Welcome to the Speakeasy Blog Hop! I'm so excited to share my newest fabric collection with Island Batik, Speakeasy! While the name implies secretive speakeasys, illegal bathtub gin, flapper girls and smooth jazz, the line actually began with the ...


Speakeasy Blog Hop Has Begun and more...

Speakeasy Blog Hop Has Begun


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Welcome to the Speakeasy Blog Hop!  I'm so excited to share my newest fabric collection with Island Batik, Speakeasy!

While the name implies secretive speakeasys, illegal bathtub gin, flapper girls and smooth jazz, the line actually began with the marvelous works of Gustav Klimt.  I am a HUGE admirer of his works, and pulled many of the motifs from the mosaic aspects of his paintings. 




Does the fabric LOOK like these paintings?  Nope.  They were inspired by his works - and these are just two (copyright free use, per the Image Envision website I found, so I SHOULD be good in posting these!).

Let's look at the fabrics.  I am super excited about this collection.  If you follow me, you'll know that I usually gravitate toward saturated, eye-popping brights.  This collection is very much the opposite.  While there are lovely, saturated purples and golds, the colors tend to be softer, and offer a wide variety of hues and intensity.

Speakeasy fabricsThe motifs echo the mosaic style Klimt favored in many of his paintings, and offer awesome neutrals and amazing variegations that add movement and light to your projects.  The cream (811901020) has a stunning opalescent effect and seems to pair wonderfully with every fabric - it is going quickly!

Which is your favorite?  You may change your mind over the course of the week, once you see the various projects created by the talented designers that worked with the fabrics.  Please join us every day as we explore all of the wonderful projects and quilts.

There is a bit of something for everyone - quilts, bags, accessories, table runners.  You'll be sure to find something to add to your "must make that" list!

Let's go ahead - I mean since we're here already - and look at the projects I created with my new Speakeasy line.

Compass Point Hi-Res

This is Compass Points, the latest installment in my guided improv series.  Yes, that's right.  No paper piecing. No templates.  Just easy peasy guided improv.  This pattern should be available in the next few weeks (life has been, well, life these past few months and I'm running a bit behind in patten writing!).

I love this for several reasons.  It really shows the wonderful range in the fabrics, and I particularly love how the line offers lights and mediums in the gold and magenta, allowing for a wonderful dimensional effect when the fabrics are used together.

Yes, you can preorder the pattern now so you can be sure to get it as soon as it is out!  You can find it here.

Speakeasy - Fizz Hi-Res

Fizz, while not the first released, is the first Studio 180 friendly pattern I designed.  It uses a variation of the Triangle Pizazz technique.  And because the technique yields units that aren't used in the quilt, the pattern comes with a bonus project that uses those "waste" units!

Fizz patterns are available to ship November 15th, and you can get them here!

Speakeasy Sea Salt pic

Last but not least, Sea Salt. This, believe it or not, is a one block wonder.  Yes, one block makes these wonderful overlap tiles that spill out into the border.  I love when a quilt is so dynamic that borders can't contain it!  You can get Sea Salt now in the Pattern Shop!

Oh - and I have a special deal for you, just during the blog hop.  Use the code SEBH 1119 to get $1 off a $10 order.  Remember, this expires November 8!

These aren't the only quilts available in the new Speakeasy line.  Visit all of the other designers to see what they made!

Some of the designers are offering prizes too!  How fun is that?! Enter via the Gleam widget below and on each post to be entered to win.  I'm giving away a set of fat quarters!  Who wants some new fabric to sew with??!!

Good luck and thanks for joining us!

Here's the schedule of posts:

Monday November 4            Tammy Silvers  Tamarinis    (you are here!)

