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Colour Blocking 101

Colour blocking is a fashion trend that comes and goes. It was first made famous in the 1964 jersey day dress by designer Yves St. Laurent. He was inspired by the paintings of Piet Mondrian and thus his design became known as the Mondrian dress.Colour blocking reappeared on the runways in 2011 and is becoming [...]

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The Myth of the Portable Sewing Machine and Fate

In the July 2014 issue of The Stitching Line, an online newsletter published by Islander Sewing Systems, Janet Pray discusses the problems sewers face when using portable sewing machines and the importance of having a large flat sewing area around your machines.. It reminded my of an earlier article I posted on my old blog about [...]

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Anatomy of a Sewing Machine

As I was writing my last blog it occurred to me that I was throwing around terms like "take-up lever" and "race hook" and that some readers may not know what they meant. I admit myself, that before I started teaching sewing, I didn't know all the proper names for parts of the sewing machine. [...]

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How a Stitch is Formed

When you understand how a stitch is created by your sewing machine, you can eliminate two common problems: #1 trouble removing your project from the machine and #2 having your needle come unthreaded at the beginning of your seam.The first problem is frequently experienced when the sewer has just finished sewing a seam and finds [...]

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What Would You Change About Your Sewing Education?

In the most recent issue of Threads magazine, the contributors were asked the question "If you could do it again, what would you change about your sewing education?"All the contributors' answers were insightful but Susan Lazear's response resonated the most with me. She said, "I used to consider the pattern instructions as the rule." Oh [...]

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Understanding Thread Tension

When I first began sewing, I had a fear of having to deal with thread tension. I always just hoped that the stitching would be even on both sides of the fabric and that I would never have to touch the tension dial. I put that down to lack of experience and not understanding how [...]

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Off to a Good Start Tip #3

In the previous tip, we learned how to eliminate the loops at the beginning of a seam. The second most asked question I get from students is: "Why do I get puckers at the beginning and end of my seams?" Most of us have experienced this problem at one time or another. And maybe we [...]

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Off to a Good Start Tip #2

Whenever I give sewing classes or seminars to beginners, the question I am asked most often is this: "How do I get rid of the thread loops at the beginning of my seams?"Even experienced sewers occasionally have to deal with the "birds nest" of thread on the underside of the fabric. Sometimes the problem is [...]

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Off to a Good Start Tip #1

When I first started to sew, the only time I changed the needle was if it broke. I didn't know any better. And I couldn't understand why I had skipped stitches and why my seams were so buckled all the time. Now I know better.Before you commit to sewing that first seam on your garment, [...]

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Sewing on Buttons Tip #5

Many buttons--not just metal buttons--come with a metal shank. These buttons require special treatment otherwise you and your buttons could soon part company.For metal shank buttons that will attached to a coat or jacket, I prefer to use button thread. You can purchase it waxed or condition it yourself with beeswax. Just run the thread over [...]

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