How To… make sewing easier.

Sewing is great fun and I love making things using any craft technique I can learn. But I don’t have the most time in the world to pursue crafts. So here is how I power through small sewing projects quickly and efficiently.

1: Use patterns.

Whether it’s a pattern you download, one you ripped from an old clothing item or one you drew up yourself, starting with a pattern kills so much of the guesswork. You can just get started.

2: Improvise.

That said, a bit of improvisation can save you where a pattern falls short or doesn’t quite work. Give yourself a bit of flexibility.

3: Tapestry thread.

Using a strong thread, one that you can’t easily break with your bare hands, will result in a stronger stitch and a more robust item. You can even use fewer stitches when using a stronger thread.

4: Button hoops.

Sewing button holes is one of my pet peeves. For such a tiny space, so much tends to go wrong. Frayed ends, too big, too small and the stitching takes forever. Instead, make little fabric strips into hoops for buttons. More easily adjustable, faster to make and to mend.

5: Iron-on tape.

For hems, try using iron-on tape, a sort of meltable plastic strip that you put between two sides of a garment, then iron down. It gives you a great result that you can touch up or adjust as you please.

6: Fabric glue and paints.

This can look a bit tacky if you aren’t careful, so practise on scrap fabric and small projects, but fabric glue and fabric paints make for fun decorating a bit faster than usual sewing.

And that’s how I save a bit of time when I’m sewing something, to make sure I actually get it done before the year’s out. :p

What tips and tricks do more experienced seamstresses and tailors have to share on the matter?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

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9 thoughts on “How To… make sewing easier.

  1. ACK. Love you, my dear… but NO. Well, at least if you’re making garments.

    Use thread that matches your project, because you want your stitches not to show. Heavy thread is good for buttons, or home-dec where it will see heavy use. It also makes nice button loops. (I don’t have a knack for that, so I use fabric, but I do proper fabric loops).

    Yes, you can use iron-on tape, but it’s meant to be a temporary step before you permanently sew up the hem. A well-made hem (try to find one these days!) is invisible, unless it’s on denim. That means the “blind-stitch” on your machine or handsewing. Handsewing gets faster with practice, and is an excellent time to catch up on your tv watching.

    I can always tell the difference in my sewing when I free-arm the whole thing and try to rush through vs. my sewing that’s done carefully and properly. Free arming suits home-dec (I hate home dec sewing), things to be used for pets, odd crafty presents, and that genre. If you’re making garments, or making something that will hang on for more than a year, do it right – and do it once, with good materials. It will last longer and look more professional.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I thought of something! Very old-school… pinking shears. If you don’t want to mess about with a seam finish that is really-high end, you can always use pinking shears to keep your seams from raveling. I use this on my daughter’s clothing, and sometimes on my own when I don’t want the bulk of a finished seam. And, um, it’s a lot faster. šŸ˜€

    I found out that my fussing about with line-drying my fabric *was* saving me ironing time, but it was pulling the fabric off-grain, so in the end it was more of a problem than not. Fabric should always be laundered in whatever sort of treatment the final object will receive – no matter how much that makes you wince and cry when you have fresh yardage in hand.

    If you’re cutting silk or other slithery stuff, sandwich it in tissue paper. Yes, the cheap stuff from the dollar store is totally fine. It will then cut/sew like regular fabric. The sandwiching is annoying but worth it.

    Fabric weights are almost always better than pins. An exception that comes to mind is when matching plaids, but there are few others. Cutting distortion happens with the pinning, IME. You can buy weights, make them easily, or use oddments until you do one of those two things. I used rather a lot of plates at one point in my sewing career.

    Buy pins that you can iron over. Who wants to worry about melted plastic?

    Iron. Iron. Ironing properly is everything in sewing.

    I found out that there’s an exception to the rule about clipping your curved seams – don’t do it if you’re going to use a flat-felled seam, it leaves a little bump. :p

    A good goal is to make your insides pretty enough to be shown, but if you don’t hit that goal, no worries – at least you tried and your end product will be the better for it.

    Learn to hand sew.

    Doubled threads work well for buttons if you don’t have buttonhole twist. There *is* a method to sewing on buttons properly, and it’s on youtube. It’s fairly easy.

    The Great British Sewing Bee rocks. You should watch it. šŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

      • I bulk iron too… but this is like, you have to iron each seam as you sew it. I’m making shirts now, so I’m trying for really neat flat-felled seams. Each seam gets ironed open on the inside, then on the outside, then I clip one side of the seam allowance, then I lightly press the other seam allowance so it’s vertical, then I fold that over the clipped allowance and press it down, then I sew the seam allowances down flat. It makes lovely seams, but obviously it’s not something you prep in advance. You can steam collars and cuffs in advance though, especially wool, which you can really *shape* with steam. You shape them and then pin them in place, then leave them to cool/dry.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I need a tabletop ironing board then. I think you can make them to size with corkboard or cork plywood, alluminium sheet and mattress covers… So maybe that’s my next craft project, though.

        I know about wool from my attempts at felting. šŸ™‚ Felted dolls are lovely, but very difficult to work with. I often cheated and puffed the felt first, then smoothed it as best I could and then carved with a scalpel. :p

        Like

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