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Sewing Tips & Tricks

Sewing Tips & Tricks

Do you love to sew?  Our Sewing Tips and Tricks page is full of wonderful ideas to make your sewing easier and more precise. 

We have over 85 sewing tips and tricks for bobbins, cutting fabric, marking fabric, storing fabric, needles, patterns, scissors, and more.  Some are video tips and others are written tips.  These tips are our own and also collected from around the internet.

Scroll down to read all of these wonderful tips!

Do you have a tip you would like to share?  Go to our Contact page and submit one.


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BABY QUILTS

Polar fleece makes a wonderful backing for a baby quilt; it's super warm, water resistant and so soft against baby's delicate skin! It also glides easily over the machine throat plate when machine quilting. Clotilde

BATIK FABRIC

What is right and wrong side of batik fabric? You can use either side. Use the one you like the best. Needlepointers.com

Batik Fabric

Batik Fabric

Learn about batik fabric. What is the right and wrong side of batik fabric?

BATTING - CUTTING BATTING

Save an old cutting mat to use only when rotary cutting batting. Batting fibers can get lodged in the grooves made by the cutter and interfere with cutting fabrics. Clotilde

Bird Nesting Material

Bird Nesting Material

Don't throw out thread and yarn trimmings and tiny scraps of fabric. Put them in a suet holder and hang outside for the birds to use as nesting material. Needlepointers.com

BOBBIN STORAGE

BOBBIN STORAGE

Learn how to help keep bobbin threads from unraveling while storing by wrapping a tiny ponytail scrunchy around the bobbin. Watch video. Needlepointers.com

BOBBIN STORAGE BOX

BOBBIN STORAGE BOX

How to keep your bobbin storage box from opening accidentally. Needlepointers.com

BOBBIN STORAGE IDEA

BOBBIN STORAGE IDEA

A quick tip bobbin storage idea when traveling to a retreat, workshop or class. No need to take your entire bobbin box, learn what to do. By Needlepointers.com

BUTTONS

Sewing buttons with dental floss will give them a longer life, especially on children's clothes. GotFabric.com

Cone Thread Holder

Cone Thread Holder

How to make a cone thread holder and thread guide for your sewing machine.

Craft Storage Idea - Mini Mason Jars

Craft Storage Idea - Mini Mason Jars

Mini mason jars are a way to store small craft and sewing supplies and other items. Needlepointers.com

DARTS - SEWING DARTS

Sew your darts from the widest point of the dart. Backstitch at the beginning of the stitch, gradually tapering to a point at the end of the dart. The last three or four stitches should be precisely on the fold. Continue stitching a few stitches off the edge of the fabric. Clotilde

Decorative Stitches

Do you have a sewing machine with built-in decorative stitches? Sometime the decorative stitch picture does not stitch as it appears on the picture. Make a decorative stitch sample. Needlepointers.com

ELASTIC CASING

When sewing elastic casing, use fusible web to hold down the interior seam allowance. The elastic glides smoothly through the casing without catching loose seam allowances. GotFabric.com

FABRIC BUTTONS (COVERED BUTTONS)

Hold the circle fabric in place when making covered buttons by using a glue stick and applying some glue to the wrong side of the fabric. Needlepointers.com

FABRIC MARKER

FABRIC MARKER

Keep soap slivers for the best, washable way to mark fabric. Needlepointers.com

FABRIC MARKING

Cut the fabric with right-sides together; the wrong side will then be exposed for quick marking. All Free Crafts

FABRIC STORAGE

Don't throw away those cereal boxes anymore? Recycle them into simple bolts to store fabric. U Create Crafts

FABRIC STORAGE

FABRIC STORAGE

A quick tip and idea on how to store fabric by repurposing an old DVD video cabinet. Needlepointers.com

FABRIC STORAGE

FABRIC STORAGE

How to use an old dresser to store fabric. Repurpose an old dresser into a great storage cabinet in your sewing room.

