Christmas Star Project

A free tutorial and pattern

Christmas Star decoration tutorial and pattern

Make this fab Christmas Star for your Christmas tree or make several and add them to a length of Christmas ribbon and make Christmas bunting!

Download the FREE tutorial and pattern here.

Use up your scrap fabrics or buy some festive fat quarters in traditional colours and prints or add glitter and gold shiny fabrics for some sparkle!

This project is from The Sewing Directory – http://www.thesewingdirectory.co.uk and is part of the So Sew Simple series of projects for beginners written by Helen Rhiannon and sponsored by Hantex.

If you loved this post, then sign up right here to receive notifications of new patterns added to my site. I promise I won’t spam your inbox!

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This costs you nothing, but for legal reasons, I must inform you that if you click on one of my links in this post and subsequently make a purchase, I will earn a commission for referring you to Amazon. So, if you go ahead and click on through today and buy something, let me say a HUGE thank you!

Christmas ribbons for crafts, available from Amazon (paid link)

Christmas ribbons for crafts, available from Amazon (paid link)

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Check out our Resource Shop

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Free Sewing Patterns

 

Have fun with your festive decorating!

Christmas Star decoration

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Easy Bunting Sewing Tutorial

Let’s make some bunting!

Bunting tutorial by www.feedourlife.blog

Bunting tutorial Jacqui at Feed Our Life

I love bunting! You can really shabby up any decor with a bit of bunting. Depending on your fabric choices, you can make them for baby nurseries, celebrations, garden patios and pretty much anywhere you want to add a bit of cottage charm!

This is a free pattern and tutorial I put together to sew some simple fabric bunting.

This pattern makes a 3m / 59″ length of BUNTING with 8 triangles
approximately 30cm / 12″ wide

Supplies

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This costs you nothing, but for legal reasons, I must inform you that if you click on one of my links in this post and subsequently make a purchase, I will earn a commission for referring you to Amazon. So, if you go ahead and click on through today and buy something, let me say a HUGE thank you!

4 mixed fabrics, each approximately 50cm square
1m piece of white cotton fabric to make the bias binding OR 3m length bias
binding (bought)
matching threads for your chosen fabrics

FREE Pattern download from our Resource Shop

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Instructions:

Making the triangles:
1. Print off and cut out the template provided. Cut a total of 16 triangles, 4
from each fabric you have chosen.
Bunting tutorial instructions 12. With right sides facing, pin 2 triangles together and repeat with the other
7 pairs.Bunting tutorial instructions 2

3. Stitch each triangle set together, following the marks from A through to C,
turning at B, leaving the top edge open.Bunting tutorial instructions 3

4. Neaten the raw edges with a serger (overlock) or zig zag stitch, but this is
not necessary.Bunting tutorial instructions 4

5. Snip across the point of each triangle, ensuring not to cut through the
stitching. Doing this will lessen the amount of fabric in the point once it is
turned out the right way.Bunting tutorial instructions 5

6. Turn each triangle the right way out and gently ease the point out with a
knitting needle or something similar. Press each triangle bunting flat.Bunting tutorial instructions 6

Adding the Bias Binding:

1. Make the binding, following the instructions supplied.
2. Place the binding (handmade or bought!) flat on your work surface in front
of you. Mark the halfway point.
3. Organise your bunting triangles into the sequence of your choice. Starting
from the halfway point on your bias binding, pin each triangle inside the
binding working outward. Leave a 10cm gap between triangles. You should end
up with 4 bunting triangles left of the halfway mark, and 4 triangles to the
right of the halfway mark. There should also be excess binding either end.

Adding the bias binding 1

4. Ensure to pin the binding carefully so that you catch the back-side of the
binding as well! When you stitch later, the placement of your pins will help to
ensure that the back-side of the binding is caught in the stitching
sufficiently.Adding the bias binding 2

5. Lastly, starting at one end, stitch the binding with a straight stitch, and
continue along the entire 3m length, stitching each triangle to the binding as
you go. Neaten each binding end by folding over twice and stitching down.
Press the completed bunting before hanging!!!Adding the bias binding 3

FOR MORE FREE SEWING PATTERNS – CLICK HERE

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How to make Bias Binding using a Bias Tape Maker – watch this video!

 

Ultimate Sewing Machine Guide

Your Go-To Guide for Buying, Setting Up, Using, Cleaning and Maintaining a Sewing Machine

sewing machine parts

Get to know your sewing machine!

Choosing a sewing machine can feel like an overwhelming experience. Deciding which one is right for you, where to buy it, how to set it up on your own and keep it running smoothly are all things to consider.

Hopefully, this guide will have all the information you need to solve any sewing machine woes you may have.

Subscribe!

You will learn what to consider before you begin looking for a new sewing machine, tips on how to set it up, how to use it, including threading, winding a bobbin, selecting a stitch and adjusting the tension.

You will also learn how to care for your machine, and how to trouble shoot basic sewing machine issues. And trust me, even with the best sewing machines on the market, there will always come a time when it misbehaves, and you will need to know how to figure out what’s wrong with it.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This costs you nothing, but for legal reasons, I must inform you that if you click on one of my links in this post and subsequently make a purchase, I will earn a commission for referring you to Amazon. So, if you go ahead and click on through today and buy something, let me say a HUGE thank you!

Buying Your Sewing Machine

Buying a sewing machine can be intimidating, whether it’s your first or looking to upgrade. There are hundreds of models under numerous brands that all have something different to offer. Here are some things to consider when buying your first, or next machine.

What is your Skill Level?

Understanding your skill level is important when buying a sewing machine. IF you are a beginner who is buying their first machine, select a beginner type model.

Brother CS7000i Sewing and Quilting Machine, 70 Built in stitches, 2 inch display, wide table, 10 feet included, available from Amazon (paid link)

Beginner Model: Brother CS7000i Sewing and Quilting Machine, 70 Built in stitches, 2 inch display, wide table, 10 feet included, available from Amazon (paid link)

More advanced machines come with many extra features that may be intimidating when first starting out. Many sewing machine company sites have their sewing machines categorized as beginner, intermediate and advanced, which can help you narrow down your search.

How often will you use your machine?

Knowing how often you think you will use your machine is important when choosing one, especially if you are a beginner. If you plan to use it a lot and you buy a very basic machine, you may outgrow it pretty quickly and be back in the market for a new one before you know it.

What do you like to make?

This is something many people don’t think about when buying a new machine. Do you just want to make small project, clothes, quilt or do embroidery? While you could buy a separate machine for all those tasks, you could just buy one machine that will allow you to do some aspect of all of them.

Tilly and the Buttons Make It Simple, Easy Speedy Projects you can sew up in an afternoon, from Amazon (paid link)

Tilly and the Buttons Make It Simple, Easy Speedy Projects you can sew up in an afternoon, from Amazon (paid link)

What are you willing to spend?

Sewing machine costs range from $100 to the cost of a small car! Knowing how much you are willing to spend on a machine is something to determine before you start looking. As a beginner, cheaper isn’t always the best option especially if you plan to use it often. And there is truth in the saying “you get what to pay for”.

Having an amount predetermined will help keep you from being overwhelmed by expensive machines and also help you see that you may be able to get a machine with several extra features and still stay within your budget.

 Computerized vs Mechanical

These days it is common to find a sewing machine that has a USB port, touch screen and even WiFi. While these are great features to have, some people prefer to push buttons or turn dials.

Most machine companies offer machines in both categories and will even have them sorted on their site. Knowing which type you prefer can help narrow your search when buying a sewing machine. If you are unsure which type you like, fine your nearest local dealer and try them out!

Janome 3160QDC Computerized Sewing Machine with hard cover, extension table, quilt kit, seam foot with guide, available from Amazon (paid link)

Janome 3160QDC Computerized Sewing Machine with hard cover, extension table, quilt kit, seam foot with guide, available from Amazon (paid link)

Where to buy your machine

While you may be able to find a good deal at a local big store, it may not be the best place to purchase it. Buying a sewing machine from a dealer will not only get you the machine, but also advice and assistance. A dealer can give you sewing machine buying tips to help you narrow down the selection. Dealers can also show you how to use a machine and allow you try them out before buying them.

