5 Sewing Tips for January

One of my goals is to learn at least one new thing every day. Once you get to a certain level in anything, it is easy to keep plodding along not learning anything new – and I don’t want that to happen to me. The ‘new thing’ doesn’t have to be a big thing, sometimes even the smallest ideas can be game changing – which is what these sewing tips are all about!



Did you know: when sewing a curved hem, the narrower it is, the easier it is to sew?

This 3mm double fold hem might look hard, but it is far easier than sewing a wider double fold hem – even in slinky fabric!

When you go narrow on a curved hem, the difference in length between the cut edge and the sewing line is minimised.  And so is any distortion – ugly things like twisting and roping will be a thing of the past.


When sewing a dart, fold it down the middle and aim for the dot:


Allow some slight curvature for your body shape, taper smoothly towards the apex, and your dart will be savvy as.


Need some piping to spruce up a project? Make your own!


All you need are some bias strips of your fabric (try contrast for extra fun), some 3mm (1/8″) piping cord, and a zip foot. Fold the bias strip tightly around the cord and sew closely with the zip foot to create your own magic!


I know this is not the most practical idea for the home sewer, but… long term, fabric is best stored on a roll, away from sunlight.


I know this is not as cute as prettily folded pieces in a display cabinet in your sunny workroom – but hey, at least it won’t be permanently creased or faded along the fold lines when you come to use it!


At my first job in fashion I worked with a sample machinist called Pat. In her sixties, she knew a lot.  And she taught me this simple but revolutionary trick:

How to sew checks by machine

Try this technique, and you’ll never have to unpick a seam again because your stripes don’t match!

Here’s hoping you found a couple of new tips among these to keep you on your sewing learning curve. Have a great month everyone! (Although I will see you sooner because I have actually sewn something 😉 )

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Designer, Patternmaker, Blogger Of All Things Sewing. Follow as I share projects, patterns, and my favourite tricks of the trade.

12 thoughts on “5 Sewing Tips for January

  1. Love the tips! I have used the check matching idea before (learnt from somewhere else) but I hand basted it in that manner, then sewed with both pieces flat. Must try this method next time 🙂


    1. Glad you enjoyed them Vicki! I believe the hand method is called slip basting, and might be in Clare Schaeffer’s Bridal Couture book? I love some hand sewing, but there are only 24 hours in a day!


  2. Thank you for sharing these tips, I was particularly impressed with the blood spot removal tip, I will be keeping that in mind. Did the saliva not leave a ring?

    Also, when you are stitching down the seam of the checked fabric, are you using a straight stitch?

    Thank you for this post. I have bookmarked it for future reference.

    (p.s. I wish I had a Pat when I was younger. I always remember that vague feeling that the garment was not right somehow, but no one to tell me how, or what to do about it. I stopped sewing for about 14 years, except for mending and curtains and whatnot.)



    1. No ring marks in that instance thank goodness! (I usually rub the wet/dry border and this minimises their occurrence.) For the stitching of the checked seam I am just using a standard straight stitch. And I know what you mean, there is nothing like learning under a great mentor!


  3. Love reading your tips…it helps me find back all the valuable information you already shared…and that I forgot about. I should venture on a stripey top soon and I hope too use your tricks! Thanks so much


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