When the sewing machine pedal isn’t working

The sewing machine pedal isn’t working – What to do

I once had a sewing machine that was used a lot. It was a beautiful machine. But the sewing machine pedal wasn’t working as it should. I should have seen trouble coming, but as it was, I pushed to finish my sewing projects. I was sewing breastfeeding pillows for a mother and baby clinic.

What I should have realized is that the sewing machine pedal was about to stop working all together. I was sewing away, suddenly there was a flash and the sewing machine pedal blew up!

So when your sewing machine pedal isn’t working as it should, there could be several reasons for this. The sewing machine pedal could be about to complete the end of it’s life span. In other words, it may blow up or it may stop working. A condenser inside the pedal could be blown. There are lots of things that can go wrong. But what do you do when the sewing machine pedal isn’t working anymore?

Several things can be done. The first is to trouble shoot the sewing machine pedal not working. Check if it’s plugged into the wall. Check if it’s thoroughly plugged into the sewing machine. It may be that it just needs a bit of a wiggle for it to make a connection. If this is the case, the plug point probably needs a little bit of cleaning.

If none of those things work and the sewing machine pedal has in fact stopped working and isn’t going to be working again, you can cut the cable off of the pedal. Take the pedal and cable to a sewing machine shop where they sell pedals. The shop owner will match the plug with another pedal and can connect the wires so that you will have a working pedal again.

If they can’t find a replacement pedal, you can always buy a brand new one. But ideally, when your sewing machine pedal isn’t working anymore, the first thing to do is to see if you can’t fix the problem yourself.

Finding the right online sewing course

The right online sewing course

So you want to try sewing, but you aren’t exactly sure how to do it. The next step is to find a sewing course. But if you don’t have the time or opportunity to do this, you will need to find an online sewing course.

There are thousands of online sewing courses out there. But finding the correct one can be a difficulty. The last thing you want is an online sewing course that you pay money for and that won’t teach you much.

The right online sewing course would have a decent lay out of course contents and what will be covered in the lesson material. There are other features to look for as well when you look for the right course to “attend”.

Some of the features for this would include things such as comprehensive material explaining the how to do the sewing and how it works. The course would contain many images and examples as well as online videos on how to do some things. Another thing the right online sewing course would cover would be things such as fabrics, sewing techniques, sewing basics, sewing accessories, pattern making basics, adjusting patterns, measurements, working with sewing machines and sergers, sewing straight, preparing fabric, how to read commercial patterns and much much more. If the course does not include these things, it’s probably not for you and probably not as comprehensive as it should be.

Another thing the right online sewing course would contain is exercises for you to practice, and feedback on what you’ve done. Perhaps even a chat with the instructor or at least access to the instructor so that you can ask questions.

If you are looking for the right online sewing course, then these are essentials that you need to take into consideration before you sign up for a sewing course online that would cost money, but not be worth much in learning.

How to choose the right color thread

How to choose the right color thread

Choosing the right color thread is very important when sewing a garment. Many people don’t know how to choose the right color thread. The reasons for getting the color correct are many, but the last thing you want is for your skew sewing to be shown up with white thread on a red background for example.

Knowing how to choose the right color thread has saved me on many occasions and has brought a professional look to the clothes that I make. It really is actually quite easy and simple.

Let’s say that you have a garment with a plain color. It’s easy. your plain color should determine your thread color. If it’s read, you will use red thread. If it’s green, you will use green thread etc.

But what happens if you have a garment where there are multiple colors? How do you then choose the right color thread?

The thing to look for when choosing the right color thread is the background of the garment. The predominant color of the background. For examples, I have added about three images below with the color thread for each background. The dominant color. The first one, the dominant color is red. The second one’s dominant color is white. The third one is not so easy. Green could work, but sea green works better. The idea is to choose a thread that will now show up as much of the stitching as it would if it was for example purple on any of these.

It’s the simplest and easiest thing to get the right color thread, but if you do not know how to choose the right color thread, your garment could end up looking like a hash job instead of professional job.

How to sew pleats

How to sew pleats

If you are sitting and wondering how to sew pleats, I have good news. It’s the easiest thing in the world.

