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Quick Tips for Improving Your Stitches

A plastic grocery bag can act as stabilizer when sewing terry cloth, fleece, and other fluffy or difficult to sew fabrics.
Metallic thread sewn together with regular thread eliminates some of the frustrations metallic thread can cause.
For example, in a blouse with princess seams over the bustline, this usually means from top to bottom.
New Look 6028
In longer princess-seam garments in which the waist is more fitted, but the hemline is full, I staystitch from the armhole (top) to the waistline and sew the bodice seamline in the same direction. Next, I stitch the remaining seam from the hem to the waistline.
Simplicity 1537
In bell-bottom pants, where the hemline is wide, I staystitch (if applicable) and stitch the seamline from the hem to top.
New Look 6949
A plastic grocery bag can act as stabilizer when sewing terry cloth, fleece, and other fluffy or difficult to sew fabrics.

A plastic grocery bag can act as stabilizer when sewing terry cloth, fleece, and other fluffy or difficult to sew fabrics.

IMPROVE YOUR STITICHES WITH THESE TIPS
Those who sew are always on the lookout for ways to improve their garment sewing. The spring 2014 issue of SewStylishincluded an article called "Terrific Stitches" which described nine fabulous tips from Threads readers that will improve your sewing. Unfortunately, magazine space didn't allow us to include all of the great tips we had planned. Here are the tips that didn't make it into the issue.

REUSE PLASTIC BAGS FOR SMOOTH SEWING
I have found a simple solution to tame fabrics that are difficult to sew. If my fabric (such as batting, bulky or loose-weave fabrics, terry cloth, faux fur, or Velcro) doesn't glide smoothly over the machine plate or gets stuck in the machine foot as I'm sewing, I use a plastic grocery or other store bag to help. I prefer bags that are almost transparent. I cut the bag to make it one layer; if I have a lot of seams to sew, I cut the bag into strips about 2 to 3 inches wide. I place the plastic on top of and sometimes also beneath the fabric and sew normally, stitching through the plastic. The plastic helps the fabric slide smoothly as the stitches are made, and a simple tug easily removes the plastic after the seam is complete.
-Betty Bolden, Newport, Tennessee

END METALLIC THREAD WOES
When I sew with metallic gold thread, it often frays and breaks. To solve this problem I now thread both the metallic thread and a yellow thread through the same needle. The dual threads give more definition to the stitch and work beautifully.
-Mary Gibbons, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

ELIMINATE PUCKERS ON SEAMS
To help eliminate puckers on curved seams, staystitch from the widest to the narrowest part of the piece, and sew your final stitching in the same direction. For example, in a blouse with princess seams over the bustline, this usually means from top to bottom. In longer princess-seam garments in which the waist is more fitted, but the hemline is full, I staystitch from the armhole (top) to the waistline and sew the bodice seamline in the same direction. Next, I stitch the remaining seam from the hem to the waistline. In bell-bottom pants, where the hemline is wide, I staystitch (if applicable) and stitch the seamline from the hem to top. It's important to press directionally as well.
-Donna Kaye Childress, Carencro, Louisiana

For more great stitching tips, read "Terrific Stitches" in the spring 2014 issue of SewStylish. Are there other stitching tips you use to make your stitches even better? Please share your ideas in a comment below.

amm April M. Mohr, contributor
Posted on Jan 27th, 2014 in sewing, garment construction, tips & tricks, fundamentals, stitches, stitch

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