Technique Index : A – G

Sewing with Good Skills

Most of these posts are notes on links to good tutorials by other people, but some are tutorials written by me.
Whenever the list of links about a topic got more than screen length on my desktop, I’ve made the topic a separate post !

The most basic processes for wovens :
Using a sewing machine.
Seams and seam finishes.
Hems and cut-on casings.

Fabrics for beginners, suggested by Mood Fabrics.
For knit fabric seams, hems, neckbands and cuffs – see second Techniques page, linked above header image.
Using a sewing pattern.

Starter projects

The techniques which take your projects from beginner to intermediate :

Darts – see below.
Facings – see below.
Sleeves into armholes.

Plus fabrics beyond stable plain weaves and double knit interlock – perhaps stripes, sheers, velvet, viscose jersey. . .

There’s a huge amount of good sewing guidance from these free sites :
pdf :
University of Kentucky – some line diagrams but not very visual.
photo tutorial :
Sure Fit Designs.
Sew Guide covers both sewing and pattern making (fun and encouraging but not the highest quality).
sew4home (search needed, no simple index)
video :
Professor Pincushion (search needed, there is a long list of YouTube videos).
Sure Fit Designs.

Techniques Index H – Z.

My index pages mainly list clothes making techniques, but I’ve included a few ‘starter’ links to some other needlework/fibre crafts.

‘Slow Fashion’ . . . shifts the focus away from mass production, profit, and status, towards compassion, self expression, connection and craftsmanship. Blueprints for Sewing.
For links to some guides on self-expression, see the Tools page.

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Develop your skills with inserting sleeves by using a sequence of techniques.

Basting/ tacking – by hand, machine, basting tape

Bias tape, bias binding, bias facing

Blazer jacket – see links in Intermediate Classics post.

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

Buttons – sew on :
By hand : Here’s a tutorial from Wikihow with a video of each step.
By machine : Many machine brands have a button presser foot which holds a button in place while you sew it on by machine.
My Bernina machine has a special stitch setting and a foot, here’s a video. There may be a video for your machine, here’s one for Janome.
If your machine does not have a special foot to hold the button in place, see if you can hold it in place by hand – it may be easier to sew on the button by hand !
If your machine does not have a special stitch :
– lower the feed dogs (or use a cover plate if the feed dogs don’t lower on your machine).
– set up the stitch width so you can zigzag stitch from one button hole to the other – check by doing the first stitches by turning the hand wheel (top towards you). Most modern buttons have holes 4mm apart, small buttons are 3mm.
– stitch in place (as you have lowered the feed dogs the fabric won’t move) using a straight stitch in one of the holes.
– zigzag stitch.
– after 3-4 stitches each side, finish with the needle in the other hole, and do some more stitching in place.
Snap buttons : How to install snap buttons, photo tutorial from Closet Case patterns.

Machine sewn buttonholes
Hand sewn buttonholes for dressmaking and tailoring.
Sarah Veblen at Pattern Review has a video class on buttonholes and buttons (not free).
And at Craftsy there’s a video class on Creative Closures from Marsha McClintock (also not free).

Casings, edge bands

Collars and attachments, these don’t need to be a big challenge to attach.

basic instructions with videos from Annie’s Craft Store.
Hmm – beware how you interpret patterns, UK and US crochet terms are different, here’s a table from WoolCouture.
Hook sizes and yarn weight names are also different. Here are tables from Wool Warehouse.

Curved edges
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

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.

Elastic waist pants – links to some easy patterns with support videos, and some more stylish patterns without.

Piece and decorate (Sewingplums).
Hand embroidery stitches – clear videos for stitching, from Needle ‘n Thread.
Free motion stitching.
6 ways to insert lace, from Sew Historically.
See also bias binding, and pockets.
Embellishment using special purpose presser feet and needles (not free) :
Embellishment techniques, from the Sewing Collection formerly Martha Pullen.
Stitching Cosmos, from Sewing Mastery.
Some Craftsy classes
Creative Closures.
Decorative seams.
Edge finishing techniques.
Heirloom sewing.
Sewing Texture.
Embroidery machine
Start using an embroidery machine – basics.
Start using an embroidery machine – next steps.
Start using an embroidery machine – editing designs.

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

I haven’t added links about fabrics (except knits) – I just refer to Sandra Betzina’s Fabric Savvy.
For knit fabrics see Techniques Index H-Z.
Moth prevention from tailors Norton & Sons.

Fabric button loops – see Rouleaux


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

Fitting – we all have our own fitting needs and technique preferences, this post is on some of the options.
Common fitting problems.
Fitting a cut-on sleeve top – fit and favourites : ease, length, neckline shape, silhouette.


Circular sections, which have a special effect as the outer free edge is longer than the inner attached edge. Lovely for swirling (or flouncing 😀 ).
2 technical issues :
– attaching the flounce, often sewing 2 different curves together, so staystitch the inner edge of the flounce then clip so it can be straightened.
– hemming the flounce, see making a narrow hem on a bias edge in the Hems post.
Flounces are not the same as ruffles, which are straight gathered strips, see Technique Index H-Z.

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 not quick and easy.

Well, the easier method is to add a square with on-grain sides, still needs care with stitching.
A ‘proper’ gusset is more tricky : 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 ‘needle down’, and an open-toe foot so you can see exactly where the needle is stopping. The corners are 3-dimensional shapes, so use a pressing ham.

Vintage underarm gusset set into slash in fabric, photo tutorial from Gertie.

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The index for Techniques H – Z is here.

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

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External links on this page checked November 2022

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