A Few Practical Sewing Tips
Could a sewer ever have enough sewing tips? All sewing tips that can save time, effort, cost or reveal some clever tidbit of sewing info are always helpful and welcome. Of course, only those that provide practical workable results will have the expected value for the sewer.
Applique (with a dryer sheet) - Tutorial [offsite link]
Put those used dryer sheets to good use! They are great for light linings for applique shapes.
Applique for Embellishment
Applique designs, those smaller pieces of fabric overlaid onto a larger fabric background, are often seen on quilts however they can be used as whimsical decorations on clothing, elegant patterns on curtains or artistic expressions on throw pillows, totes and fabric purses.
In applique, fabric pieces are folded and tucked at the edges to create desired shapes, traditionally hand stitched onto a base fabric, today often machine stitched in place. Applique has many uses, to strengthen worn clothing, patch obvious holes and tears or simply beautiful ornamentation.
Applying Bias Tape by Machine - Tutorial [offsite link]
A video showing how to apply double-fold bias tape by machine.
Basic Hand Stitches
Memories of cherished traditions, many from not so long ago, allow us to not only reminiscence but endeavor to carry on those beloved customs as well. Knowing how to sew using basic hand stitches is one of those customs worth knowing and teaching to a willing learner.
Basics of Hemming
The finishing sewing touch to any garment edge is the hem. There are many sewing techniques to accomplish this rather ordinary task, however using the right type of hem can give a garment an overall professional look.
Basics of Home Sewing Patterns
A printed paper sewing pattern is like a road map; the directions on getting from one place to another are all tantalizing provided, but it’s up to the reader to interpret and make sense of how to get from map point A - You Are Here, to map point B - Unfamiliar There.
Bias Tape, Single & Double Fold - Applying [offsite link]
Learn how to apply double fold bias binding.
Bias Tape, Single Fold - Applying [offsite link]
Learn how to use single fold bias tape for trim, facings or casings.
Blanket Binding - Applying [offsite link]
Learn how to apply blanket binding.
Decorative, versatile and functional this overcast or edge stitch is often one of the first beginning embroidery stitches taught to children. Adding beads to each stitch further allows the stitch to add emphasis as an outline to the evenly spaced, even length stitches.
Continuous Thread Dart
The most traditional way to sew a dart in a garment is to begin stitching at the wide seam end of the dart, stitch to the narrow point, backstitch a few stitches to secure, cut the threads and tie off in a double knot to secure. What if stitching were to occur starting from the opposite end?
Cording Crash Course - Tutorial [offsite link]
Step-by-step instructions for making cording. From jcarolinecreative!
Decorative Machine Buttonholes
Buttonholes and their ever-present button companions often go unnoticed on the many garment types that use them for secure fastening. Functional, practical, simplicity itself, buttonholes are the understated mainstay of the sewing world.
Ever finish sewing a straight shirt collar, stitching carefully to the shirt’s curved neck edge, even pressing carefully during each part of collar construction, only to have one side of the collar stubbornly refuse to lay flat against the shirt bodice? Directional stitching may have played a part.
Easy Sew Casserole Wraps
As summer wanes and reveals nature's bountiful harvest, the last of outdoor seasonal gatherings are celebrated. The blistering heat of summer temps will wind down and mellow into the still warm but cooler days of autumn. Time to gather for seasonal festivities sharing good food and good times.
The terms cozy, rustic, Americana, and old-fashioned come to mind when considering patchwork items. The fabric patches are all of the same size, usually squares distinguishing them from "crazy" patchwork designs where pieces are of asymmetrical sizes assembled in a thoughtful yet random design.
Just what do fabric stabilizers do? A mainstay for all machine embroidery and mostly invisible in the construction of clothing fabric stabilizers provide the underlying support for many fabrics during the stitching process.
Fat Quarter Fabrics
Fat quarters are one-quarter yard fabric pieces of precisely sized cuts usually bundled together from a variety of coordinating fabrics. Not rectangular in size but more blockish, precut fat quarter fabric bundles are very useful for small sewing projects.
Finding Time to Sew
Back to school/off to college/Labor Day, and end of summer are upon us so can thoughts of Halloween costumes/cool days of autumn/Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas decorations be far behind? How quickly time can feel in its passing. How to make time to sew?
Finish Fraying Fabric Edges
No serger to encase that pesky fraying fabric at the seam allowance edges? No worries! Although the home serger is bar none an exceptional sewing tool to apply a professional look to seams and fabric edges, and at an amazing speed, the trusty traditional sewing machine can mimic the process well.
