My Dad is My Best Friend: A Tale of Independence and Self Definition

It’s funny referring to him as that: my best friend. He’d never say the same about me, but not in a it’s one-sided way, more like, it’s just not the way his generation would refer to their kids kind of way.

As I worked on building my sewing/craft desk, I realized how I wouldn’t have been able to do any of what I was doing without my dad teaching me how. I think I was only like eight when he taught me how to change drill bits in a power drill. He’s also the reason I remember “righty tighty and lefty loosey” when I’m trying to remember which way to turn a screw.

My dad is also the same man, who, when I was about ten, promised he could fix my sewing machine when it broke. I didn’t believe him. I was thinking, “You’re a boy. Boys don’t sew.” However, my dad, with his distinctive deep voice, told me, “Sarah, I’m a machinist! I can fix anything.” And wouldn’t you know it, he did! He fixed my sewing machine.

He’s also the same man, who every Mother’s Day would say, “In order to be a father, you have to be able to mother a little bit.” Maybe he was half kidding, but the way he approached things… The way he taught me and my brothers, he showed the truth in that funny saying.

If he can plant beautiful flowers around the yard AND lay the bricks that surround them. Then I can sew something amazing AND build the desk my sewing machine sits on. I learned I don’t have to fit into someone else’s box; I can build my own.

Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. Or define what being a woman, a man, a daughter, a son, a human looks like. You do you. I’d wager you’re the only one that can.

I’ll tell you like my dads told me time and time again (he has the tendency to tell the same stories over and over, luckily they’re all good), you can do anything, it’s just time that’s the barrier, that’s limited. So budget your time and achieve something great; whatever great means to you.

Stay sweet, Sweeties!

5 (Simple) Tips for Successful Embroidery

Embroidery doesn’t have to be complicated.  Here are five (simple) steps to help your embroidery shine!

  1. IronThis might seem obvious, but this is definitely the most important embroidery prep you can do.  Skip this step and what might have been a flawless embroidery design becomes a beautiful embroidery design with distracting wrinkles or creases.  Not to mention, that stitches might not end up where intended.

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    Even the most beautiful designs can suffer when the fabric isn’t pressed beforehand.

  2. Label Your Thread.  Right away!  There are lots of ways to do this, but if you purchased a variety thread set online you’ll find that once you put the thread on the spool rod the label is gone; a hole punched right through the middle!  I have found that what works best for me is grabbing a sharpie and labeling the top.  An Exacto knife is also a great tool for making a small slice through the base that you can use to keep your thread from unraveling.  See below. 

  3. Use the Correct Stabilizer. 
    • Tearaway – Tearaway are just like the name implies, they are temporary and easily torn away when embroidery is done.  This is most often the choice for embroiders using a stable fabric, like towels (see Solvy), scarves and basic woven fabrics.
    • Cutaway – Cutaway are permanent stabilizers that should be used when you need your fabric to stay stretch resistant and keep stabilizing the fabric through washing and wear, like on sweatshirts and polo shirts.
    • Peel & Stick – Generally for hoop-less embroidery or areas hard to hoop, like on collars and shirt cuffs.
    • Poly Mesh – Great for more elegant fabrics or combined with a cutaway for extra stability when embroidery polo shirts or like fabrics.
    • Cap Backing – A heavy stabilizer that tears cleanly to help maintain crisp lettering/small artwork in cap designs.
    • Water Soluble/Solvy – Solvy generally sits atop your fabric.  It can be used as a design template, a pattern guide, and as stitch support.  The best part, is it dissolves and disappears when soaked in water!  It’s great for embroidering towels and other fabrics where you don’t want to lose the stitching in the texture of the fabric.
  4. Use Spray Adhesive.  Temporary spray adhesive is a must for keeping your fabric and stabilizer together.  Slack between your stabilizer and fabric can cause stitches to land out-of-place and just generally cause you heartache.
  5. Listen & Learn.  Who doesn’t want to be able to walk away from their embroidery machine and get some other tasks done?  Then I recommend that you become attuned to the many sounds of your machine.  What does your machine sound like when: everything is running smoothly, your thread has become frayed or when it’s time to check the threading?  Knowing what each of these situations sound like is crucial to being able to walk away from your machine and come back to some awesome stitching!

Hope this helps!  Stay tuned for my next post that’s all about keeping your project space organized.  In the meantime, be sure to comment, subscribe and visit SewStrawberrySweet.com.  Happy stitching, Sweeties!

Sweet Things Coming Soon

You guys, I’m sew excited! Maybe it was crazy. Maybe it was wild. Maybe it was a bit of an impulse buy (though I’ve been considering it for years)… Whatever it was, I am the new owner of a Husqvarna Ruby Royale Sewing/Embroidery Machine. And oh my, it’s a beauty. I cannot wait to share with you as I begin to learn the machine and create. Stay tuned for biweekly posts! Check out a little sneak peak below (I promise future video quality will be better)