What You Need To Know About Sewing Needles

I learned to sew back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth-yes it's a little known fact that dinosaurs had opposable thumbs and sewing machines. Singer sewing machines in fact. Big ones with needles like in the video above.

In all seriousness-I have been sewing for a long time and I learned a lot about needles in this video. When I was young I used to throw all caution to the wind and sew over pins (gasp!) and only changed my needles when I broke them doing something boneheaded. Don't worry, I long ago changed my ways and now practice good needle handling.


New Tote

PC Barbie
Not exactly the Barbie I had.

This is a picture of a new tote that I recently sewed for a Martha Pullen class. I learned to sew a million years ago. I started out with clothes for my Barbie doll. If that doesn’t date me then you are either really old and or a lot younger than me.

I moved away from sewing while establishing my career and having my 4 children. As the kids got more independent I dabbled in other crafts but have come back to my first love-fabric and all one can do with it. When I sit down at my sewing machine, I smile to myself and probably make a little happy sigh.

I have recently decided that I may some day want to share my love of sewing by doing some teaching. I have taken at least a dozen Craftsy classes and taken classes at various sewing expos but no other formal, structured classes since those I had to take in junior high school. By the way, I highly recommend Craftsy. The classes are always available online so once you purchase a class, you can view it over and over again. You can set bookmarks for that pesky technique that you always forget how to do and go right to it whenever you need a reminder.

In addition to the above, I decided to try to find a course on teaching sewing. There are a few online, which with my schedule is what works best. I signed up and I completed Martha Pullen’s Teaching Beginning Sewing Class.  The bag is  kinda retro right? I will be doing the BurdaStyle Teaching Certification Course in about 3 weeks. I can’t wait to get started.

I sewed this on a domestic machine and since it is vinyl, it took some finessing. The handle instructions would produce a nice looking strap but it would be 4 thicknesses of vinyl which my domestic would not have rocked and rolled over in an uniform fashion. I decided to use quilting cotton (matching the lining) and vinyl to make the straps thinner.

Strap Instructions/Hints


I first pressed a seam down the middle of the length of the cotton to mark for later. I then drew a line down the middle of the length of the wrong side of the vinyl (red line in picture)and then sewed the 2 strips right sides together (vinyl and cotton).


ThenI folded and pressed the unsewn edge of the cotton to the cotton fold line.


I used wonder clips to fold the vinyl to the red marked line on the vinyl and then brought that (newly folded) vinyl to meet the cotton. I would suggest doing the topstitching with the vinyl side up so you can keep an eye on your stitch line and use the appropriate foot for your machine for vinyl and the correct tension settings. My Viking Designer Deluxe has an automatic setting for vinyl and a teflon foot.



At this point the strap still seemed a bit thick to do even topstitching once the strap was sandwiched in between the outer vinyl and the drop in cotton lining. I decided to not chance doing wonky stitches in the vinyl and used rivets instead to neatly attach the handles. I think it looks better and is also more stable.

Of course my mystery quilt is languishing now-about 3/4s quilted. Quilt guilt! I need to get back and get that done but it was nice to take a break and work on these quick projects. ​​

Random interesting links I’ve recently visited:

DIY Quilt Design Wall Tutorial-


Well written and very funny description of quilters from a quilter’s husband-