How To Pick the Best Elastic for Your Sewing Projects

ELASTIC VARIETY

There are a lot of types of sewing elastic out there and knowing how to pick the best elastic for your sewing projects will affect the quality and final results of whatever you are making.

In this post I’m going to go over:

  • different types
  • what each one looks like
  • how to use each one

There are three basic types:

Here are four specialty elastics

All are used in different applications and serve a specific purpose.

They come in all kinds of widths, from 1/4 inch to 3 inches and up. Your pattern will typically specify which width to use, but in general, thinner ones are used for things like swimwear and necklines, while wider ones are used for waistbands for skirts and pants.

TYPES OF ELASTIC GUIDE

Here is a table showing the different types  and when you can use them.

Print this out and display it in your sewing room for a quick reference. 

DOWNLOAD AND PRINT THE PDF

chart
BRAIDED ELASTIC

BRAIDED 

Elastic Description

  • Parallel ribs
  • Narrows when stretched
  • Looses stretch if sewn into
  • Rolls more easily

Uses

Sleeve and Neckline Casings

 

KNIT

Description

  • Cross woven
  • Soft to the touch
  • Does not narrow when stretched

Uses

Waistbands (pajama bottoms, men’s briefs, skirts)

Lightweight-medium fabrics

WOVEN ELASTIC

WOVEN (Non-Roll)

Description

  • Horizontal & vertical ribs
  • Firm
  • Does not narrow when stretched
  • More durable

***Tip: use a stronger needle when sewing into it

Uses

Waistbands of pants and skirts with heavy fabrics, houseware items, outerwear

LINGERIE

Description

  • Decorate loops on the side
  • Soft to the touch

Uses

Underwear, bras

SWIM 

Description

  • Does not rot or perish
  • Heat resistant
  • Chlorine resistant

Uses

Swimwear, leotards

FOLD OVER 

Description

  • folds in half
  • soft against the skin

Uses

Leotard, underwear, headbands, hair ties, DIY watch bands

CLEAR

Description

  • Thin and clear

Uses

Gathering knit fabric, shoulder seam stabilizer

Extra Tips 

 

Picking the Right Type

  • First, consider if you will be sewing through the elastic or placing it in a casing. Remember, the braided and woven elastic doesn’t do as well being sewn through.
  • Knit or braided types are better for lighter fabrics, while woven is better for heavyweight fabrics.
  • Use specialty elastics like lingerie, fold-over elastic, and clear elastic for your projects that have special requirements.

Picking the Best Size Elastic

  • Pick the size based on the size of the casing or insertion area and the location on the garment the elastic will be.
  • Neckline elastic needs to be much thinner than waistband elastic, for instance! Your pattern will most likely recommend the width needed.
  • Don’t cut it lengthwise. You’re much better off just getting one that is the right width.

Cutting the Length

  • Test stretch your elastic to check how much it stretches and if it recovers well.
  • You may need a shorter length of braided elastic to accomplish the same stretch as a knitted elastic.
  • Thinner elastics stretch more than wider ones, so take this into account when cutting your length.
  • Use a safety pin to join elastic and test before cutting.

I hope you foun this helpful.

Please send me a note if you have any questions while choosing the elastic for your projects.

Have fun sewing!

jan3

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

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A Beginners Guide to Rotary Cutting / Helpful Tips and Tricks

rotary cutting

When it comes to sewing and crafting, rotary cutting makes the task on hand so much easier and quicker. Here are some helpful tips and tricks you might want to know.

In this post I am going to go over:

  • Different types and sizes of rotary blades
  • Rotary blades
  • Changing the blade
  • Cutting mats
  • Rulers
  • Cutting curves
  • Cutting on knit fabrics
  • How to square off fabric pieces with the ruler and rotary cutter
  • Safety tips and useful accessories

Benefits of Using a Rotary Cutting Device

  • Get a clean straight cut
  • Quick cutting
  • Easily cuts multiple layers of fabric
  • Makes cutting shear and delicate fabric much easier
  • Cuts precise fabric for quilting cuts
rotary cutting cutters

Rotary Cutters

There are many different types and brands of rotary cutters out there. I’ve acquired and tried several different types of cutters over the years. Some have been great and some, not so much. Alternative cutting edges include blades for pinking or scalloping, which are interchangeable and less expensive than buying a special pair of shears.

Rotary cutters come in several different sizes. The most common sizes are 28mm, 45mm, and 60mm.

  • 28mm: cutting strips, squaring fabric, cutting curves and intricate pieces
  • 45mm: straight cutting, strip cutting, squaring blocks, can cut through multiple layers at once(up to 8 layers at once), cuts a variety of fabric types including thicker/heavyweight fabrics
  • 60mm: straight cutting, strip cutting, can cut through multiple layers at once(up to 12 layers at once), cuts thicker/heavyweight fabrics with ease

The 45mm cutter is the one I use most frequently and would recommend for your first rotary cutter.

Rotary Cutting Safety

Before I go any further, I want to emphasize how important it is to be cautious when using a rotary cutter. These blades are VERY, VERY SHARP!

You’ll want to make sure your fingers are out of the way of the blade.

Always cut away from your body. You may be tempted, when in a hurry to cut toward you, instead of flipping the fabric, but DON’T DO IT!

Apply the blade cover when not using the cutter. (I will admit, and my viewers catch it), that I don’t always follow this rule. It has come back to bite/cut me, a few times.

I really, really like this rotary cutter because it has an automatic retractable blade. When you cut, you’ll squeeze the handle and when you’re finished cutting and release it, the blade retracts. Its ergonomic handle is very comfortable to use and is one of my favorites!

 

How Do You Know When to Change the Blade?

Rotary cutting blades need to be changed occasionally. It just depends on how much you use it. You can tell if after cutting it leaves uncut sections or just doesn’t cut well. Don’t hesitate in changing it for a new one, because a new blade will make your cutting experience so much better, and safer.

How to Change the Rotary Cutting Blade

Each rotary cutting device will be a little different, but they’re all pretty similar. If you have an Olfa cutter, you can go on their website and find the different types of cutters and see how to change the blade. BE VERY CAUTIOUS when handling the blade.rotary cutting changing blade order

  1. Disassemble the cutter by first unscrewing the nut. ****Very important! As you remove each component, set them down in the order you remove them.
  2. Remove the metal washer and the plastic washer next.
  3. Pull the handle off the stem that holds the blade and set it aside. (I will go over what to do with the old blade in a bit).
  4. Carefully remove the old blade from the stem and replace it with a new blade.rotary cutting blade change
  5. Place the handle back onto the stem followed by the metal washer with the curve FACING UP like a cup.
  6. Next, place the nut back onto the stem and tighten until the front disk begins to spin. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN!
rotary cutting used blades

What to Do With the Used Rotary Cutting Blades?

