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Setting Stitch Length: A Quick Look at How and Why

Tuesday, 03 March 2015 1:00

Adjusting stitch length isn't necessary for every project, but as you experiment with different types of fabrics and and start using stitches for embellishment as well as construction, a few quick tips will come in handy. When working with today's machines, which can zip along at up to 1000 stitches per minute, you can see how a little length goes a long way.

Basic Heirloom Stitching by Machine

Tuesday, 24 February 2015 1:00

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Heirloom is one of the oldest styles of specialty sewing. This precise and delicate type of stitching is said to have begun in the late 1800s by French nuns, who hand-stitched exquisite laces onto delicate fabrics for royal families. Their craftsmanship was so incredible, the resulting gowns and linens were painstakingly preserved and handed down from one generation to the next; hence an heirloom. You'll see the influence of heirloom stitching in a variety of high-end garments; most notably, special occasion finery, such as wedding dresses, christening gowns, and lingerie, as well as in the finest table linens. Today, with French nuns in short supply, we show you the basics of creating heirloom stitching with your sewing machine.

Understitching: How to Create a Sharp, Seamed Edge

Thursday, 19 February 2015 1:00

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If you are new to sewing, some of the terminology can be confusing. Doesn't "bolt" mean to run away? Cutting something on the "bias" just sounds offensive. And, "feed dogs" seems more like a command than a sewing machine part. Trying to understand exactly what the various terms mean, how they work, and especially when to use them may seem daunting. But, as you learn each one, they'll become commonplace, and soon "nap" will mean more than dropping off for a little snooze. Today, we meet: understitching, which is not a seam done in a sneaky or under-handed manner and/or by Underdog. Read on to find out what it really is.

Sewing Smooth Curves Every Time

Wednesday, 11 February 2015 1:00

In home décor sewing, there are lots of squares and rectangles. Pillows, placemats, curtain panels... nice flat shapes with plenty of good ol' right angles. But, if life didn't throw us a few curves now and then, it wouldn't be a very interesting journey would it?! You may feel a little apprehensive about learning to sew curves, thinking you’re happy with all things square. But learning to bend those right angles is a necessary part of sewing, and opens up new, fun possibilities. With our help, it's easy to do too! 

How to Make Flat Felled Seams

Wednesday, 28 January 2015 1:00

The right finishes make projects go more smoothly, look more professional, and give you an upper hand when it comes to impressing friends with your vast sewing knowledge! Making a flat felled (or flat fell) seam is a detail with a place in history as well as a place in the world of professional seam finishes. You can find references to the flat felled seam technique in vintage as well as hand sewing (once the only way to sew anything!). And, if you look down right now at the inside seam of your jeans, you'll see a trademark flat felled seam.

Dimensional Ribbon Embellishment Technique

Thursday, 22 January 2015 1:00

We love embellishing projects with gorgeous ribbons. One reason is that we have such amazing choices from our friends and sponsor, Renaissance Ribbons. Another is because ribbons inject wonderful color and texture. Third, they're very easy to work with. Since we use them often, we're always thinking about new and unique ways to apply them. Today's quick tip shows you how to use standard piping cord to make ribbon pop off the surface.

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How to Make a Rolled Hem with Your Sewing Machine

Tuesday, 20 January 2015 1:00

There's always a certain amount of hemming and hawing about having to hem. Just about every project you do includes some sort of a hem, and there are so many techniques from which to choose. There is the simple double-turn hem, blind hem, faced hem, covered hem, taped hem, curved hem, single hem, narrow hem, cuffed hem, and bias hem. Then there are all the special hemming techniques for certain fabric types, such as leather, fur or lace, as well as projects with scalloped edges or pleats. Whew! But with even with these choices, there is one particular type of hem we receive more questions about than any of the others: the rolled hem. Since it's at the top of our You Asked 4 It list, let's get rollin'. 

Deciphering the Marks on a Measuring Tape

Tuesday, 06 January 2015 1:00

Remember how scary it was to raise your hand in school and ask what you feared would be a "stupid" question? Hopefully we've moved beyond that childhood fear. Questions are great because they lead to answers, and answers are meant to be shared. Today's quick measuring tip came from a question in a visitor's email. Someone needed help figuring out what all those tiny marks are on a standard tape measure. We deal in fractions every day and are forever measuring quarters and eighths and sixteenths and whatnot. It all seems second nature to us! But when we stepped back and looked at our trusty tape with the eyes of someone brand new to sewing, we saw this question was indeed quite valid... there are a lot of marks with no identification. We came up with three handy charts to help decipher those little black lines. Download them to keep handy at your sewing station as quick reference tools.

Continuous Bias Binding: How to Plan, Mark, Stitch & Cut

Thursday, 04 December 2014 1:00

Sewing is a continually evolving art. Learning new and interesting techniques is one of the best ways to build upon your current knowledge. It keeps your skills fresh and your ideas lively. We have two great how-to articles on binding in general: Bias Binding: Figuring Yardage, Cutting, Making and Attaching and A Complete Step-by-Stpe for Binding Quilts & Throws. In this article, we're continuing our journey down the binding path to a "sub-set" technique called: continuous bias binding. It's a little bit like the ancient art of origami. You start out with a flat square (or rectangle), and after a few folds and flips here and there, you have something completely different, very dimensional, and quite useful.

Stitching and Cutting Corners Correctly

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 1:00

One of the common areas of sewing frustration, especially if you're new, is the corner. Those pesky four corners create any square or rectangular item, like the home décor standard: the pillow! In reality, any time you sew two pieces together then turn them right side out, that turned-out seam becomes the clean, finished edge you (and everyone else) will see. The number one goal when sewing a corner is to be precise. You must stop and pivot at the exact point where the seam allowances on the two sides intersect. This 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.

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