August 2017 Updates

I don’t know about you, but to me summer seems to be whizzing right past us. We did find time to pop in to the American Sewing Guild Conference in Orlando for a day to see some of our favorite people! We are working on some pretty interesting ideas for workshops, and discussing collaborations to bring you all levels and a wide variety of sewing and design projects. Stay tuned! Right now, let’s talk about what’s coming up:

School of Sewing: Zip It Pillow

The Zip It Pillow is our August School of Sewing project. I think you’re going to stock up on these luxurious throw

Photgraphy: Lauren Hunt

pillow zippered cases because you can interchange them and toss them in the wash. This project comes in handy to both build on your sewing skills and project knowledge, and to add some zing to your home dec options. You’ll be able to apply what you learn to many other projects. It’s also another great gift! Register by August 15th to reserve your seat!

Home dec projects are a great way to practice new techniques in small doses, and this simple pillow offers a number of opportunities. It also is a quick way to add a dash of color and interest to rooms, indoors or outdoors! The Zip It Pillow is great because you can slip it on and off your pillow form for washing. You’ll want to make multiple Zip It Pillows to change the look in your rooms as the mood strikes! For beginners who haven’t taken previous School of Sewing workshops and want to build skills before tackling some of the features presented, we offer an alternate covered pillow project that’s pretty close, and still provides interest and new skills development.

SKILLS FOCUS:  Hand sewing binding, installing a covered zipper, using fusible fleece, machine quilting (optional “extra credit” feature)

You Can Sew: A sew-along workshop series

Welcome to our newest workshop series – You Can Sew.  These sew-along workshop series are designed to guide you through a full sewing project – our August series is garment focused. Along the way, you will learn tips and techniques that ensure your sewing project success. The result will be a new garment, along with new and useful sewing knowledge! Bring a notebook as we will have great information to share from start to finish.

We are presenting our first You Can Sew as a series of three workshops in September on the 5th, 12th, and 26th at 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.,  and it’s specially priced. This series features McCalls 7120, a flattering dress that can be made for any season. We start off with project planning, move directly into the fun stuff – cutting and construction, and then finishing techniques for a completed project! This series is appropriate for advanced beginners and intermediate sewists, as well as advanced sewists who want to brush up on their skills, or just like this dress. Register for September’s series by August 25th. 

Our September You Can Sew workshop series is planned for 3 sessions for a total of 9 hours of instruction and sewing guidance. It is specially priced at $97. Seating is limited to ensure quality instruction. Future You Can Sew workshops will be conducted in series up to 15 hours of class time for $129 with your sewing machine, $155.00 with a loaner machine.


Do you have a You Can Sew project idea a whole class would be interested in doing? Comment below or email me at I can’t wait to hear your ideas.

When you’re ready to add to your stash, shop

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Tips Worth SharingJust a reminder; the first step to getting proper tension is to correctly thread your machine?  In a very good Threads excerpt, Claire Shaeffer, one of my favorite sewing experts, discusses how to identify and correct “tension” problems both with and without touching the tension settings. 

You can’t get proper tension without correct threading. All machines have basically the four tension devices; thread guides, tension discs, tension regulator for upper thread, and bobbin-case spring for bobbin thread – which ensure that the same amount of thread flows simultaneously from the needle and bobbin, producing a symmetrical stitch.

So many things can affect the tension that it’s worthwhile to run through the following checklist in the order given before you reach for the tension regulator:

  • Incorrectly threaded machine: Incorrect threading is responsible for more “tension” problems than any other factor. Did you use all thread guides? Did you thread with the presser foot down, thus keeping the thread from slipping fully between tension discs? Is thread unwinding freely from the spool, or catching on the spool’s slash? Are you using a bobbin as a spool (which can interfere with the thread flow)? Is the bobbin inserted correctly?
  • Incorrectly filled bobbin: Remove any thread on the bobbin be-fore you wind on new thread. Wind the bobbin following the machine instructions, so it’s evenly wound at the proper tension. Remove any thread from the outside of the bobbin. Wind at a consistent, slow or medium speed, especially with polyester and nylon threads, to keep them from stretching; they relax in your seam, causing puckers.• Dirty machine: Lint and thread ends lodged between the tension discs, under the throat plate, or around the bobbin case and bobbin, increase the resistance and restrict the thread flow. “Floss” between the tension discs with a lightweight, lint-free cloth, and check in the bobbin area for thread ends and lint.
  • Damaged machine parts: Bent needles and bobbins, and rough or damaged surfaces on the needle eyes, thread guides, tension discs, take-up lever, throat plate, presser foot, bobbin case, and in the bobbin area can all cause problems. If you drop a metal bobbin on a hard floor, throw it away, even if it looks fine; the smallest damage can distort tension. Avoid damage to the bobbin-tension spring by cutting the thread close to the case before removing the bobbin. Raise the presser foot before removing thread from the upper tension.
  • Needles, threads, and fabrics: Different thread sizes and types on top and in the bobbin can throw off basic tension settings. A needle that’s too large or small for the thread can also unbalance your stitches, because the size of the hole adds to or reduces the total top tension. If you find that you’re getting puckers on organza, chiffon, jersey, lace, or blouse-weight silks or polyesters, try changing to a straight-stitch foot and needle plate, and shorten the stitch length to 1.75 mm (15 sts/in.), before you reach for those tension dials.Read more: My Favorite Tip from Threads Magazine

Did you know…

In the 1860’s Mr. Howe and Mr. Singer became the first millionaire inventors in the world due to a huge demand for their newly patented sewing machines to fulfill orders for Civil War uniforms, along with the patent pool created for all the ideas for machines flooding the patent market. 

Prior to the sewing machine, women spent whole days toiling with needle and thread to accomplish the sewing tasks

required to clothe their families, and many slaved for long, long hours to produce textiles and products sought after for clothing and homes. It was a natural progression to see people working on ideas to speed and simplify the sewing process.

Mr. Singer was not the first to develop a sewing machine though. The first patent was achieved by English cabinetmaker Thomas Saint. A proliferation of patents began flooding into the U.S. Patent office in the early 1800’s prompting them to create patent pools. It was the combination of these patent pools and the high demand for Civil War uniforms that resulted in Mr. Singer and Mr. Howe becoming the first millionaire inventors though.

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