As I have mentioned a few times, these blades are super sharp and you don’t want to just throw these babies in the trash. I recommend writing on the blade with a sharpie pen “USED” and placing it back into the case it came in. This way when you fill the case with used blades, you can just throw the case away.

The used blades come in handy when you want to make cuts on paper, cardboard, or other material that you wouldn’t want to use a nice new blade on.

Another tip: Write the date on the new blade, so you can have a reference for how long the blade has been on there.

Rotary Cutting Mats

Let’s go over the mats now. Using a rotary cutter requires a special mat underneath the fabric to protect your table and a special blade. (Don’t try using a rotary cutter without a cutting mat)!

Just like the cutters and rulers, there are A LOT of different kinds, brands and colors of mats out there. There are plastic mats, self-healing mats, and PVC mats. The most popular and known mats are the self-healing mats.

What is a Self-Healing Mat?

Self-healing cutting mats work by ‘absorbing’ the cut from a blade. The mat is made from many tiny particles that are pressed to create a solid surface: one that is not rigid like glass or hard plastic so that the ‘cut’ of the blade can be absorbed amongst those particles.

When you run a blade over and over in the same place on a self-healing mat, you’ll see that the damage becomes more pronounced as the cut makes more of an impact each time. Little fibers get stuck down in the cuts and eventually, you’ll have to replace the mat.

I have found a new kind of mat that I love! It’s called the BIG ROTARY CUTTING MAT. It’s made of PVC and is NOT self-healing.

rotary cutting mats

What is the Advantage of a PVC Mat?

  • Although it isn’t self-healing, it is quite durable and comes in all kinds of sizes up to 40” x 72”.
  • This mat is not supposed to warp and comes with a 5-year guarantee.
  • The company is a family business and is based in the USA. I like supporting local businesses.
  • Your rotary cutting blades will stay sharp longer.
  • You don’t have to put as much pressure on the blade.
  • It’s reversible and can be flipped to an all-white mat.

I have several sizes of these mats, but I LOVE my 36” x 60” mat. It fits really nicely on my sewing table where I sit my sewing machines.  When you cut on this mat, it will make little raised surfaces, but no worries. They send a little plastic scraper that you simply scrape over the surface to smooth it out, good as new.

Rotary Cutting Rulers

If you want to make straight cuts, which I’m sure you’ll want to do, you’ll need a ruler. This ruler needs to be made of durable plastic and there are a lot of different styles, widths, and colors out there.

They range in different widths and lengths. I would recommend getting a basic size to start with. I like this one. It’s 6.5 inches x 24 inches. 

rotary cutting ruler

Rotary Cutting Tips

Rotary cutters are great to square off a piece of fabric if you’re making a quilt or something that needs a square edge. (Watch the video tutorial where I demo exactly how to do this).

There is nothing more frustrating than to make a straight cut and have the ends not cut through all the way. TO AVOID THIS ISSUE, start cutting before the edge of the fabric and cut a few inches off the end of the fabric.

You can buy little accessories that make cutting a little easier. This BIG Mat Company has several different items.

I really like the ruler stabilizer. It is a little plastic rectangle that you can apply to the end of your ruler to act like a T-square or you can apply it anywhere on the mat as a straight edge. It’s really quite helpful.

***When cutting a straight strip, press firmly on the ruler and KEEP YOUR FINGERS OUT OF THE WAY!

I hope this was helpful and that you have fun cutting and creating.

Let me know in the comments below if you have any great rotary cutting tips to share with us.

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

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DIY Top Knot Headband | Easy Sewing Tutorial

top knot headband feature2

When you’re looking for a cute baby gift, this top knot headband is so quick and easy to make! They can be made with a minimal amount of knit fabric and OF COURSE, an UPCYCLED T-SHIRT! 

top knot headband tshirt

Choose fabrics that have good stretch to them. These top knot headbands are cute made up of solid colors or prints. I’ve been known to buy shirts, dresses, and skirts for the fabric to make other things with. In fact, I do it all the time, especially clothing on clearance racks! So be on the lookout in your closet and on clearance racks for some cute stretchy fabric that you can make headbands or other baby clothing with.

Choose fabrics that have good stretch to them. These top knot headbands are cute made up with solid colors or prints. I’ve been known to buy shirts, dresses, and skirts for the fabric to make other things with. In fact, I do it all the time, especially clothing on clearance racks! So be on the lookout in your closet and on clearance racks for some cute stretchy fabric that you can make headbands or other baby clothing with.

Make sure you are checking out my SEWING PATTERN STORE, where you’ll find a big handful of other things you can make for babies.

top knot headband

These topknot headbands look adorable on babies, toddlers, and even adults. They can be made to fit ANY SIZE HEAD, just follow the head measuring instructions to get a perfect fit.

You can make these headbands using a regular sewing machine; serger or you can even sew them by hand. If you don’t have a sewing machine, be sure to check out my HANDSEWING tutorial where I show you how to sew a stretch stitch by hand.

Top Knot Headband Materials & Items Needed

  • Sewing machine/Serger (optional)
  • Scissors/Rotary Cutter-Mat
  • Knit Fabric or UPCYCLED KNIT CLOTHING
  • Pins/Fabric clips (optional)
  • Measuring tape
  • Turning stick
top knot headband measurement

HEAD MEASUREMENT

The best way to get the correct size is to measure the head you are making the headband for. If that’s not possible, refer to the Average Head Circumference Chart. Knit fabric will stretch to fit a wide variety of heads sizes in that range so don’t be too stressed about it!

Using a measuring tape, measure the widest part of the head. Write that measurement down.

CUTTING OUT
Cut a strip of knit fabric (6-8 inches/15.5 cm x HEAD MEASUREMENT)

Feel free to alter the thickness of the headband. You may want a thicker, bulkier, or even a thinner headband. It’s all your preference and you can cut them out accordingly.

Make sure you cut out the strips with the stretchiness of the fabric for the widest part.

topknot headband tshirtUpcycled t-shirts work really well

SEWING TOP KNOT HEADBAND

SEAM ALLOWANCE IS 3/8 INCH

 

STITCH TYPE: 

Use a lightning bolt stitch, a small narrow zigzag stitch, this is so the seams won’t pop and break when the fabric is stretched, or you can use a 3-4 thread serger.

TOP KNOT HEADBAND

Fold the fabric strip in half lengthwise. Sew along the unfinished edge. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Turn right side facing out using a turning stick or the eraser end of a pencil.

Align the seam so it is in the center of the headband.

top knot headband topknot headband knot

Take the short ends and tie a very loose knot.

