How to print and assemble a PDF Pattern

Tips on how to print and assemble PDF sewing patterns. Good info here.

One of the comments/questions from the recent survey was about PDF patterns.  I forget of course that there are a lot of people out there who haven’t used many PDF’s – since I only started sewing recently PDF patterns were already common and I’ve used far more home-print patterns than tissue paper ones.  I very much prefer them, but understand they can be confusing. There are a lot of things you have to get right, and in the right order, for your pattern to be correct.  Let’s have a look at all the steps and I’ll try to answer all of your questions I’ve had. What’s so good about PDF print-at-home patterns? Usually all the sizes come in the same file to make grading easier If you tear it, cut the wrong size, the dog eats it, or you spill … Continue reading

Sewing the perfect narrow hemline

How to sew the perfect narrow hemline - two options

Most garments you sew are going to need some kind of hemline, and there are lots of options to choose from on how to achieve that.  Many of them depend on the type of fabric you are sewing.  A knit fabric would require a different approach than a wool or a chiffon for example.  Often the type of hemline is dictated by the weight of the fabric. In today’s example, we are looking at the narrow hem.  This would be more suitable for light weight fabrics with no stretch and can often be found on gathered skirts, circle skirts and anything where a stiff or wide hem would interfere with the hang of the skirt. How narrow is narrow? This depends again on the weight and fluidity of your fabric, as well as your own sewing skills.  When a pattern … Continue reading

How to Sew on Buttons with a Sewing Machine

I was always worried I'd break the needle or the button, but not now I've seen this. I can do it!

I’m such a lazy sewer that I feel almost embarrassed to share what I did last week.  I had to sew on a couple of buttons and rather than get out a needle and thread and hand-sew them, I actually took the time to look at my machine manual and learn how to sew them by machine instead. In the end, I’m glad I did.  They took almost no time at all, looked much neater than I could have sewn by hand, and are probably much stronger too. I can tell you this is easy, because I did this video of me sewing on the very first ever machine sewn button.  Both the first one and the second one came out perfectly!  I was so worried I was either going to break the needle or break the button, but I … Continue reading

How to use the overcasting stitches

How, where and when to use an overcasting stitch for a neat seam finish. Perfect for sewing knit fabrics too.

We’ve been looking at seams and seam finishes in order to get a good looking result on our seams both inside and out.  Today, one of my favorites – the overcasting stitch. Where to use Overcasting stitches The overcasting stitch is one of the most versatile on your machine.  My machine has 3 options, stitches 6, 7 and 8, for thin to medium weight fabrics, heavy fabrics and stretch fabrics.  That pretty much has everything covered. The overcasting stitch can be used to finish the edge of your fabric rather like the zig-zag stitch we looked at before, but often gives a much neater finish.  My machine came with an overcasting foot as standard and if you don’t have one, I highly recommend getting one.  You’ll find that you will use it a lot. The overcasting foot has an edge … Continue reading

How to sew a lettuce edge hem

Get a pretty hemline with this quick method to sew a lettuce edge hem

Do you own anything with a lettuce edge hem?  Typically seen on little girls clothes, but often in women’s clothing too, on the hemline of casuals and maxi dresses. This curly-wurly hemline looks pretty and is practical too, adding no bulk to the hemline and no fabric is turned up so if you are short on length, this is a good way to finish without making your project shorter. How to sew a lettuce edge hem Some knit fabrics stretch just in one direction, others stretch in both directions.  To sew the lettuce edge hem you’ll need to sew with the stretch.  This is because the fabric needs to stretch as you sew and then relax back again to create the wavy finish. You’ll probably also notice that thinner knit fabrics have a tendency to curl on the edges.  In … Continue reading

Quick and easy gathering with Dental Floss!

At last! A quick and easy way to gather long pieces of fabric with out breaking the gathering threads, ever. The secret is in the dental floss!

