The Perfect 1/4" Seam
The perfect ¼” seam is often an elusive and difficult thing to obtain. Thank goodness the sewing machine manufacturers have recognized this and developed several easy and convenient ways to achieve this tenuous objective. Each machine is going to have its own features and different ways to achieve a true ¼” seam, and we are going to cover these from the most basic way on your mechanical machines to adjusting your machine electronically if you have the technology to do that.
If you only have a mechanical machine, you only have one way to get that perfect seam allowance. The easiest way is to find your local sewing machine store and purchase a ¼” foot that fits your specific machine. This foot will allow you to put your machine in center needle position and run your fabric along the edge of your foot to ensure that you have the proper spacing from the edge of your quilt. In order to make sure you purchase the correct type of ¼” foot, you will need to know the type of shank your particular machine uses. The shank types vary from low shank machines (the most common), high shank machines, and slant needle machines. If you simply bring in one of your current feet, your local sewing machine expert should be able to steer you in the right direction.
For those of you with electronic machines there are multiple ways to achieve your perfect seam allowance. All electronic machines have the ¼” foot available, in fact they also have a ¼’ foot that also has a guide attached to it, which really makes it easy to control your fabric. Electronic machines also have a factory setting in them that will electronically move your needle position to the right just enough so you can use your regular sewing foot and run your fabric right along the edge of your standard sewing foot and no additional feet are necessary. There is normally a quilting menu on your machine designated with a letter “P” for patchwork, or “Q” for quilting. If you see these symbols, you know that these stitches are specifically designed for your quilting pleasure.
What needle should I use?
We are asked all the time “What needle should I be using for this project?” We have a simple answer to this question. Don’t stress too much about the type of needle you have in your machine. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it! If you are sewing along and not having any problems, then you have the correct needle in. However, if you start to have sewing problems, then your needle needs to be the first thing that you look at to fix those problems. Take advantage of the needle technology that is out there.
Each of the needles are made a specific way, with a specific material and shape to give you the best results for the sewing project that you are doing. If you are doing free motion quilting and you aren’t having any problems, then once again, don’t change a thing, you have the correct needle in. However, if you start breaking threads, or skipping stitches, then try to put a quilting needle in to improve your results. The quilting needle is ideally suited for your free motion project and can solve a lot of your problems. Same situation for you embroidery lovers. If you are doing your embroidery projects and shredding or breaking thread, try an embroidery needle to try and solve your problem. The embroidery needle is made from a heat resistant material and will help prevent those dreaded broken thread problems. Needle technology has changed drastically over the last 20 years.
We now have a specialty needle for almost any type of project you want to sew on. We have chrome plated needles that last 3 times longer than a regular needle. Once again, don’t stress about what needle you have in your machine until your machine starts giving you problems. When the problems start to occur it needs to be the first thing that you need to change to try and correct your problem. If you want some more information on needles or anything else sewing related make sure you come into either of the stores and we will be glad to answer your questions.
Going Above & Beyond for you,
Patrick and Kate
What Makes Us Different?
What a great question, and I’m glad you asked. When we opened our doors over 10 years ago we had a vision of being the most knowledgeable, friendliest, and most fun sewing store in the state of Colorado, and I think over the years we have accomplished that goal. We truly go Above & Beyond to meet your sewing and vacuum needs by offering services that other sewing and vacuum stores aren’t willing to offer. Above & Beyond Sewing and Vacuum is the only sewing store in the Denver area that exclusively does the following services.
1. We still make house calls and do in home sewing and vacuum service.
2. All of our machines come with unlimited sewing lessons for as long as you own your machine.
3. We offer a full 3 or 4 year unlimited service policy with every qualified machine. This is included in our already low sale prices. Our competitors charge you large sums of money to get this same service.
4. Our staff is the most experienced in the state, with over 100 years combined experience in the sewing and vacuum industry.
5. We offer more class opportunities than any sewing machine dealer in Denver and the state of Colorado. It is our goal to keep you motivated to use your sewing machine.
6. We are a nationally awarded Babylock retailer and we are the largest Babylock dealer in the Rocky Mountain region.
When we opened, we chose the name of our company very carefully. We want to be able to live up to the standards that we set for ourselves and that you have come to expect from us. Thank you for giving us the chance to become your one stop shop for all your sewing and vacuum needs. We look forward to serving you for the next ten years and beyond!!!
Going Above & Beyond for you,
Kate and Patrick
Keeping your machine out of the repair shop
Our goal at Above & Beyond Sewing and Vacuum is to be your source for all things sewing and vacuum related. This means a constant responsibility to keep you educated on how to make your sewing life easier. Many times when people bring in their sewing machines in for repair, we are able to send them out with a working machine within about five minutes. We have a set procedure that we do with every machine and we figure if we can pass that on to you, it might save you a trip in to see us. Here are the trouble shooting steps you need to take before you bring your sewing machine in for repair.