Pleats can look so good on a garment and add that tiny bit of extra look and feel it needs to look fantastic. But few people know how to sew pleats and find it hard to understand the patterns.

The first thing you need to remember when your pattern has pleats is that you need to make certain that you mark it on the fabric that you are about to sew the pleats onto. You cannot proceed and think you will get the pleats right if you haven’t marked it on the paper. This is not how to sew pleats. It has to be marked.

The next thing you do, as indicated in the image below, is to fold the marked lines of the pleats together, right sides facing.

You then take the rest of the area and fold it back over the fold you have just made. This is indicated below. I did use an already finished garment to demonstrate the next picture as I forgot to take the picture while I was busy sewing as all the other pictures. But it’s the same step.

The last part of the sewing pleats is to just sew them with a stay-stitch at the top where they will ultimately be sewn together in either an elastic, seam or hem. The last picture indicates this.

I hope this has shown you how to sew pleats. It really is an easy process and once you learn how to sew pleats you will be well on your way to beautifying whatever you sew.

How to sew a shirt

How to sew (a shirt)

If you are new to sewing and have no idea how to sew, you’ve come to the right place. In this short tutorial I’m going to show you how to sew a shirt. It’s really not as difficult as it seems.

This particular shirt that I’m going to show you how to sew is a kid size shirt, made from a pattern I had previously enlarged for a six year old girl. The first step to sew a shirt is to sew the facing, if it has facing. If there is no facing, then you can go ahead and just sew the shirt, but in this case, there is facing. I laid the facing out inside out as shown in the picture and sewed it around the edges, only leaving the bottom open. I then turned it the right way round, ironed and stay stitched the edges. The following three images will show how I sewed this part of the shirt.

When you know how to sew a shirt this part is quite easy, but when you’ve never done this before, it can be quite complicated to understand. It’s simple. It gets sewn the wrong way around and then turned over.

I proceeded to do the same with the back part and facing.

The next thing you need to know about how to sew a shirt is to fit the two panels together along with the bottom part of the shirt. I proceeded to insert the pleats into the bottom part (see my post for how to sew pleats) of the shirt (top of the bottom panel) and once again, with the wrong sides together, sewed the two pieces together. The image below will show you how that was done. Edge to edge, so that it’s aligned properly.

You will see that when you flip up the top part of the shirt, the front part of the shirt would look complete. I sewed the back and front together, inside out. When you turn it around, you do not see the seams that you’ve sewn.

The important thing in learning how to sew a shirt or any other garment is that you need to always remember that most often, about 99% of the time, sewing is done back to front to hide the hems. Nobody buys clothes in the shop that looks like it’s made inside out. The hems are always on the inside.

After having sewn together everything, the shirt is turned around and completed. The only thing left was to add one button at the back, which you can check out in my article on how to sew a button hole.

I hope this has shown you how to sew a shirt in a couple of easy steps. It’s really easy and with a bit of practice, you can learn how to sew a shirt and almost anything else that you want to!

How to sew a shirt – tips:

As always, I have explained how to sew a shirt. But I find that just reading about it does not always help. One has to also practice how to sew a shirt to do it properly. So my suggestion would be to go to your local fabric store, get some off cuts for a cheap price and an old pattern and start practicing how to sew a shirt.

When you choose a practice pattern, don’t choose a button up fancy shirt but more something like a tshirt. It’s easier to practice how to sew a shirt with a plain t shirt type of pattern than a fancy pattern. Once you get the hang of how to sew a shirt, you can move on to more complicated projects.

Buying Sewing Patterns

Buying Sewing patterns – A Guide

Finding and buying the right sewing patterns can be frustrating. There are millions of them online. Pinterest has a huge selection of sewing patterns you can buy or download, but not all of them are free and some of them are old and don’t exist anymore. Some of the sewing patterns are in different languages that you cannot understand.

So how do you actually find and buy a sewing pattern that you like, or better yet, when you find one, you don’t know if it’s going to fit you!

