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Katie Remski

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How to Travel with your Sewing Machine and Supplies

Posted by Katie Remski on Oct 13, 2017 10:57:36 AM

How to travel with your sewing supplies

With Glamp Stitchalot just a few weeks away, it's time to think about packing! It can be nerve wracking to take your sewing machine away from home, so we thought we'd share with you a few tips for safely traveling with your sewing machine and sharp supplies!  

For Air Travel

  • According to the TSA website (link below,) the biggest concern for sewing machine travel is size. As long as it fits in the overhead bin or under the seat you are good to bring your machine as a carry on. If it doesn't fit in either place, you'll have to bring it as checked luggage. 
  • Remove needle from machine and put it with your hand sewing needles and pins. It may seem like overkill, but any sharp, pointy object can raise a red flag at TSA, and it might just make life easier to take it out. 
  • Really, you'll want to avoid checking your sewing machine luggage. It's always the safest (and cheapest) bet to bring it as a carry on. You don't need to bring a super fancy machine to Glamp Stitchalot-- just something that reliably sews both straight and zigzag stitches. 

Sharp stuff: 

  • Hand sewing pins and needles are okay to take in carry on luggage as long as they're secure, such as in a latched box or soft needle book. 
  • Scissors under 4" long can be taken in carry on luggage as long as they're in a sheath or case. Any bigger and they need to be in checked bags. No circular thread cutters are allowed on planes, even those little rings with a bladed notch for thread clippings. 
  • Rotary cutters are typically not allowed in carry on luggage. The easiest way to deal with this is to remove the blade from the tool, take the handle as carry on, and purchase a new blade when you arrive at Glamp (discard the blade before your return trip.) We will also have some Olfa rotary cutters available at each cutting station during the classes.

Here's a link to the TSA website:

For Car Travel:

  • Try storing some of your fabric for the trip inside your sewing machine case, rolling it around the machine to help pad it in case of tipping or bumps. 
  • Use a magnetic pin box for pins and needles so there's no risk of spillage 
  • Stash a plastic trash bag with you so you can cover your machine/case with something waterproof in case of 

 General Considerations for Both:

  • You'll need to haul your machine through the airport four times over the course of the trip or in/out of your car, and sewing machines tend to be a bit heavy. We reccommend a case with wheels (as long as it still fits in an overhead or under the seat compartment) such as the Tutto. If a wheeled case won't work, a sturdy bag with comfortable shoulder straps is best. Janome makes a sewing machine tote, and Jeni Baker has a great pattern for a roomy and strong tote you can make. 
  • If you really enjoy going on retreats or just want to be able to sew on vacation or out of town trips, a small-ish, light sewing machine is a good investment, especially if your at-home machine is very large or expensive. 

Topics: Glamp Stitchalot, Janome, glamp 4, flying with a sewing machine, travel, air travel, retreat

How to Create a Mosaic for Glamp Stitchaswap

Posted by Katie Remski on Oct 6, 2017 1:09:25 PM

Sewing swaps are always fun, and creating a mosaic (AKA, mood board or collage) of your personal style can really help your swap buddy to make something that's perfect for you. For our Glamp Stitchalot 2017 pouch swap (affectionately named Glamp Stitchaswap,) we highly recommend making an inspirational mosaic to post on Instagram to help your swap partner make something you'll love and use. Creating an inspiration mosaic is easy with a few steps and the right app-- let's get started! 

1. Find images

The best part of creating an inspiration mosaic is finding pictures! Use the Pinterest app (it's free-- just sign up with your email) to find pictures that represent "you"-- here's a few guidelines of what's most helpful for your partner:

--photos of a favorite color combo, like purple and teal or black and pink

--photos of prints you love, like stripes, dots or florals

--general "mood' pictures you think convey your personal style 

Layout Mosaic How To Pink Castle Fabrics Blog


2. Save images to phone

Here's how to save images from Pinterest to your phone: 

Tap on the image in Pinterest. Then tap the 3 dots at the top middle of the screen. 

Layout Mosaic How To Pink Castle Fabrics Blog
Layout Mosaic How To Pink Castle Fabrics Blog Tap "Download image." The photo is now saved to your phone's camera roll. Remember before you leave the pin-- see where it came from and make a note of it so you can credit the source later. 

3. Make collage in "Layout" app 

Layout is a free companion app for Instagram that lets you make collages. Download it to your phone if you haven't already. Once the app is open, just tap all the photos you want to be in your mosaic. You can then swipe through the upper row of sample collages to choose the one you like best. 

Layout Mosaic How To Pink Castle Fabrics Blog
Layout Mosaic How To Pink Castle Fabrics Blog Now you can adjust the sizes and "drag and drop" photos to change their position. Hit "save" when you're done and the mosaic will appear in your phone's camera roll, ready to be posted to Instagram! 