Some dealers even offer small classes on how to use the machine and are available after your purchase to answer any questions you may have. Dealers sometimes even offer trade-in programs, so you can feel confident that if you outgrow your machine you can go back and get a new one. Even if you buy from a dealer you can still begin your machine search online and then find the nearest local dealer.

However, with Covid restrictions sweeping the world, you may not be able to get to a local dealer at all, and may have to rely on online searches entirely. YouTube offers tons of tutorials on buying sewing machines, and you can watch loads of reviews on different types of machines without leaving your home!

With that said, once you have found a positive review and you like the machine featured, you can then source it online, even on Amazon, and get it delivered right to your door! Lessons and troubleshooting videos for all sorts of machines are available on YouTube too, so you won’t be without help once it arrives!

Setting up your Machine

Once you’ve purchased your new machine, it’s arrived and it’s time to set it up. All machines will be a little different but there are some basic parts that can be found on all machines.

Power cord and foot control

Sewing machine power chord and presser foot

Sewing machine power cord and foot control

One of the first things you will need to do is locate and plug in your power cord and foot control. On some machines these two cord are joined into one on the machine side, and on others, they may be two separate cords. The area to plug in these cords are typically located on the back or right side of the machine. Watch this video.

Threading the Machine

Needle thread paths can vary by machine and brand. Many machines will have the thread path clearly marked on the machine with numbers or arrows to show you how to thread it. If not, then look for it in the Sewing Machine Manual that came with the machine. Watch this video.

Example of a thread path on a sewing machine

Example of a thread path on a sewing machine

It is crucial that you thread your machine correctly otherwise your stitch quality will be poor, with skipped stitches, bunching up or even worse, breaking some of the mechanisms around the bobbin area.

An example of skipped stitches

An example of skipped stitches

An example of bunching up

An example of bunching up

Thread paths may seem complicated but each area your thread passes through serves an important part in making your machine sew. In general your thread will pass from the spool at the top, through a guide, a lever, tension disk or knob, then the needle. Using a good quality sewing thread is also important to save you from broken stitches and snapped threads.

Gutermann Thread Notebook, available from Amazon (paid link)

Gutermann Thread Notebook, available from Amazon (paid link)

Winding and Loading the Bobbin

When you purchase a new machine it will generally come with a pre-wound bobbin already in place. Depending on how much you sew you may quickly run out of bobbin thread so it’s very important for you to know how to wind and replace the bobbin.

On more advanced machines, the bobbin can be wound from the needle thread with the machine completely threaded. However, on most machines, there is a separate path for winding a bobbin. This is another path that should be clearly marked on your machine with either arrows or numbers. Generally, this path can be as simple as passing the thread from the spool around a tension disk and then to the bobbin. Do not wind the bobbin by hand!

Once you have wound the bobbin, you will need to insert it into the machine. Bobbins are either top loading and can be dropped straight into the machine, or front loading and may need to be inserted into a bobbin case before being placed in the machine. Check your User Manual and learn how to do this correctly.

Top and front loading bobbins

Top and front loading bobbins

Turning the machine ON

Once you have the machine plugged in, needle threaded and a bobbin in place, you can start SEWING!

Typically, when you first turn a machine on it will automatically be set for a standard stitch length of around 2.5mm. This is considered a construction stitch and is a good stitch to begin practising with. Once you feel comfortable sewing with a straight stitch, play around with the other stitch option you have. Be sure to consult your Manual as to what presser foot needs to be in place for any decorative stitches you want to try. Watch this video: How to Sew Straight

Changing Settings

Changing settings on a machine varies greatly by machine. Some machines have knobs or button to push in order to change a setting, while others have touch screens. Your machine User Manual will come in handy when it comes to knowing what setting can be changed on your machine and what they do.

Stitch Selection

Straight stitches

Straight stitches

Changing the stitch type or stitch length will probably be one of the first settings you change on your machine as you experiment with it. Most machines offer both a straight and zig zag stitch. You will also have the option to change both the stitch length and width. Longer stitches are generally used for topstitching while shorter lengths can be used with zig zag to create a satin stitch or button hole.

Tension

Example of a tension dial

Example of a tension dial

Both the needle and bobbin thread have tension on them at all times that can be adjusted. In general, when you purchase a new machine the tension will be set to accurate levels for regular stitching on medium weight fabric.

The knob or dial to adjust the needle thread tension can typically be found on the front of the machine while the screw to adjust the bobbin thread tension will typically be found on the bobbin case, whether it is removable for a front loading bobbin or built in for a top loading bobbin.

When the tension is evenly balanced the needle thread should only be seen on the right side of the fabric and the bobbin thread only seen on the wrong side. If the bobbin thread shows on the right side, the needle tension is too tight and /or the bobbin tension is too loose.

If the needle thread shows on the wrong side the opposite is the case. In general it is easier to adjust the needle tension, so that should be tried first when attempting to balance the tension of the machine.

Always test your tension before you start a project, on a test piece of fabric that you will sewing with in that project. Also, when testing or balancing the tension, it is easier if you use contrasting thread colours in the bobbin and needle thread. This way will make it easier to see which thread is causing the issue.

Cleaning your Machine.

With every project you sew, your machine gets a little dirtier. This can simply be dust or bits of fabric and thread that may get caught in the machine. It is important to clean your machine on a regular basis to keep it running smoothly.

Remove dust and lint

The exterior of the machine can be cleaned and dusted with a soft cloth. The interior of the machine can be cleaned in several areas and you may want to consult your Manual before you do so. A lint brush, small vacuum or canned air can be used to remove lint and dust from your machine. If using canned air, ensure the angle pushes the air and dust OUT of the machine. Watch this video: How to clean a sewing machine.

Falcon Dust compressed gas cleaner, available from Amazon (paid link)

Falcon Dust compressed gas cleaner, available from Amazon (paid link)

Oil

It is also important to oil components of your machine from time to time. You want to use an oil specifically made for sewing machines (like Singer All Purpose Machine Oil), not just any household oil. Some machines come with an oil pen or small bottle of oil. Again, consult your Manual for tips on how to oil your machine. Watch this video: How to oil and clean a sewing machine ( front loading bobbin) and How to oil and clean a sewing machine (top loading bobbin)

After you have oiled your machine, you should run some scrap fabric through your machine to absorb any excess oil left behind, so it doesn’t stain your new fabric.

Basic Trouble Shooting

Whether you are just learning to sew or you’ve been doing it for years, it can be frustrating when your machine doesn’t work properly. Here are some tips on how to troubleshoot some basic sewing problems.

Machine not sewing

If the machine is simple not sewing, this can be caused by several things. First, ensure that the machine is threaded correctly. Some machines will not sew if this is done incorrectly. Check that the presser foot is lowered completely. When stitching on thicker fabric it can be easy to overlook this step.

Poor Stitch Quality

bent or broken needle

Bent or broken needle

Skipped stitches or other stitch problems can be caused by improper threading of the machine. Re check the needle thread path and ensure it is threaded correctly. Also check that the bobbin thread is correctly coming from the throat plate of the machine. If these are still correct and the machine is still stitching poorly, check the needle. The needle could have been bent after hitting a pin. Trust me, this is a common issue and has happened to me many times. It’s as simple as changing a needle.

Thread breakage

Thread breakage can be caused either by the needle or thread. First, ensure you are using a good quality thread that’s not old or brittle. Next, ensure you are using the right needle for the thread you are using. If you are using a needle that doesn’t have a large enough eye for the thread to go through, the thread can shred or bunch up behind the needle.

Breaking Needles

Needles need to be changed on a regular basis. A dull needle won’t be able to pierce the fabric and could break, or damage the fabric. Also ensure you are using the correct needle for the type of fabric you are sewing.

Smooth Sewing

Learning how to use and properly care for your sewing machine will keep it running smoothly for years to come. Whether its a new machine or an upgrade, it’s always a good idea to know how to set up the machine. Once it is set up, it is a good idea to get to grips with changing settings, cleaning and maintaining it and troubleshooting basic issues. Not only will this keep your sewing smoothly through each project, but it will keep the sewing process enjoyable and will make you want to keep sewing and learning more and more.

