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How to Sew a Blind Hem

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 1:00

A blind hem is exactly what it sounds like: a hem with stitches you barely notice. It's perfect for window coverings, the hem at the bottom of a garment, or anywhere you want a clean finished edge. When I first started sewing, attaining a perfect blind hem was like finding the Holy Grail. And then a funny thing happened, I practiced it a few times, and realized it was really easy. It's sort of like learning to use chopsticks – at first it seems so awkward and difficult and then, suddenly, it's second nature. Try a blind hem and you'll never drop a wad of sticky rice in your lap again. This is one of our most popular techniques ever on Sew4Home; so much so, we try to re-run it at least once a year in order to stamp out the fear of blind hems for both new and returning visitors. 

Out-Of-The-Box Basics: ID the Main Parts of a Sewing Machine

Tuesday, 27 September 2016 1:00

Sewing is an art. But it does rely on science and technology as well. And then there's math with all those fractions and geometry. But most importantly... there's your machine! A good machine makes the difference – not only in the sewing experience but in the professional look of the finished project. Janome America is the exclusive sewing machine sponsor of Sew4Home and we love our studio Janomes. When you have a great machine, you can literally forget about it, and put your full concentration on the art of sewing. To borrow a line from Janome that explains this phenomenon: the easier the tools, the more creative you become. Janome machines are precise and reliable from the top of the line to the most basic entry level model. One of the very first articles we did on Sew4Home explained the parts of a basic sewing machine. We've updated that article to benefit of all the new sewing enthusiasts out there. Plus, it never hurts for any of us to dust off our skills and knowledge. 

How to Install a Conventional Zipper

Thursday, 15 September 2016 1:00

Zzzzzzzzip it! We love the sound, the look, and the functionality of zippers. But most of us are not so in love with installing them in our sewing projects. In fact, there's probably no sewing technique more dreaded than learning how to properly install a zipper. If you're a regular S4H visitor, you know that's a challenge we can't walk away from. Today, you are going to learn how to master the most conventional zipper technique. Once you’ve done so, one warning: anyone who finds out about your new skill will be dropping off all kinds of items with broken zippers on your front porch. Ha! Pull them inside, and teach them how to do it themselves! The steps shown below are for a "conventional" zipper as you might use on a garment – where the fabric meets along the center of the zipper teeth, concealing them.

My Top 5 Garment Sewing Secrets: Nancy Fiedler of Janome America

Thursday, 08 September 2016 1:00

In our quest to continue bringing you the information you’re searching for, we’ve been partnering with some of our pals in the sewing community to provide guest features on garment sewing. This is an area we don’t currently focus on at Sew4Home but for which we get a lot of inquiries. It’s not that we don’t love garment sewing; we just haven’t made the leap yet into full sets of sized patterns. Until we jump, our skilled friends are excellent resources and very kind to share their knowledge. In this article, we turn to master educator, Nancy Fiedler of Janome America. Nancy’s helped us with several techniques on S4H, such as grading seams, sewing a zipper in a circle, cornering with decorative stitches, and more. Our thanks to her for collecting her top five garment tips to share. 

How to Box Corners

Tuesday, 30 August 2016 1:00

Okay - true confession time. In school, I was a theater rat... always in plays and musicals, always taking artsy-fartsy classes, including "How To Mime" or, as I remember it, "How To Pretend You're Stuck In A Box And Look Foolish Doing It." Unless you're Marcel Marceau, you look really silly doing mime. So... no mime today. But, we are still making a box. In particular, a boxed corner. This is a sewing technique everyone should have in her/his arsenal. The boxed corner creates space in something that would otherwise be flat. For example, in a bag, you'll have a lot more room to stash your stuff if you create boxed corners. Basically, any sewn corner can be turned into a boxed corner with a few simple steps. We show you the two most common methods.

Drapery Tapes from Dritz: The Fastest Way to Finish Curtains

Monday, 29 August 2016 1:00

Window coverings are often one of the first DIY home décor projects people attempt. And rightly so; they’re usually simple panels with just a few hems – fast, easy and so much more affordable than off-the-shelf options. However, figuring out how best to hang those pretty panels can be more of a challenge. Dritz® Home products to the rescue! They offer three drapery tape options that solve the most common hanging alternatives: Rod Loop Tape, Clip Ring Tape, and Iron-On Shirring Tape. We made a mini sample to test each product and were very happy with how quickly everything went together. Read on to find out more. And you know that blank window you’ve been staring at for months? It could have its very own curtain in no time at all. 


Make and Measure a Circle Without a Pattern

Thursday, 25 August 2016 1:00

The circle is, in my humble 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. However, 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), which is 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.

Sewing Vocabulary: Test Your Skills, Impress Your Friends

Tuesday, 26 July 2016 1:00

Any endeavor that turns into a passion comes with its own set of terms, phrases, abbreviations, and secret handshakes. Well, maybe they don’t all have a secret handshake… maybe just a decoder ring. Sewing is no different, and although we do try to make sure we define the more unusual words we sometimes toss around, we can forget now and then. So, we pulled together the Top Twenty Terms that come into play on a regular basic. We’ve alphabetized them into a mini glossary. If you’re a pro, buzz through and see how many you know without peeking. If you’re just getting started, these are great vocabulary builders and awesome to throw into the conversation to startle any non-sewing friends who might be eavesdropping. “I was simply unable move forward without dropping my feed dogs.”  

Top 7 Tips for Teen Sewing

Wednesday, 06 July 2016 1:00

Hopefully, you're reading this article for one of two reasons. Either you know a teen who really wants to start sewing, or you know one you'd like to inspire to start sewing. In both cases, you can help them on their way with a little guidance. In this day and age, when young adults seem to be devoted nearly full-time to social media apps, it's easy to think none of them could possibly be interested in something so archaic as sewing. But, while you weren't looking, sewing became cool. Read on for our Top Seven Tips to pave the way to a great experience for a young sewist. 

How to Sew with Rick Rack: The Most Terrific of Trims

Thursday, 23 June 2016 1:00

Rick rack or rickrack or ricrac, however you spell it, there’s no denying it’s been at the top of the trim list for near 200 years. Earliest mentions of this wavy wonder date back to the mid-1800s! At its most simplified, rick rack is defined as a flat, narrow woven braid in a zig zag form. It was originally known as “waved crochet braid.” That’s right! Rick rack’s history is not as homespun as you might think. Rick rack was a preferred trim for fancy handwork in the late-19th and early-20th century, a sought-after component of crocheted lace designs. Because the harsh laundry methods of the time involved boiling-hot water, grated lye soap, and large wooden paddles, the durability of rick rack made it a favorite with seamstresses who were tasked with applying or repairing the much more delicate laces. From elegant lace gowns to prairie pinafores, it’s a trim that’s weathered the test of time and we have the best tips for adding it to today’s projects.