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rosie6 | Posted in General Discussion on

I need some fresh ideas for making something new that might sell at a Craft show.  Any ideas out there.  I have done place matts. coasters, towels, purses.  I need a new one.



  1. User avater
    JunkQueen | | #1

    Aprons seem to be regaining popularity. Also, you might do oven mitts, perhaps with matching pot holders and/or cup towels -- like a gift set, jewelry bags (for travel), cosmetic bags. Oh, I dunno.... seasonal flags --- is that still popular? Good luck

    1. rosie6 | | #2

      I might try some of your ideas.  I did think of Jewlery bags. Sounds interesting.

      1. User avater
        JunkQueen | | #3

        Something else I just thought of -- purse organizers might go well, too.

  2. sewelegant | | #4

    What I might be interested in is a thin over the shoulder "pocket" bag that I could wear when I want to go out without my purse, but need somewhere to stash my kleenex, lipstick, pills or anything else you might carry in a pocket, but do not have one!  (I am thinking of when I am wearing pants without pockets and a sweater set)  This would be along the lines of the little "pocket" that Safe T Pockets pattern company puts in some of its patterns.  Theirs attaches to the underarm seam, but I think a fabric strap over the shoulder would work well and could be used anytime you need something like that.  It could be called a "Handy Pocket" or something. 

    1. starzoe | | #5

      I made something like that from ripstop - thin, light yet strong. It went through quite a few modifications and ended up with a square "purse" with an infolded end that pulled out to make a larger bag with a zipper. It was quite a success, but it could still use some tweaks.
      It took me through Europe last year on daytrips.I googled travel purses, etc. for a few hours and found some good ideas for the same kind of thing, almost. Most of them were very expensive. My camera needs batteries but I'll see if I can get a photo here later.

      1. sewelegant | | #8

        Right after I wrote my message this morning I went to the mall to look for a birthday gift for my granddaughter.  I passed a luggage store and had to go in and ended up purchasing something I will be using just like the small pocket purse I was thinking of!  Go to this web site  http://baggallini.com/  to see what I was looking at.  I ended up buying a Pocket Bagg and know I am just going to love it!

        It's a little more elaborate than what I was thinking of, but is made of the lightweight nylon almost like the rip stop you mention.  I still think a simple pocket would make an excellent bazaar item and there are some examples in the web site.  Your idea of it turning into a larger bag seems like a good one.

        P.S. I did get down to Penny's to buy something in Hannah Montana for my granddaughter so it was a good shopping trip.

        1. katina | | #11

          Thanks for the link - marvellous bags which should give us many good ideas to sew some bags for  ourselves. Please let us know how you like your Pocket Bag - sounds just what I need.


  3. cycler1729 | | #6

    I had an idea for a quilted travel bag for small electronics and their cables (cameras, PDAs and so on).

    Sort of like a smaller shoe divider bag but different sized pockets for each so they don't slide out.


  4. Ceeayche | | #7

    I've been thinking about some zippered envelopes for all my assorted computer stuff to drop into my laptop bag.  And a quilted sleave for the flat iron.  I travel a lot for my "paying job" and I've been collecting them all in cast off cosmetic bags. i was thinking a matching set might be nice.

  5. sewelegant | | #9

    Another good idea, I think, is the cloth recycle shopping bag.  Everybody seems to be talking about it today so this fall at the craft show might be a good time to sell them.  I like the one where you copy a plastic grocery bag for the pattern.  Someone even sewed a pocket onto the bag so it could be folded into it just like the "quillow".  I saved this from an earlier thread. 

    http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=177482.0 - 131k -


    1. starzoe | | #10

      There are so many different types of shopping bags around, and most stores sell them for $1. or so. I think it would be difficult to make money selling more elegant bags considering the fabric and time involved....just my opinion though. People pay good money for the darndest things.

      1. sewelegant | | #13

        you are probably right. This is supposed to be ideas for "craft show" items not church bazaar things so it might not be profitable to go out and pay $5 to $8 per yard for fabric and you could only eke out two bags at the most per yard!  It would only work if one used "free" fabric like donations from people's stashes. 

  6. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #12

    The young ladies who go clubbing now do not seem to have what we used to have back in the 80s, a little DiscoBag. A pretty or flashy lightweight bag just big enough for Id, comb and lipstick, that hangs across the body. Perhaps with styles coming back from those times, it would be the time to bring those back? Cathy

    1. MaryinColorado | | #18

      I like the little bags that have swivel hooks at the top corners.  They attatch to the beltloops on jeans and work great for handsfree.  I haven't seen them in stores, but alot of ladies who ride motorcycles have them.  Some have an extra strap with grommets to attatch to the metal hooks that is interchangeable.  The ones I've seen are leather, I have made them out of Ultrasuede.  Mary

      1. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #20

        Neat! I could use about a dozen or so! Not all at the same time......
        I use the Leather change bags for small stuff in my Bike Jacket, but it would be a lot easier with one of those.
        BTW, how was your trip? You have said Nada about it. Cathy

        1. MaryinColorado | | #21

          I didn't go.

          1. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #22

            Thats too bad. Life happens, :( Always another day Right? :) Cathy

            Edited 9/24/2008 7:03 am ET by ThreadKoe

          2. MaryinColorado | | #23

            yup yup yup!  Hopefully!  Mary

  7. rosie6 | | #14

    Thank you all for all the ideas. I have actually looked about making the bags.  I was just wondering if anybody had some other good ideas.

    1. cycler1729 | | #15

      What about fleece mittens?  Threads had an article about them (how-to and a pattern) a while back.

      1. rosie6 | | #16

        I will look for the patterns sounds like a plan to me.

