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The Steps To Making Sewing A Breeze

Jan 3, 2008
A fully equipped sewing room is ideal, of course, but a corner in a room near a window can be made convenient and attractive. Limit your equipment to essentials: sewing machine, chair or stool, mirror, storage space and pressing equipment. They should be the best you can afford.

First consider your sewing machine, for it is most important. There are several types available so select the one which best suits your requirements. Then learn how to use all the attachments. They are time savers and enable one to achieve many professional finishes with little effort. Learn how to care for your sewing machine - how to clean and oil it, using only oil made especially for your machine.

One should have ample storage space. A chest with three or four drawers varying from four to eight inches in depth is recommended. Use it for storing sewing equipment, patterns, fabrics, notions and other sewing aids.

The ironing board with pressing aids should be set up near, and to the right, of your sewing machine, if possible.

A full length mirror is desirable for fitting, marking hem lengths, pin fitting patterns, and testing fabrics for draping qualities, color, etc.

Sewing Equipment

Good cutting shears with bent handles are a must. Keep them sharp and reserve them only for fabric. Seven to eight inches is a good length. The bent handles will permit the fabric to lie flat when it is being cut. A smaller pair of scissors, about 5 inches in length, will be lighter and easier to handle when cutting notches, trimming seams, slashing, etc. Also pinking shears are useful for finishing seam edges.

Pins should be thin and sharp. The points should be smoothly finished so they will not injure fine fabrics. Silk pins are a little finer than dressmakers' pins, but both are satisfactory. Brass pins will not rust.

Needles come in a variety of styles and sizes. Sharps, crewels and milliners' needles are common for hand sewing. Sharps are medium length needles with a short oval eye. Crewels have a long oval eye and are easily threaded, while milliners' are longer in length. The most suitable sizes for general sewing are 7's and 8's. The higher the number, the finer the needle.

Always use a thimble for hand sewing. Fit it carefully so it is comfortable. Metal thimbles are thinner and sturdier than plastic thimbles, and they hold the eye end of the needle more firmly.

Tailors' chalk is necessary for marking pattern perforations and fitting lines. It is available with either a wax or clay base. The wax type may leave grease marks on fabrics other than wool.

A firm measuring tape with number "1" at opposite ends on reverse sides is preferred for dressmaking. Rulers are necessary for marking straight lines. The transparent ones are new and easy to use. An adjustable metal gauge is good for measuring hems, pleats and tucks.

Miscellaneous Aids

Beeswax is desirable for waxing thread, for sewing on buttons and smoothing the surface of an iron.

An orange-wood stick is helpful in turning and pointing out corners.
Tweezers are a help in pulling out tailors' tacks, bastings and machine stitchings. Keep one in your machine drawer.

A SINGER Ripper is handy for ripping seams.
A supply of notions, such as snap fasteners, hooks and eyes, bias bindings, seam tapes, assorted colored threads, etc., will save you time when needed.


Careful pressing as you sew is just as important to the finished garment as good stitching.

Actually, pressing starts before stitching. The fabric is smoothed, straightened and often some shrinkage of the fabric is done by steam pressing before cutting.

The pattern should be pressed before laying out on the fabric.
In the construction of a garment make it a practice to: first, press as stitched; second, open seam with finger tips or point of iron, holding iron slightly above the seam; third, press seam open, stretch seam slightly and glide iron along lightly.

With this equipment and a pleasant sewing room, you should be ready for many dressmaking projects.
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