How to install a magnetic snap

Just getting started in bag making? This is the right way to install a magnetic snap, and keep it from showing wear marks on your fabric.

Hi, Vicky here – Do you love bags as much as I? I am passionate about bags. I just love how any fabric can be transformed into something new and practical. One of the simplest closures is the magnetic snap – I love them as they secure your bag but are quick to open.  Ideal if you are making a bag for anyone with manual dexterity issues. How to install a magnetic snap To insert your magnetic snapper you will need: Magnetic snap Fusible fleece scrap Fusible interfacing Seam ripper Fabric pen or similar (I use a pencil) The magnetic snap comes in two parts, the male (on the left of the photo) and the female side (on the right hand side). Due to wear and tear around the magnetic snap its a good idea to reinforce the fabric with an extra piece of fusible … Continue reading

How to mark and sew double ended darts

The easy way to mark and sew double ended darts. Now I KNOW I can get them exactly level with this method.

Have you seen this shape of dart before?  It will typically appear at the waistline in a dress that doesn’t have a seam at the waist.  You might find them on the front, on the back or both.  They add in shaping between bust, waist and hips and help the fabric to curve to your body. Imagine if you had a dress with a separate bodice and skirt.  The bodice would have a dart between waist and bust, and the skirt would also have a dart between waist and hip.  So if you have a dress without a waist seam, then these two darts meet up and make this ‘double ended darts’ shape. They need a little extra care when it comes to marking and sewing them, and a different technique to the single darts.  Check out these earlier articles … Continue reading

How, when and why to clip seam allowances

If you have ever read instructions from a sewing pattern which included any curved seam, you’ve certainly been asked to “clip (or notch) seam allowances”. If they were your first steps in sewing, I bet you stopped a while to figure out what you had to do…  and maybe you’re still there, wondering what you needed to do and why? Go on reading my “how-to clip (and notch)” guide and never skip this important step again! When should you clip your seam allowances? When you’re sewing a concave curve (C-shaped valleys) or inside corners (think welt pockets, a zipper pocket slots, squared necklines…). On a garment, you’ll likely need to clip seam allowances on necklines, facing, armholes, hip pockets: mostly curved seams! Why do you need to clip? To allow fabric’s raw edge to stretch enough to lay flat, without … Continue reading

How to print a layered PDF file

Software for creating sewing patterns is improving all the time. As I invest in some of the new and rather pricey software and the training that goes with it, I’m hoping to create better patterns for you. One of the improvements you’ll see coming up is what’s known as a ‘layered PDF file’. In easy terms, this simply means that the different sizes are all within the same file but at the same time, they are separated onto different layers so you can choose to turn them on and off. I have a new pattern coming out for you tomorrow and this will be the first with the new layered PDF design so it’s going to be helpful for me to show you how that works, as you might not have seen one before – and it’s cool! How to … Continue reading

How to hem sheer or lightweight fabrics

Tips and examples on how to hem sheer and lightweight fabrics such as organza and chiffon.

Hello again from Laura at CraftyHour! I’m here today to share some of my favourite techniques for working with sheer and lightweight fabrics. The first experience I ever had sewing any sheer fabrics was when I made my wedding dress 8 years ago. There was ample opportunity to learn – the dress had three overskirts of organza to seam and hem! More recently I made my daughter a flowergirl dress with an organza overlay and used some similar techniques to get a beautiful finish. The dress with more photos and details is blogged here. Fabric types So to begin with, let’s talk about the sheer variety of fabrics out there (see what I did there?!). As I mentioned, the two dresses above were made with organza, a woven, very light, sheer fabric. Organza ravels easily and has a lot of body, not much drape. I … Continue reading

How to print on fabric at home – 4 different ways

How to print on fabric at home. 4 different methods and products tested and reviewed.