      2. MaryinColorado | | #19

        That's a great idea and they can be whipped out so quickly.  So can the matching headbands or hats and scarves.  I used to make tons of them for the grandkids.  That's how I learned to make good curves on the serger, I had better luck when I stitched the thumb area on the sewing machine first though.

        Edited 9/23/2008 11:03 am by MaryinColorado

        1. cycler1729 | | #24

          How do you get a curve in the thumb area that doesn't pucker?  I don't use a serger.

          1. MaryinColorado | | #25

            Sometimes they do pucker, but I've had luck with just adjusting the pattern a bit at the thumb area.  Sometimes it works better to make it more like an inside corner instead of the curve.

              The serger's differential feed prevents puckers in fleece and knits pretty well, for me it is harder to get it as smooth with on the regular sewing machine.  I didn't like sewing on fleece or knits until I got the serger.  I think I used to baste first and pull out any puckers, then sew.  Also adjusted the presserfoot preassure, zig zagged stitched with a longer SL and SW, can't remember the settings, sorry.  Someone else probably has better advice for sewing them.  Mary

          2. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #26

            Mary, have you tried a walking foot on your regular sewing machine?

          3. MaryinColorado | | #27

            Thanks for asking.  No, just the floating foot the Viking Designer 1 has, but my serger takes care of the rest of my needs pretty well so I manage okay without it.  I might change my mind if I decide to do alot of quilts, for now I do fine without spending the money on the walking foot.  I did try it out, on both the Bernina and the Vikings just to see what it does. 

          4. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #28

            I was just curious if it would help with the problem you and Cycler were discussing. I have a walking foot and haven't tried it yet using fleece. I may do that just to test it in that circumstance.

          5. sewslow67 | | #29

            Good Morning, JQ:  I just looked in Sandra Betzina's book "More Fabric Savvy" and she suggests using the Satin Stitch Foot (also known as embroidery foot).  She says that "it helps to eliminate wavy, stretched seams where regular construction is used."  I tried that when I made my grands some fleece pullovers, and it worked quite nicely.  Still, I used the built-in walking foot on my Pfaff, (Integrated Dual Feed system) so maybe the latter helped as well; I guess I'll never know for sure.

          6. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #30

            I need to get off my lazy rear, go out to the shop, and experiment with this. I'd hate to tell someone to buy a walking foot for their machine if it doesn't work, although I have an idea it would solve the problem. Walking feet are NOT inexpensive. I have so many projects going right now it's been hard to find time for "fun" stuff. We just finished getting our yard cleaned up from Hurricane Ike. Mostly cleaned up. Good enough for the boys I go with anyhow......

          7. sewslow67 | | #31

            Let's do this: I've got some fleece scraps to play with, so I'll give several ways of sewing a seam a try and maybe you can do the same.  Then, we can compare notes.  I suspect that my built in foot would work the same as the walking foot (and yes, they are expensive, as I had one for my Bernina).  I've got to get some tasks done first here though, but then I've got the rest of the day to sew.

            I'm so glad to hear that you've got the clean-up under control.  Most of all, I'm so grateful that you are safe.  It's too bad you couldn't have spent that same time doing some fun sewing project ...esp. with the holidays lurking ahead of us. 

            BTW, I found this great "foot book" when we were down in Portland the last time called: "The Pfaff Foot Book" published by Country Stitches.  It show a picture of each foot and then explains how to use it.  And although it's geared toward Pfaff in the title, it would be a great resource for anybody who has a foot fetish (which would be me ...giggle!)  I use most of them when I'm on a roll, but there are a few that I forget what they do, thus the book is a very helpful aide.

            Edited 10/7/2008 6:53 pm by sewslow67

          8. MaryinColorado | | #34

            I too have a "foot fetish".  I bought the large manual and three ring binder for my Vikings.  Then whenever I bought a new foot through the years that wasn't in there, I went online to their website and printed out the info/instructions on using them.  I agree with you, it's important to have the info printed out for reference. 

            Nancy Zeiman (Sewing With Nancy on PBS/http://www.nancysnotions.com) has a foot book also, and her website also has free video instructions for lots of great techniques from "footwork" to landscape quilting to serging and many others. 

            I look forward to your "footnotes" he he  Mary

          9. sewslow67 | | #32

            OK; I got out three feet:  Open toe embroidery foot, Teflon foot, and roller foot.  I will try each of them tomorrow on fleece, with and without the IDT, and will get back to you.  I just didn't have time today after all; (I was cleaning out closets ...oh ...so much fun!!)  giggle ...

            Edited 9/28/2008 12:57 am by sewslow67

          10. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #35

            You nut! I was going to try some stitches today with the walking foot, and then DH said he would like for me to make a new seat for his folding camp stool. I though, "No problem." That's what I get for working without equipment again (thinking). I spent the afternoon ripping the old seat off, so I could use it for a pattern and salvaging the web for the edge reinforcement and taking my machine apart and digging out thread. I've given up temporarily, because my nerves were frayed. I'm thinking I'll order him a new camp stool from Cabela's or Bass Pro Shop. Not sure I can get the stool under the pressure foot anyway. That just occurred to me. I should have tried that first. Geeze, sometimes I wonder about me.....I have Nancy Zeiman's book and an art supply box full of feet. I think sewers are as bad as fishermen. I used to tell DH he would buy any gadget on the market pertaining to fishing just to have and stroke it....Tomorrow, I am going to try again to get these projects done. That is, if I get my machine sewing again.

            Edited 9/28/2008 9:04 pm by JunkQueen

          11. MaryinColorado | | #36

            If you have an Army/Navy Surplus store in your area, they might have the folding camp stools!  whew, you deserve a treat for messing with the darn thing!

