Ask Linda

Linda Lee
Ask Linda

Knit Know-How
I have a loosely-woven sweater-type knit that I want to make into a lightweight jacket. Should I stabilize it with interfacing? Is there anything else I should keep in mind?
Mary Jo

There are some new, ultra-sheer fusible interfacings on the market that you may want to try applying to the fabric wrong side.A nude-colored sheer interfacing will barely show. Find these at independent fabric stores and notions retailers. If the knit is stable enough without the interfacing, focus on finishing the edges instead. Be sure to fold the edges over only once when stitching or the finished product will be bulky. Or serge the edges for a clean and easy finish.

Faux Leather Faux Sew
I’m trying to sew faux leather, but the thread won’t catch and form a stitch. Is there something wrong with my machine?

Sewing faux leather successfully is a combination of good machine performance and using the correct presser foot, needle, thread and stitch length.Your machine should always be cleaned and oiled routinely—by you after every project and by your machine dealer once a year.A size 80/12 universal or jeans needle will produce the best results, as will a high quality polyester thread.The machine should be set to a 3 mm stitch length.When stitching on the wrong side of faux leather, use a standard presser foot, but when stitching on the right side of the fabric, switch to either a Teflon-coated or even-feed walking foot.

Translucent Lace
I'm using cream-colored beaded Chantilly lace to make a formal gown. What fabric should I use to line the dress for a sheer but not see-through look?

There are two appropriate fabrics. Silk organza is a crisp, sheer silk that gives support to the fabric while providing a transparent appearance.This fabric has the ability to "break down" and become very much like the fabric it's paired with. Polyester organza is the less expensive option. It has the appearance of silk organza but isn't equal in quality or performance to its silk version. You can also try silk georgette.This isn’t as smooth as organza, but has a slightly creped texture and drapes wonderfully, if that’s the look you want to achieve.

Raveling Resolution
How do I prevent wool tweed raw edges from raveling without using a serger?

One of the most beautiful seam finishes for any garment, especially a wool tweed or fabric that ravels easily, is the Hong Kong finish.This gives garments fabulous detailing and a couture appearance.

Cut 11/4"-wide bias strips out of a lightweight fabric such as silk, rayon lining or crepe de Chine. Cut enough strips to bind both sides of the exposed seams, piecing strips together as needed to achieve the correct length.

Press strips to remove stretch and prevent rippling.

Stitch the seam. With right sides facing, attach the binding 1/4" from the seam edge. Press flat and trim the seam allowance to 1/8" (1). Press again, wrapping the binding around the garment raw seam edge to the wrong side. Stitch in the seam ditch of the binding right side (2), with the needle in center position. On the garment wrong side, trim any excess binding 1/8" from the stitching line.

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Pant Professional

How do you shorten jeans while preserving the look of the original hem?


There are two methods to try—one that requires matching the original yellow or orange topstitching and one that doesn’t.



Seam rip the original topstitching (the yellow or orange thread) along the pant lower leg hem. Open the hem and rip 4" up the inseam (3). Trim away the lower leg hem 1/2" above the original stitching line. Set the hem strip aside.

Image 3

Trim the pant leg to the desired length, aligning the lower edges. Position the hem strip and pant leg with right sides facing; pin.Trim off any excess hem length. Stitch 1⁄16" below the original topstitch line, using slightly less than a 1/2" seam allowance (4).

Image 4

Fold the hem strip away from the pants, pressing the seam allowance toward the hem strip. Stitch the inseam back together.

Fold the hem to the wrong side along the original fold, encasing the seam and covering the stitching line.

Topstitch over the original topstitch seam using a heavier thread in a color that matches the original thread as closely as possible. Repeat to shorten the other pant leg.


Trim away the finished hem 1/2" above the topstitch seam. Keep the hem strip.

Trim the jeans to the desired length.

With wrong sides facing, pin the hem strip to the pant leg lower edge.

Stitch the hem strip to the pants, using a 1/2" seam allowance, making sure to stitch as closely as possible to the original hem (5).

Image 5

Serge or zigzag stitch the two raw edges together.Trim the seam to 1/4" and press the seam toward the pants.




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