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    Sewing For Beginners: Choosing Fabric and Preparing


    2009 - 09.25

    Sewing for beginners is pretty simple!

    When first learning to sew, you will read or have many people tell you to stick with cotton or cotton polyester blends for your beginning projects.

    sewing fabric

    You will read or have many people tell you to stick with cotton or cotton polyester for your beginning projects. I do agree that these are some of the easiest  fabrics  to work with. However, my girls thankfully removed my fear of working with other materials.

     Learn To Sew Like A Professional, Click Here! 

    When I first started sewing I tried to understand all of the differences between the fabrics: the fibers (natural vs. manmade), the fabrications (woven, knit, non woven)… After being overwhelmed, I stuck with cotton and polyester/cotton blends. Then my kids got involved in choosing their own fabrics and I threw all cares out the window. Anything shiny, see through, or furry were the most exciting to them. We also combined different fabrics, using anything and everything together in the same projects! (That last statement would make most professional seamstresses croak.)

    Through this we learned :

    What we did like working with, what was difficult and why, why some fabrics didn’t work well together, which fabrics needed special seams, some that we would prefer using a serger with…the list goes on. All the things that we could have read about, but we completely understood why through our hands on experiences. Again, barriers were broken down, and problem solving skills were sharpened. We noticed that certain needles worked better than others and we needed special seams for certain fabrics to deal with fraying… Although we still couldn’t name all of the different types of fabrics we recognized them by feel and look. We are just now starting to identify all of them by name.


    Just the other day my youngest daughter and I were looking for fabric for her Christmas presents. We picked up a beautiful linen fabric and she immediately was able to identify that it would not be good for her project because she needs to sew these pillows with the edges exposed. We had done a previous project with linen that had fallen apart over time from the stress on the seams.
    There are some excellent books that discuss all the types of fabric, as well as the special treatment they need. My favorite is Singer’s Complete Photo Guide to Sewing. It is an excellent beginners book .

    If you are wanting to stay with the easier fabrics, look for:

    1. Does it unravel easily. Look at the bottom edges of a bolt where the fabric has been cut. Is it coming apart real easy or staying together?2. For matching seams; solids and small prints are best.
    Fabrics are either Directional or Non directional. Directional fabrics or fabrics "with nap" – means that it either has a design that can only go in one direction, or the fabric looks lighter or darker depending on how you hold it. This type of fabric must be cut in a certain way so that both sides look the same (i.e., the design isn’t upside down). When working with directional fabrics you might have to buy extra to accommodate the design. *Don’t let this stop you from buying these fabrics. However, if you or your child are perfectionists I would steer away from plaids, starting off. Non directional or "without nap" – means that the design can be turned any way and it looks the same, or there is no design at all.
    3. Fabric that do not stretch alot. Some examples of "easy to work with" fabrics include: cotton, polyester cotton blends, denims, firm knits (not as much stretch), wools, broadcloths, poplin, flannel, sweatshirt knits, seersucker, calico…the list goes on. (When I first started, I would look at a list like this and say, "I don’t know what all these are – help". Remember, with you and your child’s first projects being small, you are not having to buy large quantities of fabric, so don’t feel limited. Look, feel, and experiment! )

    Three suggestions for finding fabric:

    1. Buy on sale only. There are great deals out there. *If you go into a fabric store, ask if they have a discount table. Internet sites will have a link to their discount fabrics .
    2. Use old clothes. My husband works on our family ranch and goes through clothes like crazy. We use his old shirts, jeans, and socks. My youngest daughter at 3 even used a pair of her old underwear, stitched the legs up, and made a hat for herself (she was only allowed to wear it in the house with family).
    3. Use other people’s old clothes. My grandmother was getting rid of a huge bag of clothing, so my girls asked if they could have them. We made the cutest quilts, headbands, and purses with her silky shirts.

    Very Important – Let your kids choose their fabrics – even if they don’t match and are ugly!!

