5 Sewing Tips for December

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Last month I mentioned how handy it was to chalk the wrong side of your fabric when cutting, to easily identify the right and wrong sides. Well this month I rediscovered this photo, where I have gone a step further and nicked the corners to help identify the ‘top’ of a pile fabric:

In this case it was for the bound buttonholes of my teal mohair jacket, where I wanted the pile to be consistent down the front.  This trick takes only seconds at the cutting stage and prevents any uncertainty later on. No excuses not to really!

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So you have set in a sleeve and it looks amazing so far – but how do you actually press it?

I press mine from the inside of the armhole, using only the tip of the iron. Move around the armhole bit by bit, maneuvering the fabric round, pressing just enough to meld the stitching and the eased fabric at the sleeve head. Now turn to the right side and admire the difference!

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When you need to measure a curve on your pattern, flip the tape measure onto its side and place it on the line.

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Even if I did own a flexicurve, I’d still use a tape measure because it is always at my fingertips. You can have too many tools!

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When sewing an invisible zip through horizontal seams, like a yoke seam, it is important that they line up when the zip is finished.  To ensure this happens, sew one side of the zip, then zip it up and mark the position of the horizontal seam. Now mark the same position on the opposite side of the zip.

In this example I nicked the zip tape, but you could use pins or chalk.

When you sew the opposite side, ensure the mark matches the horizontal seam and everything will be sorted!

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When I first started blogging back in 2009, tailored sleeve vents were something that I saw home sewers struggling with. This inspired one of the first tutorials on my blog, and it is one of the most visited today. I’ve updated it slightly to make it clearer, so here it is – tailored sleeve vents – completely machine sewn, in eight simple sewing steps:

How to sew a tailored sleeve vent logo

I hope you enjoyed this month’s tips, and that you all have a great holiday sewing season! I have a lot of sewing planned, but I also plan on catching some sunshine so may not achieve it all – I’ll play things by air as usual. What are your holiday sewing goals?

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I'm a designer/patternmaker who loves to share my sewing knowledge with others! Follow me as I sew my personal projects, sharing my favourite tricks of the trade along the way.

22 thoughts on “5 Sewing Tips for December

  1. We are in cool season here and it is raining this week, a boon for southern Arizona, so not much sun. But we are going out to the the desert on Sunday for our annual Christmas Day bratwurst fest. In the meantime I’ve got some Christmasy pillowcases to sew, a new Louise Cutting shirt pattern to cut out and a Style Arc pant pattern to muslin so I will be busy. Enjoy your sunny Christmas and your refurbished machine.
    Theresa in Tucson

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  2. Great tips – especially the one about the marking the invisible zip at the join of the yoke! This one I know I will use for sure. I always baste the zip when I have a yoke to deal with but it would be that added insurance to mark it as well. Also that tutorial of yours for vents on a jacket is brilliant. There was an article last month in Threads magazine on making vents too if it’s not included in your pattern. I love vents on all coats actually they make it much more comfortable for moving your arms and I think they extend the life of your jacket too.

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  3. Great tips and standing your tape measure on its edge, needs to be on the stitching line if your patterns have seam allowance.

    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

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    1. Good point – the stitching line and cutting line are completely different lengths (and if you look closely my tape measure has slipped off the line!)
      Have a great festive season too Sharon!

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  4. 😊 I can’t see the tutoriel about the vent. There is no link. 🙂
    Allways looking forward to see your tips.
    Wishing you a wonderfull Christmas

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  5. Hi Sheryll, I’m so pleased that you left a comment on my blog, because somehow I missed your transition to this new location. It must of happened when I was busy and not reading blogs. Now I have a lovely lot of your posts to catch up on. Merry Christmas!

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  6. Just reading one post of your monthly tips has given me more than a year’s worth of somebody’s weekly “Snippets”. Thank you for these informative posts, and Merry Christmas!

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  7. Mmmm hmmm… I love tailored sleeve vents. My first attempt at them was with an Ungaro design in the 90s with Vogue Patterns’ instructions, and they turned out brilliantly. But I chalk that up to the excellent drafting and instructions of the pattern. And I will try your tip for pressing a sleeve. I usually just steam mine into shape, ‘specially on tailored garments.

    Love these monthly tips! Have a wonderful holiday!

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