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.
We've been asked numerous times by Sew4Home visitors, "How do you get your double rows of stitching so perfectly even?" We've quietly given out our secret to several of you. But now we've decided it's time to reveal it to the world. The way to get perfectly even, super close, double rows of stitching is... to use a twin needle. If you're one of those people who think twin needles are way too complicated, you're in for a very pleasant surprise: twice the stitching is half as hard as you might imagine.
Most of the time, sewing is all about soft things, from beautiful fabrics to cushy pillow inserts. However, every so often, something hard comes along. It's not there to torment you; it's a way to inject an interesting new texture into the mix. We're here with a few tips to make working with these trims easier, as well as techniques to give you the most professional finish.
We get a lot of questions about zippers. They seem to live at the top of many people's lists of Sewing Phobias (ziphobia!). In an effort to calm these fears, we already have three step-by-step tutorials for inserting standard zippers, tackling invisible zippers, and putting in an inset zipper. We're adding to the zipper toolbox with the following zip-tips for how to put a conventional zipper into a circular opening.
For some sewing applications, there's nothing that works quite as well as a metal snap. They're easier to use than buttons and more durable than Velcro®. That's why they're used in everything from mountain climbing jackets, to yacht covers, to baby clothes. Just think how long it would take an NBA player to jump up from the bench and get into the game if he didn't have those "quick release" sweat pants with snaps running up both sides. He'd probably fall into the stands trying to pull his sweats off over his giant shoes. Installing snaps is pretty simple. You just take a series of tiny metal rings (which can be set up twenty wrong ways and only one right way) line them up within a millimeter of perfection, and then crush the whole assemblage together as hard as you can through several layers of fabric. What could possibly go wrong?