          12. sewslow67 | | #37

            Well, I finally completed the tests with fleece, using different feet ...both with, and without, using even feed:  This means the IDT system (Pfaff) or the walking foot for every other brand of machine.  Here are the results:

            The following four feet were used in the test:  1) standard foot; 2) Teflon foot; 3) open-toe embroidery foot; and 4) roller foot.

            Each foot was tested without using even feed and with even feed.

            I used a 3.0 stitch length throughout each test.

            Without exception, every foot worked better while using the even feed device.

            When sewing without using the even feed feature, the 3.0 stitch length was shortened considerably.

            When sewing with the even feed feature, the stitch length was consistently even throughout the stitch line.

            The best performing feet, in order of performance were: 1) open-toe embroidery foot; 2) Teflon foot; 3) standard sewing foot; and last, the roller foot.  The roller foot that I have does not have the capability of using the Pfaff IDT system, thus no test with even feed.

            I hope this helps any and everyone who was interested in this experiment.  Happy sewing to all ...and above all, ENJOY THE JOURNEY!

          13. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #38

            Thank you so much for going to all this trouble. I've got my machine sewing again but something is still wrong with the tension. I plan to take it to the sewing machine doctor withing the next couple of days. I've printed out the results of your experiment.

          14. sewslow67 | | #39

            You are most welcome; it was actually fun to do, as I hadn't done that before either, and I too, was curious as to how it would work out. 

            I've got several piece of fleece that I got on a fabulous sale a couple of years ago to make up for this winter.  It gets so much colder her than in Portland, that I really need some warm "duds" to wear.  I'm going to try to do something creative with them too, i.e. color on color embroidery, trims, etc. as well as decorative zipper installation (whatever the heck that means ...giggle).

            I sure hope you get the tension fixed on your machine.  It is so frustrating when the tension gets screwed up or the bobbin jams.  That sort of thing can really take the fun out of what might be, a lovely afternoon of sewing.

            I was digging through my stash this afternoon and found some cute baby fabric that I'd planned on making up for one of my DG's (she is now almost ready to graduate high school ...blush!!!), so I'm going to make it up for my neighbor's little girl.  The pattern copy-right is 1989, if you can imagine!  It is a "Little Vogue" pattern that is called "Party Pants" and the fabrics (all coordinating) are perfect for a 2-4 year old.  I haven't done a toddlers outfit for years, so this will be great fun.

            I'm hoping that you will report back that your machine is fixed and humming away.

          15. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #40

            Ok, JQ, What is up with your tension? Please explain fully. I know that you know how to fix the basics. Cathy

            Edited 10/6/2008 10:50 am ET by ThreadKoe

          16. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #42

            It started when I was sewing on the camp stool for DH. The upper thread is too loose in that it is visible from the wrong side of the fabric. I have tightened the top thread to the max. I have changed the upper thread and the bobbin thread. I've taken the bobbin case out and gotten rid of dust and debris. The only thing I have not done is change the needle which I should probably try. It looks "okay" but still not exactly right, but there is no adjustment left. I miss my old all metal mechanical White machine. This computerized whiz kid of a machine does not hold a candle to that old work horse.

          17. sewslow67 | | #43

            Hi JQ:  My dealer and sewing machine repair/adjuster/etc. person used to ask me  if I changed the needle.  If I hadn't tried a new needle, he instructed me to do so, and then call him back.  Invariably, changing the needle had been the problem.

            Ever since then, I change the needle with every new project I start.  I also have a little gadget next to my sewing machine that tells me what kind of needle I have in the machine and what size.  Right now, for example, I have a Universal needle, size 70/10.  That will change by the end of the day though, as I am finally completing the last of the curtains for the kitchen and will begin either a knit top or a fleece shirt after supper.

            Good luck on getting this fixed soon; and please let us now how it turned out, i.e. the solution.

          18. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #44

            Thanks. Until I started my post to Threadkoe, I had forgotten about changing the needle. DUH! As soon as I can get back out to the shop, I will do that. I'm taking a coffee break right this moment, but we are in the throes of replacing a bathroom sink. Some how all of DH's projects turn in to 'joint' projects. LOL Oh, well, he's cheaper than a plumber. But then most things are!

          19. sewslow67 | | #46

            How is that every time the DH has a project, DW becomes the run and fetcher?  I've noticed the same thing!  My sewing "studio" got put on hold because apparently, the bathroom got moved up to a higher priority. 

            Hmmm ...we need both, but I much prefer finishing one job before starting another.   That said, you wouldn't know that is my preference by looking at the number of projects I've got going ...giggle!  I haven't said anything because it would be like the pot calling the kettle black.  tee hee

            Edited 10/7/2008 6:49 pm by sewslow67

          20. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #67

            Update on my sewing machine. I finally got around to taking it in to the dealer, who is in the next town. As a side note, we are a university town, and unless it is something the university population craves, you cannot buy it here. Most frustrating. But back on the subject............... Just before all this went wacko, I was having trouble with some of the embroidery functions. My machine is a combo sewing/embroidery, and in retrospect, that wasn't a particularly good buying decision. Anyhow, part of his fine tuning involved tweaking the bobbin case tension, and guess what! That messed up my straight stitching tension. To make a long story short, he gave me a new bobbin case and adjusted it for straight sewing, so now I have two. He also gave me some bobbins. I have to say, this dealer is really a nice guy. Since the machine is computerized, I don't tinker with it very much and have taken it to the shop several times for adjustments/help. He has charged me only one time for repair, and that was totally justified. He's given me 2 thread stands, the extra bobbin case, the bobbins, and thread at various times. Anytime I want to go in for classes or help, it's free. I am glad to report that I am sewing once more. He did caution me against using Coats and Clark thread and said he'd prefer the elcheapo Wal-Mart polyester to C&C. I'm thinking of starting another thread about, well, thread. It might make for an interesting conversation.