Tuesday November 5          Kris Poor   Poor House Quilts

Wednesday November 6    Kate Colleran   Seams Like A Dream 

                                            Lisa Amundson   Around the Bobbin

Thursday November 7        Joanne Hillestad   Fat Quarter Gypsy

Friday November 8             Swan Sheridan   Swan Amity Designs

                                            Jessica Caldwell   Desert Bloom Quilting

                                            Jessica Vandenberg   Sew Many Creations

Like what you see here, and want to hear more from Tamarinis? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, and sign up for my newsletter at www.tamarinis.com!  Following is one way to demonstrate your interest in my projects, patterns, and partnerships.  Your comments are also GREATLY appreciated, and provide valuable feedback regarding what inspires you, as well as what you'd like to see explored in future posts.  And did you know?  I travel and teach!  Contact me to schedule a trunk show and/or workshop!

Speakeasy Blog Hop


Exploring the Basics: Cutting Prep

Cutting Prep

You've pulled all of your supplies together.  You've prewashed - or maybe you haven't.  But you are going into this project fully prepared and fully aware.  That's awesome!

But wait - what about cutting preparation?  Yep - let's prepare for that as well.  These steps may be small, and they may be easy, but they set you up for the best.possible.project.ever.  And who doesn't want that?


Let's talk cutting supplies.  They include, but are not limited to, your rotary cutter, any necessary rulers (hey, you've gone through the pattern and you know WHICH rulers and WHICH sizes you need), a well placed rotary mat, an iron, water, and a fabric prep agent such as Best Press.  Oh, and let's not forget lighting - nice bright lighting.  Yes, all of those are cutting supplies!

You can download a quick checklist of these cutting supplies, just to remind yourself of what you'll need.  It's absolutely the worst when you get ready to cut and discover you have a dull blade, or you left your ruler at a friend's house. Ugh!

Here's a closer, quick look at each.


Rotary Cutter - there is a cutter out there for everyone.  Some folks prefer a straight handle grip, or a curved grip.  I just had a discussion with some quilting friends about the size of the cutter.  Ok, I'm going to say what we are all thinking: size matters!

If you are cutting the standard one to two layers of fabric, a 45mm (the middle range size) will suffice nicely.  If you are cutting thicker fabrics, such as denim or fleece, a 60mm will work better.  There is more surface and more distance between the blade and the center point.  When cutting around shapes such as templates, you may find the smaller 28mm is easier to manipulate.


Rotary Ruler - Much like cutters, there is a wide range of types and sizes of rulers.  Hopefully your sewing room is stocked with the basics: a wide (6" or wider - I prefer the 8 1/2" wide) 24" long ruler, a 6 1/2" square, a 12 1/2" square, and a shorter ruler for trimming.

Why a 24" long ruler, you ask?  When standard quilting fabric is folded in half, it measures 20" to 22 1/2" (as most is approximately 40" to 45" wide unfolded).  A 24" long ruler will let you cut selvedge to selvedge without moving your ruler.

So why two different size square rulers?  Yes, you CAN cut a 4" square with a 12 1/2" square ruler.  But.....it is MUCH easier to cut a smaller square with a smaller ruler!  That is the same logic for having a smaller, shorter ruler for trimming.

Rotary Mat - As with rotary cutters and rulers, there are many different brands, sizes and colors.  It really is quilter's choice!  Just make sure your mat is clean.  Let's be honest - it is a work surface, and sometimes things spill on them.  Place your mat on a flat, stable surface.  You will be able to cut more safely and more accurately!

Iron - Take the time before beginning to check your iron.  How long has it been since it was cleaned?  Inside and outside!  The sole plate may be dirty and you don't want to transfer anything to your fabrics when you press them before ironing.  Be sure to remove all water when you finish ironing - if you are a steam user (I am!).  Deposits from your water can build up in the iron and transfer to your lovely fabrics.  Yuck!

Fabric Prep - Personally, I am a huge fan of Best Press!  I love how it helps relax the wrinkles and enables me to press quickly and easily.  It doesn't build up on the fabric or leave any stains or marks.  You may prefer sizing or other fabric preps.  Check your supply and make sure you have enough for your project.

Lighting - When you begin cutting, you'll need nice, clear, bright light so you can ensure proper, accurate placement of your ruler to get the most accurate cut.

Whew!  When you stop and think about it, there are several things to consider - and to have on hand, before you even begin cutting.  But if you take the time to pull everything together, when you DO begin cutting, you can speed through things quickly without having to stop or make a quick quilt shop run!