The most popular sewing patterns that you can buy can be found on websites such as Simplicity, Burda, New Look, Kwik Sew, Butterick, Mccalls or Vogue. These are the main companies that sell sewing patterns. You can order and buy the sewing patterns online or you can just download them and try to print them out. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re not going to print them out correctly and they won’t work.

When you buy a sewing pattern you can also go to a fabric store. They have catellogues with the current season and latest fashion patterns. You then tell the assistant at the counter that you want to buy a sewing pattern and give them the number of the sewing pattern and make, for example Simplicity or Burda. They will then get the sewing pattern for you to buy.

The thing to note though is that you cannot buy the sewing pattern until you know what your size is since patterns sometimes come in different sizes when you buy them. All patterns have multiple sizes but it could be split into sizes such as 10-14 and another pattern for 14-20 for example. You need to ensure that you buy the right sewing pattern size. For this, you will need your measurements of your bust, hip, middle and shoulder especially. You then compare them to the average size on the pattern that you will need. It will not match the size exactly, you just see which size measurements are the closest and that’s the sewing pattern that you buy.

I hope that this helps the next time you want to buy a sewing pattern. Hopefully knowing a little more about what to look for will assist in the process for you to buy your own sewing pattern to sew.

Testing Fabric for Shrinking and Colorfastness

Testing fabric for shrinking and color fastness

Something every person that sews need to know is how to test fabric for shrinking and color fastness. Yes, you do actually need to test because it would be a huge shame if you have made your garment and spent hours on it, only to wash it and then it doesn’t fit anymore.

In this article I will show you how to test fabric for shrinking and colorfastness.

The testing process of the fabric is actually quite easy. Not only can you do it at home, but it can be done in five minutes. All you need is an ironing board, your new fabric and a hot iron.

Testing the fabric for shrinking and colorfastness has never been easier. Take a little corner of the fabric and iron it under the hot iron. What happens? Does it stay the same? Does it shrink? This is how you know if the fabric has actually undergone some shrinking or if it’s ok to just start sewing.

Testing fabric for colorfastness is a different story all together. You simply put it in hot water in the basin and see if it gives off color. If the water is colored when you squeeze it out, it is most definitely not colorfast and will probably give off lots of color in the machine, staining your other clothes. You can test this on new clothes too and it will work.

I hope this article on testing fabric for shrinking and colorfastness has been useful. Remember to always do these checks before you even consider starting a sewing project so that you know if you need to prepare the fabric or not.

How to prepare fabric for sewing

How to prepare fabric for sewing

Many people think that once they can sew, that they can just go ahead and make something. But few realize that there is a process involved in getting ready to sew. How to prepare the fabric for sewing is often a snag that many people overlook.

That’s right. You cannot just go ahead and lay out the fabric. The last thing you want to do is go through all that effort to make something only to have it shrink or loose color in the wash. It needs to be tested for color fastness as well as shrinking. So how do you actually prepare the fabric for sewing?

The first thing you need to do is give the fabric a wash. This will not only clean the fabric but also test the color fastness of the fabric. Yes, it does take the smell of the newness of the garment away, but it does eliminate the fabric shrinking and coloring all your other clothes in the wash.

The next thing you need to know about how to prepare the fabric for sewing is to give it an ironing or drying in the machine. The ironing of the fabric will make sure that if it was going to shrink further as will the drying in the machine. I recommend drying it in the dryer.

Once the fabric is dried and has been ironed, you can now fold the fabric in two with the outside inside, length wise.

I hope this has been helpful in teaching you how to prepare fabric for sewing. It’s not always easy when you start out with a project and it’s your first project.

Sew Facing

How to sew facing

If you’re relatively new to sewing, and you’ve not sewn much before, you will be a bit in the dark on how to sew facing and what it is.

Basically, when you cut fabric, you can’t just sew a seam around the arm holes or neck. It will end up looking funny. So for that reason, we use facing instead. The facing will make the garment you want to sew nicely rounded off without any uneven edges or ragged fraying.

The other way to avoid sewing facing is to simply make a double piece of fabric and sew it turning it inside out. But for my illustration below I will show you how to sew facing.

Most patterns will have a piece for facing along with the actual pieces of pattern. Facing can be cut from different fabric or from the same fabric. I like to use the same fabric in most of my sewing projects.

