Hello fellow sewers* and spectators! These last couple of days I’ve focused on finishing stitches and seam stuff and also I’ve got a few random questions and observations.
- Want some easy to follow tutorials? I am loving Made To Sew. Aneka is a fantastic teacher who manages to give excellent tutelage while also not talking down to you. She also acknowledges that you might have issues here and there and suggests fixes for them. I did her zigzag stitch one and my edge started curling up and lo and behold she says, “If your edge starts curling, press the seam and it’ll lay flat”.
- Pressing seams is stupid important. Now I understand why the designers were constantly at the ironing board on Project Runway. I kept thinking “Well if it’s not wrinkled, why are they ironing their work?”
- Also learning that it’s called “pressing” because you literally press the seam down as you go along. And if you don’t, your garment will look....not that great. So fellow beginners: get yourself a steam iron if you don’t have one on the double. And you don’t need a fancy expensive one. I’m using a Black and Decker one my mom bought probably close to a decade ago for less than $30...actually it’s probably older than that because I remember ironing my clothes in high school and I’m quite a few years out of that.
- And press as you go. This has been hammered into my brain by the tutorials I’ve been following.
- Messing up is a really great way to learn why you do things certain ways. I was attempting a zig zag stitch to finish the seam and had the machine on the number 4 for stitch length by mistake. The stitch was so long that it did basically nothing to hold back the fraying. The manual suggests a zigzag stitch length of 2.5 or below. Ooops. The one on the right is the longer length stitch and the one on the left is a 2. Is that still too big for this fabric? I feel like it might be...
- I got myself a journal! This has been extremely helpful in terms of remembering just what the heck I was doing and how I was doing it. Also helpful for remembering the idiosyncrasies of my machine and what stitch worked at whatever length with whatever fabric at whatever tension.
- I’m also starting my own personal living document for sewing-basically a reference book with samples and photos of my past projects with notes so I can look at my progress over time. I figure the notes will include a small sample of the fabric with a note about where it came from, how much it cost, what it’s made of and which stitch I used with it (and length and tension). I forget things really easily but if I write stuff down I find that makes it easier to recall from memory later (like everyone else on the planet). This is going to be page one:
- I got some proper sewing shears! I was using some regular scissors and my edges were choppy and frayed and terrible. If you can afford some, get some sewing shears. They don’t need to be expensive-just get something that is made for cutting fabric. I got these because they had gold on ‘em.
- I was digging around in a closet at home and found my grandmother’s pin cushion and embroidery scissors (which are still alarmingly sharp even though they are around 50 years old). My mom doesn’t really like sewing so I feel like I’m channeling my grandma (who passed away before I was born). All of the pins with the white pearly heads were hers.
- I also found a random travel sewing kit that I think my mom bought last year for a vacation but we never used it. So now I’ve got some extra thread, some glue and some other goodies-I’ve attached a picture here. So if you want to get a quick start, grab one of these. My mom said she got it at Target and looking it up it’s about $10.
- I’m discovering that I need to sew on a proper table so I can have all my tools at hand. Right now I’m sewing on a tray table next to my bed. I’ve got the ironing board on my bed with the iron perched on top so I can easily press things but that is kinda dangerous so imma find another place to sew.
- Somehow I now have four measuring tapes.
- I’ve been using the auto threader but I don’t wrap the thread completely around the little hook thingie I just pull it around the bottom and then straight across. That works fine and quickly and isn’t as fiddly as trying to wrap it around. To be honest though, I usually just poke it through the hole myself.
- Next post I’ll write about my adventures making a circle skirt. 🤦🏾♀️
- What the heck do you do with empty thread spools?? I’ve just finished one and am at a loss as to what to do with the thing. I don’t want to throw it away.
- What is this stitch called and what is it normally used for? My normally top-notch googling is failing me and it doesn’t say in the manual.
*I just realized that looks like sewers as in the place where the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hang out. I might use “folks who sew” from now on. 😂