For Beginner Sewists: 2 Small Things for Sewing Success

Beginners, please add this to your sewing steps repertoire. (If you’re an advanced seamstress, feel free to go read my other excellent posts; or find more of tips by typing “sewing tips” in the search box at the top right of this post).

No, that is not my cutely manicured hand. The image is from the WordPress free image library for bloggers who use their platform.

1. Press your paper pattern.

Wrinkly sleeve pattern straight out of the envelope
Hit it with the iron, on a low-ish setting. Not so low that the wrinkles remain.

Yes, ma’am. Iron with a dry iron (no steam, but if there’s some steam it’s okay) to remove all folds and wrinkles on the tissue. They’re a result of being stuffed into that small envelope. Just think, if you let the folds and wrinkles remain, the pattern piece has a chance of being inaccurately shaped, and you’ll cut your fabric the same way.

2. Chain sewing

Three pieces with seams sewn continuously. See the connecting thread between pieces?

Another view: starting from the top, I stitched the darts in the back, continued to sew the princess seams in the left front, then continued with the right front. I could have continued this chain with the skirt pieces, before hitting the pressing and seam-finishing hurdles.

Huh? That’s what I call this process which I use to save time and effort in the sewing steps sequence. It requires a bit of pre-planning but worth it. The premise behind this is doing one sewing task as much as possible before moving on to the next one. For example, stitching pieces together as long as you’re at the sewing machine — before hitting the seam-finishing and pressing hurdle. If you like to pin the pieces before seaming together, you’ll do as much pinning together as feasible, before sewing. Then you can start the choo-choo sewing train, feeding the pinned seams into the machine, continuing without snipping the end threads, until you’re done with a bunch of “units”. Then, you can snip the connecting threads and proceed with pressing all the just-sewn seams as long as you’re at the iron, then serge-finishing them using the same chain-sewing process. Or, other preferred seam finishing. Try it. You’ll like it.

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I am currently working on this project, and the sewing is slo-o-o-w. Pieces pictured above. It is easy to make but the slowness is totally on me. Sigh….

Simplicity 8689

Have a great summer, everyone.

Samina

5 thoughts on “For Beginner Sewists: 2 Small Things for Sewing Success

  1. So glad you included pressing the pattern. I’ve seen so many on-line photos of sewists neglecting that step and it seems such a bad example. Your point that the wrinkles will change the shape & dimension of the pattern is spot on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! In my earlier sewing days, I used to neglect the pattern pressing — mainly because I wasn’t aware of it. Just sewed on in my merry way. Haha. A wise person set me straight.

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  2. Morning Samina! Yes thank you for reminding everyone that patterns should be ironed, it really can make a difference. In fact, ironing a pattern is one of my favorite steps, partly because the smell of pattern tissue being pressed is one of my earliest sewing memories (one of those visceral memories you don’t quite remember, but it forcefully brings you back in time) and also because it has a strange calming effect on me (part of that half remembered memory?), it really focuses me on the project; kind of like breathing or meditating before you start your stretch or your run.

    And chain sewing is a good way to speed up your sewing a bit; we learn about it in quilting, but not garment sewing – too few techniques cross over between the types of sewing, thank you for making another bridge! Can’t wait to see your finished tunic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kasey! Amazing how these tasks lower the blood pressure. Never noticed the smell, though. I wonder why some people hate ironing in general. It can be so zen…

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