Sewing Machine Basics


T-Shirt Quilting: Warm Up With Your Life Story


Lesson Info

Sewing Machine Basics

I think it's about time we start playing with these awesome burning a sewing machines myself, so that's, how I want to start this segment and then we'll back up and do a little bit of stashing and, quote, block repaired, get into that. So, debbie, I'm so grateful to you for helping us out with all the machine wrangling. I do have a few quote blocks up on the design wall, and I'm actually just going to begin selling those together by way of demonstrating, selling the quote blocks together. But we do have some more work to do with this quilt, obviously. And as I can see from the grimaces here in the studio, this is nowhere near a complete design, but we're not going to worry about that right now. Let me just pull down two blocks or three as the case may be and let's talk about the mechanics of sewing to quote blocks together. This is a very simple process, really. The one tricky bit is making sure that you put the blocks together in such a way that they will both be right side up when yo...

u finish sewing them, and the easiest way to get to that is I lay them out on my sewing table in the orientation I want him to have. And then I just flipped the one over the other when you so two pieces of fabric together, those of you who have done some sewing are already familiar with this. They're right sides always have to be facing each other so that the seam khun sit on the other side of the fabric, so we'll just flip these so that they're right sides are facing, and then I'll take the time to make sure that their edges line up. You can pin these if you want to or you might not want to. I'm a pinner, and debbie and I were talking she's, shaking her head. Debbie and I were speaking before this class began and she's, not a pinner, and either way is perfectly legal way to sew a straight seem. Some people like to add a siri's of pins along the edges of the two pieces of fabric toe hold them together, and some people prefer to just adjust the edges of the fabric as so a lot really does depend, I think, on the precision of your selling machine in that case, so the bernie no machines really do so a nice straight line with no effort on your part nated to guide the fabric. Less expensive machines sometimes needs more guiding so that's a case where pins really help take some of that work off of you but a lot of times if your machine is taking care of that then pins aren't that necessary when I placed these pins though I want to be able to see that on the overhead camera you can see that I'm placing them perpendicular lee to the edge of the fabric that way as I am sowing these pieces of fabric will be in this orientation to me and I will be able to sew right up to a pin and then remove it whereas if I were placing the pins vertically I run the risk of sewing over a pin before I can grab it and I have to reach around to grab it so this is a much better ergonomic orientation so that's my doctoral dissertation on thinking so sitting down at the bernie no then some key pieces of information we need our number one we want to consider the presser foot that's installed on all of your machines this is a different presser foot than the standard one that will come with any machine when you purchase it it's a great presser foot to invest in no matter what model of machine you so on it's called a walking foot some machine manufacturers will even refer to it as an even feed foot but the walking foot is a common name and what it does is it allows multiple layers of fabric to advance through your machine at the same rate. Debbie I'll bet you could give a much more technical explanation than I could have. Why a standard presser foot sometimes shifts the layers of fabric a standard all your presser feet actually pressed down on your fabric as your sewing, and so your fabric tends to shift, and then you end up with that top layer fabric being a little bit longer than the bottom when you get to the end of your scene and that's just a function of how that works, where if you're using a walking foot, it actually walks over your fabric and so there's no pressure, not as much pressure to stretch your fabric and push it forward, so that make sure two pieces of fabric stay the same one, which is awesome. Nicely done e I find a walking presser, but really helpful for these fairly thick pieces of stabilized jersey? I use it. I use it all the time when I make quilts of any stripe because it is so helpful when you're quilting and you're running, backing and batting in a quilt top under this under this part of your machine, but it's also very helpful for sewing straight scenes, so that's, what we're going to use today. So I had the edge of my fabric to my right and now I need to line up for that quarter inch seam allowance that we've been talking about so if you look on your walking presser foot here on the right hand point frontpoint there's an alignment line that kind of goes along the inside edge of that point and then there's a little line engraved in the presser foot itself so you can line the edge of your fabric up with that point on your presser foot and also on this metal plate here on the machine is a quarter interest seem guide that you can use also for me the presser foot alignment is the easier one so I'm going to bring my presser foot down and I want to set it up to the edge of the fabric is just to the left of this little line that's engraved on the presser foot you may have heard experience quilters talk about something called a scant quarter inch which is sort of the general parlance for the quarter inch seam that is used in quilting I say if you get a quarter inch seam you're fine it doesn't have to be that scant if it if it gets a little over a quarter inch nobody's going toe croak it's totally fine so just use that alignment get us close to that quarter inches you can and everything will be great so you guys have some sample quote blocks there that I made for you, and we're going to so some blocks together for practice, go ahead and put him together with right sides facing and either pin or not pin is your preferences and then let's get him lined up under the marks there on the presser foot, and then we'll so quarter