Friday, December 1, 2017

Fabric Dye Experiments--Rit, Rit More, and iDye Poly

I really don’t know much about fabric dye, and I’ve searched the web for answers, only to find that I needed to experiment for myself in order to find them.

I purchased a bunch of polyester knit fabric for making dolls, so they are mainly fleshtones—four different colors.  I made some dolls with the fabric—one doll for each color.  One of them did not look right.  In fact, it had a “dead” look to it.  The tone was just too gray.  I have a store-bought doll that I really like the color—a really rich peachy color.  So I wanted to see if I could match it.

468bbd32-5cc7-4701-af9c-38e45159840a_1.6c77984c26b1c1a1fbf0a2cc04217784I came across some Rit Dye More for synthetic fabric at Walmart on clearance.  The color was Sand Stone.  There were only 3 bottles, so that’s what I got.

In all my experiments with the Dye More fabric, I used 3 gallons of water and continued to use the same water.  My first question was “What happens if I use the same water?”  I thought since the water was still so full of color, that I could continue to dye fabric with the same water, with the same results.  Nope.  It’s a one-time deal.  The fabric soaks up the dye and when you use the same water,  the new fabric does not absorb the dye.  However, the red dye tends to stick a little better.  So for red and yellow dye, if you continue with the same water without adding dye, the fabric will come out pink.

41W2ueqz7IL._SX425_Also in all my experiments, I used a water bath canner pot on the stove, maintaining a temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit.  Once the temperature reached 180, I added the dye and stirred it well.  Then I prewashed the fabric in the sink, then added it to the pot for 30 minutes, constantly stirring.  The fabric is 100% polyester, 60 inches wide.

IMG_9044First I tried 10 feet of fabric (1 pound 4.5 oz.).  I used 1 bottle of Sandstone.  It wasn’t dark enough, so I added the second bottle.  It turned out really tan, like a Khaki color.  It was really yellow.  I thought, “Maybe if I use the same water and add Pedal Pink (for natural fibers), then they will mix and be able to dye the polyester fabric.”  So that’s what I did. (In the photos of the fabric, they are not true to the color.  Every screen is different, too, so what may look tan on one screen can look more pink on another screen and vise versa.)

I added 1 bottle of Sandstone and a bottle of Pedal Pink.  Then I added 5 feet of fabric (11.1 oz.).  It looked really pink, so I added 1/2 a bottle of yellow (first taking out the fabric, adding the dye, mixing it, then adding the fabric back in).  It looked like the perfect color.  But when I rinsed it, all the dye came out that was meant for natural fibers.  So it looked exactly like the first fabric that I did.  I decided to try a cotton fabric to see what would happen.  I added a white onesie and it came out burnt orange.  What a difference!

For my third try, I added the rest of the bottle of yellow and 1 yard (6.7 oz.) of fabric.  Same thing.  It just rinsed out completely, but this time it didn’t hold the Sandstone dye.  It was just slightly darker than the original color.

So I decided to try some more poly dye.  I ran over to my local Joann store and the only poly dye they carried was iDye Poly by Jacquard.  Not many colors to choose from: Red (which is more like burgundy), green, blue, brown, and black.  I couldn’t believe they didn’t have yellow!  My plan was to use the primary colors.  So I bought 3 packs of brown, and 1 pack of red.

IMG_9014I decided to try my experiments on a smaller scale.  The packaging says not to cook food with anything that you’ve used dye on.  So I put water in a small pot, then put 1 cup of water in a jar.  Since the dye is powder, I put 3/4 cup of water in a plastic disposable cup, then disolved the powder in it.  I had to mix it up a lot.  It was so chunky (not to mention very stinky).

