Design Team Expert Susan is a whiz at maching stitching on her layouts. Today she shares her tips and tricks for how you too can sew on your next project. Be sure to read through her instructions for getting the best results!
As I have often mentioned, one of my favorite tools for scrapbooking and card making is my sewing machine. I even take it when I go to crop with friends. Today I thought I would tell you a few things that I have learned about machine stitching on paper. First, I have two machines because I bought a very nice machine for quilting years ago. That machine is a Kenmore and has alot of really fun stitches, it is also a pain to have repaired, so I bought an inexpensive Brother sewing machine that only has a few stitches and I use it 95% of the time for all of my projects. Any machine will work, but I do suggest a full sized machine for 12x12" layouts and most especially if you plan to stitch thru layers because these machines are a bit stronger than some of the little compact or starter machines.
Machine stitching is an easy inexpensive way to add embellishment, but it can be a challenge if you don't follow a few simple guidelines. Here are the most basic things that I think will make you successful in stitching on paper.
1. Make sure that the thread in your bobbin and on your spool are the same weight thread. This is especially important when you start trying metallic and specialty threads. With different weights you often will find that one will break.
2. Set your tension for the type of paper you are going to be using, by stitching on a scrap of cardstock. If you are seeing loops coming thru the front of your paper from the back, your tension is too tight. If you have loops in the back, your tension is too loose.
3. Choose a nice strong needle rather than one designed for a light weight fabric. A standard needle will work, but I prefer one that is designed for fabrics such as denim and vinyl because I like to stitch through several layers of paper and occasionally even through chipboard.
4. Adhesive is the enemy of the needle and can gum up on the needle and thread, and even cause you to break the needle. My best solution is to only use a glue stick where I will be machine or hand stitching. As long as you don't over do the glue, your machine will do fine. Do not stitch over areas where you have used a tape runner or worse yet, a glue dot. Just think about the placement of the adhesive and stitching when you plan your layout or card.
For most projects, I like to use a basic straight stitch with long stitches. If you try to stitch on paper with very short, close together stitches, you are just providing a nice perforation and the paper could tear apart on that line. For a bit more texture and fun, try a widely spaced zig zag stitch or hem stitch as I have used here on my Halloween layout to add interest. If you have a machine with more decorative stitches, give those a try as well, but always test the tension on a scrap of paper before stitching on your layout. Highly decorative designs are more affected by the tension and may need adjustment.
So pull out that machine and give it a go! And if you have been stitching on your layouts, try some new colors, metallic or sparkly threads. Just be warned, it's very habit forming.
Want to share your latest machine stitched project highlighting Echo Park Paper collections? We'd love to see it! Simply upload it to our Facebook page or link us to your completed project in the comments section of this blog post.