Sewing tips: Basics #2

We are just addicted to sharing our fave tips and tricks when it comes to sewing and crafts. We are diving into a second round of sewing tips today, don't forget to check out our previous tips Basics #1 and How to Fall in Love With Your Sewing MachineAlso why not check out my fabric buying tips and pattern advice from last year. Quite a mixed bag this time so lets get going....

Zips: Not sure about which size zip you need, don't panic Zips can be cut to size. If you buy one that is too long, as long as you stitch across the ends to stop the runner from coming off you can cut off the excess to make it the right length for your project.

Patterns: Make your patterns last longer by tracing them off onto greaseproof paper rather than cutting out from your pattern sheet. It means you never cut anything important away and if you need to make adjustments you don't spoil your original pattern papers.

Pattern Sizing: The big brand patterns, Simplicity, McCall's etc, often work from fashion sizing measurements not retail sizing measurements. You will often need to make up your patterns in a larger size than you would buy in the shops. If in doubt always check the body and garment measurements on each pattern and make to the size it recommends for your stats.

Fabrics: One thing we tell our customers at Sew Crafty all the time is to go home and wash their fabric before they start their projects. Even if you aren't using cotton fabric (which can shrink when washed) or the project you have in mind wont be washed afterwards, it is still worth giving it a rinse and an iron before you start to get rid of any dust or creases.

Tools: Invest in a small ruler, it is helpful to have a small measuring tool to hand so you don't always have to reach for your tape measure.

Storage: Rather than a pretty but not totally functional sewing basket for all your machine parts and sewing notions, why not invest in a tool box or vanity case. The mix of large and small compartments are perfect for keeping all those little bits and bobs in order.

Button Holes: Pop a pin in the end of your button hole to stop cutting too far and ruining your button hole.

Machine Stitching: Always check your machine top and bottom tension before you start to sew. If you have a bobbin case dangle it with the bobbin inside, if it shakes down slowly its perfect, if it falls it's too loose and if it doesn't move its too tight.

Seams: Always press your seams as you go, you will never regret it later.

Seating: Make sure your sewing machine chair is at a good height for your machine and is comfortable. But do make sure you get up and take breaks every so often, so you don't get too stiff.

Equipment: Always try and buy the best equipment you can afford. Cheap haberdashery is usually cheap for a reason. This is most important when referring to thread. The time it takes to make a garment to have the seams pop the first time you wear it is not worth the saving!

I hope these will be helpful, even if you are a seasoned machinist. Look out for our next tips post that I am working on at the moment all about Sewing Machine feet. As usual let us know your favourite tips in the comments below, we love to learn new tricks.

Sammy xxx

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