Monday, January 31, 2011

Industrial Sewing Machine First Impressions

We decided to go get the Juki today instead of Wednesday due to the HUGE snowstorm "supposedly" heading to Michigan. Worked out well as we were actually ahead of my timeline, we finished painting on Saturday so this put us ahead by two days.

I spent about 2 hours with a very helpful technician learning some of the features of the machine, basics like, threading needle, bobbin, winding bobbin, oiling, presser foot, etc. I am pretty sure I will be in LOVE with my machine very soon!

The machine was moved in one piece, they prepped it by shrink wrapping it so it could lay down in our vehicle. It was a pretty intense 10-15 minutes to get it out of the truck, to the steps, up the steps and into position.

I have had very little time to try it out at home, but so far it is a dream of a machine and I am 100% certain this was the correct time and machine for me. Of course there will be learning curve and I am guessing it will be several hours of random sewing and testing to get used to the new features and difference in this from a home machine. I thought I would share a few "first impression" pros and cons.

  • Speed-machine is set at 2000 stitches per minute and I can totally manage this safely, the speed control is amazingly simple and responsive to the foot
  • Stitch quality
  • Auto presser foot raise via foot pedal
  • Needle up positioning at end of sewing (LOVE, LOVE LOVE this)
  • Thread trimmer
  • Heftyness of this machine - it is a seriously heavy ALL metal machine
  • Table, work space
  • Sewing machine surface flush with table
  • Huge sewing bed
  • Finger guard, this will be ample enough safety to keep my fingers safe
  • No oil pan, just a drip pan, low maintenance oiling (this was a big concern)
  • Auto bobbin winding while sewing - still need to work on this, but basically if you have "black" in the machine, you have a second cone feeding a new winding bobbin, this means I need to get doubles of some colors.
  • I am pretty sure the foot I received is a quarter inch, this is a big necessity for me
  • After sale support, this will be hugely helpful to get one on one phone assistance as necessary
  • Machine is super quiet
  • More steps to thread, needle threads from side of needed, more or less where the finger guard is this is definitely more difficult then a home machine.
  • Cannot see the bobbin for thread availability and have to reload from under the table or by tilting the machine back - which is extremely heavy and sort of difficult to do
  • No walking foot, not a big deal but I am a touch worried about giving up this feature, so far I think the machine can handle these tasks, but have not fully tested
  • Lighting, it comes with an LED flex task lamp, I am not too fond of LED lighting I find it uneasy on the eyes, and since the machine is so big it seems inevitable there will be shadowing, I have gotten a few floor lamps to test some lighting for my space, and there is no light in the "bed" of the machine, so it seems dark
  • My husband wants to play on it too, after all it is a big heavy industrial piece of equipment, you know how guys like this sort of thing
I am still re-assembling my sewing room and will not have any real time to myself until Wednesday and Thursday so for the next few days I am going to read the enourmous owners manual that came with it. Just a little light reading for when we are snowed in later this week.

Welcome Home!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Industrial Sewing Machine Q&A

Just posting some Q/A from the etsy forums on this topic for future reference. Many super etsians have shared info on this as well.

I am picking up my machine on Weds Feb 2nd next week, I will be going with my husband to get this he plans to tape me during the "training" so I have it for future reference.

Question on the feet, I have been told there are a variety of feet that are available. I am getting a quarter inch foot and 3 different zipper feet, I have not seen any of these in person. I was told they do offer a variety of other feet for piping, rolled hems and teflon, these are often used by decorators for drapes and heavy fabrics so these are common to that. I am hoping though not optomistic my walking foot (or any) might fit on as well, or that is something I can add. Additionally you can have a seam guide installed onto your machine at a set stitch, I would assume this is a plate with a raised groove, this is what they were originally going to give me. I took all the feet I use now so they could get a sense of what I needed, he said a quarter inch foot is no problem - it was just not what they called it.

I will NOT have to do any assembly at all, that was part of my price package. Usually with the industiral machine, you have the "head", motor, table and all the workings down below and then the foot pedal which will be affixed to the table. When I get my machine on Wednesday they will be fitting to foot to my desired location, when originally built (by the dealer) it is center of needle on the machine, which would be the left foot, which is not how I sew. I was told there are about 20 components for the machine and table. They will remove the head for transport and show us how to put it back on, the machine and table will weigh about 250 pounds. My table will be fitted with rubber feet as it will sit on hardwood.