Head over to Kate's blog.  She has, as always, great insights for you on getting it all together before you sew.

Like what you see here, and want to hear more from Tamarinis? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, and sign up for my newsletter at www.tamarinis.com!  Following is one way to demonstrate your interest in my projects, patterns, and partnerships.  Your comments are also GREATLY appreciated, and provide valuable feedback regarding what inspires you, as well as what you'd like to see explored in future posts.  And did you know?  I travel and teach!  Contact me to schedule a trunk show and/or workshop!




Exploring the Basics: Fabric Preparation

Fabric Prep
You've gathered your materials, and selected your fabrics.  And now, finally, at long long last, you are ready to sew.  Well, maybe yes and maybe no.  Let's chat a bit about fabric preparation.  Really!


First, the big debate: prewash or not to prewash.  So is there a right or wrong answer?  Ummm...depends.  Answering the following questions will help you determine whether prewashing is a good idea.

What is the project?  

My point here is what kind of project is it?  If I'm working on a wall hanging or other decorative project that will never see any wear, never need washing, and never be exposed to water, then I will definitely skip prewashing and jump right in.  But think things through carefully when answering this question, and be sure you are absolute in what the project is and how it will be used.

Is there a strong contrast between colors?

Do you have a really dark dark, and a really light light?  I'll prewash when I'm working with red and white, blue and white, black and white - well, basically any time I have a saturated color (really deep, intense color) and a very light color (white or anything that is much lighter than my dark color) AND the project is going to risk being exposed to water or need washing.

Prewashing your darks and lights separately can save you a world of grief and help prevent those saturated colors bleed onto the lighter ones.  Yes, I am aware of color catcher products - but do you want to run that risk?  I don't!

Are you using fusible web?

So that is not as strange a question as it may seem.  Most fusible (I hesitate to say all) makes a bond between two fabrics, and that marvelous soft "hand", the soft drapey feel some cottons have, is a result of a coating that is put on the fabric.  

This coating can impede the fusible, making it REALLY difficult to get a good bond.  So if you ARE using a fusible, and especially if you are not doing any type of stitching to reinforce the fuse, prewashing is a great idea!  

Now be aware - if you do prewash because you are working on a fusible project, do not - I repeat - DO NOT use fabric softener.  Why? Because that fabric softener puts a coating back on your fabric - again making it difficult for the fusible to bond with the fabric.  

Are you mixing weights and types of fabric?

Different fabrics shrink at different rates, either because of the tightness/looseness of the weave or from the type of fiber.  If you are mixing different types or weights of fabric, it is a great idea to prewash so that a majority of shrinkage will occur BEFORE you begin stitching.

Some folks like to back baby quilts with flannel.  Awesome!  It makes them super soft and snuggly.  But be aware that flannel shrinks at a higher rate than most cottons.  So if that backing fabric (and the fabric for the quilt front) isn't prewashed, you may be unhappy when you pull it out of the dryer!

So what about precuts?  Ah....they create their own little drama.  Most recommend putting the precuts (strips, squares) in a lingerie bag or pillowcase before tossing in the washing machine.  This will help minimize the tangles and the fraying.  Some suggest cutting a diagonal corner on squares to minimize fraying as well.


Washed or not washed, you are going to iron your fabrics.  This is a MUST.  Iron all fabrics prior to cutting!  Really.  This will ensure maximum accuracy, which in turn will yield better looking blocks.

We will be exploring best cutting practices in a future post, and I'll go into more detail on recommended strategies for cutting.

Head over to Kate's blog.  She has, as always, great insights for you on getting it all together before you sew.

Like what you see here, and want to hear more from Tamarinis? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, and sign up for my newsletter at www.tamarinis.com!  Following is one way to demonstrate your interest in my projects, patterns, and partnerships.  Your comments are also GREATLY appreciated, and provide valuable feedback regarding what inspires you, as well as what you'd like to see explored in future posts.  And did you know?  I travel and teach!  Contact me to schedule a trunk show and/or workshop!



