Yearly Archives: 2013

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Creative Inspiration

Young sewing students gather around the dressmaker form to get their picture taken!

I was thinking today about why I do what I do. My dear friend, Lorrie visited today from California with her daughter, Katie and I gave them a tour of our sewing classroom. As I showed them some of the projects our sewing students are working on we talked about creativity (Her daughter also has a creative background.) and sewing and what is important to us.

The thing that started me in this business of teaching people to sew is my passion for creating. It’s why I named our sewing school Create! and it’s what gets me excited every day.

Watching our sewing students literally leap into the classroom (the kids) to get to their sewing classes and seeing the intense joy as they learn to sew wonderful clothing and bags and stuffed animal and (for the adults) incredible valances and home decorating projects as well is a daily inspiration.

As we expand our classes and offer more and more of what our students want, it’s good to remember why we do what we do. It’s the love of creative expression and it’s a blast!

Pig’s Toes!!!

What are Pig’s Toes?  Here at Create!® Sewing Studio, we have renamed a part of the sewing machine. “Pig’s Toes” is the name we use for the Presser Foot.

The reason for this is simple. We do it for safety reasons!

The first time I told a student to put her Presser Foot down and she “pressed her foot down” I knew we had a problem! Then when I found a source that called the Presser Foot “Pig’s Toes”, I hoped that this would solve our problem.

Find me a girl who refers to her feet as pig’s toes!

After over 5 years of teaching kids, teens and adults how to sew…I think we made the right choice! What do you think?

Photo credit:

PARTS OF THE SEWING MACHINE: The Take-Up Lever (or “Goose”)


by Rebecca Szetela, founder and owner

Continuing our discussion of the parts of the sewing machine, let’s talk about the “Take-Up Lever”, fondly know here at Create!® Sewing Studio as the “Goose” … a very important part of the sewing machine. The goose is controlled by the handwheel and the position of the goose is important.

Have you ever tried to take your fabric off the machine after stitching only to find that you yank and yank and it’s hard to get the fabric off the machine? Well look no further than the position of the goose. If the goose is not in the top position when you are ready to take your fabric off the machine, you run the risk of  breaking your machine!

To remove your fabric easily, the machine’s rotary mechanism has to go through it’s full rotation (ever thought about why it is called a “rotary machine”?). The indicator that the sewing machine has gone through it’s full rotation is the goose being up. If, when you finish sewing your seam the goose is not up, turn the handwheel toward you until it is. That completes the rotary stitch. Your sewing machine (and you!) will be much happier!

An additional benefit of paying attention to the position of the goose is that when you finish your seam and you go to stitch your next seam, you won’t pull your thread right out of the needle! Have you ever wondered why you are constantly having to rethread your needle? Well, this may be why! So pay attention to that goose and you will have a happier sewing experience!

By the way, the reason we call it the goose has to do with the next part I will write about….the Presser Foot (or “Pig’s Toes”)! See you soon!

Parts of the Sewing Machine: Your Sewing Machine’s Handwheel

Parts of the sewing machine: The Hand Wheel (It’s that “bump” on the right side of your machine!)

In this series of articles, I thought it might be helpful for those of you who would like to expand your knowledge of sewing, to talk about the parts of the sewing machine. The first part I will discuss is the hand wheel.

The hand wheel is an important part of the sewing machine. Although most sewing enthusiasts love the power of the electric sewing machine, there are times when knowing how to do some of your stitching manually is really helpful. On most modern electric sewing machines the hand wheel (that “bump” on the right side of your sewing machine) is turned toward you (counter-clockwise if you are looking at the machine from the right side of your machine) to take a manual stitch.

The times you use the hand wheel to make a stitch include when you want to turn a corner on your project (called a pivot) and you need the needle in the fabric to do this. So…you turn the hand wheel toward you till the needle is in the fabric, lift up the presser foot and turn your work. Then you put the presser foot down and continue to stitch. Another time you need to use the hand wheel is if when you come to the end of your stitching if the take-up lever is down. You need to turn the hand wheel until the take up lever is in the topmost position in order to complete your stitch. Another time you use the hand wheel to stitch a manual stitch is at the end of a dart. I will talk about dart construction in more detail in a later blog post, but this is an important instance of using the hand wheel to make a manual (non-electric) stitch.