Understanding the Nap and Print Direction of Fabrics

sewing tips

If you have recently purchased a sewing machine with the sole purpose of making items of clothing or quilts, there are a few important considerations to address before getting started. Once you understand how to operate your sewing machine and when exactly to put your sewing equipment to good use, you should start learning all about the fabric itself. 

Most of the time, especially when making clothes for wintertime, the fabric in question will have what is called a ‘nap’. Furthermore, when working with patterned fabrics for dresses and shirts, for example, you must be aware of how to manipulate the direction of the fabric to ensure symmetry. Here is a breakdown.

What is the ‘nap’? 

The nap of a piece of fabric refers to the raised, fluffy side which is traditionally placed on the inside of the garment for maximum comfort and warmth. However, some sewing professionals choose to do it the other way around, keeping the smoother side on the inside and embracing the softer effect for the outside. It is a personal choice, so feel free to experiment. 

Also, keep in mind that placing the nap vertically can give the illusion of a slightly darker shade. You may opt to pair up vertical and horizontal naps for a textured effect, or you may opt to keep your garment consistent. Either way, it is important to be aware of how the nap is placed and why. 

What is print direction? 

Print direction is exactly that – the direction that the fabric print faces. Usually, you will need the print to remain consistent at all times. It is, therefore, essential that you pay close attention to this direction throughout your project, especially if you are making a quilt. 

The best way to get symmetry when making a quilt that has a square in the middle and is surrounded by strips is to cut two horizontal strips and two vertical strips. Be sure to sew them in the right order and you will be able to keep them all pointing in one direction. 

In search of a trusted sewing machine and equipment supplier? Along with affordable sewing machine models, Empisal can supply you with other must-haves, including overlockers and steam presses. Get in touch today to learn more.

How to Sew a Crib Sheet

sewing ideas

Spending most of your time adhering to social distancing recommendations? If so, you are likely to be feeling the effects and battling the boredom by now. What better way to keep both your hands and your mind occupied than by embarking on a few new sewing projects, such as sewing a crib sheet for a baby or a toddler? Grab your sewing machine, overlocker, and your sewing equipment and follow our simple guide below. 

What you will need

  • About 1.8 meters of fabric
  • Trim to 175 cm x 115 cm 
  • 2.3 meters of elastic
  • Fabric marker
  • Fray Check
  • Large Ring Micro Tip Scissors
  • Pins
  • 4 spools
  • Overlocker 
  • Elasticator Foot

Step one

You will start by marking your corners. Take your rectangular-shaped fabric and fold one corner at an angle of 45 degrees. Measure 20 cm in from the corner and use your fabric marker to mark a line. The line should fall at a 90-degree angle from the raw edge. Pin together and repeat on the other three corners. 

Step two

Your next step is to start sewing. Use the standard tension, differential feed, and stitch length settings. Set the cutting width to 7 mm. Do the same with all of the corners and finish off by securing with Fray Check.

Step three 

Next, you will add the elastic, which will allow for a snug fit on the crib’s mattress. You will need your Elasticator Foot for maximum accuracy. Be sure to trim away the seam allowance and sew all the way around. If you have only ever tried your hand at easy sewing projects, you might want to perfect this skill using scrap fabric first. 

Step four 

Wash and use! 

Do not forget to choose Empisal as your trusted supplier for all your sewing project essentials. We can provide you with everything from overlockers to steam press options and more. Contact us today.

Find Inspiration for Your Next Quilting Project on Instagram

quilting

Cannot get enough of creative quilting projects? The best place to look for inspiration is on Instagram! Here are four of the top quilting-related accounts that you should be following from here on in. 

Freebirdquiltingdesigns 

This Australian quilter is well-known for her incredible free-hand, longarm quilting creations as well as her exceptional detailing. She definitely has a penchant for floral quilting designs and most of her masterpieces have a classic feminine look and feel. 

Quiltingjetgirl 

This US-based quilter is a great source of inspiration if you are someone who enjoys experimenting with bright and vibrant colours in your quilting projects. Her use of colour and her mind-boggling geometric designs are definitely sights to behold. 

Sassyquilter 

This American quilter has experience on her side; she has been embarking upon extensive quilting projects for over 10 years. She is known for incorporating more than one pattern into her work, often pairing two completely different motifs for an edgy, ultra-creative result. Her quilts are talking pieces, to say the least. 

