Category Archives: Tips

Quick Tip Tuesday: Easy templates

Do you want a fast and easy way to turn hems up evenly? Or casings for skirts or pants? Templates!

Hemming templates by Sew Maris

Using a gridded ruler, old (or new) manila file folders, draw straight lines to create tagboard templates in dimensions you use frequently. Time to iron your hem turnback? Turn the fabric over your uh-mazing template, and press the hem turnback. YES! You can iron right on top of the manila file folder. A cheap, accurate, easy, solution for fa-a-a-a-a-a-a-s-s-s-s-s-st hems, casings, and more!

Happy sewing!

Maris

Quick Tip Tuesday: How to Align Coverstitching

It drives you nuts when you hem a garment “in the round” on your coverstitch machine, and the last few stitches stitches don’t line up perfectly with the beginning stitches, huh? Me too!

How to coverstitch knit hems by Sew Maris

I was hemming a bunch of items the other day, and decided to try marking one of the stitching lines so I could have an alignment guide to help me “join up” the coverstitch. I was using a 3-thread coverstitch, so I drew a little line with my Frixion pen on the center row of stitches (in red above). It really helped! I was able to tweak my alignment so the join was much better.

What tricks do you use to get your coverstitch “join” to line up nicely?

Happy sewing!
Maris

Quick Tip Tuesday: Save your Settings

One of my students was working on a pair of jeans last week—a new-to-her type of sewing project. After running a few topstitching samples to determine the stitch length she liked best, she used her phone to snap a quick pix of the stitch length and tension setting. Brilliant!

Sewing machine settings by Sew Maris

This is my machine with just the default settings – not what my friend was using – but what a quick and efficient way to catalog important information!

Happy sewing!

Maris

Quick Tip Tuesday: Refashioning Garments

Sometimes modifying a garment that is already in your closet can move it from the almost-never-worn status to a frequent-favorite.

McCalls 5974 by Sew Maris

This was my first dress of 2014. I LOVE the fabric (purchased at District Fabric in Seattle), but I originally made View C/D with the wrap ties. I should have known better. Fussy hoo-haws on clothing is not my style. Not.At.All.

So I ripped open the (SERGED) side seams, removed the ties, and now have a dress that fits my personal style better. I could have donated this dress, or given it to a friend, but I wanted to try a re-do first because I love the fabric. Naturally, ripping out the previous stitching took longer than serging the seam closed again, but it still was way less than an hour from start to finish.

Do you ever try re-making clothing that isn’t a total win for your personal style? What was your favorite re-make?

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

Quick Tip Tuesday: Reverse back stitch

Sometimes trying to get a smooth backstitch on soft fabric, or in a place where you have a bulky seam join can be a little tricky. Have you ever tried a “reverse” backstitch?

Quick Tip reverse backstitch by Sew Maris

Start by stitching toward the beginning of your seam; this means the fabric is behind the presser foot and the raw edge of the seamline is on the left side of the presser foot instead of the right. Stitch toward the “beginning” of your seam. You may need to stop a little short of the end to avoid pushing the fabric down into the hole in the throat plate.

Quick Tip reverse backstitch by Sew Maris

Turn your fabric around so it is facing the “normal” direction, and proceed with stitching. Hope that helps get you out of some sticky situations. 😉

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

 

Quick Tip Tuesday: Mark Pattern Notches FAST

I do not have to sew and do EVERYTHING in my life at top speed, but I  am really not into wasting time performing necessary tasks in an inefficient manner. Take pattern notches, for example. Why in the name of Sam Hill would anyone spend time actually completely cutting  the triangular shaped notch in their fabric? Can you spell stoo-pid timewaster?

People. A quick, small snip (1/8 inch!) into the center of the triangle is all that is required. Done and done.Now get back to sewing. Or eating chocolate. 😉

Happy sewing!

Maris

Quick Tip Tuesday: Add a Little Color to Your Life

One of the annoying things (to me) about multi-sized patterns is the mash-up of notches on the pattern pieces. One thing that can help you quickly identify exactly which notch you are supposed to use is to mark over the one for your selected size with a colored pencil or pen. It will streamline your “cutting out” process a bit, especially if you are (like me) someone who frequently cuts garments later at night. Maybe even after a glass of wine. 😉

Quick Tip Colored Notch by Sew Maris

That’s it for today, friends. Hope you are making something AWESOME!

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

Quick Tip Tuesday: Free Up That Selvage

The selvage edge of fabric is what attaches to the loom during manufacturing; so it only stands to reason this portion of the fabric needs to be sturdy and firmly woven.

Sometimes the result is a selvage edge that “draws up” and won’t lie flat and smooth when you are trying to cut out a pattern. This tends to happen more with knit fabrics, but it can happen with wovens, too. Next time, rather than cutting the entire selvage off, try clipping into the selvages every few inches to release the tension. Hope that helps!

Happy sewing!

Maris

Quick Tip Tuesday: Sewing Knit Seams Without a Serger

If you love to sew with knits and do not own a serger, you can still easily create a slightly stretchy seam by using a crooked straight stitch. Any sewing machine with a zig-zag stitch capability can create this kind of seam—it’s easy peasy!

Set your stitch width between .75 and 1.0, and the stitch length between 2.5 and 3.0 Experiment with a few different settings on your fabric to see what you like best. On a thicker knit you might even need to increase your stitch length to 3.5.

By adding a slight amount of width to a regular straight stitch you create just enough stretch to help prevent your knit seams from popping during wear. Try it!

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

Quick Tip Tuesday: Back up

I have words of advice that you have undoubtedly heard before and ignored: back up your important files on a second hard drive or in the cloud. Frequently.

I have never had a hard drive failure. Not once. Which is pretty amazing since I spent my entire adult life working with computers. Until last Friday, that is. And I did have some backups. But they weren’t recent enough to be super helpful.

So, don’t be me. Be the smart one in the room. Especially if you own a business.

I hope to get back to sewing myself soon, and in the meantime, happy sewing!

Maris