Technique Index

Sewing as craftsmanship :
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 !

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, no basic titles listing).
Sure Fit Designs.

This page is mainly a list of 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.

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, excellent photo tutorial from Brooks Ann Camper.
pdf on binding from The Sewing Place.
Corners in binding, brief instructions for every type of corner, with detailed instructions for pressing curves, in this tutorial from Wearing History.
A lengthy photo tutorial from Sew4Home has many tips on making and using bias strips, also instructions for ’quick and easy’ application of bias binding with a single line of machine stitching.
You can use zigzag or a decorative stitch such as ‘blanket’ (pin) stitch or feather stitch to attach binding.

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.

Blazer jacket – speed tailoring
free photo sew-along from Pattern Scissors Cloth.
video class from Closet Case Patterns
List of the top 14 blazer patterns at Pattern Review.
Or see Claire Shaeffer’s ‘couture’ Vogue patterns, not speedy these !

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.

basic instructions with videos from Annie’s Craft Store.

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
Many methods, so try them to find which you prefer.
Quality scissors are a marvel.
I have shaky hands so can’t use a rotary cutter without a ruler.
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.
The ‘couture’ method uses a pattern without seam allowances. Draw round the pattern, so you have a marked stitching line. Then draw a second line outside that, to mark the cutting line.

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.

Piece and decorate (Sewingplums).
Hand embroidery stitches – clear videos for stitching, from Needle ‘n Thread.
Free motion stitching.
Embellishment using special purpose presser feet and needles (not free) :
Embellishment techniques, from the Sewing Collection formerly Martha Pullen.
Stitching Cosmos, from Sewing Mastery.
Start using an embroidery machine – basics.
Start using an embroidery machine – next steps.
Start using an embroidery machine – editing designs.
See also bias binding above, pockets below.

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 below

Fabric button loops – see Rouleaux

Faced slash-slit opening (Sewingplums)
Facings are another area of sewing technique where there are strong differences of opinion. Some people dislike facings. I think proper facings give a lovely high quality effect, much easier to get a good result than with a bias facing strip. But some people think a ‘proper’ facing is unfashionable, and facings do need to be sewn with care.
videos :
Sure Fit Designs
pattern making – 12 min.
sewing – 14 min.
Made to Sew
pattern making – 22 min.
sewing – 37 min.
pdfs :
Facings construction – from the University of Kentucky, click on pdf icon, with drawings.
Sarah Veblen’s facings class at Pattern Review (not free), with photos.

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

Fitting – we all have our own needs and technique preferences, here’s my post on some of the options.


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 2 different curves together, so staystitch the inner edge then clip so it can be straightened.
– hemming the flounce, see making a narrow hem on a bias edge.
Not the same as ruffles, which are straight gathered strips, see below.

Gathering stitches, gathering foot – by hand, machine, machine gathering foot, shirring with elastic bobbin thread.
Sew gathered ruffle around hem, Facebook video from Sew Me Something patterns, from 13 minutes.

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 style set into slash in 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
Pixie Faire have a video course on hand sewing many of these stitches, also buttons, small buttonholes, snaps.
Hand sewn seam – video from Bernadette Banner.
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. If you prefer written instructions, here are the basic embroidery stitches from Sublime Stitching.

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.
Fleece, from Threads magazine.
Tips for machine embroidery on knits from Sewing Mastery.
Sewing knit fabrics on a sewing machine
Stretch stitch settings on a sewing machine
Sweater knits from O Jolly.
Neckbands :
Sew knit bands around neckline and cuff, Facebook video from Sew Me Something patterns, from 21 minutes.
Neckline binding for knits, video from Sarah Veblen at Threads.
Sewing knit neck bands, video from Lauren Guthrie.

basic instructions with videos from Annie’s Craft Store.
Once you know how to knit, the Ravelry site is a place of many wonders.

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

Notches and Notches : the same word for 2 different things, video from Sure Fit Designs.

Openings / Plackets – somewhat challenging techniques for visible openings in quality garments.

Patchwork Piecing and Quilting
I learned how to do this too long ago to remember the details. There are now many ways to learn on the web.
Missouri Quilt Company is a much loved site.
I developed my piecing skills at the fore-runner of the Academy of Quilting.
I’ve never developed any skill with machine quilting. However, here are some links to people who do give help with free motion stitching. And here are some easier methods : Walking foot and Ruler work Quilting

Pattern ‘hacking’
Basic pattern altering is very simple, no need to draft your own starter block, or work through one of the big pattern making textbooks.
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 (section on ‘altering patterns’) for links to more posts about altering patterns to make new styles.
Dozens of simplified patterns at Sew Guide.
If you prefer someone to do the pattern work for you :
This post from Sewingplums has links to many patterns with extensive variations.
Some of the sources available since that was written :
Named Clothing patterns Anni building blocks, princess seamed bodice with a variety of sleeves and skirts/pants.
Simplicity patterns ‘Hacking’ patterns.
If you read French, choose patterns for bodice, sleeves, skirt from Atelier Charlotte Auzou.

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
Corners and Curves, video from Whipstitch.

Plackets – see Openings

Pockets – patch, slant, letter box, and welt.

Making a perfect point by David Page Coffin in Seamwork magazine

Pressing an open seam
Using a pressing ham

Quilting – see Patchwork above.

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.
A ruffle is a long rectangular strip gathered along one long edge.
Not the same as a flounce, see above.

Seams and seam finishes – what could be more basic.

Shirt – see :
– Burrito method for yoke,
– Collars,
– Openings/plackets.
Dozens of sew-alongs and video classes on the web.

Sleeves / armholes
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. These videos all have the sleeve up :
Here’s a general video from Sure Fit Designs showing all the steps.
Here’s another video with all the steps from Sew Over It patterns.
And another video just showing the sewing, from Londa Rohlfling.
Sleeve sewn ‘flat’ / ‘laid on’.
Pinning sleeves to a garment, photo tutorial from Cutting Line Designs.
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.
Cut-on sleeves.
Much clipping needed at the underarm. So double stitch round the curve for extra strength, and the results are stronger if you can clip on the bias, not at right angles to the seam stitching.


I’ve done much knitting, crochet, bobbin lace but could never get my hands around tatting. This intro from Ring of Tatters makes the basics look very easy. Search ‘tatting’ for many videos.

Thread bar
Couture method video from Susan Khalje.

Burrito method for sewing a lined yoke.

Zippers – so you can make more fitted garments from woven fabrics.

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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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