A few weeks ago several of you posted sewing and quilting questions on my blog that asked for such questions. I choose 10 questions — they cover the gamut of creative sewing and quilting! Perhaps these queries will answer a few of your own questions!

Q #1—The first question pertains to embellishment:

Bonnie Glover posted this question, When embellishing fabric for whatever reason, what are some of the things you shouldn’t use that will brake down the fabric?

A #1:

Rather than looking at what fabrics or threads or techniques that shouldn’t be used, look first at the base fabric. The base must be substantial enough for embellishment—felting, embroidery, applique, etc. Then, add a stabilizer. I often use a stabilizer both on the top and underneath the fabric. My favorite top stabilizer is Wash Away Avalon Film Stabilizer and I like to use No Show Mesh Stabilizer. With the proper stabilizer combo added to a base fabric, feel free to create to your heart’s content!

PS: You might be interested in the book, Stabilizers—The Foundation Guide Book as a quick reference.

Q #2—This question is on everyone’s mind—organization!

Sally Phillips asked, How do you keep all of your embroidery designs organized on the computer?

A #2:

Being a Baby Lock owner, I use Designer’s Gallery Studio III. It’s software for organization and color management. It takes a little time to place your designs in the software, but when you’re done, it’s well worth the effort!

Q #3—Attention quilters—here’s a question for you!

The question that Kathy Pollock wrote was answered by Linda King. Thanks Linda for helping me out.  Here’s Kathy’s question, When making an odd sized quilt, how do you figure out the size of the backing fabric?

A #3:

Here’s Linda’s answer, Once you have your top done, measure your quilt from the top to the bottom in three places, on each side and the middle to make sure that it is square. Then measure side to side in three places. Cut the backing according to your measurement.

Great job Linda, here’s an additional tip: Cut the backing at least 6″ wider than the quilt top. During the quilting process fabrics have a tendency to shift. It’s easier to trim the backing down to size after the quilting process.

Q #4—A rotary cutting question

Debby Thompson Lodding asks, I’m stumped on cutting strips for the Beach Glass by Weeks Ringle & Bill Kerr featured in their book, Quilts Made Modern. My 12 solid fabrics are all 45″ wide. The first queen set calls for six cuts of 13″ x 2-1/2″ strips. Using the rotary cutter, typically I’d cut the entire 45″ length 2-1/2″ long. Should I do that and then slice them into three 13″ long pieces with a 6″ remainder?

A #4:

Debby, you knew the answer! Yes, cut the 2-1/2″ strips and then sub-cut into the 13″ lengths.

Q #5—It’s the costume time of year!

Aunty Jenny writes, I want to make a costume where the belt is supposed to be bas-relief metal, in the shape of an eagle. I can’t work with metal, so I thought if I embroidered a red-work eagle design on perhaps lame or perhaps satin, it will give the right effect. What should I back the embroidery with to make it more three-dimensional? I was originally thinking thin batting, but wonder now whether just polar fleece would do the trick? What do you think?

A #5:

Polar fleece can easily be used as a stabilizer as well as give dimension at the same time. Try making a sample first.

Q #6—Even strip cutting can be an issue!

Ginny Ingram asks, I would love to do some simple quilting, but I have a terrible time cutting my fabric strips/pieces the same. I have a rotary cutter, but the 6.5″ x 24″ ruler has rather thick lines on it, making consistent cutting difficult. I sure could use some tips for rotary cutting!

A #6:

When cutting the same size strips, I use painter’s tape on the underside of the ruler, placing several strips at the needed marking. When cutting, I can easily butt the ridge of the tape next to the fabric edge!



You can find this tip and others in Nancy’s Favorite 101 Notions.

Q #7—Knowing what stabilizer to use is a great question

Nancy Kuba has this to say, What’s the best stabilizer to use if I want to add small blocks of embroidery in the strips of a crib quilt that I plan to hand quilt?

A #7:

Nancy, use a stabilizer that you can tear away after the embroidery is finished. I happen to reach for the Tear Away Cotton Soft Stabilizer.

Q #8—A quilt size dilemma

Blog follower Jeanne Ray Massingill asks, My DIL wants a quilt now for her queen bed but knows they’ll be getting a king bed next year. Any ideas how big I should make the quilt?

A #8:

The old saying, You can’t have your cake and eat it too, pertains to your question, Jeanne. Rather than compromising for now and later, I’d simply make the king size and ask your DIL to wait patiently until the new bed size is purchased. Besides, this option will give you more quilting time! A standard King-sized quilt is 120″ x 115″.

Q #9—Cutting on the bias question

Kuby McCarty asks a common question, What is the layout of an A-line bias skirt with elastic when both pieces get cut on fold?

A #9:

Kuby, you actually don’t fold the fabric. Lay the fabric out flat. Cut out one half and then flip the pattern at the fold line to cut the second half. Hint: I place pins perpendicular and beyond the fold line so that I don’t inadvertently cut the fold!

Q #10—this question came via email to [email protected]

Marianne Gadeberg from Belgium had questions about sewing with cotton jersey fabric, in particular, sewing cotton, brief underwear.

  • How do I best attach elastic in a casing to the waist?
  • Which stitch should I use seeing that these are garments that will need to cope with lots of hot machine washing?
  • How can I make a flat seam in the gusset area short of doing a French seam (I like to have a double layer of fabric in the gusset)?

A #10:

Marianne, I turned to the trusted Kwik Sew Company to find an underwear/brief pattern. I have not used this pattern, yet from past experiences, know that their detailed instructions give both conventional sewing machine and serger instructions. My guess is that you’ll find that they recommend a narrow zigzag stitch for the seams (1.0 width 2.0 length)–perhaps even two rows side-by-side.

Got Sewing or Quilting Questions?

My plan is to devote one post per month to questions and answers. Please ask away! If you don’t have a Facebook account, send your question to [email protected]

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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