Saftey - I literally wake up at night thinking/worrying about this. The main feature for me about saftey is speed and getting used to that speed This machine has speed control from 100 stiches per minute (SPM) which is super slow all the way up to 5000 SPM. I am doubtful I will sew much faster then 1600-2000 and even this only occasionally. The machine comes with a "finger guard" this is basicially a black wire shape in front of the fabric feed area. It meets OSHA requirements but I was told it is almost always removed, I think that was about it for saftey features.

I don't work a whole lot with anything heavier then cottons but was told it will easily sew through layer and layers of home decor fabrics. At this particular dealer they sell this mainly to automotive and marine supplier who do sew vinyls and leathers, I would ask specifically about your fabric uses when doing research. When I took my samples that were cottons and some interfacing the dealer really thought I needed the "needle feed machine" which seem to me like a lesser version of the walking foot, the needle moved to feed in the fabric. This was about a 1600.00 jump or almost double of what I am getting. I really felt as my Viking handles all my tasks now that a much better stronger machine would be sufficient. I do a lot of straight sewing most of which is not with layers of interfacing the needle feed seemed like overkill for me.

Thanks Peacock and studiocatb for the input and links, I am totally going to check them out as well. My machine is the "next generation" of the 8500 with a few updates, so that is a good point of reference as well.

I hope this is helpful, I know I spent a lot of time finding bits and pieces of info on a home business going through this process. I totally appreciate all the comments and conversations.

SEAM Treasury Feature

Thanks so much to fellow SEAM member Imagesbylynnann for this feature, looks great!

Sewing Room Makeover

So we are in full transition mode and our house is beyond trashed because of the office/sewing room switch. So far four trips to the paint store and Home Depot we now have paint and have begun this task. The above picture is my "old" sewing room after day one of painting.

Sorry out of focus, this is my foyer, jam packed with stuff from my sewing room and a wine cabinet that was in the hall, we can barely get to the door, literally!

What has been done so far; I have emptied my sewing room into the rest of the house, mostly the foyer and dining room, but lets not forget the stuff in the living room the guest room and the basement. Even though the sewing room is the smallest in the house I think it had the MOST stuff in it...hmmm maybe I should get a clue? We patched about 20 LARGE holes, vacuumed and washed the walls and begun painting I got about 2.5 of the walls done Thursday evening. We will be painting the 'new office' the same "builders beige" as the rest of the house, this was actually the reason for all the trips to the paint store to get the right paint.

Sunken Pool on left will be my new sewing room color, Mellow Coral on the right was just way too pink

I have also finally decided on a paint for my room, I was torn between a "coral/salmon/brown" or aqua. Aqua was my original choice but then decided on the coral. I got a sample of the coral and just feared this going too far to pink, so I was back to aqua - get the idea my husband was sick of this conversation. Luckily I had no fear of multiple trips to the paint store and have now settled on Marth Stewart Glidden - Sunken Pool - hooray! I will not paint my room until Monday as my husband is still packing up his room, which is a very close second to amount of stuff to my sewing room...he should get a clue too!

I am trying to stay focused, the house is such a mess I have to keep telling myself it will all be worth it, very challenging as there is so much stuff JUST EVERYWHERE.

We timed it perfectly as my new sewing machine is ready, we will be picking this up on Wednesday so our timeline is coming together just fine, though we have so much work to do before it arrives.

This will be my new sewing room my husbands current office. Wish I could say it was trashed only because of the move, sadly it looks like this most of the time. The white chair is at my desk so we are often both in here, my husband NEEDS his own space. I cannot wait to get rid of those hideous curtains, those were purchased as a temporary fix to give some privacy and my husband claims he likes them just fine and wants to move them to his new office, hoping I can get rid of them instead. I will be getting blinds, hopefully not too long after the move, I have enough to do right now, this can wait a bit.

