Nov 21

Basic Sewing Tips for Beginners

Now sewing looks quite easy but to some this is really not as simple as it looks. Lucky I grew up in a family were most of us can do some basic sewing. It’s a great hobby for me even though I don’t always find time but it’s really nice and relaxing.

Before starting a sewing project or item it’s quite important to first test how your sewing skills are. First get to know your sewing machine and all its settings. Get some scrap fabrics and sew all kinds of patterns, till you are satisfied with your results.

Basic sewing tips for beginners:

Once you are happy and comfortable you can now start.

  • Decide on your sewing project or item and make sure it’s not too difficult for the first project. If you aren’t sure maybe get a basic pattern for a garment for example a basic T-shirt or even a small bag. You can normally buy these patterns online or any fabric shop.
  • Read your instructions carefully on the pattern; make sure you get the right fabric and accessories.
  • I normally start with fusing parts after I cut out the parts and the start sewing. Now before you start to sew you can either pin the parts or hand sew it roughly together. I don’t even bother these days as I have been doing it for years now and I’m quite confident.
  • Make sure you do not oil your sewing machine before sewing as it can mess in your fabric.
  • I first test a small piece of the fabric to make sure the tension of my machine is correct. Now you should be able to start sewing.
  • After your garment is done you can iron to make it look neat.
  • Have patience with yourself, it happens when you make mistakes and have to unpick. Unfortunately is all part of sewing.
  • If you are really struggling to sewing or start a project, I would suggest go for sewing classes. Some fabric shops and sewing machine shops normally offer classes. They are really helpful and you learn a lot.

These are some of my basic sewing tips for beginners. Good luck with your first sewing project and hope these tips are helpful to you.

Aug 30

How to Fuse Interfacing to a Garment

The first step would be to first find the correct type of interfacing that will work for you type of fabric. Mostly these instructions will be on the back of the pattern envelope that you bought. If you are creating your own patterns at home, it would be best to first test what interfacing will work on the type of fabric you are using. You only need a small piece of fabric and measure a block, fuse the piece and measure it again to see what the different shrinkage was.

Now for me that is doing sewing at home and as a hobby I don’t have a fusing press or fusing machine like most clothing manufactures have. I still have to use to old reliable way that worked for me.

The tools that you would need would be the following:

1. Iron

2. Cloth

3. Correct interfacing

I know some people make use of more equipment but I have been using this method for years and never had any problems.

Steps to follow:

1. Cut out your patterns pieces of the fabric and interfacing. Some people will suggest that you cutout you interfacing smaller than you fabric so when you steam iron it, it won’t stick to your cloth or ironing board. That is up to you, you will know best how accurate you work.

2. Make sure before ironing the parts together that the glue dotted side are facing the wrong side of the fabric. This is quite important part because if you iron the parts together and it’s the wrong sides it very difficult to remove the interfacing again, probably also depend on the type of interfacing and glue.

3. Place a cloth over the parts and make sure you iron is hot. I found that steam doesn’t always work well so I use only a little bit of steam setting on the iron. I make use of a cloth as a hot iron can leave shiny marks on your fabric and you don’t want that.

4. When pressing the iron on top of the cloth keep it for a few seconds on the same spot before moving onto another section. I also do small sections at a time no matter how small the parts are.

5. After ironing the parts leave it to cool down for a bit before using it to continue sewing your garment. I find it best to fuse all the interfacing parts before actually start sewing the garment.

Fuse Interfacing

If you are struggling to keep the parts together you can use some pins and remove them before ironing a section. You don’t want a pin head ironed into you fabric, some you don’t see but rather be safe than sorry afterwards.

These are the basic tips and steps I take when I fuse interfacing to a garment.

Jul 26

Basic Ironing Tips

I don’t know about you all but I always assumed everybody would know how to iron clothes but it seems like there are a lot of people that just don’t bother or aren’t interested to learn. I’m not only talking about women but men as well.

That’s why I going to give you some basic ironing tip on how to iron your clothes.

Firstly I always read the label as different types of fabric needs to be ironed with different temperatures.

I only use boiled water in my electrical iron as it steams much better that way when ironing.

Always iron your cloths inside out, so if the iron is to hot at least the mark will be on the inside. I also iron on the inside because some fabrics become quite shinny when ironed on the right side.

If you are ironing and the creases doesn’t want to go out you can always take a damp thin cloth and through it over the section you are ironing and then iron onto the damp cloth. This method can also be used if you have fabrics that you aren’t sure about how to iron.

