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.

Feb 18

What is the Basics for Sewing a Garment

Most of the time people will think that it’s real easy to sew a garment together but if you have experience in needlework and sewing you will know there are a lot more to it than just getting the fabric and start sewing.

Today i just want to cover the basics of sewing a garment.

1. Pattern:

The first step would be to get the correct pattern and know your size. Now you can either buy a pattern already made or make your own pattern. I would suggest that if you don’t really have a lot of pattern making experience start by buying a basic pattern. You can always alter the pattern if you feel that you want some extras.

2. Fabric and trimmings:

When buy a pattern most of these will have suggested fabrics and trimmings for you. Its quite important to follow these suggestions, if you decide on a total different fabric you must take into account if its really going to work with your pattern and style that you have chosen. There are a big variation of fabrics they all react differently. Some fabric examples are cotton, Lycra, spandex etc. You also get a lot of cotton blends. Trims are like your buttons, zips, hook and eye. Also check what fusing needs to be used.

Sewing Pattern

Pattern information

Now that we have all that we need to start we’ll follow the steps.These are my basic steps so I’m sure some of you will do certain steps differently but it all comes to the same result.

Cut out your pattern on the correct size line.
Make sure you have all the correct parts that will need to be cutout of your fabric, fusing, pocketing etc.
I normally start laying up my patterns on my main fabric and cut them out and then the fusing, pocketing etc. Depending on your garment.

Lay up pattern

Lay up patterns on fabric

When laying up your patterns onto your fabric make sure you are laying the patterns in the right direction, follow the grain line.
Mark all the notches, drill holes, darts etc on you fabric, i use a fabric marker that you can was the marks out after the garment is finished.

Markings

Mark Notches

Now i will fuse all my patterns that needs to be fused.
When you have patterns with dart or pleats, i normally finish them first before i actually start with the garment.
Now when you start sewing make sure that you are sewing on the seam line and your stitch length are correct.
Just check when sewing collars, jackets etc there are certain areas that you’ll have to trip because of the extra bulk it creates.
If you finished sewing 2 panels together at the same time finish off the raw edges.
The very last step when sewing a garment is the hem and any decorative stitches. I always fit my garment and put on the shoes that I’m most likely going to wear on to get the hem length. Garments that’s too short or long doesn’t look neatly made and believe me you can see the difference.
When finished, please check that you don’t have any loose threads.
I normally rinse my garment once before wearing it and then it get a good ironing. Check your type of fabric, if you iron is to warm you can burn the fabric. Some fabrics is best to iron on the wrong side then on the right side.

One thing about sewing for me its that i need to relax and be patience. A lot of times in the beginning you make mistakes or sew skew etc and all the unpicking can make you feel that you want to give up but just be patience. Don’t get me wrong it doesn’t mean you are going to make a lot of mistake, all I’m saying is to keep trying.

These are the basics for sewing a garment or anything else that you want to sew. Follow these basic steps and you should be fine. Make use of your booklet as well when sewing, normally get that with your pattern

Feb 16

What is the Basic Knitting Yarn to be used

We first need to understand what a basic knitting yarn is. Yarn is knitted or woven into a fabric.

There are a lot more to yarns than we think, especially if you have some background in textiles you’ll know what I mean. But we don’t want to go to deep into textiles, we just want to understand what is yarn and what works best for knitting.

The most popular yarn that are used for home knitting is wool. Wool comes from certain animals hair, it’s the fibers form the hair that go through a process to create the wool yarn. Then we buy the yarn to knit ourselves a jersey, blankets etc.

There are quite a few different animals that wool comes form and the quality of the wool will also depend on the breeding, climate, general care and food of these animals.

Merino Wool:

These merino sheep produce the best wool. Their hair fibers are strong, fine, elastic and has good working properties. Merino wool also have the best crimping amount of all wool fibers.

Class Two Wools:

This wool has also good qualities, more or less than same as merino. These sheep are mostly Bampton, Berkshire, Cornwall, Hereford etc.

Class Three Wools:

This wool type are coarser and have less crimp than Merino. The wool is also smoother and therefor have more luster. These wools are less elastic and resilient but is still a good quality to use.

Class Four Wools:

This class is actually from the mongrel sheep, also known as half-breeds. This wool is less desirable with the least elasticity and strength. This is mainly used for carpets, rugs etc.

Believe it or not but there are still a lot more to learn from wool and the process but the basic understanding here is to see that wool is a basic knitting yarn and probably the most popular one. But all of these facts will show you why some wool yarn are more expensive than others.

Feb 13

Discover some basic sewing machine stitches

In today’s world there are a big variety of sewing machines. I have personally worked on a Singer, Frick, Bernina and Nina home sewing machines. In the clothing industries you also have a big variety of sewing machines, while i was studying i used a Brother industrial sewing machine. There are some differences in home sewing machines and industrial ones. It all depends on what you prefer, i like the home sewing machines as they are smaller and some machines have more functions than the industrial machines.

