When you were a kid in school, you were probably taught some sewing techniques. At that time, it did not feel crucial. It was like another means to differentiate one kid from another. Some hate it. Some love it. As time goes by, however, you come to realize that knowing how to sew is very vital to self-sufficiency. It is not too late if you want to learn now.
What are some tools that you may need before proceeding?
- Sewing machine
- A variety of needles and threads
- A thimble to protect your fingers while hand-sewing
- A rotary cutter
- A pair of pinked scissors
- Various patterns
- Various cloths (especially challenging ones, such as velvet)
- Fabrics to experiment with while just starting
- Tailor’s fabric chalk
- Steam iron
- Patches and colored cloths
- Threading your sewing machine or a simple needle
- Picking the right needle for the job
- Cutting fabrics the right way
- Using a honing stone to keep fabric scissors sharp and accurate
So, how do you begin? You start with the most straightforward sewing techniques.
1. Using a zigzag pattern:
This is a very common pattern. You can do this with a machine or with your hand. The zigzag finish is recommended for adding a clean finish, especially at the seams. Make sure you use the right needle and thread combination. The color of the thread should match the material if you are doing it for a clean finish.
You have to do this if you don’t want the stitches to appear on the outside. You can use a zigzag pattern for this to ensure that everything is neat and trim.
3. Attaching a zipper
At one point in your life, you need to know how to change a busted zipper. For those who want to go further, they can also learn how to attach a zipper for new garment projects. Take note that you can add zippers, not just for utilitarian purposes, but also for decorative purposes. Some have added zippers as embellishments, instead. You also get to choose between exposed and invisible zipper techniques.
4. Finishing the seams
Finishing the seams can be simple, but you have to choose the right type for your garment.
Pinked seam finish, for example, is advisable only for clothes that will not be worn much. You need pinked scissors for this, too. You can experiment with the edges’ shapes, using this technique.
On the other hand, the overlocked seam should be perfect for your work clothes, including skirts and pants.
A third type is a French seam, which requires the use of a rotary cutter. This provides a finish that is wholly enclosed in fabric. This is for projects where you don’t mind a little bulk on the edges.
5. Stitching on velvet
Velvet may be slippery, but beginners can already attempt projects that involve this fabric. Focus on the nap, the fabric’s fuzzy part. Decide on the direction you will take. Make sure, also, that you do not iron the material directly. Steam it, instead. Be watchful, though. You don’t want to burn your fabric.
6. Adding appliques
You never know when you will need a decorative patch for a garment or another cloth product, such as bags. You just need to be able to sew around the edges of the applique, using some of the most straightforward sewing techniques for beginners. The zigzag pattern should be a good option.
Pressing is not the same as regular ironing. You set the material for sewing, by leaving the iron on the material for a few seconds. Do not move from side to side, as you would with ironing. As mentioned A few seconds should not become a few minutes. Get to know which types of material burn faster than others.
This sewing strategy helps you ensure that the garment does not stretch or get distorted. The best way to do it is to set a length of 1.5 inches. The stitch itself should be 1/8 inch from the sewing line. This may be what is lacking if you end up with bunched-up clothing.
9. Rotary cutting
You need a rotary cutter and a cutting mat to make this happen. It is worth it, though, because you can cut your patterns faster this way. Make sure your rotary cutter’s blade is always sharp. Keep extra blades if you have to.
10. Clipping curves and corners
Having too many curves and corners can leave you with a bulky finish. So, you need to clip as close to the seam as you can to reduce the curve. A diagonal clip will do. Curves here and there can be stylish, but may not always deliver a neat finish
11. Bar tacking
Bar tacking is recommended for pocket and pillow openings. These are parts that usually get a lot of stress and movement. They must then be reinforced. You can use a machine for this technique. If you are planning to do this by hand, it is best to use a whipstitch.
12. Fussy cutting
To create a decorative patch, you only need to cut from a patterned cloth. Make sure that there is space to sew on the edges. Make use of a satin thread to give it a little more texture. This is good for Bohemian-inspired garments, wherein the mishmash of textures and patterns are certainly acceptable and even celebrated.
13. Reinforcing patch pocket corners
This technique, plus the bar tacking, will help reinforce pockets. This is basically sewing on triangles in the pocket corners. This is a crucial sewing technique because it prevents the pocket from getting pulled from the rest of the clothing.
14. Altering big clothes
Whether you had gotten slimmer or bigger, or someone had gifted you clothes that are too big, you need to learn how to alter garments. You do this by knowing where to tuck in and where to let out. You may need a handy tailor’s fabric chalk to make the necessary markings.
Altering pants would be a little on the intermediate level, though. So, practice on straight dresses first.
15. Gathering fabric
Creating bunched up sections in clothing is another technique you should learn. This is good for the sleeves of blouses, for example. It is easier to do using a machine. A long stitch length and long thread tails should help you pull at the ends later, effectively gathering the fabric.
The above are just some of the most common sewing techniques for beginners. Once you learn one, there are other related techniques that you can work on.
As a beginning adult, do not be afraid of trying out sewing. If you will not start now, when will you do so?
So, what are the extra things that you have discovered while reading this article?
- It would be wise to invest in a sewing machine, but it would be good to be skilful with your bare hands, as well.
- Get some essential tools, as recommended above.
- Always be on the lookout for new tips and tricks on sewing.