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Sewing Related Tips

A few favorite sewing tips to share relate to transfer markings from commercial patterns to fabric, fabric care and content labels and a no-sew protective cover for scissors.

Transfer pattern markings
For single or multi-sized sewing patterns with their many printed sewing lines, placement markings (usually notches, circles, and arrows) to match seams and darts, seam intersections, pocket insertions, straight-of-grain, as well as buttonhole and other closures, it is often impractical or difficult to use chalk pencil markings or washable marking pens. Consider using a hand-held paper hole punch to cleanly punch through the tissue pattern itself directly on those notches, and alignment circles as well, so that straight pins can be used for pin-marking that will allow the pin heads to easily pass through the punched holes. The tissue paper pattern easily scrunches to allow the hole punch to make its way to the furthest marking. The tissue paper pattern and its myriad markings are then preserved without tears or cuts in the pattern. The punched holes allow for easier chalk or washable fabric pens or for making tailor tacks through the tissue pattern when their use is desired.

Fabric care and content labels
Some fabric and craft stores no longer provide the fabric care and content labels that would often come from the fabric manufacturer along with their fabric bolts. Make your own fabric care and fabric content labels to sew into your finished garments by using your computer’s word processing program and your inkjet printer. You can print your own fabric care labels directly onto fabric using a made-for-printer-use fabric sheet (a piece of fabric bonded to paper sized to 8 1/2" x 11").

You can make-your-own fabric sheets for printing but they must first be pre-treated with an ink fixative so your fabric sheet becomes colorfast and will retain the image after washing. The ink fixative solution is applied to the fabric, dried, and then the fabric is ironed to the smooth side of freezer paper or even palette paper – available from art supply stores pre-cut to 8 1/2" x 11" size. The fabric must be firmly adhered to the paper in order to pass through the printer using a manual feed. Look for print-to-fabric resources on the web. Be sure your inkjet printer will accept a fabric sheet in lieu of printer paper in order not to void any warranty.

Note: Laser printing on fabric is not advised.

Labels such as 100% Cotton Machine Wash Cool, Tumble Dry Low; 100% Cotton, Hand Wash Cold; 100% Polyester, Machine Wash, Gentle Cycle; 100% Rayon, Dry Clean Only; Hand Wash, Cold Water; 50% Cotton 50% Polyester, Machine Wash, Tumble Dry Low - are just a few examples of fabric care and content labels to create and then sew into your finished garment. A bolt of fabric will have the specific fiber content and care information printed on the bolt end or for fabric purchased online in smaller yardage quantities the information is usually indicated in the descriptive details. Fabric remnants may be harder to determine their exact fiber content and associated care.

No-sew fabric scissors cover
One quick and easy solution to protecting the investment in scissors used just for cutting fabric is to look for a potholder type with a hand pocket mitt attached as part of the potholder design. Great to slide a hand into the pocket when handling hot items from the stove or oven, additionally functional to protect scissors of different sizes that can slide easily into and out of the potholder’s protective pocket. A cheerful and useful addition next to the sewing machine.

Sewing hints abound on the web. You many find many, many others.

Sew happy, sew inspired.


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Content copyright © 2013 by Cheryl Ellex. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Cheryl Ellex. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cheryl Ellex for details.



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