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21  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Avatar: The Last Airbender Charm Bracelet on: August 23, 2012 11:17:12 AM
I made this bracelet for the most recent Avatar: The Last Airbender/Legend of Korra Swap for my lovely partner,  IsikkahJai. She requested a charm bracelet, and though I'd never made one before, I knew I had enough beads and charms in my stash for an attempt. I drew inspiration from (who else?) the amazing jennieingram, who I also believe gave me every single charm I used in this bracelet, AND gave me awesome photography tips to help show off my creation. While these pics are still not the best, they are definitely better than round 1 with my camera and crappy lighting! The background isn't ideal, but I think it matches the "elemental" feel of the bracelet!



For those of you not familiar with Avatar: The Last Airbender, it is an amazing cartoon on Nickelodeon where characters can "bend" or manipulate the four elements (not including metal or spirit of course!) through movements of their body that mimic different styles of Chinese martial arts.

To embody the show in a bracelet, I knew that the four elements had to be central. I also used charms to represent not only the elements, but also certain characters, episodes, or items that carry meaning throughout the show.

Here's a closer look at "Earth":



Including lots of green and gold which are the colors of the Earth Kingdom, bare feet for the Earth Bender Toph, who is blind, but "sees" with her feet and her bending, a metal leaf (under Toph's feet) for Toph's metal bending ability, and a stone bead to literally represent earth and earth bending.

Here's "Air":



The Air Nomads are very peaceful and monk-like and their element (air) is very swirly and free. Their clothes are yellow and orange, but I felt that white represented them better for my purposes. There are lots of spirals and circles to represent the movement of air and Aang's air scooter that he invented. There's also a peace sign to represent Aang's commitment to peace. There is a flat circle bead with a garnet to represent Appa, Aang's sky bison.

Notice the heart between Air and Water to represent Aang and Katara's romance  Cheesy

Here's a close up of "Water":



Waterbenders are empowered by the moon, and both the Northern and Southern Water Tribes are deeply connected to the moon, so of course, there is a moon charm right in the center. There's also lots of blue to represent water and the colors of the tribes. There's a fish to represent Sokka, who is fishing when first introduced, as well as continually preoccupied with meat in any form throughout the show. Also there is a speckled blue stone to represent the meteor that Sokka uses to forge his space sword out of in Book 3. The blue charm with the wire wrapped around it represents the bottle of spirit water Katara carries with her and uses to heal Aang at the end of Book 2.

"Fire":



Fire was the most difficult for me, maybe because I did this section of the bracelet last. Obviously, there's lots of red for the Fire Nation and fire in general. The Chinese writing represents the scrolls that Zuko finds explaining who his grandfather was and helps him learn who he is and who he wants to become. The bead with the gold stripes is supposed to represent Zuko's scar. The key represents Zuko's trips to visit both Uncle Iroh and later his father in the Fire Nation prison.

And that's it! If you made it this far through the post thanks for your attention to detail!  Grin
22  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / SINGER 7442 on: June 08, 2012 08:45:39 AM


Brand: Singer

Model: 7442

Year: 2009

Cost: ~$350

How long have you had the machine? 3 years

Is it a basic sewing machine, serger, or embroidery machine? Basic sewing machine

What are your favorite features? The decorative stitches, the reverse stitch button (no presser foot necessary), and the top-loading bobbin.

What are some of the unique features it has? When reversing decorative stitches, the machine does 4 small tacking stitches to secure the stitch. When selecting decorative stitches and adjusting the stitch width and length accordingly, the machine beeps to tell you when the stitch length and width are ideally set for the chosen stitch.

How well does it run? It runs pretty well. When I first got it I thought it ran very smooth and quiet, but it is getting rougher and louder as time goes on (probably normal). The machine skips stitches when using certain fabrics (such as fleece) and does not handle several layers of fabric (especially heavier weight) very well.

Has it ever broken or needed maintenance you couldn't do yourself? A few broken needles, which were probably my fault. Other than that, basic maintenance has been very easy.