With this move my desire to organize and get rid of stuff is huge, I hope to use the winter months to clear out old stuff donate, sell, better organize so I can be more productive in 2011.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Etsy Treasury Feature: Carnival of Color

Love this festive color combination, perfect to brighten up these oh so gray winter days. Thanks so much to sarahdipinties for the feature.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Easy DIY Tie Bags Tutorial

Even with very limited basic sewing skills you can make these tie gift bags. Great for gift giving I use these a lot for favors, place settings, candies and with Valentine's Day coming up they will sure be useful. This is also a great idea for the young sewer to make treat bags for their friends.

  • Fabric, 1/4 yard will yield 4-5 bags depending on print placement
  • Ribbon, I use 1/8 inch satin - cut into 16 inch lengths
  • Rotary cutter, mat ruler is my preferred method
  • Pins
  • Chopstick or corner point turner, closed pen will work as well
  • Pinking shears, or rotary blade pinking or scallop wave (optional)
1. Cut rectangles 9 inches wide X 8 inches tall

2. on right hand side (which is the 8 inch measurement) on the Right side of the fabric fold a length of ribbon in half and pin 1.25 inches from top (note ruler is not position correctly, ribbon should be 1.25 inches below the TOP edge)

3. Using a 1/4 inch seam sew from top (just above pinned ribbon) to the bottom - you really only need to back stitch at the top, the bottom seam will be stitched over when closing the bottom in next step.

4. Center seam to the "back" of the bag as shown in first picture, sew from the bottom, back stitching at each end. The seam is in the back now and the ribbon tie will wrap to the front to be tied in a bow.

5. Turn inside out and use chopstick to poke the corners

6. Trim top with rotary scissors or rotary blade, this will help keep the fabric from running.

All set to fill with your sweets!

Meatball Soup

Like most winters I am inspired to make big pots of soup and this winter is the same. I am also trying to find more ways to make dishes with beans as my 5 year old is in here "legume stage". If it looks like a bean she is very willing to eat it, so I am riding this train as long as possible.

Meatballs, you can use any meatball recipe you like, I use this simple one but it can be varied.

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed, then crushed saltines to equal 1 cup - 1 cup breadcrumbs will work too
  • 1 egg
  • onion to taste, I usually use about 1/2 or so of sweet or yellow onions
  • seasonings to taste, salt pepper, garlic, basil, etc
Mix ingredients in medium bowl, shape in 3/4 inch balls, cook in cooking spray in non stick pan, brown on all sides until cooked through 10-12 minutes, set aside or drain as necessary.

  • 3.5 cups of water
  • 15 ounce can garbonzo beans
  • 14.5 ounce can tomatoes
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 3-4 cubes beef boulion
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup pasta, I used bow tie
  • 3 cups fresh torn spinach

In large pan add water, beans tomatoes, mushrooms, bouilion, spiced to boil, add pasta and return to boiling, cover and simmer 10-12 minutes or until pasta is to desired doneness.

Stir in spinach and meatballs cook for 2-3 minutes more or until spinach is wilted.

I paired it with wedge french fries, my 5 year old ate around the spinach and the mushrooms but ate all meatballs, pasta, beans and most the tomatoes, she even had seconds! Very tasty!

Sewing Room Makeover

Sewing space "Before"

This week will be the start of my sewing room makeover, it is actually more then a makeover as I am getting a new room. My husband and I are switching offices, he is giving up the bigger room that we actually share (this is where my desk and computer) are to a smaller room that will be all his.

I have begun the process of removing my shelves and storage from the wall and been condensing my tons of supplies into boxes and bins. The plan is I will empty my room into our foyer and living room so he can move into my empty room, I can afford to be out of commission longer then my husband. Once he is done moving into my room I am going to paint my new space and then begin to move in. In addition to this we will need to do a lot of patching to my room as my on the wall features have left huge holes on three out of four walls, which also means we will be painting this room as well.

My new sewing machine should be here by the middle of February at the latest, I have already gotten a new work table for the middle of my room. This will be a huge change for me as right now my sewing table also serves as a cutting and a work table. My new table is about 50% bigger then my current table and will be wide open for working, while the sewing machine will have a dedicated space. In my new room I will also have cabinets for storage, a ironing station and my desk with computer. The room will be full but hopefully a lot more functional.