Myquiltinfatuation

This quilting professional is another quilter based in the States. She has even written a book about the art of perfecting the craft. She celebrates shapes in her quilting projects, often emphasising patterns with a stark contrast between white and brighter colours. 

Lilysquilts 

This quilting professional is from the UK, and specialises in simpler and subtler designs. But, that definitely does not mean that they are any less stunning. She has also recently started making branded quilts as well as quilts that celebrate favourite TV shows, such as Game of Thrones and RuPaul’s Drag Race. 

Now that you are fully inspired, it is time to get started on a new quilting project of your very own. 

In need of new sewing equipment? Empisal has got you covered. From an affordable sewing machine and overlockers, to steam presses and embroidery machines, we have it all. Contact us today. 

4 Great Accessories and Gadgets for Your Sewing Machine!

sewing

So, you have invested in an affordable sewing machine, as well as the basic sewing equipment, and you have loved every minute of the sewing projects that you have undertaken ever since. Now it is time to take things up a notch and treat yourself to an array of accessories and gadgets. Here are four of the ones that you will definitely want to add to your wish list. 

Magnetic Seam Guide 

If you are new to the sewing world, you will have noticed just how challenging it can be to keep a straight seam. That is where the magnetic seam guide comes in. Secure the gadget onto your needle plate and line it up with the required seam allowance. Then use it to guide the fabric through the sewing machine. Effortless!

Mini Iron

Mini irons are incredibly versatile sewing accessories because they can be used to not only iron out seams but also to experiment with applique. Its compact size means that there will not be a single crease in sight – not even in those little corner nooks. 

Slip Reduction Mat 

A slip reduction mat will help to reduce the risk of any sewing mishaps by – you guessed it – preventing slips. They come in especially handy if your affordable sewing machine is quite small or lightweight. They dampen the machine’s vibrations, reduce noise and help to protect the surface on which you are working. 

Pattern Notcher

Anybody who uses their sewing machine to make items of clothing will absolutely adore the little gadget that is the pattern notcher. It saves time by marking key locations on your chosen pattern. It does this by cutting tiny notches into the edges of paper patterns.

When looking for an affordable sewing machine, a steam press, overlockers or the best sewing accessories  look no further than Empisal. Contact us today for more information regarding our products.

How to Sew a Flag Like a Pro

sewing

Interested in learning how to sew a flag like a true professional? Whether it is going to be a creative decoration for inside your home or whether you require it for a special event, it need not be the challenge that you expect. As long as you have your trusty sewing machine and some quality sewing equipment, it should prove a straightforward and enjoyable sewing project from start to finish. Just follow our step-by-step guide below. 

Step one 

Start by choosing your fabric and having your chosen design printed on paper (to size). Most flags are around 1,90 m or 1,40 m, and you will require a lining fabric and some glitter foil for your design to make it more eye-catching.  

Step two 

If you have chosen two separate lining fabrics in different colours, you will need to stitch them together in a long piece to ensure that they are perfectly equal in length. 

Step three

Use tracing paper to transfer your chosen patterns and designs onto your selected fabric. Trace it on the back of the fabric so that any remaining marks can be easily concealed. 

Step four 

Cut out the patterns, leaving a bit of extra fabric all around to fold underneath when you sew. Get creative with your embroidery and colours. 

Step five 

Cut out a large piece of fabric to act as the background and be sure to leave space for the hem and the sleeve. 

Step six

Pin the pieces in place onto the background for a rough sample of what the finished product is going to look like. 

Step seven

Sew the pattern onto the background using your sewing machine. Hem the edge and sew the sleeve. 

Step eight 

Make use of some synthetic ribbon to fix the rings so that they can be attached to the flagpole. 

Step nine

Hang and admire your new flag! 

Remember, how to sew a flag will depend on the specific design that you want to emulate. Luckily, there is plenty of inspiration online to help get you started. Do not forget to get in touch with Empisal for all your sewing equipment, overlockers and affordable sewing machine requirements. 

What Is the Best Empisal Sewing Machine for Professionals?

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In search of a sewing machine guaranteed to satisfy the requirements of a sewing professional? You are certain to find it at Empisal. We specialise in affordable sewing machine models for both beginners and professionals. The question is, which sewing machine from our range is right for you? We break down your options below. 

EES200 Blue Empisal Electronic

The EES200 Blue Empisal Electronic is one of our best sellers and boasts 200 built-in stitches, a rotary hook, a free arm, 8 one-step buttonholes, a drop in bobbin, a needle threader, a removable accessory storage with flip cover and so much more. It weighs a total of 6,8 kg.

