Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tutorial- Sewing on Cards

Sewing on cards
Here is some basic information to consider regarding sewing on cards.
1) Tools to use.
  The first tool would be your sewing machine.  Just like all of the embossing machines on the market- different process-same results for the most part.  What type of machine are you working with?  Industrial sewing machines are more ‘open’ and are made to sew any fabrics and do tough sewing jobs.  Electronic or Computerized Sewing machines are made to deliver precise and detailed coverage of thread to fabric. Older sewing machines fall somewhere in the middle with settings to vary for different types of fabrics. 
*Get out your owners manual and read it!  Knowing your machine is vital to successfully sewing on any project*.
Next, consider there are many types of threads. From fine heirloom sewing threads to rayon to cotton to polyester threads- they all have different personalities- like your ink pads.  Cheap thread is just that- it can have poor fiber quality and can break easily……  I do not recommend it.  The high end is the Sulky embroidery thread- it is shiney in appearance and also comes in metallic colors.   (Great for soldier cards to add glitz without glitter). I compare this thread to Copics on the machine- smooth and shiney- but not cheap…..  Middle of the line threads that works just great are Coats and Clark and Guetermann. You would not use featherweight or fine thread on paper, unless it is delicate- maybe vellum. 

*Use the same thread in the bobbin that you use on the top-very important- this will affect your tension alot*

Needles-come in varying sizes as well- the sizes refer to the hole in the needle- if you use fine thread, you want a needle with a smaller hole. Likewise, if you use a thicker thread you would use a needle with a larger hole. The larger the number, the bigger the needle – and the larger the hole it will pierce in the paper.
There are also different tips on needles- fine needles are used on fabrics like silk where you do not want to fabric to ‘run’, so when you shop you will see words like ball point or stretch needles.  You just need a regular size 12 or 14 needle for sewing on regular cardstock.

*Always have designated needles for cardstock- you will dull the needle and do not want to sew fabric with it*
Tension- know your machine!  My electronic machine sets the tension for me…..I can still have problems.  Angelnorth on SCS posted this info about tension on a sewing machine- here is a link . Take a look at the pictures- it will tell you if your tension is set properly or not. 
Other thoughts to consider:
-Never, never sew over tape or glue or needles or pins.
-Starting out, gently hold the thread ends so they do not get into a tangled mess under the cardstock.

 Do not pull the thread or the cardstock when you are sewing-gently guide the paper barely touching it just to keep the cardstock going into the machine straight.
-Center your body in front of the needle and keep your eye on where it is stitching. If you start out at 1/4 inch from the edge, either use the lines to the side of your needle, or you can tape a coffee stirrer at the edge of your card on the sewing machine base- this will keep the sewing straight.

-When you get to the end of a row- use the needle down to turn, pivot,  and start again.

Here is a photo of the nice clean corner:

Make a sample card of your stitches noting stitch lengths for future reference:

Once you are done with your stitching- you will have 'loose ends'.  If you cut them, they will unravel.....  I take a needle, thread the end and go through from the top to the bottom via one of the stitch 'holes' made while sewing.  Then, you can tie the ends in the back and secure with adhesive to attach to your card.
More FYI's
-Clean out the bobbin area- get the lint out- my machine tension always acts up when there is any lint there- never blow canned air into the machine.......
Rethread if you have a problem....Rethread if you have a problem......Rethread.......! It is like rebooting your computer!
*Once you get the tension correct, make samples and write on your cardstock the length or width settings- make the samples using straight stitch and zig zag.......*  This is great if you are visual like me! 
-Practice sewing S's and circles- a circle is a straight line...curved..... take a stitch and use needle down to make subtle adjustments- remember to watch the needle when stitching!
- I do not think any sewing machine manufacturers would ever recommend sewing on cardstock- the little holes that are punched out by the needle can get into the bottom and mess up a machine (they do go somewhere....). That said- I have an embroidery machine and I sew cards on it all of the time- just remember do not blow air in to get gunk out (like canned air)...I have an attachment for my vacuum that sucks out the lint- or the machine usually comes with a brush....If you think about it, it is forcibly blowing the lint somewhere....into the motor and all of your machine- you do not want lint in the machine- you want to get it out of the will 'gunk up' the insides of the machine......... so you would either use a brush to try to loosen it up and remove it manually, or suck it out with a little sewing machine attachment..... especially if it is a computerized/embroidery machine- call your local reputable dealer -see if they have a recommendation.
*Troubleshooting- the first two steps are always: Reboot if you have an electronic machine and Rethread.

I sure hope this helps you and gives you basic information regarding the tools you need to sew on cards.

Here are a couple of samples of cards I have made with sewing on them:

Images Firecracker Designs by Pamela

Sentiment by Doodle Pantry and a rub-on

Shelly Schmidt


Clare said...

Great tutorial! Thanks for the tips!

Carrie said...

I love the effect sewing has on cards. Great examples, both cards are beautiful.

Larisa said...

Very nice sewing! I think it is so because the threads are the silk. I am sorry it is impossible to get this sort of threads here.. I love your cards a lot )))

Jess said...

Thanks for this. I've been really hesitant about starting sewing on cards but due to this post I might give it a go... :)

Unknown said...

Great tutorial - to find where my sewing machine is :)

Kathy said...

Thanks Shelly, really helpful tips, I just wing it and found your tutorial really helpful. Will definitely try some of it.

jimlynn said...

Oh wow Shelly!!!! THANKS so much! I wish you'd posted this about 3 weeks ago......I needed some new needles for my sewing machine and thought I'd go ahead and get some for card stock too. When I told the lady at the fabric dept. what I was going to use the needles on (the CS) she just looked at me like I'd lost my mind!!!!!!! I lucked out though and got what I needed - thanks for assuring me of that! Great tutorial.

Terry said...

Amazing that I have not even looked at my SM in over 10 years, but the same threads and needles from then are still top of the line! Ok, I need to get it serviced and starting sewing up some cards! Thanks for the tutorial!

Anonymous said...

Cool blog, I had not noticed previously in my searches!
Keep up the great work!

Karen Howard said...

Thank you, Shelly! This post is really helpful. I've been thinking about trying sewing on my cards but didn't know where to start!

paige said...

Great tutorial! You are a talented seamstress!

Anne said...

Great tutorial and love your cards, the heart image is stunning

Juliet A said...

Good info! I especially like the stitching you did on that last card.

Ruth (Sabriel) said...

Hi Shelly!
Great tutorial! I LOVE stitching on cards, but I have never used a sewing machine... I might just have to try that.

Your cards are beautiful! I've just started learning all I can about stamping and coloring. I'm amazed at how many choices there are for stamps and coloring mediums. I'm making a wish list for christmas... I have to get some copics and prismacolor pencils! lol


Kristen said...

Thanks for your well thought out and presented explanation. I have yet to make the sewing on cards leap but I now feel like I have the information to make good choices if I do!

jean said...

the sewing tips are so great. thanks, I have just started sewing on cards and thought I could only use plain old thread. I have an embroidery machine and was afraid to use it so bought a little janome just for cards. can't wait to try the fancy threads. such fun.
thanks you so much,

Adeline E. Brill said...

Great tutorial - I too love sewing on paer as that is my 1st love - now I have 3 loves- sewing, stamping and scrapbooking...

Shaz in Oz.CalligraphyCards said...

Great work Shelley...may get my machine out soon never know :D

... but know my tension is very erratic and not sure am game to try on a card, love Shaz in Oz.x