    One more thing to consider: will what your making need to be washed often? Fabric is either washable or dry clean only. For the projects that we will wash a lot (our clothes, doll clothes, and some of our tote bags) we buy washable fabrics, due to the expense of dry cleaning.
    **You will be amazed at all of the beautiful faux fabrics available now, that are actually machine washable.

    Preparing fabric for sewing:

    *When buying fabric, look at the information on the care of the fabric (i.e., washing, dry cleaning, if it has been pre-shrunk, or if it will shrink). At stores this is found on the end of the bolt. When buying over the internet they post this info. for you. If the fabric has colors that might bleed, or if it states that it will shrink some when washed – wash it. A great habit to get into is, right when you get your fabric (if it is machine washable) wash it. We put ours in the wash to pre-shrink and we add a little vinegar to help set the colors. We then dry and press.

    This way your fabric is ready when you are ready to sew. I learned this the hard way. I made some precious 4th of July US flag quilted placemats. Although, I didn’t have to preshrink the fabric, we couldn’t use them to eat on because I didn’t set the colors. If I were to wash them now our white stripes would turn pink; we still use them to decorate with.
    Another example: Your child makes their first shirt, it fits perfect, you wash it, it shrinks, and they can’t wear it again! If it states that the fabric will shrink, take the time to wash it!

    Dry clean or machine washable?

    The important thing is to take into consideration what you are making. Will it need to be washed often? If yes, buy machine washable. We use a lot of dry cleanable upholstery fabrics for our pillows and purses. We also use this fabric for special dresses.

    By Kristi Borchardt

    Vintage Fabric

    Whether a fancy frock or a pretty little pinafore, it’s often the fabric so carefully selected by the home seamstress that makes these garments so popular. 

    The Fabric Bar

    Amy from The Fabric Bar wants to give you some fabric! She has a beautiful new website with loads of designer fabric, Japanese goodies, and patterns.

    Choosing The Right Fabric

    In spring and summer, although you want a lighter, brighter effect, the curtain fabric should be heavier, both for privacy and good looks. A high thread count fabric is desirable.

    Sewing Ideas

    I’m also looking for tips on choosing fa fef bric to reupholster these chairs.

    Make Choosing Fabric for Your Quilts Even Easier « Learn How to Quilt

    One Response to “Make Choosing Fabric for Your Quilts Even Easier”. Misty Says: August 23, 2009 at 14:30. Great tips. I started a quilt using curtains, bedspreads, clotes and so forth that I used and discarded throughout my life.

    Types of Furniture Fabric

    Style: It is important to keep the particular furniture piece in mind when choosing fabric. In addition, the style of the room and home in which the furniture will be placed should be considered. 

    Tips And Basics For Successful Sewing


    2009 - 09.03

      Tips to help you save time and money, to make your sewing experience more comfortable and successful.



     This information can be used for beginners and the more talented.

     From sewing hems to rolled hem sewing, you can learn it all with these sewing tips.


    Here are few of tips that I would like to share with you:

    1. Before discarding pants, cut off the belt loops and use to sew on the inside of children’s coats and jackets for a coat loop. No more fallen coats at school.

    2. Before sewing on buttons, tape each one where it belongs with a strip of transparent tape. After the first stitches are made you can remove the tape.

    3. To avoid pinholes when hemming delicate garments, mark the hemline with tailor’s chalk and use clips to hold the fold in place.

    4. Prevent future errors in sewing by slipping a memo into individual patterns explaining any size alterations or changes for that item.

    5. Prevent fraying by reinforcing the hems with a row of zigzag stitching in a matching or contrasting color.

    6. Sew a large button on each end of the drawstring on pajamas and sweat suits. This will keep the string from disappearing.

    7. Keep a spool of clear nylon thread on hand. Because it is transparent it will pick up the color of the fabric. This will also work when a bobbin runs out and the spool is almost empty; just put the clear thread on your bobbin.

    8. Place a thin sheet of foam rubber under your sewing machine’s foot pedal to prevent it from sliding around when you use it on an uncarpeted surface.