inch seam, so we're just using a standard stitch length, which is two point four. Generally speaking, your machine is default set to that and that's a perfect stitch with for this kind of stitch link through this kind of sewing, so I've brought the presser foot down, and then I want to advance the needle into the fabric and on the bernie nina there's, a handy dandy button that does that it's the left most of the buttons right below your lcd display your digital display there's, a little row batons and the one on the left. If you press that you should notice that your needle dives right into your fabric it's a good idea to always start sewing with the needle in the fabric. It keeps the thread neater and it prevents your machine from getting that step, so just start there and then we'll press down the foot pedal and start sewing and just so a few stitches and then stopped for me. Some of you may be feeling like the machine is going a tiny bit faster than you might feel comfortable with and you're in luck if that's the case because below the digital display and a little bit of the left of those buttons we were just referring to is a little slider that has a plus on one side and a minus on the other and that will control the speed at which this machines so's so if you are feeling it all uncertain to slide that down to the minus point and slow very slowly so very slowly that's hard to say and that gives you a lot more control. So with my control all the way to the end I am sowing incredibly slowly I can also go as fast as the machine wants to go that's completely a comfort level thing there's no prizes for sewing fast the great thing with bernie nas especially like I said this they so very precisely so if you're a beginner it's sowing it's very tempting to want really muscle this fabric through and try to keep it straight and in fact I have a really old machine at home that I saw on sometimes and it requires me to do that heavy duty fabric guiding while I'm sewing but this bernie in it is really about the fingertip control so you don't need to do it a lot of wrangling just make sure that the fabric is staying in the machine straight and that's all just watch that little guy it on your oppressor. But that's all there is to it. They are very quiet, I think it's kind of nice when you get to the end of the of the seam. What you're going to want to do is reverse a few stitches to not the thread. Technically speaking, this is not absolutely required in quilting scenes, but it's just a it's, a sewing practice that applies to so many kinds of sewing, I just generally teach it. What that does is reversing a few stitches basically ties a knot in your seem so that the pieces will not pull apart so you can see the reverse button is really near the bottom of the machine. There's a green glowing button, and you go to buttons down and there's a little button with a u shaped arrow. While you're sewing, you depressed that button and there's your few backwards stitches, and now you've locked that seem off and you can remove the fabric and then there's a little threat cutter here on the side, most machines have these now you could just run your thread through it, cut it, and you're all set so that's a sewn seem when you so pieces together you always want to press the scene after sewing the whole point of that is to get the pieces to lay nice and flat and so let's get to the ironing board here now we can safely press the seam without are pressing cloth, assuming that the margin we're pressing doesn't have any screen printing on it on rare occasion, you might have to sew across the screen printed portion and you'll have a tiny bit of it show up in this little seem allowance margin at the back and in that case should use your pressing cloth but nine and a half times out of ten you won't need to, so I'm going to press the seam allowances of this scene open and I'm going to do that by laying the pieces out and then with my fingers I'm going to encourage them open a little bit and then I can take my iron and run that over the seam and I'm doing a little bit of pressing rather than ironing here because if I do a lot of ironing actually run the risk of pulling my seem out of shape, so I'm just pressing and moving and you guys can do this too, and then I typically pressed my seems from both sides, so look how nice and smooth that looks since I am working on the side of the shirts that has all the screen printing I'm gonna bust out my pressing cloth just for safety, not really ironing too much over the graphics, but any time you're on the front of the quilt, I highly recommend doing this and there is a very nice seem so the way that we approach sewing a quilt together is we're going to sew the shorter seems in the quote first, and then we're going to so the longer seems so we've been talking about these vertical columns throughout the whole class, right? Your quilt is made of these vertical column, so what will actually do is so the blocks in the columns together to make long strips of quilt and then well, so the strips together, those will be the long seems, and those will bring the pieces of the quote together that makes sense pre straightforward. Okay, so in front of you all here in the studio, you have six blocs that I have prefer used in pre cut for you because I like you, and I didn't want you to have to do that. If you want to sew up for us two strips with three blocks each, and then when you get to that point stop and then we'll talk a little bit about those long scenes, how are how are the people of the internet? Feeling about the sewing demo their care questions it's interesting yes and we have to have some questions coming through I don't know you didn't already cover this time but what specific needle are you using for for this particular cell no that's a great question I forgot to mention that at the top so I'm glad that came up I like to use either a universal or a sharp needle those air ready readily available in the box craft stores with knit fabrics in general most so it's prefer to use what's called a ballpoint needle and the ballpoint needle has a rounded tip so that it can slide through knit fabric more easily but the thing is once you have applied this interfacing to the back of the net fabric kind of ceases