Shortcuts to successful sewing
We share six our favourite shortcuts and tips for successful sewing
1. Lengthen the stitch
Your sewing machine is likely default to a 2.5mm stitch length but it’s actually a little shorter than required for making garments. Start by increasing to 3mm. The thread should break first when you pull a seam apart and not tear the thread. Increasing your stitch length will also make unpicking is less painful!
Place the pins at right angles to the seam with pinheads to the right side of the needle. This makes sewing much quicker, the pins are easier to remove as you sew, and you won’t prick yourself.
However why use pins at all on straight seams – they’re sometimes more trouble than they’re worth! Simply hold the fabric pieces together in you right hand as you sew to get the right tension. Try using a fabric template instead of pins to measure hems accurately and press into place.
3. Prolong the life of your sewing patterns
As sewing patterns are made from lightweight tissue paper, they tear easily when using especially if use more than once. For your favourite patterns, consider cutting out pieces of interfacing and fusing on to the reverse of the pattern pieces or tracing onto freezer paper.
Always iron the pattern piece before using as working with torn, tattered and creased patterns can affect the finished fit of the garment. Consider using pattern weights instead of pins when cutting out.
4. Clip corners
Make sure you clip the corners and trim away the excess fabric on pieces that require turning to the right side. This gets rid of the fabric bulk and makes the fabric lay much flatter and neater.
5. Posh threads
Don’t be tempted to skimp on your threads. Cheap threads can cause all sorts of problems from frustratingly breaking every few stitches, upsetting the tension on your sewing machine and causing skipped stitches or birds nesting where the threads bunch up underneath near the throat plate. You can diminish a lot of the problems buy choosing quality threads. For example the Gutermann thread pack has been specifically designed to be used with its fabric range Notting Hill.
6. Every which way you press
You should be pressing as much as you’re sewing. You can use your iron to help manipulate the fabric into place and just by adding steam if can help shape the fabric. It also makes top-stitching much easier.
Other pages you might like:
3 smarter stitches for professional looking sewing - under-stitch, edge-stitch and top-stitch and where to use them.
Threads to get good results - Different types of threads and when to use them.