FABRIC STORAGE IDEA

Remover door from sewing room closet, make split curtain to cover doorway with a spring curtain rod and store fabric in pull-out wire baskets. Bernina

FELT APPLIQUE

Use a big glue stick instead of spray adhesive when embroidering or sewing felt appliques. It works and saves on spray adhesive. Creative Machine Embroidery

FOOT PEDAL

FOOT PEDAL

This quick tip will show you how to stop a sewing machine foot pedal from sliding around on tile or wood floors by using a mouse pad. Needlepointers.com

Foot Pedel Demonstration

Foot Pedel Demonstration

Demonstrating how to use a mouse pad to prevent your sewing machine foot pedal from moving. Needlepointers.com

HAND SEWING AND HAND QUILTING

HAND SEWING AND HAND QUILTING

Do you ever have trouble pulling the needle through the fabric? This tips explains how to use a small piece of jar opener rubber to help pull needle through material. Needlepointers.com

HEM GUIDES

A heavy piece of cardboard can be used as an alternative to a hem guide. Simply mark the board with the hem width desired. Clotilde

HEMMING

When hemming by hand or machine, use a small needle to make invisible stitches. Quilt N Sew Studio

Making Patches

Store bought patches are usually thick and stiff. You can make a softer fusible patch with lining material and fusible webbing. Fuse one side of the webbing to large scrap of lining material and have it ready so all you have to do is cut out the correct size and iron it on. Life Tips

METALLIC THREAD

Prevent metallic thread from breaking by placing spools in the freezer for an hour or two prior to sewing. Creative Matchine Embroidery Magazine

NEEDLE SIZE AND TYPE

NEEDLE SIZE AND TYPE

Did you forget the size and type of needle in your sewing machine? There is a tip on how to always know the size and type. Needlepointers.com

NEEDLES

Keep a combo package of needles on hand. This will allow you to experiment with different needle sizes and types before you begin sewing your fabric. Clotilde

Needles - Broken Needles

Use a Tic-Tac box for safe disposal of broken or dull needles and pins. Needlepointers.com

NEEDLES - How to dispose of sewing machine needles

To safely dispose of machine needles, rinse out the complimentary shampoo bottles from hotels and place used needles inside. Carolyn R Sew News

NEEDLES - NEEDLE DISPOSAL

NEEDLES - NEEDLE DISPOSAL

Don't throw sewing machine needles and pins into the trash. Learn how to dispose of broken and bent needles and pins safely. Watch Video. Needlepointers.com

NEEDLES - Sewing Machine Needles

When storing slightly used sewing machine needle, leave 4-5 inches of thread in the eye. This indicates that the needle was already used for a project. Love of Quilting Magazine

NEEDLES - SEWING MACHINE NEEDLES TIP

To keep track of the needles that I have taken off my machine but that still have some life left in them, I use one of the old-fashioned tomato-shaped pincushions. Mark each section with the size and type of needle, using a black permanent marking pen. Quilter's Review

ORGANIZING SEWING & QUILTING TOOL

ORGANIZING SEWING & QUILTING TOOL

Watch video to see how pegboard is an inexpensive way to make much needed storage space for sewing and quilting tools in your sewing room. Just build a wooden frame on the wall and attach pegboard.

PAINTER'S TAPE OR POST NOTES

Painter's tape or post notes are a quick and easy for sticking on the bed of your machine as a seam guide. Londa's Creative Threads

PATTERN ALTERATIONS

To make alterations to a sewing pattern, first trace pattern onto parchment paper. Make alterations to traced copy. This way you will not ruin the original pattern. Creative Machine Embroidery Magazine

PATTERN PIECE TIP

PATTERN PIECE TIP

Learn why you should press and how you should press wrinkled sewing pattern pieces. Needlepointers.com

Pattern Tip - Reusing Pattern

Pattern Tip - Reusing Pattern

Some sewing patterns contain different sizes on the same pattern piece.
This is one way to be able to reuse the same pattern in a different size.

