Archive for 30 November 2014

Sewing Tips for Beginners

We all have to start somewhere! If you’re reading this post it is probably safe to assume that you are new to the world of sewing and are eager to get stuck in and start working with a whole host of fabrics to create those amazing ideas that you have floating around your head.

Don’t be too hasty though. A lot of fabric can end up getting wasted if you try to jump right in rather than taking it slow and learning properly. Here’s a couple of tips for the budding tailor or seamstress.

Start small

Before you get to the really cool stuff you will want to practice your technique on a few smaller jobs. That way if you mess up it won’t really matter and will most likely be able to fix the problem in short order as your skills continue to increase. Trust us here, there are few things worse when working with fabrics than getting halfway through a big project and making a mistake.

Work on little things, like tears in the pockets of trousers or reattaching buttons, before you really get started. That experience will serve you will once it comes time to move onto something a little more substantial.

Learn the patterns

Sewing isn’t simply a case of putting thread in a needle and poking it through fabric. There are a wide range of sewing patterns and techniques to learn, all of which will become useful to you as your experience builds and you start working on more complex problems.

Don’t be afraid to spend time practicing a particular stitching technique, even if there is no final product. Getting it right is the most important thing and you will be glad for the practice once you are working on something. Any spare piece of fabric will do for the job so save some cutoffs and just experiment with the patterns you know or have just learned. Have a little fun with it and you will have them down in no time at all.

Machines vs Needles

Perhaps the biggest question for any sewer is what equipment should they use for a particular job. Both sewing machines and needles have particular advantages and disadvantages and many people find they work better with one than the other.

It’s becoming something of a laboured point but it still rings true. The best way to find out is to practice on both and see which one sticks. Obviously for those working to a budget a needle and thread approach is much more cost-effective, but if you do have ambitions to move on to larger projects in the future it is certainly worth investing time and money in a sewing machine. In essence it all boils down to just how intensive you are going to get with your new hobby.

That’s what it all boils down to. For many sewing is a hobby so perhaps the most important tip for the novice is to just enjoy it. Don’t pressure yourself or get upset of you get a pattern wrong. Everybody does. Just relax and practice and you will be working the seams in not time at all.

Caring for fabrics – Linen

This article marks the first in a monthly series that will take a closer look at various fabric types and examine how to best take care of them to ensure you get the absolute most out of them.

The first article will look at one of the most popular fabrics to work with – linen. Linen has been popular for hundreds of years thanks to being an extremely strong and versatile fabric. In fact, it can have as much as two times the strength of other popular fabrics, such as cotton, which is why it has been used for tablecloths and suit wear for many years.

This versatility has also helped it to become one of the most popular fabrics for enthusiasts to work with as well. Of course, like any fabric, it is important to take care of your linen items properly.

Washing

Wherever possible linen should be washed by hand, especially if you have worked with it yourself and included dyes or unique patterns. Alternatively you can opt to dry clean it, but this is not as reliably safe as the hand washing method.

Use water with a cool temperature to ensure the material doesn’t get damaged. While some linens are today being developed to be machine washable, we find it’s best not to take the risk. At least with items that hold personal value. Be as gentle as you can while washing and avoid chlorine bleaches when washing white linens, as this may end up dying them.

Like cotton, linen wrinkles and creases quite easily, however it is very easy to iron these creases out of the fabric. It goes without saying that you should be careful with the iron to ensure you don’t end up burning it.

Colours

Happily linen is one of the easier fabrics to add colour to, as it will readily accept most dyes and, assuming you wash it correctly, will maintain the colour for many years afterwards with only minimal fading after repeat washes.

There are a number of guides floating around online, including this handy one from ehow.co.uk, that demonstrate how best to dye your linen. Just be patient and don’t try to rush things and you will have a gorgeously coloured fabric in no time.

Storage

Linen should always be stored away after cleaning and it is inadvisable to store dirty linen. This means that it is always recommended that you clean your linens after use if they are intended to be placed back into storage.

Wherever possible you should avoid folding the fabric. While this isn’t so much of an issue with tablecloths, where the odd fold or crease is expected, it can lead to your fabric developing creases that are very difficult to eradicate. This is especially the case for garments so be sure to hang them up and give them plenty of space. We mentioned before that it is easy to iron linen, however if you put the fabric in a position where a crease or fold becomes ingrained it gets more difficult.

Choosing the Right Fabric

Before you embark on a sewing project it is important to carefully select which type of fabric you will be using. After all, if you end up using something that isn’t suitable for what you have in mind, your creations may not end up being exactly what you are looking for.

Colour, composition and texture of the fabric are all important aspects and you will need to select something that both matches your aesthetic vision while also being easy enough to manage that you can work with it as you need to. As such, choosing the right fabric is crucial. » Read more..