Exploring the Basics: Getting It All Together

Getting it all Together

I love quilting.  I love choosing fabrics for a project.  I love stitching up strips, blocks, triangles, and seeing the (almost) magic that happens when two fabrics come together in perfect harmony.  I love seeing the blocks come together.  And I love it when my quilting fairy (thank you, Pat!) transforms my quilt top into a real, honest-to-goodness quilt!  So I tend to linger over each step, thoroughly enjoying the process.  Don't you?  

But....what about the BEFORE?  Have you given much thought to the before?  Kinda a great idea to think about the before - as prepping your sewing area for a new project will help insure a successful project AND an enjoyable experience!  Feel the love - I've prepared a checklist for you to help you get ready for your next quilting project - and make it the best project yet!

Checklist - 10 Steps to Prepping For Your Quilting Project:

Begin with a clean ironing surface

Now I think I know what you're thinking.  Hold the phone, Tammy.  That surface doesn't look clean!  Ah.....but it is!  

I cover my big board with a double layer of muslin, securing it to the underside with thumbtacks, and making it easy to remove.  Over time, the muslin has become stained and scorched (ok, I admit it - I get a LITTLE zealous with the ironing sometimes!).  

Before each new project, I take the muslin off and wash it.  Not just wash it.  I bleach it.  So those dark areas you see are permanent stains - but washed, bleached stains that won't transfer over to my new project.

That transfer of stains is the reason you should make sure your ironing surface is clean.  Using steam, spraying water, sizing or starch on your projects may be great - but you can also create water/sizing/starch stains on your ironing board.  And if you're a non-washer (don't panic, I shower! I'm talking about my fabric - I don't prewash), your fabrics may sometimes bleed onto the ironing board.

See - suddenly that "clean ironing surface" statement doesn't sound so strange, does it?

Correct needle

I don't know about you, but I'll admit to forgetting this step sometimes.  I'm in such a hurry to begin that quilting magic that I completely forget to change my needle.

Changing the needle approximately every eight hours of sewing is recommended.  FYI - if you are hearing "pop, pop, pop" when you are stitching - you REALLY need to change your needle!  It has become dull, and is pushing through the fabric, rather than piercing  the fabric.

This can lead to skipped stitches an sometimes cause tension issues.  And it's generally hard on your machine.

So what needle to use? My recommendations are as follows:

Sharps Size 80/12 = woven fabrics, general weight fabrics.

Ballpoint Size 80/12 = knit fabrics.

Sharps Size 90/14 = quilting/heavy fabrics. 

 Clean your rotary cutter

What about your rotary cutter?  When is the last time you cleaned it (yes, I'm serious!)?  Lint builds up under the blade and in all those little nooks and crannies?  Carefully - VERY carefully - remove the blade and wipe the area clean.

Drop a TINY bit of machine oil on the screw area that holds the blade on.

And while you have the blade off - go ahead and change that bad boy.  C'mon - when is the last time you changed the blade?  Yes, they cost $$.  But....you're gonna thank me.  There is almost nothing finer than slicing through layers of fabric with a fresh blade (ok, sounds a bit like a horror movie when I say it like that....but you know what I mean).

A sharp blade makes cutting easier, which can help with accuracy AND reduce strain on the wrist.  You're not having to saw back and forth to get those cuts.  Yes, I saw that.  You've done it.  We've ALL done it!

Locate your scissors

Locate your scissors?  Yes....I mean it.  If you haven't been putting them back in their designated area (what - they don't have a designated area?!), then you need to find them.

Just like your rotary cutter, they may need a little love.  I love to do fused applique - which means that sometimes my scissors, especially my awesome little Olfa trimmers, can get gummy.  So they need a bit of cleaning so they are ready for the next project.  

Do you have the right scissors for your new project?  Are they in good repair and ready to go?  Do you need small trimmers?  Pinking shears?  Large scissors for large cutting jobs?

And how sharp are they?  Like the rotary cutter, nothing is nicer than a sharp pair of shears - it makes cutting quick, accurate and easy! 
Put your pins in order

So by now, you're seeing a theme emerge - gather your supplies, and put them where you can access them.  Yup!