PATTERNS

If you need to create a huge pattern, use newspaper. Craftionary

PATTERNS - TRACING PATTERNS

Why trace sewing patterns? Some reason are commercial pattern are not cheap, contain more than one size and you want to make the pattern several times. Transferring the pattern onto tracing paper is the solution. Needlepointers.com

PILLOW TIP

By rounding the corners when sewing the back and front of a pillow together, it will be a low easier to sew and will look much neater when you turn it right-side out. Needlepointers.com Staff

PINS

Use a magnet for to easily pick up sewing pins. Craftionary

Prepare the Sewing Pattern

Make sure you have all the pieces listed on the pattern layout sheet. Press the pattern pieces with a dry iron at a low heat setting. Make any alterations necessary for fit. Patterns pieces usually have lines to indicate where to change the length. Make sure to alter all pieces that will be are affected. Life Tips

Quilt Fabric - Prewash or No Prewash

Quilt Fabric - Prewash or No Prewash

If you prewash fabric, how do you prevent fraying? Learn some techniques on how to stop fraying.

ROTARY CUTTER TIP

use eyeglasses cases to store my rotary cutter. The hard plastic ones are perfect for larger cutters, and smaller cutters fit in slimline eyeglass cases. Marcus Fabrics

ROUNDING CORNERS

ROUNDING CORNERS

Keep an old CD or DVD disk handy with your sewing tools. Because you can use it to create perfectly rounded corners on any projects - such as quilts, pillows, placemats, blankets and more. Needlepointers.com

SCISSORS

SCISSORS

A tips about scissors. You should have three different types of scissors for different purposes. One scissor for cutting fabric, one scissor for cutting paper or other craft projects and one scissor for threads and delicate work. Needlepointers.com

SCISSORS - SEWING SCISSORS

Never, never use your sewing scissor to cut paper! Don't use them for paper because it will dull the blades. This is a tip I learned from my mother. Needlepointers.com

Seam Allowance

Seam Allowance

Learn how to mark a specific seam allowance on your sewing machine by using masking tape or a post-it note. Needlepointers.com

SEAM ALLOWANCE GUIDE

A rubber band around the base of my sewing machine is an excellent way to temporarily mark a wider-than-usual seam allowance. Thread Magazine

SEWING

You should have three pair of scissors - one for fabric, one for thread and intricate work and one for paper. Bernina

SEWING

HINT - Use a computer mouse pad to stop the foot pedal from moving across the floor. Needlepointers.com

SEWING

Use empty little black or clear plastic cannisters rolls of film come in to store sewing machine bobbins. Patchwords Tips & Techniques

SEWING

Make a back-up copy of the serger and sewing machine manual. Replacing lost manuals can be a hassle. BabyLock USA Sergers and Sewing Machines

SEWING

SEWING - Mark the right side of your fabric by taping a small piece of masking tape to the wrong side. This is especially good to do if it's difficult to tell which is the right and wrong side of your fabric. Nancy's Home Page

SEWING

Always have an iron and ironing board set up near your sewing area. Press as you stitch. CraftClick

SEWING

When making bias tape some fabrics do not hold a pressed crease. To simplify this process, spray the fabric with spray starch, allow to dry and then slip it into the bias tape maker and press. By Liz Barefoot at Nancy's Notions

SEWING

Remnants of bias tapes, trims and braids can be kept under control if you wrap them around an old paper towel tube. Patternsthatfityou.com

SEWING

Tricot and other fabrics that have a tendency to curl will do better if you spray a little starch along the edges and press before sewing the seams. Patternthatfityou.com

SEWING

Before discarding old rubber gloves, cut off a 2" length of the thumb and needle fingers - these work great on hand sewing and craft projects where the needle is hard to pull through the fabric. Patternthatfityou.com

SEWING

When cutting out your project, do not let the fabric hang off the edge of your cutting surface as this will stretch the fabric and result in the fabric's grain being distorted. Sewing Savvy

SEWING

If your thread rack is full, extend the use of it by placing drinking straws over the dowels to extend the length of the dowel. You will now be able to hold more than just one spool of thread on each dowel. Sewing Savvy

SEWING

Quilt battings are bulky and take up much needed storage space. Try rolling them up neatly and slipping them into a pillowcase and tossing it on your bed. Sewing Savvy