          21. Gloriasews | | #68

            That's very interesting about the Coats & Clark threads.  I usually use my el-cheapo threads (I have many to use up) in the bobbins & have had no problem with them there - guess I'll relegate my C&C threads to bobbin use, too, as, you're right - they're not great.  Thanks for the info.  That's great that you got your machine fixed.  Happy sewing!

          22. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #69

            Gloria, if the C&C work in your machine, I say, "Carry on!" I have a ton of it, too. DH suggested I use in on a couple of the older machines I've been tinkering with. I'd really like to see a discussion of they different brands and types of threads on the other thread I started. I feel so ignorant about threads and rely on cheat sheets.

          23. sewfar | | #76

            el cheapo thread...When I bought an Elna Super in 1970 the dealer said not to use the cheap thread that was so tempting. The Elna was the absolute most expensive thing I owned at he time so I listened. It even surpassed my engagement ring and the new paint job on my new husband's sports car..(no further comment necessary ) I listened and my mother who bought the same machine continued with the cheap stuff and she did have to take her machine in as it did something nasty to her bobbin. If I remember, it snagged and broke and the repair to remove the shredded thread remains was not cheap.

          24. Gloriasews | | #77

            So far, I've never had a problem with the cheap thread in the bobbin, so I'm gradually getting rid of it that way.  (I have lots of spools still, mainly Coats & Clark - some inherited - & I absolutely hate to throw them out).  I sure had problems with it breaking when it was the upper thread, so I quit using it then - & it not only broke all the time, but screwed up the tension, too.  Live & learn, eh?  You're so lucky to have such a good machine.  Happy sewing!


          25. Josefly | | #80

            You do have a wonderfully helpful sewing machine dealer!I'm curious about his warning about Coats & Clark threads. I noticed the other day that our local Hancock Fabrics has put in a new thread display case for C&C. I also noticed that the Dual Duty thread, which made up the greatest part of the display case and which came in a nice array of colors, is now all-polyester, instead of the old mercerized cotton-wrapped polyester core thread. When did that change? They had only a few basic shades of all-cotton Coats and Clark. I ended up buying Guttermann cotton thread for a cotton shirt I'm making - when my fabric fades with washing/drying, I want the thread it's sewn with to fade also.But back to the warning - what's so bad about the C&C thread, that your dealer would recommend the cheapo Walmart stuff over it? And did it apply to all types of C&C thread?

          26. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #81

            Perhaps I can answer this one.  The poly/cotton thread is a polyester core wrapped with cotton thread.  It has a tendancy to stretch at the core (poly does that naturally) while the cotton does not stretch as much.  The cotton wrapping does stretch some, but when it rebounds, it is slightly looser, and fuzzier.  This causes linting in your machine.  It can also cause separation of the thread, which can cause the needle to bind in your machine.  Older machines did not have the same precision mechanisms that the newer machines have.  The automatic tensions in the newer machines grab the threads tighter, and more thread slippage in the combination threads can occur.  If the cotton wrap comes loose, and actually backs up in the tension discs, and in the needle, it can force the needle out of position enough to damage the timing on the machine.  It can cause an expensive repair.   Cheap thread has a lot of slubs or thick and thin spots along the length of the thread.  It also may not have  even twists in the thread.  It can also damage a machine for the same reason. 

            When you spend good money on fabric, and notions, then spend all that time sewing and fitting that garment, why chintz out on the one thing holding the whole thing together?  Thread is not the most expensive part of the garment, but makes a big difference in the finish.   Cathy

          27. Josefly | | #82

            Thank you, Cathy. That makes sense about the slippage of the cotton wrapped around the polyester. So maybe JunkQueen's dealer was talking about that cotton-wrapped thread? As I mentioned, there was none of that type in my local Hancock's recently - it was 100% polyester-wrapped polyester, or 100% cotton. Maybe that's just that particular retailer's choice, but I noticed that the new all-poly thread is called "Dual Duty Plus" as the older version was. I do have an old mechanical machine - 1965 or 66 - and its timing IS off, I think - I can't wind my bobbins on it now, and I'm using it too much to take it in for repair. Maybe even this old machine can't take those old threads I've been using. Hmmmmn.I really like to know the reasons things work or don't work - it makes it so much easier to remember when you know why, instead of just the do's and don'ts.

          28. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #83

            Sorry I didn't have time post an answer last night. Threadkoe got it exactly right. The cotton wrapping has a tendency to shred and clog up the mechanism of our machines. Additionally, those slubs would cause breakage and other problems. The newer machines do not have the tolerances nor are they built of the same quality materials as the old mechanical machines -- IMHO. C&C's new Dual Duty XP is 100% polyester. The XP stands for Xtra Performance, which could lead one to believe the thread we've used for years was not what we needed. I do know that the timing is what killed my dear departed White sewing machine.

          29. Josefly | | #84

            Thanks for your answer. Though I've been winding bobbins by hand for several months, and everything else seems okay, maybe I'd better get my machine in for servicing. I hate to interrupt a project, though....still, I don't want to murder it.

          30. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #85

            I do not want to sound like a real nag here, but when was the last time you gave your baby a thorough cleaning?  I mean really clean.  Like take a card and run it through the tension discs to see if there is a buildup kind of clean?  And check to see if there are threads that are wound around the spindle that holds the bobbin casing in place.  Any of these things can cause problems.  Esp the threads under the bobbin casing.  If enough thread gets in there, the whole timing gets off.  And it will eventually jam.  It is worth the time to clean them out.   Cathy

          31. Josefly | | #86

            You've inspired me...I'm on the way to the sewing machine right now to check those tension discs. I'm pretty good about brushing out my bobbin case periodically, but I haven't taken it out in a while...let you know what I find. Thanks - and I don't hear you as a nag, though I need to be nagged sometimes!