to behave like knit fabric so you do want a sharp machine needle too so through that stuff also is a good moment to mention that it's a very good practice when you're starting any new quilt project to change the sewing machine needle you have most of us myself included leave our sewing machine needles on far longer than we should once the machine it'll starts to get dull it it's hard on the machines motor it's hard on your hands it makes your machine noisier it's hard on your fabric so it's a great rule of thumb just with every new project to put a new needle in the machine and then you're covered and what is the stitch length you're using for this standard stitch length of two point four stuff now we've got a couple questions jumping back one stage I suppose one from kia melons and one from look learn and they're both concerned about the grain of if usable web webbing and on the t shirt scraps do you need to make sure that they're in sync you do what we've done is we have engineered all of the quote blocks we've made so that the grain is running horizontally across all of them and when we're doing these short seems that we're talking about we're sowing along with the grain of the fabric, right? I'm sewing this piece right now the grain of the interface ings running this direction and I am sewing this direction and group that gives me great precision when we have to so across the grain of the interfacing like we're going to so our long strips together or we're going to sell on a piece of sachin later that's when the grain issue becomes an issue and that's what? I'm going to show you a little trick to compensate for that. So I hope that answers that for now because thank you so much time that I'm happy to answer more while I sew almost looking students because I know that nina carrie and no really experienced teo I thought the grand prix it started I think it's wonderful having debbie here to help you out there yes. No absolutely not exactly what it's all about learning my mother taught me sewing when I was very very small and she would just put me in front of the machine and give me some little thing to dio you know, so is exact stature make a ham on this piece and just little lessons that were very helpful it's really just about sort of familiarity making you comfortable in a way here's a question from j grady how do you pick the a threat that you're going to use the color without having to change for each block with do you have to change how that's such a good question you know? Because yes, you're actually with a t shirt quote sewing on many, many different colors of fabric so what I do is, uh, find a happy medium I used a white a black or a grave threat and I base it on the values of the blocks I'm working with so the's air all pretty medium value blocks for the most part I would use a grave threat two so those together I just sewed a white block to a black bloc and I used black thread for that and issue khun see in no way does that show up on the front of the fabric because the interfacing makes the fabric pretty thick you khun you really have a lot of leeway in terms of thread color it's very unlikely to show from the front of the quilt when we talk about actually quoting the quilt tomorrow that's when you're going to make a color choice of some kind that's kind of a different animal you really can use speaking of thread any all purpose thread for this process, but you know if you look around it's, your fabric store or your craft store, there are threats that are manufactured specifically for patchwork and quilting that are very nice to use and that's what we're actually using here in the classroom there's a lot of debate among quilters, whether they like polyester threat or cotton thread and I this is what I'm using here and what we're all using is a polyester core with cotton wrapped around it makes the threat very sturdy and also very smooth as it passes through the fabric in the machine, so I really like that for t shirt quilt making fantastic let's just reiterate one more time for those who missed it is when he started the name of the foot to using is that the walking foot it's a walking presser fun? Yes if you don't have one, what you khun dio is if you know you're selling machine dealer, you can talk to that person about getting a walking foot or you could just do an online search for the make and model of your machine and walking presser foot and find one online that way, mind costs about twenty dollars for the older machine I use most of the time, debby could tell us what the walking foot for this banana retails for. Bernie feet are made, um by hand. There they're made by their, their hand polished, um, and so they take the great care in the accuracy of our press. A fee, and mostly all of our presser, feet from the midline and higher, are full shank, meaning it it fits up onto the machine, it's, a lot of snap on, and so, um, our feet are a little more expensive than some other brand. Thiss one is probably around two hundred. Ok, so they very, quite a lot by machine model does very machine should have ah, walking presser foot available for it, it's a should, yes.

Class Description

Are the t-shirts you saved for their sentimental value starting to pile up? Making them into a t-shirt quilt is an incredible way to preserve memories of the marathons you’ve run, family reunions you’ve attended, theater productions you’ve appeared in and more. Join Diane Gilleland and learn about the coziest way to share your life story.

This course will cover everything you need to know to create a t-shirt quilt from start to finish. You'll learn three methods of simple quilting: tie quilting by hand, machine ties, and simple straight line quilting. You'll learn two methods of finishing the quilt: a sewn edge and a binding. You’ll explore the tools professional quilters use, but also learn how to incorporate the sewing materials you already have into your quilting. You’ll make accurate cuts using a ruler and a rotary cutter and construct a simple patchwork. You’ll also learn best practices for sewing straight seams and working with knits.

No matter how many t-shirts you have saved up or how much sewing experience you have you’ll leave this course with the skills you need to create a lifelong keepsake.