Sewing Machine

Home sewing machine

It quite important to understand your sewing machine and know the correct settings. The tension of your thread and the type of fabric being used should be correct otherwise you can run into some problems. Normally you get a booklet with your sewing machine or some shops offer classes. When i bought my sewing machine the shop gave 5 free lessons to help me understand and know my sew machine. I learned quite a lot and it was very nice.

So lets start with covering some very basic stitches on most sewing machines.

Straight stitch:

All sewing machines will have a straight sticth as this is your base sewing stitch. You can change the length of your stitch so it depends if you just want to sew or maybe use the stitch for top stitching.

Zig Zag Stitch:

Also one of the stitches that most machine will have. The older sewing machine you would use the zig zag or the three step zig zag stitch to finish raw edges and that your fabric wouldn’t fray.

Blind hem Stitch:

The blind hem stitch or the stretch blind hem stitch are an invisible stitch used for hemming. This stitch also allows stretch when working with a stretch fabric like knits.

Overlock:

Most of the overlock stitches of today will stitch and finish off raw edges at the same time. It’s really quick and very neatly done when using this stitch.

Decorative stitch:

There are 2 basic decorative stitches, one is the satin stitch or the tracery stitch. A lot of the newer sewing machines have a various of decorative stitches and some can even be programmed with design and stitches.

Sewing machine stitches

Example of some stitches

These are just some of the basic sewing machine stitches that’s used. There are a lot more and it also depends on what sewing machine you are using. The newer sewing machine will offer more than the older ones.

Feb 09

How to do basic Embroidery

I enjoy doing some decorative needlework crafts and embroidery is one of them. Embroidery is a method of decorating a fabric by stitching a design on it with a needle and thread. It may be done by hand or by zigzag action of a sewing machine.

Today most of the clothing manufactures are making use of embroidery machine, its much quicker and save a lot more time and money. I still create embroidery by hand, it takes  more time but it depends on what design you are stitching.

I also like using beads while stitching my embroidery, working it into my embroidery design.

1. Cloth

You first need to decide what pattern you are using, maybe start with something very basic.Then decide what fabric will work best with your embroidery design. Different fabrics can be use, cotton, linen and canvas.

2. Thread

I always like using different color threads but that all depends on what you have planned for your embroidery design.

3. Needle

You get different needles as well, most of the embroidery needles have a blunt end. If you are using different colors of thread you can thread a few needles otherwise you need to change the thread on the same needle quite a few times. If you only have 1 needle that’s still fine.

Basic embroidery steps to follow

I normally first find the center of my design on my fabric and design on paper, then i match it up and know where to start. Easy way for me to find the center is to fold your fabric and paper design.

Now to start the stitching, there are different stitches that you can use. I would suggest to look at your type design and see what stitch or stitches will work best.

Chain Stitch:

Embroidery

Embroidery

Example of Chain Stitch

Cross Stitch:Embroidery

Embroidery

Cross stitch flower example

French Knot Stitch:Embroidery

Embroidery

French Knot example

Straight stitch:Embroidery

Embroidery

Straight Stitch example

After your first try you will see its actually really fun and easy. Everybody can do basic embroidery and there are a variety of embroideries that can be used.

Feb 06

How to do Basic Needlework

Needlework for me is actually sewing a garment, making curtains etc but needlework can also be any needle crafts work.

Sewing a garment:

Most of the time i make use of patterns that you can buy in shops because then i don’t need to still go and make a pattern. I would also suggest if you don’t really know how to make patterns to go and buy patterns. The shops normally have books that you can browse through and see what styles you like. Whats nice as well it at the back of the pattern envelope they suggest what fabrics to use, how much fabric, what trimmings etc. That’s quite helpful if you don’t really know fabrics and what is needed to makeup the garment.

It’s also best to know what size you are for instance my tops are always smaller then my bottoms. If you don’t know, take your measurements. Use the example below for women, men or children.

Sewing

Child Measurement

Sewing

Women Measurements

sewing

Mens Measurements

Now you would know what size pattern to buy as well, you will see most of the patterns are a graded set with a few different sizes so you must choose one that has your size.

Now you will be all set and ready to cutout your patterns and start sewing. The patterns also have instructions so there is no need to be worried. Just follow all the instructions step by step and you will have a garment made up in no time.

Needlework Crafts:

There are quite a few different needle work crafts but I’m only going to cover a few of them that i tried myself as well.

Applique

Appliques are made of different fabrics and shapes that you can sew onto you garment.

Applique

Cross Stitch

You would use a canvas fabric made up with little holes and squares. You would make use of a cross stitch pattern and different color cross stitch thread. Your stitches are all form by making “X” crosses.

