We share our favourite 18 tips, hacks and clever fixes to make sure your sewing goes as smoothly as possible!
Whether you're a beginner sewist, an advanced dressmaker or somewhere in between - you can always pick up new tricks on the way to improve your skills!
Ready, Set, Sew!
Whether you’re struggling to fit sewing into your spare time or want to learn some clever tricks to stop problems in their tracks, we have the tips to help! If you're stuck for sewing time here are our favourite speedy sewing tips.
1) Cut out more than one project at a time. A great way to get ahead is to cut out multiple projects and put the collected pieces into zip-lock bags ready for when you have more time.
2) Why not sew multiple projects at once? If you are using the same colour thread and needle size, maximise your output by working on two projects side by side. Just don't get muddled about what goes where.
3) Pre-wind bobbins in black and white plus colours you regularly sew with. If you have 15 minutes, this is a great bit of sewing room admin to do. For specific projects, wind two bobbins so a back up is ready for when you run out.
4) Skip the pins! This technique is a bit trickier to master but not stopping to remove pins saves lots of time. Align raw edges and feed the fabric under your presser foot simultaneously.
5) Sew items in a chain. Who says you have to stop between each seam? As long as you back-stitch at the ends and leave a small run of thread for clipping between your pieces you can run multiple seams through your machine back to back. The same applies
6) Block-fuse your interfacing. By fusing a larger piece of fabric you can cut all your various facings out in one go. And don't forget, you’ll spend less time fusing interfacing to fabric if you heat up the fabric first; it creates a better bond.
7) Press in batches. For instance, if you're assembling a bodice with no bust darts (only waist darts) then sew the darts, shoulder seams, and side seams, then do all of your pressing, rather than interrupting each step to press.
There's no need to dread the stitch unpicker if you follow these easy tips for preventing problems before they get a chance to occur.
8) Mark your stitching line. Avoid the unpicker and just mark the seam lines of the trickier intersections of your project, eg necklines or cross seams, to get it right first time.
9) For fuss-free hand sewing Alison Smith MBE advises to make sure that you thread around 20" of thread onto your needle, smoothed with beeswax. If it is shorter you will need to thread again and again, wasting time, any more and you'll risk it getting tangled as you work.
10) Don't ruin your buttonholes. Place a pin at the end before slashing it open to make sure you don’t cut too far.
11) Gather thicker fabric with dental floss. Using a wide zigzag stitch, sew over the top of dental floss, so the stitches create a channel. Then simply pull on the floss to gather the fabric up.
Tools of the Trade
So many things in your home can help with your sewing, you just have to think more creatively about them! We've pulled together our favourite hacks for household objects.
12) Don’t have a hem gauge? Mark a manila file folder or envelope with different hem depths, then fold your fabric over the necessary amount and press away.
13) Masking tape is a magical thing. Use a small square to mark the WS of indistinguishable fabric. Remind yourself of seam allowances with a sticky note. Elisalex de Castro Peake recommends using it to cut bias strips of an equal length.
14) Want to try twin needle stitching? If your machine didn't come with a second spool holder, secure a pencil to the side of your sewing machine with Washi tape.
15) For double-quick clipping and notching, use your pinking shears to trim, clip and notch at the same time! They're perfect for curved edges like collars and necklines.
16) Don't have any binding clips? If you're in a bind with thick fabric, just use paperclips, bulldog clips or even clothes pegs as a quick solution to this pinning problem.
17) Get more from your blind-hem foot. Use the plastic blade to push open a seam to stitch neatly in the ditch.
18) This foot can be extra useful with just a simple repositioning of the needle! Shift to the left to under-stitch facings a few millimetres from the seam line, and or run the blade down an edge you want to neatly top-stitch.
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