Tag Archives: sewing tips

Sew Along – Sewing Date Traveler

Well hello there – I know it’s been a long time since I posted last (March 2015 – oops!), but life pulled me in a new direction for a bit and now I’m a Diploma qualified Childcare Educator – who still loves to sew and share all the fun stuff related to creating. So, how does one jump back into blogging after nearly 12 months off? I’ve been mulling it over for the past few weeks and decided a sew along might be a good start. It will keep me accountable and you can play along too.

Here’s what we’re going to make – the Sewing Date Traveler from Cynthia Frenette. It’s big with loads of pockets and lends itself to so many uses you might just end up making one for every room in your house (or is that just me?) I can see so many uses for this bag – apart from carrying sewing supplies you could use it for paper crafting supplies, your most used journalling or planner decorating supplies or even one for each ongoing project your working on. Maybe your children would like one for their most prized toys?

sew along - sewing date traveler bag

The pattern is available here via the Robert Kaufman website and is available for download for FREE – thank you Cynthia! I like to use the Legacy brand of sew in interfacing – the L-70 Sew-N-Shape to be exact which I buy from Spotlight. You might like to chose a medium weight fabric for the main body of the bag, with something lighter like quilting cotton for the pockets and lining. To this I add an iron on interfacing to give it a crisp finish.

Sew Along details

The sew along will happen on the 28th February and basically I’ll share progress photos on Facebook and Instagram for you to follow along. I’ve already found a few parts of the instructions to be a bit tricky and will show you some simpler methods to get the same result. I’ll share all the info here on the blog as well later that evening in case you can’t sew along on the day.

Have fun shopping for your fabrics and I’ll see you online on the 28th.


how to bind curves Stitching Rules

How to Bind a Curve

At some point in your sewing journey you’re going to want to know how to bind a curve – be it a neckline, armhole, quilt edge or even a seam. Curves can either be concave (like a neckline or armhole) or convex (like a corner or round item) Binding a curve differs from binding a straight edge in that the binding itself needs to be cut on the bias to flex enough to sit flat once finished. If you try to bind a curve with a binding cut on the straight of the grain it will not sit flat and you’ll hate it so much you’ll vow never to try binding again.

Here’s how to do it for a great result every time.  Start by finding the true bias of your fabric.finding true bias

Determine how wide your binding needs to be – keeping in mind that once you cut it the weave will cause the binding to become more narrow than you intended. Some fabrics will be worse than others for this – fabrics with a lot of movement in the weave such as chiffon, rayon or with a lot of drape will need to be cut wider to compensate. The black and white fabric below shows how much a bias strip will stretch once cut.bias stretch

It’s a good idea to trial a short length of bias to make sure its not too wide or narrow for your item. You can use the table below as a guide.

Bias Binding Cutting Guide

How wide to cut your bias strips to achieve a certain binding finish.
Finished width of bindingSturdy fabric
- little movement on bias
Fluid fabric
- lots of stretch on bias
Bulky edges
- when you have many layers creating a thick edge

Join your binding, if needed, on the straight of the grain to distribute the bulk and to create a stronger seam.joining bias

Binding a rounded corner (below) – pin the bias strip along the edge of your work with NO stretching.  The main thing to remember here is to ease the binding onto the edge of the garment – this gives the binding room to stretch over the outer edge.rounded corner

Binding a concave curve (below) – slightly stretch the bias strip onto the edge of your curve. This will help the curve hold its shape and stop it from stretching and distorting.joining to front

There are a few ways you can finish your binding.

Hand stitching – best for when the binding is sewn on the front and turned to the back of the item. Will give a clean finish with no visible stitching.

Top stitched (below) – best for items that will be washed a lot as it’s the strongest finish. Sew the bias strip to the back of the item and fold to the front twice to top stitch. finishing a rounded corner

Stitching in the ditch (below) – no visible stitching on the front, while being a strong finish for washing.stitch in the ditch

Once you’re done a good pressing will get rid of any wrinkles and you’ll be left with beautiful flat binding.

Pop back next week and I’ll show you how I mitre the corners and join ends to create an invisible finish.

