A number of years ago, we had a French intern working with us... the daughter of a friend of a friend - you know how those things go. She was a sweet girl with a lovely accent, and we had fun asking her for the translation of things we tag as "French": a French braid to her was an Indian braid; French cut was Brazilian cut; French fries were American! We didn't get into all the amazing sewing techniques influenced by fine French (or heirloom) sewing. There's the French cuff, French dart, French knot, French curve, French binding and today's topic: the French seam. Ready to give it a try? Wearing a beret is optional.
In sewing, there's a difference between stitches you use for construction and ones you use for finishing. When you’re first learning to sew, your immediate focus is getting all those pieces to fit together correctly. From the moment you cut the fabric, you’re concerned with maintaining the shape of the pattern pieces. You tediously concentrate on perfecting seam allowances, matching cut pieces end to end, lining up seams, and measuring hems exactly. When a project is finally completed, you’re so happy; your sense of accomplishment is overwhelming... but, what about the inside edges beyond where you sewed? One of the signs of a truly well-made project is that it looks nearly as good on the inside as it does on the outside. If you want your projects to look "handmade" but not "homemade," it's well worth it to give your seams a professional finish.
Velvet and velveteen are definitely members of the fabric world's Specialty category. But, that doesn't mean they're too "special" to be part of your sewing stash. All you need is a little help learning how to properly handle, sew and care for them. And that's what your friends here at Sew4Home are for, right?! As we've shown you in recent weeks, today's fabric collections no longer feature quilting cotton as the only available substrate (or fabric type). Westminster Fibers, through their FreeSpirit and Rowan brands, offers a wonderful range of options from the sheerest voile to heavy canvas to the rich velveteen we're using from Amy Butler's Alchemy collection. But like anything new, unique substrates, such as velvet and velveteen tend to be feared by many home sewers. And... when fear leads you to always err on the same (or safe) side of all these fun new choices, you can end up in a fabric rut. Below we’ve summarized what we know about velvet and velveteen, along with the proper techniques for cutting, sewing, pressing, and more. Spread your wings and try something new! Trust us, the extra care is well worth the finished product.
Recently, you may have noticed many of your favorite fabric designers are starting to offer their new collections in different substrates (or fabric types). It used to be you would see a specific line in 100% woven cotton only. Now, you are just as likely to also see beautiful combinations of colors and prints in cotton laminate, linen, canvas, voile, rayon, velveteen, corduroy, flannel, fleece, knit and sateen. Westminster Fibers, through both their FreeSpirit and Rowan lines, is an industry leader when it comes to offering these new substrates; and leading designer, Amy Butler has certainly embraced the trend. Among other options, her current collection, Alchemy features both an amazing rayon and a rayon/linen blend. We’ve summarized what we know about each, along with the proper techniques for cutting, sewing, pressing and more.
Zip-A-Dee-Ay! On Tuesday of this week, we showed you the steps to master installation of a regular zipper. Today, we introduce (or maybe reintroduce) you to one of our other lovely zipper friends, the invisible zipper. Remember, this zipper is shy, and likes to stay hidden in the seamline of your projects. In fact, with the exception of its slender zipper pull, you’d never know it was there. It likes it that way... and you will too! In the realm of all zippers (a land just north by northwest of Oz), the invisible or concealed zipper is actually the easiest to install.
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 this 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!
We love to gather with friends and family to share good food and conversation. We enjoy gathering with like-minded folks to attend concerts and other events. In these contexts, gathering is fun and easy. By comparison, in sewing... gathering is often known as daunting and time-consuming! Many sewists will do just about anything to avoid adding gathers (or ruffles) into their projects, whether by hand or machine. We believe all gathering should be fun and easy, and today, we aim to change the perception of gathering with a sewing machine. After reading this tutorial, we bet you’ll be inviting your sewing friends over to convince them just how easy it is to gather fabric. If you do this, we think you should call it "gatherers gathering on gathers!"
Today's popular laminated cottons start out as basic woven 100% cottons, which are then coated with a Phthalate-free laminate. They're ideal for any project where you want some waterproofing or the ability to wipe the finished item clean with a damp cloth. Think baby bibs, changing pads, raincoats, outdoor tablecloths, reusable shopping bags, and more. Many of your favorite fabric designers are adding laminate choices to their collections, giving you dozens and dozens of very pretty options to choose from. But sometimes, there's a specific print you can't find as a laminate; such as when you're using a very specific set of fabrics and want everything to match exactly. There's an easy way to make your own laminated fabric with iron-on vinyl. The most widely used product of this type, and the one we're using for today's tutorial, is Heat 'n' Bond by Therm O Web from Fabric.com.
Although hugely popular in ready-to-wear and more, knit fabrics tend to have a bad reputation among home sewing enthusiasts. Poor little knits! All too often, that bad rap comes from false information, or a complete lack of knowledge about the category. We promised our knit friends we’d tell their story and help clear their names. To know knits is to love them! Plus, our current Oh Baby! series with Fabric.com uses a number of pretty knits, because soft knits and soft babies are a natural pair.
Sometimes, you cross something off your "give-it-a-go" list simply because it looks too hard. But once you give it a try, maybe with someone’s help the first time out, you often discover it wasn’t at all as hard as you thought! Such is the case with the phobia many sewers have when it comes to inserting metal grommets. Since these are usually installed with large machines or grommet presses in commercial production, people think they can’t replicate the look at home. It's one of those sewing applications many simply refuse to attempt. Whether it’s the actual installation process, getting the spacing just right, cutting the holes in the fabric to the exact size, or all of the above, we're here to prove you can do this by yourself. We’ve installed a grommet or two here in the Sew4Home studios and will share with you all we learned. Besides... getting to use a hammer in the sewing process can be very therapeutic!