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50 Tips For Sewing - A Collection Of Timeless Wisdom

Posted by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 5:52 PM
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These tips were collected from a variety of books and magazines from the 1940s and 1950s.

Most of these tidbits are still helpful today, a few were included because they are a charming reflection of the time these were written. Enjoy!

50 Tips For Sewing - A Collection Of Timeless Wisdom

  1. Pressing seams as you go is very helpful in sewing.
  2. All facings and hems should be neatly made, especially on transparent material.
  3. Adjust tension and length of stitch when changing from thin material to heavy. The stitching should lie perfectly flat and without puckers.
  4. Snip basting thread at intervals and pull out, don’t attempt to pull one long basting thread at once.
  5. The hem is the last thing to be finished on a dress.
  6. Be very careful and do not stretch bias fabric when handling. Running a basting along edge helps to prevent this.
  7. Very sheer materials when run through your sewing machine may pucker or draw despite all your efforts. Place a piece of clean paper underneath the material and stitch through. Then pull the paper off, leaving the stitching smooth as can be!
  8. To make darts, tucks and other markings on a garment that is being cut out, slip a double piece of carbon paper between the pieces of cloth and mark as indicated on the tissue guide. The carbon paper can be used over and over and comes in many colors.
  9. For stitching down patch pockets, try holding them in place with cellophane tape instead of bastings or pins. Stitch right through the tape, then pull it off after sewing is finished.
  10. Tucks are the neatest method of handling the dress length problem for fast-growing little girls. Make the skirt long enough to include a series of small tucks just above the hem. As the child grows, let out one tuck at a time–no rehemming is necessary.
  11. When a seam is to be ripped, try fastening one end under the presser foot of your sewing machine. Then with a razor blade you can quickly cut the stitching.
  12. In lengthening a dress, oftentimes a ridge appears where the old hem used to be. This may be easily covered with a row of rick rack sewn over the line or ridge. This also makes an attractive trim.
  13. When making a rolled hem put a row of machine stitching along edge to be rolled. Then trim edge close to stitching. It really speeds up the hand work and prevents stretching.
  14. If you are cutting out a garment from material that frays easily, try marking around pattern before cutting or as soon as it is cut, on the edge of the material with a crayon the color of the material. The marking will not show when the seam is taken.
  15. In stitching a shirt, all patterns are made so that the seams must be stitched from the top down.
  16. Pink the hem on bottom of blouse to be worn in, it will look smoother.
  17. When doing applique work, especially with felt, if the patches are stitched into place by machine, a beautifully flat finish is given.
  18. Pattern perforations are important, study them carefully. They identify straight of goods, place darts and position of various pattern pieces. Be sure you know the meaning of each before you place pattern on material. Lay aside any extra pieces that you are not going to use. Be careful and do not turn a pattern piece upside down if your fabric has a nap or up and down print. After cutting, mark darts, buttonholes and any other necessary markings, including center back and front. Hang the partly completed garment on hanger to keep sewing from getting crushed.
  19. Sometimes the drawstring in pajamas gets the habit of pulling out. Put a stop to this by centering the drawstring in the garment and sewing it fast at the center back.
  20. Three rows of rickrack braid sewed together on a strip of thin white cloth will make you pretty tie-backs for your curtains. These are not only attractive but bring out the color in your room.
  21. Save the old felt hats around the house. Cut them up and sew together with colored yarns for comfy house slippers. you can concoct your own embroidery designs for decoration. Also make inner soles.
  22. When tying comforters it is a good plan to tie them first in cheese cloth, then put on the top cover. The cover may then be removed for washing with little trouble.
  23. There is no need to baste rick rack or braid on the material, use scotch tape to hold it in place. Sew right through the tape and then pull off after stitching.
  24. When you are making new pillows, a small quantity of starch in the ticking will help to keep the features from sticking through.
  25. Did you ever try making a sewing scrap book? It is wonderful to have when you need a patch or a button and it will prove a favorite pastime for the children. It should contain a large piece of material and an extra button for every garment that you make.
  26. Scotch tape a paper ruler to your machine if there isn’t a measuring guide on it.
  27. A small horse shoe magnet on a yard stick is an asset in the sewing room to pick up pins and needles.
  28. Use a mesh bag that fruit comes in to put leftover pieces of dress materials. You can see at a glance the piece you need for a patch.
  29. If you keep sewing machine oil in a bottle, you will always find it impossible to oil the machine properly. Replace the cap with one that has a medicine dropper attached; one from an empty bottle of nose drops is ideal to use.
  30. A good way to keep your patterns straight is to make a pattern bag. These are made in much the same way as a shoe bag only each pocket holds several patterns. Put them in the pockets according to sizes and type of pattern. Feed sacks are excellent to use for making these.
  31. Sew carpet rags on the bias to avoid having a bulky seam.
  32. Here’s a fashion flash that will appeal to all. Put an inner draw string of the same material as blouse or ribbon at the waist of blouse, run it through small loops which you make in the darts.
  33. For a convenient and handy pin cushion, wrap several thicknesses of felt, wool or flannel around the arm of the machine just back of the needle bar; blind stitch the edges together. When removing pins while sewing, just stick pins here and you will have them at your finger tips when needed.
  34. Is your youngest boy or girl going to wear a hand-me-down coat this winter? If that lining won’t stand another season’s wear, rip it out! Don’t stretch it. Then use the old lining as a pattern to cut a new one. The coat won’t draw if you put the new lining in loosely.
  35. An empty matchbook cover makes a neat little emergency repair kit to carry in your purse. Stick a few pins and needles in the torn match stubs and wind various shades of thread around the cover.
  36. Mark the place for each buttonhole with a thin coat of colorless nail polish. When dry, cut through the center and you have straight non-raveling edges to hold your stitches.
  37. Before making buttonholes in thin material, rub a small amount of library paste on the wrong side of material and allow to dry.
  38. Sew buttons on the children’s clothes with dental floss and you can be sure they will stay on for a long time.
  39. Buttons sewn on with crochet cotton will rarely come off.
  40. It is easier to work a buttonhole with embroidery thread than with most hard twists. It lies smoother and is stronger.
  41. Cut your thread on the bias (slant) and the needle will be much easier to thread.
  42. If you have trouble with your thread knotting when sewing try this. Always thread needle before breaking thread from spool and always tie knot in the end broken from spool last.
  43. To keep the thread from snarling when sewing with a double strand, put a separate knot at the end of each thread.
  44. Tack one end of the tape measure to an empty spool, then roll the tape onto the spool. This makes a neat, convenient holder.
  45. Use cellophane tape to fasten down thread ends on the spools in your sewing basket. It will stop tangles.
  46. For a rainy day occupation, empty the button box, sort out all of each kind, and mount by groups with basting thread on cardboards. When you can see what kinds and how many alike you have, you are much more likely to put them back into use.
  47. Empty aspirin boxes that shut tightly make excellent holders for pins, thumbtacks, small beats, buttons or snap fasteners. Use separate containers for the various items and label each box.
  48. To sharpen scissors while in the sewing room, take discarded needle and work it back and forth between the blades of the shears.
  49. Tweezers not only beautify the housewife but are useful too. They can pluck out threads which have been caught in the machine stitching.
  50. Embroidery floss has a number of uses. It is excellent for mending socks, sweaters and babies’ woolens. The colors are usually easy to match. Also try sewing buttons on a ready-made garment with it.  

~ Veronica


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by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 5:52 PM
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