Sewing has been around for centuries, but it’s a craft often forgotten by the younger generation. The simple fact is, sewing can be fun, easy and productive. Not only can you save money instead of paying for alterations – you can fully customize your own unique items. Sewing doesn’t have to be left to you grandmother – it can be a hip and creative escape for all ages.
How Sewing Isn’t Just for Saving Money
You can definitely keep your clothes much longer than those without sewing skills – but that’s not what it’s all about. Whilst the ability to keep that much-loved item wearable is a great one, it’s not the only benefit of being good at sewing. Whether you’ve outgrown an item or it’s become slightly worn out, the right sewing touches can make it fresh and relevant again.
One of the main upsides to great sewing is this – you can keep up with trends and alter your items to fit the latest fashions. Any creative desire you have can be expressed on your older items to bring them into style with ease.
Heard of upcycling? It’s a craze that’s been growing in popularity in recent years. Your sewing skills can work wonders in making old, dated items new and exciting again.
Walk Before you can Run
As a sewing newcomer, you don’t have to jump straight into attempting big pieces on a machine. Sewing machines can be daunting, and you’ll get there eventually. Many users say that the hardest part of sewing is threading the machine itself rather than the actual process – so don’t feel you need to get involved too soon.
Many simple jobs can be done with a needle and thread on your lap with no need for expensive or complicated machines. Why don’t you practice a few stitches on some old material? It’s a great way to start.
Nowadays, most sewing is done on a machine, but this ignores a history which dates back many years. A good foundation in sewing can be fostered by learning the old way – hand stitching. Simple things like fixing a button or correcting a seam can be easily done by hand – there’s no need to get that heavy machine out of the cupboard and set it all up.
Learning Hand Stitching
If you haven’t sewn before – you might think that it’s all the same. But that’s not the case. In reality, there are many different sewing stitches that are required for different jobs.
While large scale projects are almost always done on machines – hand stitching can be simple, easy, convenient and cheap. Almost every quality machine sewer will have learnt how to sew by hand before, so it’s a right of passage you need to go through.
Tips for Better Hand Stitching
1. Finer threads are better – that’s because they make it harder to see press marks.
2. Use a similar color thread when compared to the garment – as different colors can often rub off or leave marks.
3. Small needles are better when working with finer fabrics.
4. Don’t leave loose threads anywhere – take care when securing at the beginning and the end.
5. You shouldn’t be able to see the stitches from the outside of the item.
Threading a needle – It’s not as hard as you think
Trying to thread a needle can be frustrating for someone new to sewing. But it’s really not that hard. There are a few simple tips you should know in order to make it easier when attempting to thread a needle.
Obviously, larger needles are easier to thread. That big hole might look appealing, but you can learn to thread any needle with ease. Don’t settle for a larger needle or thinner material just because it’s easier to thread – you can learn to thread any needle, regardless of size.
Firstly, make sure you cut the thread. Threads that have been broken or torn apart have ends that are not easy to thread. Cutting at an angle can make it even easier, as it creates a sharper point on the thread.
Many people like to lick the thread on the end as this creates a more defined tip, making it easier to thread. These tips can make it easier for even a total novice to thread a needle. Try it and see how much easier it can be. Don’t worry if it’s not smooth the first few times – threading a needle is something you need experience with, and it gets easier each time. By the time you’ve been sewing for a while, you won’t give it a second thought.
How You Can Protect Your Skin With a Thimble
Got sensitive skin and keep pricking yourself as you go through material? A thimble can be just the answer to your problems. A thimble can be used to protect your fingers when holding a fabric and is a very useful tool for aspiring hand stitchers. Just select the right size and place it on the middle finger of the hand that holds the needle.
The Different Stitch Types You Need to Know
Catch Stitch – This stitch allows some give in the material creating an elastic effect. It’s mainly used for hemming and other similar scenarios.
Backstitch – This is sometimes known as a prickstitch and is a very secure type of stitching. This stitch is used to hold multiple pieces of fabric together and can be used as a substitute for machine stitching.
Buttonhole – The use of this stitch is self-explanatory – it’s the type of stitch used when making buttonholes. It’s a very strong stitch and can also be used to sew other types of fasteners.
Featherstitch – This is a decorative type of stitching that is normally applied on the outside of garments for that extra stylistic touch.
These are some of the main types of stitching you might come across in the early days or your sewing career. There are many others to learn, such as felling, pad stitching and slip basting.
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Harriett Alton has been sewing for nearly thirty years. Like many others, she had to start somewhere. You can find loads of help on learning to sew at SewMyPlace.