Sandra's Solutions

Sandra Betzina
Sandra's Solutions

On Vinyl

Do you get frustrated when sewing on vinyl? Solve the problem with these easy tips. Cut a 4" square from a Teflon pressing sheet. Cut a ½"x1" hole in the square. Center the hole over the sewing machine feed dogs and tape the square to the machine bed. Hold the vinyl layers together with oversize paperclips when sewing seams. Lengthen the stitch to 3.2 mm and sew using a roller foot, preferably one with a wheel beside the needle.

All in Black & White


Everyone needs at least one pair of white pants for summer and one pair of black pants for winter. In my wardrobe, I have jeans, three- or four-ply dress pants and casual cotton twill pants all in both white and black. It's also fun to have a brightly colored shoe, bag or outerwear piece to help break out of boring monochromatic dressing.

Clear Your Head

A peaceful mind is key for sewing success. When you find yourself making lots of mistakes or getting frustrated, turn off the sewing machine and take a break. A solution will come to you while you’re cooking, taking a walk or sleeping.

Another way to spark your creativity is to schedule a sewing day with a friend. Cut out, interface and mark your project before the appointed day. Pack your fabric (including scraps), pattern, thread, pins and trimming scissors in a large bag or box. Load up your car the night before with your machine and project. Get up early to pick up some treats at the bakery, and then start the morning with a fun brainstorming chat before you even bring in your supplies.

Zip Tips

If an invisible zipper crosses a horizontal seam, such as a yoke or a waistline, it can be difficult to match the seam when the zipper's closed. Fusible tape can help because it holds the zipper in place as you sew. For perfect matching, zip the zipper after stitching the first side. Mark the seam placement on both zipper tape sides. When placing the second side of the zipper on the seam, match the marking on the zipper tape to the crossed seam. After the second side of the zipper is sewn, the seams will match.

Having a stash of invisible zippers in assorted colors will give you a sense of sewing security. It's easy to adjust their length for any project by creating a new stop. Set the machine to a 4.0 mm-wide, 0.5 mm-long zigzag stitch. Determine the new zipper length and mark the tape with an air-soluble pen. Position the zipper so that the marked area is under the sewing machine needle and the tape is perpendicular to the presser foot. Stitch back and forth across the zipper a few times at the mark. Cut off the excess zipper length about 1" below the new stop.

Dart Art

Darts serve the practical purpose of providing shaping, but they're also an attractive accent on the outside of a garment. After sewing a dart with wrong sides facing, press it toward center front or center back or downward. Topstitch the dart fold with contrasting thread, perhaps using a decorative stitch. Or sew the dart with right sides facing. Cover the dart stitching line with ¼" ribbon. Topstitch the ribbon in place using a twin needle and invisible thread.

See a Shrink

All knit fabrics need to be preshrunk before cutting, including polyester knits. Knits often shrink in length after washing, which will result in a garment that’s too short.

Mix Not Match

Create the "wow" factor in an outfit by mixing prints. Accomplish a cohesive look through one of three approaches. Repeat one color from a print in a coordinating print in a second garment. Or play with the scale of two prints. For example, choose a large geometric print for one element of the outfit and a small geometric for another. Or pair a bold print with a more subtle print that echoes the color.

Sandras Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandra's PATTERN PICKS from
her Vogue Today's Fit label.
Visit voguepatterns.com to view and
order Sandra's patterns.

Sandra Betzina designs patterns for Vogue under the Today's Fit label,
writes a fitting column for Vogue Pattern magazine, is the author of More
Fabric Savvy, Fast Fit, Power Sewing Step By Step and Sandra Betzina
Sews for the Home, has produced nine instructional DVDs and conducts
week-long sewing retreats in San Francisco. For more information, visit
sandrabetzina.com or call (415) 876-2434.

 

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