Sewing Machine Problems and how to solve them, available from Amazon (paid link)

Sewing Machine Problems and how to solve them. A trouble shooting guide, (Kindle edition) available from Amazon (paid link)

You can also read a related post for newbies: Sewing for Beginners

I have lots of free sewing patterns you can try by browsing this section.

If you loved this post, then sign up right here to receive notifications of new patterns added to my site. I promise I won’t spam your inbox!

Happy sewing and machine buying!!

ultimate sewing machine guide

Free Sweatshirt Hoodie Patterns

FREE Sweatshirt Patterns for the Whole Family

FREE SWEATER & HOODIE SEWING PATTERNS

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Learn how to make and upcycle sweatshirts and hoodies for your winter wardrobe with this list of fab tutorials and free patterns.

Just click on the links below each image to go the individual designer where you will be able to view the tutorial and/ download the free patterns.

As I find more free hoodie and sweatshirt patterns and tutorials, I will be adding them right here. So please save this page or subscribe below to get notifications of new posts added regularly (no spamming though, I promise!)

FREE SWEATER & HOODIE SEWING PATTERNS FOR WOMEN

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For the Women

FREE SWEATER & HOODIE SEWING PATTERNS FOR MEN

PLEASE SHARE ME | PIN ME

For the Men

FREE SWEATER & HOODIE SEWING PATTERNS FOR KIDS

PLEASE SHARE ME | PIN ME

For the Kids

If you want to buy hard copy patterns, I have listed a few of my favorites below:

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This costs you nothing, but for legal reasons, I must inform you that if you click on one of my links in this post and subsequently make a purchase, I will earn a commission for referring you to Amazon. So if you go ahead and click on through and buy something, let me say a HUGE thank you!

Kwik Sew Unisex Easy Sewing Pattern Tracksuit Sweater Hoodies

Kwik Sew Unisex Easy Sewing Pattern Tracksuit Sweater Hoodies – Available from Amazon (paid link)

Burda Mens Easy Sewing Pattern Hoodie & Sweater Top

Burda Mens Easy Sewing Pattern Hoodie & Sweater Top (paid link)

Burda Boys Easy Sewing Pattern Hoodie & Sweater Tops

Burda Boys Easy Sewing Pattern Hoodie & Sweater Tops (paid link)

Kwik Sew Childrens Sewing Pattern Boys & Girls Tracksuit Tops with appliques

Kwik Sew Childrens Sewing Pattern Boys & Girls Tracksuit Tops with appliques (paid link)

Tools & Supplies to make your Sweaters & Hoodies:

Drawstrings for Sweatshirts & Hoodies

Drawstrings for Sweatshirts & Hoodies (paid link)

Dark Grey Sweatshirt Fleece Fabric by the yard

Dark Grey Sweatshirt Fleece Fabric by the yard (paid link)

Sweatshirt Fleece Black Fabric by the Yard (other colours available)

Sweatshirt Fleece Black Fabric by the Yard (other colours available) (paid link)

Sweatshirts ready for refashioning or upcycling projects

Sweatshirts ready for refashioning or upcycling projects (paid link)

Grey Rib Knit Fabric for Cuffs & Collars

Grey Rib Knit Fabric for Cuffs & Collars (paid link)

Pinterest:

Head on over to my Pinterest page, follow and join my Sewing Patterns and Drafting Group Board – there are thousands of sewing patterns for you to browse through! I also have one for Baby and Kids Sewing too!

If you are new to sewing and would like some guidance – I have some great posts you may want to read:

Sewing for Beginners

Directory of Sewing Guides and Tutorials

I hope you enjoyed this post! Show the love by subscribing below!

Happy stitching!!!

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This costs you nothing, but for legal reasons, I must inform you that if you click on one of my links in this post and subsequently make a purchase, I will earn a commission for referring you to Amazon. So if you go ahead and click on through and buy something, let me say a HUGE thank you!

Make Your Own Product Tags

DIY Product Tags using Twill Ribbon

DIY-Make-Custom-Product-Tags-for-your-handmade-Items

A Free Tutorial By A Happy Stitch

Melissa from A Happy Stitch shows you how to make your own super cheap and easy product tags for your handmade products with just cotton twill ribbon and t-shirt transfer paper.

diy product labels

Melissa from A Happy Stitch shows you how to make these cute product labels!

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This costs you nothing, but for legal reasons, I must inform you that if you click on one of my links in this post and subsequently make a purchase, I will earn a commission for referring you to Amazon. So if you go ahead and click on through today and buy something, let me say a HUGE thank you!

diy product labels

By A Happy Stitch

Quick Links Supply Shop (Just Suggestions!)

Avery DIY T-Shirt Transfer Paper, available from Amazon

Avery DIY T-Shirt Transfer Paper, available from Amazon (paid link)

Reliant Ribbon Grosgrain Saddle Stitch Ribbon, available from Amazon

Reliant Ribbon Grosgrain Saddle Stitch Ribbon, available from Amazon (paid link)

Black + Decker IR1010 Light N Easy Compact Steam Iron, from Amazon

Black + Decker IR1010 Light N Easy Compact Steam Iron, from Amazon (paid link)

Fiskars Softgrip Scissors - Straight Stainless Steel, 8 Inch - available from Amazon

Fiskars Softgrip Craft & Paper Scissors – Straight Stainless Steel, 8 Inch – available from Amazon (paid link)

Fiskars The Orange Handled Scissors for Fabric, 8 Inch - from Amazon

Fiskars The Orange Handled Scissors for Fabric, 8 Inch – from Amazon (paid link)

If you need basic sewing supplies, browse my Supply Shop here.

Follow and Join my Fabric Labels Group Board on Pinterest for more quick and easy tutorials on how to make your very own product labels!

Buy 10 Yards of Cotton Ribbon - Handmade Labels for products - from Amazon

Buy 10 Yards of Cotton Ribbon – Handmade Labels for products – from Amazon

BROWSE FREE SEWING PATTERNS

Happy Sewing…until next time!

DIY Sew In Fabric Labels

DIY Sew in fabric labels

Sew in labels tutorial

This is a free tutorial from Meghan at Meghan Makes Do!

Learn to make your own DIY sew-in fabric labels!

Diy sew in labels

Free tutorial from Meghan Makes Do

Sometimes us creative folk forget about the branding side of our business. Don’t! After deciding on your logo and business cards, your website and shop, you will need to be able to add your label to all your crafts you sell to keep your business looking professional. I have found lots of sites on the web teaching you how to make your own DIY fabric labels, and I have decided to start with this one from Meghan Makes Do.

diy sew in fabric labels

Learn to make diy sew in fabric labels easily with Meghan Makes Do

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This costs you nothing, but for legal reasons, I must inform you that if you click on one of my links in this post and subsequently make a purchase, I will earn a commission for referring you to Amazon. So if you go ahead and click on through today and buy something, let me say a HUGE thank you!

In order to make these labels, you will need the following supplies:

printable fabric paper

white jersey fabric / plain white t-shirt

Heat Bond (if using plain printable fabric)

computer and printer

clear ruler, rotary cutter and cutting mat

diy sew in fabric labels

Meghan Makes Do shows you how to make diy sew in fabric labels!

GO TO THE TUTORIAL HERE

Why not sign up to receive regular updates packed full of free patterns, tips & tutorials to help you with your everyday sewing?

Quick Links Supply Shop (Supply Suggestions!)

Printer fabric sheets from Amazon

Printer fabric sheets from Amazon (paid link)

HeatnBond Ultrahold Iron-on Adhesive Value Pack, 17 inches x 5 yards, from Amazon

HeatnBond Ultrahold Iron-on Adhesive Value Pack, 17 inches x 5 yards, from Amazon (paid link)

Pink quilting cutter set, 45mm, replacement blades, A3 mat, ruler and craft clips - available from Amazon

Pink quilting cutter set, 45mm, replacement blades, A3 mat, ruler and craft clips – available from Amazon (paid link)

If you need basic sewing supplies, browse my Supply Shop here.

Follow & Join my Fabric Labels Group Board on Pinterest.

Woven labels for handmade crafts, personalised - Available from Amazon

Buy woven labels for handmade crafts which you can personalise – Available from Amazon (paid link)

BROWSE MORE FREE SEWING PATTERNS

Happy Sewing…until next time!