Empisal Creations Sewing Machine

This handy, affordable sewing machine comes with LED lighting and is designed to sew through heavier fabrics. It also features a 4-step buttonhole, 19 built-in stitch patterns, an oscillating hook as well as adjustable stitch length (0 to 4 mm) and adjustable zigzag stitch width (0 to 5 mm), just to name a few. It weighs 7,4 kg. 

Not happy with any of these sewing machine models? We also stock the Empisal Electronic EES10 Sewing Machine, the Empisal Electronic Sewing 50 and the Empisal Expression 889 Sewing Machine. Along with sewing machines, you can also come to us for a host of professional sewing equipment and overlockers. Get in touch today to learn more. 

5 Tips for Making Money With Your Sewing Machine

sewing machine

Have you found joy in exploring with your sewing machine? And, have you taken up sewing as a hobby with great success? Well, then you may be wondering how to take things to the next level to start making money by putting your most prized possession to good use. Here are five tips to keep in mind. 

Make Beautiful Home Décor 

Do you usually find yourself making home décor items in your free time, such as curtains, pillow cases and stylish tablecloths? There is a huge market for affordable, custom home décor if you know how to reach your market. Plus, it is really easy to upsell your customers. After all, if they order custom-made pillow cases, they will almost certainly be open to ordering matching curtains and a duvet cover. 

Make Designer Clothing 

Who can resist the promise of designer clothing at a much cheaper price? If you enjoy making clothes, you can turn it into a profitable business. You could make everyday fashion, bridesmaid and prom dresses, children’s clothing, the list is endless!

Offer Repairs and Alterations

Money is tight for a lot of people these days. So, there is a push for everyone to be more sustainable in any and every way possible. Hence, the reason why many will opt to have their favourite clothing and home décor items repaired rather than simply replacing them. No wonder that alterations have also become a common requirement.

Teach Sewing Classes 

Spread the joy by teaching others to sew. You would be surprised at the high demand that there is for this particular skill at the moment. People of all ages are becoming interested in learning the art of sewing.

Make and Sell Crafts 

If you use your sewing machine and sewing equipment to make unique and special crafts, why not sell them? You could do so on social media, create a website for your small business or book a stall at a craft or farmer’s market. 

In need of an affordable sewing machine, overlockers or sewing equipment for your brand new business venture? If so, look no further than Empisal! Get in touch with us today for more details about our range. 

How to Organise Your Sewing Space

sewing space

A tranquil, well-organised sewing space is sure to be conducive to more enjoyable and successful sewing machine projects. As such, here are five helpful tips for organising your sewing machine and equipment space like a real professional. 

Organise Your Patterns 

Begin by placing all of your patterns, whether they are printed patterns in PDF format or pattern envelopes, according to category. Start by sorting them into general categories, such as patterns for women, patterns for kids, and so on. If they are still quite difficult to work through, take it one step further and sort according to different garment types within those categories, such as patterns for blouses, dress patterns, patterns for quilts, and the like.

Organise Your Fabric 

You will need to organise your fabric according to colour for the best results. In order to ensure that you can find a specific one for a specific use, consider storing the fabric in wire baskets or see-through plastic drawers. 

Organise Your Ribbon and Trim 

One of the smartest ways in which to store and organise ribbon and trim is by wrapping each item around a clothespin and storing them in a large glass jar. 

Organise Your Buttons 

You should store your buttons according to colour or size. Large glass jars make for the effortless button storage too. 

Organise Your Sewing Machine Odds and Ends 

When you own a sewing machine, you are likely to have a wide array of sewing equipment, from thread to pins, needles and machine feet. How do you store these smaller odds and ends? You get creative! For instance, think of using old pill boxes for needles, ice cube trays, labelled bead boxes, and more. 

Looking to invest in a new sewing machine or sewing kit before tackling a sewing machine project? Perhaps you have noticed that you are missing a few essentials after organising your sewing space as per the advice above? Either way, you are sure to find everything that you need at Empisal

We specialise in sewing machines and equipment, overlockers, ironing equipment, steam press models and much more. Contact us today for more information or for suggestions on buying an affordable sewing machine. 