    9. Store a magnet in your sewing basket to attract loose pins and attach one to your  sewing machine  to hold extra needles. If you glue a small magnet to the end of a wooden yardstick you won’t have to bend over to pick up any pins that fall on the floor. 

    10. Thoroughly washed and cleaned mascara brushes can be used to clean the crevices of your sewing machine.

    11. When letting down a garment hem you can diminish the crease by applying white vinegar to the wrong side of the fabric 

    sewing tips and basics

    and steam press it.

    12. Try this economical substitute for custom-cut table pads: Place a quilted mattress cover over your table top and trim with scissors for a custom fit. You’ll have a sturdy, heat-absorbent table pad to protect the finish of your table.

    13. For a substitute needle threader: push the needle through a sheet of white paper,as it’s more noticeable.

    14. When shopping for accessories for a recent sewing project, staple a small fabric sample to an index card and carry it with you to the stores.

    15. To organize loose buttons: String them on twist ties and twist the ends together for an easy way to store them.

    Learn To Sew Like A Professional

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    By: Sara Glenn

    Article Directory: http://www.articledashboard.com

    Make It and Love It: Sewing Tips 

    In the instructions, I explain that you sew a long piece of fabric together lengthwise with right sides together. Then I tell you to turn it right side out. Here’s the problem.

    3 Sewing Tips

    3 sewing tips… 1. Use a rotary cutter for cutting out interfacing; quicker than using your dressmaking shears. Interfacing tip 2. Use pins to hold teensy-weensy bits of folded fabric in place when ironing.

    Sewing Valances: Sewing Tips, Valance Styles, and More

    Dress up windows with easy to sew valances. These versatile window treatments are suitable projects for beginners.

    Sewing Tips – Pattern Matching

    Sewing Tips – Pattern Matching. Published by christinem at 1:00 am under sewing Edit This. Large prints can look beautiful on tote bags and smaller home decor items. But a little bit of care must be taken while laying out and cutting.

    Find an Old Sewing Machine on Which to Learn

    Instructables user MargueritaM gives some excellent tips about learning to machine sew using an old machine. She points out some basics that make it easy to get up and running.

    Sewing Tips Newsletter – Issue 7

    I am a beginner and am currently attempting to sew a box beanbag cover. I am using your very helpful video on ‘How to Sew a Box Cushion’ to help with the basics. I have begun by cutting 6 identical 18″ squares from my fabric.

    Velvet Curtain Sewing Tips

    Velvet Curtain Sewing Tips. If you find yourself in need of sewing velvet curtains then you can follow these easy guide for a basic understanding.

    Tips On Sewing A Hem


    2009 - 09.01

    patterns for sewing, fabric to sewfabrics to sew, pattern fabrics

     Sewing hems is pretty simple once you got the hang of it.

    Do you know how to sew a hem? Sewing hems is pretty simple, and the following instructions will teach you how to sew a neat, almost invisible, hem every time. After, you learn the basics of  hemming you will know how to hem a pair of jeans.

    To start with, iron flat that area of the fabric you need to hem. Now we need to turn up and pin the hem. The easiest way to do this is on a flat surface, such as a table. Your   fabric  should have the wrong side facing you. I know most patterns allow for 5/8" for a hem, but I allow a little more to ensure the hem is not too bulky. Start with a small section of the fabric and turn over about 1/2cm or ". Now fold over again another 1cm or ". Pin this in place. Because I am right handed, I now move to the left about 6cm or 2" and do the same again (if you’re left handed, move to the right). Continue in this way until you have pinned the entire hem. Now check and make sure that the hem is straight, with no bulky sections or gathers. If there are, just rework that section of the fabric until it is more even. Unpin, redo your folding and re-pin. At this point, you can turn the fabric back to the right side and iron it, but this isn’t necessary unless your fabric is particularly slippery (like satin or jersey).

    Next, we need to get together our sewing kit.

