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Sewing with Threads Podcast

Overcoming Sewing Challenges | Episode 5

The editors discuss ways to overcome sewing challenges.

During Episode 5 of the Sewing With Threads podcast, Threads magazine editors chat about sewing challenges they have overcome.

In this episode, prom dress problems kicked off the discussion with Senior Technical Editor Carol J. Fresia reflecting on a challenge with a knit dress she recently completed for her daughter’s special event.

Carol explains approaches to handling knits in “Expert Tips for Finishing Knits,” first published and titled “Finishing Knits” in Threads #183, Feb./March 2016.

Threads staff—Senior Technical Editor Carol J. Fresia (left), Editor Sarah McFarland (center), and Senior Copy/Production Editor Jeannine Clegg (right)—prepare for the latest Sewing With Threads podcast.


More on Working with Knits

  • “Tips on Sewing and Fitting Knits” by Connie Crawford
  • “Knit Know-how” by Judith Neukam in Threads #176, Dec. 2014/Jan. 2015
  • “Lightweight Knits” by Connie Crawford in Threads #167, June/July 2013

Senior Copy/Production Editor Jeannine Clegg discussed a challenge with shortening the hem of her niece’s ready-to-wear prom dress. The chiffon-like polyester fabric was off-grain in some places, which seemed to throw off the chalk markings Jeannine made as a hemming guide. Threads’ readers who have a similar hemming project may want to read “How to Sew a Narrow Hem on Lightweight Fabrics.” Editor Sarah McFarland suggested this post; the method detailed was used in her recent Pattern Hack article in Threads #194, Dec. 2017/Jan. 2018.

The chiffon polyester sleeves of this dress featured in Threads #194 were finished with a narrow hem. Follow the steps to sewing a narrow hem on lightweight fabrics. Photo by Jack Deutsch.


The editors also discuss what to avoid: shortcuts, rushing a project, and sewing while tired. They agreed on one sewing basic not to avoid: pinning or basting. When you don’t baste or pin an item properly, the final stitching can turn out poorly.

Each editor also shared a piece of advice for overcoming sewing challenges. Jeannine recommended experimenting with a new project or technique. She described how she created twisted bias strips on an evening handbag, borrowing the technique explained and completed on a skirt by Kenneth D. King in “Embellishments: Garnish with a Twist,” Threads #158, Dec. 2011/Jan. 2012.

Editor Sarah McFarland answers the Five Speedy Sewing Questions for this podcast, so be sure to find out what her favorite sewing term is, who taught her to sew, and more.

Listen to Episode 5 and previous episodes on iTunes and Stitcher, download podcast, or click on the play button below.

We have created a podcast survey to help guide our content. Please take a moment to answer a few questions.


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  1. doreet | | #1

    Hi, as nice as these designs and patterns may be,I would like to know if there are pattern companies that tackle clothing that is a challenge to make,and would otherwise be very expensive to buy.For an example,I know I can never afford to buy a trench coat. Even a simple pattern for this would be very welcome. Burda made jean patterns years ago,I sewed a pair of dark red denim jeans with bright blue thread.The pattern was so good,they came out beautiful. I am not trying to find the very hardest patterns, just patterns for pieces that would otherwise cost me a fortune to buy. (I did sew a fake fur cape,from a pattern,with modifications(we put in a lining not in the pattern)The upholstery fur looked so fabulous, people often think it's real fur. Any information on the above types of clothing, for patterns I could get,would be very welcome. Example,I no longer fit my small gloves.(My knuckles have arthritis.)I would love a good practical pattern for making simple gloves. Thank you.

  2. doreet | | #2


    There is the trench coat,and I had to look else where than Threads.and it's patterns. It looks like unless Threads does become more advanced,that I will have to google other patterns I want, all over the net,and not in The Insider and Threads online.

  3. User avater
    LBudge | | #3

    I would like to hear a discussion about pre-washing fusible interfacing. I have heard/read passionate discourses on whether or not to pre-wash.

  4. tejer | | #4

    I am new to the pod cast and love it. I am halfway thru a year of not purchasing clothes, shoes and fabric (no new fabric has been the most painful). I have enjoyed reconnecting to my fabric and sewing. I look forward the hearing past and future podcasts. Thank you

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