How to sew steeply slanted or bias seams

How to sew bias and slanted seams so that your edges line up properly. I had no idea about this until I saw it laid out so clearly.

This is something you may not come across very often, but it’s good to know for the first time that you are called up on to sew a slanted seam. It might be when you are piecing strips for making bias tape or just in a pattern that has diagonal seam lines as part of the design. Let’s take a look at what I mean and the right and wrong way to sew these sort of seams. How to sew a slanted or bias seam Let’s start with a square of fabric – any size.  Then we’ll cut it roughly in half, but not parallel to the edges or directly across the diagonal but on a steep slant from one side to the other. Ok, so far so good.  We end up with two strange looking pieces with a slanted … Continue reading

Sewing Bras – Construction and Fit

Learn how to sew a bra, and make it fit you perfectly. Surprisingly easy!

New Year – new resolutions. Do you have any sewing resolutions for this year? I have two – I want to learn how to use my new serger and I want to learn how to sew bras, and make one that actually fits and that I would want to wear (and be seen in!) Now let’s be honest about my sewing – an accurate fit has never been super important to me. Most of us wear ready to wear clothes and get used to how a standard fit we buy off the rack rarely fits us properly as a custom tailored garment would fit. So I’m not too worried about getting the perfect fit when I sew – I’m still new, I forgive myself. But when it comes to a bra, getting it to actually fit is a bit more … Continue reading

3 methods for boxing corners on bags

3 different way how to box the corners on a bag. One of these I hadn't seen before.

Take a look at some of the bags you own.  If you are a typical woman, you probably own more than 3, maybe even more than 10.  Bags can be made for all types of purposes, styles and occasions, but generally they are all designed to do the same thing – carry things.  To fulfill their basic function, they will usually have common features such as straps or handles, zips or closures, and pockets. They can be flat like a simple tote bag designed to carry a few light items and perhaps roll or fold up flat, or can be designed where their size and shape fit a certain function, such as the Easy Cosmetics Bag you see here. One common feature that most bags will have is some kind of volume.  Whether this is created with pleats, darts or … Continue reading

How to sew a fly front zipper

How to sew a fly front zipper. I;d always been intimidated but actually this looks easy!

I made some shorts last year, quite some time ago now, from a commercial pattern. A Simplicity I think it was. Not to speak ill of the large pattern companies, but well, they clearly assumed I knew how to sew a fly front zipper and that therefore they barely needed to bother showing it in the instructions. I battled with that project and used my seam ripper more times than I care to remember. Their tiny illustrations were cryptic and the sewing pattern instructions far too brief. “Install fly front zipper to center front of shorts.” I got there in the end, but it certainly put me off trying it again for a good long time. Fast forward to today and I’m designing a skirt. I know exactly the sort of skirt I want to make. I had one just … Continue reading

How to sew a recessed zipper on a bag

Great video on how to sew a recessed zipper for a bag. This is the easiest & clearest way I've seen to do it.

I’ve been working on some new bag ideas and one of the areas of bag-making that has been a bit of a puzzle to me until recently is how to close the top of the bag. Of course, not all bags need to be closed. Some simple tote bags are left open, and that’s just fine. With these examples of the Expanding Nautical Tote Bag and the Turning Japanese Purse, in each case simply holding the handles keeps the bag closed. The Zipper Top Tote bag as a zipper right across the top and isn’t very deep.  Other bags I’ve made have either had magnetic closures and snaps or zippers at the top, like the Easy Cosmetics Bag.  So I was up for a challenge and looking forward to learning something new so I’ve got a video for you today … Continue reading

How to install bag feet – 2 styles

How to install bag feet, different types and where else to use them

I’m always looking for ways to make my homemade bags looks more professional and although it does increase the cost, adding hardware such as clasps, feet, grommets, sliders, straps, rivets, studs and handles really does make them look great. Today I’m looking at a couple of examples of bag feet and how we can easily install them. Both of these examples came from Pacific Trimming. There is one you are probably more familiar with, the flattened cone shaped ones with the long prongs, and another that you don’t see as often but are actually very versatile, these dome shaped ones with a screw fitting. Let’s have a look at how we can use them. How to install Bag Feet – Do you have a ‘firm bottom’ ? Firstly, in order to install the bag feet, you need a bag with … Continue reading

