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Sewing Tips and Techniques

For Hand Sewing:

When hand sewing use beeswax to coat your thread. This prevents tangles and makes the thread slide through the fabric
more easily. If you don't have beeswax, use soap, or a regular candle.

For Sewing Over Very Heavy Seams:

Such as in the case of hemming jeans, use one of the commercial 'presser foot lifters' such as "Jean-a-ma-jig" or, use a common kitchen fork! Fit the machine's needle between the fork's tines and use the handle to 'lift' the foot gently over the heavy seam. Works in front or in back of the presser foot.

For Buttonholes:

Use a commercial buttonhole foot such as "Buttonmatic" or use the card the buttons come on.
  • (A)After removing the buttons from the card carefully, with a pen or pencil and a ruler, mark two lines from top to bottom of the card, one 1/4" and another 1/2" away from the side edge.
  • (B) Lay one button on the side edge of the card at least 1" away from the top or bottom edge of the card. Mark the exact length of the button at the top and bottom.
  • (C)Add 1/4" to this measurement and cut horizontally into the card about 1/2" deep (to line) at the top and bottom mark.
  • (D)With a third vertical cut along the 1/2" line, join the upper and lower cuts until you have taken a small rectangle out of the side of the card.
  • (E)Using the top of the rectangle as the beginning of the buttonhole, line up your needle with the 1/4" line to center the buttonhole.
  • (F)Sew the first section of the buttonhole, stopping when you get close to the end of the rectangle.
  • (G)Make the bar tack and start up the other side of the buttonhole, again stopping close to the end of the rectangle.
  • (H)Make the final bar tack and you are done!

(*see pictures below)



More Helpful Hints...

  • Use clear elastic as stabilizer for buttonholes in knits- they wonít stretch out!!
  • Canít remember which machine needle is which size? Color code them with different shades of nail polish!!
  • Mark the slot on top of your spool of thread where the thread gets anchored and you will find it easier!
  • Always, always change your sewing machine needle after every 8 hours of sewing, it will save wear and tear on your machine as well as your projects!
  • For cleaning old lace and bringing back some of the white, mix up 1/4 cup of "Biz" laundry detergent with 1 Ĺ gallons of warm water. Let the lace soak until whiteness returns.
  • Use a clear plastic shoe bag (the kind that hangs from the back of the door and holds multiple pairs of shoes) to store your serger cone thread. Store by color and youíll always know what you have at your finger tips!

Cool Feet

These feet weren't made for walking, and they don't stink either! But, accessory feet for sewing machines will do many wonderful tricks. The feet below are especially designed for a technique called couching. The term refers to attaching a decorative cord or trim to another layer of fabric.

Narrow Braid Foot

Decorative cordings can be sewn easily using the hook at the toe of the special accessory foot. Simply slide the cord under the hook, and the foot will guide the cord as you sew.

7-Hole Cord Foot

Create your own braid using the 7-hole cord foot. Thread the holes of the foot with different colors of thread, floss, yarn, or other decorative cording. Watch the foot do all the work for you as you "couch" over the multiple cords with a wide stitch---a zig-zag stitch will do!

Totally Tubular!

Tubes, resembling those used by a plumber, were invented so that strips of fabric sew into tubes could be turned right side out, FAST! They call this notion a "Fasturn". Available in 1/4" up to 2" diameter, the Fasturn will turn practically any size of fabric tube. There are many versatile ways the tubes can be used.

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