Saturday, June 13, 2020

Skipped Stitches and Tension Issues - Help

"My machine can't sew several layers of interfacing" 
"My tension is off"
"My machine skips stitches when I try to sew vinyl" 

Some of the most common cries for help during my classes. As I can't teach classes right now, I thought I'd compile a list of remedies for these issues here, for easy reference for you all =)

 Usually these issues are easily solved by playing around with your machines settings or with simple adjustments of tools used. People are often afraid of adjusting top thread tension, presser foot pressure and similar - but there's absolutely no need to be! I'm here to help you! My patterns are made to be sewn on your domestic machine, and for all my patterns,  I always sew one of my own tester bags on my domestic Husqvarna Opal 690Q, to make sure I'm not asking too much of your machines out there ;)

If you're very unsure about this and currently have settings that work for your most common sewing, take pictures with your phone of your machines tension and similar settings before you start playing around with them.

Skipped stitches

If you experience pretty much any issue when sewing, always start by rethreading your machine top and bottom making sure all is correct, clean out the bobbin area/under your needle plate and change to a brand new needle.

  1. Switch to a brand new needle, preferably a topstitch needle (they have a longer and bigger eye, allowing the top thread to move freely and catch the bottom thread more easily). I sew pretty much exclusively with topstitch needles. For thick layers, a 90/14 or 100/16 needle is usually needed for proper penetration. A skipped stitch happens when the bottom thread doesn't catch onto the the top thread so there is no "joining" of the threads - which is needed for a correctly formed stitch.  

  2. You might need to increase (higher number on the dial/setting) your presser foot pressure to compact your layers, and help the bottom thread catch. Increase it a little at a time, to ensure your fabric still feeds evenly. Many machines especially have an issue with the presser foot pressure becoming too low when using a walking foot.

    On the Juki 2200 QVP mini you adjust your pressure foot pressure like this:

    On the Husqvarna Opal 690q you press the SET menu (A) to get to your settings and there at the top you can adjust you P-foot pressure at the very top. Increase the number for higher pressure.
  3. It might be that your machine has issues keeping the pressure foot pressure even. Switch from a walking foot if you use that to a teflon or roller foot if working with vinyl or similar fabrics. If you’re already working with a teflon foot, try a slimmer one such as an edge stitch foot or a zipper foot (like the universal one in the photo, they’re available for most machines). This will allow the entire foot to lay flat on the fabric while you sew, keeping the presser foot pressure even - even if you're working next to bulky interfacing for example.

    If you don’t have a slimmer foot but can move your needle, try moving your needle as far to the right as it will go, so as much as possible of your presser foot is on the fabric when you sew, keeping the pressure even. But I highly recommend getting one of these feet, they're amazing for everything from bag making, zipper installations and piping.

  4. If you always experience the skipped stitch when making a turn with the needle down, the reason for that is that you haven allowed the machine to "go all the way" and finish the stitch before you stop and continue sewing. Meaning that the bottom thread hasn't catched to top before you keep sewing. So allow your machine to come to a full stop on it's own, or even hand crank the machine so the needle has just started to move up again in the stitch - to ensure the bottom thread catches.

  5. If you experience skipped stitches when sewing over a thick seam allowance, or when sewing a thick strap for example, that's also because it makes your pressure foot pressure uneven due to the leaning angle of the presser foot. To remedy this, you can use a "hump jumper" or "seam jumper" that often comes with your machine. Place the little plastic piece under the back of your presser foot to bring the back of the pressure foot up to the same height as the seam allowance or strap, before it starts leaning. If you don't have a hump jumper, you can do like I do and fold up  some scraps to the correct height and use that instead to level out the presser foot. 

  6. Despite what you might read in many forums, skipped stitches has nothing to do with thread tension, so there's no need to change your tension settings if you're having a skipped stitch issue. 