What are your least favorite features? The machine always ends stitches with the needle in the upright position. Even if your foot is off the presser foot, it will try to complete the stitch. This took a while to get used to and I broke quite a few needles this way. The machine will try to push through the fabric no matter what because it has to complete the stitch cycle to end with the needle in the up position. Skipped stitches are frequent and annoying.

Would you recommend this machine to a friend? Yes
23  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / BERNINA 330 on: June 08, 2012 08:21:41 AM
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Brand: BERNINA

Model: 330

Year: 2012

Cost: ~$700

How long have you had the machine? About 2 months

Is it a basic sewing machine, serger, or embroidery machine? Basic sewing machine

What are your favorite features? I love the automatic button hole program, the automatic darning program, the 40 different functional and decorative stitches, and the needle threader.

What are some of the unique features it has? The BERNINA 330 has a letter sewing feature that allows you to sew words and names into fabric. I love this feature and the possibilities are endless.

How well does it run? It runs very smooth. The machine handles all fabric weights and types equally well, even heavy fabrics several layers thick. It is also extremely quiet.

Has it ever broken or needed maintenance you couldn't do yourself? No, but I haven't had it for very long.

What are your least favorite features? The front-loading bobbin is a little cumbersome at times. Also, when securing a decorative stitch with the reverse stitch feature, it just reverses the stitch, which can make it look a little messy if it does not line up perfectly. Other machines perform a backstitch knot when using the reverse stitch on a decorative stitch program.

Would you recommend this machine to a friend? Absolutely
24  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / Child's Hoodie (with pattern!) on: May 30, 2012 08:37:35 AM
Summer is rapidly approaching, or here already, judging from this past weekend's weather here in NJ. I wanted to make my son a light-weight hoodie for the summer, just to keep the beach winds out (or for those chilly A/C-filled stores and restaurants). I found some light jersey with skulls on it in the scrap bin at JoAnn's that I thought would be perfect. It was only 0.75 yards, so I had to make it work somehow. I decided to fashion my own pattern from one of his existing hoodies, and to my surprise, actually pulled it off!



I think DJ likes it, too!  This is my first pattern, and my first post being able to load attachments, so I wanted to share it just in case anyone else could find it useful. I don't have step by step pics, but there are written directions at the end of this post. And of course, PM me if you have any questions! I'm sure if I can figure this out, you can, too!

I made this project with the Master Craftster BERNINA 330 which I thankfully have yet to return. I used the overlocking stitch for all my seams on this project since it mimics a serger. If you have a serger, though, go ahead and use it! The finished seams look as close to professional as I've ever gotten. If you don't have a serger or a machine with an overlocking stitch, a straight stitch and zig-zag will give you a similar effect. This is what I normally would do. Here's a pic for reference (I had no idea what an overlocking stitch looked like prior to this machine!):



The attached pattern should fit a 2-4 year old depending on the size of your little one. My son is 3 and this fits him perfect. Once you download and print out the attached pattern, cut out the pieces and connect the split pieces with tape (these should be clearly marked - if it's confusing, let me know!) Place your pattern pieces on your fabric and cut! Make sure that for the sleeve pieces and the back piece, you place the pattern on the fold of the fabric, as indicated by the arrows. Pattern pieces that will need to be mirrored when cut for left and right are indicated by the word "flip," which tells you to flip the piece over when cutting the second piece.

Right sides together, sew your sleeves lengthwise on the open end. Turn right side out.

Fold the cuff piece in half lengthwise, right side out, and sew the ends together to make a circle. I cut my cuffs out of the same fabric I used for the hoodie, but you could also use ribbing. When sewing, you again want right sides together. For the cuff piece, this won't matter as the pattern should be on both sides of the fabric - just make sure the sewn seem is facing away from the pattern side of the sleeve fabric. Sew the cuff to the narrow end of the sleeve. Repeat for the other sleeve.

Attach the right and left FRONT pieces to the BACK piece (which should be twice the width of the pattern piece if cut on the fold) at the sides and the shoulders, leaving the arm holes open to attach the sleeves. Sew right sides together and flip right side out.

Attach the sleeves to the assembled hoodie at the arm holes. You want right sides together, so the sleeves will be right side out and the assembled BACK/FRONT piece will be inside out.