I used a dropper to measure the dosage.  Again, I maintained the water temperature at 180 degrees.  This time, instead of using the same water, I rinsed it out each time.  I added drops of dye, then added a wet piece of fabric approximately 4x4 inches, for 5 minutes.  Here’s what I came up with (click photo to enlarge):

IMG_9031

  1. 4 drops brown
    1 drop red
    Turned out pretty good, not too green, not too red.
  2. 4 drops brown
    2 drops red
    Looks too dark and grim
  3. 4 drops brown
    3 drops red
    good, but not right color
  4. 4 drops brown
    4 drops red
    really dark
  5. 3 drops brown
    3 drops red
    very dark
  6. 2 drops brown
    3 drops red
    peachy color
  7. 2 drops brown
    2 drops red
    peachy-tan
  8. 1 drop brown
    2 drops red
    amost perfect peachy color
  9. 1 drop brown
    1 drop red
    too light
  10. 1 drop red
    too pink


I wasn’t happy with any of the results.  They just had too much of a blue tint.  I needed the yellow.  So I drove out of town to the next Joann store to see if they had a better selection.  They did!  I was so glad.  They had the Rit Dye More! I happened to have several coupons, so I bought two Daffodil Yellow, two Racing Red, and one Chocolate Brown.  When I got home, I opened the brown and knew right away it wouldn’t work.  So I began with red and yellow.

Using the jar method and 1/2 cup of water, I started testing drops.

First I tried one drop of red.  It was too pink.  Then I tried an equal amount of drops of red and yellow (click image to enlarge):

IMG_90452—light tan

4—good peachy color but too light

5, 6, and 7—good peachy color, similar so there’s not much of a difference.

So I decided to go with 6 drops per half cup of water.  I did the calculations and figured about 20mL of dye per 3 gallons.  (I used an old NyQuil measuring cup.)  I put in 3 yards of fabric.  It was good, but since I had experimented with only 5 minutes, the color looked quite a bit IMG_9032darker after 30 minutes.  So while the fabric was in the dryer, I tried the measurement for 2 drops per half cup in the large batch (good thing I have lots of fabric to test with!).  Again, 3 yards of fabric in 3 gallons of water. 

After the original fabric with the 20mL dye dried, it was nearly the perfect color!  I couldn’t believe how close it was.

IMG_9046

What I’ve learned for sure is that the water and fabric before rinsing it out, looks nothing like the end result.  And test, test, test!  There isn’t much information from the dye companies for the consumer.  There’s so much to learn just from experimenting.  Be sure to use different utencils and cooking supplies than you do for cooking food.  Thrift stores are the perfect place to find things to use for dyeing fabric.  The canner pot I got second-hand and I’ve never used it for canning, so I thought it's the perfect thing for dyeing fabric.

Also be sure to cover everything to protect it from dye. No matter how careful you are, there’s still a chance that the water can splash and dye can get on your stove, counters, floor, or you!  I put aluminum foil on my stove and freezer paper on my counters.  I’m so glad I did.  I still managed to get some dye everywhere, though.  But it would have been worse.

Get yourself a good thermometer, too.  A digital thermometer with a timer and temperature alarm is perfect because it will tell you when the water is at the target temperature.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Singer Futura XL-580 Embroidery/Sewing Machine Review

future580

In my previous reviews for the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist (click here for review) and Singer Futura XL-400, (click here for review) I was really excited about the automatic thread cutter that the 9960 has, and was wishing that the Futura had it, too.  Well, I got my wish.  Most everything that the Quantum Stylist has that I love, the new Futura XL-580 has.  So I was quick to purchase it and sell my other machines.  I needed to clear out things in my bedroom/craft room/sewing room anyway.  I figured since one sewing machine takes up less room than two and since the XL-580 has the previously mentioned features, that I might as well have one machine rather than two.  Oh how I was wrong!

If you’re looking for an embroidery machine, this one will do, but if you’re looking for a great overall sewing machine, the Quantum Stylist takes the cake.

Here’s my review on the Singer Futura XL-580. In this review, I am comparing it with the Futura XL-400 and the Quantum Stylist 9960, so I’m a little biased.  If I had nothing to compare it with, I’m sure my review would be a little different.

 

Pros:


  1. Automatic Thread Cutter--Has an automatic thread cutter (push the button and it cuts the thread), but it is different than the one that the Quantum Stylist has.  It is slower and moves the needle to the center position when it cuts (more details in the cons section below.)

  2. Programmable Needle Up/Down--Has a button to make the needle stop down as you sew (more details in the cons section below.) The XL-400 has one, too, but I didn’t realize it since I only used it for embroidery.

