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Monday, May 4, 2009

Learn to Sew on your Scrapbooking Pages 1 comments  
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SEWING 101- Crop Class

Sewing on your pages is a technique that I love.  You will notice that I like using techniques on my LOs because they are an inexpensive way to add to your page.  We are going to cover the handstitching part first because I am guessing not everyone has a machine for the second part. 

Hand stitching

Here's the first page:

Here are some supplies I grabbed for the first page:

I am using the Fancy Pants Lounging, Wave and Summer Soiree Strips pieces.  I cut the strips of paper and attached those and the photos on my page as you can see in the photo. 

Next, I placed my ruler along the orange ray pattern on the paper.  I placed my Scrapworks pushpad under my paper and using a paper piercer, poked a hole through the paper at 1/2" intervals.  I have heard that if need something soft to place under your LO, turn your mouse pad over and it works just as well.  If you don't have a paper piercer, use your sewing needle.  I prefer the paper piercer because if you are trying to poke through several sheets, it is much easier using the a needle. 

I threaded my needle with orange embrodery floss.  The floss comes with six strands and I personally like using all 6 for a thicker looking stitch.  This can be adjusted to your personal taste.  When cutting the floss, I usually "measure" it by holding it out between both arms if they were extended horizontally. 

I started by pulling my needle up through the first hole.  I left a small piece of the floss on the underside of the layout that was about an 1" long.  Some people may like knotting their floss but I don't like the lump it creates behind your page.  I simply use a piece of transparent tape and tape the floss to the back of my LO.  I think it holds it securely without the bulk.

For the purposes of demonstrating the basic stitch, I numbered the holes 1-5.  For the basic stitch, pull your needle up through hole 1

and then down through hole 2. 

You pull it up through 3

and down through 4. Sounds easy enough, right?  You continue to do this to the end of each line we are sewing. 

Sewing Buttons on a layout

I love adding buttons to my pages and think they look great handstitched to the page.  When adding buttons, I like to place them out on my layout where I would like them to go.  I then use small glue dots to attach them in the place I want them.  MAKE SURE to not put the glue dots over the button holes.  If you do, your paper piercer and needle will get gunked up when it goes through the glue dot.  .  I then use the same method as before to poke the holes through the page.  Place a soft pad under the page and pierce the paper through the button holes where the stitches will be.  Using a threaded needle, pull the floss up through the button hole and tape the end of the floss to the back of the page. Attach each button with a stitch.

Here's our finished page:

I really like the extra accent the hand stitching added to the rays.  It helps emphasize them without distracting your attention from the photos.

Next, I will show you a back stitch like I used on this page:

Using a piece of kraft Bazzill Cardstock as our background, I grabbed my Cosmo Cricket Girl Friday Tuesday paper and cut a rectangular frame approximately 8 1/2" x 9 1/4".  I didn't use a ruler and make straight edges because I wanted my rectangle to be uneven and whimsical.  If you like clean lines, you can use a ruler. 

I attached the frame to the cardstock using a small amount of adhesive.  When you do this, try not to put any adhesive where you will be stitching.  If you do, your paper piercer and needle will end up getting gunked up.

I placed my push pad under my LO and using a ruler to make a straight line, I pierced the paper with holes.  I used the edge of the ruler for a straight line but didnt' measure the distance between holes.  Again, I wanted my page to be more whimsical and uncalculated.  You can measure and make the holes equal distance apart if that is your preference.   You do need a straight line for the backstitch.  

It was too hard to see the holes in the patterned paper in the photo, so I flipped it over so you can see what they look like on the back.

I am going to number the holes 1-5 for the sake of giving directions how to complete the stitch.  Start by threading your needle with sky blue embroidery floss (again I used all 6 strands.)  Pull the threaded needle up through hole number 2.  Leave about an 1" of floss on the back side of the page.  Flip it over and tape it to the back of your layout. 

You should have the back of the floss taped to the back of your layout and a threaded needle completely pulled through hole2.  Put the down through hole 1.

Pull the thread up through hole 3:

Put the thread down though hole 2:

Pull the thread up through hole 4:

Put the thread back down through hole 3:

Pull the thread back up through hole 5:

Continue to follow this exact same pattern until you sew around the entire rectangle.  Tape the end down on the back of the page.

Ribbon Flowers

Now, I will show you how to make these ribbon flowers I used on my layout.

I used a piece of ribbon that was around 17" in length.  Both of these ribbons were 5/8" in width but I have used wider ribbon in the past.  I think I used 1" wide ribbon on this card:

I threaded my floss through my needle and tied a knot in the end.  I brought my needle from the underside of the ribbon up.  Look at my photo for a visual help.

 I then loosely stitched the edges of the ribbon:

 I never pulled my thread tight.  I continued to go up and down to the end of the ribbon.



Here is a close up shot of the ribbon so you can see the edges and stitching:

Then pull the ribbon tight.  The result will be the ribbon bunching together.  Knot the floss close to the flower.  They take only a couple of minutes to make and they are a great way to use ribbon on your pages.  I attached mine with glue dots.

Think about all of the ways you can now use hand stitching on your layouts.  I wanted to share another layout that I used a ton of handstitching to jazz up my flowers and make a trail for my butterfly. 