Right sides together, sew together the two HOOD pieces along the curve. Attach the HOOD to the assembled hoodie along the neck curve. The HOOD piece should almost come to the edge of the FRONT right and left pieces. There should be just enough room on each side of the hood to attach the zipper when finished.

For the bottom cuff, measure and cut out a piece of fabric (or ribbing) 2 inches in width and 25 inches in length (measure along the bottom of you hoodie, as your length may differ slightly). Fold in half as you did for the sleeve cuffs and attach to the bottom of your assembled hoodie. Right sides together.

Attach your zipper and youre done!

It should look like this (or better - I messed up my cuffs a bit, don't look too close!):

Front -


Back -


Wear with pride!



Thanks for looking! Feedback on pattern much appreciated. I'd love to see if others make this! Smiley
25  MASTER CRAFTSTERS / BERNINA 3 Series / Got a hole in your jeans? Darn it! Using the BERNINA 330 on: May 15, 2012 10:06:28 AM
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* To read more about the machine used in this project, explore BERNINA's website here.

Got a hole in your jeans? Darn it! Using the BERNINA 330

Save your jeans!



I love to wear jeans. Usually, though, there is one pair that just seems to fit perfectly - and I wear them all the time. All that wearing and washing, wearing and washing really does a number on the denim. It takes a while, sometimes longer than others, but I always end up with this:



Holes. In my jeans. Now, I get the whole holey jean fashion movement, just not in my most favorite pair of jeans! So, instead of throwing them out, I decided to revive them, with the BERNINA 330's darning feature.

First, I chose some pretty fabric that I wouldn't mind showing through some of my stitching (just in case). The fabric also helps prevent the jeans from puckering during darning. I slipped the fabric underneath the hole in my jeans, right side up.



Then, I found the darning stitch on the BERNINA 330. Looks like it's stitch #16:



See how it says "auto" down in the right-hand corner? That's right. This is an automatic darning program.



I scrunched my jeans on the super skinny arm of the machine. I've never even attempted this before because I could never access the area where my jeans tend to tear on my old machine. Not so with the BERNINA 330.



I manipulated the fabric so that the "grain" of the denim was parallel with the needle/presser foot and then started sewing.



When the stitches spanned the entire width of the hole, I hit the quick reverse button once:



And the machine did the rest - darning my hole automatically.



Now, because this hole was quite wide, I decided to try the start/stop feature on the BERNINA 330. I simply pushed the start/stop button when I wanted to start my stitch, and again when I wanted to stop (no foot pedal required!).



See the slide lever above the button? That controls the speed of the stitching. I started out on the slow side, and then moved it to the middle to speed up my sewing as I became more comfortable with the feature. This is like cruise control on a car - look, mom, no hands! Ha-ha, not really.

When I reached the end of the hole, I flipped the jeans inside out and clipped the fabric around my stitching.



Here's how it looks from the front:



No more hole! You can't really see the fabric underneath, but that's okay. It's still providing structural support.

On the other leg, I had some almost holes that I figured I'd nip in the bud now while I was at it.



I decided to get a little crazy on this side and add some color. The BERNINA 330 came with some pretty wild thread that I hadn't really had the opportunity to use until now.



Pretty! And perfect to show off another feature of the BERNINA 330, the needle threader! Yep, that's right. No more squinty-eyed threading. Here's how it works.

First, you pull down the lever that usually sits up and to the left of your needle, wrapping the thread around the hook as you do.



Then, pull the thread to the right in front of the needle,



and hook it into the little metal slot.



Then, simply let go of both the thread and the lever, and....



Your needle is threaded!

A quick darning on those trouble spots:



And your jeans are like new again!



Yay!
26  MASTER CRAFTSTERS / BERNINA 3 Series / Roll Up Dragon Road Play Mat using the BERNINA 330 on: May 15, 2012 10:05:33 AM
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* To see the overview of this Master Craftsters campaign, click here.
* To read more about the machine used in this project, explore BERNINA's website here.

Roll Up Dragon Road Play Mat using the BERNINA 330

I decided to make my little dude a play mat. It was supposed to be for cars, but when my son picked out some cool dragon fabric, we thought, why not dragons? Thus, the Dragon Road Mat was born.