SEWING

Make your pillow corners sharp by pushing them out with the tip of a knitting needle. Hobby Industry Association

SEWING

Select thread that is the same colour or shade darker than your fabric. For plaid, print or tweed match the thread to the dominant colour in the fabric. Fabricland

SEWING

Plug your machine into a power surge protector strip to protect your investment. Joann

SEWING

Place a foam cushion inside a plastic bag for easier insertion into a cushion cover. Slip the plastic out before sewing the cushion shut. Joann.com

SEWING

When you reupholster furniture, carefully remove old coverings and use them to make a pattern out of Pattern Ease, interfacing or paper. Joann.com

SEWING

When both sides of a knit fabric look alike, mark with masking tape the side you determine as the wrong side. Joann.com

SEWING

Use high quality, tightly wound thread that does not show fuzzy lint when held to the light. Modern sewing machines are highly computerized, and lint from cheaper thread will increase the need for repairs. Joann.com

SEWING

lways wind a bobbin at a very even rate, medium speed. Winding too slow or too fast will affect tension. Joann.com

SEWING

Never sew over pins, which will damage the needle or the machine throat plate. Joann.com

SEWING

When washing small pieces of flannel is to serge the edges first...time taken is made up in less lost fabric in all the loose threads. Quiltaholics

SEWING - BUTTONHOLES

To mark buttonholes, cut a strip of water-soluable stabilizer the length of your buttonhole area. Pin to fabric. Using a pen that will not run, mark the placement of your button holes. After stitching -tear away excess stabilizer. Spritz any whiskers with water to make the stabilizer totally disappear. Hans Sew and Vac

SEWING - Elastic Casing

When sewing elastic casing, use fusible web to hold down the interior seam allowance. The elastic glides smoothly through the casing without catching loose seam allowances. GotFabric.com

Sewing - Leaving Opening For Turning Tip

Sewing - Leaving Opening For Turning Tip

Many sewing and quilting projects require you to leave an opening for turning the project right side out. Usually the pattern or tutorial will tell you where to leave the opening.

Here is a quick tip idea on how to remember to leave the opening.
Needlepointers.com Staff

SEWING - SOAP SILVERS

Keep soap silvers for the best, washable markers around! Londa's Creative Threads

SEWING CHILDREN CLOTHES

When making children's clothing, make sure the buttonholes are horizontal, not vertical. The buttons will be less likely to pop open during active play. Simplicity

SEWING MACHINE

Attached a piece of non-skid shelf liner to my control foot so it doesn't slide around on hard floors. Embroidery Library Projects

SEWING OR QUILTING

Before starting a project fill a number of bobbins so you can continue with your project uninterrupted. Needlepointers.com

STITCH SAMPLER

STITCH SAMPLER

If your sewing machine has lots of built-in stitches, make a handy sampler of all the functions and decorative stitches. This is a good way to learn your machine and quickly identify stitches. Needlepointers.com

STORAGE IDEA FOR SEWING AND QUILTING TOOLS

STORAGE IDEA FOR SEWING AND QUILTING TOOLS

Where did I put that sewing tool? Where is my seam ripper? This video will show you a handy storage idea for sewing and quilting tools. Needlepointers.com

THREAD CATCHER & SCRAP CATCHER

THREAD CATCHER & SCRAP CATCHER

Keep your sewing area clean by using a boutique tissue box to dispose of those threads and scraps while sewing and quilting. This can also be used to toss scrapbooking scraps. Needlepointers.com

Threading a Needle

Threading a Needle

A quick tip on an easy way to thread a needle. Needlepointers.com

THREADING NEEDLE TIP

Quick Needle Threading: Trim the end of the thread at an angle before pulling it through the needle eye. This works for both sewing machine and hand needles. Gotfabric.com

Top-stitched Hem

Press the edge of the fabric under 1/4 inch. Turn and press the hem to the desired length. Machine stitch close to the folded edge. A longer stitch length will give the appearance of commercial garments. Life Tips









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