In my case, I’m going to show you how to sew the facing with the top of a recent dress that I made. The first thing I did was to place the pieces I cut out, inside out and make the outsides face each other. The facing and the top. I then sewed along the edge of the facing so that it would flap over and I’d have two outer sides on both the inside of the shirt and the outside. See the images below.

You then fold the pieces of facing over as indicated on the second image and iron them, making certain that it’s exact and the inside isn’t showing out. The following image will illustrate that.

Once you have ironed the pieces straight, the next thing to do is to sew a “stay stitch” on the outside so that the pieces of facing that you have sewed does not fold back out with the next wash in the machine. And there we go, the sewing of the facing is done.

I hope this showed you how do sew facing as it’s really simple and easy. All you require to sew the facing is a sewing machine, the pattern pieces, fabric and an iron and it can be done quickly and painlessly.

Modify a basic block pattern

How to modify a basic block pattern

So there are so many tutorials out there on how to create basic block patterns, but there are not many there on how to use the basic block pattern once you have created it and how to adapt clothes from the basic block pattern.

I’m going to show you how to modify a basic block pattern. This was my first attempt and I must say it came out pretty well. The end result was the picture below. Because my body is so awkward, commercial sewing patterns don’t always work for me. Once I had taught myself and drew and drew with some trial and error, I came up with a design from modifying a basic block pattern I made for me that I quite like. I just need to have a straw hat with it to make the outfit complete.

The first thing I did was make sure that I had pre-drawn what I wanted the outfit to look like on a piece of paper when it was done. This was a pattern I had a long time ago when I was younger and I wanted to re-create this pattern. With trial and error, I managed to modify this basic block pattern to copy the original design I had.

The next thing is that I laid out the block pattern on a new piece of pattern paper (or in my case gift wrap) and weighted it down to make sure it was secure. I then traced the block pattern with all the lines exactly onto the new piece of paper.

To modify the basic block pattern I started by shaping the neck. I wanted my neck to be lower and a little wider. I did this with the help of the french curve pattern making tool that I have made temporarily until mine arrives from Amazon.

I then measured out from the sleeve and side the amount I wanted the dress to hang loose or be away from my body. I measured all around and then with dots, drew the lines as in the two photos below.

Once I had those lines drawn, I added to the modifying process by creating an area for button holes in the front of the dress. The button hole area I made double the amount so that the fabric can be a bit thicker over the button hole area and so that the sewing machine won’t catch the fabric up and gather it while sewing the button hole. The below image is the progress of the modifying on the basic block pattern that I did.

You see, modifying a basic block pattern is basically taking a block pattern and just drawing in what you want to have on the pattern. What you want the dress to look like. The basic block pattern itself is your exact measurements to fit you snug and you will find an article on how to make a basic block pattern in my links.

The next thing I did was work on the back piece and enlarged it the same way, a little more on the side and the back neck part too…..

I then decided that the part of the pattern over the shoulder was too wide and it needed to be narrowed. To modify this part of the basic block pattern, I measured inwards on both sides, exactly 1.5 inches both sides (I did this for the front pattern too) and drew my lines.

With a little bit of artistic ability, this shoulder can be shaped right. I made sure I made it come down far enough before taking the curve. Otherwise it would have looked a bit weird.

The next thing I did to modify the basic block pattern was to lengthen it and make it straighter. The below images will show you how I did this. Because of my awkward body, it doesn’t look that straight, but it is as you saw from the fully made dress in the first picture.

For the skirt part, I took double the width of the shirt pattern at the top and added it to the skirt part so that there is space for gathering a bit. I then realized that I didn’t have enough fabric so had to use less than what my pattern indicated but it still worked out.

The facing was a bit of a different story. I laid out the basic block pattern that I had modified and drew the arm and neck curves. I measured about 1.5 inches in and drew the facing lines.

I hope this has been helpful in teaching you how to modify a basic block pattern. As I’ve mentioned before, there are so many tutorials out there on how to create a basic block pattern, but not many on how to modify one. Since this was my first time I attempted to modify a basic block pattern, I really think I did ok. I hope this can help you too.