Why not sign up to receive regular updates packed full of free patterns, tips & tutorials to help you with your everyday sewing?

Circle Skirt Measurements Chart

DIY Circle Skirt Measurement Chart

Circle skirt cheat sheet

Print off this Circle Skirt Measurements Cheat Sheet to help you calculate circle skirt cutting measurements easily.

Making circle skirts are fun and easy when you know how. Keep the chart on hand near your cutting table to help you work out your waist cutting measurements. You can Print this page using the button at the top of this post.

Created by CreativeFashionBlog.com

Learn to sew a Half Circle Skirt here

Follow and Join my Pinterest Group Board: Free Sewing Patterns & Pattern Drafting

Need some basic supplies: Browse my essentials Supply Shop here!

This post contains affiliate links which simply means that if you make a purchase after clicking one of my links, I may receive a small commission as a thank you, at no extra cost to you!

Fab Books from Amazon!

Skirt a Day sewing - create 28 skirts

Skirt a Day Sewing – create 28 skirts, a book from Amazon

Until next time!

Directory of Sewing Guides and Tutorials

Directory of Sewing Guides and Tutorials

Sewing Directory dress forms

Directory of sewing guides and tutorials

Listed here are essential sewing guides and tutorials to help you with your next sewing project!

Many of the Guides and Tutorials below are external links, which link to fellow sewing professionals, who are experts in their own right.

This is a complete sewing directory, not only for beginners just starting out on their creative journey wanting to learn more about sewing but also for more seasoned seamstresses or designers who want quick links to tutorials which will freshen up sewing skills.

So, whoever you are and wherever you are on your sewing path, this sewing directory will surely be your best referred-to post on the web!

This directory will be updated regularly so I advise you to Pin it to your Favorites Bar, so you can keep coming back to it!

This post contains affiliate links which simply means that if you make a purchase through one of my links, I may receive a small commission as a thank you for referring you, at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure on the side of every page on my site if you would like to know more. 

Start here:

Sewing Glossary of Common Sewing Terms

Sewing glossary of essential sewing terms

Basic Sewing Skills

Sewing for Beginners

Sewing for beginners you essential tools and supplies list to get you started

First time sewing: The absolute beginner’s guide

Readers Digest NEW complete guide to sewing: Step by step techniques for making clothes and home accessories – I have this guide book in my sewing studio and I love it! I recommend this to anyone, beginners and advanced sewists

Basic Sewing Machine Skills

All about sewing needles

All about threads

Common sewing machine feet

How to use an edge stitch foot

How to sew straight

Clean and oil your sewing machine

How to thread a bobbin

Parts of your sewing machine

Basic sewing machine stitches

Sew a straight line

Sewing machine maintenance

Understand thread tension

Bias Binding

Guide to bias binding and facings

Attaching bias tape

Bias binding – the French method

How to cut a continuous strip of bias tape

How to sew bias tape

Sewing a bias hem and side seams

Button holes / Buttons

How to sew a bound button hole

Collars

How to sew a band collar

Different collar types

Corset

Free corset eBook download

Cutting Fabric

How to use a rotary cutter and mat

Drafting

Create your own block

How to take measurements

Body measurement printable chart – free download

How to design your own dress patterns – A primer in pattern making for women who like to sew

Dressmaking

Hundreds of free dress patterns, templates & tutorials

Elastic

How to insert a stretch waistband

Easiest way to sew elastic to a waistband

Types of and how to sew with elastic

Fitting

Trouser fitting tips

Gathers / Ruffles / Pleats

Flounces

How to gather the easy way

How to make a gathered ruffle

Knife pleat ruffle

Pleating and ruching

Hand Stitches

Ladder stitch / invisible stitch

Hems

Hemming denim

Sew the perfect hem

Sew the perfect hem every time

Narrow hems

Hemming pants with original hem

Knit Fabrics

The secret trick to hemming knits

How to hem knits

Sewing with knits

Sewing stretchy fabrics

Understanding knit fabric types

Loops

Loop closures

Piping

How to sew piping

Pockets

In-seam pockets

Adding pockets to skirts

Seams

9 Ways to finish a seam

Flat felled seams

Curved French seams

Box corners

Sewing different types of seams

Best seam finishes without a serger

Welt seams

Serger / Overlocker

Make ribbons with a serger

Serger stitches cheat sheet

Sewing Patterns

Hundreds of free dress patterns, templates & tutorials

Hundreds of FREE dress patterns, templates and tutorials by www.feedourlife.blog

Ladies free top sewing patterns for download

Free printable sewing patterns for ladies tops - pdf downloads - free patterns for ladies!

How to print pdf patterns

How to read a sewing pattern

How to read a sewing pattern

How to tape, cut & store pdf patterns

How to use digital & traditional patterns

Stitches

Top stitching

Trims

Attaching ricrac trim

Tulle / Netting

Sewing with tulle

Zippers

How to shorten zippers

Invisible zippers

Zipper tips & tricks

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Glossary of Common Sewing Terms

Sewing glossary of essential sewing terms

Sewing Glossary

This glossary of common sewing terms lists all common (and less common) sewing terms used in the sewing industry so pin this to your Favorites bar for easy access when working on that next sewing project!

Sewing Glossary A-Z

A

A-line

An A-line skirt is a skirt that is fitted at your hips and gradually widens towards the hem, giving the impression of the shape of a capital letter A. The term is also used to describe dresses and coats with a similar shape.

A-line dress

A-line dress

Applique

Appliqué is ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric in different shapes and patterns are sewn or stuck onto a larger piece to form a picture or pattern. It is commonly used as decoration, especially on garments and the technique is accomplished either by hand or machine. I use to make a lot of applique projects before I bought my embroidery machine!

Applique heart

Applique

B

Back-Stitch

Back-stitching is sewing backward over your stitches to keep the ends of your thread from unravelling. Generally, you will sew forward a few stitches, then back-stitch a few stitches, and then continue on forward sewing but you don’t want to back-stitch back and forth too much or you’ll create a big lump of thread and will likely pucker your fabric. So, I generally sew forward 3-4 stitches, back-stitch the same amount, and then continue sewing forward.

Back stitch

Back stitches safely start and end your row of stitching

Baste, Basting Stitches AKA “Tacking”

A basting stitch is a set of long stitches (here I mean, turn your stitch length on your machine up to the longest possible) that are usually used to hold something together temporarily.

For example, sometimes you’ll baste two pieces of fabric together to keep them in place while you sew those 2 pieces to another piece of fabric or sometimes you’ll baste an applique onto your fabric to keep it in place while you then sew the edges down permanently.

I probably baste the most often when I am creating gathers or ruffles. You can baste by hand (I tend to do this most often) or set your machine to its longest stitch and do a machine baste.

Basting stitch

Machine basting stitches

Machine basting stitches – set to longest length on your machine

Bias

The bias of the fabric is the diagonal line between the horizontal and vertical grain lines; by diagonal, I mean a 45 degree slice between those lines.

Look at a piece of fabric flat in front of you. The selvage is laying right along the bottom; that would mean that your horizontal grain lines are also running perfectly straight across from left to right.

This would also mean that your vertical lines are running perfectly up and down, creating a nice 90 degree angle to your selvage. The BIAS LINE would run at an exact 45 degree angle from the selvage.

Bias fabric

Bias runs at a 45 degree angle to the selvedge

The easiest way to find the bias is to use your selvedge as a guide. Once you have cut your length of fabric, use a table or meter rule to help you cut a neat straight line from the one selvedge to the other.

This should be at a 90 degree angle to the edge of your fabric. Then, fold the newly cut edge over and bring it in line with the selvedge edge. THIS fold created will be the 45 degree angle you need — the Bias line. Some sewing patterns may require you to place a pattern piece “on the bias”.

This means turning your pattern piece so that the grainline arrow runs parallel with this bias line. It may seam unnatural to place a pattern piece like that but it will make for a more flattering fit once the pattern is stitched up. Only EVER place patterns on the bias if the pattern instructs you to do so.

Note, this is the same way you make “bias binding”.

Bias fold line

“True Bias” is the folded edge at 45 degrees to the selvedge

Bias Binding

Bias cut strips of fabric are used to encase the edges as a trim or finish and I love bias binding because it can be used in sooo many different ways.

