Jan 7, 2009

How to prefect your sewing projects

I'm always telling my students "we're all on different levels as far as knowledge, speed and perfection. Embrace the levels your own and try to improve with technique first and speed will come along with perfection. And if you don’t have patience sewing will teach you patience. You also will do very well at sewing when you have common sense.

The trick to sewing, most of the time you put the right sides of the fabric together when sewing your seams. Always tell yourself “two right sides together” while you pin your fabric together. One of the times you don't sew two right sides together is when you install a pocket on a button down shirt. (a common sense thing)

There are some other things you can work on to make your project come out looking better.

1. Take your time pinning your project. Sometimes it could take 30 minutes to pin something and only 5 minutes to sew it. The way you pin is the way it’s going to look when you sew it. Take your time to pin your project the right way. Also pin the edges of the fabric together. When you leave one side of the fabric hanging over the other edge your seam allowance will come out different. I pin a lot of my student’s projects. I do this to keep them from ripping out so many seams. When you have to rip seams it takes longer to complete the project. I try to make sure everyone can get their projects sewn in a few hours. Of course I tell them to start off with “easy” patterns and projects.

2. Stay consistent with your seams. Your seam allowance is the stitch line that you’re sewing in to the edge of the fabric. Most of the time seams are 5/8 inch. Sometimes you do smaller seams but most of the time they are 5/8”. When you don’t stay consistent with your seams your project comes out crooked.

3. Add top stitching to your project. Top stitching is the stitch you see on top of the fabric. It doesn’t do anything to construct the project but it adds a nice finished look. Top stitching looks best when you do it close to the edge of the fabric (as in a collar). To get close to the edge of the fabric a lot of times I’ll have my students install their zipper foot

4. Always press your seams. Again, we’re all on different levels and sometimes there are lazy sewers who don’t want to take the time to press their project as they sew. I can tell you, you will never be able to make your project come out looking good/right, lining up your seams without pressing your project as you sew your seams. A lot of times you can sew several seams before you hit the iron but always press before something get’s attached to that seam.

5. Finish your seams. This goes right along with your perfection level. Some people don’t care what the inside of their project looks like. I like to finish all my seams on a serger or if you don’t have one you can use your zig-zag stitch down your seam to finish. You can cut your seams with pinking sheers to keep it from fraying some but it will still come apart if it’s the kind of fabric that frays. You can always use a liner to hide all your seams. This gets a little tricky to hide your seams but it can be done if you do your seams in the right order.

If you’re looking to make your project look a little more professional try these tips. Or if you would like to join a class and I’ll teach you how to do it. If your looking to teach yourself you can always look at your clothing while you do your laundry to see how other people did things. You can always take a seam ripper and pull things apart. This will also teach you how to do things the right way.

Until next time,
Enjoy your moments ~ make them “sew” much fun,
Cindy