Here's a really quick and simple tip for people just beginning to sew: Experiment with the placement of your foot pedal to find just the right distance for you. If it's too close, you really lack mobility in your ankle, hence sacrificing optimum control of your sewing speed. It it's too far away, it will make it very hard to press and your foot might cramp too (it's happened to me!)

Thanks for reading! Check back soon for more tips, tutorials and other random thoughts I feel like sharing! :)

So today here in lovely Flagstaff, AZ it is snowing cats & dogs! (Is that what they call it when it snows? Or is is bears and tigers?) How will I make it to the fabric store?! Very, very carefully and in 4-wheel, I guess. (JoAnn's or Bust!)  But aside from the awful driving conditions and painstaking shoveling, the beautiful snow brings a cozy feeling to the home. A day for a nice warm fire, hot cocoa and Christmas music. What a great day to be creative in my sewing studio. Happy Snow Day everyone!!!!

Learning to sew? Yay for you! Having the knowledge to sew is very beneficial in so many ways. Once you decide you want to learn, you are on the way to great things! Make handmade items for your friends and family, make awesome and unique things for yourself, alter store bought items to fit perfectly or to cater to your personal style, repair damage to your favorite clothes and save them from certain death! The list goes on and on....

When I was first learning to sew, one of the most difficult tasks was sewing in a simple, straight line. This is a very important skill in basic sewing and it will get easier, I promise! But, like all things, it takes practice.

One super helpful tip that my mother taught me was to put a piece of double-sided foam tape, or blue painter's tape parallel to the stitch direction to make it easier to guide the fabric under the presser foot in a straight line- continuously. It is much easier than trying to keep the distance between the edge of the presser foot and the edge of the fabric consistent and way easier than depending on the seam allowance marks on the machine when you are a beginner. Once you become better at feeding your fabric consistently, the marks on the machine are very helpful and much easier to utilize, but using the tape is a good stepping stone.

Step 1: Measure the seam allowance from your needle with a sewing gauge and place a piece of tape 3-5 inches long right onto the base of your sewing machine. (Make sure you put the tape straight!) In the pictures below, I have demonstrated how to mark a 5/8" seam allowance, using double-sided foam tape.

Step 2: As you stitch, keep the edge of the fabric right up against the tape. (Maintain your focus on lining up the edge of the fabric and the tape, rather than looking at where the needle is. This will ensure a beautiful, straight stitch.)

Foam Tape vs. Blue Painter's Tape:

  • The foam tape is better at guiding your fabric than the painters tape because it is raised and keeps the fabric from squirreling around. However, the foam tape is a little more difficult to remove after it's been sitting for over a day. If you are using the foam tape, I suggest removing it when you are done sewing and replace the backing so you can reuse it the next time you sit down to sew.
  • The blue painter's tape has an advantage because it is much more visible against the machine base, which can be easier to guide the fabric along, depending on who you are. Also, it is made to be removable, so you can leave it on your machine base as long as you want and it will still come off easily.

Sublime-D-Zign has had a very special opportunity to cooperatively costume Canyon Movement Company's Nutcracker Suite in Modern Bare Feet with Jenn Jones of Red Thread Sewing Studios this year! (Check out my Events for details on the show!)

This process has been a real learning experience for me. I am so very grateful for Jenn Jones (my long-time buddy- since kindergarten!!!) She has been so very gracious to invite me to help her on this very large project this year. She has taken me under her wing and walked me through the process of costuming a show with a cast of 80!

Jenn has taught me about designing costumes for optimal mobility (as they will be danced in), choosing durable fabrics, as well as fabrics that truly shine under stage lights. She has walked me through where to place the most focus and detail, as well as what parts of sewing are not as important when costuming. (Costuming truly has a different set of rules than custom fashion design.)  I have learned how to squeeze as many costumes as possible out of sometimes not enough fabric and how to alter a base pattern to each individual dancer's body. I have attained so much priceless knowledge and experience, words cannot explain.

Working with Jenn and the directors of Canyon Movement Company has been truly a delight. Their support, encouragement and gratitude has been endless, and greatly appreciated. Meeting each dancer and pinning and cutting and lengthening and tightening their costumes has also been so fun, and a great experience. I am truly grateful for every minute of it.

The process has taken just over a month of extra-hard work, long hours, sometimes forced patience and experimentation on my part. And while at times I may have wanted to walk away from it all, I am so glad that I was able to be a part of this process. Absolutely nothing compares to the gratification I get when I see a group of dancers on stage bringing life to the costumes that I spent many midnight hours creating.

Also, an extra special thanks must go out to my extremely wonderful husband, Ian. He not only supported me through the entire process, talked me through my moments of frustration, and commended me on each individual accomplishment, but actually helped me out every step of the way.  This man of mine helped rip seams, thread elastic, sew Velcro, finish seams... the list really goes on and on. Without him, I really don't think I could have accomplished what I did. I am so very fortunate to have such an amazing partner.

So, please come to the show! See Jenn's work and mine in action! Also, see me perform as a Snowflake and a Flower in beautiful costumes designed and created by the great Jenn Jones herself!

All my love to Jenn Jones, Ian Glockner (my husband), Gina Darlington (Director of CMC), Cori Wall (Asst. Director of the Nutcracker), Amanda Moore (giver of endless support and an open ear), all of the dancers, choreographers, and parents involved in this wonderful production, and my precious and patient family and friends (who I have given less attention to than I prefer during this project:) ).