  3. Automatic Needle Threader.  The automatic needle threader seems to work well.

  4. BONUS Software Included--It comes with all the embroidery editing software (AutoPunch™, HyperFont™ and Advanced Editing software), so you don’t have to purchase it separate, as with the XL-400 and other previous Futuras.

  5.  USB KEY—It comes with a unique USB thumb drive (aka dongle or key), so you don’t have to hook up your machine to your computer each time you want to get into the software to create/edit some embroidery designs.  Simply plug the thumb drive into your computer and start up the software program.  This is another main reason I purchased this machine to replace the XL-400.  Some people have reported that they lost their thumb drive and had to pay a lot of money to replace it.  I simply made a backup of the software so that if I did ever lose it, I wouldn’t have to buy another one. However, you will not be able to use the backup thumb drive to use the software without hooking it up to the machine.  In other words, you will have the software backup, but not be able to get into the software without the original thumb drive or without hooking it up to the machine. In order to use the machine for embroidery, it must be hooked up to the machine.  The thumb drive that comes with it is only so that you can work in the software before hooking it up to the machine.  It is just for convenience.

  6. 3 Hoops.  Has the same small and large snap-on hoops as the XL-400, with an additional endless hoop (another reason I purchased it.) However the endless hoop is not very big, so it is basically for borders.

  7. Multihoop Capability—same as the XL-400.  I still have not tried it out yet.

  8. 215 built-in stitches.  I wasn’t sure whether to put this under pros or cons because it’s not as many stitches as the Quantum Stylist (600), but a lot more than the XL-400 (30). So I put it in both. The XL-580 has 100 regular and decorative stitches with the rest being alphabetic.  The Quantum Styilist has 150 decorative stitches, with the rest being alphabetic.

  9. Speed Control.  Just like the XL-400 and Quantum Stylist, the speed control comes on the XL-580 and it is a wonderful feature.

  10. Control Panel—I do like the control panel on the XL-580 better than the XL-400.  It is pretty simple to navigate through the different stitches. However, I like the tension control on the XL-400 better.

Cons:

  1. Delayed On Switch.  Takes a while to come on after flipping the switch. Most times I think I don't have it plugged in, so I flip the switch again, just as it finally comes on.

  2. Automatic Thread Cutter goes to center needle position when activated so if you have a presser foot such as the overcast foot, it breaks the needle! (I have broken two needles within an hour.) This just takes some getting used to, I suppose.  And it’s not an issue if you’re just using it as an embroidery machine.  The Quantum Stylist thread cutter would lower the needle in the same position that it was rather than changing it to the center.

  3. Needle position is automatically in the up position when you stop sewing, but you can touch a button to have it stop down instead of up. However, when you turn off the machine, the next time you turn it on, it automatically stops up again instead of down so you must remember each time you turn on your machine to push the button.  Again, it will take some getting used to and it’s not a problem if you’re just using it for an embroidery machine.  This would not have been a problem for me if I had written this 6 years ago (before I grew accustomed to the Quantum Stylist).

  4. SWIFTSMART™ Threading System is terrible and very “finicky.”  The Quantum Stylist has a much better threading system.  You have to get the thread in perfectly and it must be clean, free of any lint.  Mopsy Jay has a very good video on youtube describing how to clean it.

  5. Automatic tension is also finicky.  I am constantly having to readjust the tension.  I never had to do this with the Quantum Stylist. Again, everything must be very clean for it to work.  I cleaned it out and there was very little bobbin cleanlint, but there was also a tiny sliver of wood in the bobbin case, so that might have been messing it up.  After cleaning it, it works fine.  I only used it a few times before having to clean it out.  With the Quantum Stylist, I could go months without cleaning it and it would litterally be caked with lint before it started messing up.

     
  6. Squeaky hand wheel.  When I first purchased this machine, it squeaked so bad, I ended up sending it back, thinking something was wrong with it.  The replacement I received squeaked, too, but not quite as bad.  I pulled off the hand wheel and oiled the inside (the belt) as well as I could and it did help. See the video here.

  7. 215 Built-in Stitches. Not as many decorative stitches to choose from as the Quantum Stylist has. I also put this as a Pro because it has more stitches than the XL-400.

