Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Five Sewing Tips

Today, I am going to share 5 sewing tips with you. These are things I have learned over the years – whether from others or through experience – that have greatly helped my sewing, and I hope they will be useful to you as well!

Zig-zag stitching
You may be tempted to skip this step, but most fabric will unravel if you do not secure it. I have had fabric unravel through the seams, which is no fun at all! Just sew the loose edges of each seam together with a medium zig-zag stitch. It really doesn't take that long, and it can save you a lot of tears – or extra work.

Securing with reverse stitching
This is something most people probably do. After all, if you don't secure your seam, it will come right out! Going back and forth once is good enough for most seams, but if the seams you are sewing are going to be exposed to a lot of stress, like pockets on the outside of a garment, be sure to reinforce them much more than usual. When I sew pockets onto aprons, I go back and forth 3-4 times to ensure that the seam will hold.

Sometimes it is just easier to fold over a neckline and sew it down, rather than worrying about facing. If you have ever done this, though, you may notice that the neckline – or whatever edge it is you are sewing – rolls outward. This is where facing comes in handy. I always lay my edge on a piece of fabric and cut out a mirror image of it. Then I sew the front sides together, flip the facing to the inside, and iron it down. I usually finish it with a line of stitching to hold the facing down.

Sewing a curved hem
Curved hems are hard to deal with. The fabric doesn't want to fold and iron smoothly, and may create unsightly bumps or curling. For these sorts of hems, I use one of three methods, two of which were already mentioned above. One option is to zig-zag stitch the edge, fold it under once, and sew it down. This works if you are just sewing for yourself and don't need it to look extremely professional. For a more professional hem, cut a long strip of facing and sew it to the bottom edge of the skirt. The trick here is to iron right on the seam between the facing and the skirt so that the hem lays flat and the seams is invisible. The third option for sewing a curved hem is simply to sew a very small one! This can be harder on some fabrics, like sheer, but it looks very professional and is probably the most common option.

Stay stitching
Have you ever worked with knitted fabrics and found them stretching and pulling as you sewed? This can be very annoying. The best way I know of to take care of this problem is to sew a row of stitching on the edges of each of your fabric pieces before you sew them together. Be sure to feed the fabric gently through the machine, making sure it doesn't stretch, but also being careful not to let it bunch up and end up gathered. This may take a few tries, and you may want to experiment with a scrap of your fabric before applying it to the actual garment. Stay stitching does take some time, but it is worth it!

Happy sewing to all you seamstresses out there! I hope you find these tips useful!

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