All crafts can be made easier if you are able to pick up some useful tips. Sewing is no exception. Sewing tips can speed up your work and may help you create a nicer final project. This page contains sewing tips and tricks.
Free denim? We are a short family. It is hard to find the 29 inch length jeans that my husband wears for work and play. I have become an expert at cutting off and hemming the 30 inch to fit. I decided if I had to cut and hem, why not buy the longest length possible 36 inch or longer. I now have extra new denim for patching or other crafts. I also do the same for my own jeans.
By MaggieGrace from Pittsburgh, PA
I have always had trouble getting my thread started on my bobbin before loading it onto the bobbin winder on the sewing machine. It seems that the hole in the bobbin gets smaller every year!
I decided to try my little Dritz needle threader and it works beautifully. Just insert the little wire piece from the outside edge of the bobbin, then push the end of your thread through that and pull it through the hole. Wind it around a couple of times and you are ready for the machine bobbin winder.
You don't have to let a bunch of clear plastic contraptions gain mastery over you! And what is better, you don't have to give up sewing just because you can't see your hand before your face. I remember as a little kid my mama had so much trouble with her sewing. I was a middle age baby so I was underfoot during the time she was struggling with the vision problems and oversized hands. I got my big hands from her.
Approximate Time: Less than 5 minutes
I used to do a lot of sewing and it was so hard to get the patterns back in the package, so just put them in a large baggie and it keeps them nice and neat. If you spray them with spray starch it will help keep them from tearing.
Also, when my pins would get dull, I would just sand them with a little sandpaper, or an emery board. Your sewing machine needle will sharpen if you sew through very fine sandpaper.
I hope these tips work for you, they have worked for me. Hope they will help you enjoy your sewing!
By Dorothy from New Creek, WV
Accidentally forgetting to leave an opening to turn a sewing project right-side out can be very frustrating. At a recent sewing class, the teacher gave me this fabulous tip to keep from sewing your project shut. Determine where you want your opening to be then mark the beginning and end of the opening with 2 pins. Now you will not lose your place. Happy sewing!
I found this at J Hittle in Louisville, Kentucky. I buy a lot of my supplies from them because I am not to be trusted in a fabric store. I can order just a few things. The sewing machine needle is inserted into the end with the flat side toward the back of the machine.
Turning fabric tubes right side out can be very frustrating. I found a way that works great for me and is much safer than the turning tool I purchased, as it makes a hole in some fabrics.
Use dollar store plastic or vinyl tablecloths to transfer sewing or craft patterns onto. They last a lot longer by doing this.
I'm upcycling an UnderArmour shirt and I can't get my sewing machine to sew it. I've changed my needle, the tension, semi-cleaned the machine, rethreaded it a few times, but I can't get the thread to catch more than maybe one stitch. It works fine on other fabric, but not on this material. It is going to be so cute! I just really don't want to have to hand stitch it. I've changed the height of the needle too. I'm considering using another fabric as a "catcher" fabric, I guess you can call it. I've also had problems with dropping stitches a lot. My old machine never did that, but I'm not very experienced with sewing either. Help?
Buy a " teflon" needle.
To the unecessary comment stating - a fabric is made so it can't be upcycled...DON'T BE RIDICULOUS! Anytime, any item can be utilized by another to extend its purpose, is perfection. Why add to the trash heaps?
One of my favorite hobbies is sewing. I create new items and also do a lot of repair for my family. Today, I could not find my seam ripper anywhere. While looking for it, I found a cuticle trimmer. This trimmer worked just as well if not better than a seam ripper.
If you're ever stuck with a tent, tarp or piece of leatherwork to repair and you don't have a thimble on hand, tape a coin to your finger to help you push that heavy needle through the heavy fabric or leather.
Those little pins for sewing and holding fabric together are so small!
Sewing heavy material like canvas can be as hard on the needle as it is on your hands. If, however, you rub the fabric well with soap before you stitch, the job will be a lot more comfortable and the needle will slip through the cloth without nearly so much danger of breaking.
I am adding iridescent ribbon to the ruffles on my daughter's prom dress and was having a difficult time seeing to sew. I found that using a head-lamp, the kind that you strap onto your head for hiking, etc. is wonderful to use when hand-sewing.
Keep a hemostat in your sewing kit if you know a nurse you could get one from. It is handy for pulling/grabbing needles through thick fabric.
I am a sewing designer by trade. If you have ever sewn vinyl material, you know how difficult it is, because it is very slippery. In the past when I have sewn vinyl, my stitching has looked very unprofessional.
Make large pattern pieces from inexpensive shower curtains. The pattern pieces will last much longer than paper patterns.
As I become a WOW (wise older woman), I find it easier to see if I mark the slot on a spool of thread (the little slot that holds the thread to keep it from unwinding) with a dot of red nail polish.
This tip is too easy, but I never thought of it. I always wrapped mine in duct tape. My sewing machine instructor said that she puts her old ones in an empty medicine container, keeps it in the drawer till full then tosses. I love this idea.
Another use for rubber shelf liner is to place a scrap piece under your sewing machine. This is handy and keeps my sewing machine from moving while I'm using it.
When I am doing machine sewing, I set up 2 small wastebaskets - one on each side of my chair. That way I can drop scraps, thread, etc. with either hand. Saves a lot of time and waste motion.
I have some curved Precision needles and can't figure out what they are used for.
Vintage sewing machine needles.
When using thread, take a dryer sheet, and run it up and down it. The thread will have less knotting.
I put up a shelf above my sewing machine and attached a 24 inch light from Walmart to the bottom of the shelf for additional lighting on my sewing project.
When sewing if you need to rip out your work, when you are done run a lint roller over the thread and all the little pieces come right out.
With cats at our house, I try to be extra careful that they don't get ahold of the threads and scraps from my sewing projects. I went to a fundraiser recently and bought a decorative handmade bowl that I didn't have a use for yet. I decided it would be the perfect solution to contain my scraps.
When making coffee cozies, I needed something for a closure that would work with a big button I was using for the design. Since I didn't want to make a large button hole, I discovered the perfect thing for it was a thin elastic hair band.
Being the frugal person I am, instead of buying a spool of thread to match the item I am hand sewing, I keep on hand a bag of embroidery 6 strand thread that has many choices of colors to chose from.
I really enjoy sewing, but lack the finances to buy some things I would like to have. For quite some time, I have wished that I could afford to buy a clapper, like I have seen on some sewing shows.
I've seen others make things that looked great and with which they seemed very proud. However, I have not ever been totally pleased with everything I have sewn, usually because of the fabrics chosen.
I use an easy way to gather fabric without the gathering thread breaking. Pull out both the bobbin and the top threads to a length longer than the piece to be gathered, and pull them to the right of the needle.