Saturday, February 8, 2014

5 Easy Sewing Projects for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, so if you haven't already, now's the time to break out your red thread and heart-felt fabric, and get some inspiration for LOVE! Jump-start your creative juices with these 5 easy sewing projects that make for perfect Valentine's Day gifts.

Blossoming Brooch

This is the perfect Valentine's Day gift for mom, easily made from any lace trim or any other long fabric scraps you may have laying around. Check out the step-by-step instructions on Martha Stewart's blog.

Lovely Little Pincushions

Why not share your love for sewing with your fellow thread-and-needle friends by making some of these cute little pincushions of love?

Heart Pillows

These adorable heart pillows from designlovefest are not only a quick-and-easy project, but are the perfect Valentine's Day gift for anyone in your life you want to show some love!

Heart-Shaped Pot Holders

Do know love someone who's an aspiring chef? Or maybe just someone who loves to come up with their own culinary creations? Then these heart-shaped pot holders from Martha Stewart's blog would be an easy sewing project for any cooks looking to pull out some extra lovin' from their oven!

Heart-Shaped Necktie Pin

And last (but not least), is this cute heart-shaped necktie pin. All you need to pull this project off are 2 old neckties and a few extra supplies. Check out the tutorial on CraftStylish's blog for step-by-step instructions.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tips for Fabric Shopping

Few things are more exciting than starting a new sewing project. However, walking into a fabric store can be a somewhat daunting experience. With so many choices, people often get frustrated when they don’t know exactly what to look for. So whether you’re a sewing beginner or a seasoned pro, we’ve got a few tips that should help when picking out your next piece of fabric.

Create a Color Notebook

Before you head to the store, create a “color notebook” that encompasses all of the colors and designs involved in each of your sewing projects. You can use dividers to separate each project in a binder. Not only will this keep you incredibly organized and neat, but you’ll be prepared if you need to compare potential fabric to all of your project components when you’re at the store. It’ll also help sales people visualize what you want if you’re asking for help.

Browse Around

Once you get to the store, just take some time to browse. Make sure you have plenty of time to take a look at a number of different patterns. Don’t try to rush yourself because you’ll likely pick something you don’t like or end up leaving empty-handed and frustrated.

Test the Fabric Quality

When you find some fabric you like, test it out. Stretch it, fold it and feel the texture. If it’s made of quality material, you’ll be able to tell quickly. Another good test to perform is to pull the end of the fabric where it was last cut and see if it unravels easily. If it does, avoid buying it.

Get more Info on the Fabric

Check the bolt (or cylinder) tag if you’re interested in a certain fabric. This tag has all the information you need, including price per yard, fiber content, care instructions, and which company produced it. Also make sure you bring a measuring tape with you to double-check the dimensions of the fabric. Sometimes bolt tags are missing or inaccurate, and you don’t want to leave with a pattern that isn't the right size for your project.

Buy in Bulk

Consider buying in bulk. Often times you will pay less per yard if you purchase a larger quantity. Some people even buy the entire bolt, which is typically sold at a special “by the bolt” price. If you do this, ask the vendor to unroll the bolt so you can inspect the fabric for any potentially hidden damage. It’s also a good idea to measure the full length to make sure you aren’t being shorted any fabric.

Get a Swatch

If you like a fabric (or a few) but just can’t make a decision, ask the store’s specialist to cut you a swatch. You can add it to your color notebook along with a business card and can think about it, as well as compare it to other options you might find.

Remember, shopping for fabric should be fun! Sewing is a great way to stay relaxed and enjoy your free time, so don’t let picking out fabric stress you out. If you have questions, ask the staff, that’s what they’re there for. Not only do they spend all of their time around the fabrics your digging through, but they know exactly what to look for in picking a great fabric. So good luck and happy shopping!

Friday, January 17, 2014

How to Choose the Perfect Embroidery Machine

If you're interested in entering the world of machine embroidery, your first step is to choose the right machine to meet your needs. Unfortunately, this can be a daunting task due to the wide selection of brands and types of embroidery machines currently available. What's more, asking embroidery machine owners for their input will often spawn a flurry of such opinionated discussion, it'll make your head spin. Therefore, to make the buying process much less of a headache, the best place to start is by understanding why and how you'll be using your new machine. With this information, an experienced and well-versed dealer can then lead you down the right path to embroidery nirvana.

Will your embroidery machine be used for personal or business reasons?

This weighs heavily on what size embroidery machine you'll need. If you're intending to use it for business, then a larger-sized, industrial-focused machine is what you'll need. On the other hand, if you're deciding to embroider purely for personal enjoyment, then a smaller machine with not as many fancy features is enough.