And your pins are no different.  If you're like me, during the process of your last project, they may have become scattered.  A few around the sewing machine.  Maybe a few scattered on the ironing board (but not now - because you've washed the ironing board cover and replaced it, right?).  Perhaps a few random pins laying on the cutting mat.  Even a pin or two on the floor - ouch!

Gathering up the pins you have - and discarding those that are bent or dull - will ensure you are able to work on your project without interruption.  You'll have everything you need on hand - when you need it.

Are you doing applique?  Got your nice, tiny appliqué pins?  

Doing some ironing and need those motifs to stay in place?  So you've got your glass head pins and they are ready to go?

It's a little thing, really - but pins are such an essential tool in quilting.  The unsung hero, so to speak.  

So take a minute, gather them up and put them in/on the pincushion of choice.  And take the time to remove those that have done their duty and ready for retirement (a nice way of saying toss the broken/bent/dull ones.  So long!).

Clean and oil your sewing machine
You didn't really think I was going to skip this one, did you?  Cleaning and oiling your machine is right up there with - oh, wait - yeah, everything else.

How much you are able to do - cleaning and oiling - will depend upon your machine.  Do as much as possible.  As a general rule of thumb, I try to clean out my bobbin housing with a small brush every time I change my bobbin.  This helps prevent major lint buildup in the bobbin area.

Now, there are two schools of thought with cleaning this area.  Some say canned air is safe to use, and strongly advocate using the canned air to clean the area.

Others say to avoid canned air, as it can blow lint further INTO the machine, gumming up the workings of the machine, which is counter to what is being accomplished when cleaning the machine.

I avoid the canned air; when I have my machine serviced (once every six months), if the technician wants to use canned air, he's the expert.  I leave that to him.  For me, I clean everything I can reach with the little brush, and even employee a long straight pin to reach reluctant lint that is gathering in corners.

Your machine manual will provide information on oiling the machine if possible and/or warranted, so follow those instructions.  And make a habit of following those instructions on a regular basis to keep the workhorse of your sewing room (your machine) running smoothly!

Wind extra bobbins

What type of project are you working on?  What type and color thread do you need to complete the project?  Now is the time to take inventory.  There's nothing more frustrating than running out of thread - at 2am.  You know it happens.  It happens to me.  And for some strange reason, my local quilt shop and Joanns is NOT open at 2am.  Urgh.  

Taking inventory of your thread will help prevent this inconvenient catastrophe.

Winding extra bobbins - well, that just keeps the project bob-bob-bobbin (sorry, couldn't' resist!) along!  Take the time to wind several bobbins in the thread of choice means you barely even have to slow down to change bobbins.  Awesome!

And just a side note here - I'm a bit of a thread snob (I freely admit it!).  I piece and quilt with Aurifil.  I love how smooth the thread is, which eliminates a majority of lint in my machine.  And my machine seems to appreciate the thread as well.

No matter what thread you and your machine like, make sure you have enough to complete your project before you begin (and remember - think neutrals!).


Gather notions

Read through your pattern.  What notions do you need?  Perhaps some fusible (I LOVE fusible projects - and am addicted to Steam-A-Seam 2).  Will you need to mark your fabric?  So do you need a pencil, a fabric marker, or maybe a pencil?

Are there templates to trace? Ah...template plastic!  Do you have enough?

You get the general idea - like the thread, far better to have everything pulled together now, before you begin, than to find out in the middle of a marathon sewing session that you need one more thing.  And usually (at least for me!), that discovery comes late at night, long after the stores have closed.  Ugg!


Ummm....I may have already said this (yep, I did!), but read through your pattern.  What rulers are you going to need?  If you're cutting full yardage, you'll want to have your 24" long ruler handy.  

Making HSTs (half square triangles)?  You'll want the appropriate size square ruler.

What about specialty rulers?  Maybe the pattern doesn't call for it, but you just know your setting triangle ruler is going to be a lot easier to use to cut those large triangles.  

Like everything else, having those rulers pulled out and ready to go - and having the ones you DON'T need put away - will help your project flow smoothly! 

