There are a multitude of tips & tricks to be learned when sewing. In the short time that I have been doing it I have picked up a few that I hope will be of benefit to you.
Basic Tools of the Trade:
- Scissors – Invest in the best you can afford. The difference a good scissors makes to the cutting of your fabric is huge. It allows for very straight edges without any snagging. It is also very advisable that you have a second less expensive pair for cutting patterns. NEVER MIX UP!!!
- Pins – Now this might seem an obvious one but it is a mistake I made. DO NOT BUY CHEAP PINS!! They will break and cause you unnecessary heartache when dealing with all fabric but particularly thicker weave. It is well worth the extra €1 to buy them in a haberdashery store.
- Tailor Chalk – Tailor chalk is part of all sewing baskets & is available in a variety of colours. Up to recently I only had the white chalk but again this proved a difficulty when working with light coloured fabric. I couldn’t see the markings on the fabric so a trip to Vibes and Scribes on Bridge Street, Cork proved again to make my sewing life easier. I now have a handy selection of colours…problem solved 🙂
- Seam Ripper – My new best friend!! A very important tool in your sewing basket as mistakes will be made. It’s not very often in life that you can undo a mistake & fix it…..but you can in sewing. Now isn’t that nice 🙂 It’s perfectly normal to need one. It is very difficult ( I have tried) to correct a sewn but crooked seam with a sissors instead. You are very likely to cut the fabric by accident, thus ruining your garment. So not worth it!!
- Pre-Wash Fabric – When buying your fabric it is wise to check the washing instructions. If it is not written on the central cardboard roll, check with the assistant. In most cases it is recommended to pre-wash your fabric. It has been known that fabric can shrink which will ruin your otherwise beautiful, finished, but now too small, garment.
- Measuring – Once you start cutting your fabric there really is no way of going back. Measure once, measure twice & more if you are not fully convinced of the accuracy of your measurements. If the fabric is not cut properly, the garment WILL NOT fit properly!!
- Seams – there are many tips & tricks for finishing off your seams. A perfectly smooth seam gives a garment a very professional finish.
Here are a few of my favourites:
- DON’T assume a seam allowance yourself, Always check the pattern instructions. A miscalculation at this point in your project could be the cause of the whole project being the wrong size.
- ALWAYS press all seams open as you sew.
- TRIM back your seams as far as possible. This will reduce the bulk of the finished garment, particularly around the neck and the armhole.
- CLIP seams when dealing with a curved area eg. armhole, neckline. Regular intermittant clipping allows for ease of movement and a smooth tension-free finish.
- Get to know the shop assistant – this might seem like a very simple tip but believe me it really does help if the person in the shop is familiar with your face!! These people are (in most cases) experts in all sewing related matters & are quite willing to assist you in any queries you may have. Sewing takes a long time to perfect (if ever) & all help should be gratefully accepted & looked for. We are always learning 🙂
These few tips are of no use of course if you don’t enjoy sewing. It can be very frustrating & there are times when you just want to throw your machine out the window but don’t……STICK WITH IT!!!
If at times you feel your patience is really being tested…get up, walk away & have a cup of tea.
Come back refreshed & READY STEADY SEW.
Til next time.