First, I measured the base fabric for my mat. This is about 8 inches by 17 inches.



Then, using the straight stitch on my BERNINA 330, I started attaching embellishments. First, the road:



For the embellishments, I kept switching back and forth between the straight stitch and the zig-zag set to the satin-stitch width and length.



The cool thing about the BERNINA 330 is that every time I went back to the zig-zag, it automatically remembered my settings!



Good thing, too, because I sure didn't remember!

Once the road was secure, I added some green fabric to the sides. I scrunched it up as I sewed to mimic roadside greenery. The BERNINA 330 #1 presser foot (pictured below) smoothed over the ruffles, no problem.



Lookin good!



I just kept adding whatever inspired me to create the landscape. Here's another in progress shot:



I knew I wanted to add a pouch to the bottom of the mat to keep little knick-knacks in, and decided to add a zipper to try out the BERNINA 330's zipper foot. I started with some cool dragon fabric my son picked out, measured 8 inches wide and 6 inches tall.



I folded the piece in half to mark the center.



And cut a slit for the zipper:





Then, using the #4 presser foot (the zipper foot, clearly marked as #4 below - again, super easy!), I sewed on either side of the zipper.



I had to make sure that the needle was in the far right position for the right side of the zipper. Notice how the foot marks the perfect distance from the actual zipper?



A quick repeat performance on the left (needle position all the way to the left this time), and your zipper should be set!



Now, I'm going to tell you a secret. This was my first zipper! With the BERNINA 330, I feel like I can conquer anything!

I cut two pieces to tie up the mat when it's all rolled up (about 12 inches by 3 inches) and sewed them up.



Then, I cut a piece of quilted fabric to be my backing and sandwiched everything (mat + pouch and backing) right sides together with the ties at the ends. I sewed all the way around the outside with a straight stitch, leaving a 6 inch space for turning right side out.

A quick top stitch around the perimeter, and ta-da!



All rolled up:



I cut out some dragons from the pouch fabric and glued them to some felt so they would stick to the road (also felt).



Here they are happy in their pouch:



This will be perfect for our summer vacation road trip!
27  MASTER CRAFTSTERS / BERNINA 3 Series / Superhero Cape using the BERNINA 330 on: May 15, 2012 10:04:47 AM
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* To read more about the machine used in this project, explore BERNINA's website here.

Superhero Cape using the BERNINA 330

My son is a Superhero. He has something called "Green Power," which allows him to turn everything green. Also super speed. Or so he tells me. But he was missing one essential Superhero element: the cape. That is, until now.



I started this project by measuring my Superhero:



I measured across his shoulders for the top width and then from the shoulders to about mid-calf for the length.  My Superhero's measurements were 10'' top width and about 20'' in length.  I added a couple inches to the top width to account for seam allowances (I'm generous with myself) for a total top width of 12''. I doubled this measurement for the bottom width (24''), so the cape would flare out a bit when worn.

The result was a kind of trapezoidal shape. I cut one of my main fabric and one for the lining. Here, they are already sandwiched right sides together for sewing:



Being a Superhero is tough work. To make sure that the cape would be strong enough to withstand super speed and green power, I used stitch #6 on my BERNINA 330, the triple straight stitch and triple zig-zag.



Since I knew that I would be sewing some corners for this project, I set my needle so that it would be in the down position when I took my foot off the pedal. I simply pushed the button below the screen and to the left. The screen display changed to show a downward pointing arrow next to my needle, telling me the new position my needle would stop in.



Looks like a nice, strong triple stitch:



To get the triple zig-zag and REALLY reinforce my stitching, I increased the stitch length (still in stitch #6) to 3. Notice the top bar on the display is now set to 3, and my needle position is still down:



Triple zig-zag:



Those stitches aren't going anywhere!

I left the top width of the cape open so that when I'd completed the other three sides of the cape, I could easily turn it inside out. I top stitched the sides with a basic straight stitch, but decided to add something special to the bottom.  This is a Superhero cape, after all.

My son's initials are DJO, and the BERNINA 330 has this awesome ability to sew letters right into the fabric. I knew I had to put DJ's initials on something...