6 Important Factors to Consider Before You Buy a New Sewing Machine this New Year

Sewing machine

Your good, old faithful sewing machine (handed down from your great grandmother) has decided to finally call it quits during the December holidays and you need to purchase a new sewing machine. So, exactly what do you need to look for in a new sewing machine? And, how do you know if it will be the perfect fit for you?

We’ve listed six important factors for you to consider before purchasing a new sewing machine:

Mechanical or Electronic?

Here is a view of the pros and cons of Mechanical and electronic sewing machines:

  • With a mechanical sewing machine, you’ll need to turn the dials manually to achieve the stitching you want, whereas, with an electronic sewing machine, it will make the adjustments for you. 
  • An electronic sewing machine will allow you to work with several layers of material – not just two layers as with a mechanical sewing machine. 
  • Electronic sewing machines are also much easier to operate if you intend on working with heavy materials such as leather, denim or canvas. 
  • However, electronic sewing machines are more expensive than mechanical sewing machines. 

Your Budget 

With a figure in mind of how much you’d like to spend on a new sewing machine, the endless options may leave you feeling overwhelmed and weighing the various pros and cons of each product. For instance, a high-quality mechanical sewing machine, such as our Empisal Creations Sewing Machine can come in at just under R2 000-00.

When buying a sewing machine, you need to choose the right product for your exact needs. If your hobbies include sewing, you don’t want to ‘over buy’. If, however, you use your sewing machine mostly for running a sewing business, we would recommend that you look at a higher-priced, professional sewing machine that can withstand continual use. A good option in such an instance would be our Empisal Electronic EES10 Sewing Machine at a price of just over R3 000-00.

The Weight and Size of the Sewing Machine 

Will your sewing machine accompany you to each craft market you are exhibiting at? Or, will it remain neatly tucked away in your sewing corner at home? These are two very important questions to consider when reviewing the various sizes and weights of sewing machines. 

If you plan to travel with your sewing machine, consider purchasing a small portable machine instead – try lifting the machine before purchasing it. If you plan to only use your sewing machine at home, then a heavier sewing machine may be more suitable as these are mostly made of metal instead of plastic. 

The Extra Features 

Essentially, you want a sewing machine that will meet all your requirements. Some sewing machines offer features that can be installed or added later, should you need to use them. Although the extras are a ‘nice to have’, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself by buying a machine that can be complicated. 

Service and Warranty 

Before making the final purchase decision, be sure to ask the sales assistant about the warranty as well as what it covers. For instance, will you be able to get your sewing machine serviced through the retailer you purchased it from, or will you need to send it away elsewhere? 

Research, Research, Research! 

You need to do your own research about choosing the ideal sewing machine which will be the perfect fit for you. Quality is always more important than the added features. 

For advice on which sewing machine will best suit your needs, contact us today for more information.

Starting a Sewing Club for Children in 2020!

sewing

If you have a passion for sewing with some free time on your hands, consider starting a children’s sewing club this year aimed at the age groups who would love to learn to sew. There’s nothing more rewarding than teaching others these fun and hands-on skills in a relaxed and creative environment. 

Where Do I Start? 

You need to decide on which age groups your sewing club would appeal to. A group of twelve-year olds will complete a more complex project faster than a group of six-year olds.  Keep the groups small to focus on various projects, even if you decide on hosting more than one age group at different times during a week. 

You need to ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Are you going to offer your sewing club for free? 
  • Or have you decided to charge a small nominal fee per child to cover the costs of the sewing equipment? 
  • Will this small fee provide for a bit extra to compensate you for your time?
  • Are you going to do small hand-sewn projects or are you looking at purchasing a few affordable sewing machines? 

Where Are You Going to Run Your Sewing Workshops From? 

A setting in a public space may be the best option for hosting various groups of children at different times as opposed to your own home, specifically from a parent’s safety concerns, namely ‘stranger danger’. Reach out to the churches in your area and the public library, both of whom may be willing to let you use their facilities a few times during the week for free or for a small donation. The venue cost is another factor to consider when deciding on whether to charge a cost per head. 

Decide on a Sewing Project Programme 

This is where the fun begins. You can pick and choose various themes and possibly one project per theme – the options are endless. It is always a good idea to tie these themes in with the various holidays throughout the year. 

Spread the Word! 

Once you have finalised the nitty-gritty details, start spreading the word. Post an advert in your local community Facebook group or local parents’ groups. Put up posters and flyers at the schools, library and other various free notice boards available to the community. 

For a wide range of quality sewing machines to kickstart your children’s sewing club, contact us today for more information.