4. Post to Instagram!

Now you're ready to post-- here's what you need to write in your caption: 

--credits for each photo, if you can find them, such as "rainbow bundle: Pink Castle Fabrics". It's good internet manners. 

--the hashtags #glampstitchaswap and #glampstitchalot2017 

Optional info to include: 

--names of favorite designers (Tula Pink, Lizzy House, Cotton+Steel, etc) 

--other fun information, like your favorite animal, your love of coffee, your non-sewing hobbies, etc! 

mosaic sample Pink Castle Fabrics





Topics: Bags, Glamp Stitchalot, glamp, pouch sewing, stitchaswap, pouch

How to Free Motion Quilt with the Janome 6700p

Posted by Katie Remski on Oct 3, 2017 3:18:27 PM

free motion quilting on the Janome 6700p

One of our most commonly asked questions is how to free motion quilt on their sewing machine at home. Free motion quilting (FMQ) is fun and simple with a little practice, and lets you really customize your quilt exactly the way you want. Today, I'll show you the basics on one of our favorite machines, the Janome 6700p! Even if you don't have this specific machine, the basic procedures still apply. free motion quilting on the Janome 6700p

1. If your machine has an extension table, attach it to the machine. The 6700p is sold with the extention table, but if your machine does not have one, most have the option to purchase one separately. This makes it easier to quilt because the weight of the quilt will be displaced over the table and you can better see where you're going! 

free motion quilting on the Janome 6700p

2. Drop the feed dogs. This is the single most important step in setting your machine up for FMQ, as the feed dogs "pull" your fabric in a straight path and do not allow for side to side movement. How to lower the feed dogs will vary by machine; check your manual first to see how. On the 6700p, all we have to do is flip the side lever to lower the feed dogs. 

free motion quilting on the Janome 6700p

3. Attach the FMQ foot. The 6700p includes this as well, but again, you can also buy one for your machine. 

free motion quilting on the Janome 6700p

4. Set your stitch length to 0. 

5. Once everything is set up and tension/speed is correct, use a fabric pen or pencil and practice drawing lines and squiggles and other designs on scrap quilt sandwiches. Practice FMQ, following the drawn lines and feeding the fabric smoothly through the machine. 

free motion quilting on the Janome 6700p

When you're confident with your design, you can move on to quilting your quilt! 

See all Janome machines online!

Topics: Janome, Tutorial, machine quilting, Quilting, 6700p, free tutorial, free motion quilting

Scrappy Liberty Lanyard Tutorial

Posted by Katie Remski on Sep 22, 2017 4:53:44 PM

Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics

If you love Liberty of London Tana Lawn, you know how precious every little scrap is! This patchwork lanyard not only helps you use up small pieces of fabric, but it gives you an easy way to "wear" a piece of Liberty patchwork. Here's how to make one of your own! 

For fabric, I used prints from one Liberty Scrap Pack. If you don't have scraps left over from projects, this is a great way to get a variety of prints in small cuts. One lanyard certainly won't take up the whole pack, so you'll still have some fabric left over. You'll also need some lightweight interfacing and a swivel hook or lanyard clip + jump ring. If you don't want a scrappy piecded lanyard, just cut a 44" by 3" strip of fabric and start the instructions at step 4. 


Asorted Liberty of London Scraps

1/4 yard of lightweight fusible interfacing 

Swivel hook OR lanyard clip + jump ring

1. Cut

From fabric: the only rule is each piece needs to be AT LEAST 3" long and at least 1" wide. Don't worry about making the scraps all the same size, as long as the 3"+ sides are cut straight. 

From interfacing: Ultimately, you need a long strip that's 43" long and 2" wide, but since interfacing is typically only 20" wide you'll need to piece it (more on that later.)

Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics

2. Sew

Start sewing the scraps longest-sides together, using a 1/4" seam allowance. 

Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics

Keep going until you have a strip that's about 44" long. 

Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics

3. Iron

Press all seams open. It's important that they're pressed open to reduce bulk; pressing to one side would make a bumpy lanyard. 

Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics

4.Fuse Interfacing

Lay 2" wide interfacing strips in the middle of your Liberty strip, centered as well as you can. Press according to interfacing directions. To extend the full length of the Liberty piece, butt the next interfacing strip right up against the previous one. Repeat pressing and laying down interfacing until you reach the end of the Liberty strip. 

Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics
You'll end up with a piece that looks like this.  Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics

5. Trim

Trim away irregular edges, leaving a 1/4" margin of fabric around the interfacing. Repeat on both sides. 

Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics

All neat and trimmed!

Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics

6. Fold

Fold the strip in half lengthwise and iron to crease. 

Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics
Unfold strip and fold both sides in toward the center crease; press.  Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics

Fold the whole strip in half and press.  

Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics
Use WonderClips or pins to secure in place.  Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics

7. Stitch

Sew down clipped size with a very small seam allowance-- try to get as close to the edge as you can while still catching all layers and sewing straight. 

Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics
Turn and sew down the folded size, using the same small seam allowance you used on the other side.  Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics
You now have a sewn strip of Liberty that's about 43" long. You're almost done! Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics

8. Sew on hook

Slide swivel hook or jump ring onto one end of strip. Fold up end to make about a 1" loop. Take other end of strip (careful- don't twist it at all!) fold it under about 3/4". 

Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics
clip or pin the folds on top of each other, raw edges and folds on the inside.  Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics
Stitch down folds, going through all 4 layers, sewing from one side of the lanyard to the other.   Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics

Move up about 1" and sew across again. 


Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics

If you would like, you can sew an "X" from corner to corner between the two lines of stitching for extra security. Clip threads. 

Liberty Lanyard Tutorial from Pink Castle Fabrics

You're all done! Use lanyards for name badges, keys, tiny scissors and notions, glasses, or whatever you need to keep nearby! If you make a scrappy lanyard from this tutorial, use the hashtag #scrappylibertylanyard and #pinkcastlefabrics 

Buy Yourself Some Liberty Here!

Topics: Liberty of London, Tana Lawn, Glamp Stitchalot, Free Pattern, Tutorial, lanyard, free tutorial, glamp, liberty, technique, glamp 4

The Best Sewing Machines for Teaching Kids

Posted by Katie Remski on Sep 19, 2017 9:41:08 AM

Teaching kids to sew can be a fun and rewarding experience with a little patience and the right tools. Since "kids" sewing machines often found at a toy stores are typically poor quality, a basic sewing machine is a much better investment (on the same note, a real, effective sewing machine isn't a toy and should only be used with adult supervision.) Here's a few things to look for and keep in mind when choosing a sewing machine for teaching children:

1. Size

Just because the child is small doesn't mean their machine should be tiny-- a small/medium sized machine will accomodate a wider variety of projects such as quilts and apparel while still being light enough to stash away when not being used. 

2. Speed

A machine with adjustable stitch speed is helpful for teaching kids, especially because they tend to be rather "lead footed" on the pedal at the begining! Adjusting the speed lets you start them slow and gradually increase speed as they get the hang of sewing straight seams. 

3. Features

Having a machine with limited options may seem like a good idea to keep things simple, but there are a few features that will make sewing more fun and more efficient for kids just starting out. Decorative stitches help kids learn to sew straight lines with a big reward in the pretty pattern, and an easy buttonhole tool gives them the opportunity to practice sewing buttons and make easy closures for pouches and pockets. 

Here's a few machines we like for teaching children how to sew: 

Janome Sew Mini

The Sew Mini is the smallest, most basic and affordable of the Janome lineup, but it's still a great first machine option! With its compact size and cute colors, the Sew Mini has just a handful of stitches and would be good for teaching young sewists. 

Janome Sew Mini at Pink Castle Fabrics
Janome Hello Kitty at Pink Castle Fabrics

Janome 18750 Hello Kitty

Though it looks cute as a button, this is no joke of a sewing machine-- it's got all the features of a good basic machine, with a decent selection of stitches and a clear LCD screen. This one isn't sold online, but if you're near our shop in Ann Arbor, feel free to stop in or give us a call to try it out! 


The Janome DC2015 is a machine that combines simplicity and efficiency in one snappy red package! with a wide range of stitches and feet, plus a speed adjustment slider, the DC2015 could easily be anyone's everyday go-to machine. 

Janome DC2015 at Pink Castle Fabrics

Janome 6100 at Pink Castle Fabrics

Janome 6100

This one's a brand new member of the Janome family! The 6100 is similar to the DC2015, but updated with new stitches and also has the speed adjuster. 

Anna Maria Horner M100

While this is no beater machine, the AMH M100 is a beautiful investment machine that makes you wonder why anyone would want anything different. 99 stitches, removable extension table, speed adjuster, and automatic thread cutter are just a few of the features of this lovely machine. Am I biased because this is the machine I own? Maybe, but look at those roses! Any young girl would be happy to have this machine out on display. 

Janome AMH M100 at Pink Castle Fabrics

Remember, if you're not sure which machine will best fit your needs and budget, contact us and ask! We're always happy to help, especially newbies just getting introduced to the sewing world. 

See all Janome machines online!

Topics: anna maria horner, hello kitty, Janome, kids sewing, kids, m100, beginner, beginer, new to sewing, sewmini, 6100, dc2015, teaching, learn to sew, amh m100

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