Tips for Sewing with Small Children in the House

tips sewing small children house

The reality for most is that, with small children in the house, it is very difficult to complete any task, other than the most basic one – and often that is beyond reach. Small children are synonymous with interruptions, distractions and interferences (as well as being absolutely adorable) and the best tip that I could give anyone planning to sew with children around would be: don’t bother! However, for those who need a regular “fix” of sewing, knitting or any other craft activity, there are some ways to minimize the frustration inherent to any activity that does not centre on the children. The ideal situation would be to sew when small children were either asleep or being fully cared for by another adult, or a much older child. Whether you can structure your day so that the childrenís sleep time … Continue reading

Quick Tips For Sewing Difficult Fabrics

Sewing Difficult Fabrics

Knowing good basic sewing skills always comes in handy.  But sometimes, challenging fabrics can still be too much to handle.  Indeed, what may seem like simple tasks of folding and cutting a fabric can become frustrating –not to mention the difficulties that will be encountered when we start running our sewing machines through these uncooperative fabrics. Generally, when dealing with challenging fabrics, there are some things we can do to immediately improve the situation. Adjusting your machine’s thread tension up and down until you identify the best setting for the particular fabric can do wonders.  Speeding up as well as slowing down the sewing may make your sewing machine run smoothly over the fabric.  You may just have to experiment a little.  Simply making sure that the fabric is free of dust or any adhesive residue may also make it cooperate better with your … Continue reading

Double welt pocket with flap by the butterfly method

double welt pocket with flap

The double welt pocket with flap using the butterfly method is a really easy and contemporary technique to make a pocket and attach a flap at the same time.  I have already showed you the five lines technique that is used mostly on thin fabrics.  This new technique using the butterfly method works well on both thin or thick fabrics.  It can even be used on leather and suede as well as with thick wools and cashmeres coats. I was told by a reader in a comment that the correct name for this pocket is double piped besom pocket or pound pocket.  Prior to 1962, all the tailoring books called this type of pocket by that name.  However, no contemporary tailoring book I was able to search in used the term double pipe besom pocket or pound pocket.  I think the language has … Continue reading

Adding Piping to a Flap or Collar: The Easy Way

adding piping

This is the easiest way I know of adding piping to a flap or a collar.  You can use this technique to make an iconic Chanel-inspired jacket, a sophisticated set of silk pajamas or even cushions. When I was in design school, the thought of adding piping to a collar or to a pocket filled me with horror and I would often result in many sleepless nights trying to finish a garment.  That was until, I found this much better way to do it and this is what I am going to share with you here today. I’ve created a little practice tutorial below if you want to get comfortable with the technique.  Of course, if you’re going to use the technique on a sewing project, you will need the corresponding materials.  The short list below is only if you want to try … Continue reading

Three ways to make an easy tassel

easy tassle

Here are three ways to make an easy tassel.  Tassels have been made and used for centuries from the times of ancient Rome until today as ornaments, embellishments, and decorations.  They were often viewed as symbols of power and prestige.  Today, they mainly just make things like our handbags and curtain holdbacks look better.  I learned a lot about the history of tassels which I’ll write about in the future, but today I wanted to show you these simple techniques to make an easy tassel. Using the leftovers from our recent projects, there should be very little shopping to do.  I had a few beads left from the fabric cover beaded necklace.  The hessian threads are from the fringed table runner from a couple weeks ago. The first tassel illustrates the most common way to make tassels.  These sort of tassels are commonly used … Continue reading

Angels on the Tree, Easy Christmas Decoration

easy christmas decoration

Making an easy Christmas decoration is a great way to get the kids involved in decorating the house for the holidays.  One of my most happy Christmas memories is sitting down with my kids to make some decorations.  Of course, I would have already done the stitching and some of the more complicated steps and left them to draw faces on the angels or glue parts of the bodies.  As they grew older, they were happy to take more interesting tasks, like using the glue gun.. I have so many memories of all those years, sitting in the corner we had designated to doing crafting in the house.  So here’s one of my favorites because it is so easy to make.  When you’re finished, the kids will hang it on the tree and they’ll feel so proud.  Mine certainly did. Materials you will … Continue reading

Learn Some Quilting Traditions Passed On For Generations

quilting traditions

Family quilting traditions have been passed on for generations since the 1600’s or even earlier. In those days, the women (sometimes the men too!) in the family created a quilt as present for a family member who is about to get married or was expecting a child. Quilts were considered as heirlooms and were treasured by the family. As a result, quilting traditions were also cherished and passed on for many generations. I have collected some hand quilting practices for this article and perhaps these cherished traditions could get you started on your own family quilting practice too! The African-American Quilting Traditions Less popular than African music and dance, the African-American quilting and textile tradition is influenced by four notable African civilizations. When African slaves were heavily trafficked in Southern United States, Central America and the Caribbean, the textile and … Continue reading

How to make a double welt pocket using the 5 lines method

double welt pocket

I am going to show you how to make a double welt pocket using the traditional, but simplified, tailoring method called “five lines”.  There are a few ways to make a double welt pockets, this is just one of them.  Before we get started, let’s make sure to define our terms.  So what is a “welt” anyway?  According to the dictionary, a welt is: Our double welt pocket has “welts” on both sides of the opening.  You’ll be very familiar with this style of pocket since it is commonly used on men’s and women’s tailored jackets, light weight hoodies, light coats, slacks back pockets or the inside of pockets in the lining of jackets.  Unfortunately, this technique isn’t suitable for very heavy fabrics or situations where you have to match a design such as stripes. There are a few ways to make … Continue reading

Beginner Quilting : How To Start

Beginner Quilting

We’ve done many articles over the years about quilting.  Our readers have a lot of interest in quilting and many people have asked if we could summarize the best way to start beginner quilting for newbies. Quilting is a branch of sewing that some of us love to get stuck into from time to time (or, for others, all the time), for the sheer love of sewing and getting totally lost to the world in finicky little details…and there’s no greater thrill than a finished product that looks and feels like loving time was spent on it. It’s one of the most thoughtful and generous gifts you can give and tales can be told in the stitches. For those of you who have been eyeing your scrappy bags full of little bits of beautiful fabrics: what better way to collect … Continue reading

Which Sewing Machine Needle? + bonus download

sewing machine needle

Ok, so you’ve taken up sewing but you’re still learning the ropes, as they say.  When talking about sewing machine needles, people in your sewing circle keep spouting off numbers like 90/14 and 75/11, which makes little to no sense to you…the problem is, you’re just a tad too shy to ask. Well, that’s why we’re here: so you can arrive at that next sew-along date spouting off some useful info of your own, maybe teach the old experts some stuff that even they didn’t know (we won’t tell them, if you won’t). Before we get to those blasted numbers though…what about needle types, why the different shapes and when are they appropriate? When it comes to sewing machine needles you’ll have a few needle types from which to choose, namely quilting, topstitch, embroidery, denim, metallic and universal. Your rounded tips are … Continue reading

Tips on sewing with fur every beginner should know

sewing with fur

Sewing with fur is relatively easy (and fun!), but every beginner should know these tips before starting a project.  Bear in mind we will be talking about faux fur and not the real thing..  Working with this special material does require patience, however. You can make many fun and interesting things with faux fur.  While it’s very inexpensive, it can add beautiful accents to garments or bags you may make.  We’ll be using it in a few projects in the future so it is worth having a look through these tips now. Faux fur is also known as fake fur, synthetic fur or fun fur.  Whatever the name given, today sometimes is very difficult to know the diference between fake or real.  Looking at the back of the fur is the only way to distinguish between the two. Real fur is … Continue reading