Technique Index

Most of these posts are notes on links to good tutorials by other people, but some are tutorials written by me.

There’s a huge amount of good sewing guidance from these sites :
University of Kentucky – pdfs with line diagrams, not very visual.
sew4home – photo tutorials, see Projects Index tab for sections on Hand Stitches, Machine Feet and Accessories, Machine Stitches, Machine Tips, Basic Techniques, Intermediate Techniques, Speciality Techniques, Tools, Working with Fabric, Zippers (as well as 100s of home dec. items to make).

Basting/ tacking – by hand, machine, basting tape

Bias tape
Cut and fold your own fabric, including special sewing machine feet.

Bias binding
Bias binding covers over an edge, and is visible from both front and back of that edge.
Bias binding, couture application, photo tutorial by Brooks Ann Camper.
pdf on binding from The Sewing Place.
Corners in binding, brief instructions for every type in this tutorial from Wearing History.
A lengthy photo tutorial from Sew4Home has many tips on making bias strips, also instructions for ’quick and easy’ application of bias binding with a single line of machine stitching.

Bias facing
A bias strip also applied as an edge finish but visible from only one side of the fabric. Most tutorials for this give very wrinkled results, I’m working on a post about how to avoid all the causes of distortion.

Burrito method
Examples of using it for lined yokes, lined sleeveless dresses, finishing a shawl collar.

Machine sewn buttonholes, especially 4-step
Hand sewn buttonholes for dressmaking and tailoring.
Snap buttons : How to install snap buttons, photo tutorial from Closet Case patterns.

Making the collar piece :
Tutorial on assembling collars, not attaching them, by Mary Danielson Perry at WeAllSew. (Of course use your own brand of machine, the Reverse Pattern foot is the basic all purpose foot. Plus your own edge-stitch foot.)
Making a perfect point by David Page Coffin in Seamwork magazine.
Attaching a Band Collar :
I don’t know why everyone describes the most difficult way of doing this. Here’s a detailed photo tutorial on attaching a band collar in easy steps, from Andrea Brown of Four Square Walls.
Similar method with some added tips in a photo tutorial from Wardrobe By Me for sewing a collar band. Of course you can add a main collar piece before sewing the two band pieces together, as in Andrea Brown’s tutorial.
Here’s another less traditional way of attaching a banded collar – a pdf by Lynn Cook of Australian Stitches.

Pivot round a curve
Matching curves – final section of post.
Madeira appliqué is a marvellous method for symmetrical curves on appliqué/patch pockets/visible facings, see this youtube video from Sew Easy Quilts.
Sewing inward (clip) and outward (notch) curves, from sew4home.
Outward curves – for some applications I get a smoother curve by trimming the seam allowances using pinking shears, instead of notching.
Curved hems : see the Hems post.

Cutting out
Many methods, so try them to find which you prefer.
I have shaky hands so can’t use a rotary cutter without a ruler.
Quality scissors are a marvel.
For the same reason I’m a pinner, I don’t just use pattern weights. I use pins about every 4″/10cm, more round a sharp curve.
But I do find it’s worth the extra work of drawing round the pattern onto the fabric and then cutting on the drawn line. I get a much better result than when trying to follow the edge of paper.

Darts – photo tutorial from Sew Me Something.
I prefer to finish darts by changing to a short stitch about 1/2″-1.5cm from the end, and sewing off.

Edge stitching presser foot, free photo tutorial on its many uses, from Craftsy/Bluprint.
This is rarely included with a machine but the best foot to buy next – a marvellous aid for straight top stitching and has many other uses.

Piece and decorate (Sewingplums)
Hand embroidery stitches – clear videos for stitching, from Needle ‘n Thread
Types of embroidery machine design, note from Embroidery Online.
Start using an embroidery machine – basics
Start using an embroidery machine – next steps
See also bias binding above and pockets below. And classes on heirloom stitching from Craftsy/Bluprint and Martha Pullen (not free).

