Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Sew it begins...

The Lovely Doctor gave me a sewing machine for Valentine's Day :-) (In fact, he gave me part of a sewing machine, but the story gets so complicated that we'll just say that it was from him, OK?!)

Unfortunately, when I tried to thread it up, the final step - where you lower and raise the needle to pull the bobbin thread up through the stitch plate - kept not working. I tried it over and over again, checking each step really carefully, but the top thread got snagged and the bottom thread stayed stubbornly where it was. Every. Single. Time.

My patience wore thin.

After many tries, I figured that I really was doing the right thing, following the instructions exactly, and it wasn't me. So I phoned the helpline in the instruction manual and they agreed with me that it sounded like a fault with the machine and I should take it back to the store for an exchange. I quickly phoned the store to check that they had some still in stock and that they would put one by for me, bundled The Children into the car and set off - further justifying the trip by getting some much-needed new school shoes for The Girl and trousers for The Boy while we were out.

The new machine works!! *happy dance* I had a happy play with it last night, experimenting with the different stitches on some scrap card, and then today I made a layout. Please be kind, it's my first ever machine-stitched layout!


I've learnt a few things about my machine already...

It doesn't like stitching just onto a photo - the back of the photo paper seems to be too glossy to easily feed through. Layered onto something else it sews fine though.

It can sew through several layers at a time quite happily, even when one of the layers is chipboard.

If I worry too much about clogging up the needle with adhesive and decide to just stitch the letters straight onto the cardstock, they will move around and end up crooked. (I don't mind this too much for this layout; after all, it is documenting my first forays into machine stitching so I don't want things to be perfect!)

Having tried different ways of securing the ends of the thread, I prefer the neater ones (backstitching and trimming close, or pulling the top thread through to the back of the page and securing there) to the messy ones (leaving long ends free or catching said long ends into the stitching elsewhere).

Here's a closer look at some of the details:


I actually started off by trying to sew a border directly onto the photo, but as I explained above the machine didn't think much of that idea. To hide the crooked mess I layered a chipboard clothing tag and acetate heart onto that edge. I then added the printed twill, intending it to be angled but somehow managing to get it perfectly straight..... So I added the lace underneath, making sure it was at an angle this time! The letters for the title were die-cut from card that matched the tag (Snickle Script from Sizzix). The background card is Bazzill (I *love* Bazzill!) The close up pics show the colour of it better, the top pic was in shadow so looks darker.

Overall? For a first attempt, I really like it :-) I think it works better for having the tag layered over it, and for having the lace as well as the twill - hooray for happy accidents! And as a technique, I can see how it might become addictive. I'm looking forward to trying out some new ideas, using different stitches, and so on. I also look forward to (I hope!) being able to compare future layouts, when I've got more experience, with this first ever attempt :-)

Before I go, please forgive me for what follows.....

Sew, have you voted yet today? Remember that you can vote once every day! Not wanting to needle you with these constant reminders - I'm aware that it's a common thread now - but if you wouldn't mind bobbin over to Shimelle's I'd be sew grateful. Please don't get into a knot about it though! And please feel free to leave a cutting remark in the comments below....

*groan!* Sorry!

23 comments:

Abi said...

LOL!I Loved the bit at the end. Will be popping over to shimelle's soon! Love sewing machines and your page is lush! My mum and I managed to break our sewing machine after forcing it to sew loads of layers of fabric!!! (it was quite old though!)so lovely to be able to have one

Sian said...

Fantastic! I absolutely love the look of sewing on a page, and- wow- you got through that chipboard!! I really enjoy sewing; but will own up to having to get dh to change the bobbin for me. I'm technically challenged like that. Great page, Mel

JO SOWERBY said...

yey for you, at last sewing on LOs. fab Valentine's pressie, mel. look forward to seeing lots more stitchery pokery on the blog.
Jo xxx

K said...

I had to groan at the end bit but it still raised a smile to my face.

Love the idea of sewing the letters on, and dont worry too much about clogging the needle up with sticky, packs of 5 are fairly cheap (and good to have a spare set around), and easy to swap over.

Rhona said...

Well done on your first attempt at sewing on a layout, I think you've done well! I still haven't attempted it - maybe one day ;)

mise said...

And is the voting bon fide or a stitch-up? It's full of tension, everything that's afoot. But you can certainly buttonhole us for a vote anytime you like.

Nadine said...

cool beans!
I want to learn how to incorporate
stitches into my future layouts (:

I keep wondering where the extra
thread goes and whether the stitches
will come undone in future..

scrappyjacky said...

You seem to have mastered loads already...very impressed with it going through chipboard!!

Cheri said...

Love your first sewn layout! And I voted b4 I even got here! Seems like right now you are in a three way tie for 6th place - at least you are making a decent showing!

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

It looks great! I have a heck of time trying to sew through chipboard

Maria Ontiveros said...

Love the way you created a "shelf" with lace, and I really love how you stitched over the title.
Rinda

humel said...

Oh Mise, you always press the right buttons - you had me in stitches! I guess it's all in the material....

Thanks so much everyone for your kind comments, and for the tips too x

Scrappi Sandi said...

Very Clever 'punning'!!! I too am an addict to 'machining' on LO's...try different needles..some are better than others at not leaving too large holes!! I also use my machine to punch designs to then handstitch through. Anyhoo...that LO is fab!

Denise said...

Lovely,th elayout is fab and I'm sure you will be showing lots more stitchery on layouts.I'm not good with sewing machines as it's years since I used one.I just can't seem to cotton on... :-)

RachelB said...

This is great Mel, I would love to try stitching on layouts - I have one of the small battery operated sewing machines that is meant for scrapbooking but it doesn't work that well! I think I may have to ask santa for a sweing machine this year!

The Creative Beast said...

this layout is FABULOUS! and i've been stitching for many years so i know what i'm talking about =-)

here are few things to keep in mind (from a seasoned veteran!):
needles will dull quickly when stitching on paper so keep them separate from any fabric sewing needles

keep a little nail polish remover nearby so if the needles get gummed up with adhesive, you can use the polish remover with a little cotton swab to remove the gunk (while needle is still attached!) and keep working =-)

use heavy duty needles when sewing through the chipboard so they might last longer and finer needles for thinner papers so the papers won't tear...

i LOVED your puns and of course voted for you again today =-) BTW: where oh WHERE did you find that awesome 'measuring tape' twill tape/ribbon??? i'd love to buy some if only i knew where to find it...

Lizzie said...

I love your layout! It's very good - excellent for a beginner-stitcher!

Was going to offer advice about needles and sticky-stuff-removal, but I see The Creative Beast beat me to it - and her advice was so well put.

I'm interested to see just how well a sewing machine copes with stitching paper and card, even thin acetate shapes. I may just have to try it myself!

sharyncarlson said...

Great sewing! I have always been nervous about sewing over multiple layers, maybe I should give it a go again! And I just popped over to Shimelle's and voted for you again :)

Liberty :) said...

Groan indeed! I have been voting for you! :)

I tried sewing on card and it was quite easy (much easier than I thought...). I got a sewing machine for xmas, maybe we could have a sew-off!?

Amy said...

When do the votes close Mel?

Sewing is fantastic - very challenged in that department but you have done a wonderful job on your maiden voyage.

Karen said...

Great first layout with stitching. I'm very impressed with it. I've been sewing since I was ten; used to be clothes, quilts, all kinds of things. Now it's mending and cards. I've never contemplated sewing through chipboard; bravo for trying. Good to know it works.

Ruth said...

A great start with your machine. I'm loving getting to grips with mine.

The Scrappy Tree said...

Looks wonderful :) I need a sewing machine!