Place the shorts ends Right Sides Together and with the seams lined up. Using a regular straight stitch, sew along the unfinished edge using a 3/8 inch seam allowance. (Basically the edge of your presser foot). Trim seam allowance.

 

I love this method because there is NO SEAM on the back of the headband, therefore making it so much more comfortable to wear.

Slide the knot down so it covers the seam you just made. Adjust the knot how you want it and you’re finished!

Tadah! Now wasn’t that simple!

I hope you have fun making these top knot headbands as much as I do. 

 

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Sewing Corners and Curves | Serger Tips and Tricks

sewing corners and curves

Serging around corners and curves can be a little tricky, but when you know these handy tips and tricks, it’s no problem at all.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to easily sew around square outer and inner corners and how to sew curves without any puckering.

For those of you who are visual learners, you can watch the video tutorial at the end of the post. I give several other serger tips that you won’t want to miss!

Typical Corners and Curves Sewing Projects

Of course, sewing around corners and curves is not a big issue with a regular sewing machine, but when you are using a serger (3 or 4 thread) it is different. For one thing, the serger leaves a chain of stitching that can get quite messy and add bulk to your project if you leave them too long when turning. No more of that!

Before I learned these tips and tricks, I had stitching tails all over the place, which doesn’t look really clean and finished.

Before trying any of these tips, I recommend getting some scrap pieces of fabric and just practice. It takes a little practice and every fabric is different.

Tips for Sewing OUTER CURVES

Start with lining up the fabric edge you are sewing with the side of your serger plate (the side with the blade). This is where you want to keep your focus point. As you slowly sew, you’ll be gently rotating the fabric to the right, keeping the edge of the fabric aligned with the edge of the cutting plate.

Be careful not to twist too much or you’ll get puckers. Just let the machine feed the fabric and you turn the fabric. You’ll get the hang of it real fast.

Tips for sewing  INNER CURVES

The same thing as with outer curves, except instead of rotating fabric to the right, you’ll rotate to the left. Inner curves are a tad trickier because it is a smaller radius. Just go slow. Any slight puckering that occurs can be pressed out.

Most likely, you’ll be sewing a lot more outer corners than inner corners, but knowing how to sew an inner corner using this method is a GAME CHANGER!

Sewing Corners and Curves outer corners

Outer Corners

To sew an outer corner, sew up to the edge of fabric and then take two more stitches by TURNING THE HANDWHEEL TOWARDS YOU.

Lift up the presser foot, gently pull the fabric back a bit to disengage the threads from the looper hooks. This will enable you to PIVET THE FABRIC around. Align the fabric edge with the knife plate edge and the top of the fabric in align so that when the needles come down it will be at just inside the edge of the fabric.

Continue to sew. It’s pretty simple. Do some practicing on scrap fabric. It’s actually quite fun, and notice what clean corners you have all finished nicely!

Sewing inner curves

Inner Corners

Begin sewing and when you get close to the corner, flip the bottom of the fabric edge to line up with the knife edge of your serger. THIS WILL MAKE A NATURAL PLEAT! Flatten the pleat (it will look like a little ice cream cone).

Continue to sew straight, keeping the fabric along the edge until you have completed the corner.

Open up the fabric and BAM, there you have it!

If there is just slight puckering, this can be pressed out.

sewing corners and curves clip cornerNOTE:  if the fabric is thicker, you may need to clip the corner just slightly 1/16 of an inch before sewing. You shouldn’t have a problem with lighter weight fabrics.

Once again, practice and test out the fabric you’re using on your project to see whether you need to clip the corner or not.

I hope that was helpful. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

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DIY Neck Cooling Scarf | Easy Sewing Tutorial

neck cooling scarf youmakeitsimple.com

When it’s hot and you need to keep cool, this DIY neck cooling scarf works like a charm. The scarf is made of simple cotton fabric and filled with water beads. These polymer crystals or water beads are quite amazing and when soaked will plump up with water, expand and then release the moisture slowly. That’s what makes this cooling scarf so nice is that it will stay wet and applies gentle moisture to your skin that keeps you cool for hours.

This is a very simple sewing project that even a beginner seamstress can handle. Making a neck cooling scarf will only take you about ten minutes to make, and it only takes a minimal amount of fabric. These are great to wear when you are working outside, or inside and can be worn by adults and children.

What types of water beads/crystal are best to use?

There are lots of varieties out there. The “crystals” are very small chunks that almost looks like a powder, while the “beads” are smooth spheres. I like to use spherical beads for comfort and ease of use, and some say that the small crystal powder can absorb into the fabric. You will be AMAZED at how the big the beads plump up when soaked in water. One teaspoon turns into 3-4 cups once soaked!

You can find the beads in most craft stores, floral shops and even some hardware stores will sell them in the garden section. They were all sold out in the stores in my location, so I bought them on-line and was very pleased with this brand. (clear beads) (colored beads)

You can find the beads in most craft stores, floral shops and even some hardware stores will sell them in the garden section. They were all sold out in the stores in my location, so I bought them on-line and was very pleased with this brand. (clear beads) (colored beads)

Neck Cooling Scarf Materials & Items Needed

  • Water beads or water crystals
  • Cotton fabric
  • Scissors/rotary cutter (optional)
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Pins/ fabric clips
  • Measuring tape
  • Cookie sheet (to keep the beads from going all over the place)

Neck Cooling Scarf Instructions

1-Hydrate the beads.

If you are using beads, hydrate them before placing them into the scarf. There are so many different sizes of beads that it’s hard to know how much they are going to expand. If you fill the scarf tool full they can expand too much and pop the seams.

If you are using the crystals you can apply the powder before soaking. JUST REMEMBER YOU’LL ONLY NEED JUST A LITTLE BIT! 1 teaspoon of powder, split into different pockets.

neck cooling scarfThe bead to water ratio is 1 teaspoon/3 cups water. Get a big bowl or tub to put them in. It may take a few hours for them to hydrate completely. I like to soak my beads the night before I plan on sewing.

neck cooling scarf cutting fabric

2 -Cut a piece of cotton fabric 4.5/10 cm x 42-44/112 cm inches.

Most bolts of cotton fabric are 42-44 inches wide, so just cut a strip of fabric 4.5 inches.neck cooling scarf cutting ends

3 -Fold the long edges of the fabric strip in half and CUT OFF THE SELVAGE EDGES AT A 45° ANGLE to form a taped edge.

4 -Open up the strip and fold in half again with the RIGHT SIDES FACING EACH OTHER.]

5 -Pin or clip in place.

You are going to leave a space un-sewn about 4 inches/10cm long to turn to the scarf. Find the center and mark that 4 inch space so you don’t forget and sew.

red clips
neck cooling scarf tip
neck cooling scarf sewing

6 -Sew together.