Fabric grain
Straighten the fabric grain
Lay pattern on straight of grain

Fleece, from Threads magazine
for knit fabrics see below

Fabric button loops – see Rouleaux

Faced slash-slit opening (Sewingplums)
Some people dislike facings. I think they give a lovely high quality effect. But they do need to be sewn with care.
Facings – much good guidance in this written tutorial from the University of Kentucky, click on pdf icon.
If you prefer video instruction, here’s one from Sure Fit Designs.
Or here’s a photo tutorial from Tilly and the Buttons.
Understitching : make sure the facing fabric lies flat and undistorted while understitching. Around curves – sew slowly with many stops to pivot and re-arrange fabric.
There’s also extensive information in Sarah Veblen’s facings pdf class at Pattern Review (not free).
Here’s a tutorial from What Katie Sews, on ‘non-flipping’ facings. She extends the facings out to the armhole seams, which solves many of the wearing problems.

Hooks and eyes, thread loops, snaps.
Couture methods for those, video from Susan Khalje.

Common fit challenges
Ease levels (Sewingplums)
Adding width – videos from Louise Cutting on various ways of widening for bust and / or hips.
Bust fit :
How to add a bust dart – video from Sure-Fit Designs (no need for their shirt kit, instruction book, or other tools)
Basic Full Bust Adjustment, from the Curvy Sewing Collective.
Full Bust Adjustment – Debbie Cook’s tutorials on doing an FBA on various pattern styles – scroll down to her Alterations.
Pants fit :
Diagrams of problems and solutions from Closet Case patterns.
Photos as well as drawings from Melly Sews.
Fitting your crotch curve using a bendy ruler, 2 videos and photo tutorial from Joyful Expressions

Gathering stitches, gathering foot – by hand, machine, machine gathering foot, shirring with elastic bobbin thread

Gusset, a solution when you need to add in fabric to allow for the depth of your body, but it’s not quick and easy. A diamond shape – treat it with care as it distorts easily with all those bias edges.
Set in where 4 seams meet at underarm or crotch, written tutorial from The Sewing Garden. Draw the stitching lines onto the gusset, and sew each side separately – stopping at the point where the lines cross, so there is no stitching in the seam allowances. Best to use an open-toe foot so you can see exactly where the needle is going. The corners are 3-dimensional shapes, so use a pressing ham.
Vintage underarm style set into fabric, photo tutorial from Gertie.

Hand stitching
Starting and finishing hand stitching
Basting, running, gathering
Backstitch, combination stitch
Blanket stitch, buttonhole stitch (they’re different !)
Overcasting and whipstitch/ overhanding
Ladder stitch
Hand sewn hems, several methods which differ in speed and how visible the result is from back and front, photo tutorial from Colette patterns. With a close match of thread and fabric colour the result can be beautiful.
Hand embroidery stitches – clear videos for stitching, from Needle ‘n Thread

Hems – by hand and machine

Inset corners, photo tutorial from Paper Theory patterns

Interfacing fusing instructions for clothes and bags

The Ginger pattern from Closet Case patterns is very popular, and there is much helpful support for sewing a first jeans project at their site, including both a photo tutorial sew-along and a video class.

Knit Fabrics
Making active wear on home sewing machine or overlocker, applies to any knits, from Sew-It with Di.
Sewing with knits, Threads magazine video, and see other videos in their right side menu.
Neckline binding for knits, video from Sarah Veblen at Threads.
Sewing knit fabrics on a sewing machine
Stretch stitch settings on a sewing machine
Sweater knits from O Jolly

Bag your jacket Lining, written tutorial from Threads magazine.
How to bag a jacket lining, photo tutorial from Grainline Studio patterns.
Jacket lining by hand and machine methods, pdf from the University of Kentucky.
Lining a skirt, pdf from the University of Kentucky.
Easy Guide to Sewing Linings, Threads magazine book.

Marking tools and methods
Tracing wheel, tracing paper

Unpicking and recovering from mistakes

Openings / Plackets
Faced slash-slit opening (Sewingplums)

Sleeve opening plackets :
Continuous band sleeve placket
– The secret of success lies in the initial stay-stitching (as well as working slowly and carefully). Don’t sew a sharp-bottomed Vee, sew and Y-cut a blunt bottomed Vee – see my tutorial on sewing a faced slit opening.
‘Tower / steeple / castle / house’ sleeve placket :
2 main methods, using 1 or 2 fabric pieces.
– 1 fabric piece : shirt placket pdf from Lynn Cook of Australian Stitches.
– 2 fabric pieces : sleeve placket tutorial from shirtmaker Pam Erny.