     The most critical thing to ensure that your hem is almost invisible is to choose the right thread for your fabric. If your fabric is very light, filmy, or delicate (such as chiffon, satin, jersey, cheesecloth, etc) then choose a very light nylon thread.

    If your fabric is a medium weight (such as cotton, linen, polyester, etc) then use a regular nylon thread.

     Learn How To Sew Like A Professional, Easy Guide 

    And if your fabric is thick, heavy or bulky (such as denim, canvas, polar fleece, etc) then consider using a heavier cotton thread.

    Once you have decided on the best type of thread to use, you must choose the right colour. If you can get a perfect shade match, well and good. If not, go for one slightly lighter than your fabric rather than darker, as this is less likely to show.

    Your needle has to match the fabric and thread. So for light filmy fabrics use a very fine needle, a regular sized needle for ordinary fabrics, and a larger more robust needle for heavier fabrics.

    To see whether you have the right needle, run it through your material once without any thread in it. If the hole you create with the needle closes up or disappears by itself, you’ve got the right needle. If you can see the hole afterwards, try a smaller needle.

    Now – to sew!                        

    Thread your needle, and leave the short end of thread about 20cm long or 8". (Note: I never sew with the thread doubled unless I am sewing on a button). Tie a knot in the long end of t 1000 he thread.

    I find it easiest to  sew with the fabric   on my lap (or the part to be sewn on my lap).

    The fabric should be wrong side up, with the pinned hem closest to you. Pick a starting point (a side seam is usually good), and insert the needle through the body of the fabric, as close to the top of the hem as you can, and without piercing through to the right side of the fabric (that’s why I usually start on a side seam). Now pierce the needle through the top of the hem by placing the tip of the needle slightly underneath the top of the hem and bringing it up through the outer part of the hem. You can see an image here.

    Now place the needle about 1cm or " to the left (or to the right for left handers) **, as close to the top of the hem as possible, and insert through several fibres of the fabric (try not to go all the way through to the other side of the fabric). Again, place the tip of the needle under the top of the hem and insert through and out to the outer part of the hem. Repeat this until you are back where you started.

    ** How far apart you do the stitches depends on several factors such as how robust the hem needs to be (the more wear and tear, the closer the stitches need to be), the weight of the fabric (generally lighter fabrics can have stitches farther apart than heavier fabrics) and whereabouts on the garment the hem is (if fingers or toes are likely to get caught in the hem when putting it on, the stitches should be closer together).

    To finish off the hem, sew 2 stitches one on top of the other, tie a knot in your thread, and you’re done. Iron your hem (and admire)!

    By: Diane Ellis

    Article Directory: http://www.articledashboard.com

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    How To Sew a Hem Video

    Video: How To Sew a Hem. Sure, you can always use iron-on hem tape to shorten those pants, but maybe it’s time to join the 35 million Americans who can sew—yes, with a needle and thread—a hem. 

    Projects How-To’s How To Sew A Lettuce Hem

    Add a natural frill to boring hems and edges!   

    How to Hem Jeans in Three Steps

    Measure the length of the cuff; ignoring the hem; divide that measurement in half, and re-pin using the new measurement as the length of the new cuff. Sew the new cuff in place as close to the original hem as possible. 

    How to Sew a Hem

    Di Ellis asked: Do you know how to sew a hem? It’s pretty simple, and the following instructions will teach you how to sew a neat, almost invisible, hem every time. To start with, iron flat that area of the fabric you need to hem. 

    Lead weight hem « THE SEWING DIVAS sewing

    I love to wear linen blouses but I do not like the wrinkles and pleats of the back hem. I wear a long blouse so it creases a lot at the back hem due to sitting. I wondered if there was a cure to prevent any more bunching up the hem. 

    Tips And Basics For Embroidery


    2009 - 09.01

     

    Embroidery is like a picture that lightens up the room!embroidery thread

    There are new, modern and exciting things to be done and you can think of an imaginative way of embroidery. If you can imagine it, you can embroider it! For many years, ladies have been getting together to hand-embroider any number of items, from quilts to clothes to sheets to curtains and more.  This could be done with and embroidery stitches . Many people have come up with an imaginative way of embroidery.