In conclusion, if you are looking for an inexpensive embroidery machine that hooks up to your computer, this one will suffice.  There are more features to this machine than the older versions.  However, if you sew often, the Quantum Stylist blows this one out of the water.  I regret selling mine and will be looking to buy another one.  The tension issues I have with the XL-580 is just too much to bear.  The Quantum Stylist sews so much better.

My advice if you already own the Futura XL-400, is to keep it and don’t upgrade.  I think the XL-400 sews better than the XL-580.  Unfortunately I’ve already sold my XL-400 and it’s been past the time frame that I could send the XL-580 back.


Helpful links:

Singer Futura XL-400 product info
Singer Futura XL-580 product info
Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 product info
Singer Embroidery Machine Comparison Chart

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

42 Presser Feet Guide

42 Presser Feet Guide

What is included and what do they do?

 

Most presser feet cost $5 and up.  There’s a couple big kits with loads of presser feet on the market that are a lot more affordable.  There are many different variations of the kits, as well as different sizes. I purchased the 42-piece kit.  The box reminds me of a box of chocolates.

 

presser feet box

 

I searched on other websites for a complete list for what was what and their uses.  I couldn’t find any.  So….

I went through piece-by-piece and compiled a convienent list with photos, uses, and videos (also available on PDF).

They are in order from top let to bottom right of the box.

 

As far as quality, I can’t tell a difference from these and the authentic Singer feet.


 

1. Stitch Guide Foot

 

clip_image002clip_image004

This ruled guide foot allows you to maintain a fixed width from the edge of the cloth and can be used for perfect topstitching on both straight and curved lines. Video.

 

 

2. Universal (All-Purpose) Presser Foot

 

clip_image006clip_image008

The All-Purpose Foot is used for general sewing on most types of fabric. The All-Purpose Foot may also be used for elastic insertion and basic mending. The foot’s wide needle slot allows for sewing of stitches up to 7mm in width. Video.

 

 

 

3. Open Toe Foot

 

clip_image010clip_image012

The open toe foot provides you with an unobstructed view of the stitching area. The open toe foot is perfect for appliquéing, decorative stitching and surface embellishment. Video.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Zipper Foot

 

clip_image014clip_image016

A special foot for zipper insertion sewing.

Use this foot with your sewing machine for making zipper insertion easy.

Always use a straight stitch only with the zipper foot. Video.

 

 

 

5. Button Sewing Foot

 

clip_image018clip_image020

Quickly achieve the professional finish that your work deserves with the Button Sewing Foot. Featuring a textured rubber sleeve, the Button Sewing Foot securely holds everything in place so that your fingers can be a safe distance away from the needle. Video.

 

 

 

6. Invisible Zipper Presser Foot (Clear)

 

clip_image022clip_image024

An invisible zipper is always inserted before stitching the garments seam. The Invisible Zipper Foot has two grooves underneath the foot to accommodate the zipper coils and hold them in place as you stitch. Buy a zipper that is at least 1 1/4" (3 cm) longer than the zipper opening. Video.

 

 

 

 

7. Appliqué Foot

 

clip_image026clip_image028

This presser foot is shorter than most for easier maneuvering around curves and corners when sewing appliqué pieces. Made of clear plastic for easier viewing as you sew.

Video

 

 

 

 

8. Round Bead Foot

 

clip_image030clip_image032

Sewing on strung beads and pearls has always been a tedious task but the beading foot now goes some small way to alleviating this and to add pleasure to embellishing.Video

 

 

 

 

9. Overcast (Edge Stitch) Foot

 

clip_image034clip_image036

The Edge Stitch Foot is used for overcast stitches that stitch to the side and can pucker or curl the fabric to prevent the fabric from curling under. The tiny wire on the edge of the foot prevents the curling of the fabric edge. Video

 

 

 

 

10. Satin Stitch Foot

 

clip_image038clip_image040

For sewing dense zigzag stitching. The bottom of the foot is beveled for smooth delivery of thread when sewing decorative or sating stitches. Foot is made of clear plastic making it easier to view stitching. Video

 

 

 

 

11. 6mm Roll of Lace (Round Rolled Hem) Presser Foot

 

clip_image042

Also known as a narrow hem foot, the rolled hem foot sews a very narrow hem, providing a professional edge finish. Video

 

 

 

 

12. Teflon (Non-stick) Foot

 

clip_image044clip_image046

 

The Non-Stick Foot is the cure for sewing difficult like Suede, Leather, Vinyl, or even laminated fabrics. If you are ever having trouble feeding fabric smoothly, try the Non-Stick Foot! Video

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Open Toe Embroidery Foot (Clear)

 

clip_image048clip_image050

The open toe foot provides you with an unobstructed view of the stitching area. The open toe foot is perfect for appliquéing, decorative stitching and surface embellishment. Video.

