Happy Halloween, Sew4Home ghosts and goblins. In the spirt of the Treak-or-Treat tradition, we have a great sewing trick that's sure to be a treat: warp speed button sewing. Buttons, whether functional or just decorative, are a favorite element on Sew4Home projects, but we know you start rolling your eyes when you think about having to break out the needle and thread to sew on button after button. For some reason, button-sewing is stuck in our psyche as a dreaded, time-consuming task. We’re here to tell you that need not be true! Read on to learn our favorite, super speedy, five-step process to perfect buttons.
Window coverings seem to be one of our most basic needs. As soon as you get some sort of shelter, you're looking for a way to cover the windows for privacy. In college, I simply used push-pins to hold a sheet across my apartment's bedroom window. I let it hang down at night, and during the day I held it back with a binder clip from my Economics textbook. Not very stylish, but at least it blocked the view of the dumpsters. Now I know window coverings are a great DIY project; and simple enough for the beginning sewer. Straight edges. Simple, straight stitches. The individual steps couldn't be easier. But even the most basic curtain project can go awry without some good planning. And the most important part of that planning is knowing how to take proper measurements.
Microwavable heating pads with organic fillers are a wonderful way to soothe sore muscles or just warm up on a cold day. Their combination of toasty warmth and good smell are a natural remedy you can enjoy every day without side effects. The warming pad project we did here at Sew4Home is one of the most popular gift items ever featured. Most likely, it's because they're not only functional, they're also really easy to make. Everybody who makes them seems to have a favorite filler. So we thought we'd do a little testing to see if we could find out which one is best.
Do you ever watch those TV hospital shows and think, "I could do that"? Maybe not be an actual, real-life doctor. But you could wear a white coat, carry a stethoscope, and yell, "Get me a C-Spine, Chem 7, and a V-Fib!" I have no idea what any of those terms mean. They're just fun to shout. To get you just a little bit closer to your doctor daydreams, we're here to show you how one of the medical devices you saw Dr. Greene use every week can also be a big help in your sewing room. It's called a hemostat, and it's basically a locking clamp shaped like a long pair of scissors. (Probably what Dr. Greene wanted when he yelled, "Clamp!") A hemostat is extremely useful when you need to turn long, narrow tubes right side out.
We've all seen this popular little clasp. It's the go-to closure on everything from casual backpacks to high-end handbags. As with anything that includes moving parts, and may involve tools to install, it can seem intimidating. You might opt instead for a simple button closure, a snap, or simply hope a flap stays put on its own. Here's the secret about this two-part lock: it's actually quite easy to put in. The key is confirming the placement of both halves, but that's just a matter of careful measuring and double-checking. So what are you waiting for? On the next project that features a flap or strap to secure – go pro with a tuck lock.
Most of us understand how to sew on a button. If not, we have tutorials on sewing them on by hand as well as by machine. Pretty darn easy either way, and not scary at all. But buttonholes are a whole different matter. At the end of your project, after you've put in so much work, it's time to put in the buttonholes. You should be happy you're almost done. But for many of us, beads of sweat start to form across our brows and we wonder, "Am I about to ruin everything by botching the buttonholes?" Well, you can stop sweating, because it's really not that hard once you break it down into individual steps.
You might have heard the term, "fabric grain." It sounds like it could be a breakfast cereal just for sewists. But in reality, it's a technical term that describes the direction your fabric has been woven. It's important to know which way the grain is running. Because, fabric that is off-grain when you are cutting pattern pieces can cause your completed project to stretch out of shape. We're here to give you a better understanding of fabric grain and some tips on how to straighten it.
The circle is, in my opinion, the Queen of the geometric shapes. Don't get me wrong; I like all those squares, rectangles, triangles, octagons and whatnot, but the circle is the coolest of the bunch: smooth and pretty and endlessly useful. But trying to draw a perfect circle without a pattern is a challenge, and figuring out the proper size of an opening into which a circle can be inserted requires working with Pi (or π), and not the delicious kind you can eat with a bit of ice cream. We're here today to help you with the steps you've forgotten since high school geometry class (or maybe never learned because you were too busy passing notes with Susan Ellery!). We'll show you the parts of a circle, how wide to cut fabric to fit a circle, and how to draw a circle without a pattern. We've also included a handy conversion from decimals to inches, which is necessary when working with Pi.
I call this a "flat top" zipper. I've also heard it referred to as a set-in zipper and a recessed zipper. You can make up your very own name; the Penelope Zipper would be one option. I'm sure you've seen this type of zipper on loads of handbags and totes. It sits below the top of the bag, running flat across the top (thus the vote for my name), featuring tabs at either end (making it easy to zip open and shut), and is secured to the bag's lining with a simple facing (which allows it to be recessed). When you want a professional look and the security of a full closure, you can't go wrong with the inset-set-in-recessed-Penelope zipper. Read on to see how easy it can be.
This is not one of those square-peg-in-a-round-hole situations. But, if the idea of sewing a two-dimensional item (a flat circle) into a three-dimensional item (a tube) sounds like something from another dimension, read on. We've broken it down into a simple step-by-step process and even show you two different methods.