          32. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #87

            I am not the world's best housekeeper, except when it comes to maintaining my machines!  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as they say.  I will take my machine out for a sample sew, once a month just to keep it well lubed, just so it will not seize up when I am not sewing a lot.  Had it do that once, NEVER AGAIN!  Cathy

          33. Josefly | | #89

            There's no lesson better learned than one from personal experience, is there? You are much more diligent than I. Thanks for providing the impulse to check my machine. I did as you suggested, paying special attention to the tension discs and the area underneath my bobbin case. Surprisingly, the machine was relatively free of dust and lint. I am unfortunately out of sewing machine oil, but will pick some up from my nearest supplier tomorrow. I've always used Singer oil and lubricant. It's been too long, though since I've used them. As much as I sometimes wish for a good reason to buy a new machine with all the bells and whistles (or at least some of them), I'm rather attached to this old one, and would hate to do it in before its time.I don't hear anything unusual when I use the machine. Its only malfunction is the bobbin-winding, and once before when it didn't work, the repairman said it was a problem with the timing. So I'll get it in for a work-over, but I hope to finish the shirt I'm working on first. Almost there.

          34. JeanM | | #91

            Be certain to check your machine's manual because there may be a hole for oil on the bobbin winder itself.  This may apply only to machines which wind against the hand wheel.  Sorry, I don't know what type you have.  Thus, this suggestion is "in case".

            Winding bobbins by hand doesn't sound like fun nor would I imagine they would  be wound as tightly as a machine can do it.  Good luck with your oilingl.

          35. JeanM | | #90

            Ditto on the housekeeping.  (Who has time for that anyway when the forum is more interesting/important?).  I am not a very organized person, except in my sewing room.  See, I have my priorities in the right order.  LOL

          36. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #93

            I do not share my workspace, so everything stays put.  I like that.  The rest of the house is shared, and housework is to be shared too.  Not all my family sees it the same way, and they all put things away differently, sigh........Cathy

          37. MaryinColorado | | #100

            I know what you mean.  It drives me crazy to not be able to find things in my own house.  Especially when taller family members put things where I can't reach them.  I gave up fighting it long ago, but like you, my sewing studio is the one place that is organized my way.  (They aren't allowed to "borrow" from here anymore either!!!  (too many lost scissors and such). 

          38. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #104

            I actually put my scissors under lock and key!  I got fed up with having to have them sharpened or go missing when someone needed to cut non fabric and couldn't find the dozen pair I keep in the kitchen!  Cathy

          39. MaryinColorado | | #106

            Frustrating isn't it? ha ha

          40. MaryinColorado | | #99

            My sewing machines are the cleanest thing in my house.  I bought one of those little vaccuum attatchments for computers and sewing machines.  It has the tiniest little brushes and crevice cleaners.  I try to use it once a month and after any fuzzy project or when I use cotton or other softer threads. 



          41. cycler1729 | | #88

            Where are the tension discs?  My machine needs a cleaning so I might as well look at that while it's apart.


          42. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #92

            When you thread your machine, there are a set of round discs that the thread lies between.  Raise your presser foot, and the pressure is released on these discs, and the thread flows freely between them.  When the foot is lowered, there is pressure on the thread that tensions the upper thread.  The amount of tension is adjusted by a dial.  To clean between the discs, Raise the presser foot, and run the edge of a business card or piece of unwaxed dental floss gently between the discs to remove any dust or dirt that may have built up in there that may bind the thread.  If you have used a thread conditioner on an embroidery thread this is more of a problem than regular sewing, but dirty thread can cause buildup to accumulate as well. 

            If you are not sure where the tension disc is on your particular machine, check the manual.  Cathy

          43. Sancin | | #94

            I actually do not have much problem with thread, though I do not like Gutterman thread. I learned all about thread when I had my Elna Super, the best machine I ever had, and which a repair man managed to mangle. I would buy a reconditioned one in a heartbeat if I could find one. Tho it is was a one woman machine. My mother and SIL both had one version or another and we could never sew on each other's machines - very frustrating. HOWEVER, before the repair man who mangled my machine another told me to clean my tension plates with a small piece of ribbon (I use grosgrain) soaked in kerosene. It supposedly undesolves any product that may come off poly thread. I have a small medicine bottle filled with some kerosene my father got for me nearly 40 years ago in which I keep the ribbon. Whenever my machine gets 'iffy' I pull out the ribbon with tweezers, let it drip (it evaporates quickly and smells) and then run it through the plates like you suggest a card and I am off and running again for about another year. I have done this with every machine I have had since the Elna Super (tears). I do find that many problems with sewing machines functioning is related to thread and threading. Threading is my most hated job but any hint of any problem I unthread everything and start over.

            Edited 11/15/2008 8:45 pm ET by Sancin

          44. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #97

            Kerosene is a good all purpose solvent.  It would work well to keep the discs squeaky clean!  I will have to remember that for really, really dirty discs.  I would be careful with it around the computerized machines.  I do not know if it would muck with the sensors.  Thanks for the tip.

            There is a neat video on YouTube that shows how stitches are made.  Three guys use a ladder and a piece of wood and a ball of string and their bodies to make stitches.  they demonstrate how the bobbin and needle work together to create the stitches.  It shows clearly how important each part of the whole system is to making a perfect stitch.  It is also hysterically funny.   