Facings are those fabric pieces, usually the same as the fashion fabric, at times of a contrasting fabric, generally seen on the inside of a garment. They finish off an opening, usually a neckline or sleeveless armhole, but also for a shaped hem, slim skirt vents, shirt front or jacket opening.
Hem Facing - Applying [offsite link]
Directions on how to apply hem facing from Wrights.com.
Hemming choices are at once simple to consider - making sure the lower finished edge is even all around or folded neatly and sewn securely, or more complex connected decisions that determine what kind of hem to apply that will complement the garment’s overall aesthetics and eventual wear ability.
Honeycomb Smocking - Tutorial [offsite link]
A different way to pleat and smock.
How to Make a Pocket [offsite link]
Customize almost any sewing project by adding a patch pocket with this simple pattern.
How-To Make Yards and Yards of Bias Tape [offsite link]
Easy to understand instructions for making continuous bias tape.
Importance of Pressing
Among a sewer’s collection of sewing tools, notions, fabric, threads and needles none is more important, save the sewing machine itself, than an iron. It may be hard to think of the humble iron as a sewing tool yet its heat and steam capabilities are key to producing exceptional sewing results.
Machine-made Buttonhole Tips
The timeless expression - practice makes perfect, is never truer than when applying a machine-made buttonhole to a carefully sewn garment. The best way to ensure a machine-made buttonhole comes out the way it is expected to look is to make a test buttonhole using a fabric scrap from the project.
Piping - Applying [offsite link]
Learn how to apply pre-made piping.
Quilt Binding - Tutorial [offsite link]
Illustrated tutorial on applying quilt binding using white glue. Link opens a .pdf document.
Reverse Applique Tutorial [offsite link]
Photographic demonstration of how to do the reverse applique technique.
Rick-Rack - Applying [offsite link]
Rick-rack is an easy way to add punch to your projects.
Sew Cleaning Cloth Alternatives
Focusing on the well-being of family as well as those whose welfare we care about and concern for our communities during the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) places us all in unprecedented times. We adapt as best we can. Try sewing cleaning cloth replacements when disposable resources are scare.
Sew Kid’s Playtime Activities
Indoor friendly games can help to temporarily relieve the anxiety and pent up energy for some children who find themselves suddenly in a non-routine sort of day whether from uncooperative weather or by public decree. It may be helpful to engage them, at least for a little while, in a fun activity.
Sewing and Color's Influence
Color subtly influences our perception of the world around us. Sewers may use this influence in fabric choices to evoke a desired response - blue tones are identified as cooling whereas reds are considered warming. Perceptions and reactions to color are myriad across age, gender, and culture.
Sewing and Serging Machines
In an almost perfect marriage of practical function and elegant efficiency the sewing machine and its machine sewing companion - the serger, combine to give the home sewer the best of all possible sewing worlds.
Instantly familiar, endlessly versatile, at once old and new, the fabric we know as denim and the many clothes, accessories, and home items it has so readily adapted to, has enjoyed steady popularity since the mid 1800s.
Sewing Details, Old and New
The invention and general acceptance of the slide fastener or zipper as we have come to know it allowed garment sewing to become a more efficient endeavor for the home sewer. In addition, the rise of sewing pattern companies greatly enhanced the abilities of home sewers to clothe their families.
Sewing Ideas Towards Best Fit
Sewing clothing items whether for yourself, a toddler, teen, mature figure, hard-to-fit body contours or challenging physical circumstances, you have the opportunity, finally, to have some say in how the finished garment is going to fit the body.
Sewing Machine Presser Feet
Whether you are learning to sew, returning to sew, or a long-time sewing enthusiast, the use of specialized presser feet that are available for your type sewing machine can make your sewing project quite unique as well as speed along your sewing efforts.
Sewing Machine Thread Jams
It happens to all machine sewers - you're sewing a seam and all of a sudden your machine seems to stop advancing and jam just at the machine's throat plate. You find your needle and bobbin threads in a knotted bunch under the fabric seam at the presser foot location. Probable cause and solutions!
Sewing Pattern Mysteries
Modern commercial sewing patterns are a marvel of precision and engineering. A blueprint for sewers with a wealth of information, standardized markings and symbols and specific written details on how to construct the item step by step. Pattern companies endeavor to decode all their sewing details.
Sewing Projects for Repurposed Clothing
Refashioning a unique item of clothing whether in the style of shabby-chic, causally altered or a remix that is whimsical, elegant, and eco-friendly is satisfying and creative fun. Re-purposing clothing today is a continuing trend.
Sewing Related Tips
Will a sewer ever have enough sewing tips? All sewing tips that can save time, effort, cost or reveal some useable tidbit of sewing info are always welcome. Of course, only those that provide really practical workable results will have the expected value for the sewer.
