Practical Sewing Tips

Practical Sewing Tips
Sewers can always appreciate those sewing tips discovered and shared by others even those that may be apparent and obvious for example: carefully pre-wash fabric (if washable) so any shrinkage, stretching or loss of color can be discovered, measure twice – cut once, a valuable phrase borrowed from carpentry and press all seams open to control the seam allowances and prevent them from becoming bulky are understandably tried and true advice.

Some favorite sewing tips to share relate to transfer markings from printed patterns to fabric, fabric care and content labels and using large or serger thread spools for the top thread on regular sewing machines.

Transfer pattern markings - for multi-sized sewing patterns with their many printed sewing lines, placement markings (usually notches, circles, and arrows) to match seams and darts, seam intersections, pocket insertions, straight-of-grain, as well as buttonhole and other closures, it is often impractical or difficult to use chalk pencil markings or washable marking pens. Consider using a hand-held paper hole punch to cleanly punch through the tissue pattern itself directly on those notches, and alignment circles as well, so that straight pins can be used for pin-marking that will allow the pin heads to easily pass through the punched holes. The tissue paper pattern easily scrunches to allow the hole punch to make its way to the furthest marking. The tissue paper pattern and its myriad markings are then preserved without tears or cuts in the pattern. The punched holes do allow for easier chalk or washable fabric pens or for making tailor tacks through the tissue pattern when their use is desired.

Fabric care and content labels - most fabric and craft stores no longer provide the fabric care and content labels separately that would come from the fabric manufacturer on pre-printed rolls or sheets for the asking along with their fabric bolts. Make your own fabric care and fabric content labels to sew or iron into your finished garments by using your computer’s word processing program and your inkjet printer. Care and content info is printed on a fabric bolt end. Take a photo of the bolt end or hand copy info so that you could then create your own fabric care labels. Most word processing programs have a label or address template useful for creating multiple images or text. Print out on made-for-printer-use fabric sheets (a piece of fabric bonded to paper sized to 8 1/2" x 11") to then iron on or sew into the garment. If fabric is store-purchased pre-cut, matching up the piece with comparable fabric on a bolt may be helpful. Online purchases will indicate the care and content. Otherwise, there are general care tips for laundering garments if the type of fibers are known.

Labels such as 100% Cotton Machine Wash Cool, Tumble Dry Low; 100% Cotton, Hand Wash Cold; 100% Polyester, Machine Wash, Gentle Cycle; 100% Rayon, Dry Clean Only; Hand Wash, Cold Water; 50% Cotton 50% Polyester, Machine Wash, Tumble Dry Low - are just a few examples of fabric care and content labels to create and use with your finished garment.

Serger or unusual shape thread spool – although that large cone of serger thread may look economical, know that serger thread is thinner than the traditional spools of all-purpose sewing threads and may not be suitable for all hand or machine sewing. Serger thread is thin and fine to accommodate the speed that the serger uses to create stitches, to reduce thread bulk on seam edges, and to reduce thread lint that can accumulate as the serger threads pass through many thread guides. With that said, it is possible, should the need arise, to use the large cones of serger threads or that occasional bulky or elongated thread spool and by-pass the thread spindle by placing the spool in a coffee mug - the thread will wind off easily. Elevate the mug beside the machine to allow for an unobstructed path through the machine’s first thread guide or consider purchasing a stand-alone thread stand and then after tension adjustments thread the machine as usual.

Sewing hints abound on the web. You many find many, many others.

Sew happy, sew inspired.




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This content was written by Cheryl Ellex. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cheryl Ellex for details.