DIY sewing projects are rarely just two layers of quilting weight cotton floating through your machine with ease. In garment construction, pattern pieces can come together from all angles, overlapping layers and seams. With three dimensional projects, like bags, fabric baskets or heavy cushions with piping; bulk and thickness are everywhere! Keeping seams straight, needles from breaking, and fabric moving evenly under the needle is challenging (read: can make you want to throw it all out the window). But with the right presser feet and accessories, an understanding of seam grading, and the patience to go slowly and carefully, you can sew like a pro through thick and thin.
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 finishes. You can find references to the flat felled seam technique in vintage as well as hand sewing (once the only way to sew anything). And, if you look down right now at the inside seam of your jeans, you'll see a trademark flat felled seam.
Buttons are the perfect finishing accent to so many projects. Not to mention the fact they are also a very functional closure. But if you have to sew on a lot of buttons by hand, you might think twice about using them. I personally find sewing buttons by hand tedious, time-consuming, and I can sometimes have trouble getting them to look uniform. Sew4Home exclusive sewing machine sponsor, Janome America has come to our (and your) rescue. There's an easy method for sewing on buttons by machine. You can be sure they're securely attached, perfectly aligned, and once you've done one, your machine can use the same settings for multiple buttons of the same size.
Puckered seams. Misaligned panels. If you’ve ever tried to work with fabric cuts are that are not straight and true, you know why it’s so important to square-up your fabric. This is a technique that belongs in everyone’s sewing toolbox. Read on for our easy folding, aligning, and cutting tips plus ruler recommendations.
Going in circles doesn’t have to be a bad thing! In fact, when it comes to pretty stitching embellishments, the circle is always a winner. But… how on earth can you stitch in a truly perfect circle?! Even following a drawn line can lead to bumbles and bobbles. Our secret: the Janome Circular Sewing Attachment. It locks into position on the machine and works like a compass to sew a perfect circle every time. We’ve used it on some of our most popular projects, and although we do love it when you think we are just amazingly skilled and can do anything without even trying… we thought it was time to share our circle secret with a step-by-step tutorial that shows how easy it really is behind the scenes thanks to this cool tool.
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 the extra time to create a clean finish. The most common (and quick) hand stitching choice is usually the Whip Stitch, but it doesn’t yield the best look. We recommend the Ladder or Slip Stitch.
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 forget now and then. So, we pulled together our Top Twenty Terms that come into play on a regular basis. We’ve alphabetized them into a mini glossary. If you’re a pro, buzz through and see how many you know without peeking. If you’re just getting started, these are great vocabulary builders and awesome to throw into the conversation to startle any non-sewing friends who might be eavesdropping. “I was simply unable move forward without dropping my feed dogs.”
The circle is, in my humble opinion, the Queen of the geometric shapes. Don't get me wrong; I like all those squares, rectangles, triangles, octagons, and whatnot; but the circle is the coolest of the bunch: smooth and pretty and endlessly useful. However, trying to draw a perfect circle without a pattern is a challenge, and figuring out the proper size of an opening into which a circle can be inserted requires working with Pi (or π), which is not the delicious kind you can eat with a bit of ice cream. We're here today to help you with the steps you've forgotten since high school geometry class (or maybe never learned because you were too busy passing notes with Susan Ellery!). We'll show you the parts of a circle, how wide to cut fabric to fit a circle, and how to draw a circle without a pattern. We've also included a handy conversion from decimals to inches, which is necessary when working with Pi.
As a writer and editor, I’m a bit of a “word geek.” I love all the crazy intricacies, like the subtle but important difference between further and farther, fewer and less or lie and lay. Yes, I am one of those annoying people… and a devastating opponent in Scrabble. There are a couple terms in sewing that get tossed about interchangeably: topstitching and edgestitching. They are similar but different animals, each with its own distinct purposes. The images above of our Five-Pocket Canvas Bag feature a variety of beautiful and precise topstitching and edgestitching.
Microwavable heating pads with organic fillers are a wonderful way to soothe sore muscles or just warm up on a cold day. Their combination of toasty warmth and good smell are a natural remedy you can enjoy every day without side effects. The rice-filled warming pad project we did here at Sew4Home is one of the most popular gift items ever featured. Most likely, it's because they're not only functional, they're also really easy to make. Everybody who makes them seems to have a favorite filler. So we thought we'd do a little testing to see if we could find out which one is best.