Sewing Sheer Fabrics
Sheer fabrics present a few challenges to the sewer as their perceived delicate and ethereal nature suggests, yet with just a few simple techniques the finished results can be amazing.
Sewing Time Savers
Whether called sewing hacks or tips, sewing room secrets or shortcuts, the effect is always the same – sewers sharing a more productive, efficient way to sew. Of course, learning and trying new sewing techniques is really part of a long tradition of the sewing process.
For whatever reason that once optimistic sewing project has become well, not so optimistic anymore passing covertly from a Work in Progress (WIP) into an Un-Finished Object (UFO) partially sewn and nearly forgotten. That is until the sewing-organization-bug unveils its existence, once again.
Sewing with Plaids
Plaids have always had a traditional strong presence for the fall and winter seasons. From the many customary tartan plaids of the Scottish Highlands to the red, black, camel and white English Burberry signature design – plaids are a very distinct and memorable style maker.
The ubiquitous zipper that opens and closes our garments, upholstery items, coats, purses, handbags, sporting goods, camping gear and more, effortlessly at that, has a long history dating back to the 1850s. Sewing a zipper in clothing needn’t be a sewer's lament.
Simple Sewing Ideas for Tidying-Up
Home sewing spaces are happy working spaces for sure yet are easily subject to untidiness. Thread spools, bobbins, pincushions, scissors, rotary cutters, fabric and their companion scraps, measuring tapes, tissue patterns, pins and needles oh my! The need to keep order is never ending.
Spooled Threads and Deterioration
Direct or indirect sunlight, excessive high or low humidity and its companion extreme temperature fluctuations can seriously affect the condition of thread spools and shelf life. To protect and keep thread spools in top condition, consider storing them in protective containers and away from kitty!
Square Up Fabric Yardage
There are a few ways to square up or true up a piece of woven fabric, an often necessary part of sewing. This means that the warp and the weft threads are running as expected, perpendicular to each other.
Stitching by Hand
Whether a sewing beginner or master of advanced techniques or anywhere in-between stitching by hand takes on an almost meditative quality. Sewing or mending by hand allows for a relaxed attentive focus as the eyes and hands work together in quiet contemplation.
Sewing in a sustainable way combines the tradition of one of the oldest of crafts with the knowledge and tools of today's modern technologies. Knowing that living and working with care for the environment, economy and community ensures an enduring legacy for future generations.
Test Drive Your Ready-made Paper Pattern
Using left over fabric pieces designated as scraps, an ignominiously undeserved title for usable fabric pieces, or inexpensive cotton muslin can test if a ready-made paper pattern will yield the desired results before committing to cutting what may be very expensive or one of a kind fashion fabric.
Some times achieving eye-catching topstitching seems to require artificial intelligence, a machine of magical capabilities, and a juxtaposition of the best thread, sewing machine needle, an otherworldly presser foot and forgiving fabric. It can be done, not by séance, but by knowledge and technique!
Traditional Inside Seam Finishing
To sew a truly professional-looking garment it is important to consider how the inside of the garment will look when completed as well as the finished outside. Finishing seam edges not only will prevent the cut edges from fraying but can allow sewn seams an extra measure of security from wear.
Travel Accessories to Sew
Sew your own space-saving travel accessories as a great way to use up those valuable fabric leftovers. The possibilities are endless: foldable totes, security pouches for valuables, shoe protectors, jewelry protectors, lined insulated make-up bags, car organizers, and jewelry roll-ups to name a few.
Understanding Home Sewing Patterns
A home sewer’s printed tissue sewing pattern is like a printed paper road map; the directions on getting from one place to another are all tantalizingly provided, but it’s up to the reader to interpret and make sense of how to get from point A (You Are Here) to point B (Unfamiliar There).
Useful Sewing Tips
Sewing tips can be found just about anywhere. On the inside packaging of notions, among the pages of glossy sewing magazines, at sewing groups on just about any social media platform as well as numerous online tutorials, videos, and online classes. Every sewer has their favorite tips for sewing.
Versatile Fabric Selvages
Not long ago, fabric selvages were considered unusable scraps and landed in the waste basket. Now, the once lowly fabric edges have renewed life. Lengths of various selvages can be stitched together along their long edges to form their own sturdy fabric yardage and sewn into functional items.
Wide-leg to Skinny Jeans
The stiff, cuffed dungarees of the past used by cattlemen and miners, the 1950s and 60s youth subculture that adopted denim jeans in defiance, the bell-bottoms of the 70s and onto today’s boot-cut and skinny fashionably ripped jeans, these popular slacks experience never-ending fashion adjustments.
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