Window coverings seem to be one of our most basic needs. As soon as you get some sort of shelter, you're looking for a way to cover the windows for privacy. In college, I simply used push-pins to hold a sheet across my apartment's bedroom window. I let it hang down at night, and during the day I held it back with a binder clip from my Economics textbook. Not very stylish, but at least it blocked the view of the dumpsters. Now I know window coverings are a great DIY project; and simple enough for the beginning sewer. Straight edges. Simple, straight stitches. The individual steps couldn't be easier. But even the most basic curtain project can go awry without some good planning. And the most important part of that planning is knowing how to take proper measurements.
Narrow tucks, called pintucks when they are super-duper narrow, are most often used in the world of heirloom sewing, but they can add a lovely bit of detail to many other types 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. Or, switch to a contrasting thread for extra detail along the stitch line. For even more embellishment, amp up the accent with decorative stitching between tucks or directly on top of each tuck.
There's always a certain amount of hemming and hawing about having to hem. Just about every project you do includes some sort of a hem, and there are so many techniques from which to choose. There is the simple double-turn hem, blind hem, faced hem, covered hem, taped hem, curved hem, single hem, narrow hem, cuffed hem, and bias hem. Then there are all the special hemming techniques for certain fabric types, such as leather, fur or lace, as well as projects with scalloped edges or pleats. Whew! But even with all these choices, there is one particular type of hem we receive more questions about than any of the others: the rolled hem. Since it's at the top of our You Asked 4 It list, let's get rollin'.
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. We have two unique tassel styles today: the Broomstick Tassel with a sleek, floss wrapped hanging loop, and the fantastical Yarn Chubbies, which we think look like fluffy little dancing dolls. It’s all part of our Fast Fridays series that is all about whipping up something wonderful in no time at all.
For apparel, bags, athletic gear, etc., the go-to grommet style are the ubiquitous metal circles with some type of rope or cording woven through at a closure point. These metal classics are a go-to here at Sew4Home as well, but they're not the only option. For some applications, especially those that need a rather large grommeted opening, we like the Dritz® Home Snap-On Plastic Curtain Grommets. Although they are traditionally associated with curtains, they are a great solution for a variety of projects. We outline the easy installation steps for the plastic grommets and have collected links for a number of our tutorials that feature them.
One of the most popular series of 2017 was our Cheat Cards. Each card covered an important, need-to-know sewing tip or technique in a handy business card size: 2” wide x 3½” high. That’s small enough to tuck into your wallet or tack up on the bulletin board in your sewing room. All the individual Cheat Cards are still available on the site, but we’d gotten numerous requests to offer a full set of six. So that’s just what we did. You can download your set instantly from our Sew4HomeShop on Etsy.
A cover hem is a professional-style "serged" hem that traditionally has two to three lines of parallel stitching on the right side and a looper stitch which covers the raw edge of the fabric on the back side. It's the type of hem commonly found on most ready-to-wear knit garments (and many woven RTW items as well) as it has plenty of stretch and so will not distort the hem. It's also very fast and clean! We have a short lesson showing how easy it is to make a cover hem as well as our thoughts as to why a specialty cover hem machine may just be the coolest machine to add to your sewing space.
We like webbing… not necessarily like the monster from the black lagoon’s hands, but the cool cotton kind for bags and such. However, it can be hard to find in other than the most basic colors of white, natural, navy, and black. Bust out your decorative stitches and some colorful thread! This fast and easy embellishment can inject a little WOW into your webbing.
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 a great sewing technique to learn, and easy-peasy to create! Plus, just like the little boy with a hammer, for whom everything becomes a nail... once you learn how to do shirring, we guarantee there will be all kinds of projects that need this pretty, rumply, stretchy touch of texture.
Rivets are everywhere. Airliners have rivets. The pockets of your Levis® have rivets. Frogs make the sound, "rrriiiiiivvvet." That last example probably isn't applicable, but it kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it? Not only are rivets ubiquitous, they look super professional when used on a sewing project. Rivets also have a very logical purpose: they hold lots of thick layers together at points where it would be impossible to stitch with a sewing machine.