It’s always exciting to begin a new sewing project. We’re eager to get started, and test stitching can feel like a roadblock to the creativity to come. However, ripping out a bad seam or ruining an expensive piece of fabric with a gnarl of thread is an even greater roadblock. Taking just a few minutes at the beginning of every project to test your stitches is another Quick Tip that leads to a pro finish.
Our recent Basic Shapes Cheat Card #1 brought you fun facts about the smooth curves of The Circle. Time to straighten up and fly right with the most common of the angular geometric shapes. Are these all of them? Not at all, but they are the ones you are likely to come across in your sewing projects and patterns. If you wanted to know more about obtuse angles, rhomboids, and parallelograms… you should have paid better attention in Mr. Crutchfield's math class. Oh he saw you passing notes, yes he did.
There are lots of straight lines in sewing, but we love the circle. In fact, in my humble opinion, the circle is 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. Our latest sewing Cheat Card explains the parts of a circle and why you need Pi (not pie).
We were going to call this tutorial: Bias Binding: Basics & Beyond, however, we decided to forgo the clever alliteration and instead focus on the key words we hear whenever we receive questions about this topic: "How do you figure out how much fabric you need?" "How do you cut all the strips?" "How do you sew all the strips together?" "How do you put it on your project so it looks smooth and pretty?" "Why is the sky blue?" It's time to collect all the scattered tips and information into one updated article. We'll address all four of the most common questions: yardage, cutting, making, and attaching. You're on your own for the blue skies!
Want to know the long and the short of it?! 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 an easy technique and makes the strap so much more useful. Lengthen to wear cross body, shorten for a shoulder strap or to hand carry. The technique also works great for instrument straps. We show you the easy steps, using handy Dritz® hardware.
We’ve been hangin’ around with some terrific tassels. These dangling bits of color and texture are a great embellishment for all kinds of projects, from bags to cushions, jewelry to hats, and more. A Dritz® Tassel Cap makes creating them faster and easier, and gives you a strong metal top to attach the tassel to your project with a chain, split ring or clip. You’re likely familiar with the traditional floss tassel, but we wanted to push the boundaries of tassel techniques with a variety of unique fabrics and trims. There are six different styles of Dritz® Tassel Caps, so we have six different looks for you to try. But we bet you can come up with lots of other great options! Leave us a comment below with your tassel tips.
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 under my sticky little fingers. I still love looking at the all the available options, from vintage shell buttons to vibrant molded plastic (much more elaborate than my old-school duckies). That said, sometimes the best look for a project is a fabric-covered button. Covered buttons are cool; there's just no two ways about it. They add the special touch that says, "Stand back... I'm a home décor professional". Making them with a kit is easy and inexpensive.
The majority of projects you encounter require at least a bit of 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 a little 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.
"Give us the tools and we will finish the job." Winston Churchill. One of the signs of a truly well-made project is that it looks nearly as good on the inside as it does on the outside. Finishing a project's inside raw edges will not only elevate the final appearance, it will also elevate your sewing skills to a new level. In general, the purpose of any seam finish is to prevent fray-prone fabrics from raveling beyond the seam, which would then leave a hole in your sewn project. It also helps reduce bulk on certain fabrics, such as fleece. And, finishing stitches always provide added strength to a seam and the fabric's edge. However, it's often only about the look, and most professionals recommend you finish fabrics that don’t even appear to require it.
No matter what kind of sewing you like to do, there are times you must use a hand needle and thread. It could be for something simple, such as sewing on a button, stitching an opening closed, or tacking a strap in place. Or, you can move up the hand-sewing food chain to beautifully intricate techniques, like hand embroidery or hand quilting. Learn our favorite tips to help eliminate knots and tangles, and keep those stitches flowing smoothly.