            Each of my sewing machines seems to prefer a different type of thread, depending on its age.  My oldest ones do not really seem to like the poly, and prefer the wrapped or cotton threads, but my Bernina 930 will only work it's best with good poly thread or good all cotton.  Cathy



          45. MaryinColorado | | #102

            These are some great suggestions for the manual machines.  On the computerized machines, I wouldn't use anything thicker than thread to clear the tension disks, and never kerosene.  They are very sensitive and most of the newer ones are self oiling or may require a different type of lubricant.

            Also the canned air blows things into the machines and can cause permanent damage.  In the long run, it is less expensive to have an authorized brand repairman clean, oil, and adjust the computerized machines than to have to replace them or lose the warranty.

          46. MaryinColorado | | #103

            That sounds hysterical, wonder if they could do a serger too?  Too funny.  How do you access that? 

          47. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #105

            I found it by accident when I was researching thread tension on sewing machines one day.  I went to the YouTube site and used their search.  With the computer I am using now I am having trouble seeing videos right now, so I can't access the site.  :P  Otherwise I would be able to link to it for you.  sorry.  I really hate this computer.  It keeps resetting the security features my brother put on it and i cannot break through a lot of the pictures, video, and flash features until I get it figured out.  I have a lot of sites bookmarked to read and view later.  :(   Cathy

          48. MaryinColorado | | #107

            Even more frustrating!  ha ha  Oh well, at least the security features are working, right?  Very important these days...

          49. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #108

            It was very sweet of him to loan me this one.  But he is a little OCD when it comes to the security features, and he prefers a very clean, clear screen when surfing.  So he disables all the popups, and all the pictures and stuff, so basically only the words come up on the screen.  Not good for us creative types, tee hee, who prefer the mess.  So when he comes to visit, I think he updates the security features for me, and then I have to go in and shut half of them off so I can get onto threads and stuff again.  Oh well.......Cathy

          50. MaryinColorado | | #109

            A little OCD?  ha ha ha  We won't tell him you said that, will we girls?  I have to see the pictures, but the pop ups are all blocked on mine too.  Went out today and looked at trees again.  Guess I'm just being stubborn, but can't justify the money they want.  I found real ones at Lowes for a good price so might do that.  With a new puppy in the house, I don't know what I'll do with the tree anyway.

          51. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #110

            It is ok, I tell him lovingly he is OCD all the time, tee hee hee.  He is the youngest in the family, I am the oldest.  He says that we are the bread to the nut sandwich of a family, tee hee.  We all tease like that.  Keeps us from killing each other I think, teehee. 

            We are getting our tree this weekend.  I am looking forward to putting my decorations out.  Am pulling out the boxes this week and getting started.  I have a mid december baby, and we never used to put up the decorations before her BD.  I just realized I do not have to wait anymore.  Yay!!!!  

            Your tree is going to look kind of bare on the bottom with a puppy in the house, tee hee.  Cathy

          52. MaryinColorado | | #111

            That worked with the lab when he was a pup.  Zoey may be tiny, but she climbs and jumps and stands on her hind legs trying to reach anything that catches her interest.   It's so funny to watch her jump onto the couch, put her front paws on the end table and stretch as far as she can to snoop.  The lab acts bored with her these days, probably because he is not allowed on the furniture and is so jealous!  She is chasing her shadow this morning.  I may have to put up a playpen for the tree or put it on the mantel like Rodezzy did!  That's such a great idea, but my mantel isn't deep enough and she can jump onto the harth too!  Maybe if I put a "bug zapper" in the tree she would leave it alone!  Not really, just kiddin'!  

            When the lab wants to come in from outside, she stands on her hind legs and tries to intimidate him by making herself as big as possible.  It's hysterical until she runs behind him and nips his heels,  then she gets scolded! 

             Tonight is my grand daughter's birthday so hope to start decorating even without the tree if necessary!    Mary

          53. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #112

            My friend has one of those big dancing Santas.  Her Jack Russell Terrier throws a fit when he jiggles or moves.  It is the funniest thing you have ever seen!  She barks and barks until you make Santa dance, then gets all excited!  Cathy

          54. MaryinColorado | | #113

            Too funny!  I'm not sure who is more entertained, the pups or us watching them~  too cute!

          55. sewslow67 | | #98

            I've had a bit of a hiatus from the world, and am finally getting back and catching up with messages.  Now then, I'm glad your machine is working well again, and hope it still is.  As to Coats and Clark thread:  I have avoided it for years, as I've had nothing but problems with it on most any machine I've ever had.  I only use it now when I can't find a perfect color with Gutermann or Mettler (my two favorite thread companies).  That said, I see that Coats & Clark has a new thread out, and I haven't tried it yet ...but ...I've read that it's very different and excellent.

            My machine is also a combo sewing machine and embroidery (Pfaff 2170) and I've never had a problem with it and just love it.  The only issue I had was when I wanted to embroider something and sew at the same time.  The problem got resolved with DH got me a wonderful little Janome (Platinum 760) so now I can do both.  The latter was to take to quilting group and sewing group sessions, but has proved to be quite handy at home as well.  It is only 12-pounds, thus the original reason to getting it, since I'm limited as to weight I can pack around.

            Again, so glad you got your machine working again.  Enjoy!


          56. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #45

            Sewslow is right. You should try changing your needle. Try putting all your tension settings back as well, and sewing on a basic cotton to set the tension. If you were trying to sew a canvas that was waterproofed, you might also have a sticky needle. It can cause problems as well. Even a slightly bent needle can cause a lot of problems with tension. There was a really funny, and great explanation on Youtube I watched one day where these guys actually show how a needle and bobbin in a sewing machine work. I do not have the bookmark for it on the computer I am now using, so I will find it later and post it. It really shows how the whole thing works, and why just one little thing really can goof it up. Cathy

          57. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #47

            I will do that. I can reset the tension settings automatically to 'standard'..... one of the good things about a computerized machine. I'd love to see that video. You know, for someone who is really fairly mechanically inclined, I've always been just a bit shy about working on my sewing machine. This odd-headed-screws and so many of them that it is a major undertaking to get to the working parts. I am thinking this was done with the objective of keeping amateurs away from said working parts. You think?