Cross stitch pattern

Stitches

Cross stitch

Embroidery

Is a form of decorating your fabric or garment with different type of stitches, threads and beading as well.

Sewing

Embroidery

Knitting

You can knit a garment by using yarn. The stitches being used are consecutive loops on your knitting needle. When each new loop is pulled through and existing

loop  if will form the next row.

basic needlework

Knitting

These are basic needlework and crafts that i normally use. If you don’t like sewing try one of these crafts, its really fun and relaxing.

Feb 05

How to do Basic Stitches

Today it’s real easy if you have a sewing machine as you would rather use your sewing machine that do stitches by hand. But not everybody can afford or have a sewing machine so that’s why I’m going to explain some basic sewing stitches.

Once you get the hang if these basic stitches and where they can be used you can decide what works best for you.

Check that you are using the right needle and thread for your fabric or garment. Its best to work with the correct equipment.


The Running/Straight stitch:

This stitch is the basic one and is used most of the time. This stitch is used if you want so sew two pieces together when sewing or can be used for basic mending as well. You would use a single thread and start sewing in a straight line pushing the needle from the front to the back of the material. You would keep sewing in a straight line till you are at the end where you need to finish off. If you are scared that you can not sew in a straight line take a fabric marker or pins and mark the line for yourself. The length of your stitches will depend on your type of fabric, short length stiches will work better for heavier fabrics.

The Basting stitch:

This stitch is the same as the running/straight stitch its just that the stitch length is much longer. This could be just t temporarily keep to pieces of fabric together or for gauging. Gauging is large stitches where you can pull the fabric together to create frills. You must just knot the threads together at one end the pull the fabric to create your frills or ruffles.

The Zig Zag stitch:

This stitch is in a Z format when you look at it, it help with stretch fabrics. This stitch allow will allow enough stretch when the fabric is stretched. The more stretch there is in the fabric the bigger your stitch will be. You will start the stitch the same way as your straight stitch but instead of keep the line straight you will make one stitch and then draw the thread back into a Z direction.

The Hemming stitch:

This stitch is not visible on the front and there are different hemming stitches that can be used. The hemming stitch is the basic one but there are the catch, slip, overcast and invisible stitches that are all used for hemming. You’ll need to decide when hemming a garment how visible you want your stitches to be and whats best for your garment and fabric type.

The Backtack stitch:

This stitch you will use when you finished your sewing and want to end, you would use the backtack stitch. You will still start your stitch by using a straight stitch but once you created 1 stitch you will go back to the starting point of the backtack stitch and create another stitch. This will prevent you fabric or thread from unraveling.

These are just a few of the basic stitches that you get, these are also the ones that i use most. Make use of these stitches when sewing your garments or just want to put in a hem, I do have a sewing machine but some fabric still looks better to me if you sew by hand than machine.

sewing

Feb 02

How to Sew a Button onto a Garment

You could either be making a garment or just need to sew a loose button onto your garment. So you need to decide what needle and what color thread you are going to use. You do get different needle sizes for different fabric types and the color of you thread should match your garment or take a shade darker. If you take a shade lighter its more visible to the eye.

If you are making a garment you will have to decide what button size you are going to use and what color. The size of the button should fit the garment type otherwise if your buttons are too small or big it will look out of proportion.

If you are just sewing a button back onto your garment because it fell off or broke, you need to use the extra button given with the garment. Most shops do that otherwise you’ll need to look for a similar button and that could sometimes be hard to find.

Sewing a button on a garment:

Place your button onto the garment at the correct position; just check where the button was sewn on.
Thread your needle and make a knot at the end of your thread.
Make a small stitch on the right side where your button is going and then push the needle through one of the button holes.
Place a pin between the button and garment, this helps you to get the tension right otherwise the button can be sewn on to tight or loose and you will struggle to get your garment buttoned up.

Now push the needle through the opposite hole and keep making a few stitches.

When finished pull the pin out and make a few small stitches underneath the button to secure the button and to make it look neat.

sewing

Sewing a button

Sewing buttons onto garment being made:

The first step is the position your buttons to match your buttonholes. Make use of your pattern to check the positioning of the buttons.
Either use a fabric marker or pins to mark the placement of your buttons.
Thread your needle and make a knot at the end.
Start by making a small stitch on the right side of the garment, then push the needle through the first hole in the button.
Place a pin between your button and garment to create the correct tension.
Then push the needle through the second hole and keep sewing a few stitches.

When finished pull out the pin and sew a few stitches underneath the button to make it look neat and tidy.

Sewing

Marking buttonholes

These are basic steps to sew on buttons onto any garment. In the clothing industries they do have machines that sew on buttons but us at home will still have to do the basic sewing of buttons.

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