The room is trashed, this was looking to where a good amount of my active fabrics are stored, this will remain the same in the new room, I will still have this tall freestanding cabinet and a small closet that have custom shelving, these will move to my new room

We are both excited (though I think I am MORE excited) about the change, taking steps to both be more productive in 2011. Check back as I will share my storage and organization ideas as I make the move, and what color I decide to paint I am torm between a salmon and aqua.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Moxie Fab Jewel Challenge

My second time participating in the Moxie Fab World challenge and of course it is times two. This color combo inpsiration comes from Jewel Tones Color Challenge for Color Inspiration for Card Makers Week in the Moxie Fab World in Bazzill colors Sugar Cookie, Sunshine, Pansy and Blue Clypso, I had to improvise the colors as I only find Bazzill Pansy.

I have created a card with cardstock, rubber stamps and mini frame brads.

Since I am always on the lookout to use up scraps, I dove in and created a pieced zip pouch. The purple, teal and yellow was so deep that putting the "sugar cookie" was difficult to add to the outside. So, I put it inside for the lining.

Pieced zip pouch, lined with sugar cookie inside

I had a great time with this challenge, you can see my previous post to this challenge here. If you are inspired to join in the fun there is still one week and several color challenges to try.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Recent Etsy Purchase: Lilbitty

I decided to treat myself to a new necklace and settled on this one at Lilbitty on Etsy, after lusting after it for about a week. I seem to be wearing more more grays and charcoals so when I saw this I knew it work perfectly.

Green Amythyst accented with green, ivory and magenta Tourmaline perfectly paired with a gun metal silver chain and findings. I will admit I slightly altered it to only have the stones, I loved the curly cues but really wanted to the stones to stand out even more.

I have worn this a few times and always get compliments, it was a tough decision as there were a few others I really liked. The item arrived super quick and very well packaged in a pretty box with bow in a bubble mailer A+ customer service I would HIGHLY recommend Lilbitty, check out this fab Etsy shop.

Just a few fab pieces!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

It's In The Bag CABT Treasury Feature

Thank you to CABT team member aggieray for adding my "Larkspur" wristlet to this lovely treasury.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fourth Year Etsyversary

So I realized today is my 4th year on Etsy, so I thought I would post a few random (or maybe more then a few) thoughts on this topic. I am often saying how fast time goes by, and really for most things this seems very true, like high school was it really 20 years ago? But etsy seems to be a long road the last four years, a journey I sort of accidentally took.

I started out selling handmade on ebay, again quite accidentally, after having my daughter my stack of stuff I thought I would sell on ebay someday beckoned. I became quickly acquainted with selling and starting listing random supplies, fabric, beads, books, rubber stamps, papers really lots of stuff I outgrew, never did, bought because it was on sale, whatever I had hundreds of items to shed. I sold a lot very quickly and as I ran low on supplies to list I looked at all my quilt tops hanging in closets packed in boxes, and the many more in various stages of completion I knew I would not or did not want to finish.

Again I had scads of these many were for myself, colorways I no longer liked or used, gifts started never completed, challenges I joined in, etc I had dozens of these so I did some searching to see if there was a market and there was. Not just a market but lots of demand, I started listing these at .99 cents as I knew they would sell and then you got the lowest listing price, it was easy and my quilt tops, half completed tops would sometimes go for 50.00 (about the lowest I ever sold for a unfinished table runner) to hundreds of dollars for scrap log cabins. As I ran out of these I started to make more scrap log cabins, I love making them and used up tons of fabric in the process. However I need to make more stuff, so I dabbled in table runners and quilted table linens honestly the demand for finished projects was a lot less, and I needed to keep my shop stocked.

It was then I thought of going back to a love of making totes and purses, I made a few adaptations of bags I had made for myself and began listing on ebay, I did pretty well and could sort of keep a stocked shop. This was late 2006, it was then I wandered into the ebay forums and learned of etsy, I think it was November, just before Christmas and I knew I needed more time to get organized.

I did about 6 weeks of research and getting ready to move to etsy and joined on this day 4 years ago, it was another 4 weeks before I began listing, below is the first item I listed (cringes at early pics).
First item listed, Laurel Burch Medium Tote

First Sale - Goldfish I Have Loved Large Tote

I listed 6 items that day and day 3 made my first sale I seriously was wild with excitement, I genuinely thought I had found my home. Luckily I was able to continue listing and selling at a pretty regular pace, it was within 6-8 months I knew this could be my job. My wonderfully supportive husband agreed that a 2 year trial run was worth it, so I really committed to my shop really never looked back.