Using a straight stitch, start sewing at one tapered edge and sew all the way around to the other end. DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE THE OPENING. When you come to the red clip, backstitch and then lift up your presser foot and move to the next red clip. Backstitch and continue to sew the rest of the seam backstitching at the end.

7 -Clip corners.

neck cooling scarf turning

8 -Using a turning stick, turn the tube right sides out.

9 -Press seams out.

Fold the seam allowance under where you left the opening and press in place.

10 -Fold the scarf in half and measure 10.5 inches/27 cm from the fold and mark both layers with a pin.

This is where you will stitch the scarf to create the pocket that will hold the beads. You don’t want the whole scarf to be filled with beads, just the portion that wraps around the neck. (Some folks like to make 3 separate pockets, and this works well if you are using the powder, but if you are using the beads, I find it’s not necessary and only takes more time).

11 -Sew vertical seams

Sew two seams where you marked with pins. Backstitch at the beginning and end of seam.

neck cooling scarf filling with beads

12 -Fill scarf with beads.

Now it’s time to fill the scarf with beads. Place a cookie sheet under your workspace so you don’t have beads rolling all over the place. YOU DON’T WANT PETS OR CHILDREN INGESTING THESE BEADS!!!! You can use a funnel that will fit the beads, but I find that you can just grab a handful and feed them into the hole you left. Fill one side and then the other. Don’t overfill as they may expand a little more and pop the seam.

13 -Sew the opening closed.

Once the scarf is full, place the opening edges together and clip in place. You can hand-sew the opening closed or I use the sewing machine. I prefer using a 1/8 inch seam allowance on the sewing machine, it’s much quicker.

14 -Clips threads and you’re finished.

neck cooling scarf soaking

15 -How to soak and hydrate the neck cooling scarf

The beads will eventually dry up, but it takes several days. To re-activate the neck cooling scarf, just soak the entire thing in water for a couple hours. If you want to dry it out, just leave it in the sun. The beads will shrivel up to almost nothing, allowing you to store the wrap flat until the next time you need it.

Some friends and I are currently making a bunch of these up and taking them to the homeless shelter all hydrated and cooled. Perhaps this could be a project for those in your own community who are out in this heat; just a little way to give back.

Get in your fabric stash and make a few neck cooling scarves for yourself, family and those in need.

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4 Basic Sewing Machine Seams and Seam Allowance Tips

seams and seam allowances

In this tutorial I am going to go over the basic sewing machine seams and give you some seam allowance tips.

What are seams?

Seams are the building blocks of a clothing item and are the points of connection between fabric pieces. As a beginner seamstress, the first thing you will learn how to do is sew a basic seam. (Sew two pieces of fabric together).

There are several different types of sewing stitches that you can use to make up seams. Be sure to check out my SEW SIMPLE SERIES, A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO SEWING, where I show you all the basic stitches, seams and guide you through several easy sewing projects. (PATTERNS INCLUDED).

seam allowance

What is a seam allowance?

Whenever you sew seams, you’ll have some kind of seam allowance. This is the distance from the seamline to the raw edge of the fabric, which allows the fabric pieces to be durably connected without fraying or coming unsewn.

 

Here are some basic seam allowance “facts” and “rules”

  • The width of the seam allowance depends on the type of fabric and the seam finishing technique used. A thicker, bulkier fabric requires a larger seam allowance while thinner, lightweight fabrics work well with a narrower seam allowance.
  • The most commonly used seam allowance measures 3/8” to ½”.
  • Some seam allowances are finished to ensure seam durability and prevent the raw fabric edges from fraying. Fabrics like knit or polyester do not need to be finished. Here are some simple techniques to finish seams (NO SERGER NEEDED).
  • After the seam is stitched, the seam allowance should always be ironed down in a specified direction in order for the seam to lay flat (you’ll see a demonstration of this in the sewing tutorial video below).
    All conventional sewing machines have a seam allowance guide to the right of the sewing machine needle. In order to sew each seam at the proper seam allowance, the raw edge of the fabric is aligned with the appropriate seam allowance guideline according to the required seam allowance length. In my tutorials, I usually give some great tips on things you can do and use to make following these guides easier.
  • Most patterns will give you the SEAM ALLOWANCE requirements and measurement for that specific project. If it doesn’t, use the standard 3/8 inch seam allowance. (This by the way is just the edge of your normal presser foot).

BASIC 3/8 INCH SEAMS INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the two pieces of fabric you are working with together, matching edges and pin in place. Use the 3/8 inch guide on the top plate of your machine to line up the edges of the fabric, or if your presser foot edge is at that measurement, you can just use the edge of the presser foot as your guide.pressing seams
  2. Sew the seam. Open up the seam allowance and press flat using an iron.

FLAT FELLED SEAMS INSTRUCTIONS

A flat felled seam is basically an overlapping seam that’s sewn flat. When the seam is complete, there are no raw edges showing. It’s used frequently in menswear because it’s extremely durable and sturdy and provides a neat finish. If you’re wearing jeans, take a look at the seams. They are almost certainly flat-felled. Use a flat felled seam on shirts or trousers, which see a lot of stress, and you’ll get a durable finish.

Here’s how to go about sewing a flat felled seam.

  1. Pin fabric with right sides together. You will be using a 5/8 inch seam allowance. tape seam allowance guideI like to place a piece of masking or painter’s tape onto the sewing plate at the 5/8 inch mark. This will help you see more clearly and help you guide the fabric along as you sew.pressing seam allowance
  2. Instead of pressing the seam open, you’re going to fold the seam allowance to one side and press.flat felled seam stitching
  3. Flip the fabric over to the right side. Now sew a straight line on the side that the seam allowance is pressed to.1/8 inch seam allowance
  4. Sew 1/8 inch from the seam line fold. TIP: Most presser feet will have little notches indicating 1/8 inch marks. This is nice to use this feature when sewing this seam. Simple line the fabric up with that right 1/8 inch guide and sew away.

FINISHED FLAT FELLED SEAMS INSTRUCTIONS

trimming seam allowance

  1. Sew the seam with a ½ seam allowance. Before pressing the seam, take your scissors and trim away ¼ inch from the right seam allowance.pressing seam allowance
  2. Fold the uncut seam allowance over the cut seam allowance and press in place.
  3. Now fold the top seam allowance under ¼ inch encasing the cut allowance. Press in place.
  4. Topstitch in place along the folded edge to secure in place.

FRENCH SEAMS INSTRUCTIONS

French seams are perfect to use on lightweight, sheer fabrics, or lace. I like using this seam when I make pillowcases. The seam encasing all of the fraying fabric edges inside a tiny seam allowance of 1/4″ (5mm). French seams can be great to use if you haven’t got an overlocker (serger) and want to create a perfect finish to your project.

