Sewing Tips

Just a quick hello! Today I'd like to share a few easy sewing tips and fun (and cheap) sewing hacks. 

1. Be Organized 

Since I cut out my patchwork piece on our dining room table and transport them upstairs to sew, I've found having inexpensive trays to organize the cut pieces not only makes moving them easier, it keeps everything in one place while I'm sewing as well. Here, I have two trays to separate the light and dark pieces. I've also started making swatch cards for my quilts. This particular quilt will use 17 different fabrics from different fabric companies as well as from my stash of vintage fabrics and a simple card stock sheet with 2'' squares printed (or drawn) on it gives me a place to glue scrap swatches as I'm cutting out for the quilt. I could even punch holes in the card stock and place into a binder along with any other information about this quilt.

2.  Needle and Thread

Be sure to use the right sewing machine needle for the job and change that needle often! Manufacturer's recommend changing your sewing machine needle after every 4 hours of sewing. Now, I must confess, I don't change my needle that faithfully, but I do so after every two projects. You will save wear and tear on your expensive sewing machine and a fresh needle is also kinder to the fabrics.

Be sure to use quality thread when sewing. Good thread not only has less lint that gunks up your sewing machine but seams will also stand up to use and your quilts and other projects will hold up longer over time. 

3. Diagonal Pinning

I've done A LOT of sewing and over the years I've discovered that pinning your patchwork seams on the diagonal works the best for holding the pieces in place and achieving perfect piecing.

Place pins diagonally across butted and nested seams, catching the seam allowances on each side. Pinning from right (where pin enters) to left (where pin exits) allows you to sew very close to the pin, catching the leading seam allowance before removing the pin and continuing to sew. This also works for pressed open seams. I'm right handed, so pinning in this manner is very natural for me. Any lefties out there will have to let me know how this works for them. 

4. Sewing at Large

Speaking of sewing a lot, I've recently advanced to a large Aurifil cone because I use a ton of thread. My machine does not have a way to attach a cone so it's kept me from using these large spools--till now! 

I had a plastic CD container I was about to toss in the recycle bin until I saw some potential in the base. I actually saved the top too because it would make a great table top thread catching bin. Anyway, the base is wide, has a center spindle and is perfect to hold a cone of thread for use with a domestic sewing machine--yay!!! 

5. Office Supplies

Back-to-school means school supplies are everywhere right now. I don't have any kids in school any more but each year I can't help but look at all the fun notebooks, pencils, and fun items with fond memories of buying supplies with my kids. I seem to pick up at least one item each year just out of habit. This year, I found this neat plastic pencil case at Office Depot for $1.00. It has a clear, sliding tray that snaps to the outer sleeve. The case is the perfect size to hold a rotary cutter and possibly some other small sewing tools. Having a container like this to store your rotary cutter is nice when traveling or just to keep out of harms way around your work space. 

I also use office supply binder clips for holding my binding. Washi tape is great to have handy for taping blocks to a wall for a quick design wall anywhere. 

What are some of your favorite sewing tips and/or sewing hacks? Let me know by leaving a comment on this post. I'd love to feature your tip/hack in a future blog post. xxxx