It was super easy, too.  I just pushed the button for the alphabet, and scrolled through to the letters I needed.



Then just repeated until I made it to the end of the cape. DJO DJO DJO. You can't get that in a store-bought cape. Too cool.

I made the cape a tie-on so we didn't have to worry about lost buttons or snaps. They probably couldn't survive super speed anyway. Superhero capes shouldn't fall off!

A 3-inch wide strip of fabric folded onto itself and top stitched was all we needed:





I attached the strip to the top width of the cape with a zig-zag satin stitch. I just used the basic zig-zag (stitch #2), but increased the stitch width to 4 and decreased the stitch length to 0.5. See how the BERNINA 330 keeps track of the default settings (the missing bar on the top display and the extra bar on the side display). That makes it super easy to return to the original settings.



Looks perfect!



A little freezer paper stencil embellishment, and the cape is good to go!



The finished product:



My Superhero is out saving the world today... one cookie at a time!  Wink
28  MASTER CRAFTSTERS / BERNINA 3 Series / Stuffed James "Sulley" Sullivan using the BERNINA 330 on: May 15, 2012 10:03:53 AM
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* To read more about the machine used in this project, explore BERNINA's website here.

Stuffed James "Sulley" Sullivan using the BERNINA 330

My son will be three this May and he LOVES the movie Monsters, Inc. We are even planning a monster themed birthday party.  His favorite character is actually Mike Wazowski, but when I made a stuffed Mike a few weeks ago, the first words out of his mouth were, "Can you make Sulley, too?"  What else could I say but, "Of course"?



This guy is made from a modified version of Draw! Pilgrim's Chewbacca pattern.  I added the horns, shortened the legs, and altered the face to look like Sulley.

I found some awesome turquoise fleece in the fabric store that was the perfect color for Sulley, but I needed to add some purple spots.  A little bit of paint fixed that problem.  I had a helper for this part:



Once the paint dried, it was time to start sewing.  I was a little nervous because my old machine hated sewing fleece.  I would have skipped stitches all over the place and always had to decrease the stitch length to compensate.  So I tested the fleece by sewing each of the arms and legs right sides together with an opening at the top for stuffing.  To be even more daring, I decided to use stitch #8, the overlocking stitch, since my son will likely be a little rough on the finished product, and I wanted the seams to be able to take a beating.  I set my BERNINA 330 to the desired stitch:



Oh - it looks like I need presser foot number two for this stitch (see the #2 down by the foot icon?).  A quick switch and I'm ready!



The BERNINA 330 flew through the fleece without any problems!  No stitch length adjustment necessary!  And I love how I can see the layers on the right side of the overlock foot, which ensures that I catch all my layers.



All that thread burned through my bobbin pretty quickly.  Since the machine came with a fully wound bobbin out of the box, I had yet to wind my own bobbin.  Once I pushed the engaging lever against the bobbin, the thread started winding all on its own!  I didn't even need to use my foot!



The bobbin stopped winding automatically, too.  Once it was safely back in its casing, I was ready for some detail work on Sulley.  I really needed some extra space here, so I was glad that I had the slide-on table for the BERNINA 330.  It gave me a nice flat surface to work on.  



Another great feature of this machine is that the foot control pedal is so wide.  It really helped me gain the level of control I needed.  With the wide pedal, it was easy to adjust from going fast for those straight stitches, to slow for the details and curves.



Once I had the details of Sulley's face completed, I placed his front and back pieces together, with his arms and horns tucked in between, making a nice monster sandwich:



Again, I got a little nervous when It came time to sew all those layers together, but the BERNINA 330 didn't even notice.



By the way, all this sewing took place during nap time, and my son didn't even stir.  This machine is quiet!!

I flipped Sulley right side out, stuffed his body with poly-fill, attached his legs with an overlock stitch along the bottom seam of the body, and he was done!

And of course, where would Sulley be without Mike?

29  MASTER CRAFTSTERS / BERNINA 3 Series / Not-So-Basic Tanktop using the BERNINA 330 on: May 15, 2012 10:02:55 AM
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* To read more about the machine used in this project, explore BERNINA's website here.

