The fault probably lies with my sewing machine. I tried sewing around the edge of these cloud shapes with my needle in the right (rather than centered) position, meaning I couldn't use the single-hole needle plate. I did this because my feed dogs have a hard time gripping edges of projects. But the result was that the fabric got pulled down into the feed plate area--ugh. So, I ended up trying the walking foot attachment. I don't recommend this method: the ability to stitch corners and curves is reduced, and the visibility of the actual edge of the item is almost nonexistent. (Still, this item is stitched as part of a child's toy, so any non-major stitching flaws can be mostly ignored.)
After this unsuccessful foray into edgestitching, I went to the Internet to look at solutions. Aha! Stabilizer is the recommended fix for this problem. Never having used it myself, I was curious. (Also, living out in the hinterlands, and being a generally frugal person, I was not running out to a store for a commercial stabilizer.)
|Inspiration: 28 tiny triangles to topstitch|
Internet search for "thrifty stabilizer" led me to several ideas. Being the nerdy perfectionist that I am, I tried a bunch of them out. Here are my thoughts/reviews...
1. Dryer Sheets (used): this was from a posting about the many re-uses of dryer sheets. Not recommended because the webbing actually got stuck in my feed dogs, making stitching more difficult. I didn't even take a picture, the mess was so bad.
Paper Towel: again, I didn't like the way this stitched. Although, if you don't have a big, bumpy corner to stitch around, you might not have the difficulty that I did. (The clouds, for example, only had gentle curves.)
Tissue Paper: cheap and plentiful, but alas did not stitch well on my machine.
4. Parchment Paper: recommended by a friend, who was concerned that all my other trial materials were not really "tear away" stabilizers, parchment paper definitely tears well. I felt like it didn't stitch as well as I would have hoped, and the fabric had a tendency to slip against the paper, especially on the bias edge.
Memory Foam Packing Material: my favorite, from a stitching perspective. This non-directional fiber was "grippy" in all the right ways. The fabric stayed put on top of it, even the pesky bias edge. I could tug on it a little when going around the bumpy sharp corner. Definitely my favorite stitching. But--as with most of my trial stabilizers--this will not tear away. So I will be stuck snipping my stabilizer free from 28 tiny triangles. (Fortunately, there's football on this weekend: good background for snipping activity.)
What is this stuff, you ask? And how is it thrifty?
blog post about it last winter, after we had purchased two queen-size memory foam mattress pads. I have vast quantities of this fiber product. As with my other trial items, it was something I already had on hand. Unlike all the other products, however, this one has no other use or purpose at this time. It's just sitting in a decorative trunk, waiting for me to figure out what I can do with it.
My first product review: alternatives to commercial stabilizer. I'll write later how the non-tear-away portion of the stabilizing goes.