Top Sewing Tips

Sandra Betzina
Top Sewing Tips

Faux Fuss
Use a walking foot when stitching faux fur to faux leather or suede. This prevents the layers from shifting and stretching as they're sewn. Also, be sure to use a press cloth when ironing faux fur to prevent it from melting. Steam will also melt the material.

Kiddos Sew, Too!
There are plenty of sewing projects to do with children. Embellishing greeting cards on the machine, stitching pillow cases and creating gift bags or Christmas stockings are just a few fun and easy ideas. Let children pick their own fabrics from your stash—how exciting!

Sturdy Shoulders
Prevent stretched shoulder seams when making unlined coats by stabilizing the seam with 1/4"-wide fusible tape, but don't overdo it! Stabilizing one side of the seam is sufficient, as the seam weight will accumulate and become too heavy if you do both.

Very Velvet
For hemming velvet invisibly, a bias strip is a must. Sandwich a bias strip of mohair or cotton flannel that’s 1/2" wider than the hem between the two velvet layers. Position the strip above the hem crease. Invisibly hem the bias strip to the velvet upper and lower edges. Stitching the velvet only to the bias strip will make seams crisp and clean.

Memoirs of a Corset
When making corsets, keep in mind that boning is used for support and is only needed if the corset doesn’t have straps. If you use polyester boning, seal the ends of the plastic bones with a match, making sure to round the edges. Cover the ends with fabric scraps or ribbon to avoid tears in the fabric and prevent discomfort while wearing the corset.

Better than Beeswax
Don't run thread through beeswax to prevent tangling during hemming.The thread will inevitably become too bulky and visible. Instead, use Thread Heaven, a thread conditioner and protector. Visit threadheaven.com to purchase.

Peek-a-boo Lining
A swing tack is a great way to attach loose lining in a coat or pair of pants.The tack keeps the lining from peeking out when you sit down but allows it to maintain movement. Use a 1/2"-long swing tack in pants or on leg seams and a 1"-long swing tack on coat seam allowances. A traditional swing tack is made by finger-crocheting a length of double thread. Attach one end of the tack to the lining upper edge and the opposite end to the garment hem allowance upper edge. To save time, use a serged thread tail instead of fingercrocheting the thread.

Button Bust
When a pattern calls for a certain number or size of buttons, don't worry! Check your button stash and improvise if you don't have exactly what you need. If I'm ever short, I eliminate a buttonhole or two and redistribute the button spacing. Always have a button at the neckline, the bust center and 1" above the waist (this places less emphasis on your tummy). See page 12 for a peak at Sandra Betzina's new weekly online television show!

Appeared in:

April/May 2009 Issue

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USER COMMENTS

She's Back
I loved her show too, but now she has a web tv show called Power Sewing. Check her out at www.powersewing.com
I miss the show
I used to Love her show, I miss it she had some really good tips I just loved watching it.
Sandra Betzina
She is so sew smart; I so admire her sewing ability and advice. I love her patterns. She is the greatest.

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