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Two Quick Sewing Tips

I must confess that I have gotten a little skeptical about quick sewing tips. Inevitably, they’re not quick, nor are they that effective. That being said, I’ve picked up a few here and there that are useful, such as this one, and discovered some that have worked for me. So, today, I will share two that I’ve been using lately. If they don’t work for you, I understand completely.

Cutting out the markings, one of two quick sewing tips
There’s a little cut just under the tape

The first happened when I needed to flip a pattern piece for a shirt during layout. When you use tissue patterns, this poses no problem in terms of the markings. You can see them through the tissue. If you use tagboard or plain paper or something you can’t see through, how do you find the markings?

In my case, I had printed out a tiled pattern for a shirt. Because I’ve made the shirt multiple times, I ironed some interfacing to the back of each piece (okay, maybe that’s a third tip). But when I flipped it to cut it out, I couldn’t see where to mark the pocket placement.

I cut a small section out of the pattern where the pocket mark was. When I laid the piece out, I drew through the opening with my fabric pencil. The pocket landed very nicely in place, thrilling me no end.

Quick Sewing Tip #2

The scrap under the presser foot, one of two quick sewing tips
Start sewing the scrap first

I picked up this next tip back in the mid-1980s, when I took a sewing class for eventual design professionals. The idea was supposedly to save thread, but it didn’t really save that much. Still, it became a habit until a number of years ago. A friend of mine, who is a professional, pointed out that it wasn’t that useful to do, and I thought, she’s right. So, I stopped doing it, until last month when I had some jeans back pockets to topstitch.

What you do is start your seam using a bit of folded-over scrap fabric. It shouldn’t be very big, only about an inch and a half or so square, once you fold it. Just enough to get it past your presser foot once you hit the actual seam of the project. You start your seam on the scrap, and bump the edge of the project seam up against it and just sew straight from the scrap onto the project. Then, at the end of the seam or topstitching, bump another little scrap against the edge of the project seam, and finish the seam by sewing onto the scrap. Leave the scrap under the presser foot for the next seam, cut the project off and you’re good.

scrap with fabric bunched up in position to be sewn.
Line up your seam – I’m doing a quarter inch-flat fell here – then sew straight on

No, the trick does not save thread. What it does, however, is start your seam or topstitching right at the edge. Decorative topstitching really comes out nice this way. I get less jamming and thread bunches on the bobbin side of the fabric. I also get a kick out of looking at the little scraps I use. One came from a dress I’d made my daughter back when she was six, and I love the memory.

There you have it – two quick sewing tips. And if you’d like to share one of yours, add them in the comments. It might work for me.

Please talk to me. I'd love to hear from you.

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