    And this is the amazing thing about embroidery – you can get as imaginative and creative as you want. No one can tell you that your way to embroidery is wrong.You can use a traditional way or an imaginative way of embroidery.

    However, hand embroidery is pretty hard unless your really talented and don’t need to use a machine. Make sure you have a embroidery kit to a fall embroidery pattern. Imagine being able to create the detail and decal that you want by being able to embroider it right onto whatever item you want. Also, keep in mind that even if you are not very good at hand-embroidery, you can also try an embroidery machine or the embroidery setting on your sewing machine. No one says that an imaginative way of embroidery has to be done by hand anymore! Get as creative as you want with an embroidery machine!

    Whatever you want to have embroidered, you can embroider yourself and you can use whatever imaginative way of embroidery you want! With a little practice, your hand embroidery skills can dramatically improve. Otherwise, you can use an embroidery machine to get the results you’re looking for!

    By: Mel C

    Article Directory: http://www.articledashboard.com

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     Hand Sewing Tips

    According to www.wikipedia.com the running stitch or straight stitch is the basic stitch in hand-sewing and embroidery, on which all other forms of sewing are based. The stitch is worked by passing the needle in and out of the fabric.

    Embroidery tips and reviews

    Here are some helpful tips. Do you want to adorn your living room or bedroom by displaying pillows embroidered with eye-catching designs?

    A Few Basics and Tips

    A Few Basic Tips On Your Cross Stitch Kits. By: James Smith. More and more people love to do cross stitching these days. It perhaps started out with a visit to their local shopping centre, and they were in the hobby department. They saw an embroidery image which they truly liked and thought how great it would be to complete one of these pictoral designs. 

    Make It and Love It: Sewing Tips

    In the instructions, I explain that you sew a long piece of fabric together lengthwise with right sides together. Then I tell you to turn it right side out. 

    Basics For Making Roman Shades


    2009 - 08.30

     Brighten up any room in your home with Roman shades.

     Roman shades are primarily a type of window blind or a window covering, made of fabric which folds neatly to the top when they are opened. These are the easiest and most cost effective shades. Furthermore, you can even make them at home. So if you game to know about how to make roman shades. You get ready made roman shades but if you something unique then its always best to sew your own. Start to make Roman shades by following these easy tips.

     A touch of class and a touch of antiquity. This is what could perhaps be the best description of Roman shades. They are simple, yet elegant and better still, they are cost effective!  Roman shades  basically fall into the category of window blinds. It’s just a piece of fabric hung from the top of a window casing, which is adequately wide and long enough to cover the window glass. Now to know what is the system involved in that, you will have to read on a bit further. For example how to sewing, roman shades.tips for foman shades

    Now that you want to know the system, I guess, you would game for knowing the while story behind  making Roman shades . So let me open the magic box for you and lets get down to checking out Roman Shades . How to make roman shades, at first glance may seem confusing and cumbersome, but as the task proceeds, it will become clearer.

    Making Your Own Roman Shades

    The things you would need, piece of sheer fabric, shade cord, 1 eye screw per cord, small plastic rings, yard stick of wood, a small brass ring per cord and a sew-in-weight per cord and 1 cord cleat.

    Thread 1:Measure your window so that you can mount your shade.

    Thread 2: Now after the measurements, cut the fabric so that it allows 2 extra inches for hems on all sides. Then follow it up by adding 4 inches to both length and width measurements to go with the completed shade. Do not forget to cut the fabric on the grain by squaring the fabric.

    Thread 3: Select the cords and rings and their placement. For windows wide till 24 inches, one cord on each side of the shade is perfect. Incase you want the shade to fall in two or three swags rather than 1, you might need another cord or two. Then, each cord should measure the same as the sum total of the length, breadth and width of the shade. You start off with lacing the cords from the bottom of the shade up, till the rings on the top of the shade. After that, the cord will go across the top of the shade to a side and then will hang down from the top.

