Seamstresses in Fine Art

Child Sewing

A Child Sewing

Robert Barnes, Girl Sewing

Robert Barnes (1840-1945)


NOTE-Contrary to “Seamstresses in Fine Art” tradition, I was unable to find any biographical information on Mr. Barnes.  If there are any sleuths out there who can find information…we’d love to read more about these adorable images.

Open Line Friday – Fabric Markers

Micron Pens, Fabric markersHurray!  It’s Friday…

Time for another Open Line Friday…Please ask away…No question is too big or too small.   Also, please help answer questions…as a group we have a lot of experience.  So join in!  The More, The Merrier!

I’ll start by commenting on the Mystery Whole Cloth Quilt-a-Long.  (By the way, if you haven’t joined in, it is not too late…You could easily catch up with the group!)


I know a lot of you are struggling with the Zig Zag…and I think a little struggling is okay…that’s how we improve.  However, The Zig Zag is not critical to the design of this quilt and it is more important that you enjoy the process.  No one should be discouraged, nor should you spend inordinate amounts of time on The Zig Zag.  If you are struggling, replace the Zig Zag with a gentle wavy line.  Double this line IF it would be fun and a reasonable challenge for you.  If not, skip it.  Later in the project, you will be able to go back and add the extra line IF YOU WANT to do so…

I would rather see you do any free motion quilted line than a programmed stitch or a “feed dogs UP”  design.


Today, I have a question for the group:  What are YOUR favorite permanent marking pens for fabric?  Can you recommend any good articles, links, tips about using marking pens on fabric?


Last week someone asked about storing bobbins and you all had great ideas!

I have two favorites:  The Bobbin Saver  and a wooden bobbin spool rack.

Thread Saver Bobbin HolderThe Bobbin rack is found at JoAnn Fabrics.  I use it of the Bernina 820 bobbins which are too large to fit in the Bobbin Saver above.

Bobbin HolderNow it’s YOUR turn…What are YOUR Questions and Answers!


PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only. Feel free to re-blog, pin, or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!

Tackling Tension – The Mini-Series

Free Motion Quilted FootballGood Morning, Quilters!

You’ve managed to find twenty minutes to do a little quilting.  You RUN up to your sewing room,  flip on the lights and the machine, take a sip of your tea and settle in for a little happy creativity…

You begin stitching…and your serenity is shattered by terrible looking stitches…

Sound familiar?

Free Motion Quilted FootballIt happens to ALL of us.

It doesn’t matter if your machine is old or new, computerized or treadle…

TENSION issues are a part of everyone’s sewing life!

Last week, in our QUILT ESSENTIALS:  Know Your Sewing Machine, we watched two videos demonstrating how a sewing machine creates a lockstitch.  These excellent videos demonstrate the precision required to create a perfect stitch.  There are many factors that can lead to poor tension and a poor stitch quality.

For the next several Thursdays we will tackle tension and put YOU back in control of your machine by:

  • Discussing the eight factors that influence tension
  • Create a troubleshooting checklist
  • Demonstrate how to test your bobbin tension
  • Demonstrate how to test YOUR sewing machine
  • Provide links to articles and useful information
  • Provide Tips and Tricks for adjusting your tension for Free Motion Quilting
  • Offering an Open Line Discussion on how to get help from your service person and dealer…

So let’s get started:


Poor Quality Quilting, Tension Issues

I chose the football photos as an example of IMPROPER TENSION–(how did this get past me?!!!)

The top tension is too tight and there is a “railroading effect”.  The top or needle thread is pulled tight and the bobbin thread shows on top.

Poor Quality Quilting, Tension Issues

Another problem is “whiskers”.  This can happen on either the front of the quilt (Needle thread too tight) or on the back of the quilt (Bobbin thread too tight.)


“Tension is a tug of war between the bobbin thread and the needle thread and you don’t want any winners.” –Paula Reid

In proper tension the bobbin and needle threads are in balance.  The Needle thread does not show on the back and the Bobbin thread does not show on top.  Ideally, the knot is buried in the quilt sandwich and does not show at all.

This graphic was taken from Superior Thread.  Read more HERE.

Sewing Machine Tension Tug of War

The following three photos are examples of better tension:

  • Individual stitches can be seen.
  • No bobbin thread is showing on top

Tying a Quilt001


Happy Blossoms-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

The Feathered Leaf Free Motion Quilt Tutorial



Examine your free motion quilting on quilts and on practice pieces:

  • Do you like the look of the stitch on top?
  • How does the stitch look on the back?
  • Any “railroading” or “whiskers”?
  • Do the stitches look perfect in some parts of the motif, but not perfect in other parts of the same quilt or motif?


To get started, try changing just one aspect of your tension this week–the upper tension dial…(Check your owner’s manual!)

  • Increase the top tension (higher number) if you see any top thread pulled to the back.
  • Lower the top tension if you see any bobbin thread pulled to the top of the quilt.

Adjust the tension slowly, 1/2 step at a time.


The Eight Factors that Influence Tension

Happy (Stress Free) Stitching,


PS…All tutorials, images, and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!