How to sew a hem facing on a circle skirt

How to sew a wide hem on a circle skirt using a hem facing

I’ve got a project I’m working on that has been giving me a headache.  I’ve been itching to make a half-circle skirt but the hemline is just not turning out as I would like.  It really is impossible to sew a ‘regular’ hem when the bottom of the skirt is so curved.  Usually on a skirt I would turn in half an inch and press, and then turn up another inch, inch and a half or even two inches on the bottom of a regular skirt, and sew. But that’s not going to work on a circular hemline simply because the length of the hem around the outside is longer than the length of the fabric you are turning into, so it’s never going to lie flat. Now you can sew a teeny tiny hem, by pressing up tiny 1/8th … Continue reading

How to sew snap tape to close a pillow back

How to sew snap tape to make a pillow back so you can remove the cover for washing.

I’ve been making a few throw pillows (cushions if you are British) just recently and been looking for ways to close the back so they are still easily accessible for removing the insert and washing the cover, but I don’t have any long zips right now (and I admit I’ve not yet ever sewn a zipper into a pillow cover) so I was looking for alternatives. A few ideas: Just step up and learn how to do it with a zipper (added to a future to-do list) Sew on buttons and buttonholes (I’ve got these skills mastered now I think) Use Velco, hook and loop tape (sticks to everything in the wash) Make an ‘envelope’ back that just opens and overlaps (Like my woven fabric pillow and the Oliver the Owl nursery pillow) Just stuff and then sew the pillow … Continue reading

Estimating extra fabric for pattern matching (and giveaway)

How to work out exactly how much extra fabric you'll need to buy to match a pattern.

So you’ve got the perfect pattern and you’ve seen the perfect fabric.  Except the envelope says that you need 3.5 yards to make this dress.  THEN its says ‘extra will be needed for pattern matching’.  Your fabric has a print you’ll want to match.  So exactly how much extra fabric will you need.  Half a yard, a yard, 2 yards?  I know exactly the lady who knows – introducing Gwen who knows everything there is to know about matching fabric to patterns. How Much Do You Want? We all know that feeling…  Maybe you’re shopping for a particular project or maybe you are just window shopping – but all of a sudden, out of the blue, a piece of fabric catches your eye and you just can’t look away… The color, the texture, the design – it connects with something … Continue reading

How to add a zipper pocket to any purse pattern

Tips and video on how to add a zipper pocket to the inside or outside of a bag pattern.

So you have a basic purse pattern, or have a pattern that includes a basic slip pocket and you would like a zipper pocket.  Not a problem – this sort of thing can usually be added to any bag.  You can add them on the outside like in the Nautical Expanding Tote Bag, or on the inside of the bag in the lining like this example from the Carry All Bag.  Or both if you want lots of pockets and storage.  The exposed zipper can really add a nice pop of color and an interesting design feature to any bag. Here are a few of my tips and tricks to help you insert your first zipper pocket, as part of the My First Bag series of patterns and tutorials. Watch the video Here is an extract from the Nautical Tote … Continue reading

How to make and use piping

How to make your own basic piping and attach it to a pillow or cushion cover

When I sewed my Woven Fabric Pillow, I wanted to make a nice edge to the woven front panel, where it joined to the plain back.  Adding in some piping also helped to give the cover a nice shape and definition.  But the focus of my project was really the woven fabric strips and I rushed the piping, not making a perfect job.  Well, I’m working on another cover this week and want to make some perfect piping.  Let’s see how I get on. Making basic piping How to make and use piping.  Piping can be made ahead of time and stored, just the same way you make bias tape from fabric left-overs and save it for the perfect project.  In fact, piping needs to be made with bias tape, because it needs the fabric to be cut on the … Continue reading