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Things No One Told Me
Odd Little Tips That Really make things Easier
DonnaH
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DonnaH
Intermediate
Texas USA
Member since 10/1/03
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Date: 2/7/14 7:28 PM

What are some of the little things you have discovered on your own that no one told you (or that no one else seems to know - maybe your grandmother told you) that help the sewing process go smoother?

The most recent one for me is about the PDF patterns.

If/when you use a PDF print-at-home pattern, don't bother to remove or fold the extra margin. If you place one piece of paper over another you can see the line/symbol through the top piece. Instead, swipe that margin with a glue stick.

If you assemble over a cutting/rotary board with lines that will help you keep everything squared up.

It is OK to cut out a pattern piece as soon as all of its pages are attached - you don't really have to do the WHOLE layout before cutting (unless you want to - and have a really nice, big cutting table).

And not related to PDFs (discovered on a blog), but still made me say "Duh! Why haven't I been doing this" when I heard it -

Take a stack of Post-Its, peel off a chunk (should be at least 1/2 cm thick) and stick it to your sewing machine as a seam allowance guide!

(If this is not the proper Forum, please feel free to move it - I wasn't sure where it should go and this seemed the best choice.)

Datcat23
Datcat23
Intermediate
AUSTRALIA
Member since 7/17/13
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Date: 2/7/14 8:06 PM

If you look at your thread reel, a lot of the reels have a little toothed section at one end, that helps you catch the thread to wind into the slot at the bottom, that holds the thread when you aren't sewing. When you load the reel onto your machine, always load with that toothed section at the bottom. This way there is less danger of the teeth catching the thread as its unwinding, and the thread will be less likely to twist and knot.

------
the barefoot seamstress ..... smelling vaguely of lavender and mothballs, and desperately craving chocolate.
www.castley.net/datcat

StitchyMama
StitchyMama
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Date: 2/7/14 8:43 PM

When working with a fabric that you can't easily tell the right side from the wrong side, stick a safety pin in the right sides as you cut you pieces. Takes the guess work out of it.

------
Brenda
My blog: Stitch 1 Stitch 2
Knitting/Sewing/Life in general
http://stitch1stitch2.blogspot.com/

LisaInAlabama
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LisaInAlabama  Friend of PR
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In reply to Datcat23 <<
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Date: 2/7/14 9:52 PM

I have done that all my life! But on the new machine I just started learning today, the manual says to always make sure the thread unwinds from the bottom of the spool (spool is on the horizontal spool pin). With some of my spools, that means the notch goes at the 'top' (or non-attached end) of the spool pin. I am so programmed that it is really hard to make myself do that!

Either I'm going to have to reprogram myself or only buy machines that don't challenge my ODC.


Donna, great topic, by the way!

------
Beginner, maybe Advanced Beginner
I've been doing machine embroidery for 10 years, but I'm always a beginner because I'm always trying to things I don't yet know how to do!


UFOs completed in 2014: 5
Projects started recently completed in 2014: 23

LisaInAlabama
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Date: 2/7/14 9:57 PM

I have trouble ripping out seams (and I get to practice this a lot). I've always been told to use the seam ripper to cut the top thread and pull the bobbin thread. But none of my machines make a loose enough stitch for this to work well.

I've learned to cut the 4th stitch and pull out, then flip it over. The 4 stitches on the other side are now loose and make a little handle, so when you cut the 4th stitch and pull, then flip to the other side, you always have a nice handle to pull and don't have to mess with using the seam ripper to pull out enough to grip.

But I would be interested in any easier ways y'all have of ripping out since I do so much of it!

------
Beginner, maybe Advanced Beginner
I've been doing machine embroidery for 10 years, but I'm always a beginner because I'm always trying to things I don't yet know how to do!


UFOs completed in 2014: 5
Projects started recently completed in 2014: 23

allorache
allorache  Friend of PR
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Oregon USA
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In reply to LisaInAlabama <<
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Date: 2/7/14 10:36 PM

RE seam ripping: I swear by Peggy's Stitch Eraser
Peggy's Stitch eraser

I just start with the seam ripper and let Peggy's do the rest. I have tendinitis in my wrists, so this is much better than the seam ripper for my wrists and it's faster.

------
New Ovation!! Now a Babylock girl almost all the way - Ellegante 3, Evolution, and Melody. Plus a Sailrite LSZ-1 for those heavy duty projects

simplystitches
simplystitches
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In reply to LisaInAlabama <<
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Date: 2/7/14 11:17 PM

Start to remove the stitches where you ended the seam and pull the bobbin thread first. I like to gently pull and let the fabric gather a bit. If you start to feel enough resistance use the seam ripper to cut the thread slightly above where you've pulled to. Now your needle thread is loose on the front side. That will only pull enough to remove a few stitches. Gently pull and clip the thread with the seam ripper. Return to the bobbin thread side and rinse and repeat.

The keys to removing stitches are start at the END of the seam and the bobbin thread pulls much, much easier than the needle thread. HTH

The other thing is if your stitches are that hard to remove you're may be using too small/short of a stitch.

Debbie

LisaInAlabama
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In reply to simplystitches <<
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Date: 2/8/14 0:05 AM

Thanks, both of you, for the advice! I bet I do have the stitches too small and the tension too tight because the stitches are embedded in the fabric too low for Peggy's to work.

Or I'm doing that wrong, too! Wouldn't surprise me.

Thanks again!

------
Beginner, maybe Advanced Beginner
I've been doing machine embroidery for 10 years, but I'm always a beginner because I'm always trying to things I don't yet know how to do!


UFOs completed in 2014: 5
Projects started recently completed in 2014: 23

Sheseams
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Date: 2/8/14 1:25 PM

My advice is on back stitching at the beginning of a seam. (I had an old machine that automatically started with a back stitch first.)

Place the fabric edge even with the back of your pressure foot (lower your foot) and begin with a back stitch. Release the button when at the beginning of the seam and continue to sew as normal.

I find it helps the fabric stay in place and the ends of the seams come out very even.

------
Keeping myself together one stitch at a time.

http://sheseams.blogspot.com

2mulie
2mulie  Friend of PR
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Missouri USA
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Date: 2/8/14 1:38 PM

Don't even remember where I learned this, but to "sew with a baggy bottom". When you are easing a seam (longer seam like in a sleeve cap), into a smaller seam (as in the armscye) put the longer seam under the other (baggy bottom) so it is in direct contact with the feed dogs...theory is it will ease (or slightly gather) under the shorter seam.

Nowadays I prefer to slightly gather the sleeve cap with the differential on my serger. Or just skip it all together and do flat construction.

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