(Thursday 10th April:)
1. Terry S with her tip of – One Woman Hem-Marking Device with 46.39 % of the vote.
And I would like to thank the other 2 finalists – Eva C with 44.33 % of the vote and Vi M with 9.28 % of the vote.
All the entries were worthy of a prize so I hope that all of you have added a new tip or trick to your sewing day.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading our first Sew It ! Make It ! competition and stayed “tuned” for the next one.
Remember this Saturday is the Italian Fabric Warehouse Sale – all the details can be found here.
And I hope our winner – Terry S – has fun adding to her stash on Saturday.
Cheerio and all the best
And the 3 finalists are: your turn to judge !
Our judge – Cal – writes ” Hi Ann this was really hard – so here are my final 3. I wish I could have had 4 as I loved the hint about lace on the hems as well, but I liked the plastic bag idea too………….
Good thing I don’t have to judge the next one..have fun…Cal ” –
( below each tip are Cal’s thoughts on the individual entry)
1. My competition entry is : My tip for sewing is about using fusible interfacing. Sometimes pieces will slip and you also don’t want the glue to stick to anything. I use an unbleached silicone coated baking paper to sandwich the fusible and fabric layers while ironing. The glue won’t stick to anything and as the baking paper is translucent you can see the pieces clearly. The baking paper is reusable many times as nothing gets stuck to it. (Eva C )
( Cal writes – It is such a simple idea, and not having to clean the iron or have sticky residue on the ironing board cover is a bonus.” )
2. HI Annie – my best tip is to trim all loose threads as soon as you remove your fabric from the machine. It’ll save you so much time as you won’t have to do it at the end. Plus your garment will be nice and tidy while you are fitting it to your body! ( Vi M)
( Cal writes – This is a basic tip that saves time in the long run. It is so much easier to trim as you go.” )
3. One-Woman Hem-Marking Device – To mark a hem without a helper, stretch a string tautly across a doorway at the desired hem height, and tack or tape it to the jamb on both sides. Then dust talcum powder onto the string. With the unhemmed garment on, brush lightly against the powdered string, which transfers a light dusting onto the garment at the correct height. Remove the garment and finish the hem. It will be perfectly parallel to the floor. This works great for skirts, dresses, and coats.( Terry S )
(Cal writes – ” Never having to wait for someone else to mark your hem, priceless! No excuses for not finishing your garment now.”)
Sew It ! Make It! – competition entries for –
What is your best sewing TIP or TRICK to help you sew better ??
Hi Annie, I recently was asked to make a dress for a friend out of beaded lace. I agreed but had no idea how I was going to sew over/around the beads as I had never sewn beaded fabric before. The sales lady in the fabric shop told me I would have to unpick the beads on the seam line and tie off the ends (beads are usually stitched on long threads so cutting one means they all come undone). This seemed like a formidable task so I Googled and found a tip suggesting breaking the beads with pliers. It worked really well! So this is my latest sewing tip. ( Jenny C )
The BEST tip for cutting slippery fabrics!!!
We all know that cutting slippery fabrics can be a b?$&# to cut. Ugh! So I’ve got a handy tip.
Keep a length of muslin handy at all times. I have a piece that I have hanging in my ‘sewing closet’ (and yes, I actually now have a full closet dedicated to sewing + an entire room! Yay!). Lay the muslin down first and then lay the slippery fabric over the top of it and begin pinning your pattern pieces in place through all the layers. Now, with your shears perpendicular to the table, cut only your slippery fabric out. And viola! The pattern doesn’t shift around, the slippery fabric doesn’t shift around and the shears will make nice even cuts instead of jagged edges.
