The importance of sewing machine oil

Sewing machine oil

I once bought a new sewing machine. It lasted about about year. The reason: I did not take heed to the instructions of using sewing machine oil to oil the sewing machine. I just thought that it would go on and on like my sewing machine which had the pedal blow up.

The sewing machine has gears which needs a regular maintenance. It’s important to clean it and oil it with a special sewing machine oil which can be bought from a sewing machine store or a fabric store. Sometimes a big store like Wal-Mart will also stock sewing machine oil.

If you neglect to use the sewing machine oil, your sewing machine will very quickly stop working. The gears will get stuck, the knob will stop turning and you risk total engine failure. Just like with a car.

How do you oil the sewing machine? There are special holes in the sewing machine where the sewing machine oil needs to be inserted. Sometimes, you will have to open a part of the sewing machine to insert the oil in additional places. It is important to follow your sewing machine instruction manual to know where to insert the sewing machine oil.

And the last part: no you cannot use any oil you buy in the supermarket. You need special sewing machine oil. Not canola!

Do fabric pens wash off?

Do fabric pens wash off?

If you’re starting out sewing you have probably figured out by now that you will need a fabric pen. But the biggest question remains for you. Do fabric pens wash off?

Well the answer to the question “do fabric pens wash off” is really dependable on the type of fabric pen that you use and whether the fabric pen will wash off or not.

When you buy a fabric marker you must be aware of the fact that a fabric marker is not a fabric pen and therefore very likely not to wash off. A fabric marker is designed for marking clothes meaning, permanently so that you know which items are yours and your name is in it.

If you are using a fabric pen that will wash off it has an entirely different purpose. It is used for when clothes are being made and sewn. In other words, drawing the markings of the pattern onto the fabric that’s been cut out and ready to sew.

The fabric pen will wash off any markings that has been left on the fabric. This way, your pattern is clear and washed from any fabric pen markings.

Of course check the labels if you are uncertain and ask the store assistant if the fabric pen washes off before you buy it. You can also use a normal pencil. I’ve found that it works and washes off. That’s my trick instead of getting a fabric pen to wash off. Use the pencil.

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.

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.

Equipment needed for making a block sewing pattern

So I recently made a new block sewing pattern for myself. But I didn’t have the correct equipment. It was a rather difficult process making the block sewing pattern without the correct equipment.

In this post I will outline the different pieces of equipment needed and what I did, not having the correct equipment, to still be able to make my basic block sewing pattern.

The first thing you need is a measuring tape. You need the measuring tape to measure yourself as well as make measurements on the actual pattern piece.

The next piece of equipment you need for your block pattern is called a french curve. This is a ruler, shaped in the form of a curve. Because I didn’t have a french curve, I made my own. Click here to find out how to make your own French curve ruler

You would also need a hip curve. Well, I didn’t use one so I do not consider it a complete necessity.

I also used a 90 degree ruler. This ruler is in the form of an L shape and helps when you need to draw straight lines throughout the pattern, which the block pattern is FULL of.

In addition to the curved rulers, you also need some pattern paper. I am not someone who likes spending money on things, so I just used newspaper. It is not recommended though, especially if you’ve never worked with patterns before. For the pattern, I would recommend using a roll of blank paper, blank newspaper, pattern paper, brown paper, tracing paper or even baking paper (This works great for tracing)

In addition to all of the equipment listed above to make your sewing block pattern, you can add some markers, a pencil, pen, selotape, pins, a small ruler and a pencil sharpener and eraser.

I hope this is helpful. With these basic pieces of equipment, you can make your own sewing block patterns easily. Like I said, I use newspaper and thick markers for visibility.

Types of sewing thread

Types of sewing thread

What types of sewing thread is there and which one should I buy for my sewing project? I mean there are so many types of sewing thread out there that it can get quite confusing. I’ve been sewing for years and even if still get confused about what types of thread there is.