Saving a skipped stitch after sewing the seam

If you need to save a skipped stitch without unpicking the entire seam, I show you how I do that in this short video, to view full size on YouTube, please go here:

Tension Issues

If you experience pretty much any issue when sewing, always start by rethreading your machine top and bottom making sure all is correct, clean out the bobbin area/under your needle plate and change to a brand new needle. 

  1. If you’re having issues with your tension there’s a simple rule:
    * If you can see the bottom thread on the top of the fabric - top thread tension is too high = Decrease (turn to a lower number on the dial/setting) the top thread tension.
    A highly unlikely issue when working with thick layers - if your machine is threaded correctly that is.

    If you can see the top thread on the bottom of your project - top tension is too loose = Increase (turn to a higher number on the dial/setting) tension.
  2. In the unlikely case that your top tension dial isn’t doing the trick despite being “maxed out” in either direction, try rethreading your thread, top and bottom with your presser foot up. Before rethreading the top thread, with your presser foot still up so the tension discs are loose, blow hard into them to clean out between the two top tension discs to remove any dust or thread residues. Restart your machine if it’s a computerized one.

    On the Juki 2200 QVP mini the tension discs are clearly visible and just by the tension dial

    On the Husqvarna Opal 690q and many similarly constructed domestic machines, the tension discs are "hidden" in the first (to the right) vertical opening the thread goes through when you thread your machine.  So not the left opening with the little "lever" that goes up and down as you sew. 

    If you remove the little middle section by carefully pushing up and out from the bottom of the plastic piece (thanks dad for that tip!) you can clearly see the discs and clean between them easier. You might not be able to do do this on other brands.
  3. If none of those things help, you might have to adjust the bottom thread tension to get this seam perfect. Please check your machine manual or YouTube, as there's a few too many peculiarities with this for the many different kinds of machines to list here.

    If you have a Juki 2200 QVP mini like me, all the ones I've had in classes come from the factory  with slightly too loose bottom thread tension IMHO, so I almost always end up adjusting that for my students when they bring their Juki 2200 QVP mini to class. 
I hope you found this helpful! =)

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Catania Card Holder - Pattern Release!

I'm so excited to be able to release my new Catania Card Holder pattern! This cute little card holder / tiny wallet is super quick and so fun to make! Perfect when you need to whip up a quick gift! It's unisex and perfect for men or women alike. It can be made with the zipper pocket fully lined or without lining, and with or without clear ID card pocket. It's a raw edge pattern made for cork, vinyls, faux or real leather, "Kraft paper"-fabric and similar materials that can have their edges left raw.

The best thing is - its available for FREE for all members of my Facebook Group, feel free to join!

It's available in English and Swedish and has both inch and centimeter measurements, if you wish to buy it instead, it's available here.

It has two card pockets on the front (but I stuff more than one card in each).

You can choose to either make it with an ID card pocket:
Or with a simple back pocket.

You can make it with or without lining, my yellow one here has an adorable Tula Pink Fairy Dust scrap as lining.

It's the perfect little wallet for many of my smaller bag patterns, like this one here in my Singapore Sling Bag. 

This gold one is the original one, I made it as a christmas gift for my hubby as he'd begged me for a small, sleek little card holder with room for coins for a long time.  One he could carry in his jean pocket. And I couldn't find a pattern that struck my fancy, so this design was born. 

It's made with kraft-tex paper, very fun and easy material to work with for this design. This is the back.

I made myself one out of white glitter vinyl, it's beautiful in real life, but photographs absolutely horrible *lol* It looks so boring, but it's actually pretty IRL =)

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My amazing pattern testers were awesome as ever and tested the pattern for me, and just look at all the amazing little card holders that were sewn! A sincere thank you goes out to each and everyone one of you for helping me make each new pattern -  into my best pattern yet! 

I'm so very grateful for all your help and hard work!

Pia Jestin - whom can be found here on Instagram made these beautiful, contrast stitched kraft-paper versions, lovely!

