Emma’s Stitching News

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Well hello my sewing friends!!! I must say I never knew I had so many!! You have all been so thoughtful and caring and I don’t have the words to tell you how much your thoughts and prayers mean to me.

We were so lucky with Hurricane Irma. Our home survived with only a small ding in our roof from a falling palm tree. We thought we might put a band-aid on it but that ornery old roof (poured concrete six inches thick) just might spit it off. We had no water intrusion from rain or flood. We live on a strip of land that is very unique. We call it a speed bump. Our back porch looks out on a wide lagoon that reaches across to a row of houses, then a frontage road, then U.S. 1, and then the Atlantic Ocean. Irma created a high sand dune along U.S. 1 and drove sand and water into the houses and then even carried the sand into the lagoon. We now have a couple new sand bars that the birds just love at low tide. Once the water came into the lagoon it became the level of Florida Bay (also known as the Gulf of Mexico). With that kind of water dispersal we did not have any water even on our dock. The houses across the street also have a lagoon behind them and no water problems from flooding. A lot of Atlantic Ocean front homes were not so lucky.

Our landscaping however looks like three Irmas went through. We lost 14 palm trees and most of our scrubs are kissing the lawn. We put all of the debris out front for pick up including trees, twisted chain link fence and a few thousand coconuts.

We evacuated to a friend’s house, her name is Jeannie Miller and she is a very wonderful sewing educator so if you get the chance to go to one of her classes do so. You will love her and her classes, I sure do.

We came back to the Keys two times before we moved back into the house. The first time was when we were allowed back onto the islands but only to MM 74 (Mile Marker), we live at MM 75. Key Largo starts at MM106 and U.S. 1 ends at MM 0 in Key West. They had to clear the roads of debris, sand, boats, ice machines, furniture, and all kinds of other stuff. Also the bridges all had to be checked to see if they were able to have traffic cross them. We had no electric the first time down, the second time down we had electric and before we left we had water. An uprooted tree had also uprooted our main water line so we had to reconnect. We could not stay because we have a very active web business and needed a post office, FedEx, UPS, and Internet.

We stayed on the third trip back, as we had a hot spot that we could use to get thru on the internet. We were home about a week and on the night of October 5th and morning of the 6th our garage burst into flames and caused a lot of damage downstairs. I think I would have preferred Irma damage.

I am attaching a few pictures of our home, and other unique things that you don’t often see.

After Irma

After Fire

Along U.S. 1, on some of the islands, there is a second road that was the old U.S. 1. On part of old U.S. 1 up on Plantation Key there was a line up of appliances along the old highway that went for two and a half to three blocks long. It looked like a White Appliance Wall. I have never seen any thing like it. When I first saw it it was all off the road along the side. When we went back to take pictures there were a lot more appliances. Then a couple days later when we went up islands to go to Publix food store the White Wall had grown into the road (no more road to drive on ) and the road had been blocked off for close to a mile. I know they were staging the appliances there as they go to a separate dumping area than the landscaping debris but, WOW WHAT A SIGHT!!!

The Middle and Lower Keys are now open but what a massive effort to do that. There is a lot more devastation the further down you go.

I am truly grateful and amazed at all the first responders, military, electric companies, etc. the list goes on… that have come to help and how all the local conchs have stepped up and are helping in all the ways they can. We live in a tropical climate and things grow fast and easy. We now have started to look alive again, and in about another six months we will look like the real Keys again. The doves that come to feed on our back porch are not totally happy with the trees,  as they still feel a little too exposed, but nature is renewing itself.

I have not been doing much in the way of sewing because of the fire and the fact that there was no electric in the downstairs until a couple days before Christmas, but I have a few things that I can tell you about.

The First Project is a White Tank Top with Black Trim

I have done several garments with this particular trim and I do it on my Baby Lock Ovation Serger. The stitch is called a wave stitch and I make two lengths of a wave stitch on my stay tape then put the two wave stitch trims beside each other. The two waves laid beside each other in a certain way will create a button hole sort of look. I like it around necklines and down the fronts of cardigans and jackets. A friend of mine put it down half the front of a tee shirt then back up beside the first double wave to make a placket look and she put fancy pearl buttons on the buttonhole part of the trim. It turned out quite well and looked like the tee had a buttoned placket in the front.