  1. When sewing a French seam, you start by placing WRONG SIDES OF THE FABRIC TOGETHER, instead of right sides together.French seam 1/4 inch seam
  2. Sew the first seam using a ¼ inch seam allowance. Then, fold the fabric along the seam line, so the right sides of the fabric are together and the stitching is at the edge of the fold. Press well, so you are working with a sharp crease at the fold on the seam. You may want to pin the fabric edge, especially if you are using a slippery fabric.3/8 inch seam allowance
  3. Now sew another seam using a 3/8 inch seam allowance.

     

  4. Press the finished seam to one side or the other.

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There you have it, 4 basic seams for you to use.

HINT: my SEW SIMPLE COURSE COMES WITH INSTRUCTIONS AND MEASUREMENTS FOR ALL SIZES OF PILLOWCASES.

OTHER BLOG POSTS YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN:

7 Sewing Machine Presser Feet and How To Use Them

Unpicking Serger Stitches the EASY WAY

SEWING BY HAND | Most Important Stitches to Know

Have fun sewing my friends!

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DIY Upcycled T Shirt Bags | Sew and No-Sew Methods

DIY Upcycled T Shirt Bags

Recycling and upcycling is one of my passions, and making these t-shirt bags is another way to reduce waste and find another use for unwanted clothing. I love these bags! They make great grocery bags, activity bags, and you can even use them as a purse if you want. You will be surprised how durable they are!!

Making and using these DIY T-Shirt bags is great way to reduce waste and recycle unwanted clothing. They make great grocery bags, activity bags, and you can even use them as a purse if you want. You will be surprised how durable they are!!

These bags are super easy and quick to make (10 minutes), and it will help to reduce the pollution of shopping bags. Did you know that one hundred billion grocery bags are used in the United States each year?  This means that the average American family gets 1,500 bags from shopping trips. That’s NOT OK!

That’s a lot of bags. Even if they make it into the garbage, 100 billion bags take up space. Whether they’re stuck in a tree, floating in the breeze or sitting in a trash pile, these bags don’t decompose. Because they’re made from petroleum, toxic chemicals can seep into soil and water.

 

Pollution on land is a problem, but what about these bags when they get in the ocean?  It’s dangerous to animals. Sea turtles, marine mammals and fish confuse the bags with prey, such as jellyfish, and eat the plastic imposters. Ingestion of these bags can lead to malnutrition, and eventually, starvation. Bags can also become caught on waterfowl or coral and wrap around the animals, causing injury or death.

Ok, I think you get the picture. Making and using these upcycled t-shirt bags will help reduce plastic bag pollution. I love that, and I love upcycling t-shirts as most of you know.

I am going to show you two different methods. A no-sew method (in case you don’t have access to a sewing machine) and a simple sewing method.  I prefer the sewing method myself because it is a lot faster!

Let’s jump right into the tutorial.

Upcycled T-Shirt Items & Materials Needed

  • T-shirt
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape (optional no-sew method)
  • Sewing machine/serger (sewing method)
  • Fabric clips/pins (sewing method)

T-Shirt Bag Instructions

NO-SEW METHOD

  • Turn the t-shirt wrong side out.
  • Cut off the sleeve just inside the arm seam.
  • Fold the shirt in half lengthwise.
  • Cut out the bag opening by cutting a deeper neck line. (About the depth of the armholes).
  • Decide how deep you want the bag to be +3 inches/7.5 cm. Cut the bottom off if you want it shorter. You’ll really only need to shorten if you are using a very larger t-shirt.
  • Measure 3 inches/7.5 cm from the bottom of the shirt, take a piece of masking tape or painter’s tape and apply it to the shirt to mark this point.
  • Cut little slits along the bottom of the shirt up to the tape line, ½ -3/4 inches/1 cm apart.
  • Starting from one side, tie one strip from the front to the adjacent strip on the back in a double knot. Continue tying knots until the bottom is all tied.

There will be little holes between the knots. To close those up, take one tie from the first knot and tie it to one of the ties of the second knot in a diagonal manner. Do this to all the knots.

Reinforce the end knots by tying them again.

Flip right side out and there you have it.

T-Shirt Bag Sewing Method

  • Follow the steps for the no-sew method, but instead of cutting the strips, simply sew the bottom closed.

 

  • Set your sewing machine to a LIGHTNING BOLT STITCH or SMALL ZIGZAG STITCH. (SHORT & NARROW).

You can use a serger if you have one.

  • Make a tuck/pleat in the bottom of the bag by folding the sides of the shirt over about 4 inches/10 cm. Clip or pin in place.
  • Use about a ½ inch seam allowance. Sew across the bottom, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam.
  • Turn right side out and ta-dah you’re all finished. Such an easy project.

Get in your closet and find some t-shirts you no longer want or need and MAKE T-shirt BAGS!

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DIY Baby Bib Tutorial | Reversible

baby bib reversible youmakeitsimple.com

Sewing for babies is the best thing ever. This reversible baby bib is a fun and quick little project that is great for even a beginner seamstress. You can apply snaps or Velcro and it has an optional food pocket.

You can use two different contrasting fabrics, or use the same fabric for both sides. The baby bib can be made with several types of fabric: flannel, terry cloth, quilting cotton, sturdy knit fabrics, or laminate cloth.

These make the best baby gifts! Combine a few bibs with some burp cloths, a mitered corner baby blanket, and a bottle of yummy smelling baby lotion and you’ve got an adorable baby gift, a gift that is made from the heart.

Be sure to check out my other baby tutorials.

Baby Bib Materials and Items Needed

Baby Bib Fabric Choices & Requirements

Bibs can be made using several types of fabrics; flannel, terry cloth, quilting cotton, knit, and Pull laminate finished cloth (used for diapers). 

You can make the baby bib reversible and you can use two different prints or colors.

 

Baby Bib Pattern Assembly

Due to the large size of the pattern, you will need to assemble the pattern first.

Simply fold or cut the dotted line on pattern piece 2 and place it on top of and on the dotted line on piece 1 where indicated.

Tape in place and cut out the chosen size.

There is a size for infants, toddlers, children, or a small teething bib. 

*YOU CAN MAKE THE PATTERN SMALLER OR LARGER. I give you specific instructions in the video on how to easily do that. 

Cutting Out

Fold the fabric in half, lengthwise with selvage edges (the finished edge of fabric) parallel to the fold.

Place the pattern piece so the grain arrow is parallel to the selvage edge. 

baby bib cutting outCut out 2 bibs on the fold. You can double fold and cut all 4 pieces at once if you are using the same fabric for the front and back.

