, you want your presser foot to be the same size, or slightly smaller than your ribbon. If your particular decorative foot is wide, then you will want to use ribbon that is slightly wider as well. Prior to stitching on the ribbon you need to cut stabilizer strips to equal twice the width of the ribbon.

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Select a decorative stitch to fit the ribbon. I used a stitch measuring 7mm wide and I increased the length of the stitch. It’s likely you have many built in stitches to choose from. I recommend testing several stitches until you find one that works well on your machine.

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Stitch a row of decorative stitches down the center of the ribbon placing stabilizer underneath as you stitch.

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Remove stabilizer according to the package directions. Trim ends at an angle and treat with seam sealant.

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Attach the ribbon to your project using a straight stitch, stitching just along the edge of the rolled hem stitching. Tip: The adjustable blind hem foot is perfect for this task. Adjust the guide to line up with the edge of the ribbon, having the needle pierce along the rolled hem stitching. While stitching, keep your eye following the guide to maintain even and consistent edge-stitching.

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Ideas for using your ribbon: Use lengths of ribbon to trim a pillowcase, accent the hem of a little girl’s dress, decorate ready-made placemats, trim baskets and flower pots, decorate gift packages and more! Because this ribbon looks good on both the right and wrong sides, you can tie it into a bow and use it to accent any garment or craft project you like!

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Next time . . . I’ll show you to use plain ribbons to enhance your embroidery designs. Until then, happy sewing from your sewing friend,

JoanneBanko

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About the author: Joanne Banko is a freelance sewing educator and a self proclaimed sewing cheerleader. She is a frequent contributor to Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine and author of the book Wrapped in Embroidery available at AllBrands.com. You can see Joanne’s online teaching segments broadcast on the popular PBS TV show, It’s Sew Easy, and online at www.itsseweasytv.com. Visit Joanne and read her blog posts at http://www.letsgosew.com/.