Not-So-Basic Tanktop using the BERNINA 330

Spring is in the air! With the weather getting warmer, I found myself in need of some seasonal attire, so I set to work on a new tank top!



For this project, I started with a basic white t-shirt.



I cut off the sleeves and the neck to turn it into a basic tank.



Instead of simply hemming the raw edges, I decided to try my hand at a blindstitch.  First, I basted my hems by setting my BERNINA 330 to the straight stitch and maxing out my stitch length.  Then, I set my BERNINA 330 to stitch #7 for the blindstitch.  The little foot icon told me that I needed the #5 presser foot for this stitch.



Each presser foot was stamped with its number, too.  See the number five on the bottom left?  This machine is fool proof!



Let's do this.



Success!



I repeated this procedure with the arm holes, bouncing back and forth between the basting stitch with presser foot 1, and the blindstitch with presser foot 5.  Good thing those feet are a cinch to pop on and off!!  The BERNINA 330 made the switch even easier by remembering my settings for the straight stitch every time I returned to basting.  I simply pushed the button for stitch #1, and the settings were just as I had left them.



See how the bars on the right side of the screen are all the way up to five?  That's exactly where I wanted them to be!

And of course, presser foot #1 was also conveniently labeled:



Accessing the sleeves was super easy thanks to the extra space below the base.



I picked out some fancy patterned fabric and sewed it to the center of my now tank with a simple straight stitch.  I added a decorative flair to the bottom hem of my shirt by using one of the BERNINA 330's awesome decorative stitches (#32).



Now I'm ready to show it off!

30  MASTER CRAFTSTERS / BERNINA 3 Series / Quilted Fabric Cuff using the BERNINA 330 on: May 15, 2012 10:01:44 AM
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* To see the overview of this Master Craftsters campaign, click here.
* To read more about the machine used in this project, explore BERNINA's website here.

Quilted Fabric Cuff using the BERNINA 330

Looking for a project to help you use all those odds and ends left over from other projects?  How about a fabric cuff?



I used a selection of green fabrics from my scrap pile for this project, and one subtly patterned white piece for accent.  I cut each piece into rectangles 2 inches wide and 4 inches long.



Then it was time to sew.  This was my first project on my BERNINA 330, so I had to set up my thread, including my bobbin.  This part always gives me anxiety with a new machine because I used my first machine for years with a bobbin tension problem I couldn't seem to fix.  With the BERNINA, a thread cutter next to the bobbin housing cuts the bobbin thread to just the right length, so you don't even have to pull the thread through!  No anxiety here!



The BERNINA 330 has this flashy computer screen that tells you what stitch you've selected, the needle position, stitch width and length, and even the number of the presser foot you should be using.  These were the default settings for stitch #1, the straight stitch:



I just kept it here and started sewing!  Super simple - the machine does all the work!  To secure my stitches, I used the quick reverse button, conveniently located right where my hand happened to be every time I needed it.



Once I had all my scraps stitched together, I folded the new patched piece of fabric in half and ironed all my seams.



Then, I sewed a piece of batting (also in my scrap bin!) to the fabric side of one end of my cuff.  The BERNINA 330 came with so many tools and accessories, I didn't know what half of them were for!  The height compensating tool sure came in handy for this project.  I placed it next to my cuff to help the feed dogs catch my fabric.  Perfect for a close-to-the-edge seam!





I folded the cuff back on itself with the batting sandwiched in the middle, and top stitched the two sides.  For the ends, I rolled the fabric and batting over and sewed in place.  Here's another spot where the height compensating tool came in handy:



See how without it, the foot sits at a slant?



Problem solved!

I then had the difficult task of choosing one of the 40 stitches to add some decorative embellishments to my seams.



I went with #40.  Again, all the details were taken care of by the BERNINA, I just started sewing!



Lastly, I added the button hole.  The BERNINA 330 came with an automatic button hole foot.  I chose stitch #10 for the button hole, chose my location and started sewing.  When the left side of the button hole reached the length I needed for my button, I hit the quick reverse button once and the machine took over from there, completing the rest of the button hole with just a press of my foot!



Perfect button hole:



A few hand-sewn attachments, and your cuff is ready to be worn!

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