FOOD POCKET (optional)

Cut out a piece of fabric approximately 8 x 12 inches. Fold the fabric in half crosswise and then fold in half again lengthwise.

Place the food pocket pattern along folds where indicated. Cut out one.

 

Sewing Baby Bib

If applying a FOOD POCKET, fold the pocket fabric piece in half lengthwise.

* Adding a tag along the pocket top is a cute addition, but optional. Or you can add a tag in the seam somewhere.

Place the folded pocket on top of one of the bib pieces right side facing up. Align the edges and clip in place.

 

Baste in place using a ½ seam allowance and a long basting stitch. Do not backstitch.

Place the other bib piece right side facing down on top of the other bib piece. Line up edges and clip or pin in place.

You will be leaving about 4 inches unsewn on one of the sides of the bib. (This will allow you to turn the bib inside out).

Starting on one side, sew all the way around using a    3/8 inch seam allowance. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Clip outer curves with V notches and inner curves with little slits.

Using a turning stick, poke out the curves and edges.

REMOVE BASTING STITCHES FROM FOOD POCKET

Close the opening you left open by folding the edges in to match seam allowance. Press and clip in place.

baby bib topstitching

Topstitch all the way around using a 1/8 – ¼ inch seam allowance.

Baby Bib Snap Application

You can use KAM snaps, which is what I prefer and use. Or you can use sew-in snaps or even Velcro.

Place the pattern on top of the bib, lining up curves. (Notice: you will be placing two snaps on one side of the bib and only one on the other. This will allow you to adjust the neck size).

Using the awl, that comes with the snap kit, poke the holes where indicated to mark the snap points.

Follow product instructions for the snap or Velcro application.

Tadah!

Here are some other baby projects you may be interested in:

BABY BEANIE HATS

DIY MITERING CORNER BABY BLANKETS

SEWING WITH PLUSH FABRICS

DIY FABRIC LABELS

Have fun sewing!

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Sewing With Plush Fabric | Tips & Tricks

Sewing With Plush Fabric

Items made with plush fabric are the coziest things ever; however, sewing with plush fabric can be a little tricky. In this post I am going to give you some great tips & tricks that will make the sewing process a lot easier and save you a lot of grief!

What Is Plush Fabric?

The fabrics that are considered “plush” are:

  • Faux Fur                 
  • Fleece
  • Minky (also known as “Cuddle” fabric
  • Velvet
  • Chenille
  • Velveteen

These fabrics usually have a “nap” to them. If you run your hand up and down the fabric, they’ll be smoother in one direction and may even look a shade different in color.

plush fabric blanket

What do you do with plush fabric?

These cozy fabrics make really nice toys, blankets, pillows and jackets. It’s not just for babies! We, adults, deserve to have something COZY! 

The fabric is available in solids, prints, embossed and double-sided. Embossed Cuddle is a favorite. You get softness plus a subtle design that pops up from the nap, such as the classic dimple as well as hearts, stars, paisley, and more. Next time you’re at the fabric store, check and see what they have available.

You can buy the fabric by the yard, or you can upcycle a throw blanket or item of clothing (like I like to do). The bunny in the photo below was made from an upcycled fleece jacket.

PLUSCH FABRIC BUNNY

Sewing With Plush Fabric Tips & Tricks

  • Things are going to get messy! Plush fabric sheds when cut; use a rotary cutter to minimize fuzz. After cutting, place pieces in a dryer with a damp washcloth on low heat for about 10 minutes. Keep a lint roller, masking tape, and vacuum handy.

plush fabric stretch

  • This fabric has some stretch to it. It stretches on the crosswise grain but very little along the lengthwise grain (parallel to the selvages). If you are sewing two pieces of fabric together, it’s important to line up stretch with stretch and the grain with the grain, or you’ll get twisting and uneven seams.

plush fabric pinning

  • Use a lot of pins! This fabric will do a lot of shifting from the time you pin until the time you actually sew, so place a lot of pins to hold things in place. I love these long, floral tip pins. It makes them easy to see, so you don’t accidentally leave pins in your projects. 
  • Attach a walking foot, if you have one. If you are going to be sewing on these types of fabrics, it’s well worth the investment. Most sewing machines have one available if it doesn’t come with one. It makes a huge difference when sewing on the fleece, Minky, upcycled sweaters, etc. *If you don’t have one, be sure to hold the bottom layer of fabric a little more firmly when sewing. What happens is, the bottom fabric gets fed through the machine more quickly and you’ll get uneven sewing.
  • If you’re sewing a different type of fabric together with the plush, place the plush fabric on the bottom when sewing.
  • Use a ballpoint needle, 90/14 (Ge my NEEDLE GUIDE HERE).
  • Set your stitch length to a longer-than-normal stitch (3-4) to keep seams from puckering.
  • Do not use an iron. The fabric can melt!
  • Use a slightly bigger seam allowance. I like to use a ½ inch seam allowance when sewing on plush.
  • Using a rotary cutter will give you a cleaner cut edge.
  • If sewing together with a different type of fabric, especially cotton, be sure to wash the cotton piece first! Plush fabric will not shrink, but the cotton will.

Sewing with plush fabric is really not that bad once you get the hang of it. I wished I would have known this stuff before I attempted my first plush fabric project.

I have a video tutorial showing you how to make a plush self-binding blanket, and I go over these tips in it. WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE.

You may also find the fleece binding tutorial helpful.

Check out my sewing patterns HERE.

I hope this was helpful and that you’re now ready and excited to make a fun baby blanket or teddy bear.

7 Sewing Machine Presser Feet and How To Use Them

presser feet youmakeitsimple.com

Have you ever gone through the sewing machine attachments that come with your sewing machine and wondered, “What the heck is this used for?” I certainly have! In this post, I am going to walk you through the 7 most basic sewing machine presser feet and how to use them.

Whatever type of sewing machine you have, it will come with some basic presser feet attachments. Some of them may look very intimidating and seem complicated to use. NO WORRIES. By the end of this tutorial, you are going to be all ready and hopefully, excited to tackle any sewing project.

What are presser feet?

Presser feet are small attachments that are added to the machine to help feed the fabric through the machine while you sew. There are many types of presser feet and each does something different to make the sewing task easier.

janni tips

Make sure to use presser feet that are compatible with the model of the sewing machine! Some feet are universal and can be used and several models of sewing machines, but others are not. When you purchase a new foot, it will tell what models it can be used on.

 

7 Basic Presser Feet

Play Video

Standard Presser Foot

This foot is most likely the foot you’ll be using for most of your sewing projects. It’s used for standard and decorative stitches.

