General Garment-Sewing Advice and Tips

Whether you’re just getting started in garment construction, or you’ve been doing it a long time, there are certain things you can do to make it go a little smoother. For example, when sewing tiny doll clothes, try using “Seams Great” on top of the lace that you’re sewing. It can be found at sewing stores and will help the lace stay in place.

For fabrics that aren’t intended to have pin insertion, such as ski jacket fabric, use plastic-covered paper clips instead. The paper clips slide on and off easily and will make sewing these types of fabrics a breeze. Clothes pins also work well.

When attaching snaps to a garment, sew the first half of the snap onto the garment. Use a piece of chalk, or even a sprinkle of baby powder, on the snap. Now fold the snaps over to the other part of the garment, where the bottom snap part will go. The powder or chalk will leave a mark giving you the perfect guide for attaching the other halves of the snaps. You’ll never have to remove and reposition snaps again.

Instead of having a lump in your waistband, from where you’ve overlapped the elastic, butt the two pieces of elastic together before stitching. Use a small piece of cloth on the underside and zig-zag stitch together, sewing across the width of the elastic with a wide stitch. Now stitch into the waist. You won’t have lumpy waistbands any more.

When sewing swimsuit elastic, make sure you flip the garment over to where the elastic is on the underside while sewing. The feed dogs will push the elastic through and this technique will make it much easier to sew.

You can now buy your own labels to sew into garments, like ones that say “Lovingly Made by Grandma” and other cute sayings. If you have no labels, though, cut a small piece of thin ribbon, of a different color than the fabric, to sew into the back pants seam. While sewing, or getting dressed, this piece of ribbon allows you to easily see which side is the back.

Using dental floss will make gathering fabrics much easier. Simply zig-zag stitch, over the top of the floss, making sure no floss gets caught in the stitching. Afterwards, just pull the floss and gather the fabric to the proper size. Trim the dental floss or remove it completely, after stitching the garment piece in place. Make sure you use the waxed floss for best results.

To avoid having gaps between your blouse buttons, always sew the first button on at the fullest part of the bust line. Measure the bust, or even try on the shirt. Find the fullest part of the bust line and mark that spot to get the first button. After that, the rest can go on as usual. This technique prevents having buttons spaced wrong, allowing the shirt to pull open in places.

Use a winter glove when ironing tiny or difficult areas on a garment. The glove prevents you from getting burned by the iron, while allowing you to smooth collar corners or hold tiny bows in place.

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