Sewing expert Sandra Betzina has spent many years teaching and sewing with a passion.
In this regular new column, Sandra will be sharing her tips for hassle-free sewing.
from Sandra Betzina
To avoid shifting and slippage of unstable fabrics, such as rayon and lightweight silk, cover the cutting surface with tissue paper. Overlay the tissue paper with a double thickness of the fabric, taping the cut edges and the selvages to the table. Overlay the pattern pieces. Cut out the pattern through all layers, including the tissue. Throw out the tissue and begin constructing the garment.
When cutting out pattern pieces, cut off the black cutting line completely or the pattern pieces won't fit together properly.
The number of hassles created by not being able to see pattern markings are countless. If you like frustration while you're sewing, don't bother with marking the dots and you'll have frustration at the highest level. Mark all the notches and dots clearly. If the fabric is nubby, mark with a tailor's tack, or fuse a H" square of interfacing onto the fabric wrong side and mark on the interfacing. On stable fabrics, mark the notches out and the dots in.
Loose-weave fabrics and fusing on fitted garments can cause big problems, making the finished garment too tight. Use the block fusing method when interfacing to avoid shrinkage. Cut out a length of fabric long enough to fit on the pattern pieces you plan to fuse. Leave the selvages intact. Fuse the interfacing to the fabric. Use the selvages to determine the straight of grain when pinning the pattern to the fabric.
Never use fusibles on lightweight silks. On fabric pieces that call for interfacing, hand baste silk organza to the wrong sides of the cut fabric pieces. Using organza instead of interfacing avoids a bubbly appearance or a "too stiff" look. Interfacing should support the fabric but should never be evident from the fabric right side.
Avoid puckered seams by changing needles often and using the correct needle type for the fabric.
Don't sew over pins except when cross pinning to avoid shifting seam joints. Sewing over pins causes a drag on the bobbin, which weakens the seam. Sewing over pins can also dull or bend the needle.
Stay tape shoulders, necklines and waistlines. Stay tape prevents the fabric from stretching as you sew and maintains the garment's size as you wear it. Z
Sandra Betzina has written many books. Learn the correct needle, stitch length, presser foot, interfacing, seams, pressing, hems and closures to use for all fabrics in her book More Fabric Savvy. She also designs patterns for Vogue under the Today's Fit label, writes a subscriber-only online sewing column and conducts hands-on, week-long classes in San Francisco. For more information, visit her Web site at sandrabetzina.com , or call (415) ...