  • Straight stitch
  • Satin stitch
  • Zigzag stitch
  • Overcasting
  • Other fancy stitches
  • Zipper Foot

Most machines include a zipper foot. There are several types of zipper feet and different ways to attach them. Depending on the setup of your machine, will determine how you attach it.

It’s pretty obvious what the zipper foot is used for, but how does it work?

Most commonly a zipper foot has gaps on either side of the foot. Depending on which side of the zipper you are sewing you position the zipper tape under the relevant side of the zipper foot. You stitch along one side of the zip then repeat for the other side.

The gaps in the foot allow you to sew close to the zipper teeth on either side of your zipper. If your sewing machine is capable, you can also adjust the needle position to more precisely place your stitching.

You can also use the zipper foot to attach trimmings and that have a tape, just like you do with a zipper. A zipper foot can also be used to apply piping. (There is a piping foot, which makes the task even easier

Overcasting/Overedge Foot

This foot is wonderful if you need to finish the raw edges of fabric but don’t have a serger or overlock machine. There is a little bar in the center of the foot that works to wrap the thread around the edge of the fabric for a neat finish and to prevent fraying.

There are usually a couple of options for overcasting stitches on most machines. You may need to play around with the length and width of the stitch to get the result you are looking for. I always recommend practicing on a piece of scrap fabric first.

You can watch the video tutorial where I will show you in more detail how to do the overcast stitch on your sewing machine.

Play Video

The overcasting stitch can be used even if you have a serger. It comes in handy for quick, small, and hard to reach places.

Blind Hem Foot

This foot is a nice option if you want to hem a pair of pants, curtains, skirt, or other items that you don’t want to be able to see the seam and you don’t want to sew it by hand.

The foot has a gap down the center and the right side of the foot is wider than the left side. The left side is also slightly raised compared to the right side because once the fabric is folded correctly there will be three layers of fabric to fit under the left side of the foot (two layers of the garment fabric itself plus the hem allowance), but only one layer on the right side

You can watch the detailed blind hem video here

Play Video

As I mentioned before, take a piece of scrap fabric and test it out there before sewing on your project. It takes a little tweaking to get the stitch how you want it.

Select the blind hem stitch on your machine and position the foot with the right side of the foot snugly against the fold in the fabric. The right side of the foot will act as a guide as you sew making it easy to sew accurately and ensure the stitches are falling correctly.

As you sew the stitches will be straight and then it will jog over to just catch the main garment fabric as it joins it to the hem allowance. You may need to play with the needle position to get your stitches in the correct place.

You will see a minimal amount of stitching from the right side, especially if you are using thread that is the same color as your fabric.

Buttonhole Foot

This foot can look intimidating, as at least it did for me until I used it. There are different types of buttonhole feet and some are fancier than others. I’m going to show and demonstrate how to use a one-step buttonhole foot. Most machines will come with at least a sliding or adjustable foot, which is similar to the one-step.

The one-step buttonhole attachment looks similar to the sliding and adjustable buttonhole feet, but it also has an area at the back of the foot where you can insert your button. You slide the foot until the button is fitting snugly in the gap then engage a lever or similar on your machine (instructions for this feature will be in your manual). This allows the machine to measure the button and stitch out the correct sized buttonhole in one simple step. I LOVE IT!

Practice on a scrap piece of fabric first. It’s actually quite fun making buttonholes!

Button Foot

You can always just sew a button on by hand but if you’re not a fan of hand sewing this foot could be a very welcome addition to your sewing kit! This foot allows you to sew a 2 or 4 hole button, and in different sizes, depending on the size of the button you are using.

Some machines will have a special setting for applying a button. But if it doesn’t NO WORRIES!

Simply set the stitch width according to the gap between the holes on the button and set the stitch length to “0”. The machine does all the work. If your machine does not have the special button setting, when you complete the stitching, move the needle position to the left or right and set the width to “0” and take several stitches in the same hole to knot the thread. Or you can just manually knot the two threads on the underside.

Viola!

Applique Foot

An appliqué foot is shorter in length than most presser feet and has a wider area for sewing all kinds of decorative stitches. The foot is shorted in length which makes maneuvering curves and angles easier.

The front of the foot sits on the fabric to maintain the required pressure; however, the back of the foot is raised to allow stitches and fabric to feed through easily.

Simply attach the foot to your machine, select an appliqué stitch of your choice, and sew around your chosen design quickly and easily. One of my favorite stitches to use is the blanket stitch.

There you have it. I hope this was helpful and allows you to feel more confident and familiar with those foreign-looking attachments that come with your sewing machine.

janni tips

It’s always a good idea to read through the manual that comes with your sewing machine. There may be some good tips in there to help make your sewing experience a lot easier.

 

 

For those of you who would like a little more direction and tips on all the SEWING BASICS, be sure to check out my SEW SIMPLE COURSES. Find out more about them HERE.

OTHER SEWING POSTS YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN:

Sewing Machine Needles, Why choosing the right one matters!

Unpicking Serger Stitches the Easy Way

Have fun sewing, and remember to KEEP IT SIMPLE!

 

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Simple Christmas Stocking Sewing Tutorial | Lined With Contrasting Cuff

Christmas is just around the corner and what a great time to get out your sewing machine and make some fun holiday decorations. This Christmas stocking sewing tutorial is a very simple project that you can whip up in no time at all. The stocking is lined and has a contrasting cuff.

You can make these stockings out of all kinds of fabric.

WATCH THE VIDEO TUTORIAL HERE

Play Video

Christmas Stocking Items & Materials Needed

There are two different styles of the stocking. You can make them all one solid color, or piece several types of fabric together to get a patchwork design.

Christmas Stocking Instructions

  • Download and print the pattern. (Due to the size of the pattern, you will first need to assemble the pattern. Not a big deal).

Cutting Out

  • Two of the outer covering and two of the lining pieces.
  • One cuff piece, on the fold where indicated on the pattern. You can also use an upcycled sweater cuff. (The bottom edge of a sweater or the sleeve cuff can be used). If using a sweater cuff, you won’t need to double the fabric, so don’t place the pattern on the fold).
 
  • Loop piece, on the fold where indicated on the pattern

Sewing 

You can use a serger or single needle machine to sew the Christmas stocking. All seams will be 3/8” (usually the edge of your pressure foot) and you will always backstitch at the beginning and end of seams unless directed otherwise.

  • With Right Sides Together (RST), place stocking front to back.  Pin in place.  Sew all the way around, leaving the top open.

 

CUFF:

  • Fold cuff piece in half (RST).  Sew the side seam.
  • Fold the cuff over and in half so the right sides are facing out. (If you want to add lace or trim to the cuff, do it now)
  • With the seam on the left, press in place. Mark the halfway point with a pin, on the right.