Sometimes when you load your washing into the washing machine and it’s too big you will see white/grey markings especially on darker clothes. I always wait till its dry and then use a damp cloth to rub the marks off before I iron it. Don’t rub too vigorously but softly. If the marks doesn’t come out then you’ll have to wash it again. Maybe rinse it again after you washed it and sees it has the marks on.

When you start ironing a garment always start with the waistband on pants and skirts or at the collar or neckline on dresses or shirts. These are always the tricky parts and the rest are normally easy.

Steam Ironing Machine

Steam Ironing Machine

Vacuum Ironing Machine

Vacuum Ironing Machine

I also feel that it’s more the steam that really irons out the creases than the heat of the iron. Don’t know if you see in clothing shops they hang the clothing item on a hanger and steam iron the clothing. The irons they use in clothing factories are also more steam and vacuum than really the heat of the iron.

These are just some basic ironing tips that I find works best when I iron my clothes.

May 24

How to Sew some Decorative Stitching

If you understand the basic stitches you will know that decorative stitching is using more or less the same type of stitches but decoratively on garments or different items.

Decorative stitches could be from a Zig zag stitch to detailed embroidery stitches and it can be made by a sewing machine or by hand. The sewing machine will be much quicker but by hand it could also be very neatly done like in the olden days.

By hand it more time consuming but you are more accurate when only working on one small section at a time. If I use my sewing machine and i want to use decorative stitches on an item i sew slower to make sure it looks right from the start. Embroidery machines is much more quicker if you want to do embroidery stitching but the machines are quite expensive compared to a normal sewing machine. All depends on what type of decorative stitches you want to use. So decide first and then see what would work out best for you.

For top stitching I normally use a different color thread and a little bit thicker and my stitches are normally little bigger/longer. On jeans and jackets top stitching really looks quite nice for me and most of the time I use my sewing machine for that. When I want do some embroidery I have to do it by hand but it’s really not that difficult but it does take time depending on your design. I have seen production embroidery machines and they are wonderful and really quick but like I said embroidery machine are very expensive here.

decorative stitching

Top stitching on jeans back pocket

decorative stitching

Top stitching on jacket

So to really enjoy decorative stitching, decide first what way would suite you best and your pocket. You don’t have to start with difficult patterns and stitches. Try something as simple as the zig zag stitch in a different color on you garment and see what big a difference that can make.

I really enjoy decorative stitching as it take’s my mind off everything else and I totally enjoy doing something relaxing.

Apr 10

What is the Singer Sewing Machine

I’m not sure if any of you guys knows how the old Singer sewing machine still looks like but believe it or not I still have one. It was my grandmothers and then my mums and now it became mine. It can’t do all the fancy features like today’s sewing machines can do but it still does a very good job.
The Singer that I have is still the old one with the hand wheel on the side that you have to turn for the needle to actually start to move up and down. It also a real heavy sewing machine so once I unpacked it  I just left it on the table. Like I mentioned before the old singer sewing machine doesn’t have all the nice features like you find the newer ones have. It can do the basic straight stitching and the different stitching lengths that you can change. It’s real easy to work with the machine and very neat as well.
I sewed quite a few pants and dresses with my machine and they all looked lovely.

I must say I have never had any problems with my machine and never had to take it for a service. I oil it now and then and make sure to clean it properly. It’s probably best to take your machine for a service on a regular basis like I do with my other sewing machines but we don’t really have a Singer supplier close that I know of.
A real working horse if you think about it, my grandmother and mother used it long before I could even sew.

Sewing

Singer Sewing Machine

So now you know what the Singer sewing machine is and some basics on what it can do it can do. This machine is a real antic piece of equipment.

Mar 14

7 Tips when doing Needlework

Needlework can entail a big amount of different sewing projects or needlework crafts. I enjoy needlework and it’s probably my favorite hobby as there are so many different needlework crafts or sewing projects that I can choose from.

These tips are all my own tips and that I found works well for me.

One tip when starting to sew or do needlework crafts, always start with the basics and a small easy pattern.