    Thread 4: For the top ring for each cord, a brass ring is used. Its because maximum pressure is on this ring. The rings are fitted horizontally up the shade. That will facilitate the folding of the shade horizontally when raised. This is an important step, in the how to make roman shades project.

                                        Learn More About Roman Shades Here 

    Thread 5: Use a brass ring for every cord at the top of the shade and a plastic ring for cords at the bottom. Check the number of rings, if they are adequate enough, as you might just be required to adjust the number of cords, depending on the length of a shade. Don’t forget the sew in weights.

    Thread 6: Follow this up by hemming the sides and bottom. Facing the wrong side up, lay the fabric down. Fold the fabric 2 inches on both the sides and bottom of the shade, fixing them on the spot by pins. You can also iron across the edges. Then fold the 2 inch strip of fabric in half, which tuck an inch under and iron to crease. Repeat this on the other side.

                                  Tips On Learning To Sew Like A Professional

    Thread 7: Now cut the 1 inch square highlighted by the creases at all bottom corners. Keep in mind that there should be no overlapping with the sides at this juncture. Fold the remaining 1 inch along the crease lines produced, when ironed.

    Thread 8: Fold the corners and tuck under at each bottom corner to create a diagonal line. Pin the place. Now sew the hemming, starting from 2 inches down – from the top, one side down, through the bottom through the upper side and discontinuing, when you are 2 inches short from the top.

    Thread 9: After you are done with the earlier step, mark the positions for the cord rings at the back of the shade. Now sew the rings on the shade, using brass and plastic rings for top row and plastic, as you go down. Placing the bottom row of around 1/2 inch in from the edge, sew the weights below the rings onto the bottom hem. Cut the cord into requisite pieces and tie the cords to the bottom row of the rings. Then lace each cord through the corresponding rings to the top and through the brass rings over to one side.

    Thread 10: Straighten the shade to make it lie flat and tie the chords together, around an inch past the brass string. Now you are done with making the shade. Hold the shade to the window and mark on the underside of the top casing of the window from each brass ring. At each marking, screw the eye screws to make them suspend straight down. After that fix the cord cleat. Open the brass rings just about enough for slipping them over the respective eye screw. Press the brass ring close, once it slips over the eye screw. Now you can straighten the loose cord ends and tie them below the cord cleat or the required length.

    There you are! We have just gone through a bit harrowing and an interesting session of how to make roman shades. So now the next time you go in for interior designing, shade your windows – Roman style!

    By Medha Godbole
    Published: 8/12/2009

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    Millions of Roll-Up Blinds and Roman Shades

    About 5.4 million roll-up blinds and Roman shades made by various companies and sold at major retailers nationwide have been recalled today because of the risk of strangulation to children who can become entangled in the strings. 

    Recall Alert-Roman Shades and Blinds

    Near Strangulation Prompts Recall of Roman Blinds; Sold Exclusively at IKEA 3. Near Strangulation of Children Prompts Recall of Roman Shades; Sold Exclusively at Pottery Barn Kids. 

    Tips To Be Aware Of While Choosing Tasteful Wooden Window Blinds

    Roman shades are shades that may be pulled up by having a chunk of the shade be folded behind another higher portion of the shade. Roman shades are customarily made of fabric or wood pieces fef woven together, for example bamboo shades.

    Cleaning Your Roman Shades

    To clean Roman shades try vacuuming with a brush attachment or using a duster.  

    The Attraction For Roman Shades And Blinds

    These shades prove good room insulations and light controllers, be it a small filter or blackout. The versatility of this Roman style allows it to blend with any window style. Roman shades are found in a wide variety of patterns.

    Soft Roman Window Shade | Roman Treatment Window Roller Shades

    Make Roman Window Shade, measure Window Roman Shade, Roman Window Shade pattern, soft Roman Window Shade, warm Window Roman Shade, Treatment Window bamboo Roman Shades, Roman Treatment Window blinds Shades, Roman Treatment Window roller.D