Monday, September 27, 2010

Sewing Tips From Those Who Know ~ Part One

A few days ago, I asked in the Etsy forums for the best sewing tips from those who sew.  The response was tremendous!!  Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned seamstress, you're sure to find a tip that will make sewing a little easier!  In celebration of National Sewing Month, here are those tips...

Understitching facings to seam allowances will make them lay flatter around neck and armhole openings. Topstitching is neater and easier with understitching.  TexstyleTextures      

If you are making the same basic design pieces in multiples, make your steps count. Cut all of the pieces needed for all of the stuff you're working on all at once.
Press all the pieces all at once.
Make all handles and pockets all at the same time; one after the other.
Do all basic assembly the same way.
Install zippers and hardware for all the finished pieces at the same time.
Assemble everything all in one go.
Make sure you have plenty of preloaded bobbins on hand. I wind 2 dozen bobbins at a go, all in basic tan (it goes with everything) so I don't run out.  When I'm on a roll, I can make about 36 finished and lined bags with pockets and hand-sewn button closures in one day.   The trick is to have everything ready to go at your fingertips and not have to get up from the machine every two minutes.  Her Royal Majesty Bags

If you have a fabric and you can't easily tell the wrong side from the right side. Just get out the chalk and put a big X on the wrong side. (Or you could pin a safety pin to the wrong side, but, that chalk X really stands out)  Rip it rip it rip it   Sley The Dent

Many Fabrics are best pre-washed...Iron as you go
"She who dies with the most Fabric....WINS!"   When you return from buying Fabric..leave it in the Trunk of your car until it is dark LOL   Anica's Cottage

Press your stuff. Press it before you cut, and then press any hems into it before you sew! It makes everything so much easier and neater in the end.   beanjbunny      beanjbunny's blog

measure twice, cut once!   janeeroberti

Cotton fabric users: save your selvages!   TheQuiltingViolinist 

A seasoned seamstress taught me to rip the fabric instead of cutting it to find the grain of the fabric. (This only works for light-weight cottons or poly/cot blends). Oh - and I always label my fabric the minute I get it home. Since I have hundreds of pieces, I use a label on the corner of one end and put the amount of yardage. Many times I buy 1 yard, 1/2 yard, etc. and this helps me later to see if I have enough for a project without having to re-measure. (I also include date & purchase price, but that's because I can then tell what I paid and it helps me with costing later on)       happygolucky1

When gathering large amounts of fabric (as for a bed skirt) instead of using basting stitches to pull the gathers, zig-zag stitch over a thin piece of twine (cooking twine works well) keeping the stitches free of the string. When done stitching, just pull your twine to make the gathers...easy smeasy with no more thread breakage! :)   MyMotherMary

I use pedicure toe spacers to store my bobbins in.   ButterflyandLadybug

If you draft or alter your own patterns, stock up on white diaper flannel. It's super cheap, infinately better than traditional non-woven pattern paper. The best part is that it "sticks" to your actual fabric, so there is really no need to pin the pattern. I block my patterns on the flannel and then roll the pieces up together for each size with a rubber band marked with the style and size. They store well, don't wrinkle and last FOREVER.   lillipopsdesigns

I'm a new sewer, but agree that pre-washing and drying is best. I run a quick zig-zag along the cut ends to keep the fraying down. Also, if the fabric is for a specific pattern I don't think I will get to for a while, I will either tuck the pattern into the fabric or pin the pattern number onto the fabric.   LibertyImages

If you use a hand cranked machine, do not put your pin pot where your elbow will knock it to the floor on the first turn of the wheel...    Overspill

I love to sew. My tips are not to drink too much wine when sewing and to sew when the kittens nap. :) Also, nonfusible interfacing makes great material for tracing patterns rather than pattern paper - much more durable!   TheVintageDesignShop

I save cardboard(non- corrugated) from cereal boxes, etc. and make durable, re-usable patterns that cost $000!   LeatherheadOriginals

Aren't these some great tips so far?  I'll have even more tomorrow!


  1. Great tips! Love the diaper flannel pattern one! I like the idea of storing the patterns rolled. Thanks for the info!

  2. Love the cardboard idea.

  3. Ok know me by now. I am really not liking the assembly line advice. It is more efficient, but I prefer to create a whole handmade creation start to finish. I want to be as far away from an assembly line mentality as possible...but that's me ;-)
    Loved all the great ideas..I'l be using many of them.

    Janet xox

  4. These are good tips, and as a sewer, I have to say, you can never iron too much. Now you might use steam too much, but if you iron as you go, your garment will look much nicer in the end. I'm an ironing freak when I'm sewing. I was taught that way, and I can't imagine how anyone can sew a straight seam on wrinkled fabric. LOL

  5. Thanks for sharing this tips. I used to machine sew as a child/young teen. Just recently got a new small pixie sewing machine. I'm going to post a link to this blog post on my blog. have a great day.

  6. Excellent tips! Thank you for sharing. I used to sew, sew, sew and now I spend too much time on the blog, blog, blog. Gotta get back to the sewing machine -- and will incorporate these great tips. Thank you!

  7. What wonderful tips! Thanks for sharing them.

    My favourite is still the one about waiting till dark before bringing those prized new fabric purchases home to add to the stash. Don't husbands know that fabric just...breeds?

  8. Wow - You did get a good response ! Great ideas - especially that diaper pattern. I don't bring beads in til after dark either ! LOL

  9. Love the tip on gathering long lengths. So simple but makes perfect sense! Also the tip on using the flannel as a pattern. Great ideas, both! Thank you for doing this.

  10. Great tips, my favs are the diaper flannel and the gathering which I already do. I just use dental floss instead.
    Thank you.
    Can't wait to see the next group!


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