  • I have mention this one quite a few times and it is really important that you use the correct needle for the type of fabric you are using. If you are sewing by hand or machine you have to have the correct needle. I have used the wrong needle on a fabric and believe me it ruins your fabric.
  • Always check you tension when using a sewing machine, if the tension are to tight it could pull your stitches and break them and when the tension is to loose  it can create a puckering affect or if you want to use it for gauging
  • When knitting and your hands get sweaty I use baby powder on my hands, don’t use too much though otherwise your needles and wool will be covered in white baby powder. Try it, it really works.
  • When I do some hand sewing I make use of a timble. I know it’s very old school but trying to push a needle through some thick fabric it can make your finger sore. That’s why a timble works quite well especially if you work on appliques.
  • Have a lot of patience, I know this sounds like a simple tip but believe me when you are sewing and have to unpick quite a few times you don’t really have a lot of patience left and then you can ruin your sewing.
  • Make sure you have a magnet, doesn’t have to be a big one but having one help. What happened to me before is that my little box with pins falls on the ground and it takes forever to get them all but if you have a magnet it makes it so much easier finding them all.
  • If you ever have some oil spilling on your fabric because of you sewing machine, just use dish washing liquid straight away. Put a little bit on you oil mark and wash with hot water. You will see it works really well.

These are just some tips when doing needlework that helped me along the way, there might be easier and better ways of doing it as well.

Mar 06

Learn what Crochet is

Crochet was one of my mother’s favorite hobbies while I preferred knitting again,knitting was easier for me when I was a child but today crocheting is also a very relaxing hobby. I don’t think it’s very popular under the young people today like knitting but it’s still something different that you can try.

Crochet is very similar to knitting as you still make use of yarn and a needle but there are some differences. In crochet you only make use of a crochet needle, it has a hooked end and is longer than your normal needle. Knitting you make use of 2 knitting needles that is normally longer than your crochet needle. Both these methods you make loops and pull yarn through these loops but with crochet you use one thread of yarn in one loop at a time.

Crochet is a chain of stitches. Now the questions is what type of stitches can you use.
There are actually a big variety of stitches that you can use but I’m only going the mention a few basic ones that you can try and then work your way to more difficult stitches.

Basic crochet stitch:

This is the first stitch you’ll learn when starting to crochet. You will use this stitch and built other stitches onto this basic stitch.

Cluster stitch:

A cluster stitch is basically a lot of unfinished stitches that you join together as one.You join all the stitches at the top.

Shell stitch:

The shell stitch is joining more than one stitch together. For example join a half double crochet and a double crochet stitch into one stitch. It almost looks like a bivalve seashell.

V stitch:

The basic V stitch is a double crochet stitch with a few chain stitches to form the V shape. You do get different variations of V stitches, all depends what stitches you are using to create you V shape.

crochet

Crochet table cloth

As you can see you get a big variety of stitches that you can combine to form new shapes and stitches and to create your own design. These stitches I’m mentioning here are only a few of the basic ones that you can use. As you start off with these you will quickly learn all the tricks to crochet.

With crochet you can create garments like tops, bikini’s or other items like tablecloths, beanies, gloves etc.

Feb 28

How to Sew a Hem of a Garment

Now we would all assume that most people will know how to sew a hem of a garment but there are quite a few that don’t. There are 2 different options to sew a hem of a garment, one option is machine sewing and the other option is hand sewing. I still use both methods as I believe that hand sewing work better on certain fabrics than your sewing machines. Not all the machines can also sew these different hemming stitches and not everybody owns a machine.

Firstly it would be best to fit on your garment with your shoes and then pin or mark your hem. I normally pin the hem and ask somebody to pin/mark it for you. Stand up straight and don’t look down. My hems I mark about 1 thumb from the ground, obviously depending were you want your hem.

Hem

Measure and mark hem

Now once you have your marks you can mark right around your garment. Most of my pants hems are round about 2.5 cm when I’m finished sewing it. Mostly the instruction sheet will give you a hem amount to work with. If you are short and have a lot of left over fabric on the hem, cut away the access. Let’s say that you have about 3 cm of hem.

Now fold 5mm of the hem in and then pin it all around. This is normally if you don’t have a machine or over-locker to finish the raw edges for you.

Hand Sew

Make sure that you use the correct color thread and needle for your garment and type of fabric.
Some fabrics will have more stretch than others and you have to allocate for that when sewing your hem. When you are hand sewing I mostly use the blind hemming stitch but there are other stitches that you can use as well. The hem looks neat and you can hardly see on the rights side of the fabric that you sewed a hem.

Hand sewing

Blind hemming stitch by hand

Machine Sew

Again you must check your color thread. Now when you are machine sewing your hem it all depends on what functions your sewing machine has. My one is a bit on the old side so i can just use the normal sewing stitch that you see on both sides of the fabric. On your machine its quite important to have the correct needle, because if you use too big a needle you will see the wholes on the fabric and we want to prevent that. Check you specs for you machine needles and fabrics.
Now once that is done the next important thing to check is your tension. If you have a stretchy fabric you need to allow stretch. I normally test a piece of the fabric before i actually start sewing my hems.