          58. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #48

            I think it is to discourage tinkering husbands actually. I would be pretty wary of fooling with the innards of a computerized machine, but am guilty of taking my older mechanicals apart to fix myself. At least to have a look to see what is not working right. The actual working parts are pretty simple when you figure out what they are supposed to do. I would love to take a course in fixing them. Cathy

          59. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #49

            I've not been ignoring you. Life got in the way of sewing. But wait, sewing IS life, isn't it? Anyhow, I've had one cataract surgery and plan another one next Tuesday, I think. Drove nearly 6 hours to see a 7th-grade football game..... my grandson. Stayed several days there. DH stuck an exceedingly sharp filet knife almost through his hand the morning we left to go out there. He's better. My vision is improving. I see with one eye with my glasses on and the other eye with my glasses off. Maybe after next week I'll be able to make the work together!I'm going to go out to my shop today and start over from scratch with the sewing machine with a fresh view maybe. If the stitching doesn't look right, I'll take it to the shop tomorrow since I have to go into town anyway to see my ophthalmologist. I just bought two old machines at an auction. I want to try them out today, too. One of them I paid $6.00 for. It's in a portable case. I raised it up and looked under it and there were several envelopes and other papers in there. One of the envelopes had a crisp new $5.00 bill, so my net cost on that machine was $1.00. It's a Dressmaker brand. Not really familiar with it, but it's mechanical. I know I can make it work for what I need it for.

          60. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #50

            Oh Boy!  New eyes!  That should make life a lot easier for you.  Too bad about your DH's hand.  Hope the cut was not too deep.  Those kind of cuts can be exceedingly nasty.  Glad to hear that you are otherwise well.  Been kinda busy myself.

            Nice deal on the sewing machine.  Shouldn't take more than a good cleaning to get it up and running.  I found with the old machines I tinker with that it is mostly a good cleaning and fine tuning the tensions that gets them back in order.  After playing with a few, you get the hang of it. 

            I am down visiting family right now, so If I do not get back to you right away if you have any problems, I should be home on the weekend, Or Annie or someone will probably jump in and help as usual. 

            Vermont has SNOW!  Yuck!  and of course I did not pack my warm jacket, silly me, only my raincoat.    Cathy

          61. MaryinColorado | | #51

            Brrrrrrrrrrr!!!  We've had snow in the high country but not down here yet.  It was 39 degrees this a.m. so I'm pretty sure we'll be getting some snow by Halloween.  Try to stay as warm as you can and have a safe and happy trip!  Mary

            ooooh, are you going to buy some of that great Maple Syrup while your there?  Yummy!  Mary

            Edited 10/23/2008 11:10 am by MaryinColorado

          62. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #52

            No, I still have a stash from this spring.  The kids helped out making it.  Yum!  Cathy

          63. MaryinColorado | | #53

            Lucky You!  Especially when it's made by family!  It's really expensive out here.  Mary

          64. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #60

            It is expensive everywhere!  But worth every penny as far as I am concerned.  We have friends who are also into sugaring big time.  I get to buy the so called dark grade ( the real stuff, not the wimpy clear stuff) from them for cooking at the end of the season.  It is like molasses, and a nice dark amber colour.  Whoever thought the light coloured stuff was the premium quality is nuts!  Cathy 

          65. MaryinColorado | | #62

            Ooooh, I bet that is great for cooking, and especially for baked beans, yum.  I have to buy it at the health food store but would much rather buy it from a sugarer.  Too cool!  Mary

          66. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #63

            I have to order it ahead of season, as there is a list of people who want it.  It is not any cheaper either.  Cathy

          67. MaryinColorado | | #64

            But it must be so nice and fresh, my mouth is watering.  I used to buy those maple sugar candies too but cannot find them anymore.  They melt in your mouth, yum.  Mary

          68. MaryinColorado | | #79

            Ooooooooooo yummy!  Those maple leaf candies are the ones I remember, exactly.  Thank you so much for this great referral.  Mary

          69. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #54

            We're kinda cold here too. Heck, the temperature is down to the mid 60's today! Sorry, I couldn't help myself.......

          70. MaryinColorado | | #56

            oh sure, you stinker, rub it in!  ha ha (the weather, I mean)

            Edited 10/23/2008 1:28 pm by MaryinColorado

          71. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #61

            :P  Bleck!  Ok, rub it in Girl.  Tee hee  It is 20 degrees here this morning, it might warm up to 30 by the afternoon.  At least the woodstove is running full blast, and I am toasty warm by the fire with my coffee.   My DH packed my bike away last night.  :(  He told me he figured it was the season end now.  Did not want to hear me wimpering while he did it, so did it while I was away, nasty man.    He says he has noticed there are a lot of different runs out your way, and that it might be fun to plan a trip there next winter.  I really think he is looking into a trailor for that.  Cathy

          72. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #66

            The Hill Country and the Big Bend areas of Texas are really popular for bike riders. When DH was still riding he went on a few of those. His preference was a little different from most riders, though, so he didn't enjoy those scenic routes as much as most. He likes to just get on his bike and ride. The wind in the face kind of thing. Those areas are very beautiful, as is the eastern part when I live with the tall pines and lakes. If you decide to come down this way, be sure to let me know. It is hot, hot, hot in the summer and you don't see a lot of riders out. Spring time is the best. Massive Blue Bonnets (the state flower) in the Hill Country as well as other wild flowers, thanks to Lady Bird Johnson's efforts. Many people winter down near Padre Island on the Gulf Coast, and it's quite lovely there, too. Can you tell I love Texas? LOLOLOLOL

          73. Ceeayche | | #70

            As I sit here basking in what is sure to be our last 70 degree day for 2008 (this for Threadkoe), I have to tell you my family is from Texas too!  While my mother's family is from East Texas-- very east almost Lousianna Texax.  My father's family is from Brenham, home of Bluebell Ice Cream.  I spent every summer there in Brenham until my mid teens!  Many of my relatives so love the "great republic" that they merely tolerate the other states!



