Thursday 29 October 2015

Beginner Sewing: Class 3!

Hello again!

This week we got to bring our sewing machines, and it was the best! I had an advantage because I am familiar with my sewing machine and can use it relatively well, although I learned some things about it that I didn't know before. For example, I have been letting the needle go up and down when winding the bobbin, but there is a wheel on the right hand side that prevents this. Oops. My sewing teacher took some time to check out my machine, although it was because she said she likes "vintage" machines. My sewing machine is a kenmore I bought for $80 off kijiji 3 years ago, and I think it is from the seventies. I didn't consider it vintage because my best friend has one from the fifties.

This class was about basting, pressing and darts. For darts, we learned how to mark them, how to sew them different ways and other such techniques. We learned what basting is and different methods, and I learned that pressing is important and different than ironing. Here are some things that I learned:

  1. Google defines basting as "to tack with long, loose stitches in preparation for sewing." There are 4 kinds of basting:
    • finger basting - this is when you just hold the pieces together with your fingers. Not recommended for anything really, but will do the trick in a pinch.
    • hand basting - hand stitch the basting to hold pieces together. This is very easy to pull out when you are done.
    • pin basting - very commonly used, pin fabric right side together, but make sure to remove the pin before sewing over it to protect your machine/needle.
    • machine basting - set your sewing machine to the longest stitch and sew, so it is easier to take out. This is best for sewing in zippers and checking the fit of a garment. Remove as soon as you are done with them. 
  2. Pressing involves pressing the iron into the material and over seams, as opposed to just rubbing the iron over cloth. Some fabrics become shiny when you press them, which is why it is recommended to have a pressing cloth. A pressing cloth is a piece of fabric that is treated in such a way that it becomes a barrier between the iron and the cloth. My mom uses a tea cloth.
  3. Selvedge shrinks over time, so if you end up with a piece that includes the selvedge edge, make regular snips along the selvedge edge so it doesn't pucker over time.
  4. When pressing darts in a garment, press the folded material towards your belly button when you're wearing the garment. 
  5. A seam roll is used to press darts, or anything that is not intended to lie flat (for example, darts in a pencil skirt are there to make the garment lie flat against your curves, not a flat surface). You can buy a seam roll, or you can roll up a magazine or newspaper and cover with a towel and use that. 
  6. When pressing, there are 3 ways you need to press: 
    • Right against where you just sewed (on top of the thread). This presses the thread into the material so it lies flat.
    • On the wrong side of the material, but with the seam open
    • On the right side of the material with the seam open, so everything that the world sees is nice and clean looking.

I'm really excited to put what I learned this week to good use. I found my camera and will try to remember to bring it to the next class. Thanks for reading!


  1. It sounds like you are learning a ton!

  2. Just discovered your blog via the Sewing Mavens podcast. I have the same machine (as well as two others). I refuse to get rid of it because it makes the best buttonholes. I have a 4-figure machine that I bought years ago that doesn't come close. Even if you buy a new machine one day, don't get rid of it. You really lucked out because it is a fabulous machine. Loving your blog BTW.

    1. Thank you! I once saw a buttonhole attachment at Value Village for it, and am STILL kicking myself for not picking it up. I do love this machine more and more though!