And she also made this classic black faux leather version

Margareth Tai - Bags by Mags can be found here on Instagram, made this absolutely stunning glitter cork version! So pretty!

Cheryl Wright Simmerman - of Adarra Handmade who's impressive production I envy, didn't make one or two, but four stunning cork versions, and I love the clever little D-ring tab she added.

Eva Halvarsson - of Borlänge Sycentrum made these two so very cool, but oh so hard to photograph 3D vinyl ones, so lovely!

Anja - whom you can find on instagram here made this pretty natural cork one, with such a sunny lining, so cute!

Annette - made this lovely red vinyl version with white contrast stitching!

Anna Van Berlo - Whom you can find here on Instagram made this pretty and classic faux leather one.

Eva Arthursson - made these two beautiful Catanias, one in vinyl and one in cork.

Doris Lövgren - made this super pretty bordeaux coloured one with a classy gold pull.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Singapore Sling Bag - All Glammed Up!

I've been meaning to make a party Singapore Sling Bag for so long, like a classy looking one, without seahorses, birds or even the color pink! I finished just in time for all the Christmas parties! Yay! But the problem was, I loved it so much that I've been using it almost every day since - and I've not gotten around to photographing it! But today my newest favorite finally got its time in the spotlight and had its "glamour shots" taken =)

I love the gold hardware so much! I'll add links to where I bought it all at the bottom of the post.  Look at those flower snap hooks! And that bow turn lock! To die for!

The all over quilting makes this bag just POP! It's made using the same technique I describe in the pattern using painters tape.

In there is a little sneak peek of an upcoming card holder/tiny wallet pattern too =)

The lining is from a fabric my mother gave me a few years ago, and I just haven't had the heart to cut into it until now. This was the perfect project for it!

I just love the zipper pockets in the Singapore, fail safe making them, always stunning results and so discrete. I'm super happy with the design of them!

The Singapore Sling Bag pattern is available here in English and Swedish, and it has both inch and centimeter measurements:

Acrylic templates for making this bag is available here:

The beautiful vinyl was bought at Borlänge Sycentrum here:

The Bow turn lock I bought off eBay HERE and the pretty chain with flower detail is from Amazon HERE.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Denver Double Zip Bag - Re-release!

The Denver Double Zip Bag pattern has been completely rewritten, new photos has been taken, the techniques used have been updated to my latest and it now comes in TWO SIZES! Whooop, whoop! It was almost 4 years old this pattern, so this was much needed and deserved. =)

YES - If you've bought the old pattern - you'll of course get the new one without charge! Just send me an email with your purchase confirmation/a photo or screenshot of your pattern/or any kind of proof that you own the pattern, and I'll send you the new version right away. I can't due to the new data storage law save your email information for this purpose I'm afraid.

It's available in both Swedish and English in my webshop.

This pattern comes with both inch and centimeter measurements.

I've made more Denver Double Zip Bags for myself than any other pattern, and I just love this bag! And I'm hoping that now with the bigger size option, it'll appeal to even more people whom might want a slightly bigger purse.

Finished size - Small Bag: ~ 9” (23cm) wide, 5 ½” (14cm) high and 1 ½” (4cm) deep at the bottom.
Finished size - Large Bag: ~ 10 ½” (27cm) wide, 7 ½” (19cm) high and  1 ½” (4cm) deep at the bottom. 

These are both made in fabric by Katarina Roccella's Indelible collection, just like the original Denver (see further down the post or here) but this time her Indelible Flutter Folds print, matched with Kona Cotton solids for the straps. 

The small bag is perfect for a night on the town, when you want to have room for your phone, cards, money, keys, maybe a bit of makeup and some small bits and pieces. The larger can be used as a more day to day purse. It's such a quick and fun bag to sew, you'll probably just like me, not only make one once you get started!

This bag has two big zippered compartments, both fully lined. The main compartment also has a card holder for 3 cards, room for a lip balm and money slip pocket and a larger slip pocket that can be subdivided. The pockets can be customized to fit your needs.

