Knowing the 'tricks of the trade' helps smooth out the bumps when you're learning to sew. After you get rollin', these tips and techniques are what make projects go faster and easier. They are also the secrets to having things turn out prettier and more professional in the end. 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 pulled together NINETY of our most helpful tutorials. Yep... 90! That's a whole lot of knowledge just waiting for you to drink it all in.
Sewing is an 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. Last week, we brought you up-to-speed with Bias Binding: figuring yardage, cutting, making and attaching. Today, we're continuing our journey down the binding path to a "sub-set" technique called: continuous bias binding. This is a little bit like another ancient art: 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 and very dimensional.
We were going to call this tutorial: Bias Binding: Basics & Beyond, however, we decided to forgo the clever alliteration and instead focus on the key words we hear whenever we receive questions about this very hot topic: "How do you figure out how much fabric you need?" "How do you cut all the strips?" "How do you sew all the strips together?" "How do you put it on your project so it looks smooth and pretty?" "Why is the sky blue?" We've posted about bias binding before, and even have an older tutorial on the subject. But, it was time to take a fresh look and collect all the scattered tips and information into one updated article. We'll address all four of the most common questions: yardage, cutting, making and attaching. You're on your own for the blue skies!
There’s something about the word fussy that sounds negative. We assume it means someone or something is being difficult, like a toddler turning up her nose at broccoli or the lawnmower that won't start unless you first pull the cord halfway and stand on one foot. But, words mean different things depending on the occasion, and in the world of sewing, fussy can be a compliment and a fussy cut is a beautiful thing.
Here's a common scenario: you buy a new garment, wear it once, wash it once, and... it is now two sizes too small! Some of us also use this phenomenon to explain why our once-favorite pants no longer fit. Although extra bowls of ice cream are likely the culprit in scenario #2, the guilty party behind scenario #1 is: improper preshrinking! Garment manufacturers often cut corners by skipping the preshrinking step in their construction process. You shouldn't make the same mistake. In the world of sewing and quilting, the ongoing great debate is: "Do you preshrink (or prewash) fabric before sewing with it or not?!" We’ve done our famous S4H research on the subject, and the resounding advice from professionals, and those who have learned the hard way (yes... we're in that bunch) is YES! Read on for the details, methods and best products to try.
Search the Internet for “how to make piping," and you're likely to find yourself smack dab in the middle of a cake decorating class. It seems learning to pipe frosting into something decorative is a highly sought-after skill. Well, so is making and attaching piping to sewn projects! Watch out, cake decorators; next time you search, you'll find yourself smack dab in the middle of a Sew4Home tutorial.
Is there anything worse than a lumpy pillow? Well... yes, there are probably lots of things worse, but ya gotta admit, a lumpy pillow is a real bummer. Besides, since we're sure you're busily planning your entry in our Great Pillow Personality Contest with Sew4Home & Fairfield Processing (more on this below), you need all the secret weapons at your disposal. You may be under the assumption all fiber filling is created equal, and that you just punch it in to the pillow cover like you're stuffing the Thanksgiving turkey. Well, take a step back S4H Stuffing Students, today we'll discuss types of filling, quality cues to look for on the label, stuffing tool recommendations, and how to properly stuff your next pillow (or other stuffed project) so it looks super smooth and professional.
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." It's true, 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 tote bag, you have a lot more room to put all your stuff if you create boxed corners. Basically, any sewn corner can be turned into a boxed corner with a few simple steps.
Whether you’re a novice or advanced sewer, you’ve likely heard the term "basting." And, we don't mean the yummy Thanksgiving turkey technique! In sewing, basting is a temporary straight stitch used to hold layers together until a final stitch is sewn. Since it’s a long, loose stitch, a basting stitch removes easily after sewing is complete. In this tutorial, we’ll explain 1) how to determine if your sewing machine has a basting stitch, 2) when to use a basting stitch in your sewing projects, and 3) why hand basting is sometimes needed as well.