Neck opening half-plackets :
Polo / hidden placket
– added fabric strip behind main fabric. Sewn the same way as the continuous band sleeve placket.
Henley / tab placket – added fabric strip is visible.
Often sewn the same way as a tower/steeple shirt sleeve placket. So several methods. Here’s a Professor Pincushion video.
If the bottom of the placket tab is inside the garment, that does need a different technique, see half way through photo tutorial from kbenco.
[hmm – some people name them the other way round. . .]
Exposed zipper half placket – Many exposed zipper neck openings are in a seam.
If you want one ending in the middle of the fabric, make it like half of an exposed zipper pocket, see below under zippers.

Pattern ‘hacking’
Guidance about the simplest methods of altering a pattern is in this post from Sewingplums.
Pattern altering to make new styles – see this page of Sewingplums for links to more posts about altering patterns to make new styles.

Make piping and attach to a straight edge, photo tutorial from Bernina on using a zipper foot.
2 photo tutorials from Closet Case patterns, on using a piping foot :
making bias tape and piping (see also above for tutorials on cutting bias strips)
attaching piping

Pockets – this section spread so much I’ve made it a separate post.

Making a perfect point by David Page Coffin in Seamwork magazine

Pressing an open seam
Using a pressing ham

Walking foot and Ruler work Quilting

Rouleaux and other turned tubes, such as for bag straps and button loops.

Ruffles photo tutorial from Sew Essential, see also Gathering.
Some sewing machine companies have a mighty ruffler presser foot. This example from Bernina sews gathers and small pleats.

Seams and seam finishes
Sewing an open (plain) seam
Pressing an open seam

Seam finishes :
Here’s a photo tutorial from Grainline Studio which includes both open and enclosed seam finishes.
And here are some detailed tutorials :

Five seam finishing techniques (Sew Essential)
Getting a better zigzag seam finish
Examples of serged seam finishes from sdBev
Hong Kong and bias bound seams, photo tutorial from Closet Case patterns.

Enclosed or ‘self-finished’ seams :
Flat fell seam without a special folding foot, photo tutorial from Sew Me Something patterns.
Flat fell seam ending in a seam split, from Carolyn.
French seam, curved french seam, mock french seam.
Lapped seams and darts in non-fray fabrics – see half way down this tutorial from The Sewing Workshop.

Fitted armhole, sleeve sewn ‘in the round’.
Strong differences of opinion here. Some people like to sew in a sleeve with the sleeve cap down, next to the feed dogs. I like to sew with the sleeve up. Here is a video from Londa Rohlfling.
Sleeve sewn ‘flat’ / ‘laid on’.
Here’s a photo tutorial from Blueprints for Sewing, with an easy way of avoiding ugly lumpiness at the underarm.
Square armholes – that way of avoiding underarm lumps doesn’t work with these, I’m planning a post.


Thread bar
Couture method video from Susan Khalje.

Burrito method for sewing a lined yoke.


Here’s the Closet Case patterns round-up of all their zipper tutorials covering :
invisible (old method),
separating zippers : placket, in a coat, exposed,
fly zippers : jeans, trousers.

Some individual tutorials :

Classic slot / in-seam zipper
photo tutorial from Make It – Love It.

Invisible zipper :
There’s now a much better method, using a zipper at least 2-3″ longer than the opening, a haemostat or tweezers, and a conventional zipper foot. See this invisible zipper video from Kenneth D. King at Threads magazine.
Here’s a photo tutorial for the same method from Sew Essential.
Stitch down the fold of the zipper.
Invisible zipper, my post on the classic method, best done using an invisible zipper presser foot.

Exposed separating zipper
video tutorial from Professor Pincushion

Exposed zipper in letter box opening, video from Fashion Sewing Blog TV.
Make the opening width at least 5mm-1/4″ more than the widest part of the zipper pull.
An alternative method is to make the letterbox opening using a facing. Video demo at Sewing Quarter, from 1hr.24min. to 1.32.

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See also top of right side menu for links to sites with guidance for complete beginner sewers.

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Links on this page checked February 2019

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