June ’17 Updates

Hi Everyone!

I hope you’re enjoying our entry into Summer! For me, being in Florida, it’s a time to move gradually indoors as the temps move steadily close to 100 degrees. I do venture out slathered in sunscreen for the water though – pool or ocean.

I just returned from my sewing machine repair class in Shipshewana, Indiana and have so much to share with you about preventive measures you can take just by turning around some habits you may be developing – habits I know I am guilty of as well. I am more than satisfied (thrilled, actually) about everything I’ve learned so far. I’ll share a couple of tips – best practices – here and follow up with more during our workshops. Your sewing machine will love you! Here’s a little bit about what’s going on around here! Please share your projects in the comments. We love to hear from you!

School of Sewing: June 25th 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. Our next School of Sewing is coming up and I’m already looking forward to it! It features the Ruffled Wristlet Key Fob. This is such a handy project that you can modify easily for everyone you’d love to give one to! Some techniques are similar to what you’ve learned, but we introduce some new things, and show you how to incorporate hardware. You will use these techniques in many future projects from lanyards to bags and belts.

This project may leave time for an add on so we are going to continue the hardware theme by offering a variety of pattern weight ideas you can do as well. Pattern weights are a great time saving alternative to pins when you are using paper patterns. We’ll have multiple kits and patterns for you to choose from.


NEW Workshops! The Sewing Labs.   In July we are introducing our newest workshop – The Sewing Labs. We have scheduled three July dates on Wednesday evenings – July 5, 19, and 26 at 6:30 – 9:30 p.m – so you have the opportunity to finish your projects before you know it! Here’s how it works: You choose your next big project – one you’ve always wanted to tackle or tried to tackle and got stuck. Bring your machine and materials to accomplish the project. You will receive one on one consultation and ongoing guidance to work through the steps so you CAN finish the project whether it’s your first garment or a more complex one than you’ve done before. We will require a minimum number of registrants to hold the Sewing Labs, so please be sure to let me know when you are coming. You can register online. 

Open Sewing What better way to spend a couple hours than sewing with friends. To promote this, we are hosting our Open Sewing hours at no additional charge. Typically, our Open Sewing will be for approximately 3 hours following our classes, and we’ll announce the times with each class. We have tables for sewing, cutting, and collaborating as well as ironing stations, our notions store, library, coffee/tea/hot chocolate and a featured snack. It’s such a good time to complete your U.F.O.s (UnFinished Objects) while catching up with friends, new and old. Pass it on, and plan to join us on June 25th at 6:30 for a couple hours. Let me know if you plan to join us! 

Sewing Tips and Best Practices

I’ve learned so much during this amazing sewing machine repair training! And while I want you to know I’ll be able to service machines now, the main thing I learned is so much of our issues are truly a result of operator errors – or habits that are not kind to our machines. You can begin your preventive maintenance before you even start assembling your sewing projects by making sure you are using best practices for:

  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Presser Foot

Thread: Choose a good quality thread. Cheap threads are made from short strands and bits of fiber twisted to form thread with fiber bits added to bulk them up to a proscribed weight. These just clog your machine.  Gutterman or Madiera are two quality threads that won’t steer you wrong.

Needle: Choose the correct needle for your fabric weight and type (woven, knit, etc.). The best needles are Schmetz, and they are readily available – we carry them if you need them. The second part of quality is to ensure your needle is still sharp and straight. Eight hours of sewing is about the average time to use them. If you hit something like a pin – toss your needle. It’s cheaper to buy needles than support expensive repairs. (Be sure to use a hard container like a pill bottle, water bottle, or other small plastic container as a discard container so no one gets injured in the disposal process.)

Presser Foot: Select the correct presser foot for the stitch you are using. I’ll be you didn’t see that one coming! A machine stitch is a complex process and the presser foot is part of that process. If you use the correct presser foot for the stitch you are sewing, it holds the fabric to facilitate a good stitch.

You are now on your way to a wonderful relationship with your sewing machine. You will enjoy sewing so much more when your machine is running at its best.

Invitation to Instructors

At Cool Stitches, we want to inspire you and share all the amazing things that will inspire your love of sewing. There are so many people with the coolest skill sets and knowledge from whom who we love to learn and gain inspiration. We are reaching out to people now, and as we firm up dates and topics, we’ll be sharing them with you first!

If you have a specific area of expertise and are interested in being an instructor, or know someone who may be whether they are local, national, or international; be sure to introduce us so we can explore hosting their training! Stay tuned as we focus on fitting, vintage, quilting, textile art, and more. Instructors, click here to provide your information.

Sewing Machine Service

As mentioned, I’ve just returned after completing 2 training courses in sewing machine repair conducted by a national treasure and nice man, Ray White, assisted by Cathy Nelson. I’ve learned more than I ever expected, and spent hours applying this new knowledge to a string of machines spanning the decades from the 1930’s – through today to include sergers and embroidery machines. I have so much to share with you, and will begin to accept machines for servicing. It’s such a joy to have all my new (old) machines purring and stitching like new!

I think my favorite among them is the 1950s Singer pre-plastic internal parts, but post zig zag. It’s heavy, but works so nicely. I hope this new information will help inform your next sewing machine purchase and owner-operator activities!

Regardless of my heat avoidance, I’m so looking forward to summer! I hope you are too. Come sew with us sometime, and send us pictures of your latest creations! ~ Debbi Gray

Categories: Ideas, News and Updates, Random Thoughts, and Tips and Techniques.

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