Friday, October 10, 2008

Sewing Buddy 1

See it. Sew it.

Welcome to Sewing Buddy, Simplicity's newest instructional learning center created to introduce beginners to the joys of sewing as well as to provide experienced sewers with techniques and tips to perfect their skills.

Sewing Buddy makes its debut on with their first downloadable Learn to Sew instructional video, featuring a versatile New Look jumper, pattern 6826.
In as little as fifteen minutes, you’ll discover how easy it is to create an amazing, one-of-a-kind jumper that reflects your own personal style. It’s like learning to sew with a hands-on teacher at your side.

Their convenient New Look jumper video demonstrates how to read the pattern and prepare your fabric. The video shows techniques for pinning, marking, cutting, sewing and adjusting your jumper for a perfect fit. Every step is clearly shown and can be reviewed as many times as you need to produce a professional garment with an original style that’s yours alone.

Note: If you'd like to give this pattern a go but the brevity of skirt is a concern, it's easy to add length when you place the paper pattern on your fabric. Mark as much extra fabric as you need length in the skirt, but if you want walking ease without adding more fullness, don't take it much below the knee.

One thing I would alter in this tutorial is the advice to cut notches inward. Doing so leaves a hole in your seam allowance and for delicate fabrics or those likely to fray quickly, causes problems when you reach the edge stitching stage. My recommendation is that notches are cut OUTWARD, away from the pattern piece (see illustration below). The extra fabric can be clipped away once it has served its purpose.

One thing missing in this tutorial is EDGE STITCHING. Edge stitching is the process of preventing a raw seam edge from fraying, such as overlocking or zig-zagging.

An overlocked seam.
A row of zig-zag.

Edge stitching is usually done once a seam is stitched. Some sewing patterns provide a chart of edge stitch options, but most do not state where during the sewing process these should be utilized. My recommendation is that you edge stitch every seam as you go, unless it is a sturdy weave that will be protected by a lining, or you're not sure that the fit is right and may need to unpick.

Overlocking requires an enormous amount of thread, and with the rise in the price of thread, my preferred method of edge stitching is a converted French seam.

A French seam is made like this:
When stitched at 5mm then 10mm, it makes a neat, classy finish to a regular 15mm seam, wonderful for use with sheer fabrics if you're working on machine without all the fancy fol-de-rols.

My shortcut adaption works like this:

Sew a regular 15mm (5/8ths of an inch) seam allowance, then fold the edges inward on each other so the raw edges are hidden and the folded edges are roughly even with each other. Stitch close to the folded edge.

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There are an abundance of sewing tutorials on and many websites offering tips and discussion forums. Have you found any to be particularly helpful? Let us know so we can link to them.

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