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Conversational Threads

Introducing Teach Yourself to Sew

VictoriaNorth | Posted in Teach Yourself To Sew on

In our new Teach Yourself to Sew video series, Threads Senior Technical Editor, Judith Neukam demonstrates basic sewing techniques, shares tips, and gives step-by-step instruction for beginner sewing projects. Throughout the year we will cover how a sewing machine works, how to choose fabric and tools, and everything needed to create clothes in no time.

This series is for beginning sewers or anyone who wants to brush up on their skills. If you have already mastered the art of sewing, share this series with those who want to get started, and contribute your expertise here on Gatherings.

If you are a new sewer, ask the experienced sewers here in community for tips, tricks, or even how to fix a mistake. The community is wonderful and always willing to help.

We are committed to helping the next generation of sewers get started and we know we can count on the Threads community to help us keep the art of sewing alive.

Ask a Question or Share Your Expertise



  1. Mechelle | | #1

    I am ready to do a lapped, slightly lapped zipper on a tunic back.  I need help!

    1. stillsuesew | | #2

      If you have a Coats and Clark zipper that came in the cardboard folder, they have excellent directions printed on the folder.  Years ago I remember keeping a folder around for reference when other zippers came out without directions.  Zippers do not have to be difficult.  And they should be put into a project as soon as possible while everything is relatively flat and out of the way.

  2. AnnsFashionStudio | | #3

    Good Day,

    Can you please tell me where  you purchased the ham you showed in the  "Equipment 101'" video. (The pink /green/blue/white plaid one).

    I have been looking for one that size and cannot find them anywhere.

    Appreciate your time.

    Thank you.


    1. amm | | #4

      Unfortunately, the ham that was used in the video has been in the Threads sewing room for years and is no longer available. You can purchase a variety of pressing supplies (ham, point presser, clapper, seam roll, seam stick, etc.) at:


      1. Palady | | #5

        Ah yes - vintage sewing notions.  Dare say every sewist knows their value.  My ham from the 1960's was passed along to my daughter.   She cherishes it because she found it is firmer & larger than anything on the market in recent years.  We've decided after some "studying" it's the filling that makes the difference.  It might well be excelsior.  That spelling may be incorrect.  I'm meaning the packing material used back before what is used today.  It's straw like.  Wood enthisiasts use it to smooth a finish.  There's a bin of it in my basement because my husband used to redo or stain pieces now & then. 

        There's a tutorial to make a ham at the following URL.  MO, the filling is a factor.  It should be very very very very firm.  I'd guess the size could be varied after a prototype was made. 

        I notice that pictured has some wrinkling along the seam.  MO, this should be avoided.  The joing seam should be smooth.  Also, a combination of a quality wool & muslin should be the fabrics.  I come to make note this because that's what was used on my old one.  I've noticed some these days have questionable material.  To get good steaming results & drying for shaping, wool/muslin is the way to go.



        ETA - For interested lurkers, there is a menu of  techniques listed to the right side of the page on the Burda site that might prove of value.


        1. AnnsFashionStudio | | #6

          Thank you Palady.I believe making one in the size I want is my option :)

          I agree it's whats inside that matters.It will be a project to work on :)

          1. Palady | | #7

            When you make your ham, would you please post how the Burda pattern resulted?  Also, what you used for the filling.   The directions mention cut fabric strips.  I'm uncertain it would nearly as firm as my, ooopps daughter's, vintage one using just materials.


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