Little pieces of fabric sewn together. That's truly quilting at its most basic, but its just as crazy as describing cooking as: tasty bits of food mixed together. The creativity (and the love) is in the who, what, when, where, and why of how it all happens. Our Quilting Basics series is designed to help beginning quilters get rollin'. We explain the fundamentals of quilting, including the various tools you’ll need (and may already have), cutting techniques, how to create quilt blocks from basic shapes, piecing tips and techniques, and actual quilt stitching. One disclaimer: enter at your own risk; quilting can be addictive.
"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 to reduce bulk on certain fabrics, like fleece. And, finishing stitches always provide added strength to a seam and the fabric edge. However, it's often just about the look, and most professionals recommend you even finish fabrics that don’t appear to require it.
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 additional machine to add in your sewing room.
Sewing is a continually evolving art. Learning new and interesting techniques is one of the best ways to build upon your current knowledge. It keeps your skills fresh and your ideas lively. We have two great how-to articles on binding in general: Bias Binding: Figuring Yardage, Cutting, Making and Attaching and A Complete Step-by-Step for Binding Quilts & Throws. In this article, we're continuing our journey down the binding path to a "sub-set" technique called: continuous bias binding. It's a little bit like the ancient art of origami. You start out with a flat square (or rectangle), and after a few folds and flips here and there, you have something completely different, very dimensional, and quite useful.
By definition, topstitching is a seam that appears on the right side of a project, usually running ¼" from another seam or along a folded edge. It can be done in a coordinating thread color for decoration or a matching thread color for stabilization. A cousin of topstitching is edgestitching. The technique is the same, but edgestitching is generally ⅛" or less from another seam or an edge. Whether for embellishment or assembly, stitching that is visible from the right side is an important detail and its precision can make or break the final outcome of your project. We've collected our favorite tools and techniques to help you achieve tip-top topstitching.
Sometimes, you cross something off your "give-it-a-go" list simply because it looks too hard. But once you do finally try, maybe with someone’s help the first time out, you often discover it wasn’t at all as hard as you thought! Such is the case with the phobia many sewers have when it comes to inserting metal grommets. Since these are usually installed with large machines or grommet presses in commercial production, people think they can’t replicate the professional look at home. It's one of those sewing applications many simply refuse to attempt. Whether it’s the actual installation process, getting the spacing just right, cutting the holes in the fabric to the exact size, or all of the above, we're here to prove you can do this at home and get a professional result. We’ve installed a grommet or two (or 100) here in the Sew4Home studios and will share with you all we've learned. Besides... getting to use a hammer in the sewing process can be very therapeutic!
We are big on bags here at Sew4Home, which means we're always on the lookout for cool bag accessories; such as closures, handles, hardware, and more. One look we love is the addition of leather and faux leather handles (both pre-drilled and un-drilled), as well as medallions and patches. But, we hadn't pinpointed the right tool to make securing these add-ons easy enough for all levels of sewers. Thanks to our friends at Dritz®, we have our solution: The Speedy Stitcher® from Dritz Home, a sewing awl kit that makes attaching these kind of cool items, as well as many other tasks, fast and easy.
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.
You might have heard the term, "fabric grain." It sounds like it could be a breakfast cereal just for sewists. But in reality, it's a technical term that describes the direction your fabric has been woven. It's important to know which way the grain is running, because fabric that is off-grain when you are cutting pattern pieces can cause your completed project to stretch out of shape. We're here to give you a better understanding of fabric grain and some tips on how to straighten it.
Did you ever have one of those cute little wind-up toys? It's so fun to watch as it tick-tock walks across the floor. But what happens when it comes to a wall? Can it turn left or right or even stop? No! It just keeps going, ka-wonking its little toy head against the wall over and over and over. It's a little like the decorative stitch. As long as you're going straight, all is well. The pattern is pretty, the thread is colorful, it's adding an amazing accent to your project. Then the corner approaches. If making a turn with a decorative stitch has you ka-wonking your own head against the wall, we're here to help with three ways to take a turn for the better.