10 Good Sewing Tips and Tricks
First seen in our special issue Teach Yourself to Sew, Winter 2013, here are ten tips and tricks for every sewing enthusiast directly from the sewing community.
More great sewing advice:
1. A Guide for Hand Stitching
When I want to sew evenly spaced hand stitches, I machine-baste a line of stitches and use it as a guide. I set the stitch length the same as the hand stitch I plan to use. I pull the machine stitches a few at a time just before handsewing and follow the holes left behind. Or, I leave the stitches in place until I finish my handwork. The machine stitches work as a guide for different hand stitches, such as a blanket stitch, topstitch, or herringbone stitch. With this method, I always get perfectly spaced hand stitching.
Janice Engle, Aurora, Illinois
2. Easy Tailor's Tacks
I use an alternative version of tailor's tacks that holds the threads in place more securely than traditional methods. After cutting each pattern piece, I use contrasting, unknotted, doubled thread in my hand needle and take a stitch through the pattern tissue and both layers of fabric. From the wrong side, I come back through the fabric and pattern and cut long thread tails. Next, I lift the pattern off the fabric, letting the tails slip through. Then I turn the fabric over. With a different color thread, I take a second stitch over each of the first in the same fashion from the wrong side, again leaving long tails. Pull the two fabric layers apart, and one set stays stitched to the top fabric layer, and the other set stays stitched to the bottom layer. The threads mark clear positions for my sewing that I can see from both sides.
Laurie Wilcox, Palm Desert, California
3. Two Safety Pins Are Better Than One
When I pull elastic or cording through a casing, I use a safety pin to help guide it. If I'm too aggressive, however, the elastic or cord end at the starting point can get away from me and sneak into the casing. It is so difficult to "weave" backward that I usually have to start over. Now, I use a second safety pin to secure the elastic or cord tail to the casing. It holds securely, and I don't ever have to worry about it accidentally sliding into the casing.
Betty Bolden, Bolton, Connecticut
Teach Yourself to Sew
Teach Yourself to Sew is a video series for beginning sewers or anyone who wants to brush up on their skills. We demonstrate basic sewing techniques, share tips, and give step-by-step instruction for beginner sewing projects. Plus, you can ask our experts for answers to any sewing questions you have along the way. You’ll gain the confidence you need to get started in sewing, and in no time you’ll be creating gorgeous garments. If you have already mastered the art of sewing, share this series with those who want to get started, and contribute your expertise by answering questions in the forum.
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