5 Tips for Sewing a Lace Back Shirt

If you’re wondering how to sew a shirt with lace fabric in the back (like this example) or really any garment that uses lace for part of the garment, then I’ve got a few tips for you! This example is an Ultraviolet Tee sewn out of a lightweight knit front with a loosely woven lace back, but you can use these same tips to combine lace and woven or knit fabric in so many different creative ways. 1. Consider your pattern. You’ll find it easiest to sew and get the cleanest results if you select a pattern that has the fewest seamlines in the section that you would like to be lace. Each seamline is a place where you need to finish or hide the edges of the lace (since you can see through the lace to see the seam allowance on the inside) so the fewer times you need …

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10 Tips for Sewing With Leather

Leather is the oldest material used for clothing and yet is always au currant. It can seem like such an exotic material to work with, and while it certainly can bring its own challenges, those challenges can be overcome. Here I share some tips that I have learned through my experiences in sewing with leather (for some recent examples and inspiration, see my Cooper backpack, my giant leather snail and its smaller friend). Some of these tips I was taught in the PopUp Britex class where I sewed my burgundy leather clutch. Preparing your sewing: 1) Lay the entire skin out on a table and lay all of your pattern pieces out on the leather before cutting to ensure that they all fit. Remember that leather doesn’t have a grainline so you can get creative with your pattern piece placement. 2) You can use a fine tip permanent marker to draw on the …

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5 Helpful Tips for Great Knitting Projects

I knit a lot. Through work meetings, while watching TV at night. I love to knit sweaters for myself, which can be complicated projects, and I like to do so when my attention is divided. To keep projects going smoothly, I make sure that I have things well organized and prepped so I can pick up and put down the knitting without skipping a stitch. Just as I’ve developed tips while needlepointing, I’ve put together some of my knitting strategies that help me knit great projects. 1) Photocopy your pattern. While there are a plethora of awesome options for patterns available digitally, I still like collecting knitting books and magazines for inspiration. When I find a pattern in a magazine that I want to knit, I make a photocopy so that I can feel okay writing all over it and stuffing it into my knitting bag without worrying about marring …

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7 Tips for Sewing with Novelty Fabrics: Metallic, Painted, and Heavily Embroidered

Novelty fabrics like painted, metallic, or heavily embroidered fabric can add great pizzaz to your sewing projects, but they can be quite challenging to work with. I’m currently working on a coat with the painted fabric whose scraps I used for my Radial Purse. Here, I’ve assembled a few hints for working with these fabrics to help you make your perfect final product. 1) Change your needle often during your project. Sewing through novelty fabrics can rapidly dull your needle and dull needles can cause a variety of problems from skipped stitches to snagged fabric. 2) Test wash your fabric. Since the embellishments can have different washing needs than the fabric, set aside several different scraps and run them through different wash treatments to ensure that both fabric and embellishment can withstand the wash settings. 3) Use a press cloth when ironing. Some people swear by silk organza press cloths, …

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5 Tips for Successful Needlepoint Projects

As I have dived into my new craft obsession, needlepoint, I’ve learned some tips for successful needlepoint projects. These are all things I learned from stitching my Anatomical Heart Needlepoint.

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5 Tips for Sewing Piping to Neckline

As I show-off in my Pink Brocade Peplum top, piping can be a really fun way to spice up a neckline. It can add an extra bit of polish or help bring out a contrast color. You can find a great variety of colors and sizes of pipings in the upholstery section of your fabric store. Here I have an selection of tips for how to get the perfect piping insertion! 1. Pink the raw edge of your piping. Upholstery piping often comes on a very wide tape. You don’t need all of the width to get a stable insertion and you don’t want that extra fabric stiffening up your neckline. While you can use standard shears, I recommend trimming it with your pinking shears because it makes the edge of the piping tape less likely to show through as a crease on the right side of your fabric. 2. …

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5 Tips for Using a Bias Binding Foot

I have an assortment of specialty sewing machine feet, most of them given to me by my mom (thanks, ma!). I’ve been working on a project that has involved a LOT of bias tape. So, I’ve been using my bias binding foot. If you have a foot yourself (or plan on getting one, or are just curious to know a little more), I’ve put together a list of tricks that I figured out while sewing with this foot. 1. Use a seam ripper to help you thread the tape into the machine. The first step is to thread your bias tape into the bias tape foot. I found this quite frustrating initially as I couldn’t get it through the other end enough to get a grip on it. So, I turned to my seam ripper. When I got the tape close to the end of the feeder I stabbed the seam …

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Clean Your Sewing Machine with a Pipe Cleaner

Seriously. The title says it all. Clean your sewing machine with a pipe cleaner. It’s the best way that I have found to get lint out of a bobbin case. I give my bobbin case a quick swipe with my pipe cleaner every time I change the bobbin. Doesn’t take but a moment and it really gets the lint out! I’m serious you guys, go try it, and quit looking at me like I’m crazy! I mean, I know I might be crazy, but this pipe-cleaner-bobbin-case-thing isn’t an example of that!

Tricks, Tips, and Tools: Ripping a Seam

If you’re like me, you end up ripping a lot of seams. Sometimes it’s from dumb mistakes, sometimes it’s just part of a quest for perfection. This is the fastest, safest way that I’ve found to rip out a straight single stitch seam. On one side, rip out every 5th stitch or so. Then take the thread from the other side and pull. Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am. Fewer worries about snagging the fabric with your ripper. Easier to fully remove the bits of thread that are left.

Video Demo: How to Iron a Seam on the Edge

Here’s a quick video giving you a visual on a simple sewing trick – how to get the seam of a fabric tube to be perfectly at the edge when you press it flat. This comes in handy for making things like spaghetti straps or belts. The process is simple. Turn your tube of fabric right side out and lay it down on your ironing board so that the seam is straight. Pinch the seam in your hand and work your way down the tube, rolling the seam back and forth between your fingers, while you press the tube flat. I think this makes more sense if you watch the video!