I was drawn to the idea of printing on fabric when I saw some amazing memory quilts shared by one of our readers in the sewing chat group.  She used vintage family photos to create unique quilt blocks for her breath-taking quilts that will surely become treasured family heirlooms. Sadly Facebook decided to mysteriously remove the lovely photos she sent me so I can’t show you those, but here are a couple of other memory quilts shared by our group members using their own printed fabrics. Of course you don’t have to just print photos, and you don’t have to use them in memory quilts either.  There are lots of other applications and reasons why you might want to print your own fabric.  We’ll take a look at a couple of examples. Print your own fabric series So how difficult might … Continue reading

How to draft your own facings

This shows you how to create your own one or two piece facings. How to make a sleeved dress sleeveless or how to make a facing intead of a lining.

Have you ever wanted to change up a favorite pattern, to make a dress or top without the usual sleeves, or maybe skip the collar this time?  Or maybe you have a dress pattern that has a full lining and you just want to replace it with a one-piece facing instead.  Take a tried and true pattern and design your own facings so you can finish neck and armholes neatly! To begin with, you will need your pattern pieces, paper, and a pen or pencil. Take the bodice front pattern piece and trace around the neck, shoulder and armhole, and a couple of inches down the side seam. Keep in mind any seam allowances that may need to be added – the Haven Acres Blouse pattern that I’m using has no seam allowance at the neck edge, as it is bound with bias … Continue reading

How to make thread belt loops

How to make thread belt loops with your sewing machine. Ah ha moment! I'll be adding these to my dresses in future.

My wrap dress I sewed quite a while back now has a matching belt.  It fits OK at the waist when I wear it as the waist is in the right place (because we all make our clothes to fit us as best we can right), but it bugs me when I hang up the dress and the belt is separate and I have to hang it over the hanger – and invariably it slips off and ends up on the floor with my cat dragging it around. I need some of those thread belt loops that you used to see on dresses to hold the belt.  I think these add a nice touch, hold the belt where it should be when worn, and when you take it off, the belt can still stay with the dress, ready for when … Continue reading

How and where to use Knit Stay Tape

Everything you need to know about Knit Stay Tape - its a miracle.! I'll be using this on all my knit and stretch projects from now on.

You may have seen an earlier video I made some time back now about using Knit Stay tape when sewing double needle hems on stretch fabrics. This video was really more about the double needle than it was about the stay tape.  It’s here in case you missed it. Then Anja got in touch about it and asked: “About the stabilizing tape you use with twin needle and some other places. Could it be possible you will make a video (or that you have one) where you will show and tell about the stabilizing tape. For example when you use the tape and where you are putting it on the clothes? I would like to see how far from the edge you are putting it.Is it on both the front and the back piece or just one of the pieces?” … Continue reading

Easy way to turn a tube of fabric right side out

I'd heard of this but never seen it actually done. Must give it a try - how to easily turn a tube of fabric the right side out.

I was working on a bag design and wanted to create a particular type of handle.  Not the usual bag handle where you simply fold the fabric into 4 and top stitch.  I wanted a ‘nicer’ handle, one with two different fabrics so it would be reversible and feature both of the fabrics from my bag. What was stopping me? Turning the darned thing the right side out again once I had stitched the tube!  It’s bad enough on a tube of regular fabric, but both of these pieces were interfaced making them thick and stiff too.  It just all bunches up and gets too thick to turn. I don’t mind telling you I flung it across the room and cursed loudly.  My cat hid under the bed! Until I tried the straw and chopstick trick.  Or rather in this … Continue reading

How to make fabric covered buttons

How to make your own perfectly co-ordinated fabric covered buttons. Never search in vain for the perfect button again.

Do you ever have one of those Ah Ha moments?  After sewing around 2 1/2 years now, and forever lamenting at my local sewing shop about the terrible lack of nice colorful buttons, I was standing near the till waiting for pay when I spotted just what I needed! Ta dah – make your own fabric covered buttons.  At last!  I was working on a couple of wallets that needed a matching button and my eureka moment hit.  I felt such a dunce for not thinking of it before.  But would they be any good?  Time to give it a try. How to make  fabric covered buttons   Here is the pack I bought.  There are 4 buttons in the pack 7/8th of an inch across, plus ‘tools’.  You can get these in all sorts of sizes of button and pack sizes, … Continue reading