I used to put myself in the "old-dog-no-new-tricks" category, until I realized how much fun it is to open your mind to new experiences. Even when you've had a job or hobby for years and years (and years), there's always something interesting to find out about. I now proudly consider myself in the "new-puppy-lots-to-learn" category, and I'm tail-waggin' excited to share it all with YOU! In honor of the lazy, days of summer, we have a special series this week called S4H Summer School. Over the next few days, we'll Learn, Sew, Shop, Share and Win. You get a virtual doggie treat for every new idea you pick up. Before you grumble about learnin' while the sun shines, did you know summer vacation hasn't been around forever? Our modern summer break didn't take hold until the early 20th century. In the decades before the Civil War, rural students went to school only during summer and winter terms, leaving spring open for planting and fall available for harvesting. In the cities, urban kids studied as much as 48 weeks a year. Of course, education wasn't compulsory back then, so some surveys estimate as few as 30% of enrolled students actually attended year-round. S4H Summer School isn't compulsory either... but it is fun.
We firmly believe anyone can and should learn to sew. If it's been frustrating for you in the past, it's not because you just aren't good at it; it's much more likely you simply need to know a few tricks of the trade to smooth out the bumps. First step: lighten up on that frustration. Sewing is supposed to be enjoyable and relaxing! In fact, studies have shown it can actually lower your blood pressure. It's also one of the best activities to engage both sides of your brain: the creative side for color and design, the analytical side for dimensions and assembly.
There's a whole category of Tips & Resources to browse through here at Sew4Home, but in the interest of making things easy on you, we've compiled a S4H Summer School Cheat Sheet: some of our recent favorites, plus quick links to our super handy dandy list of sewing basics and our downloadable booklet of the same name.
Our goal is to give you the tools to make sewing easier, which will make it more fun, which will make it something you want to do more often, which will make you want to come back to Sew4Home more often to get great project ideas. It's a delightful chain of cause and effect!
Seems to me you should know these seams
They are certain types of seams you run into all the time. By learning a few extra steps, you'll be amazed at how you can achieve a much more professional finish with these everyday techniques.
Sewing Successful Curves Learning to bend traditional right angles is a necessary part of sewing, and opens up new possibilities.
Are You Stitching & Clipping Corners Correctly? Precision stitching, when combined with proper trimming of the excess fabric from the seam allowance, will create a beautiful sharp point and smooth edge every time.
A Complete Step-by-Step For Binding Quilts & Throws We cover how to cut your binding fabric, which way to press it, how to join it at the ends, and how to actually sew it to your project.
How To Make A Dart Pointers on how these points can shape flat fabric to the contours of your body.
How To Sew A Corner (aka Mitered) Hem You'll learn how to fold and sew the fabric at the corner of a hem so there is a diagonal seam from the point of the corner to the inside edge of the hem.
Understanding Understitching Not a seam done in a sneaky or under-handed manner, but a hidden helper that prevents your edge seams from rolling.
Specialty skills you've been dying to learn
Four of our favorite techniques that will give you the confidence to take on a few of those projects you've always wanted to do: heirloom style table linens, a sheer and stretchy summer top, a water resistant tote, a super stylish handbag. Just because it looks complex, doesn't mean it is!
Basic Heirloom Stitching By Machine Learn how to imitate fine French hand sewing techniques with your sewing machine.
How To Do Shirring In between the simplicity of gathering and the intricacy of hand-smocking, lives one of our favorite texturing techniques: elastic shirring.
Successful Sewing With Laminated Cottons (And Other Sticky Stuff) Today's laminates are pretty and pliable, and with our easy tips... super fun to sew.
Adding Metal Trims To Sewing Projects Sewing isn't always soft; we show you hints for cutting, applying and finishing the trendiest metal trims.
Pleats, pretty please
Pleats are the origami of the sewing world. And although you don't usually need to fold one into the shape of a swan, pleats are one of our favorite ways to add depth and dimension to flat fabric. We recently completed a series of the three most basic types. Try one or try them all.
How To Make A Box Pleat Or Inverted Box Pleat Formed when two equal folds of fabric are folded away from each other in opposite directions on the front of a length of fabric.
How To Make Knife Pleats They sound dangerous, but are merely pretty folds pressed to one side - all in the same direction.
How To Make Wave Tucks A cousin on the pleat, these start as a modified pintuck, but quickly transform into beautiful winding folds with a few passes through your sewing machine.
Quick links to the best of the basics
Sixty (yep 6-0!!) of our best articles, covering everything from How to Make a Blind Hem Stitch to How to Fussy Cut to How To Tell If Your Fabric Is On Grain. All these great links, all on one handy page.
A full-color, 28-page booklet you can download for free. Check out the lists of what to look for in sewing machine needles, cutting tools, thread and more. Find step-by-step instructions for several technique basics, like simple hems and buttons. It's an absolute must for the beginning sewing enthusiast and a great little refresher course for us all.