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Sewing Tool Box

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Any endeavor that turns into a passion comes with its own set of terms, phrases, abbreviations, and secret handshakes. Well, maybe they don’t all have a secret handshake… maybe just a decoder ring. Sewing is no different, and although we do try to make sure we define the more unusual words we sometimes toss around, we can
I love buttons. Always have. In fact, although I 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
We call this a "flat top" zipper. We've also heard it referred to as a set-in zipper and a recessed zipper. You can make up your very own name; the Penelope Zipper would be one option. You've undoubtedly seen this type of zipper on loads of handbags and totes. It sits below the top of

No matter what kind of sewing you do, sooner or later, you will likely have to sew a dart. To get the perfect contour a dart should provide, follow our professional tips for marking, stitching, and pressing. We review 6 styles.

Want to know the long and the short of this classic technique?! Making an adjustable strap can seem like a magic rope trick with all the weaving and threading this way and that. But, it’s really quite easy and makes the strap so much more useful. Lengthen to wear cross body, shorten for a shoulder

It’s simply a stitched box with an “X” through the middle, but this basic stitching pattern provides a high level of strength and stability, and when done with precision, it also adds a pretty detail to straps, ties, and more.

To say life would be hard without pillows would be putting it mildly. Where else would we hide a tooth for the Tooth Fairy? What else would we hit each other with in a harmless fight? Beyond their practical function as a headrest when we sleep and a way to soften hard furniture when we
A blind hem is exactly what it sounds like: a hem with stitches you can barely see. It's perfect for window coverings, the hem at the bottom of a garment, or anywhere you want a clean finished edge. When I first started sewing, attaining a perfect blind hem was like finding the Holy Grail. And
We've been asked numerous times by Sew4Home visitors, "How do you get your double rows of stitching so perfectly even?" We've quietly given out our secret to several of you. But now we've decided it's time to reveal it to the world. The way to get perfectly even, super close, double rows of stitching is...
Rick rack or rickrack or ricrac, however you spell it, there’s no denying it’s been at the top of the trim list for near 200 years. Earliest mentions of this wavy wonder date back to the mid-1800s! At its most simplified, rick rack is defined as a flat, narrow woven braid in a zig zag

Whatever the task, a bit of hand stitching usually comes in… well, “handy.” We’ve outlined the tools needed along with seven of the most common stitches. Simple drawings and steps show how to do each one.

We use traditional tassels often as a fun embellishment for linens, cushions, bags, and more. But in true Sew4Home fashion, we weren’t content to settle for traditional. So we have two unique tassel styles for you: the Broomstick Tassel with a sleek, floss-wrapped hanging loop, and the fantastical Yarn Chubbies, which we think look like
The right finishes make projects go more smoothly, look more professional, and 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
There you stand in the fabric store, staring at that giant display of bias tapes and bindings in front of you, the shiny cellophane packages glinting in their neat, color coordinated rows. Single fold, double fold, blanket, quilt. Geeze! What's what? Do you just throw a dart and hope for the best? No! You study
The majority of projects you encounter require at least a little hand stitching. Often, it’s the final seam closure after turning a project right side out. The goal is to make your hand stitching as invisible as possible. Although it’s tempting to rush through this last bit of stitching, the Pro Secret is to take
This is not one of those square-peg-in-a-round-hole situations. But, if the idea of sewing a two-dimensional item (a flat circle) into a three-dimensional item (a tube) sounds like something from another dimension altogether, read on. We've broken it down into a simple step-by-step process and even show you two different methods.  Let's chat first about
The magnetic snap is indispensable to the construction of purses, totes, and bags. We've used them on dozens of Sew4Home projects and decided it was high time the technique had its very own tutorial. As with many notions and tools that add a unique professional finish, the steps for their use are themselves not necessarily
There are a lot of home décor projects that require cutting large panels of fabrics, such as curtains, throws, and tablecloths. When you're short on space, this can be a bit of a challenge. So here's a little folding-and-cutting trick to make it easier, faster, more compact ... and actually, more precise. Remember making paper
We love to gather with friends and family to share good food and conversation. We enjoy gathering with like-minded folks to attend concerts and other events. In these contexts, gathering is fun and easy. By comparison, in sewing... gathering is often known as daunting or simply too time-consuming! We believe all gathering should be fun
If you are new to sewing, some of the terminology can be confusing. Doesn't "bolt" mean to run away? Cutting something on the "bias" just sounds offensive. And, "feed dogs" seems more like a command than a sewing machine part. Trying to understand exactly what the various terms mean, how they work, and especially when
The square pillow – it's a decorating staple and a great way to freshen up a room. You pick your favorite fabric, measure carefully, and cut two perfect squares. You sew the seams, pivoting at each corner with precision, and insert the pillow form. You set the finished pillow on the sofa, and... Hey! That

Elastic shirring creates a wonderful stretchy texture. It occupies the space between the simplicity of gathering and the intricacy of hand-smocking. We cover the technique itself as well as several project ideas.

We go over our recommendations for what to have on hand if you’re just getting started in the world of sewing as well as a few favorites to add to your toolbox as you move up in your skill level and expand your projects.

In between the simplicity of gathering and the intricacy of hand-smocking, lives one of our favorite texturing techniques: elastic shirring. You've probably owned a garment or two with shirring on the bodice or sleeve edge. It was the style on those iconic 1970s peasant dresses, and it remains popular in new fashion trends. Shirring is
We get a lot of questions about zippers. They seem to live at the top of many people's lists of Sewing Phobias (ziphobia!). In an effort to calm these fears, we already have three step-by-step tutorials for inserting standard zippers, tackling invisible zippers, and putting in an inset zipper. We're adding to the zipper toolbox
Okay - true confession time. In school, I was a theater rat... always in plays and musicals, always taking artsy-fartsy classes, including "How To Mime" or, as I remember it, "How To Pretend You're Stuck In A Box And Look Foolish Doing It." Unless you're Marcel Marceau, you look really silly doing mime. So... no
Left: Faux Leather Shopper, Right: Trendy Faux Leather Handbag Back in the 1970s, I wanted my mom to buy me a real leather jacket. Unfortunately, she was only prepared to spend for one made of synthetic leather. As much as I wanted to believe it looked genuine, it just looked fake. Today's fake – excuse

When does 1+1 = 1? When you’re basting two layers together! Lear: how to determine if your sewing machine has a basting stitch, when to use the stitch in sewing projects, and why hand basting is sometimes best.

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