How to Find the Contrast Color

If you’ve ever wondered what color to use for a contrast on a particular fabric you’ve bought, here is a process I use.

  • First get an image of your fabric saved to your computer.
  • Open a browser window on your computer and goto the URL: http://www.pixlr.com then choose to launch the web app (choice on the left and you may have to scroll a bit to get to it). This is a free online editor.
  • Choose to open from your computer and find the fabric image on your computer.
  • Find the ink dropper in the left hand menu (near bottom on the far left) and click it.
  • Take the dropper over to your fabric, place it on the color you want to find the contrast for and click.
  • Now you will see that color in the left hand menu at the very bottom. Go click that color. A box pops up with a color wheel and you want the 6 digit number/letter combination next to the pound (#) sign on the bottom far right.
  • Now copy this number.

Open a new browser window.

    • Now head to http://www.colorhexa.com/.
    • Paste into the search box and click search or hit enter.Voila, you have not only the contrast color to your fabric, but you have 5 other options of color combinations that go with your fabric color.

Tip: You can open an image from a URL in pixlr.com if you’ve purchased this fabric online.  This will save you from taking the picture and getting it saved to your computer.  If this is the case you can obviously skip those steps.

Tip: I have colorhexa.com saved on my phone desktop so when I’m at the store, I can readily find fun colors to go with my fabric if I’m having a brain fart. So you can have it on your phone too – launch colorhexa from your phone. Below the search bar there is a menu item titled: “216 web safe colors”. Click it. It will show you colors in groups of colors making it easy to scroll through quickly in a store. If you match a fabric to one of the colors and tap the color with your finger it will then take you to the same type of page with the contrasting colors. Save that link to your phones desktop or bookmark in your phones browser for easy access next time you’re in the store.

Hope this helps you save a bit of time every now and then!

Until next time…Sew Jam On!

Tutorial: The Continuous Thread Dart

The continuous thread dart is a technique that is used when you do not want to backstitch or knot at the top of a dart.  This would be useful in a dart that is sewn onto sheer fabric or fabric that will show a knot such as silk.  So let’s show you how to get this done.

First you’ll want to pull your bobbin thread up and remove your presser foot:

Continuous Thread Dart 1

Then you’ll want to pull out the top thread from your needle (only from the needle, leave threaded in the machine) and thread the bobbin backwards through the needle eye.  This is why I’m using a needle threader (aside from the fact that I’m blind ha ha!) is to show you it’s being pulled from back to front.  This is crucial:

Continuous Thread Dart 2

See?  Back to front with the bobbin thread:

Continuous Thread Dart 3

Now tie the top thread to the bobbin thread with a tight small knot, clip extras:

Continuous Thread Dart 4

Pull a good amount of thread up from the bobbin.  See the tension on the right hand of the photo below?  This is because I’m yankin’ on that to get a good foot or so:

Continuous Thread Dart 5

Now go up to the top of your machine and wind the spool to pull the bobbin thread backwards towards the spool. Directly to the left of the Sew Jam text you can see the knot as it has come backwards through the machine:

Continuous Thread Dart 6

Now put your foot back on slipping the bobbin thread into the slot of your foot:

Continuous Thread Dart 7

Now turn the upper thread spool again so the bobbin thread becomes taut:

Continuous Thread Dart 8

Slip your fabric in and lower your needle into the fabric and sew your dart:

Continuous Thread Dart 9

Done with extra bobbin thread (which is ok, best to have too much than not enough!):

Continuous Thread Dart 10

Sewn topside of dart:

Continuous Thread Dart 11

Sewn Bottomside:

Continuous Thread Dart 12

Opened dart:

Continuous Thread Dart 13

And there you have it!  I hope this tutorial has added to your arsenal of sewing techniques.  Until next time…

Sew Jam On!

WTT!! (What The Thread!) Part 2

Here is the second part and as promised, I’ll be writing about topstitch thread, rayon, fusible thread, metallic and other threads you may have heard of such as darning cotton. Before we get into that, I did want to mention one thing I had not mentioned in the previous article found here.

There are two very basic types of thread: Natural and Synthetic.  Natural thread comes from nature and include cotton, silk, wool, linen, rayon and hemp.  Synthetic threads are polyester and nylon.  It is worth noting here that natural fibers act differently in different climates, just like your clothes.  High UV can discolor dyed cotton, etc. Keep these in mind as I go through some of the more unusual thread below.

Types of Thread Part 2

Rayon: Think embroidery.  Because this fiber is not very strong and has no stretch, it is not useful for constructing much of anything really.  It is, however very soft, shiny and holds up to very high heat well.  Keep in mind this fiber doesn’t hold color very well. Uses: Embroidery floss and machine stitching.

Topstitch: Think visual wow.  This term is used for a heavier thread that can be made from any of the previously mentioned types of thread.  It’s also handy to use for hand stitching buttonholes on thick or heavy fabric. Uses: Bold statement topstitching on heavier fabric such as leather and vinyl, decorative topstitching and heavy duty utility stitching.

Fusible: Think basting.  This is a great thread that has come along recently that can eliminate basting is some projects.  It’s not stiff like some other fusible products and fuses with iron heat just like any other.  It is typically used in the bobbin and once heated will release the top thread, so make sure that top thread is a slippery thread (i.e. NOT cotton…use some sort of synthetic monofilament). Uses: Applique fusing, patchwork fusing, pocket fusing, or anything you need to hold temporarily in place to top stitch on or adjust for final stitching.

Water Soluble: Think ruffles. So this is another recent addition to the thread family and quite honestly it’s pretty ingenious.  Can you imagine no longer pulling basting stitches?  Baste. Sew. Wash. Done.  It can also be used for many of the same things that the fusible can be used for such as positioning applique’s, patchworks, and outer pockets.  Uses: basting and temporary placements prior to final stitching of anything.  Washes out.

metallic threadMetallic: Think decorative.  Who doesn’t like shiny?  It’s like the nail polish glitter of fabric!  The possibilities are endless for decorative stitching.  This can be used in a sewing or serger machine. A larger needle should be used and tension adjusted, so make sure you use a test piece of fabric to get it right before final stitching.  This thread can be used in all areas of a serger – upper looper, lower looper and any needle. Uses: Any decorative element you can think of from applique, shirring, flatlock, etc.

Darning Cotton: This is a very fine thread used for mending and darning.  This thread is used to recreate the weave of the hole that has been created.  This can also separate for even finer stitching. For darning socks and the like, you’ll want to use a darning egg or any household item that has the shape of a heel and will resist the poke of a needle.  For mending, flat surfaces work fine. Uses: hand stitching method of repairing holes or rips in any fabric.

Elastic: This thread is as it sounds.  Meant to be hand wound on the bobbin only.  It is used nearly exclusively for shirring or any place you want a good stretch. Uses: Professional look shirring.

That’s a wrap for today.  I’ll get part three in a few days.  I encourage you to stick with the basics if you’re just starting out.  Get comfortable with that and then move on to these.  Although, the water soluble thread I would encourage anyone to use.  I hope this has helped in your journey to thread usability.  The next and final section will clear up the rest.  Until next time….

Sew Jam On!