Sewing Saturdays – Basic tips to improve your sewing

I taught fashion design courses at the University of North Texas for the past 7 years and resigned this year to devote 100% of my time to Diana Couture, my Etsy shop selling Fabulously Functional Bags for Knitters and Crocheters.  As my blog name indicates, I love to sew and knit and have found a perfect blend of both worlds in my business.  However, teaching is also something I enjoy as well, and I want to pass on some of my favorite tips and tricks to make a project successful.   I will also be sharing my sewing projects as I go along.

For the first few weeks of Sewing Saturdays, I will be sharing basic tips that can make any project more successful.  These will include things such as how to press better, how to gather fabric, how to sew successful intersecting seams and other tips to improve your sewing and create a professional looking garment,  whether you are a beginner or advanced sewist.

This week, I am starting with a short list of things to consider when beginning a project.

1.  Set aside time and plan on spending more time than you estimate.  It is difficult to sew when stressed, and mistakes happen when you sew.  Having unrealistic expectations will ruin the enjoyment of the project.

2.  Use the right equipment.  For example, you can’t put in a buttonhole with a regular presser foot and expect great results.

3.  Think about your fabric choice.  The type of fabric can make or break a project.  Would a dressy dress be made out of quilting cotton?  How many pairs of pants do you own made out of stiff canvas…or quilting cotton?  If you are inexperienced at selecting fabrics, ask for opinions from others.  Even if they don’t have sewing experience, they can tell you if it is something they would wear.

4.  Test out a technique before tackling it on your final garment.  When putting in buttonholes, layer two pieces of your fabric with a layer of interfacing between to test how the buttonhole will sew into your fabric.  Does the stitch length need adjusted?  Will the button fit in the buttonhole or does it need to be lengthened?

5.  Be familiar with your sewing machine.  If it is new to you, try out the various stitches, try sewing different fabrics, and just take some time to feel comfortable with your sewing machine.  It will be your partner in sewing, and you want to have a good relationship with it!

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