White Tank Top with Double Wave Trim using Wonderfil Dazzle Thread

Sewn on Ovation Serger by Baby Lock
Stitch Selector C
Wave Stitch
Differential N
Needle – Schmetz Serger 90/14 Elx705
Width – 4.0
Length – 1.5
Lower Looper – Wonderfil Black
Upper Looper – Wonderfil Silver
Needle – Gunold Black

SewkeysE Stay Tape – 1/2 inch Woven White and 1/2 inch Double Sided

Thread your machine for the Wave Stitch as instructed in your owners manual. Put your needle in the left needle position to get a wider width.

For cone decorative threads, I use a thread net, see example A. (There are some tutorial videos on my website to show some of the techniques such as how to line up the stay tape to start serging and how to line up the wave.)

To create the Double Wave you will need to double the length of the project. If you have a 36 inch neckline then you would need to make at least 72 inches. I usually add on more inches for my ease, and would probably make about 85 inches. Usually I cut my stay tape to 85 inches and that saves me checking to see is I have made enough. In this example I am using the needle in the left needle position. Stage the stay tape under the needle to start serging and the stay tape must be fuse side up. I then move the stay tape so it is lined up with the left needle notch on the serger foot.

As the wave comes off the machine it will start to twist and will need to be straightened until tap pressed. (Tap pressing is tapping and steaming then picking the iron up and tapping down again. DO NOT IRON. The pushing movement is not healthy for the trim). When you have about 10 to 15 inches made, start to wind around a 3×5 card until you can tap press, see Example B.

Remove the wave from the 3×5 card and tap press. Find the center and cut in half so you have two lengths of wave at about 42 inches each and then rewind them onto separate 3×5 cards.

Once I have my wave trim pressed, I use my Press Pad, and glass-head pins to tap press the wave onto SewkeysE 1/2 inch Double Sided Stay Tape. See examples C and D. Pin the paper side down on the Press Pad and the web side up, then as you start to put the wave trims together, line it up so the black is across from the black and the white is across from the white. The black creates a button hole look. Slowly match the waves up and pin in place. The Press Pad allows you to angle the pins into the pad up to the glass head.

Once you have pinned in place about four inches, tap press and continue until you have done the whole 42 inches for the neckline or whatever is required for your project.  If you are doing this on my Press Pad, it is 18 inches long so you may have to pick up the double-sided pressed part of the trim and move it off the pad to fit more length onto the pad. Once finished placing the wave trim on the Double Sided Stay Tape, go over the trim once more, tap pressing the whole length. Remove the paper from the back of the wave trim and apply to the neckline or your project. See Examples E and F.

For the neckline I usually find center front and place a pin there, then find the center of the trim and place a pin there. Put the two center fronts together and start pinning from each side of center front. I usually place the neckline on a ham, so it is not on top of the back of the garment while I am adjusting the trim around the neck. Pin in place and tap press down. Attach most of the trim to the neckline but do not finish at center back. Once you have attached most of the trim to the neckline, do not finish at center back but offset more, so the connection is between center back and the shoulder. The connection is less noticeable this way and once the trim is machine sewn down you can hand sew the ends of the trim.

I take the wave trim to the sewing machine and use Wonderfil’s Invisafil thread to secure the trim permanently to the neckline or the project. I put Invisafil in the needle and regular sewing thread in the bobbin. For the white tank shown I used white Invisafil and sewed with a 3.0 length and a 1.0 width (very minor zig zag). I also reduced my tension from the normal 4.0 to 3.5, as the Invisafil likes less tension and stress. It is 100 wt. thread and almost invisible.

(The Wonderfil threads, Stay Tapes and Press Pad can all be purchased from my website, www.emmaseabrooke.com.)

The Second Project: Medium Blue Tee with Double Wave Trim

I modified my Claire Tee pattern at the shoulders and sleeve to make it have the same lines as my Donna Jo Jacket.

Medium Blue Tee with Double Wave Trim and Donna Jo Navy Jacket with Double Wave Trim.

This tee top was made to go with a Donna Jo Jacket and Mystic Pants. the Donna Jo does not have a tee pattern so I just modified my wonderful old Claire Tee that I am always cutting up. Claire is a great base pattern that I can do anything with.

Medium Blue Top with Double Wave Trim using Wonderfil Dazzle Thread

Sewn on Ovation Serger by Baby Lock
Stitch Selector C
Wave Stitch
Differential N
Needle – Schmetz Serger 90/14 Elx705
Width – 4.0
Length – 1.5
Lower Looper – Wonderfil Dazzle Dark Blue DZ50, 8 wt.
Upper Looper – Wonderfil Dazzle True Blue  DZ137, 8 wt.
Needle – Wonderfil Accent Navy. 12wt.