I think my pictures have improved dramatically

For the first few months it was kind of an odd family secret, I was very careful with whom I shared this info. Looking back not sure if it was insecurity or just a need to grow comfortable with this new found path. Luckily upon sharing the news with more and more people and was very pleased the the level of support and interest those around me showed.

I also found when sharing etsy virtually no one had heard of it, for nearly first 2 years I always had to find new ways to describe etsy and how amazing it had been for me.

During this 2 years on etsy I kept plenty busy enough most months selling 75-100 items, it was a lot of fun sending purses and accessories literally all around the world. I also did a lot of custom orders, some months as many as 30% of my sales were custom creations.

However like all good things they do come to an end, well for me not an end but a change. Etsy has changed like any venue that is new and revolutionary it is bound to change and in today's fast pace world Etsy is no exception. It has become a lot harder to sell and keep up with a pace of making dozens of new items every month, so I have changed too. I remind myself I am who makes and sells my items and try to not let the changes interupt my love of sewing and creating and etsy just allows me a venue to do this. Etsy also has given me the courage to move offline and into the real world, spreading eggs to different baskets has been my goal the last year and will continue to be a big part of my evolving business.

In closing Etsy has been great the last 4 years and has truly brought me to where I am today, I hope that I can continue to create and sell handmade as I would not be doing this without Etsy.

Good news is most everyone now knows what Etsy is!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Moxie Fab Color Challenge

I am joining in my very first craft challenge, I was checking out some blogs with lovely handmade cards and saw this challenge from Moxie Fab Challenge. The Bright & Bold Color Challenge for Color Inspiration for Card Makers Week in the Moxie Fab World. Use the below color palette to create a card or paper good, blog about it and link to it on the Maxie Fab Blog. The challenge ends 1/31/2011, so you still have over a week to join in as well.

I have actually been re-inspired lately to do some paper crafting, since I got a Cricut for Christmas. I have also been binge buying rubber stamps so it seemed like a good fit for me to join in. Don't worry I also created a fabric goody from this color palette, you can see more of this below.

I opted to make a little beaded notebook, I used Bazzill Cardstock, brads, jump rings, bugle beads, 20 pound computer paper for the interior pages and handmade ice cube stamps I got from etsy shop Blossom Stamps, a new shop I discovered on the S.E.A.M. Team. A scissor stamp and a button stamp were my choices for this project.

The notebook is a 3 inch square, I made a template for the rings using quilt template mylar and use a 1/8" stamp to stamp the card stock and the inside paper, which I just took out of the printer.

Mylar template with 1/8" holes for the jump rings

Beaded note book, with the sewer in mind

After I completed my stamps and assembly, open the jump rings and feed 3 beads onto each ring, close. This was fun to make in this unique color combination, great thing is when you use the inside sheets you can just add more.

Stand up zip pouch -using fabric scraps

Of course I had to turn this into an accessory so I combed through the yummy leftover scraps bags and found orange, pinks, whites to put together this pieced stand up style cosmetic pouch. the bottom is a mottle black print and is accented with a black and white polka dot. The strips that make up the pouch body are 1, 1.25, 1.5 inches wide and are just randomly arranged. Hang onto your polka dots because inside is a hot pink with orange polka dot lining, cute and practical!

Polka dot lining, looks like it was made for this challenge

I had a great time with my first craft challenge and will be on the lookout for future challenges to join. I am actually going to take a second peek at the other challenges for January, I may be back.

I think they make a great pair!

Monday Treasury Feature: My Soft Spot

Thank you to feelinbrassy for this feature, I agree this is one of my soft spots too. Always drawn to blues and aqua.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Black and White Patchwork Bag

Front view of bag, still needs handle(s)

Black and white patchwork tote, and to make it a bit more jazzed up hints of aqua, red and teal. I sprinkled in a few 4 patches of black/white fabric with the color choices. Then a thin border of rectangles between the BW patchwork and the solid black bottom.

How it starts, a collection of reds, aquas and teals laid out to get a balance of colors

Auditioning black/whites with reds, aquas, teals

Bag pieced, next add the solid black for the bottom
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