Free sewing course for beginners from scratch (6)

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First of all “Happy Easter” to all of you! Here again some basics to practice, before we start making our first item! Practice first on paper, then on a leftover cotton piece of fabric and again practice, get the feel of it.

To fix your thread at the beginning and the end of your stitching

hechten

The rule of three:

Do three stitches, stop, put the machine in reverse stitching mode.

Stitch again three stitches, this time in reverse, exactly on those first three stitches (you might want to guide your machine by hand and not use your foot pedal the first times), stop.

Put your machine back in forward position and continue stitching to finish your line.

The end result should be three stitches, stitched three times on top of each other. Your thread will be well fixed!

Lift up the machine foot.

Pull your paper or fabric, away from you, out of the machine, cut of the threads and make sure they both hang long enough ready for your next exercise.

Cut off the long threads of your work, about 1 cm of your stitching.

The zigzag seam finish:

If you don’t protect the edges of your fabric, they’ll start fraying.

fraying3

I always advice that before you cut your fabric ,you make sure you know the good side and the back side of your fabric (easy when it has a design on it, not easy when it is just a single coloured fabric!).

Remember this easy trick if you’re working with fabric in one colour: in a weaving mill there is a lot of dust, and dust falls down, to avoid dust falling on the good side of the fabric it will be facing the ground, the back side will be upwards. Automatic pins keep the fabric steady, they are put in at the edges of the fabric: where they go in is where you see the holes in the fabric, as this side is facing up (think about the dust falling), this is the fabric’s back side:

back-sidefabric

Where the pins come out, is where you see the fabric popping up around the hole, thus the good side (facing downwards in mills):

goodsidefabric

Once you’ve cut your fabric, you have to immediately protect its edges.

My dream was always to own an overlocker / serger, one of the most useful items when sewing. These machines sew a seam to join layers of fabric, trim the edge whilst providing a neat finish and oversew the trimmed edge to prevent fraying. Not having one, I have to apply the zigzag stitch to the edge of the seam allowance, so it won’t fray.

Start by setting your machine to the zigzag stitch setting.

Let’s check the stitch length first:

Here is an example of 4 different lengths you can create (imagine having stitch width 4):

first-zigzag

Stitch width:

The higher the number, the wider your zigzag stitch will be!

Here is an example of 4 different widths (when you put for example your stitch length on 2):

second-zigzag

Change the width or length only WHEN YOUR NEEDLE IS NOT IN YOUR FABRIC AND THE MACHINE IS IN STANDSTILL!

Choose width and length and put your fabric under the machine foot, put the needle a few mm from the edge and give it a try. Don’t bother to fix your start or endings here (just hold the thread at the beginning of your stitching so it doesn’t shoot away).

Imagine you start a project and two layers of fabric are stitched together but you want to give it the finishing touch, so people don’t see your zigzag stitch at the end of your fabric. What to do:

The inlay finish:

Single inlay:

Ideal for stitching two pieces together, when seams won’t be visible as the end product will only show the outside: think trousers, sleeves.

Preparation:

first-A

  1. A) Make sure you mark the good side of your fabric (one barred 0 ) and the back side ( two barred 00) too.

Then stitch the seam allowance with the zigzag stitch.

Ready:

first-b

  1. B) 1. Fold and pin the seam allowance (1cm) to the 00 side. Iron so it is nicely flat.
  1. B) 2. Stitch with a normal stitching stich (!) parallel at 2mm of the zigzag stitched seam allowance. Don’t forget to fasten the thread at the beginning and the end!

Double inlay:

Nice for finished items where people could see the backside of your work.

Preparation:

secondA

  1. A) Make sure you mark the good side of your fabric (one barred 0 ) and the back side ( two barred 00) too.

Ready:

IMG_2813

  1. B) 1. Fold and pin the seam allowance (0,5cm) to the 00 side. Iron so it is nicely flat.

Fold this a second time (1cm) and pin the seam allowance again to the 00 side. Iron so it is nicely flat.

  1. B) 2. Stitch, with a normal straight stitch, parallel at 2mm on the folded seam allowance. Don’t forget to fasten the thread at the beginning and the end!

I see loads of people taking their pins out when stitching, no need to! When you stitch, you can stitch over the pins, but only when you’ve put them HORIZONTAL in the fabric, so you’re stitching vertical over them!

Once you master this, you’re ready to make your first item, as you know I’ll let you make a cushion cover, but in a very easy way. Online you’ll find loads of cushion covers involving turning the fabric inside out, for a first exercise I prefer a much simpler version which will look just as nice. Keep on practicing and you’ll be ever so ready for your first sewn item! Don’t hesitate to send me questions!

A very curious

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