Sewing Notions 101
Join Threads Contributing Editor Judith Neukam to find out what notions you’ll need to start sewing garments. Find out which pins are best, what sort of scissors will make your cutting most efficient and accurate, and whether a rotary cutter and mat are necessary for your work. Plan to purchase some measuring tools, such as a measuring tape, clear rulers in straight and curved shapes (useful for adjusting patterns). Marking tools Judy recommends include traditional dressmaker’s tracing paper and wheel, tailor’s chalk, chalk wheels with powered chalk, and air- and water-erasable felt-tip markers. Finally, don’t forget the seam ripper–no matter how well you sew, you’ll need one eventually!
Teach Yourself to Sew
Garment sewing expert Judith Neukam got her first taste of sewing when she took the free lessons that came with her mother’s sewing machine purchase. Judith was 9 at the time. Soon after, she was sewing her own clothes and feeding her passion for the craft. In her Teach Yourself to Sew series, Judith shares her enduring love of sewing and her invaluable years of sewing experience.
She starts with discussing the equipment and the essential sewing notions for anyone who sews. You’ll learn about shopping for fabrics, choosing patterns (including selecting the correct size), and planning the perfect pattern layout. From machine-sewing simple seams to inserting zippers and stitching buttonholes, Judith demonstrates the key steps to making a custom garment.
Discover methods for clean-finishing seam allowances and applying facings so all edges are neat. To add shape to garments, Judith explains how and why to sew darts, and how to gather fabric for volume. Other garment elements, such as sleeves, pockets, and elasticized waistbands, are shown in easy-to-follow video tutorials.
Advancing your skills
When you’re ready to challenge yourself further, tune in to Judith’s overview of couture garments and sewing techniques. Even if you never intend to become the next Coco Chanel, you’ll learn methods that add quality to your everyday wardrobe. Find out how to perfectly match stripes, plaids, and prints; baste seams; and insert underlinings and linings.
Finally, Judith shares the basics of pattern fitting and adjustment. Her method begins at the shoulders, ensuring the garment hangs properly. Follow along as Judith shows how to create a shoulder template that you can use again and again to adjust patterns before cutting the fabric. As a bonus, you’ll even learn how to create a custom dress form so you can fit garments on a body that truly represents your true body shape.