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Bobbin

This is the piece of your sewing machine that holds the bottom thread, and is placed in the bobbin case and can come in slightly different sizes for different makes of machine. If you buy extra bobbins for your machine, always ensure they are compatible with your machine because they come in different sizes too!

Bolt

This is the unit of fabric as sold in fabric stores and I’m positive that you have seen these! They are usually on a roll or folded over a cardboard inner, and marked with useful information such as fabric content and care instructions.

Fabric bolts

Fabric bolts

Button holes and buttons

A button hole is the cut in the fabric that is closely bound with small stitching, just large enough to allow the button to pass through. Buttons are used as a fastening and can be made from all sorts of materials, including plastic, metal, glass, ceramic and can also be covered to match the fabric of the garment. I think all sewing hoarders have “that” box of old buttons tucked away on the sewing shelf!

Button hole and button

Button hole and button to match the opening

C

Casing

This is a folded over edge of a garment, usually at the waist, to enclose a way of adjusting fit, such as with elastic or drawstrings. A casing may also be formed between a garment and its lining.

Elastic casing

Elastic casing at the waist – a small section is left unstitched so that elastic or cord can be thread through

Clip corners and curves

When sewing an item together, you’ll often see the instructions say to sew “right” sides together…and then turn right side out and iron flat. However, before turning right side out, you need to minimize the bulk around curves and corners, so that after you turn it right side out, it will lay flat and have crisp edges and lines.

You will need to clip straight lines into curves that look like a valley, cut notches into curves that look like a mountain, and then cut corners straight off…..in order to help with turning fabric right side out.

Clip curves

Clip curves to reduced bulk once turned the right side out

Clipped vs not clipped edges

If you don’t clip curved edges the finish is greatly affected

Couture (also known as Haute Couture)

Okay I’m sure we have all seen those weird and wonderful fashion shows with totally un-wearable fashion being displayed on the catwalk! Couture is fashion with a high emphasis on fit, design, finish and quality. Examples of famous couture designers are: Oscar de la Renta, Versace and Jean Paul Gaultier.

haute couture

Haute couture

D

Darn

We have used this technique for hundreds of years both by hand and machine and is done by “scribbling” the needle over a torn section of fabric or a hole to do a repair. This requires a darning foot so the feed dogs will not direct the fabric.

darning fabric

Darning is used to fix a hole in fabric

Darts

Dart are folds in the fabric, usually wide at one end narrowing to a point, which helps the fit of a garment over the curves and shapes of the body. The most common darts are those we see at the bust area, and hips on our skirts and trousers.

A dart in a skirt piece to give shape

A dart in a skirt piece to give shape

Dress Form / Duct Tape Dress Form

A dress form is a standard model of your body which can be adjusted to your required body measurements while a duct tape dress form shares your exact shape and measurements by being formed to your own body. Dress forms are used to assist in fitting and for creating garments by draping fabric directly onto the form.

Standard dress form

Standard dress form

Duct tape dress form

Duct tape dress form

E

Ease

The allowance of space in a pattern for fit, comfort and styling, over and above exact body measurements. When we take our body measurements, if we drew out a pattern to exactly match those measurements then we would end up with skin tight clothing. That’s OK if you are using knit fabrics with good stretch. But most of us want our clothes to skim the body and flatter, not show every single lump and bump! And not every item of clothing will be made from super stretchy fabrics.

So we need some ‘ease’ in our garment if it is not to be skin tight and then split when we sit down and our bottom and thighs expand. There are typically two types of ease added to a pattern – wearing ease and design ease.

Wearing ease is the amount of extra fabric you need to move comfortably in a garment.

Design ease is the amount of extra fabric the designer has built in to give the garment its shape and style. The total amount of ease is the difference between the measurement of the finished garment and the measurement for your body.

Ease allowance table

Ease allowance table found with the pattern instructions

Eyelets

These are very small rings made of metal or plastic that are inserted into the fabric with a special pair of pliers to reinforce a hole. For example, on the back of wedding dresses that lace up the back, the laces go through the eyelets. Also refers to a type of fabric with holes as the design, and each hole is created and reinforced by embroidery. You can also find larger eyelets which can be used in bag making or on curtains!

eyelets are available in different sizes

Eyelets are available in different sizes

Embroidery

Embroidery is my favorite and is the craft of decorating fabric or other materials using a needle to apply thread or yarn. It may also incorporate other materials such as pearls, beads, quills, and sequins. In modern days, embroidery is usually seen on caps, hats, coats, blankets, dress shirts, denim, dresses, stockings, and golf shirts and is applied with a machine. But embroidery an also include elaborate hand stitches. If you want access to hundreds of free embroidery designs, read my post List of Free Embroidery Designs.

Empire

High waisted style bodice with a loose skirt falling from under the bust. Check out my post on Hundreds of free dress patterns.

empire line dress

Empire line dress

F

Facing

To finish the edge with a fitted and matching piece of fabric or binding which are typically used at necklines and armholes.

Facing at a neckline

Facing at a neckline

Fat Quarter

A quarter yard of fabric, cut to measure 18 x 22 inches instead of straight across the fabric at 18 x 44 inches, mostly used in quilting, small projects and is a great stash builder!

Fat quarters

Fat quarter

Feed Dogs

The feet that move the fabric under the presser foot of the sewing machines that control the length of the stitch and are the little ridged metal plates that stick up from under the machine sewing foot.

feed dogs can be raised or lowered

Feed dogs can be raised or lowered depending on the thickness of the fabric

Finger press

Use the heat and pressure of your fingers to make a small crease in fabric rather than using an iron.

Finger press the seam wihtout using an iron

Finger press a seam without using an iron

Free motion quilting

The use of a darning foot to eliminate the feed-dogs (the feet that move the fabric) so you can move the fabric freely under the needle and effectively “draw” on the fabric with the thread in whatever shape comes to mind.

free motion quilting

Free motion quilting is quilting done “free hand”

G

Gathering Fabric

Gathering is a sewing technique used to shorten the length of your fabric piece so that you can then attach it to a shorter piece of fabric. To gather a length of fabric, the easiest method is to stitch two straight lines of straight stitch, on the longest length possible (like basting) without back stitching at the start and end.

Once you have sewn both rows, hold the two top or two bobbin threads in your hands (I tend to wrap them around my finger) and gently pull the other ends, ruffling up the fabric into gathers.

Once you’ve gathered your fabric to the desired measurement, make sure the gathers are even and stitch into place either by sewing a single line across the gathers, or pinning and stitching the gathers into the garment piece.

Gathering fabric

Gathers

Godet

A triangular piece of fabric inserted into a skirt to widen the bottom to add movement and fullness but is also used in sleeves and bell-bottomed pants.

godet

Godet is normally added to skirts

Grading

A process of trimming the seam allowance in order to reduce bulk in the seams.

grading seams

Grading is trimming the excess seam allowance to reduce bulk

Grain

Grain refers to the orientation of the fibers that are woven together to create the fabric. Materials such as leather or fleece do not have a grain because they are not woven together. If you look really closely at the fabric below, there are little fibers that run parallel and perpendicular to the selvage.

This is the grain of the fabric. The grain that goes from one side of the fabric to the other (from selvedge to selvedge) is the crosswise grain (“weft”), and the grain that runs parallel to the selvedge is called the lengthwise grain (“warp”). Most sewing patterns will require you to place the pattern parallel to this grainline.

You can also use these grain lines in the fabric as a guide, to create straight lines that are either perpendicular or parallel to the selvage. In fact, sometimes the print on the fabric (like stripes) may be a little off, so don’t always rely on the print do give you an exact line along the grain of the fabric.

Always looks a little closer at the actual grain, to get the best results with your sewing projects!

Fabric grainline

Grainline – crosswise & lengthwise

Gusset

In a garment, a gusset is a triangular piece of fabric inserted into a seam to add roominess. In bags, a gusset is used to pinch in the corners to create a bottom and sides.

gusset

Diamond shaped gusset adds space into the garment

H

Hand

A term used to the feel and texture of a fabric. “This fabric has a nice hand to it.”

Hand Stitching

This is pretty self explanatory…hand stitching is done with your hand…and a needle and thread. Whenever possible, I use my sewing machine but sometimes, there are things that need to be sewn with a needle and thread.