It’s OK, if you think this is magic because really it is. Enjoy!( Fiona D )
My trick for the competition is a pretty simple one, but the best ones are. To sew a circle without a special tool, measure how large you want the circle and find the radius. When you have found this measurement, measure that distance from the needle and sewing foot of your machine, and the bed of machine. When you have found the correct distance on the machine bed, place a thumbtack point up at this measurement, and tape it securely in place. Take your fabric, and put place it over the tack, so the tack pierces it, then place the fabric under the sewing foot. The spot where the fabric is anchored by the tack will become the centre of the circle. Begin sewing, and let the feed dogs pull the fabric though as you stitch. You may need to support the fabric to keep it from pulling on the tack if it is a large or heavy piece, or use tear away stabiliser if it is flimsy. Keep sewing until you have completed the circle. Et Voila ( Sarah K )
Hi Ann, Here’s my tip! If you’re trying a new design and there is something tricky you haven’t sewn before, make a miniature version out of scraps of fabric and sew that first before you make the real thing.
Here’s my first attempt at sewing a pocket into a french seam! It’s not perfect and I decided not to do it on the final garment in the end because the fabric was too bulky, but at least I didn’t ruin the garment by trying something and having to unpick it all. ( Jen S )
My competition entry is : My tip for sewing is about using fusible interfacing. Sometimes pieces will slip and you also don’t want the glue to stick to anything. I use an unbleached silicone coated baking paper to sandwich the fusible and fabric layers while ironing. The glue won’t stick to anything and as the baking paper is translucent you can see the pieces clearly. The baking paper is reusable many times as nothing gets stuck to it. (Eva C )
I don’t have a sewing room, so I need space for my bits and pieces. I store buttons and beads and other small items in a revolving clear bottled spice rack so I can see inside, and my pin holder sits on top.( Denise S )
My tip is if you have a bobbin spoil on your machine have a extra bobbin reel sitting in there. Saves you searching around the house for a hour! ( Rachel C )
My tip for drawing a quick seam allowance. Tape together two pencils to form a 1.5 cm seam allowance. To get an accurate measurement, place a piece of rubber (you only need a slither) between the pencils. This also keeps the pencils sturdy. Happy sewing! ( Sharon H )
Tash writes : I found this great idea online for making a low cost dress form at home. You just need a pillow, a pillow case, a thick elastic band for the waist and some PVC piping to use as a stand. You may already have most of these things at home!
Lena’s Tips on how to sew with delicate fabric – (one of my specialities)!
- Cutting: Use tissue paper or something similar underneath your fabric to stop it from slipping out of your scissors. Just beware not to use good fabric scissors as in time these may need to be sharpened.
- Needles: Use a brand new, very fine sewing machine needle. For further info have a look at your sewing machine manual for the right size.
- Staystitching: Staystitch any curved or bias (diagonal) edges of each piece to prevent stretching and fraying. Also, be sure to trim your hem to even it out before you sew it. A light, loosely woven fabric has a tendency to stretch and distort.
- Pressing: Press seams and pleats with a low setting on your iron. If you’re using silk, be careful about using moisture, since you don’t want water spots.
- Hemming: For easy hem finishing, try using a narrow rolled hem foot or if you have an Ezy-Hem Gauge this is also a useful tool. (see below) – ( Lena H)
- How To Prevent Your Machine From Eating Light Fabrics. Do you know that horrible grunting noise your sewing machine makes when it eats up your fabric as you begin a seam? Here is how you can avoid this devastation: Place the fabric beneath the presser foot. Take up the top and bobbin threads with your left hand, then pull them to the back of the machine. At this point you can either slowly press the sewing pedal, or rotate the hand wheel a couple of times to being the stitching process.If your fabric is still being grabbed down in the plate, pull the threads back once more. Then, instead of holding onto the threads, gently pull the fabric and begin sewing. Don’t pull the fabric too taut as it will pucker once sewn.