 

 

 

14. Large Opening Presser Foot

 

clip_image052clip_image054

The open toe foot provides you with an unobstructed view of the stitching area. The open toe foot is perfect for appliquéing, decorative stitching and surface embellishment. Video.

 

 

 

 

 

15. Cording Foot

 

clip_image056clip_image058

This foot allows you to add decorative cording, yard, and elastic thread easily and perfectly. Video.

 

 

 

 

16. 1/4" Quilting (Patchwork) Foot

 

clip_image060clip_image062

Marked both in front of and behind center needle position with 1/4" and 1/8" marks. Your perfect reference point for pivoting, stopping, and starting is right on the foot. Use right edge of foot for piecing scant 1/4" seams; left edge is just right for 1/8" narrow seams in doll clothes, miniature quilts, and crafts. It’s the best type of foot to use for 1/4" seams. Also know as a "Quilting" foot It makes easy work of piecing and helps make perfect seam allowances of 1/4" and 1/8" on many Singer sewing machines. Video.

 

 

 

 

17. Braiding Foot

 

clip_image064clip_image066

The adjustable guide on this foot offers perfectly centered hands free placement of cords, ribbon, braiding, or tape up to 7mm in width. Video.

 

 

18. Standard (Zig-Zag) Presser Foot

 

clip_image068clip_image070

 

 

All-purpose sewing foot for sewing utility stitches from straight stitch to zigzag.

Video.

 

 

 

 

19. Straight Stitch Foot

 

clip_image072clip_image074

 

 

Often used on very fine or very heavy fabrics, the Straight Stitch Foot is flat on the underside to provide an even pressure against the feed dogs. It has a rounded needle hole which offers the benefit of more support around the needle to prevent skipped stitches and puckering.

    Designed with single hole to allow sewist to sew a straight stitch on lightweight fabrics without skipping stitches. Video.

 

 

 

20. 1/4" Quilting (Scant) Foot

 

clip_image076clip_image078

Eliminate swerving by running your fabric alongside the included guide. This foot ensures an exact 1/4” seam when piecing a quilt or a perfect 1/4” topstitch. Video.

 

 

21. Overcast Foot

 

clip_image080clip_image081

Great foot to use when sewing overcast stitches on your sewing machine because of the extra guide installed in the foot. Video.

 

 

 

 

 

22. 5- Hole Cording Foot

 

clip_image083clip_image085

This 5 hole cording foot makes attaching decorative cords and threads is a snap. This foot eliminates tangling to ensure that cords lie flat and perfectly parallel to each other. The cording foot controls threads so both hands can guide the fabric. Use this foot to create decorative stitching over cording on single and double layers of fabric. Video.

 

 

23. 7-Hole Cording Foot

 

clip_image087clip_image089

This 7 hole cording foot makes attaching decorative cords and threads is a snap. This foot eliminates tangling to ensure the cords lie flat and perfectly parallel to each other. The cording foot controls threads so both hands can guide the fabric. Use this foot to create decorative stitching over cording on single and double layers of fabric. Video.

 

 

 

24. Edge Joining Foot (Stitch in the Ditch)

 

clip_image091clip_image093

For even-sided stitching when joining two pieces of fabric, lace or trim, try this edge joining foot. It’s also great for narrow edge stitching and stitching seams directly into the ditch. Video.

 

 

 

 

 

25. Double Welting (Piping) Foot

 

clip_image095 clip_image097

Used to apply piping or welt cording. This presser foot gives you a professional finish whether the welt cord or piping is purchased pre-covered or you cover it yourself. Ideal for upholstered or home decoration projects. Video.