I nearly went crazy today.  I’m working on a new pattern and it requires gathering a longer fabric into the shorter piece of fabric.  Lots of it, lots of times in very long lengths.  The end result is going to be very pretty I know, but I wasn’t sure I would get there. No matter how careful I was, how slowly I did it, I kept on breaking my gathering threads.  Over and over again.  And I’d have to unpick and start again.  And again.  My fabric was starting to fray and really suffer and I was getting no where.  That’s when I threw it all the floor in disgust and took a break for coffee and a Creme Egg.  I like to brush after eating sugary snacks, and when I opened the bathroom cabinet to get my toothbrush I … Continue reading

Sewing machine practice sheets

Learn to sew and use your sewing machine with these Sewing Machine Practice Sheets.

I get a lot of visits from search engines from people who are looking to learn to sew, or looking for sewing tutorials and easy patterns.  If you are one of them – Welcome!  You’ve come to the right place. (I think…) Sewing is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, fueled by shows like Project Runway, the UK’s Great British Sewing Bee and a similar show being filmed right now in the US by Love Productions.  So if you want to learn to sew, or want to help someone learn to sew, a child, grandchild, friend, then learning to use a sewing machine is one of the very first steps. How can you learn? Get the Sewing Machine Practice Sheets If you’ve not used a sewing machine or are a bit rusty, then you’ll want to practice your stitches before tackling … Continue reading

Use bias tape for a neckline or arm hole facing

  Do you have garments you’ve either made or bought that have facings?  How do you like them?  Some of mine seem to work well, others are too big, floppy, irritating, show through to the right side, or just keep getting in the way somehow.    So how do you finish the edge of a neckline or armhole without facings or doing a full lining? Have you come across sewing patterns that tell you to simply fold over the raw edge to the inside and stitch in place, either on the neckline or armhole?  That’s fine with knit fabrics that stretch, but on wovens – really!  How is that going to work then, when you have to turn the shorter edge in and make it lie flat against a longer edge? Well, I can tell you that it just doesn’t … Continue reading

How a sewing pattern is born

The process of designing and publishing a sewing pattern from concept to release.

Over the last few months I’ve had several readers write and ask about how I design and produce my sewing patterns.  I thought it might be interesting to see how a pattern is developed right from the early stages of first idea through to pattern development, testing and the production of the samples.  So here goes – from conception to birth of a sewing pattern. Stage 1 – inspiration and conception How does a pattern design start?  For me, it often comes from considering what I personally want to wear or make.  A LOT of time and materials go into developing a pattern and if it wasn’t something I was personally interested in, I would quickly loose interest. Inspiration can come from several sources.  Obviously for a lot of crafters, inspiration comes from Pinterest.  That’s why we collect all of … Continue reading

How to sew a French Seam

How to sew a French Seam. Ideal for light weight or sheer fabrics.

It seems there is more ways than one to sew a French Seam. Continuing on in my quest to learn more about the various types of seam finishes and getting a nice neat result on the inside of my projects, I’ve been reading several tutorials and books on the French Seam.  While the end result often looks the same, there are a few variations and I’ve cut it down to what I think is the best/easiest way. Where and why to use a French Seam The French Seam is a two-step process that encloses the raw edges of the fabric within the seam itself to leave a neat and finished seam on both the inside and the outside.  Although it could be used on most fabrics, you fill find it most commonly used on very fine, sheer or delicate fabrics … Continue reading

How to download and print PDF sewing patterns

Tips and a video on how to download, open and print PDF sewing patterns.

As the readership here at So Sew Easy has been increasing, and I’ve got more and more pattern downloads every month, so the number of emails I get asking for advice on how to download and print PDF sewing patterns has also increased.  This also seems to coincide with the increase in mobile devices since Christmas, and so I thought it was about time I shared with you the best way to access the patterns, download and print them. Take a look at the video where I will go through a couple of examples of how to download patterns and open and unzip them, with examples from Facebook, Google Drive, Craftsy, Unzipping, Adobe Reader and printing. Examples used in this video: Easy Cosmetics Bag pattern – Facebook fan-only pattern Wear Everywhere dress – free pattern via Craftsy Where will you … Continue reading