The thing is that different types of sewing threads are used for different things. So for example you want to do embroidery, you can’t just go ahead and use cotton thread. It won’t work. It’s not decorative nor is it strong enough or thick enough. The success of your creation will depend on the type of sewing thread that you use.

I’m going to attempt to explain the different types of sewing threads and what they are used for. It’s not just a case of buy any type of thread and go ahead to sew. So here goes.

Cotton sewing thread: this type of thread is soft to the touch and reasonably thin. It works well on sewing hems, pillow cases, duvet covers and anything else that it not going to be stretching anytime soon. If it stretches, it breaks so using this type of sewing thread for a t-shirt or swimming suit is probably not the right idea.

Polyester sewing thread: this type of sewing thread is ideal for most sewing creations. Fabrics such as synthetics, knits and wool are thicker and needs a thicker type of sewing thread that is more sturdy. This kind where polyesterday threads come in. It can even handle a little more stretch than cotton thread.

Cotton colored polyester thread: this is an ideal all purpose thread. It is heat resistant which means if you have to make something that has to handle a lot of heat and go through the iron and ironing board a lot, this is a good type of sewing thread to use. It’s also got some stretch in it meaning you can use it comforably on stretch type fabrics for making things like t-shirts.

Silk threads: this type of sewing thread is made from silk and does not leave holes in your fabric. It is great for making wedding dresses and lingerie. Also, great for doing applique with as it leaves a nice smooth finish on the applique. This type of thread also comes in different thicknesses which really helps when deciding what thread to use for your project.

Speciality sewing threads: then there are these types of sewing threads. Used for different things, like the common types of sewing thread, each of the speciality threads have their own purpose:

  • Heavy duty threads suited for upholstery or things like jeans
  • Invisible threads – yes. Invisible!
  • Button and craft thread – strong and thick!
  • Nylon thread – lightweight and durable!
  • Wool thread – heavy fabrics and embroidery
  • Metal thread – crafts and decorative stitching.

So as you can see there are many types of sewing threads you can choose from. As I’ve said before, choosing the right type of sewing thread depends on you, but your project success depends on the type of thread you choose.

Which sewing machine?

Which sewing machine should I buy?

Starting out with your basic sewing supplies and wondering about which sewing machine to buy can be daunting. There are so many items to choose from. From the very basic sewing basket items to the basic sewing machine. It can all be confusing, especially if you’re just starting out with your sewing hobby.

So when you’re wondering which sewing machine you should buy, there are several things to remember. Different types of machines do different things, and not all of them are sewing machines to be frank. You get different types of machines which I will describe briefly here.

Industrial Sewing machine: An industrial sewing machine is made for heavy duty sewing and has a few basic stitches. Not enough to get by if you don’t also have a serger.

A home sewing machine: A home sewing machine has a whole range of stitches that you need to do your sewing. Straight, zigzag, button holes, blind seam stitch etc. The home sewing machine can do various tasks such as applique as well.

The serger: a serger is not actually a sewing machine but works hand in hand with a sewing machine. It works off the ends of the fabric so that the fabric doesn’t fray and leaves it neat and tidy. If you’re an absolute beginner, I do not recommend using a serger. It’s far too easy to make a mistake and make a hole in your fabric as the serger also cuts the fabric.

The embroidery machine: This is a fancy machine that can do embroidery images onto a piece of cloth such as a towel or shirt. It usually works with a computerized image that is fed into it or pre set on the embroidery machine.

Well now that you know the different types of machines, I think you can figure out which sewing machine you should use. The home sewing machine is the one to get as it can have many functions you will need in your sewing endeavours. Without the stitches on the home sewing machine, it’s basically impossible to sew properly and thoroughly.

There are so many brands to choose from for home sewing machines. In another article, I have written about the different types of sewing machine brands and which ones are recommended.

Below, I have added an image of the types of stitches you will find on a basic sewing machine and which ones to look for when you buy your basic sewing machine. It will tell you which sewing machine to look for when you buy the machine.

How to sew a button hole - machine setting