Friday, February 04, 2011

Sewing Tips - One of my Fav Products

I love, love, love this stuff!!! HeatnBond ULTRAHOLD (no-sew) iron-on adhesive.

The ULTRAHOLD is the strongest. Heat n Bond also has LITE, which you can sew through, the ULTRAHOLD is not sew-friendly, that's why I use just the narrow strip for closing. The 1/4" width and the 3/8th" width are what I use most. The 1/4" width is becoming harder to find, not sure why. Here's my favorite use for it~

When you are making a quilted project that you are going to turn and the project has batting inside, I use this to close my opening.

I'll use making a simple pot holder as my example~

Step 1- Line up your seams together as straight as possible, pin them shut. Flat pins are great for this!

Step 2 - Iron the two seams with steam setting, if possible.

Step 3 - Cut two lengths of heat n bond the same length as your opening. I use two pieces for extra security, if your item isn't going to be washed much, one is OK.

Step 4 - Iron the pieces inside your opening seam, (using the iron setting guidelines on the package), one on each side.

Step 5 - Give it a few secs to dry and peel off the white tape exposing the glue. This is your last chance to adjust the seams if necessary. Click on the pic to enlarge if you can't see the glue.

Step 6 - Iron the seams together and you're done!! The seams are tight and the
ULTRAHOLD is strong enough to keep glued through washings!! Look how neat that closing is! It's awesome stuff!!

Can you think of a use for this awesome product? Do you already use it? I welcome your comments!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Fabric ~To Wash or Not to Wash ~ My 2 Cents

And the answer is...up to YOU. Washing or not washing fabric before using it is a personal preference. Some like to cut the fabric while it still has a bit of stiffness... I personally like to wash it for a softer feel and to get all the chemicals off, especially if I am sewing for a baby. I like to wash and dry it and get the shrinkage down, as fabrics do not shrink equally. I don't wash my batting, so I know that in the end, the quilt or project will still shrink a bit when washed. That's my usual MO, but I DO occasionally break from this way of thinking. If it's a Christmas ornament or something that will only be out seasonal, and thus won't be washed much, I may bend my wash rule.

I DO, however have a smart tip of advice for you...when you have a very dark fabric, especially reds or any really deep color, I suggest you at least do a colorfast test. Trust me, it doesn't matter where you bought it or how much you paid for it. Every now and then a color will run. Case in point. I was making a queen size quilt a few years ago and following this rule. I had picked a white background on my blocks and was testing all fabrics that were really dark before I washed them. I had a beautiful deep rose fabric similar to the one below and the minute it hit my sink basin it exploded in color. It came from a very reputable quilt shop and a very reputable fabric manufacturer. I rinsed it several times and got it to run clear and it looks very pretty in my quilt. Can you imagine if I had not given it the bleed test? Do you KNOW how much work goes into a queen size quilt? I shudder at the thought.

It only takes a few minutes to get a basin half filled with some lukewarm water to do this test. Example below. As you can see this one passed!

Another tip! I use these Shout Color Catcher Sheets when I wash a load of new fabrics. Just throw one in the wash and it helps to pick up some of the "loose dyes" you may have from your fabrics.