Cutting mat, warp stitching and elastic thread

Rotary cutting mat

Q: What is the easiest way to clean my rotary cutting mat?

A: Cutting mats harbor lint when you cut various fabrics and some fabrics are worse than others in terms of shedding capacity. If you're cutting something fluffy, like fleece or fur, be sure to use a soft brush and clean the rug immediately after use. An art eraser, gentle dish scrubber, or adhesive lint remover can also be used to remove fibers from the cut line grooves. But don't stop there…

Cleaning a cutting mat

To deep clean your carpet, fill your tub with enough room temperature water to cover the bottom of the tub and add ¼ cup of white vinegar. Let the carpet soak for 15 to 20 minutes, then add a little dish soap to the mixture. Use a small, soft brush to scrub the carpet and work up a lather. Rinse the mat in cold water and dry it with a towel or let it air dry.

As tempting as it may be, do not use hot water for this cleaning and do not let your rug dry in the sun, as both will cause the rug to warp. Once a cutting mat is warped, it cannot be put back flat.

Taking good care of your cutting mat will extend its life as well as that of your rotary cutter blade.

Chain stitching

Q: I've heard the term chain stitching a lot from my quilting friends. What does this mean and can I also do this with clothing sewing?

A: Chain stitching means that once you've sewn a seam, you simply feed in the next thing to be sewn, without cutting the threads between the pieces. For example, if you are sewing several quilt blocks together, sew all similar pieces together continuously. Chain stitch is a real time saver, and it also saves thread, because you don't stop after each piece to cut threads and remove new thread ends before starting the next piece.

When you have finished sewing several pieces, cut them.

Chain Stitch Examples

Chain stitch can definitely be done with clothing sewing or other projects. In fact, it's a kind of game to see how far you can go without stopping to cut wires. When sewing a garment, fuse all interfacing on all pieces before sewing, then, depending on the style, you may be able to continuously sew the armhole facing the shoulder and/or underarm seams, followed by the armhole seams. shoulders and sides and/or armpits of the garment. center seams, neckline face seams and skirt side seams, all before stopping. If your garment has sleeves, tuck the underarm seams as well.

The general rule for chain stitching is to never cross over another seam without pressing it first.

Chain stitching is really very satisfying to see a bunch of pieces pile up quickly behind your presser foot. If you are making multiple copies of the same item (cheerleader outfits, band uniforms, etc.), factory line sewing is much faster than sewing each project from start to finish before starting the following.

Elastic thread

Q: I used elastic thread in my bobbin to gather a top, but it didn't come up as much as I thought it would and my top is too big. Did I do something wrong and is there a way to fix this?

Smocked top in elastic threadA: Elastic thread differs from brand to brand in terms of stretch and recovery, so it is very important to do test sewing on the project fabric before starting your garment. The top tension may need to be adjusted and/or the stitch length to achieve the desired gathered effect.

Since your seam is already done, there are several possible solutions: First, steam the gathered area from the wrong side and/or the right side. Most elastic threads will shrink significantly from steam. Don't actually press the elastic or fabric, just iron and steam. If that doesn't pull it up enough, find the end of each seam line and pull the elastic. When it is the right size, knot the end of the thread or sew on it several times in the seam line. Repeat for each row separately. If you did not stop sewing at the end of the rows, but turned around to sew the next row, use a large pin to pull the elastic thread as if they were separate rows for the same effect .


~Linda Griepentrog is the owner of G Wiz Creative Services and she writes, edits, and designs for businesses in the sewing, crafting, and quilting industries. Additionally, she accompanies fabric shopping tours in Hong Kong. She lives on the Oregon Coast with her husband Keith and three dogs, Yohnuh, Abby and Lizzie. Contact her at .


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