Thursday, 9 August 2007

Piecing by Serger & Miss Lydia Pickett

I came across a magazine article on defeating negative thinking / mild depression, and one of the recommendations was to spend time on a favourite hobby - one where you completely 'lose yourself and lose track of time'. Aren't we lucky to have hobbies like that!

I've put together the rest of my Baltimore Album duvet cover - now I just need to wait for the backing fabric to turn up from America. This is what it looks like so far. I pieced this using my overlocker (serger) and I thought it might be useful to someone if I put down a few tips
about piecing on the serger. I've done two duvet covers and a couple of quilts on the serger now, so here are my tips:

  • Pros:- the serger is fast, it feeds very evenly and won't stuff the fabric down into the needle plate, running out of bobbin thread is never an issue, your seam allowances are finished (so they won't fray inside the duvet cover)

  • Cons:- the seam produced is much bulkier, maneuverability and visibility are restricted so choose simple piecing patterns, it is much more hassle to unpick if you make a mistake, it is harder to stop/start on a specific point (so difficult to do mitred corners for example).

- serging thread is thinner than normal thread, so choose a four-thread stitch for strength if you have that option. Tighten the needle tensions until stitches do not show in the seam when you pull the two pieces of fabric apart.

- take some time to set up a 1/4 inch seam - my machine has a cloth guide accessory that I can screw on for a fairly accurate seam. Do the usual test of sewing together two pieces of fabric and checking that they measure the correct width after pressing.

- disengage your knife (if you can). This will avoid unexpected holes and help to maintain the 1/4 inch seam accuracy.

- patterns with straight seams are best: e.g. Trip Round the World, Log Cabin, etc. You can piece diagonal seams if the pieces are big enough, but the serger is not a good choice for fussy patterns or lots of points.

- press the overlocked edge of the seam to reduce bulk before pressing the seam open.

- do not clip your chain of threads right to the fabric edge on seams, to avoid stitches unravelling. You can clip the ends off later as you come to them on the next seam and stitch over the junction. You can however serge strip-sets and then cut across the seams, just be careful about handling the cut pieces until the short seams are enclosed again by longer seams.

- even though your knife is disengaged, be careful about pins. If they stick out beyond the fabric edge, they will likely hang up on the cloth guide or the overlocker foot and pull the fabric crooked. I pause my stitching just before I come to the pin, and pull it out rather than risk stitching over it with the two serger needles.

- serged quilts are fine for machine quilting, but I think the bulk of the seams would make them a poor choice for hand quilting.

I finished the Miss Lydia Picket Closet kit. This is half-inch scale so the cupboard is about six inches high. There were more pieces to this kit so it took a bit longer, but all of the techniques were familiar from previous kits apart from hinging the door by inserting a metal rod between two layers of door wood. I really like how these kits come complete with everything you need to get the picture on the packet, including the door handle backing plate and all the artwork. The little picture is the 'extra' in this kit - however, the artwork duplicates that of the same picture provided as an extra in a previous kit, so now I have two of them.

This is the inside of the cupboard - the paper shoe holder hanging inside the door just boggled my mind when I first saw the picture, but actually it wasn't too hard to do if you take your time at it. I cut out each holder individually, and folded the edges using tweezers, then pressed them into a bed of white tacky glue and used the tweezers to press down the lower edge into the glue. The 'ribbon' is added after the holders have dried. I'm really pleased with the end result.


Debi said...

Your quilt is very beautiful. What fabric are you putting on the back?

Rita said...

It`s so rare to find people who do quilts and miniature and blog about it at the same time. LOL
I just love your new closet, did you also paint it yourself??
Does "miss Lydia Pickett" have a web site?
Anyway I love your blog and will come back again!!
Have a nice day!!

swooze said...

I love the duvet cover. You always seem to make things work no matter what! What talent! Can't wait to see the lonestar!

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