Hand stitches overcast stitch

Hand stitches – Overcast stitch

Hem

The hem is the edge of the fabric that has been folded under and sewn to keep the raw edge hidden and from unravelling. There are different techniques to hem fabric but the most common way is to fold the edge under twice and then sew in place but sometimes all you need to do is serge or overlock the edge or hand stitch (blind hem) and that will suffice. Generally, how you are required to finish the hem depends on the fabric you’re sewing and the pattern instructions.

Standard hem that has been turned over twice and stitched down

Standard sewn hem that has been turned over twice and stitched down

Serged or overlocked hem

Serged or overlocked hem

Hand stitched blind hem

Hand stitched blind hem

Hong Kong finish

This was a new one on me and I’ve been sewing for 4 decades. Nevertheless, a Hong Kong finish is an internal quality finish on a garment where the seam edges are encased in binding.

hong kong finish

Hong Kong finish

I

Inseam

This is the  vertical seams on pants between the legs.

Inseams on trousers

Inseams on trousers

Interfacing

Interfacing is a textile attached to the “wrong” side of the fabric, to help stiffen up the fabric, when it’s otherwise too flimsy.

Invisible Hem AKA Blind hem

Sewing a hem invisibly with hand or machine stitches so as to make it nearly invisible to see from the right side sewn using a special presser foot (left).

Invisible zipper

An invisible zipper is designed to disappear into a seam when sewn in and is often used in the back of skirts and dresses where pattern matching at the seam helps make the zipper invisible. You will need a special zipper foot compatible with your machine to insert an invisible zipper correctly.

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K

Knit / Jersey Fabric

When a fabric is knit, there is one continuous thread being looped together back and forth. If you look more closely, you will see that the pattern almost looks like braiding. Because of that loopy, braided technique, the fabric has a lot more give and stretch. Knit fabric is a great friend to the crafter because once cut, its edges don’t fray like woven fabrics do, since it’s only one continuous thread rather than many separate threads.

Knit or jersey fabric

Knit or jersey fabric – great for t-shirts!

L

Lining

Used to finish the inside of a garment, to hide the seam construction, to allow for ease of putting a garment on or taking it off, and to provide a good finish. A lining is cut of the same pattern pieces as the garment and often is made of “slippery” fabrics.

Lining on the inside of a dress

Lining on the inside of a dress

M

Muslin / Toile

Muslin is the making of draft or trial garments and is the name of the fabric used in making them, however, terminology differs in US to other parts of the world where toile may also be used.

muslin toile of a jacket

Muslin / toile of a jacket

N

Nap

Some fabrics like velvet or velour have a pile, and the fibers don’t quite lay vertically, but in a particular direction. This is known as the nap and you can feel the nap if you run your hand back and forth across the fabric. When sewing, the nap should always run downwards in the project.

fabric nap

Running your hands across the fabric shows the nap

Neaten edges

The technique of finishing a raw edge in whatever manner you prefer, using pinking shears, zig-zag stitch, overlock stitch, or serged edge. When a pattern asks you to neaten an edge, you choose the manner in which the edge is finished.

neaten edges

Neaten edges with a serger or zig zag stitch

Notions

Notions are the items used in sewing other than the fabric and the pattern, for example buttons, zippers, thread, and small tools.

P

Patchwork

The art of sewing small pieces of fabric together to make a larger fabric or design, then usually quilted to be made into a quilt or bag or other project.

patchwork fabric

Patchwork squares

Pleat

A pleat (older plait) is a type of fold formed by doubling fabric back upon itself and securing it in place and is commonly used in clothing and upholstery to gather a wide piece of fabric to a narrower circumference.

pleated skirt

Pleated skirt

Piping

A trim of a fabric-wrapped cording inserted into a seam to embellish a garment or project. The cord is wrapped in bias tape so it will curve easily around all seams. You can make your own piping or buy it by the yard. You can learn to make piping in this 3 part series: Part 1, Part 2, and Make a cushion cover with piping.

piping used to contrast the fabric

Pink piping used to contrast the grey fabric

Placket

An opening in the upper part of trousers, skirts, or sleeves which allow the garments to open up to make room for the garment to be slipped on easily.

sleeve placket

Sleeve placket

Pocket

A rectangle of fabric inserted into a garment accessible from the finished outside edge of the garment to hold small items or added to the outside of a garment like the one below. Pockets can be constructed in many ways, with or without flaps or pleats, and can be various shapes.

pocket with pleat and flap

Pocket added to a shirt on the outside and constructed with a pleat and flap

Press

Using an iron with an up and down motion to press fabric flat rather than a back and forward ironing motion. Pressing is completed on seams during garment construction.

Press while sewing

Press seams and hems as you go!

Presser foot

The part of the sewing machine that holds the fabric in place as it is being sewn and fed through by the feed dogs. Presser feet are usually removable and can be replaced by all types of specialty feet for sewing specific projects or stitches.

Presser foot

Presser foot

Princess Seams

Vertical seam lines which give shaping to a garment in place of darts which are often found in fitted bodices.

princess seams in a dress

Princess seams in a dress

Pre-wash Fabrics

Should I pre wash my fabric

Is pre-washing your fabric necessary? Or a waste of time? Well, it depends on your fabric and what time of project you’ll be making (like if it will be washed again after it’s made, like clothing or a quilt). My quick answer is yes, pre-wash all of your fabric so that if it’s going to shrink and shift, it’s better if it happens before you start cutting your fabric. If you would like more details on pre-washing fabric, you can read Makeit-Loveit.com’s post on Should You Pre-Wash Your Fabric

Q

Quilting

A method of sewing (or tying) two layers of cloth together with an inner layer of batting between it. A “quilt” is a finished blanket made by Quilting.

quilted bedspread

Quilted bedspread

R

Right vs wrong side of fabric

Most fabrics have designated sides that are meant to be “seen” and “not seen” with each side likely having a different color or texture, or both. If your fabric has a design printed onto it, you will notice that the “right” side is more vibrant. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the sides and if that’s the case, it won’t like matter which side you choose as the “right’ side.

Right and wrong side of fabric

Right and wrong side of fabric

“Right sides together”

While reading sewing patterns, you’ll often see the words, “sew the two pieces together with RIGHT sides together”. This means to place the sides of the fabric that you want to be seen (the printed/smooth/preferred sides) and then sew as instructed.

Then, when the fabric is turned right side out, the seam will be hidden.

Place right sides together

Right sides together is putting the “fronts” of fabric together

Ruche

A ruche is a frill or pleat of fabric as decoration on a garment or soft furnishing.

ruched fabric

Ruched ribbons

S

Scrim

Scrim is a term used in batting where a thin layer of polyester is added to the cotton to be needle punched into, giving stability to your batting so it won’t break apart within your quilt. Scrim adds poly to your batting so it will no longer be 100% cotton.

Seam Allowance

A seam allowance is the distance between the edge of the fabric and the sewn line. When sewing any project, a pattern designer always includes some sort of seam allowance into the pattern pieces, so that the finished project will turn out with the intended measurements.

A very common seam allowance is 5/8 inch and this notch is usually the most visible sewing line on the sewing machine. Smaller projects usually call for smaller seam allowances.

Whatever the seam allowance, check your machine for your seam allowance guide or mark a line that you can line up the edge of your fabric with, and sew an even seam allowance along your fabric.

Seam allowance

Typical seam allowance

Machine seam allowance guide

Machine seam allowance guide

Selvedge / Selvage

This is the edge of the fabric which is “self-finished” and stop the fabric from fraying or unravelling. You will notice this most commonly where the fabric company prints the name of the fabric collection, designer and / the colours used in the printing process.

In most fabric stores, you will find fabric folded in half lengthwise and then wound around a bolt. And then you’ll see rows and rows of bolts of fabric. When the fabric store cuts fabric for you, they will cut you off a piece that is perpendicular to the selvage. So you will always have a selvage along both sides of your piece of fabric.

Selvedge fabric - the edge of fabric

Example of selvedge – the edge of fabric

Serging or overlocking

This is a method of looped threads over the raw edge of the fabric to finish the edge to prevent fraying with this stitch being best achieved with a serger / overlocking machine.

