Sunday, March 9, 2008

Scrapbooking 201: Sewing

Sew Much Fun

Getting Started
One of the most important things in getting started stitching on your pages, is to have the tools and supplies needed on hand. Here is what you will need:

* Sewing Machine
* Sewing Machine manual
* Needles
* Thread

If you don’t own a sewing machine, borrow a friends and give it a try, then you will know if sewing is for you or not. If it works great for you, then perhaps you can invest in your own machine. You can buy small sewing machines specifically designed for use in scrapbooking at your local scrapbook store (around $20 or so) or just use a standard sewing machine. I use a standard sewing machine, but keep in mind they are not real portable for attending crops.

1. Now that you have the machine out, plug it in, and get it ready to go. (See your manual)
2. If you have never sewn before, be sure and read your sewing machine manual to get an idea of how to operate it.
3. Make sure you have enough thread on your bobbin before beginning to sew. If you run out of thread, you will have small holes that may be difficult to conceal.
4. Practice on a scrap piece of paper first to get the feel of sewing on paper.
5. Now that you have practiced, it is time for the real thing. I generally recommend using a small amount of adhesive (with the exception of vellum/transparencies) on the back of the item I intend on sewing to help keep it in place as I sew on it.
6. Sew away. When you come to the end of your stitch you have some options. If you want to avoid ‘tying a knot’ at the end of a stitch, you can just sew back and forth at the end of the stitch. Or I simply stop sewing and wrap the ends of the threads over to the back side (if I am at and edge) and tape (using acid free tape) to the back. You can also just clip the end of the thread on top down at the paper and tape the back side, it should help keep it from unraveling. Once in a page protector you shouldn’t have an issue with them unraveling.

General Sewing Tips

* Always use caution while your fingers are around the needle, so not to sew yourself. Also if you sew too quickly there is a chance your needle might break, so just be cautious.
* Avoid sewing through more than 3 pieces of cardstock.
* If you intend on sewing a design, use a pencil or disappearing ink to draw the lines you intend to follow while sewing.
* If you intend on tearing the edges of your paper, I recommend sewing first (leaving room to tear) and then tear secondly.

Stitching Options
Most all machines have the common “straight stitch” and the “Zig Zag stitch.” Some machines can do wavy stitching and more, just grab that sewing machine manual and see what is available on your machine. You should also be able to change the length and width of the stitch, so just play around with your machine a little and try out different looks.

Now that you have the actual stitching down, remember you can use all sorts of colors of thread. Don’t know if you have been to the fabric store lately, but there are a huge variety of colors, even metallic and textured threads.

Sew What?
So what exactly can a person sew onto your scrapbook page? You can sew a lot of things on your page beyond just a piece of pattern paper to cardstock; here is a list of possibilities:

* Transparencies & vellum
* Ribbon, fibers, twill, rickrack, zippers, fabric accents
* Die cuts, punchies, wallies, paper piecings
* Jean or paper pockets, or envelopes
* Journaling blocks, poems, quotes
* Flowers (create your own design by sewing and tearing edges of paper)
* Borders, Photo mats, Title blocks
* Designs (like stems on flowers with leaves, movement lines for a bug, general swirls, etc)
* Straw, mesh, netting, or fabric paper

Even More Ideas…
Ok so we’ve sewn some paper…Have you ever wished you had more surface area on a scrapbook page? Well with the use of a sewing machine and some page protectors, you can sew on some flaps to your main page protector and allow for this to happen. You can create page extensions off to the side, or perhaps a flap from the top or bottom of your page protector. Here is how to accomplish the task:

1. Complete your layout first. Figure out what size of a flap or extension you need. NOTE: be sure to consider how your layout will look both open and closed.
2. Place your extension or flap piece into a page protector and line it up with the base page protector.
3. Temporarily secure the two protectors together with removable tape.
4. Remove the actual artwork from the top protector, so that you don’t accidentally sew into it.
5. Use a zipper foot to stitch the page protectors together, it is narrow, creating less of a drag on the page protector and providing more control over the needle.
6. Sew slowly and sew a line as straight as you can. NOTE: Be sure to allow for ample space along the edge.
7. Cut away the excess sheet protector

You can also create interactive flaps using vellum, cardstock, pattern paper, etc. Create windows in your flaps for even more fun. Making a small album and you need custom sized page protectors? Create your own by cutting down the full sizes and stitching them to the newly needed size.

So whether you are an expert seamstress already or just enjoy the look sewing adds to a scrapbook layout, you will be creating great, quick, and easy layouts in no time for your album. So now the biggest challenge: go find that old sewing machine, dig it out, and dust it off!! Good luck and have fun!!

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