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 the Top Twenty Terms that come into play on a regular basic. 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.”
Hopefully, you're reading this article for one of two reasons. Either you know a teen who really wants to start sewing, or you know one you'd like to inspire to start sewing. In both cases, you can help them on their way with a little guidance. In this day and age, when young adults seem to be devoted nearly full-time to social media apps, it's easy to think none of them could possibly be interested in something so archaic as sewing. But, while you weren't looking, sewing became cool. Read on for our Top Seven Tips to pave the way to a great experience for a young sewist.
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 form. It was originally known as “waved crochet braid.” That’s right! Rick rack’s history is not as homespun as you might think. Rick rack was a preferred trim for fancy handwork in the late-19th and early-20th century, a sought-after component of crocheted lace designs. Because the harsh laundry methods of the time involved boiling-hot water, grated lye soap, and large wooden paddles, the durability of rick rack made it a favorite with seamstresses who were tasked with applying or repairing the much more delicate laces. From elegant lace gowns to prairie pinafores, it’s a trim that’s weathered the test of time and we have the best tips for adding it to today’s projects.
The definition of tufting is pretty simple: make depressions at regular intervals in a cushion by passing a thread through and pulling it taut. And really, it is that simple. If (and there is always an “if” isn’t there?) you have the right tools and make sure you measure and mark with precision. Thanks to the creative minds at Dritz®, you can easily get all the tools you need to make things easy. We show you the techniques to use those tools to do stitch tufting and button tufting on a standard cushion width, as well as how to tackle bolster tufting with those extra long needles… they’re not as scary as they might look!
Narrow tucks, called pintucks when they are super-duper narrow, are most well-known in the world of heirloom sewing, but they can add a lovely bit of detail to many kinds of projects. You can create this look quickly and easily with your Quarter Inch Seam foot. Tucks can be sewn in thread to match the fabric for a classic tone-on-tone look. Switch to a contrasting thread for extra detail along the stitch line. Or, accent with decorative stitching between tucks on directly on top of each tuck.
You can't play Sonic Generations with this type of "X Box," but you can use it in your sewing projects to secure all types of straps and narrow panels. It's simply a stitched box with an "X" through the middle. This stitching pattern provides a high level of strength and stability, and when done with precision, it also adds a pretty detail. Try it with a contrasting thread color for extra emphasis. In the industrial world of strapping, the X Box is often at the heart of rigging, where it's meant to hold extreme loads, such as in a parachute harness. You'd want to research online to learn how to create this unique specialty stitch. Here at Sew4Home, we're using it in a decorative fashion to help hold an apron strap in place or a handle on a bag. So while a tight bond is certainly achieved, the most demanding function of the home sewing X Box is to look smooth and even.
Sewing a rectangle into a tube rings of “square peg in a round hole” hopelessness. And yet, it’s one of the most common techniques when creating bags, boxes, and baskets. If you want a flat, stable base, an inset base panel is the go-to option. To make this geometric magic happen doesn’t take a hammer, but it does require careful measuring and marking upfront, and sewing each side independently during construction. Follow our easy steps to achieve an expert finish.
Picking out buttons for your sewing projects is fun! But, let's be frank... sewing on those buttons is not quite as fun. It's kind of the "cleaning toilets" of the sewing world – a dirty job, but one that is very worth it in the end. The up-side of button sewing is that it's relatively quick and easy, and there's no sponge involved. Our button sewing tutorial explains the basics.
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.