Shirring

Several gathered seams in a row next to each other achieved by using elastic thread.

shirring

Smocking

A technique in which pleats are gathered and folded in a checkerboard formation to make a texture.

smocking

Smocking on a child’s bodice

smocking

Note the “checker board” effect

Stitch in the Ditch

This is a quilting term used to describe the method of stitching along existing seams in a patchwork piece or quilt top in order to quilt it together with the batting and backing.

It is the depression, or crevasse, that forms on the outside of the seam, when the two pieces are spread apart, as may be in the case of quilting. STITCHING is done IN that DITCH, usually on the right side, through all layers.

In fashion, it is done when a single-layer waist-band is to be secured from the outside, and the sew wishes to add minimum bulk. In this case the seam allowance is laid to one side, so that it may be contained in the over-lying waistband.

stitch in the ditch

Stitching along the seams

Sewing Patterns

Sewing patterns are designs used to cut fabric into shapes usually including several different sizes or styling options along with instructions on how to construct the project or garment. Patterns are also available as instant downloads from online stores, which are printed on a home printer onto A4 paper and either glued or sticky-taped together according to the pattern-maker’s instructions.

vintage paper sewing pattern

Vintage paper sewing pattern

Sloper

A sloper is a basic (block) pattern from which other patterns can be designed. The custom sloper is made to your personal measurements and can be used to create very well fitting garments.

sloper pattern

Custom sloper pattern is the brown pattern you can see here

Stay stitching

Stay stitching is a line of stitching just inside the intended permanent stitching line on curved edges that stabilizes and keeps the curve from distorting. The direction of the stay stitching is shown on the pattern. If not, it generally goes from shoulder to center on necklines.

stay stitching

Stay stitching

Stitches & Seams

A stitch is a loop of thread that is created by a needle pulling it through fabric and a seam is a line of stitches that can either hold two pieces of fabric together or can be used as a decorative line of stitches.

The size of each stitch within your seam can be adjusted by different knobs on your sewing machine. Seams can be created in many designs but the most common is a straight line or a zig-zag.

Machine sewing stitches

Example of machine stitches

Example of different seams

Example of different seams

Synthetic Fabrics (Nylon, Rayon, Polyester)

Synthetic fabric is made from man-made materials with most being quite sensitive to heat and more prone to melting while ironing and steaming.

Sometimes a synthetic fabric will give you the look and flow you’re seeking, but just be aware of how it responds to sewing/ironing when selecting fabrics that are synthetic.

A good example of a synthetic fabric is satin, often used in formal wear like wedding gowns.

Synthetic fabric

Satin is a synthetic fabric

T

Tailors Ham

A tailors ham is a round ‘ham’ shaped firmly stuffed pillow used under a garment while pressing to help mold fabric into shape around curves for darts, princess seams etc.

tailors ham and seam roll used when pressing

Tailors ham & seam roll used when pressing

Tension

Tension refers to the pressure being placed on your needle and bobbin thread by your machine. There are two types of tension on your sewing machine – the thread and bobbin tensions.

You rarely need to adjust bobbin tension and your sewing machine manual will show you the appropriate settings and offer you examples of what the threads should look like on the right and wrong sides of your stitching.

sewing tension

Machine tension

TNT

“Tried and tested” or “tried and trusted” refer to a pattern you have made up before, and which gives good results and fit, and you come back to several times to make up a wardrobe staple such as a basic skirt, dress or shirt.

Top-Stitch

Sewing a top-stitch is when you sew along the top (or the “right” side) of the fabric and generally parallels a seam or the edge of your fabric, to give the item a more tailored or professional look.

When I top-stitch, I increase my stitch length a little more when sewing top stitch because the needle hops over more fabric and doesn’t stretch out the fabric as much, but also allows for more thread to show with each stitch. (Sometimes you will hear the word edge-stitch. This is basically the same thing….but really close to the edge of the fabric, like a hem.)

Top stitches

Top stitches

Tracing paper & tracing wheel

These are used together to transfer pattern lines and marking to fabric or to duplicate and trace patterns. The wheel resembles a tiny pizza cutter with spikes. Burda magazines are good examples which include traceable pattern pieces requiring tracing paper and a tracing wheel.

tracing paper and wheel

Tracing paper and wheel transfers pattern pieces to fabric

Trim or trimmings

Trims are pre-made ruffles, fringes, or other decorative accessories that can be sewn into a garment or sewing project to add visual and decorative interest.

lace trim

Lace trim

“Turn a tube the right side out”

Turning a tube of fabric right side out is just what it sounds like, turning your fabric out after you’ve sewn it together, so that the correct side (or “right side”) is facing outward.

You may come across this when having to make spaghetti straps or belt loops. It may seem simple for some, but if you’ve never done it, this can seem frustrating. But turning something “right side out” is something you do a lot while sewing.

But those skinny tubes can be a real pain. I sometimes use a safety pin, but you can also use a loop tool.

Turning a strap right side out

Turning a strap right side out

Turning a strap right side out using a safety pin

Turning a strap right side out using a safety pin

U

Underlining

Underlining is fabric lining joined in the seams of the garment rather than hanging loosely and is used to give shape, body or support to delicate fabrics.

Under stitching

Under stitching assists a facing or lining to stay to the inside and un-seen,  sewn as close to the seam line as possible holding the graded seam allowance to the facing or lining.

understitching neatens the inside of the garment

Under stitching neatens the inside of the garment

W

Walking Foot

A walking foot is a special presser foot which includes feed dogs to assist in moving the upper layer of fabric through the machine.

They are sometimes used in projects with multiple layers of fabric to ensure upper layers move through at the same rate as the lower layer pulled by the machine feed dogs. Typically used in quilting.

walking foot used in quilting

Walking foot used in quilting

WOF

“Width of fabric” or “salvage to salvage”. You will find this abbreviation in many patterns.

Woven Fabric

When a fabric is woven, its threads are interlaced in a crisscross pattern, horizontally and vertically and because of this, woven fabric tends to hold its shape better and doesn’t stretch very well. This can be helpful when trying to keep things precise while sewing and perfectly even and straight.

Woven fabric

Woven fabric has the warp and weft threads woven in a criss-cross pattern

However, when cut along the grain, the threads release and start to unravel, causing fraying along the edges over time. There are several ways to stop the fraying – neaten edges with a zig zag stitch or an overlock stitch (if you have an overlocker / serger).

OR another way is to cut along the bias. This stops each row of woven threads and tends to slow down the fraying process. Also, when woven fabric is pulled along the bias, it has a slight stretch to it, causing it to hang a little differently and manipulate a little better around curves (which is why bias tape is so useful).

“Wrong sides together”

Sometimes a pattern instruction will say to place the WRONG sides of the fabric together. There is a reason for this and that reason will generally make sense as you learn more about sewing. But this just means to place the unwanted sides together….and then continue on with the instructions.

Worng sides together

Wrong sides together is putting the fabric “backs” together

Y

Yoke

The yoke is the part of a garment that fits over the shoulders or hips and to which the main part of the garment is attached. It may sound like an old-fashioned term but we have yokes in our clothing we wear everyday in modern fashion!

Z

Zipper foot

A zipper foot is a sewing machine attachment that is designed for installing zippers with the design of the foot allowing the needle to stitch close to different items such as zippers and cording. You will also need a zipper foot when making piping.

typical zipper foot

Typical zipper foot used to attach zippers to fabric

Zippers / Zips

Zippers are closures with interlocking teeth and come in several forms, colors and lengths. They usually require a special presser foot for accurate insertion. (a zipper foot as previously discussed)

zippers

Zippers come in various colours and can have metal or plastic teeth

Well, that is the end of the glossary folks! I hope you find it useful!

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Sewing for Beginners

Sewing for beginners you essential tools and supplies list to get you started

Sewing for Beginners

Sewing for Beginners is a comprehensive list of tools and supplies to get you started. Even seasoned sewers can make use of my recommendations and pattern directory at the bottom of this post.

This post contains various affiliate links, some taking you directly to Amazon, because I love buying from Amazon! It is so easy to find everything you need in one place, delivered without quibbles, straight to your door.

1. Sewing Machine: This will be your biggest purchase so choose wisely.

Sewing Machines can be used to mend or create. You’ll find they have many helpful features for both everyday needs and large projects.