Get ready to sew
Finally -  you are ready to pull out all luscious fabrics and get ready to sew!

I know you are going to iron every fabric before you begin cutting, right?! And you're going to follow the best practices of quilting: read through all the directions BEFORE beginning, AND make a sample block first out of scrap fabric (I do all of my sample blocks out of a set of fabrics JUST for this purpose, so after several projects, I'll have a nice sampler set of blocks to put together). Yeah, I know - great idea!  Wish I could take credit, but....alas, I read it somewhere on someone else's blog!

Take a little time, get everything in order, and you are all set to enjoy your next quilting project!  Have fun, happy stitching - and don't forget to send me a picture of your finished project!

Found these tips helpful?  But maybe you don't want to come back to this post again and again (but I do hope you'll come back to visit!)?  No problem!  I've created a downloadable checklist for you to use!  Just click on Download 10 Step Great Project Checklist, download and print (borderless).  Enjoy!

Head over to Kate's blog.  She has, as always, great insights for you on getting it all together before you sew.

Like what you see here, and want to hear more from Tamarinis? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, and sign up for my newsletter at www.tamarinis.com!  Following is one way to demonstrate your interest in my projects, patterns, and partnerships.  Your comments are also GREATLY appreciated, and provide valuable feedback regarding what inspires you, as well as what you'd like to see explored in future posts.  And did you know?  I travel and teach!  Contact me to schedule a trunk show and/or workshop!



Back to School Blog Hop: Working with Heavier Threads

BTS 28 Tammy Silvers


Do you love embellishment?  Ok - how about machine embellishment? Right?! Me too! I especially love the heavier threads, because I feel they give you more bang for your buck. More immediate, direct impact!  And what's my heavy thread of choice? Aurifil – the ultimate embellishment choice!

And a bit of full disclosure here - while I was SUPPOSED to focus on heavy thread in your machine, I'm going to ACTUALLY cover using an assortment of weights - by hand and by machine - to give you a fuller picture.  Ok?  Great - let's dig in!

I’m just going to admit it up front – I LOVE fusible projects.  They are quick, easy, and versatile.  AND fusible projects offer unlimited opportunities for embellishment with the best thread out there – Aurifil. 

Aurifil Floss


Do I have a favorite weight or type?  Ummm…..no.  I do like to mix it up.  And each weight has its own unique qualities.  As you’ll see, I prefer a simple, straight edge stitch for my fusible machine applique pieces.  But no matter what your stitch style is, the heavier Aurifil threads work beautifully to enhance your appliques.


Lotta Love Close Up



The Aurifil floss works like most floss.  It has six strands that can be used together, or separated to vary the appearance.  Don’t let the spool confuse you – this is a HAND thread.  I get that question from my students.  Since it is on a spool, some think they can pop it on their machine.  Please don’t! But the spool does make the floss easy to work with.  No nasty tangles when pulling off a length.

Fun stitch idea – mix your weights.  In “Lotta Love”, I embellished this little wall hanging with floss, on wool fused to burlap.  Using a mix of 6 strand, three strand and single strand, along with a variety of simple stitches (stem stitch, back stitch, straight stitch and French knots) add additional texture and interest. 


Primitive Stitch Hearts


In my Primitive Stitch Sampler (pattern coming soon!), I adore how six strands look on white wool, fused to colorful pink batiks.  Be sure to find a large-eyed SHARP needle when stitching through tighter thread count fabrics.  This is a bit harder than cross stitch, but well worth the effort!



Why, yes, you CAN use wool thread in your machine!  As with the 12 weight, just loosen your thread tension (you may need to play around with this just a bit to get the right tension).  It is IMPORTANT to loosen the top tension so that you don’t shred this looser twist thread.  And yes, you’ll again need a larger eye needle, again to reduce stress on the thread.  I also skip the last guide when threading my machine (you know that little guide right before threading the needle? – that one.  Skip it – let your thread go directly from the take up hook into the needle.  Really.)  As with other heavier threads, use a matching 40wt cotton thread in your bobbin.


