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21 Sewing Myths Debunked

I'm a pack rat, and I collect a variety of things: old sewing tools and notions, patterns, fabrics, even sewing myths. Through the years, I've seen many recommendations and sewing misconceptions that don't work or are bad advice, so I've selected a few to discuss here.

Here are some of my favorites:

lace top   Myth 1: Lace doesn't have a grain, so you can cut it in any direction.

Reality: This is true, but it requires careful planning to be successful since most laces have more stretch in one direction than the other. More importantly, many laces have a pattern with a directional design.


hong kong binding  

Myth 2: A Hong Kong binding is the best seam finish on couture designs.

Reality: Generally, the best finish is hand overcasting. It is flatter, less bulky, and drapes better; and it is less likely to show on the right side of the garment. The Hong Kong finish is more attractive on unlined jackets, but very few of these are couture.


Myth 3: When quilting a garment, it is OK to quilt some rows up and some down.

Reality: Your quilted garment will be more attractive when all rows are quilted in the same direction.

cutting bias  

Myth 4: When cutting bias, fold a corner so the warp or lengthwise yarns are parallel to the weft or crosswise yarns.

Reality: To cut the bias more accurately, use a triangle with a right angle. Spread the fabric and straighten it on the table. Align one short edge of the triangle with the warp, and mark the bias along the long edge.

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Comments (14)

Ultrahotcouture Ultrahotcouture writes: Hello! Great tips (although my English is pretty rusty regarding technical sewing jargon :) ) I have a small question if anyone may help : I'm making a *guipure straight cut top, for a customer. The sleeves are straight, 3/4 length, the sleeve head is puffed (about 1,75"). Because the guipure (lace) is transparent, and I want it to stay nicely frilled and up, what material could I use to stiffened it? I thought using a curved strip (2" wide) of silk organza, fold in 2 to avoid edge, sewn in the same time than the lace. Or may I saw an off-white silk crepe bias around the seam of the sleeve (also around the garment armhole for a neat finish)? A long off-white silk crepe skirt comes with the lace top. I will take any suggestions. The wedding is end of March, and i'm starting to stress :))) Thanks and keep up the good work!!

*(Net lace with add-on of some kind of piping on themotifs, which enriches it, and make it more stiff and heavy)
Posted: 8:56 pm on February 9th

sewpeachy sewpeachy writes: I am not familiar with the term 'shrink out' with the sleeve seams. Could you explain or link me to a video? Thanks.
Posted: 1:26 pm on December 26th

user-3059980 user-3059980 writes: I've never heard most of these myths. Good thing I guess. I've been stitching my zips in with running stitches always!
Posted: 7:03 pm on October 3rd

EvamarieGomez EvamarieGomez writes: skyemom: You should not be experiencing the issue you have reported. Our team is looking into resolving this problem. Thank you for your feedback!

Evamarie Gomez
Web Producer
Posted: 3:52 pm on August 29th

skyemom skyemom writes: Am I the only one frustrated but the "Now available on Google play..." bar? I want to be able to see and read the article that I have linked to and this bar prevents it. Makes me not want to bother to access the articles and I will seriously reconsider when it comes time to join Threads Insider if I have to deal with this nonsense. And no I could not move it out of the way or deleat it.
Posted: 1:26 pm on August 28th

user-3497616 user-3497616 writes: I while back you asked for myths on facebook as you were working on this article. I was thinking of superstitions and gave you that instead.
A lot of the myths were just personal opinions of the teacher or for practical purposes. IE. Limitation of skill or tools. I will have to think back for I have gotten many in my schooling and tended to dismiss them quickly. I do remember one instructor said I could not mix linen and wool together in a garment. I made a lovely gathered full skirt in cream & pearl grey linen with a beige summer wt gabardine for the inverted pleats at CF & CB as well as for the pocketing.
Although the combo was not conventional, the skirt hung well and cleaned up nicely. It just wasn't perhaps a good idea for a mass produced garment. She later agreed that the results were nice.
The important point is there is a time and place for everything.
Posted: 1:58 pm on August 25th

Sewista Sewista writes: Thanks, Claire. My fave is number ten. It's amazing how many of these exist to accommodate ill fit.
Posted: 4:51 pm on August 20th

thetailor thetailor writes: I agree with JudyinMerida. I've done custom sewing and alterations for 20+ years. Large busted women who don't want to wear tent tops or dresses need buttons at the fullest part of the bust. I place a button at the top of the placket and at the fullest part of the bust then divide to have the buttons distributed in a pleasing fashion down the front of the top or dress. It's pleased my clients. I did like the other hints.
Posted: 11:04 am on August 20th

AliceEliza AliceEliza writes: I'll be breaking some of those old rules now! I have a questions about #17. What is thread-tracing on the seam line? I've always had the suspicion that stay-stitching by machine could have caused some stretching just by the extra handling, even though I have tried to be careful with the fabric.
Posted: 8:27 pm on August 19th

JudyinMerida JudyinMerida writes: Disagree with #10. if the button isn't placed between the largest part of the breasts, all one has to do is move a bit and the blouse will gap open. I have sewed little snaps there or safety pinned it there to keep a purchased blouses from gapping.
also: that sign "Now Available On Google Play for Android Devices! is blocking the copy.
Posted: 4:34 pm on August 19th

Mamato8 Mamato8 writes: Thank you for your myth busters! These are great!

Some people think you don't have to preshrink all fabrics, just cotton and other natural fibers.

There are many ways to shrink fabric. I thought all I needed to do was to preshrink the fabric with the same temperature I planned to use once it was a dress or skirt, but...

Someone helped me with the wash and used a higher temperature AND put it in the dryer, when I was using cold and air dry. Well? It shrunk more. Being a knit, it shrank up and out. The sleeves still come to my wrist, but the shoulders are dropped now and the top doesn't tuck in and the skirt lost about eight inches...

I still recommend a finish that rolls the edges of brocade. It shreds. Although that hand sewn edge looks good for other things!

Thank you for your collection! I will find a way to save it.
Posted: 3:53 pm on August 19th

rr528 rr528 writes: What a wonderful piece! This goes into my "keep" file.
Posted: 3:37 pm on August 19th

olj429 olj429 writes: I am so grateful for these tips but I do not understand # 8:

How does one "shrink past the seam line" - or, for that matter, shrink on the seam line.

I'm truing to learn.
Posted: 3:36 pm on August 19th

LivingLRG LivingLRG writes: Thanks Claire, all excellent points. AM making couture sewed car coat - will use many of your pointers.
Posted: 1:46 pm on August 19th

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