I love to sew in my spare time–it’s such a rejuvenating and creative adventure to sew something from scratch! Thus I’m always trying to improve my sewing abilities, whether it’s a shortcut or a new skill. I’ve found quite a few tips and tricks that make the sewing process much simpler and more fun. I hope you find one you can use!
SewMcCool came up with a great way to add a seam allowance to a pattern. While you are tracing the pattern onto tracing paper, use two pencils instead of one. All you have to do is secure them together with a rubber band. Trace with the inside pencil, and the outside pencil will draw your seam allowance.
If you struggle to keep your seam allowances straight while you’re sewing, you should follow this trick from Threads Magazine. All you need to do is place a rubber band on the arm of your machine where the seam allowance should be. Your seams will be perfect!
The Sewing Loft suggests using binder clips as extra hands when your doing hand sewing. This is an especially useful trick when you are binding the edges of a quilt! And since binder clips come in so many sizes, you’ll be able to use them on even the thickest fabric.
If you haven’t switched from pins to pattern weights yet, you’ve got to do it. Pattern weights are much easier to use than pins, and they’re better for the fabric. Burda Style recommends buying nuts and washers (which are much cheaper) to use as your weights.
If you’re having trouble threading a needle, DIY Ready recommends using hairspray to strengthen the thread. The stiffened thread will be much easier to insert through the eye of a needle. I’d never thought to do this before, but this tip will totally come in handy!
The Sewing Loft Blog posted a really helpful tip for sewing with knits. When you’re sewing with knits, it’s best not to stretch the fabric. If you do, it may end up looking like the example below. To help avoiding stretching, you can use a zigzag stitch.
If you want an elegant hem on the bottom of your homemade dress, look no further. Oliver + S posted detailed directions for adding hem facing to any garment. This method takes a tiny bit more time, but it’s actually much less complicated and technical than typical methods.
Zippers can be tricky to install but not with this genius tutorial! Instead of trying to match up your fabric and your zipper before sewing, Make It & Love It recommends sewing the fabric together first, and then seam-ripping it so that you can install the zipper. Fabulous!
The Seasoned Homemaker recommends using bias tape to finish off raw edges. With a little bit of practice, you can use bias tape to finish off even arm holes! Bias tape is an elegant way to finish your clothes, and it’s a great opportunity to add an accent color to your garment.
If your buttons are starting to get loose, but you don’t really want to take the time to sew them on again, you can use clear nail polish to help secure them. This is just one of the many helpful uses for clear nail polish–you should definitely keep some around. Thanks, Wonder How To!
The Sewing Loft Blog recommends knowing your marking tools before you begin sewing. They posted a handy guide to help you figure out exactly which tools you need for any project. Some pens-like disappearing ink markers are better for lighter fabric, while tailor’s chalk is better for heavy fabric.
Serger Pepper recommends hanging on to your extra scraps. Instead of throwing them away, you should use them to try out new stitches. You may realize that you want to change the tension, needle, length, or width. There are lots of possibilities with stitches, but you don’t want to try them out on your garment!
Simple Simon and Company figured out the best way to iron seams flat and straight. Before you use the iron, use an envelope to fold the fabric on the seam. This will make your ironed seam crisper and you won’t have any crooked seams!
I usually shy away from using snaps on my sewing projects. They seem really tricky! But I found a tutorial from Make It & Love It that simplifies the process and makes it much easier to understand. I totally feel like snaps are doable! You should give them a try.
If you want to hem your jeans but you don’t want to lose the faded and original hem stitch, there’s a solution! Running With Scissors posted a tutorial for keeping the original hem on jeans while still shortening them! This is s such a jean-ous way to keep your jeans looking authentic.