What size designs would you like to embroider?

Since embroidery designs come in different sizes, it's important to consider the hoop field size of the machine. A machine with a small hoop size limits the size of the designs you can sew. For many enthusiasts, the standard 4x4" hoop size is more than enough. However, if you plan on stitching out larger designs, such as jackets, bags or home d├ęcor, you'll want to look for a 5x7", 6x10" or even a 8x12" hoop. If you're not sure what size designs you may want to stitch, larger hoops can be added to some machines.

How much are you willing to spend on an embroidery machine?

Embroidery machines can drastically range in price – from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Obviously, the price of a machine will affect the level of features it provides; therefore, it's important to get an idea of what functions are typically available for a machine within your target budget.
But if you're dead-set on having all the fancy bells & whistles, you may want to consider going the used route. "Just-like-new" embroidery machines can often be found from reputable dealers – it just may take some searching around to find one ideal condition for the right price.
It's also important to keep in mind that some machines may require disks or extra software for their embroidery designs. In some cases, they can cost up to $100.

Will you need training and/or support for your embroidery machine?

This question is particularly important when deciding where to purchase your machine. If you're new to embroidery, many reputable machine dealers will offer free private instruction and support for your machine when you purchase from them. However, if you decide to purchase through a fabric or department store, the level of support will be limited to the brand's support options (usually phone or online).

Where will you be getting your embroidery designs from?

There are 3 main ways to obtain embroidery designs: cards/disks (similar to a floppy disk, but in a special format the machine can read), online from embroidery websites or made yourself using a digitizer. Downloading free or low cost designs off websites is now all the rage. Therefore, it's a good idea to do some research to become familiar with the standard file formats and how designs are transferred to your machine.

Time to Visit your Local Embroidery Machine Dealer

After reflecting on the questions above and spending some time to research and familiarize yourself with what's available, talking to a knowledgeable dealer should be your next step. Their experience working with the wide range of machines available will not only help them guide you in the right direction, but they'll also be able to provide insider insight on the nuances different models have. Visiting a dealer in-person also gives you the ability to try out various types of machines and/or receive demonstrations before you buy.
Here are some quick tips to help you find a reputable dealer:
  • The easiest way is by visiting a few big-name sewing machine manufacturer's websites. Look for the "Find a Dealer" page on their site, and do a search in your area.
  • Visit a dealer's website and look to see if they off any type of guarantee.
  • Look for dealers that offer free lessons with the purchase of your machine, as well as in-house support and repair services.
  • Some dealers also offer a membership 'club' where you can get discounts on supplies, attend free classes or sewing groups, and some may even host seminars from certified educators.
Venturing in to the world of embroidery should be fun – and that includes buying your first embroidery machine! Hopefully the tips we've provided will help you start off on the right foot. So now we want to know, what tips or guidance do you have for anyone starting their journey in the world of embroidery? Please leave your advice in the comments section below!

Additional Resources:

Choosing an Embroidery Machine - from SWAKembroidery
Choosing a Machine - from Secrets of Embroidery

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

January Class: 5D & 6D Embroidery Software with Soni Grint

Happy New Year everyone! We hope you're as excited as we are to see what 2014 brings. To help kick off the new year, we've got an exciting class scheduled for our fans who have a passion for embroidery and quilting!

On Tuesday, January 21st, from 10:30am - 4pm, we'll be hosting a hands-on Viking 5D & 6D Software Clinic with Viking freelance educator, Soni Grint. For more info on Soni, check out her bio below:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

VIP Club Christmas Party!

The holidays have arrived! We love this time of year when everything is so festive with decorations and music, and it puts us in the mood to party!
Join us on Tuesday, December 17th from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm for our VIP Club Christmas Party Seminar, free for all Club members!!! Mark this on your calendar now because you don’t want to miss this Luke’s event.
We’ll have a bunch of events and activities to enjoy, like the optional gift exchange with the rest of the party goers! If you’re in the giving mood, bring a small, $7.00 gift to the party, where you’ll exchange it with someone else, and bring home something new!
And we better not forget! Those who wear the color red to the party will receive a special gift. What will it be? You’ll have to come dressed to impress to find out.
Our Christmas Party will be held at our Kentucky Location, at Luke’s VIP Club Hall. For more information, directions, and to sign up for this festive event, give Margaret a call at (859) 342-6600.
We can’t wait for this party, and we hope you’re as excited about it as we are! Happy Holidays everyone!