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.
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 the likely 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 some popular products to try.
No matter what kind of sewing you like to do, there are times you must use a hand needle and thread. It could be for something simple, such as sewing on a button, stitching an opening closed, or tacking a strap in place. Or, you can move up the hand-sewing food chain to beautifully intricate techniques, like hand embroidery or hand quilting. Learn our favorite tips to help eliminate knots and tangles, and keep those stitches flowing smoothly.
Appliqué is the process of stitching a small layer of fabric, usually in a unique shape, onto a larger base fabric. It's a great way to personalize your project while also adding unique color, texture, pattern... or all of the above. Would you like a bumblebee flying across your pillow? Does your little boy want a spaceship on his duvet cover? How about adding initials to the front of a pretty tote? If you can imagine it, chances are you can appliqué it! With appliqué, you're free to incorporate any kind of graphic into your project. There are a variety of different ways to execute the technique; read on to find the one that's right for you.
I love buttons. Always have. In fact, althoughI don't recall much about the two-year-old phase of my life, I do remember my white sweater with the little duckie buttons. I can close my eyes and see his chubby yellow body and orange feet. I can even remember the feel of the raised, painted surface under my sticky little fingers. I still love looking at the all the available options, from vintage shell buttons to vibrant molded plastic (much more elaborate than my duckies). That said, sometimes the best look for a project is a fabric-covered button. Covered buttons are cool; there's just no two ways about it. They add the special touch that says, "Stand back... I'm a home décor professional". Making them with a kit is easy and inexpensive.
Snaps are one of our favorite closures. They're small yet sturdy, like a cute little Corgi dog. But there's not been a lot of variety from which to choose. You can always find nickel or brass, and the Western favorite: pretty pearl head snaps. But that's where the decorative options usually ended. So when Babyville snaps hit the market a few years ago, their bright colors and cute cover designs were an instant hit. They were immediately snapped up for their decorative flair. We've used them on several Sew4Home projects, and thought it was high time for a tutorial dedicated to showing you just how easy they are to insert.
There are lots of ways to find what you're looking for at Sew4Home. Scroll through the home page teasers. Browse and click the main navigation tabs. Look in our Project Index. Or simply search by key word. But sometimes, it's nice to simply have one handy list of links to refer to in a specific category. Today, we've pulled together our top ten articles that show a variety of ways you can keep things closed.
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.
One of the great things about the sewing and quilting community is just that: community. The connections we make with others who love to create are always inspirational and fun. Heather Jones is someone we met years ago, and who we've been thrilled to watch develop into one of the brightest stars in the world of Modern Quilting. Heather has a great love and respect for the traditional art of quilting, is an avid collector of vintage quilts, and loves to bring a modern twist to traditional patterns. We feel very special and lucky that she found the time to create this awesome Guest Tutorial on one of her specialties: Straight Line Quilting.
Adjusting stitch length isn't necessary for every project, but as you experiment with different types of fabrics and and start using stitches for embellishment as well as construction, a few quick tips will come in handy. When working with today's machines, which can zip along at up to 1000 stitches per minute, you can see how a little length goes a long way.