SewkeysE Stay Tape – 1/2 inch Woven Black and 1/2 inch Double Sided

Thread your machine for the Wave Stitch as instructed in your owners manual. Put your needle in the left needle position to get a wider width.

For cone decorative threads, I use a thread net, see example A above. (There are some tutorial videos on my website to show some of the techniques such as how to line up the stay tape to start serging and how to line up the wave.)

See sewing instructions for White Tee with Double Wave Trim to complete Medium Blue Tee Trim. I used Navy Wonderfil Invisafil to stitch the Double Wave Trim to the Medium Blue Tee.

The Last Project is My Fix It Animal Print Top

The last top is part of my Fix Party Class that I taught at the American Sewing Guild Conference. I ask the sewing ladies to bring in something they started that does not seem to be working, something that they bought and now hangs in the back of the closet, or something they bought at a garage sale, flea market, etc. that they liked the fabric but thought they could change it. The class is fun and the students started to chime in after one or two samples were shown.

I get the opportunity to go to garage sales often, as my Silver Fox is an avid garage sailer. This top I got for $1.00. It still had the tag on it so was not used, I liked the print, it was my size and my colors, just need a slight style change to suit me and I had the Fix It Class coming up so it made a great sample.

The neck was too high for the tropical Keys, and I am not big on snaps in the crotch line.
I cut as close to the bottom as the elastic legs would allow and took off the turtle neck piece. The turtle neck piece was wide enough that I could cut it in half widthwise and have two pieces to sew together to make a long neck  band to go around a lowered neckline.

I lowered the neckline and used 1 1/4 inch Knit Stay Tape to face the neckline. Place the 1 1/4 inch stay tape around the neckline on the right side of the fabric with the fuse side up. I measure the neckline and usually take away 1/2 inch to make the facing smaller than the neckline and add one inch for a 1/2 inch overlap in the back so I don’t have a seam. I stitch the Stay tape on with a 1/4 inch seam, turn it to the wrong side of the neck and roll it just a tiny bit so that I see animal print on the back side and no white on the front side. I then pin the stay tape down in the 1/4 inch seam and stitch it just below the 1/4 inch seam. By pinning in the seam and stitching just below you secure the roll. Then you can fuse the rest down around the neck.

I sewed the two parts of the turtle neck so that it would fit the enlarged neck and placed the seams connecting the cut strips so they lay at the shoulder lines. I then stitched the two long edges wrong sides together to create a tube, pressed the seam open and turned the tube right side out. The part of the tube that went into the neckline I folded a little wider then the part of the tube that went down into the garment. By shifting the tube so one side is a little larger then the other it makes the neckline side look a little like self ribbing. The seam that created the tube is placed to the neck so it cannot be seen.

I created a rolled hem trim to lay over where the seam is turned to the inside to cover the slight bump that it might create.

I set up my Baby Lock Ovation — Overlock stitch, Stitch Selector D,  Differential N, Needle – Schmetz Serger 90/14 Elx 705, Right needle position,  Width – 06/3.5  Length 2.5  Rolled Hem

Thread — Upper looper – YLI Quilt Highlights 324-10-012 Antique Gold
Lower looper and needle – Gunold Filaine Black

When I place the stay tape after staging I like to have it just at the left side facing of the right needle. Don’t forget to measure how much you need and cut the stay tape about six to eight inches longer.  Press the trim on to 1/4 inch double sided stay tape by placing the stay tape fuse side up on your press pad and laying the stay tape right side up on the stay tape and tap pressing. Remove the paper and fuse to the garment as shown in the picture. Stitch the trim to the neckline with Invisafil thread in a gold type color with the same settings as done in the White Tank.

Finished Top

I promise in my next newsletter to have more of a variety of tips but with our Irma mess and then the fire mess I am just starting to get back to normal.

After Irma I spent a lot of time outside trying to clear the lawn and helping some of the neighbors. Then we got hit with the fire. After the fire clean up then the move back into the down stairs it was a long time since sewing, I feel like I forgot how to sew. This next week will be spent in my sewing room. I can’t wait. Sewing makes me a very happy person and gives me a buzz like nothing else can. To touch fabric and see threads and then put them together into a creation just keeps a smile on my face. I am just another Crazed Sewer.

We are still not altogether yet but hopefully this newsletter is the beginning of my monthly newsletters again.
Thanks again to all my friends for all your thoughtfulness.
Sewing Regards,