Choosing Your Sewing Machine Needle

Choosing the correct sewing machine needle is a small, but essential, part of successful sewing projects. The right needle executes even stitches and produces strong seams. The wrong needle causes aggravation, skipped stitches, snagged fabric, and other problems. Learn the differences among the various types of needles and find the right needles for your fabric. General Purpose Needles For most sewing you need only choose between universal or ball point needles based on the fabric you are using. Choose a needle size according to the weight of your fabric, with a 9 or 11 for lightweight cloth (batiste, tricot) up…

Introduction To Sewing Patterns

Learning about sewing patterns is another sewing essential if you want to develop past the most basic of craft stages. For most of the items you make, you will need some sort of sewing pattern. In dressmaking, a wide range of tissue paper patterns is available, from fabric shops and department stores. The patterns tell you how much fabric is required, what accessories you need for fastenings and decoration, how to lay out the pattern pieces on the fabric, and how to con-struct the garment. You will often find more than one size is given on each paper pattern, which may appear…

Sewing By Hand

Although you will probably stitch most of your work on the machine, sewing by hand is a technique which you must master. Some stitches are functional, others purely decorative. Hand-sewn embroidery gives an individual touch to a garment or accessory, and has the advantage that you can carry around work in progress and pick it up at a quiet moment in the day, without having to set up your sewing area. Types of Needle The right choice of needle and thread for the fabric you are sewing will make light work of the job. The size of the needle refers…

Understanding Pattern Cutting Layouts

Before you can sew a project, you need to cut out the pattern pieces. Commercial sewing patterns provide you with pattern layouts that show how to position each tissue pattern piece on your fabric. To the beginner, these layouts can sometimes be confusing. Learn the basics of grain and nap to increase your confidence in pattern cutting layouts. Fabric Grain: Warp and Weft Woven fabrics consist of lengthwise threads (warp) and crosswise threads (weft.) On the side edges of the fabric, the warp threads are closer together and make edges we call the selvedges. The grain line arrows on your…

Pressing As You Sew

Pressing often seems to be an unnecessary interruption to your work. But it is very important to remember that pressing as you sew is an integral part of a successful sewing project. After stitching seams, darts, tucks, facings and hems, you must press them. You must also press garment sections before joining them. Pressing beds the stitches into the fabric, flattens seams and shapes the item you are making. Some seams can never be made to lie well if they are not pressed as soon as they are stitched: at a later stage in the construction they may become inaccessible….

Types of Fabric

When reviewing the types of fabric to buy, either for dressmaking or for home sewing, you must choose one which is of a suitable fibre (either natural or synthetic) and a suitable weave. It is these two considerations which dictate the “handle” of the fabric. Fibres and Yarns The fibres which make-up fabrics are spun into yarns and woven on various types of looms, or knitted by machine to make jersey fabrics. The way the fibres are spun has a great effect on the texture of the fabric: looped and boucle yarns for example produce textured fabrics, and some methods…

Plan Your Sewing Room Layout

Where you plan to sew is one of the important sewing essential decisions you need to think through before embarking on your hobby. Sewing, embroidery and quilting all require space and organisation if you are going to do it well and get the best out of the experience. Before you start learning to sew, some forethought on your sewing room layout can really get your hobby of to a great start. From the outset you should be planning for a bright, cheerful, comfortable neatly organized sewing area where you can keep your sewing machine and sewing supplies close at hand and organized. The ideal…

Choosing Thread For Machine Sewing

Choosing the correct thread for machine sewing is one of the key sewing essential choices affecting the quality of your work.  To make the best use of your craft time as well as your investment in your sewing, embroidery or quilting machine, selecting the right thread for your purpose and your fabric needs to be correct. Basic Sewing Construction All-purpose sewing thread is the choice for sewing seams.  Cotton-covered polyester core thread comes in a wide range of colors.  High quality 100% polyester thread is also good for your daily sewing needs.  If you do your construction seams on a serger, be sure to use cone thread…

Basic Pressing Techniques

There are a few basic pressing techniques for pressing particular seams and stitching, which are adapted for pressing all stages of construction. Always remove pins and tacking stitches before pressing. Pins damage the fabric and the sole plate of the iron; tacking stitches leave an imprint and are not so easy to remove after pressing. If you have to press prior to stitching, use fine thread and diagonal tacking. When pressing a section of a garment for the first time, press the whole piece, not just the area around the seam or dart. In many cases there is a slight…

Sewing Glossary I to Z

interfacing — A third thickness of carefully selected fabric which is placed between the gar­ment and facing fabrics for added body, shaping and support. interlining — A fabric placed between the lining and outer fabric. Used in coats, jackets and the like to add warmth or bulk; in bedspreads to give body; in curtains to add body and to prevent light from showing through and fading the fabric. intersecting seams — Seams that cross one another when garment sections are joined together at the waistline, shoulder line, set-in sleeve and similar points. `iron-on’ — A term used to describe chemically treated fabric which is…

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