Machine sewing is our stock in trade at Sew4Home, but sometimes, stepping back to take handmade at its root meaning is a personal, tactile experience that is both relaxing and rewarding. Our friends at Fat Quarter Shop recently let us know about their new cross-stitch focus that includes a dedicated YouTube channel, special pattern and floss kits, handy accessories, and more. We picked a few of our favorites to give you a sneak peek at all the fun. Read on so you can “take your sewing by the hand.”
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.
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 new AcuFeed™ Flex Professional Grade Foot (HP2) and its matching Professional Grade Needle Plate from Janome have been gaining quite a reputation for their precision stitching. Well alrighty then… it’s time we took the set for a little test drive. Follow along to see how we put this specialty set through its paces, testing it on a challenging quilting sample (Drunkard’s Path) as well as a compact barrel tote.
A straight line. It seems like the most basic thing you can do when sewing. But we’re amazed by the number of comments and questions we get from S4H visitors who want to know how to do it better, easier, and more consistently. We don’t have any magical powers to make our seams and topstitching look great. What we do know is that using the right foot for the job is the real secret to a beautifully straight line. Because we’re an exclusive Janome studio, our specialty presser feet suggestions are from the Janome selection of accessories. Your machine manufacturer may have similar options for your make and model. In either situation, the recommendation is the same: investing in a specifically designed presser foot is well worth it. It makes the process less frustrating, you can finish a task quicker, and the results are more professional.
Originally released as part of the Sew4Home Maker’s Club, this popular pattern is now available exclusively in our Etsy Shop. It’s a marvelous quilted mat that helps cushion the work surface for your machine and keeps your favorite notions and tools handy… and it does it all while looking cute as the proverbial button!
Most sewing projects require at least a small amount of hand sewing. If you've left an opening in a seam to turn an item right side out, you may need to hand stitch the opening closed. Hems are often hand stitched. Or, you might need to hand stitch a facing in place. Whatever the task, a bit of hand stitching comes in... well, "handy." We've outlined the tools needed along with seven of the most common stitches. Simple drawings and steps show how to do each one.
A perfect match might be difficult to find in the world of relationships, but in sewing: we have you covered! When you want a pocket's motif to precisely align with the panel on which it sits, all you need is a little extra fabric, some tissue paper, and those tracing skills you learned back in kindergarten.
DIY sewing projects are rarely just two layers of quilting weight cotton floating through your machine with ease. In garment construction, pattern pieces can come together from all angles, overlapping layers and seams. With three dimensional projects, like bags, fabric baskets or heavy cushions with piping; bulk and thickness are everywhere! Keeping seams straight, needles from breaking, and fabric moving evenly under the needle is challenging (read: can make you want to throw it all out the window). But with the right presser feet and accessories, an understanding of seam grading, and the patience to go slowly and carefully, you can sew like a pro through thick and thin.