PIECED STOCKING:

  • If you want a pieced look, like in the photo on top, follow the directions below. For a more rustic look, you can expose the seams on the outside of the stocking.
  • With (RST) place pieces A & B together matching darts. Pin in place and sew the seam.
  • Open the stocking up and with (RST) place on top of piece C, matching darts. Pin in place and sew the seam.
  • If you want more than three pieces sewn together, like the stocking on the left, you can sew several sweater strips together and then cut a front stocking piece. 
  • Cut out a solid piece for the back.
  • Place these pieces (RST) matching seams and edges, pin in place.  Sew all the way around leaving the top edge open.
  • Place the loop on the stocking lining, centered on the back seam.  Pin in place.
  • Baste the loop onto the stocking. (No need to backstitch) You will be sewing through the lining, stocking, and the loop

SEWING THE CUFF ONTO THE STOCKING

  • Place the cuff inside the stocking, with the RIGHT side facing the stocking.  (If using a sweater cuff, the sweater cuff seam will be facing out and visible).
  • Align the cuff seam with the stocking seam. (There will be 4 layers, 3 if using a sweater cuff)
  • Pin in place.
  • Sew all the way around, through all layers. Stretch and ease sweater cuff as needed.
  • Flip the cuff over. Press seam towards the stocking.
  • Flip the cuff down and Ta-dah…….You are ready to hang your stocking!

There is no limit to the color and fabric combinations that you can do. Make a stocking for each one in the family! 

Have fun sewing. Reach out if you have any questions.

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Unpicking Serger Stitches the EASY WAY

Sewing on a serger/overlock machine is wonderful, but when it comes to unpicking serger stitches, you may find yourself overwhelmed and dreading the whole process.  I used to feel this way until I learned this slick and easy way to unpick; and I’m going to show you how it’s done. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been sewing or how good you are at it, there ARE going to be times that you’ll need to UNPICK! However, once you learn this technique, it won’t matter, because it is so easy to do.

A serger stitch will either use three or four threads to form the stitch: two looper threads and one or two needle threads. In the photo above, I have used a different thread color for each stitch to show you what it looks like. (four-thread stitch).

Before I learned this trick, I would grab my unpicker and try to unpick each stitch. There were little cut threads everywhere, and it took FOREVER! It was so frustrating! I seriously can’t believe and went so long sewing on a serger without knowing this little trick. It makes the process so quick and you don’t have all the cut threads to collect and dispose of.

UNPICKING SERGER STITCHES-HOW TO

The only stitches you are going to pull out are the needle threads. The photo above is a four-needle thread stitch. The RED thread is the left needle stitch, the TAN thread is the right needle stitch, and the blue thread is a looper thread.

1. Take the unpicker and with the point grab the red thread and pull it and cut it. Go down the seam another 1-2 inches and cut the needle thread again. BE CAREFUL NOT TO GRAB THE LOOPER THREADS, this will cause the seam to lock up and the threads will not pull out as easy. Get ahold of one of the tails of the thread you just cut and ease and pull it out of the fabric. (Sometimes you can do the whole seam in one go). Continue this process until you’ve removed that left needle thread completely.

2. If you are using a four-thread, you’ll need to remove the right needle thread as well. Finding the right needle thread can be a little tricky if you are using the same color of thread as the fabric. (A trick to finding the stitch, is to take your unpicker tip and glide it down the little v shape that the looper makes and it will slide right into the right needle stitch). It may seem like a lot of work, but trust me, it goes quickly and you’ll love the results.

3. Here’s the fun part! Once the needle threads are removed, all you need to do is grab the looper threads and give a little pull, and voilà! It will unravel like a dream. There won’t be all those little threads to gather and you’ll be on your way to re-sewing your seam.

I hope this saves you some grief while sewing. Be sure to leave a comment if you have some great sewing tips for us!

Play Video

Here are some other sewing blog posts you may be interested in:

OVERLOCK STITCH | NO SERGER NEEDED 

SEWING BY HAND | MOST IMPORTANT STITCHES TO KNOW

Have fun sewing and UNPICKING!

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Adjustable Face Mask Earloops Tutorial – No Beads

For those of you who are STILL MAKING FACE MASKS, I am going to show you how to make adjustable face mask earloops that are comfortable and don’t require any beads or other hardware. This simple slip knot technique is easy to do and makes adjusting your mask a snap. You can sew these earloops into any of your favorite mask designs.

The secret for comfort is the stretchy fabric strips. You can make your own using upcycled t-shirts, tights, leggings (watch the tutorial HERE) and read this post for some great face mask tie ideas and tips. Or you can simply buy the fabric already cut, stretched, and rolled onto a bolt.

I love this product from FARMYARN. It’s 100% recycled selvage edges from stretchy lycra fabric, and it’s very reasonably priced.

So if you’re making a lot of masks, this is the route I recommend! This stuff can also be used for so many other things and it’s much more comfortable than scratchy elastic! You can purchase it from several places. Here are a few. AmazonEtsy, and ebay.

Do you have a bunch of tie face masks that you want to convert over to earloops? I have that covered. This post and video tutorial will show you just how to do that. 

ITEMS AND MATERIALS NEEDED

 

I have a Youtube video that you can watch and it really helps if you’re a visual person (like me). You can access the video at the end of the post.

FACE MASK EARLOOPS INSTRUCTIONS

1-Take the small strip and make a small loop at the bottom of the strip.

2-Wrap the long end around the loop and poke through the loop.

3-Pull it through while you’re holding onto the two ends to tighten. (Don’t tighten all the way at this point).

4-Take the long strip and make a knot at one end. (This will keep the strip from pulling through the loop when washing your mask). Thread the other end through the loop you just made and cinch it up by pulling the strip that slides to tighten. (You want it to be able to slide, but also be able to hold in place).

5-Hold the two slip knot ends and cut to even length. 

6-Do the same thing to make a set.

HOW TO SEW FACE MASK EARLOOPS INTO MASK

1-Insert the end of the strip without the knot, into the top side of the mask. (Just below the top seam allowance) Allow the strip to overhang the mask by about 1/2 inch. 

2-Place the two slip knot strips at the bottom side of the mask, just above the seam allowance, and sticking out 1/2 past the edge of the fabric. TIP: Take a strip of masking tape and tape the knotted end the sliding stip to the inside and out of the way, so it won’t get sewn into the seam.

3-Do the same thing for the other earloop set.

4-Proceed with your face mask directions sewing the earloops into the side seams of the mask. Make sure to leave an opening for turning the mask inside out. 

5- Turn inside out, remove the tape, clip seams, and proceed with your face mask instructions.

Play Video Play Video

I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.

My other FACE MASK VIDEOS

Happy face mask making!

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