Boho Bliss BOM Detail


Wool thread may not look like you expect it to.  If you go slow and even with your stitches, it will provide a lovely, smooth stitch that has a bit more texture than your cotton threads.  You might think, based on its fuzzy texture on the spool, that you would have a line of fuzzy stitches, but that’s not the case.  Personally, I find it shines best with longer, larger stitches.


12 Weight

I love the heavy look of 12 weight, done as a simple straight stitch, along the edge of fused applique motifs.  It looks stunning on all fabrics, and is heavy enough to hold its own, whether in a contrasting color or in a coordinating color.

Geraniums Close Up


For Geraniums (another upcoming pattern), just two colors of thread (a springy green and a deep pink) add just the right amount of definition to the raw edge, fused applique.


Boho Bliss Table Runner


In this table runner, coordinating 12 wt thread provide texture without any additional color to keep the lines clean and simple.


When working with 12 weight, there are a few things you’ll want to do for best results:

  • Loosen your top thread tension to reduce drag on your thread
  • Use a heavier needle with a larger eye opening (I like 100/16 sharp)
  • Use a matching 50 wt thread in the bobbin
  • GO SLOW. Not kidding.  If you stitch at your regular speed, you may encounter skipped stitches. Yuck!

28 weight Aurifil


28 wt

For me, 28 weight is the perfect balance between a heavy statement (12 wt) and a whisper (50wt).  Again, you’ll want to loosen your top tension, use a heavier needle, and use a matching 50wt in the bobbin. 


Olive You


Don’t be afraid to mix cotton thread with wool applique.  The look is AMAZING!  And I adore how the Aurifil colors are PEFECTION on a stick when matching to the wool.  The simple edge stitching in 28 wt adds definition to the shapes within the appliques on the coasters from Olive You, providing a crisp clean look.

Some final tips when working with these awesome heavier threads and fusible applique:


  • Lengthen your stitch length

A note on this – make a sample piece to practice on. Try different stitch lengths (and widths if doing an overcast/wide stitch) to see what will look best with your particular project. 

Remember that stitch length will be “sucked up” by the thickness of the added layers of fabric, wool, or flannel. In the examples below (the pink detail on the butterfly wing and the additional layers on the flower and leaves in the border applique), I had to INCREASE my stitch length with each subsequent layer to keep the stitch length appearance the same. 


Boho Bliss BOM Closeup

  • Use simple stitches

I have found that simpler stitches work best with this thread. And when I’m working with layered pieces, I find that I have to continue to lengthen my stitch as I add layers in order to achieve the same stitch length. 


  • Larger eye needle

Heavier threads are - well - heavier, and you'll want a larger eye needle, which in machine terms will mean a heavier needle usually.  This will allow the thread to pass through the eye of the needle more easily reducing the drag on the thread, and lessening the likelihood of the thread fraying.


  • Matching bobbin thread

And by matching, I mean color, not weight.  With most of the heavier threads, they are NOT going to spool off the bobbin as easily. Instead, find a matching (or close to it) color thread in a lighter weight (40wt or 50wt).  Why matching? Well, you've adjusted your tension.  And while I'm sure you got it absolutely perfect , you may NOT have.  A matching bobbin thread will help disguise any tension issues and minimize the bobbin  thread showing on the top. 


  •  Reduce top tension

Your practice piece will really come in handy with this part - reduce the top tension to decrease drag on the thread, allow for smoother stitches, and reduce breakage rate.  


  • Practice piece

A practice piece will save you every time.  Try out stitch lengths AND the needle placement on the practice piece and write it down (I keep a post it note on my machine when working with applique pieces so I can be consistent throughout the entire construction of the project).  For example, I like a fairly “close to the edge” stitch, and depending up on the project, usually find that a needle placement of 6.0 to 6.5 works best, along with a stitch length of 3.0 to 4.5.  Thank goodness for post it notes!

Boho Bliss Border Detail


Create your own signature looks in your projects by using different weight threads, or even mixing different weight threads, to give your work of art more color and texture.  Remember that there isn’t really a wrong choice – it is YOUR project and YOUR creation.  Have fun with it.