Here's a few examples of favourite Denver Double Zip Bags I've made over the years. These are all the original "small" size:

The party version, this glitter vinyl is super cool, but man do I wish I'd made the back of the bag in a different materials, it sticks to everything!

The ORIGINAL Denver, made in Katarina Roccella's beautiful Stylus Text fabric from her Indelible Fabric Collection by Art Gallery Fabrics .

A white vinyl version I made for a party but that turned into an everyday bag and it is now more yellow than white from all the use *lol*

A pink snakeskin vinyl version I made to replace the white one above.

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As always, this redesigned pattern wouldn't be a reality without my amazing pattern testers making sure everything is absolutely perfect before the release! 
Thank you all for helping me!  Here are their gorgeous bags!

Anette Lundin - made this absolutely gorgeous cotton version! Look at the details on this one, everything from that beautifully decorated "Handmade" plaque and how cool isn't that gorgeous stitched strap? I've highlighted this bag a little extra because Anette herself said (freely translated by me from Swedish): "This pattern is a little special to me because it was the first bag I made (after a pattern) and it was this bag that got me "hooked" on bag making."

I'm super honoured and happy Anette that the Denver is as dear to you as it is to me. And oh my goodness how cute your kitty is! <3

Pia Jestin - whom can be found here on Instagram made this beautiful vinyl version in a sombre green. She chose to replace the card pockets with an interior zipper pocket instead to better fit her needs. 

Noor Rats - Whom can be found here on instagram made this oh so cool vinyl version.

Barbara Dörig - Whom can be found here on instagram made this stunning cork version! 

Kristin - whom can be found here on Instagram made this lovely cotton version.

Anja - whom you can find here on instagram made this super pretty cotton version.

Eva Arthursson - made this very cute cotton Tula Pink version.

Margareth Tai - Bags by Mags can be found here on Instagram, made these two oh so pretty cotton versions.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Introducing - Bergen Bag!

I'm super excited to show you all my newest design, the Bergen Bag!!

The Bergen Bag is named after the beautiful city Bergen in Norway, which I visited a few times in my childhood. This bag with its 10" height and 13" width (25x33cm) is the perfect everyday handbag, and is such a cool use for the metal frame closures! ⁣

This bag can be made with the Emmaline ended frames, the closed ended standard 7 1/2" (19cm) frames like for the Paris Purse OR with a zipper closure! I'll show all versions of this bag over the next few weeks while the pattern is developed and tested.

It can be made with handle connectors like this version, or without, it has a high bottom version (this has the high bottom) and a low bottom version so you should be able to customize this bag to fit your preferences

This bag was made with Tula Pink's beautiful All Star fabric, and lined with her beauitful De La Luna line.

It has my favourite lining zipper pocket, which allows you to make a zipper pocket without cutting any opening or turning over, risking a bulky and ugly edge around the zipper. Instead it's discreetly nestled in the seam.

It also has a number of slip pockets for our cellphone and other things you want easily accessable.

I hope you'll like it as much as I do!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Pressing Cotton Bags - Giving your bag a professional finish!

The secret to really professional looking cotton bags boils down to two things in my humble opinion - interfacing and pressing. Both subjects I cover in my latest YouTube video.

I quite often get the question about how my bags can look so crisp in photos despite then being made from cotton with fusible interfacing. For this look - the importance of taking 20 minutes pressing your bag after finishing it can not be stressed enough! I try to share this during my classes, but it's not always we have the time to talk about this to the extent I'd like. So I made a little tutorial showing how I do this. 

I recommend going to youtube to watch this video. 
It'll give you better quality then the embedded version. 

In this video I also show how I use my beloved Clover Mini Iron II, it's such a great tool!

Here is also a sneak peek of my BRAND NEW BAG design! The bag is not completely finished in this video, but it's a good hint. ;)