          74. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #71

            OK You Guys!  Quit rubbing it in!  tee hee!  At least I got out for a bike ride today, at a balmy?  almost 60 degrees.  And sunny.  Wonder what weather I will have tomorrow?  Probably just wait 10 minutes and it will change.........

            I have always wanted to see Texas, maternal ancestors migrated north from Houston area throught the Dakotas into Canada.  Had a chance to go to meet some distant cousins once, but my mom got sick and we couldn't go, and never got the chance again.  It is one of those things on my Bucket List.  Cathy

          75. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #73

            Maybe you will have the opportunity to visit next year. Texas is so big with so many varied climates, landscapes, and cultures, be sure to allow plenty of time to enjoy it.

          76. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #74

            You can be sure that when I tour through at some point, I will definitely will be in touch!  Cathy

          77. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #72

            CHL, when some of my DH's family came west from Harper's Ferry, when
            West Virginia separated from Virginia, they settled just barely across the Sabine River in Texas. Brenham, home of Blue Bell, probably the best ice-cream in the world, is not far from me. Heck, we may be relatives! Because I live in in oldest town in Texas, where 4 signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence are buried, and where 9 different flags have flown as opposed to the 6 which have flown over the rest of Texas, rarely a day passes than I'm not in some way exposed to the history of this great state. That said, I truly love traveling and seeing our other wonderful states. Each is unique and special in its own way.

          78. miatamomma | | #75

            My DH's paternal grandmother's family was from Harper's Ferry.  As they came west they only got to southern Indiana.  We spent several days touring West Virginia recently and made a point of seeing Harper's Ferry. Her maiden name was Hall and there were gun works by that name there so probably some family connection.  West Virginia is beautiful country and with above average roads.  Fun trip.

          79. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #55

            I can hardly wait to get the other eye done next Tuesday. It's an amazing thing. When I cover my left eye (the undone one) and look just through my right eye, everything is light and bright. Whites are white. Conversely when I cover my right eye (the now good one) and look just through my left eye, everything looks as if it has a film of nicotine stain on it. Whites are cream colored. A brushed silver TV set looks pewter. I think sewing is going to be so much easier when this is done. Keep your fingers crossed that the left one is as successful as the right one.

          80. MaryinColorado | | #57

            Good luck to you on your surgery!  Glad to hear that you have noticed such profound improvement already!  ( I just found out that I have cataracts this year so will eventually need to have it done myself.  I'm just starting to have symptoms so hopefully it won't progress too quickly.)  Mary

          81. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #58

            I've had them a while. I didn't want to have the surgery, because my DH had a bit of a bad result that they've finally convinced me was not caused by the surgery, only that the problem was separate and coincidental to the surgery. That's what I'm told anyway...... Anyhow, I'd likely have gone on for some time if my Internist had not commented that he didn't see how I was seeing with the severe cataracts, particularly the right one. That, added to my Ophthalmologist and her continued frustration with my reticence, finally convinced me. Now I'm happy I gave up and quit being a wuss. Okay, I'm still a wuss and am not looking forward to IV's and the whole medical procedure thingy, but I'm trying to be adult about it.

          82. MaryinColorado | | #59

            I am a really big wus regarding invasive procedures of any kind.  I am so proud of you for getting up your courage to have the surgery!  Very very happy that it is a success.  Good luck and God bless you on your next go round!

          83. User avater
            rodezzy2 | | #95

            Boy, that was a real buy.  Buy one and get your money back!  giggle.

          84. MaryinColorado | | #33

            Since the walking foot is supposed to keep the layers from shifting by moving the top and bottom feed, it seems that it would be helpful.  Since you have one, go for it.  Let us know what you think! 

  8. rodezzy | | #17

    How about some dolls.  Simple, front & back piece dolls with yarn hair, embroidered face, dress, pantaloons, make the legs in striped fabric and paint on the shoes, or cut the shoes and legs together.


    You should be able to find some small projects on this site. 

    I guess, I'm just into dolls right now and it's exciting to me, right now.  giggle.

    Edited 9/23/2008 10:11 am ET by rodezzy

  9. User avater
    VictoriaNorth | | #41

    I just came across your question and thought you may be interested in checking out our other website, CraftStylish.com. We have how-to projects and great inspiration from expert crafters in seven crafting categories. We cover Knitting, Sewing, Crochet, Paper Crafts, Quilting, Embroidery, and Jewelry Making. I see that you had a lot of suggestions to try tote bags. You may find something of interest in our tote-ally crafty bag challenge from last month. http://www.craftstylish.com/item/4929/ Hope this helps!-Vicky

  10. mucci | | #65

    Roaie6:  when Iam in a quandry in sewing just refer yourself to

    your sewing stash, and patterns, some times reviewing will bring a new




  11. fabricholic | | #96

    At the office, some of the younger women had bought key chains. All it was made out of was some zebra material with an initial embroidered on it with some cardboard in between the material and a regular round key chain. They loved them. I couldn't believe it. So easy.

    1. MaryinColorado | | #101

      That's a great idea!  Thanks for sharing it with us. 

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