For the butterfly trail, I used a pencil and lightly hand drew the swirl.  Using my paper piercer, I poked the holes for the trail.  Before backstitching the trail, I erased the pencil marks.  


Machine Stitching

Every machine is different as far as the settings go.  I will show you the settings I use on my machine.  The best advice I can give you when it somes to machine settings is to refer to your owner's manual. 


Here are some tips for machine stitching:

1-Change your needle often.  Paper dulls your needles much faster than fabric. 

2-Adhere the paper to the layout before stitching being very CAREFUL to not put adhesive where you will stitch.  This causes your needle to gunked up. 

3-Take your time and practice on scrap paper first!!

4-I never change my bobbin color.  Mine is always white.  If your tensiion is set correctly, you should never be able to see the thread from the bobbin. 

Adjusting the Tension

Adjusting the tension on your machine is the hardest thing to initially figure out.  It is adjusted depending on the different fabrics you use by adding more or less tension on the thread.  The 2 threads in your machine (the one coming from the spool and the one coming from the bobbin) meet and the objective is for them to lock in the middle.  If the tension is off, one of the threads will be too tight. 

Sewing on paper is a little trickier.  You need to experiment with your settings to get the correct result.  I will show you what you want it to look like on a layout and in the following photo. 

This is what the stitch should look like on the front:

and it looks the exact same on the back:

You want the stitching to look the same on both the front and back.

Adjusting the Stitch Length

This determines the length of each stitch.  My machine is numbered from 1-4.  Here is a sample of what each looks look


You can set the number according to personal preference.  I generally use 1 and 2.

Selecting the type of Stitch

Depending on the cost of your machine, you will be able to perform many different kind of stitches.  I have noticed that the higher price of the machine, the more stitch types.  I usually use the straight stitch and the zigzap stitches on my machine.  My machine is pretty easy to select the stitch with a picture of each when you turn the knob. 

Securing the Ends

There are 2 different ways to secure the end stitch when sewing on your layouts.  Some people get to the end of their row and reverse stitch a couple of stitches.  Then forward stitch a couple more.  I tape the end of the row with a piece of transparent tape on the back of my layouts.

On our first LO, I will be using a piece of pink Bazzill cardstock and the Fancy Pants Destination cardstock.  I cut out the shape from the Destination paper and attached it to the cardstock.  I wanted to stitch around the edges of the paper following a line in the pattern.  Take a look:

My machine settings:

Notice how my left hand is on top of the paper to guide it along without placing a lot of pressure.  You have to turn your page to follow the curve.


Next I added strips of papers to the page.  I was careful to not put adhesive on the edges I planned on stitching down.


I decided to use a zigzag stitch to stitch my strips of paper down.  Here are my settings:

Sewing it down:

 Here is our finished page:

My next page combines both stitches and I will show you how to sew some pleated ribbon.

I started with a piece of Kraft Bazzill Cardstock and the Making Memories Just Chillin Girl Multistrip piece of paper.   I cut and adhered the paper.  Again, I was careful where I added adhesive so it didn't get on my machine.

I decided to adhere the striped piece edge first.  My settings:

The results:

I wanted to sew a frame around the turquoise polka dotted paper.  To make it easier for me to stitch in a straight line, I grabbed my ruler and a pencil.  I lightly outlined where I wanted each line to be. 

My machine settings:

The page being stitched:

Stitched Pleated Ribbon

I love the way pleated ribbon looks on a page and sewing it down is a great way to attach it.  I do use adhesive to adhere it to the page before stitching.  I used my tape runner to add a strip to the back of the ribbon.  I started by placing the right edge down on my page.

I then continued to pleat it across the page. I don't aim for pleats that are spaced equal distance apart.  I place them down the way I think looks nice as I am doing it.

Next, I stitched it to the page.  Here are my machine settings:

I made sure the pleats pointed towards me so the sewing machine foot wouldn't lift them up while stitching.

Here's the finished page.

Thanks so much for joining me and I can't wait to see all of the creations you make using the stitching techniques.


Hand stitching Portion:
*Embroidery Floss- I recommend having a variety of colors on hand to match your papers. It is pretty inexpensive at most sewing and craft stores (and even the big box retailer.) I have purchased a variety pack in the past which is another option to save money.
*Needles- You want to have a needle(s) that have an eye large enough to thread the embroidery floss through. The pack I purchased was called Embroidery Needles and the size was 3-9.
*Paper piercer- Mine is made by Making Memories
*Something soft to place under your page when you use your paper piercer. I use the Scrapworks Push Pad. A mouse pad flipped over also works.
*Transparent Tape- the kind you use to wrap presents
*Ruler- (I love my transparent one to see the design underneath. Helps greatly in placing it correctly.)

Machine Stitching Portion:
*Your sewing machine
* New, Sharp Needles for the machine- I can't recommend a specific size because the numbers of measurement vary with different machine. My machine is made by White and my favorite is Size 70/10. I like ones that aren't too big because they leave a larger hole in your paper.

Papers and Scrappy Supplies-


Posted by Beth-W

Reader Comments ...
jannyf . Stuart, FL
9/5/09 4:24 am
Wow - this is a fantastic article. I'm just learning to use my sewing machine for my LOs and this article was really helpful. Thanks for taking the time to show us newbies some great new techniques!