 

 

 

26. Invisible Zipper Presser Foot (Metal)

 

clip_image099 clip_image101

 

For truly invisible zippers with a professional appearance, this is the right foot to use. The zipper coils actually act as the guide for this foot, allowing for perfectly positioned stitches that won’t show on the front of your garment. Video.

 

 

 

27. Fringe (Looping) Foot

 

clip_image103 clip_image105

Create one-of-a-kind decorative surface embellishments that look and feel like chenille-type textures. This is the perfect foot to easily create loops, fringe, and heirloom fagoting. This foot can even be used for making accurate pattern markings. Video.

 

 

 

 

28. Adjustable Bias Tape Binder Foot

 

clip_image107 clip_image109

 

The Bias Binder Foot will save you hours of work on your next binding project. Transform raw bias strips into perfectly precise binding. The Bias Binder Foot will fold, feed, flatten, and finish your binding for you with unbelievable accuracy. The 1/4" Bias Binder uses bias strips 1" wide for a 1/4" finished binding. Video.

 

 

 

29. Shirring (Gathering) Foot

 

clip_image111 clip_image113

 

Gather the fast and easy way with this foot. Simultaneously gather and attach ruffles to garments, pillows, and other home decor items in no time! Video.

 

 

30, 31, and 32. 3mm Narrow Edge (Hem) Presser Foot, 6mm Wide Edge (Hem) Presser Foot, and 3mm Roll of Lace (Round Hem) Presser Foot

 

clip_image115 

 

Also known as a narrow hem foot, or round rolled hem foot.  Sews a very narrow hem, providing a professional edge finish. Video.

 

 

 

 

33. Roller Foot

 

clip_image117 clip_image119

 

Sew thicker and textured fabrics, heavy knits, leather or vinyl easily with the Roller Foot. Video.

 

 

34. Sewing Beads Presser Foot

 

clip_image030[1]clip_image120

Sewing on strung beads and pearls has always been a tedious task but the beading foot now goes some small way to alleviating this and to add pleasure to embellishing.Video

 

 

 

 

35. Buttonholing (Buttonhole) Presser Foot

clip_image122 clip_image124

 

This buttonhole foot sews perfectly sized buttonholes no matter how many you want to make. Video.

 


 

 

 

36. Darning (Freehand Embroidery) Foot, Low Shank

 

clip_image126 clip_image128

 

The darning & freehand embroidery foot is used to repair holes & tears, but can also be used for free motion embroidery, stipple quilting and creating monograms.  Keep fabric flat and under control while darning. This foot is great to use while performing stippling, meandering and thread-painting techniques simply and precisely. Video.

 

 

37. Blind Hem Stitch Foot

 

clip_image130 clip_image132

 

The blind hem foot is used in conjunction with your machine's blind hem stitch to sew hems that are practically invisible on the right side of the fabric.  Video.

 

 

 

38. Darning (Embroidery) Foot (Spring-loaded)

 

clip_image134 clip_image136

 

The darning foot is suitable for a series of free-motion techniques such as darning smaller holes or tears. It is also ideal for embroidery, making lace, quilting and sewing monograms. When the needle raises a vertical spring presses the fabric down (hopper mechanism) thus preventing the fabric from lifting along with the needle or flagging. Video.

 

 

 

 


 

39. Zipper Foot, Low Shank (Adjustable)

 

clip_image138 clip_image140

 

A must have for machines with few or no needle position customization, the Adjustable Zipper Foot is equipped with a screw to alter the position of the presser foot in relation to the needle position. You simply move the screw to adjust the position of the actual foot. You can get as close or as far away from the needle position as you like. By lining up the zipper teeth to run against the side of the presser foot, you can customize the zipper seam width. Video.

 

 

40. Knit Foot

 

clip_image142 clip_image144

 

The Knit-Edge foot hems and top stitches knits and faux furs. Also referred to as the “little sister” to the walking foot, or a miniature walking foot. Video.

 

 

 

41 and 42. 7-Groove and 9-Groove Pintuck Foot

 

clip_image146 clip_image148

 

The pintuck foot, in conjunction with a twin needle, creates raised tucks in lightweight fabrics to embellish garments and table or bed linens. Video.