Monthly Archives: March 2016

A basting stitch that’s twice the max stitch length of your machine

I liked this so much I made a video for it. It’s easy and only requires a double eye needle and a machine with a zigzag stitch. These needles used to be popular and were sold as “magic” or “basting” needles. Now Schmetz is making them again to market them for decorative stitches.  (I’ve gotten them cheaply on ebay here.) You can do regular sewing by threading the bottom eye and basting by threading the top eye and following the steps in the video.

ETA – As pointed out to me by a member of the Bernina Lovers fb group, you can baste with an even longer stitch using the blindhem stitch.

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knit top This weekend I experimented with the thinnest, stretchiest knit I’ve tackled yet. A 4-way stretch that was cheap from a pop-up shop in Porirua. The easiest pattern I had for it was McCalls 8777.

I traced out full pattern pieces so I wouldn’t need to cut anything on the fold, then pinned fabric and pattern to foam core board. After trying the fabric with a few types of needles, I liked the stretch needle best. Foot pressure was reduced by more than half, and I sandwiched strips of water soluble stabilizer in the seams. Tension was set to 2 for most of it, but I hemmed with a double stretch needle, and for that I set tension to zero to keep it flat. At the shoulder and neckline, I stabilized with 1/4″ cotton tape (bought at Made Marion while enjoying the Mad Skills class).

None of the adjustments were that time consuming, so I was happy with a quick top made with just foot #1 on the Activa 130.

mccalls8777seam