- Change your needle-Needles are the number one cause for sewing machine problems and the first thing you need to look at when you are trying to troubleshoot what’s wrong with your sewing machine
- Change the spool of thread-Even if you have sewn out 4 projects with that spool of thread change it out anyway. Sometimes a spool of thread can have a bad section in it and changing it out can make all the difference in the world for your sewing problems.
- Test both the top and the bottom tensions to make sure you are firmly inside your tension assembly. Sometimes simply rethreading the machine can fix whatever ails your sewing machine. Simply unthread the whole machine and then rethread. Do this in both the top and the bobbin thread.
- Clean and oil the machine. Certain machines don’t need to be oiled, but they all need to be cleaned. Make sure you are doing this as part of your routine maintenance to keep your machine in perfect working order.
- Change out the bobbin. Make sure as you are winding your bobbin that you make sure it is wound tight and even. This can also make a significant difference in how your stitch looks
- Be sure to use the correct size spool cap for the thread you are using. This is particularly important for those of you with a horizontal spool pin. Sometimes just paying attention to the small details can make a huge difference in your sewing machine performance.
Hopefully these hints will help you keep your sewing machine out of the repair shop. At Above & Beyond Sewing and Vacuum we want to be your sewing and vacuum experts and look forward to helping you with all your needs.
Going Above & Beyond for you,
Kate and Patrick
We are asked all the time about what stabilizers to use and at what time to use them. We have a simple answer to this dilemma, find a system that works for you and stick with it. There are so many stabilizer solutions out there and there are plenty of ways to solve the same problem. There are basically two styles of stabilizers to choose from and then multiple variations of each of those. For this month we will focus on the styles and then in the next couple of months we can talk about the different types.
There is a topping stabilizer and a backing stabilizer. The topping is just as it says, it belongs on the top of your garment to hold the fibers of the fabric down so you can see your embroidery stitches much more clearly. You will use a topping on most, but not all of your embroidery projects. Most of the time you will just float the stabilizer and let the stitching hold it in place. Anytime you have a loose weave fabric, or a fabric with any loft to it, then a topping stabilizer is a must use. Examples of this are terry towels, fleece materials, stretchy knits, and any other type of fabric that the stitches can get lost in.
Backing stabilizers are going to be necessary on 99% of your embroidery projects. You have a ton of choices that we offer, so it is good to experiment with the different types and pick the one that is right for you and gives you the most success. Here are some important tips to remember when you are using your backing stabilizer. First you want to use a stabilizer that gives you enough support for the fabric you are trying to embroider. It makes logical sense that the more stretch you have in your material, the more stable you have to make your stabilizer. Second, cut your stabilizer to fit the entire area of your hoop. This will provide support for your entire project and let the stabilizer do its job properly. Lastly, know the difference between a fusible and a non-fusible stabilizer. Fusible stabilizers are the most stable of all your choices and like I said earlier they are going to be your best choice for stretchier materials.
At Above and Beyond Sewing and Vacuum, we have your most extensive choices of Floriani and Babylock stabilizers in the Rocky Mountain region and we are your one stop shop for all your sewing needs. Stop by either location and we would be glad to give you an overview of whatever stabilizers you have questions on.
Going Above & Beyond for you!!!
Do I really need more than 1 bobbin case?
The number one complaint that we get when it comes to machine problems is in regards to tensions and how and when to adjust your tensions. I want to share some simple tips to alleviate some of the tension that goes with tension problems. Sometimes it is a good idea to have multiple bobbin cases at your fingertips when you are in different sewing situations. In fact, Babylock has started including two and sometimes three different cases when you purchase a new machine. Each one of these bobbin cases is set for a specific purpose and can help you in fixing your own tension problems without having to bring your machine into the repair shop. The bobbin cases are distinguished by different markings on them. The regular sewing bobbin case has a green dot of paint on the tension adjustment screw and is designed for all of your regular sewing. Sometimes there are certain sewing situations that require more or less tension, and this is where the specialty bobbin cases can come in handy. The embroidery bobbin case is designed with extra tension on it, so when you are doing your embroidery patterns you have less of a tendency of your bobbin thread pulling to the top of your garment. This bobbin case has a pink dot of paint on it so you can tell the difference. Some machine also come with a bobbin work case. This case is gray in color and is designed with no tension on it for doing your bobbin stuffing and other specialty work. Babylock is good enough to supply these bobbin cases with the purchase of many of their machines. If you have a machine that doesn’t supply extra bobbin cases, then sometimes it is a good idea to purchase a second or perhaps even a third one to set up for your special sewing circumstances. That way you don’t have to worry about adjusting your regular sewing case all the time.