Sewing to sell How to be better than store bought

Sewing to Sell – How to Be Better Than Store Bought

Sewing to sell your creations at markets or online is tough and you need something to set yourself apart from the rest – especially from store bought clothing. Basically you should be aiming to be better than store bought. Consumers want to know why they should pay more than what they do at a department store – why is handmade better than mass produced?
To be cost effective, mass produced clothing has to be constructed in the shortest time possible. This often means certain steps are skipped, which can mean a less than perfect garment.
Here are a few of the common flaws seen in store bought clothing and ways for you to improve on that and make handmade the best it can be.Sew to sell   excess threads
An obvious thing like loose threads is something everyone has encountered in a store bought garment and is the first way you can improve. Get into the habit of going over your finished garments to clip all those threads.Sew to sell correct grain
Correct grain – take the time to ensure you’re cutting on the correct grain or you will run the risk of your finished garment warping – either as you finish or worse, after the customer has washed it. Pre-washing your fabric is good for removing the dressing from manufacturing, but make sure you hang it on the clothes line straight or you could be creating another warp.Sew to sell pocket facings
Pocket facings are used when manufacturers want to save cost on the main fabric, but sometimes they skimp too much and the pocket lining peeks out. If you want to do better – make sure your facings are deeper.Sew to sell twisted hems
Narrow hems are fine in the right application, but take care not to let them twist and ripple when ironing. If you keep a mini ruler at your sewing machine you can watch that your turning up stays parallel to the edge. For sheer and light weight fabrics, consider folding the edge twice and eliminating the overlocking all together.Sew to sell matching stripes
Matching stripes can be frustrating but is well worth the effort. The side seams of a top or dress will look so much better if the stripes line up. And don’t forget repeating patterns form stripes too.Sew to Sell centering
Check the direction of the print too. For example, if a fabric has a row of boats finishing just above the hem on a pair of shorts, it’s going to look odd if the other leg doesn’t match. The superman logo on these shorts has been centered in the width of the panel and sits at the same spot on the hems.Sew to Sell  coverstitch
If you’re using a cover stitch in your sewing, practice getting the stitch to cover the raw edge exactly. Store bought t-shirts are a common place for this flaw.
If you really want to get fussy with your sewing you could look at how you finish your belt loops. Sometimes you’ll see belt loops that have frayed after washing because the ends have been left raw. While it’s not convenient to overlock them, you can try turning them under a second time to conceal the raw edge. Or even try enclosing them within the waistband at the top edge and where the band joins the shorts.
Have a think about any pet peeves you have about store bought clothing – surely if you notice something your customers will too. Taking the time to do some quality control once your items are finished could make all the difference to your work and will go a long way towards lifting the standards of what consumers expect and deserve.

This article first appeared in Issue 5 of One Thimble magazine and can be purchased here (affiliate link)

Aussie AQAL

Aviatrix QAL Border 4

Welcome to the next installment of the Aviatrix quilt a long. Thanks to Linden from Vine Lines Quilting for organising and motivating everyone. Last fortnight Esther from Werkelei showed us border 3 and today I’m going to show you my quilt progress and share some tips I thought might be helpful for border 4.

1 border 4

I have to admit I wasn’t too sure if I was going to love my quilt enough to warrant all the work involved. The fabric was beautiful and I like the design, but I just wasn’t sure if the two were going to work together. But after this border I can easily say I love it!

The instructions for border 4 say to sew the neutral strips together in a certain order and that one of your strips will be shorter (because you trim a 1.5″ square off the ends) I’ve added a photo here so you can see what it will look like – it took me a few read throughs to understand, but maybe that’s just me. 6 border 4

So onto my tips – nothing too radical, but I wish I’d thought of them earlier!

Tip #1 – make sure you check your seam allowance is exactly 1 quarter inch. I switched machines halfway sewing these and the foot on the second machine gave me a different seam allowance and I had to unpick. Not fun!

Tip #2 – make your stitches a bit smaller as you’re going to be sub cutting these pieces and you don’t want them to fall apart.

Tip #3 – pressing the seams open DOES take longer, and I nearly didn’t do it – but I’m glad I did because it’s sitting so beautifully and will help with any bulk when I come to quilt later on.3 border 4

Tip #4 – use the blocks from the previous border to help line up the squares. As you can see in the photo above, the blocks on border 3 are 8″ so you should get 8 squares between.

Having a border with all neutrals is going to add some zing to the overall design and I can’t wait to see what neutrals everyone else has used.2 border 4

Next fortnight you’ll be able to pop over to visit Leanne Elliot from Daisy and Jack who’s going to show us border 5. And don’t forget to check out the hashtag #aussieaviatrixqal on Instagram for more behind the scenes photos.

Fabric – Dreamin’ Vintage by Art Gallery Fabrics

Pattern – Aviatrix Medallion by Elizabeth Hartman