• When making doll clothes or children’s clothing, cut out double using two different fabrics. It’s just as easy to cut two as it is to cut one.
  • For seams where you don’t want thread tails to show, start sewing in reverse 1/2″ or so in from the edge. Back stitch to the edge; then sew the seam. Clip the threads close or pull them to the back side.
  • When pre-washing fabric, put a clean towel in the dryer with your wet fabric yardage. The towel prevents the fabric from winding up on itself. And then you don’t have to iron it.
  • If you use a double strand of quilting thread, you can can gather tulle by hand much more evenly and effectively than with a machine. An occasional back stitch helps hold things in place quite well.
  • If you’re looking for a stabilizer for your handbags, check out the “headliner” fabric that’s used for auto interiors. Many fabric stores stock these fabrics and they add just the right amount of stiffness for your bags.
  • When stitching a row for gathering, if you stitch for a few inches, then clip the tail of the top thread you will always pull the bottom thread for perfect gathering.
  • Rather than cutting your stabilizer to fit your hoop, just hoop what you need, don’t cut the stabilizer, and let the roll sit beside your machine or in your lap. When the embroidery is finished, take it out of the hoop and cut the stabilizer right at the edge of your design. This saves time and stabilizer.
  • When hand basting, don’t cut the thread from the spool and when you run out, just pull the thread as if to gather, straighten out the thread and you have more thread to continue basting without all the knots.
  • When hand sewing with a double thread, if you thread both ends, your thread won’t tangle.
  • If your shoulder pad doesn’t fit the sleeve curve, just run a gathering stitch along the edge and pull it up till it fits.
  • When threading a needle, wet the back of the needle and the thread will draw itself through easier.
  • When replacing an elastic waistband, pin the new elastic to the old elastic and pull through the band.
  • Use fusible thread as cording for machine buttonholes. Press the buttonhole to fuse the cording to the stitching.
  • Take the plastic bags your newspaper comes in on rainy days and cut them down. They are the perfect pattern size.
  • Do you use your good scissors to snip thread ends? It’s better to use thread clippers so your good scissors don’t wear down in one spot and cause uneven cutting.
  • For even spacing while doing hand stitching, try running your fabric through your sewing machine, using an unthreaded wing needle along the line where you will be doing your hand work for perfectly aligned stitches.
  • Buttonholes in delicate or gauzy fabrics wear quickly and don’t keep their shape. To make fake buttonholes, work the buttonholes but don’t cut open. Sew a button on top of each buttonhole and sew snaps underneath.
  • Black on black! Always difficult to remove black stitches from black cloth. Or any other dark cloth. Don’t keep squinting and straining your eyes. Just rub a bit of white chalk over the stitch line. This will highlight the stitches. You can remove them easier now.
  •  When easing sleeves into the armscye, use the shirring foot at whatever stitch length you are sewing with. For heavier fabric use a length of 2.25 or 2.5 and it puts just exactly the right amount of ease into the sleeve cap. With a woven cotton use a length of 2. The longer the stitch the stronger the ease.
  • It’s important to press your pattern tissue before you cut out your project. It only takes a few minutes and makes cutting easier because you aren’t struggling with pattern pieces with wrinkles. Using a dry iron, press the tissue on the printed side.  If you press the tissue on the back side, it will have a tendency to curl.
  • To clean up the “whiskers” on your cutting mat, use a roller designed for removing lint from your garments. Wide cellophane tape used for mailing packages can also be used.
  • When sewing a French seam, sew the right sides together, clip to 1/16-1/8-inch and then iron it open. Fold seam together, enclosing the seam you just sewed  and pin (with glass head pins—not plastic) so that the first seam is right in the middle. Press lightly and then sew again 3/16″ or so from edge. Pressing the first seam open makes all the difference when trying to get the seam right in the middle before you sew the French seam for the second time.
  • When attaching a collar to a child’s garment, first cut away 1/8″ of the underside of the collar before you pin and sew the collar to the garment. This helps keep the collar down and not in your child’s face.
  • Never plug your computerized sewing machine in the same power strip as your iron. An iron has power surges; they spike and can draw incredible amounts of power at certain stages of warming. These surges can harm your sewing machine if you have it on at the same time as your iron.