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 sit, pillows can be a dramatic decorating accent and are among the easiest projects to sew. We have dozens of pillow projects for you to choose from right here at Sew4Home. For this article, we thought we'd pull together everything you need to know before launching into pillow making: a little history, the basic types, and what we recommend stuffing inside. We heartily endorse the huge variety of Fairfield pillow inserts and fillers, and jumped at the chance to have them sponsor this article. We didn't even have to sleep on it.
Your project instructions call for two yards of 60" wide fabric, but the fabric you want to use is 45" wide. Hmmm... attempting to dredge up that old math lesson in proportions is probably not going to happen on the fly. Instead, print out our handy conversion chart for those times you don't have a pattern envelope with a yardage conversion table.
I love those little emergency sewing kits they have at hotels. They're a life saver if you lose a button right before an important meeting or have another kind of "wardrobe malfunction." But I wouldn't dream of using them for my regular sewing – anymore than I'd open a hair salon that used only cute little hotel shampoos. However, for some sewers, especially beginning sewers, their set of tools is about at the same level as the free repair kit. If that's the case with you sewing basket, you have some shopping to do. Having better quality accessories and notions actually helps you achieve better results on your projects. It can make the difference between a project that was fun to create and you're proud to display, and one you feel like hurling out the window.
Years ago the Thermos® company had the slogan, "Keeps hot things hot and cold things cold." You can't say it much better than that. Did you know there are fabrics that help you do the same thing? These aren't the heavy industrial materials that keep steelworkers, astronauts, and firefighters safe, but honest-to-goodness fabrics you can actually sew with.
The job of the presser foot on your sewing machine is to hold the fabric against the feed dogs and guide it in a straight line as you sew. That's why you have to raise the presser foot when you want to move your fabric out from under the needle. You can do quite a lot of sewing with just the standard foot that came with your machine, however, some techniques can be a bit of a challenge with this very basic foot. That's when it helps to know about all the great specialty feet that are available. Sewing machine feet come in a wide array of designs; picking the right one for the job can make things go so much easier and faster, and can also give you much more professional looking results.
Here at Sew4Home, we've always said a good quality sewing machine is your most important creative tool. No matter what level you're at, you should always buy the best machine you can afford. We recently outlined a list of suggestions about entry-level or mid-range models: Top Top Five Things to Remember About How to Shop For & Buy a Sewing Machine. But what about when you're shopping for one of the top-of-the-line models?
We're excited to announce a brand new sponsor at Sew4Home: Waverly. Yes, the Waverly. The lifestyle brand you recognize from your favorite home store; encompassing window treatments, wall coverings, bedding, bath and table linens, storage accessories, and more. But did you also know you can buy gorgeous Waverly fabric by the yard to create your own home décor? To celebrate their unique heritage among American décor fabric companies, and to show off some of their latest outdoor fabrics, we're declaring May 12th - 19th Waverly Week on Sew4Home.
You probably already know the rule of thumb for sewing machine needles: install a new one at the beginning of each project. When a needle is piercing your fabric at 600 to 1,000 stitches per minute, small things like a dulled point or an eye that's beginning to wear, can make a big difference in the quality of your stitches. But it's just as important to choose the right kind of needle. Our thanks to Janome America for helping us with the fine points of machine needles.
Sewing requires some specialized tools, the biggest one being the sewing machine itself. If you're new to sewing, you might be tempted to get a machine as cheaply as possible. However, this is one of those cases where saving a few bucks now can end up causing you hours of frustration later. Purchasing a machine within your budget is necessary, but getting the cheapest (or free-est) machine out there is rarely the best option. We combined our own years of experience with expert tips from sewing machine sponsor, Janome America to bring you the top five things to keep in mind when shopping for a new sewing machine. We're talking here about entry-level or mid-range models for day-in-day-out sewing of clothing, quilting and home décor. We'll look at the top-of-the-line models that combine embroidery and other special features in future articles. Right now, you want to concentrate on ease-of-use, stitching precision, and reliability.
We're still lucky enough to be playing with the brand new Janome Horizon Memory Craft 15000, which has been a welcome guest in our studios over the past few weeks. It has to go home to Janome America soon, but before we box it up, we spent some time on the new MC15000 website, browsing their cool Project Book. It has a number of fun ideas, but we were especially captivated by the pillow techniques and tutorials. Looking at the samples a machine has created is a great way to determine if it's the right model for you. Our favorite was the Split the Difference pillow with its dramatic embroidered center medallion. When I see stitch precision like this, it makes me want to embroider everything that isn't nailed down.