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 from which to choose. There is the simple double-turn hem, the 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 and 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. Our current Romantic Retreat series with Westminster Fibers Lifestyle Fabrics includes projects that incorporate a number of different substrates, from sateen to voile to laminates. A rolled hem may just come in handy, so let's get rollin'.
As part of our Weekend Wonders series with Fabric.com, we have a couple technique tutorials designed to make those Wonders go more smoothly, look more professional, and... simply 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.
I used to put myself in the "old-dog-no-new-tricks" category, until I realized how much fun it is to open your mind to new experiences. Even when you've had a job or hobby for years and years (and years), there's always something interesting to find out about. I now proudly consider myself in the "new-puppy-lots-to-learn" category, and I'm tail-waggin' excited to share it all with YOU! In honor of the lazy, days of summer, we have a special series this week called S4H Summer School. Over the next few days, we'll Learn, Sew, Shop, Share and Win. You get a virtual doggie treat for every new idea you pick up. Before you grumble about learnin' while the sun shines, did you know summer vacation hasn't been around forever? Our modern summer break didn't take hold until the early 20th century. In the decades before the Civil War, rural students went to school only during summer and winter terms, leaving spring open for planting and fall available for harvesting. In the cities, urban kids studied as much as 48 weeks a year. Of course, education wasn't compulsory back then, so some surveys estimate as few as 30% of enrolled students actually attended year-round. S4H Summer School isn't compulsory either... but it is fun.
Corners get a bad rap. You get backed into them, things go wrong when you cut them, and when you're bad, you have to stand in them. In sewing, when two exterior raw edges come together at 90˚, you're faced with hemming around a corner. If you've always been fearful about what lurks around a hemmed corner, this is the tutorial for you. Today, we'll show you the easiest ways to sew a corner hem. You'll learn how to fold and sew the fabric at the corner of a hem so there is a diagonal seam from the point of the corner to inside the edge of the hem. The diagonal seam is the point of the miter, which is why this type of hem finish is sometimes referred to as a mitered hem.
Last week in our Michael Miller Cotton Couture series, we showed you how to make a beautiful Queen Color Block Duvet, which featured a row of buttons as its closure. This week, we have a shabby chic ombre apron in Cotton Couture that features eleven decorative and functional buttons. 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 it’s not true! Read on to learn our favorite, super speedy five-step process to perfect buttons.
Before you start to panic, this technique does not require a bathing suit or a surfboard; all you need is your sewing machine... and a desire for style! We’ve shown you numerous ways to take fabric from flat to fancy: pleating, gathering, shirring, and pintucks to name just a few (see the full list at the end of this article). Although these are all traditional techniques, we work hard to give them a new twist by using exciting fabrics or finding new applications. And, just when you think you’ve seen it all, some ingenious soul develops a fresh approach to fabric manipulation. Today, we’re discussing a fairly new technique: wave tucks. These are not to be confused with wave pleats, which are a form of pleated draperies. The wave tuck starts as a modified pintuck, but quickly transforms into beautiful winding folds with just a few passes through your sewing machine. We use them next week, during our Michael Miller Cotton Couture series, to embellish a preppy handbag (the Fuschia and Tangerine tucks in the photo above are a little sneak peek).
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, it wouldn't be a very interesting journey now would it?! Tomorrow, as part of the Michael Miller Cotton Couture Color Block series, we'll show you how to make a bolster. Bolsters, my S4H friends, have curves. 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!
A knife pleat sounds dangerous, but is actually one of the easiest and, we think, prettiest members of the pleat family. In a knife pleat, the folds are pressed to one side in the same direction, which is why they are also sometimes called side pleats. More than likely, you've seen knife pleats on a garment; like those great tartan kilts bag pipers are known to wear... with or without something underneath.
Pleats are the origami of the sewing world. And although you don't usually need to fold one into the shape of a swan, there are a wide variety of pretty pleats that add distinct visual and textural embellishments for both home décor as well as garment sewing. Each type provides a different look based on how it's formed. You can make: knife pleats, knife pleats in two directions, box pleats, inverted box pleats, inverted box pleats with a separate underlay, accordion pleats, sunray pleats, and wave pleats. In this tutorial, we're focusing on a box pleat and its identical yet opposite cousin, the inverted box pleat. We'll address knife pleats later this week and some of the more specialized pleats in the near future.
You may be familiar with darts as those pointy things you throw at a dartboard on the wall of your favorite pub. Although they don't fly, darts in sewing are still vital components of the overall sewn project. For the most part, sewing darts look quite similar to their gaming counterpart. They are wide on one end and pointy on the other. Pub darts are all about a smooth trajectory and pinpoint accuracy. Sewing darts are also big on smooth lines and precise points, but their function is all about shape. No matter what kind of sewing you do, sooner or later, you will likely have to sew a dart. Throwing darts... you can do on your own time.