Like what you see here, and want to hear more from Tamarinis? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, and sign up for my newsletter at www.tamarinis.com!  Following is one way to demonstrate your interest in my projects, patterns, and partnerships.  Your comments are also GREATLY appreciated, and provide valuable feedback regarding what inspires you, as well as what you'd like to see explored in future posts.  And did you know?  I travel and teach!  Contact me to schedule a trunk show and/or workshop!


In case you missed any of the earlier posts - or are looking for the last few - here's a listing of all posts and links:


Day 1 – September 1 – Sam Hunter: Sewing Long Seams Without Stretching – huntersdesignstudio.com

Day 2 – September 2 – Susan Arnold – Joining Binding the Easy Way – quiltfabrication.com

Day 3 – September 3 – Angie Wilson – Fussy cutting tips and techniques – www.gnomeangel.com

Day 4 – September 4 – Andi Stanfield – No-Mark HST: Let your machine be your guide – truebluequilts.com/blog/

Day 5 – September 5 – Bobbie Gentili – Say YES to Y-seams – geekybobbin.com

Day 6 – September 6 – Mel Beach – 5 Reasons to Say Woo Hoo! to School Glue – pieceloveandhappiness.blogspot.com

Day 7 – September 7 – Laura Piland – 7 Ways to Use a Laser on Your Sewing Machine – www.sliceofpiquilts.com

Day 8 – September 8 – Suzy Webster – How to solve loops in free motion quilting – www.websterquilt.com

Day 9 – September 9 – Tara Miller – Accurate Stitch-and-Flip Corners – quiltdistrict.com

Day 10 – September 10 – Latifah Saafir – Accurate Seams Using Masking Tape! – latifahsaafirstudios.com

Day 11 – September 11 – Sarah Ruiz – The Magic of Glue Basting – saroy.net

Day 12 – September 12 – Jen Shaffer – Ways to stop your ruler from slipping while cutting – patternsbyjen.blogspot.com

Day 13 – September 13 – Cheryl Sleboda – Basics of ruching (a vintage fabric manipulation technique) – muppin.com

Day 14 – September 14 – Raylee Bielenberg – Choosing quilting designs for your quilt – www.sunflowerstitcheries.com

Day 15 – September 15 – Jen Strauser – Accurate and Attractive Machine binding – dizzyquilter.com

Day 16 – September 16 – Jane Davidson – Matching points for all types of intersections – quiltjane.com

Day 17 – September 17 – Teresa Coates – Starch and starch alternatives – teresacoates.com

Day 18 – September 18 – Jen Frost – Benefits of spray basting – faithandfabricdesign.com

Day 19 – September 19 – Sandra Starley – Getting started with Hand Quilting – utahquiltappraiser.blogspot.com

Day 20 – September 20 – Karen Platt – Drunkard’s Path Made Easy – karenplatt.co.uk/blog/

Day 21 – September 21 – Kris Driessen – All Kinds of Square (in a Square) – scrapdash.com

Day 22 – September 22 – Sarah Goer – Planned Improv Piecing – sarahgoerquilts.com

Day 23 – September 23 – Kathy Bruckman – Organizing kits for on-the-go sewing – kathyskwiltsandmore.blogspot.com

Day 24 – September 24 – Cheryl Daines Brown – The Secret to Flat Quilt Tops: Borders – quilterchic.com

Day 25 – September 25 – Cherry Guidry – Pre-assembling fusible applique – cherryblossomsquilting.com

Day 26 – September 26 – Laura Chaney – Getting started with English Paper Piecing – prairiesewnstudios.com

Day 27 – September 27 – Ebony Love – Cutting Bias Strips from a Rectangle – lovebugstudios.com

Day 28 – September 28 – Tammy Silvers – Working with heavier weight threads in your machine – tamarinis.typepad.com

Day 29 – September 29 – Kathy Nutley – Create a perfect facing or frame with 90 degree angles – quiltingsbykathy.com

Day 30 – September 30 – Joanne Harris – Using Leaders and Enders – quiltsbyjoanne.blogspot.com


Thanks for joining us!  What topics would you like to see covered in future blog posts and hops?