Sewing machine hemming

Sewing machine hem stitching

These basic steps, how to sew a hem of a garment is what i have experience to work best for me and could be used for any type of garment or item. This will give you some idea what to do when sewing a hem.

Feb 27

How does a Basic Cross Stitch Pattern work

One of the most popular needlework crafts is cross stitch and there are quite a few different types of stitches that can be used. I’m going to cover a basic cross stitch pattern that one can start with as we only starting and don’t want to complicate things for now.

Firstly we need to look at what we need to start with cross stitching.

Firstly decide on a basic and easy pattern to use, a design that you can follow and that don’t  use too many different colors etc.
Get your different color of embroidery floss that you would like to use, a lot of the designs show how many different colors you will need.
Buy your fabric and your embroidery frame to put your fabric in.
The correct needle for stitching.

Cross stitch

Example of a basic cross stitch pattern

You will first have to transfer your design onto fabric. Fold your fabric into halves to get the center so that your design will be placed perfectly. Now you can place your fabric into the embroidery frame. First make a knot before making your first stitch otherwise you will pull through the floss. You will first start with your cross stitches that looks like a “X” and most of the time you will start in the center and work outwards.

To make the cross stitch you will start from the on side “/” and create the first part of the “X”.
If there are a few stitches in the same row you can continue with the first stitch “/” and after the last stitch you will now create the other side of the stitches “\”. Don’t pull the embroidery floss to tight it is suppose to be neatly done and a loose tension.

cross stitch

Cross stitching

I prefer working and finishing one color floss before starting with my next color but it depends on how you want to work and what you are comfortable with. Once you are finished with one row or color and you want to finish off you will pull the floss through to the wrong side(back), now thread your floss through some of the stitches at the back and cut the floss. This will make your work neat.

These very basic steps will help you with with your first basic cross stitch pattern. Before long you will master the steps and can move onto more intricate patterns.

Feb 22

Discover Knitting for Beginners

I have already covered what the basic knitting yarn is for knitting and now I’m taking it a little bit further by explaining knitting for the beginners.

Knitting is really fun and easy to follow. If it’s your fist time knitting I would suggest that you exercise a few rows of knitting before choosing a difficult pattern. I started off by knitting some scarfs and small Teddie bears. Its basically the same stitches and rows over and over but that’s the easiest way to learned.

First we need to cover what you will be needing to start knitting.

1. Knitting Needles:

Your needles actually makes a big difference when you knit. As the size will depend how loose or tight your stitches will be and depending on your design what type of needles to use.

Straight: the one end of the neelde has a sharp point and the other end has a knob so that the stitches can’t fall off. These needles are the most common ones used and are mostly used for flat patterns.

Circular: these needles can be used for flat and circular knitting. The two straight needles are connected with a flexible plastic cord and that forms the circular shape.

Double-pointed: Both ends on the needle has sharp points. Most of the time seamless items are knitted example socks.

Knitting needles

Different Knitting Needles

2. Needle sizes:

Knitting needle sizes

Knitting Needle Sizes

3. Yarn:

The most popular yarn that’s being used is wool. Wool is nice and warm for any type of item you want to knit especially in winter. Wool can be bought at most fabric shops. Just check what type of wool you are buying as you get different types and some are more expensive than others.

After we have our tools we can start with the basic knitting terms

Cast on: this is the first step to create a row of stitches on you needle.

Knit: this is the basic stitch.

Purl: this is the reverse of the knit stitch and most of the time when knitting you combine these 2 stitches.

OK, now let’s start knitting.

Cast a few stitches, lets say about 25. The needle with the 25 stitches, hold that in your left hand. Now with your right hand needle, push the needle through the first stitch on your left hand. Bring the loose yarn under and over your needle. Draw the yarn through the stitch and slip the loop off the left hand needle. Now your new stitch is on your right hand needle, you are starting to knit your first row of stitches.

Now when we have to purl its a little bit different. You need to insert your right needle from left to right through the stitch. When you bring the yarn under and over it needs to be done counterclockwise. Pull the yarn back through your stitch and slip it off your left needle onto the right needle.

Just continue these same steps and in no time you will see that you have learn how to knit. These are the knitting for beginners steps and hope this made things a little better to understand and learn.

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