For example, an automatic needle threader ends the squinting and gets you sewing faster. I have a machine that has an automatic needle threader and it’s a God-send.

Some machines have a large colorful view screen that makes setup easy. You can even find machines with a port to connect to a laptop computer to increase your design capabilities, like my Brother embroidery machine.

Types of machines

There are many types of sewing machines for sale, so it helps to know what you can do with one!

EMBROIDERY: Sews designs and text onto fabric.
QUILTING: Sews many layers of fabric into a padded material.
SERGING: Wraps thread around the fabric edge and trims excess seam.
COVER STITCHING: Wraps thread around the edge without trimming.
FELTING: Sews fabrics without thread.
BLIND HEMMING: Makes stitches that are not seen.
SEWING: Of course!

Choosing a sewing machine can seem complicated because there is a lot to consider, such as cost, stitching functions, size, and more. Sewing power and speed are also concerns. If you travel or carry it to a class, it must be easy to carry. With many sewing machine brands on the market, there is one with the right features for you.

Budget-friendly sewing machines

Below is a list of some of the most popular budget-friendly sewing machine choices out there. The ones I have showcased are, in my opinion, the best basic starter machine for any beginner sewer.

However, if you would prefer something different or more advanced, click on the brand of machine that you like (for example: Brother Sewing Machines), and you will be directed to the Sewing Machines Plus website, where you can view many, many others in their range.

Singer Sewing Machines

Singer Confidence Sewing Machine

Brother Sewing Machines

Brother SM1738 17 Stitch Disney Sewing Machine

Janome Sewing Machines

Janome HD1000 mechanical sewing machine

Juki Sewing Machines

Juki HZL 80HP Computerized Sewing Machine

Bernina Sewing Machines

Bernette B37 Sewing Machine

 

Pfaff Sewing Machines

Pfaff Smarter 260C Sewing machine

Husqvarna Sewing Machines

Husqvarna Viking Jade 20 Sewing Machine

Child Sewing Machines

Janome HD 1000 Black Edition Sewing Machine with free bonus accessories

If you are still undecided, check out the best selling sewing machines for 2019 here available from Sewing Machines Plus.

2. Serger / Overlocker: This is an optional extra, but highly recommended.

Not familiar with sergers? View the understanding sergers guide here.

Brother 2340CV Chain and Cover Stitch Machine with 1, 2 or 3 thread stitching

Serger sewing machines cut and finish the raw edges of the material you are sewing. Unlike a straight stitch machine, sergers (also called overlock machines) use loopers to make the stitch and have a set of knives similar to a pair of scissors to cut the fabric.

This gives your garments a finished look in far less time than it would take with a regular sewing machine. Personally, I would definitely recommend buying a serger even if you are just a hobby sewer. It will finish all your projects neatly and professionally. Don’t let anyone convince you that using the zig zag stitch on your sewing machine will suffice to finish edges. No way!

Give your project that professional edge with one of the many sergers from Sewing Machines Plus today! They have a full line of serger machines for any budget or ability.

Can’t decide? Check out their Best Selling Sergers & Overlocks for 2019 here.

3. Cutting Table:

You may not need a cutting table as you might sew on your dining or kitchen table! But if you are anything like me, you will want your own designated sewing area. Cutting table included!

Sewing Machines Plus have a lovely range of sewing cabinets and cutting tables at very reasonable prices, so check them out here.

Arrow 98500 Sewnatra compact sewing cabinet oak finish

 

4. Iron: If don’t already have an iron, then now is the time to get one. You cannot sew without using one. “iron as you sew…”

Russell-hobbs-powersteam-ultra-3100w vertical steam iron 20630 black and grey

Steam Iron

 

5. Sewing Scissors: shears are probably most important purchase next to your sewing machine!

Buying a good pair of scissors will make cutting fabrics a breeze! I have included cutters here too. Personally I use scissors, but I know a lot of seamstresses who prefer cutters for smaller projects. If you prefer the cutters, then you will need a cutting mat to protect your work surface.

Fiskars classic dressmaking scissors

Dressmaking shears

Fiskars rotary cutter

Rotary cutter and cutting mat

Ansio A2 foldable self healing cutting mat

6. Threads:

Buying good thread is very important. Cheap and cheerful threads can break or knot inside your machine and after sewing for over 30 years, I can promise you, buying a good brand and paying a little more for quality thread really makes all the difference.

I recommend Gutermann threads, which you can easily buy from Amazon.

Gutermann thread basic colours all purpose sewing thread Gutermann creativ 10 reels of 100 cotton

 

7. Habedashery:

You will need a supply of various bits & bobs like dressmakers pins, seam ripper, tailors chalk, a measuring tapeerasable marker, hand sewing needles, thread snippers, extra bobbins and of course, fabrics of all textures and colours! Please take a look below at the list of goodies that I would buy for myself if I was starting out.

250 pieces glass head pins boxed for dressmaker

Dressmakers Pins

 

Prymlove small ergonomic design stitch seam ripper quick unpick

Seam ripper, also known as a Quick-unpick

 

Butterfly dressmakers tailors chalk

Tailors chalk

Prym 254cm 100inch tape measure profi fibreglass yellow

Measuring tape with cm and inches on either side

 

Threader erasable fabric sewing marker pens multi pack of 3

Erasable marker pens

 

Prym hand sewing needles sharps 5-9 assorted

Hand sewing needles

Fons and Porter 7829 Thread Snippers

Thread Snippers

Sewing Machine Bobbins

Extra sewing machine bobbins – ensure they are compatible with your sewing machine

8. Fabrics:

 

Molly blue poly cotton fabric with delicate pink flowers vintage floral per meter

Fabric sold by the meter

5pcs cotton fabric for sewing fat quarter

Fabric bundle sold as “fat quarters” for smaller projects

 

For lots and lots more fabrics go to Amazon here!

Other fabric suppliers: I’m sure you know some good local fabric stores in your area where you can browse to your heart’s content, but if you prefer buying online, then here are a few more choices for you:

Sewing Machines Plus

Loralie Designs Fabric

Adorn It Fabrics

9. Patterns:

Now. There are hundreds of thousands of sewing patterns available around the globe. You can find dress patterns, kids patterns, toy patterns, doll clothes patterns, easy patterns, advanced patterns, printable patterns, downloadable patterns, make-it-yourself patterns!

For a list of the big pattern suppliers please see below, or you can link to some of my previous posts for freebie patterns:

Hundreds of free dress patterns, templates & tutorials

Free ladies tops patterns to download

Bag patterns

Other pattern suppliers:

myBluprint.com

Bluprint has everything online, from paid for and free patterns to classes and projects for all types of sewing & crafts. It’s worth checking them out! They support independent designers and pattern-makers so it’s nice to buy from the small guys as well as the big pattern companies.

Butterick Sewing Patterns

McCall’s Sewing Patterns

Vogue Sewing Patterns

Simplicity Sewing Patterns

New Look Sewing Patterns

Kwik Sew Patterns

Indygo Junction Sewing Patterns

Jalie Sewing Patterns

LJ Designs Sewing Patterns

Great Copy Sewing Patterns

Style Arc Sewing Patterns

Sewaholic Sewing Patterns

Grainline Studios

Collette Sewing Patterns

Islander Sewing Systems 

Wildly Wonderful Wearables

Petite Plus Patterns

Saf T Pockets Patterns

Sew Essential Sewing Patterns 

The Foldline – Indie Sewing Patterns

Dragonfly Fabrics

The Drapers Daughter

10. Guides & Books

First Time Sewing: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide

First time sewing an absolute beginners guide

Learning to sew has never been simpler with this book by your side! Available from Amazon

Readers Digest New Complete Guide to Sewing: Step by step techniques for making clothes and home accessories

Readers digest new guide to sewing - step by step techniques for making clothes and home accessories

I personally use this guide book and highly recommend it! Available from Amazon

Crafty little things to sew

Crafty little things to sew - 20 Clever sewing projects using scraps and fat quarters

20 Clever sewing projects using scraps and fat quarters

How to design your own dress patterns

How to design your own dress patterns - a primer in pattern making for women who like to sew

A primer in pattern making for women who like to sew! Available from Amazon

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