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Questions & Answers

Q: I want to sew a few decortive pillows as gifts, what is an easy why to do gathers? Maryanne, Winnipeg


There are a number of ways to do gathers.

A standard way of doing gathers is to stich along the seamline once, then do a second seam 1/4" away in the seam allowance, using long machines stiches for both. Then pull threads ends and adjust the ruffles to fit your pillow (or project). However, when pulling the threads it is easy to have a thread break, so make sure to pull on the bobbin threads at the same time as the top threads (four threads to pull in in total). There are easier ways than this though. First, check if there is a gathering foot for your machine. This is a specail foot that makes it easier to do gathers on light to medium weight fabric. When using this foot, you alter the stitch lenght and the upper tension to alter the fullness of the gathers.  Another method to try (especially if there is no gathering foot available for your machine) if you are gathering a heaver weight fabric is doing a  wider ziz-zag stitch over a light weight cord.( gimp or string)  The width of the ziz-zag should be at 4mm and with a stitch lenght of 3. Pull on the string you have just sewen over to adjust the gathers. If you are going to be doing a fair number of projects you may want to check out the ruffler attachment that is available for most machines. With the ruffler attachment you can make closely or widely spaced pleats or ruffles automatically while sewing. The Clover company also has a gathering tape that you sew down then pull the built in cords.

Q: What is the difference between Stabilizer and Interfacing?


Interfacing is used in garment contruction to add stability and shape. Areas that are often interfaced are collars, cuffs, waistbands, necklines, facing and hems. Interfacing adds body to garments and helps keep them crisp. Interfacing comes in many different types : woven ,non-woven , knit. The different types can be either sewen in or fused depending on the where it is used in the garment and the amount of stability needed.

Stabilizers are used when doing decorative machine embroidery. Stabilizers are designed to support faabric under stress of dense or multi directional sewing. Stabilizer comes in 4 basic types :cut-away, tear-away, heat-away and wash-away. Stabilizer ofters more support to fabric then interfacing does.


You should not substitute stabilizer for interfacing or inferfacing for stabilizer. The success of your project can depend very much on choosing the right kind of stabilizer or interfacing.

Q: Help! My machine has jammed. The bobbin threads are in a big mess under my fabric. What happened ???


The machine has jammed because the is a error in threading the machine on top or there is no tension on the top thread. Frist, you need to remove the threads that are causing the jam. Do so by cutting the threads  that are under your fabric  with a  seam ripper or small scissors. Don't pull on the threads,  this may cause the hook timinng to go out ( then you will need to have a service tech look at your machine). Now rethread the machine on top while making sure the pressure foot is up. Once the machine is rethreaded then double check that you have tension on the top thread. Do this by lowering the pressuer foot and give the top thread a tug .There should be slight  resistance on the thread. If not, check your tension dial to see if it is set in the 3-5 range. If you can't get tension on the top thread then you will need to take your machine in for service and have the machine checked . Loose threads and lint in the tension dics can prevent the dics from closing tight enough for proper sewing.

Q: I am wondering if SQE means sewer, quilter, embroiderer. If not, what does it mean?


You're dead on! ^-^

Also, it is order of what you learned first. That is why some of us are SEQ's and others are SQE's. If you want to know who is a SEQ and who is a SQE , check out the Carellan Staff Bios. 

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Bio: I started sewing when I was 4 years old and have been hooked ever since. My Father was a tailor and I inherited his talent.I when to Dressmaking and Design College in England. I own 5 pfaff machines that I can't live without. I teach quilting cllasses at Carellan and

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