My tip: always carry a notepad and pen for making sewing notes as you travel through life. I keep key yardage in there for favourite garments, brand names I might otherwise forget, but mostly I jot down lots of ideas. It has provided me with a good overview of where I have been and where I am going, and I include design from all types of art, merchandising and people. It is my book of inspiration and I love to browse it when I’m far away from my craft. ( Julie P )
I like to re-purpose some of my clothing into outfits/accessories for my children, soft furnishings, fabric covered stationary etc, particularly if one of my favourite outfits has been worn to death or has irreparable damage. This extends the life of the outfit and passes on a “story” of why the outfit was so special to me. I do this with items that were given to me by friends or family who have passed away or for items where the fabric purchased overseas or vintage fabric was used. It links sentiment with practical and purposeful sewing. (Ange B )
Sewing tip: For detailing , use a thicker thread in your bobbin and stitch from the wrong side ( Jo-Ann Britt )
My tip for better sewing: press, press, press and don’t forget to press. If it doesn’t move, press it and if it moves try to press it anyway. ( Jen S )
Not enough Hem Depth -Finding myself too short in the pant without enough fabric for the hem, I sewed a length of lace to the fabric at the bottom of the trouser leg. This allowed enough material for the hem. It also makes for a nice peek-a-boo effect at the bottom of my trousers. ( Georgia L )
My tip is – Never ever trust a commercial pattern – the sizes are always wrong and frequently the instructions are incorrect. Drafting your own pattern to fit your body is essential for a great fitting garment. ( Mo Hay )
HI Annie – my best tip is to trim all loose threads as soon as you remove your fabric from the machine. It’ll save you so much time as you won’t have to do it at the end. Plus your garment will be nice and tidy while you are fitting it to your body! ( Vi M)
An easy way to keep a bobbin together with it’s matching thread is to slide one end of a rubber band through the bobbin hole and loop it through it’s other end,then I wrap the loop end of the rubber band with the bobbin on it around the spool. I usually wind two bobbins with the same colour thread,so if my bobbin runs out while i am in the middle of sewing i can quickly replace it with the second one. ( Denise S )
Reuse plastic bags for smooth sewing . A simple solution to tame fabrics that are difficult to sew. If fabric (such as batting, bulky or loose-weave fabrics, etc.) doesn’t glide smoothly over the machine plate or gets stuck in the machine foot as you sew, use a plastic shopping bag to help, preferably a bag that is almost transparent. Cut the bag to make it one layer; if you have a lot of seams to sew, cut the bag into strips about 2 to 3 inches wide. Place the plastic on top of (and sometimes also beneath) the fabric and sew normally, stitching through the plastic. The plastic helps the fabric slide smoothly as the stitches are made, and a simple tug easily removes the plastic after the seam is complete. ( Terry S )
Organise your Sewing Machine Needles – Buy an inexpensive pin cushion and divide it into needle sizes and types – a black marker works well. Instead of putting the machine needle back into it original packet , put it into its relevant category on the pin cushion – that way you know how much work ” it” has done. Plus the size imprint on the needle itself is SO small, the pin-cushion takes away any guess work. Plus using a “post-it-note” on your sewing machine itself with details of “current” needle in use is a compliment to the pin-cushion storage.( Jill D )
When using a commercial pattern, always trace out onto large sheets of paper so you can create your own personalised fit. ( Jo-Ann Britt )
Re-use/Re-purpose/Re-design – Check out op shops/ pre-loved stores for used men’s shirts. Cut off the collars, cuffs, and sleeves. Open the side seams, and press everything flat. Lay out a basic blouse pattern over the remaining shirt, taking advantage of existing button plackets, and sometimes even the hems. For example, you can make a scoop-neck blouse and adapt the neckline as necessary to make the best use of the original button placement. You can cut short sleeves from the original sleeves and often have enough fabric left to cut a new self-facing for the neckline. Pockets can be repositioned. Depending on how the original shirt fits, keep the original shoulders and yoke, and just adapt the neck, sleeves, and length. ( Terry S )
Tape Guide for Top stitching– Sew perfectly straight top stitching on fabric without marking it by putting masking tape along the fabric to establish a top stitching guide to follow. Just stitch along the edge of the tape, and remove the tape when you are finished. ( Terry S )
One-Woman Hem-Marking Device – To mark a hem without a helper, stretch a string tautly across a doorway at the desired hem height, and tack or tape it to the jamb on both sides. Then dust talcum powder onto the string. With the unhemmed garment on, brush lightly against the powdered string, which transfers a light dusting onto the garment at the correct height. Remove the garment and finish the hem. It will be perfectly parallel to the floor. This works great for skirts, dresses, and coats.( Terry S )