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

The Flat Felled Seam Finish

How, where and why to sew a Flat Felled Seam finish. One way to hide your raw edges.

  Looking again today at how to get a nice neat finish on the inside of your projects.  This isn’t one technique that might immediately spring to mind and it’s certainly not right for every project, but if you look closely you’ll be surprised how often you might find it on your store-bought clothes. How can we use the Flat Felled Seam? The places you’ll find the seam give clues to its features.  Looking down right now, I’m wearing a pair of board shorts and the side seams and the central seam running front to back between the legs are both flat felled seams.  It’s generally used on heavy weight fabrics such as jeans and on seams where extra strength is needed. You can often also find it on children’s wear where the seams might undergo a bit more stress … Continue reading

Turning corners with bias binding

How to turn sharp corners with bias binding

Earlier this month we looked at making bias tape or bias binding (is there a difference?) How to make continuous bias tape and use the Clover bias maker tool How to work out how much a square of fabric will make, or how to decide how big a square you need to start with for any given length – swanky calculator spreadsheet or handy table Now it’s time to start using it.  But oh dear, it’s not as easy as you might think when you start out.  A straight line is fine, but corners – oh my!  I just assumed because it was on the bias and stretchy, that I just would bend it slightly round the corners and that would be fine.  You do not want to see my first attempt – its a sewing nightmare! So after much … Continue reading

Continuous Bias Binding Calculator

Continuous bias binding calculator. Work out how much you will get from a square, or what size square you will need.

  Did you enjoy the tutorial on how to make your own cute bias binding? So now you want to have a go at creating your own.  But how much do you need to make?  What size square will you need to start with.  Or how much will get you from a piece of fabric?  There’s nothing worse than running out of bias binding before you get to the end of your project, so make sure you always have enough with this handy Continuous Bias Binding Calculator.   You know from my background in finance that I love working with numbers and formulas and I’ve already shared a couple of handy spreadsheets to use for pattern drafting, for the pencil skirt pattern and the custom fit leggings. This project is perfect for another spreadsheet, so I’ve made one that works … Continue reading

Making continuous bias binding tape

Easy to follow steps for making continuous bias binding tape from a square of fabric. No more fiddly sewing strips together.

I was so inspired by some of the projects shared as part of the Seasonal Sewing Series back last November that I have been keen to try my hand at lots of non-clothing sewing projects.  On my list for this month – sewing for the kitchen and I wanted to make some swanky potholders.  Oh no, they need bias binding, and I’ve never made or even used it before.  So here’s my first attempt at making continuous bias binding tape – shared for you all to enjoy or laugh at, depending on how it turns out! Materials You will need: A square of cotton fabric A ruler and Fabric Marker Scissors An iron Optional but highly recommended – a Clover Bias Tape Maker Two ways to make bias binding It seems there are two main ways to make bias binding … Continue reading

Sewing an Invisible Zipper video tutorial

How to sew the perfect invisible zipper - a video tutorial.

I know that I have readers of all levels of sewing ability visiting the site.  From those who are just starting out, or are interesting in learning, to those readers with decades of sewing experience and an expert level of sewing ability.  And everyone in between. So today I’d like to share a skill I am finally getting to grips with.  Some of you will already have sewn hundreds of these and for some, it might be your first time.  So draw up a chair and follow through as I show you my sewing an invisible zipper video tutorial. Sew an Invisible Zipper – a video tutorial One of the sewing techniques that took me a while to master was sewing an invisible zipper.  However hard I tried to work it out, more often that not I would end up … Continue reading