Basic Sewing Tips

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Basic sewing tips for any project include reading the instruction manual carefully, pinning and basting the seams to prevent the fabric from sliding, and using a French seam technique for a clean seam on the inside and outside. Practice a few basic sewing preparation techniques for better results with instructions from a sewing craftsman in this free video on sewing.

Part of the Video Series: Sewing Machine Techniques
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Sam Lewis from and I'm here to talk about some basic sewing tips. The first and most important sewing tip I can possible give you is read your instruction manual. It sounds silly, it sounds counter intuitive if you're a guy but they actually tell you things you need to know. Now, assuming that you have the basics of how your sewing machine works, there are a couple of things that'll make your life immensely easier when you're actually sewing with it. The first thing is whenever you're working with a pattern, the most important thing to do is to baste your seams, baste your edges and tack down everything before you try to actually sew it. The thing that most people get in trouble with, with patterns is taking two pieces of cloth, putting them together, running them through the sewing machine and wonder what happened. What happened was cloth always slides when you're running it through the machine, pattern pieces move, they don't line up exactly, they aren't cut out exactly the same. If you take the time ahead of time to pin them and baste them, your life will be much simpler. Now when you're finishing the edge of a piece of material, the easiest thing to do, especially for things like skirt hems or pant hems, is to do what's called a French seam, which is basically, you hem it twice. That gives you a nice clean edge on the inside and outside of the fabric. Here's a piece of fabric that's already been pressed. Start out with a rough unattractive edge, you fold it once and iron it, fold it again, iron it and then on the outside, and from the inside both you have a nice clean edge. When you're sewing a French seam, in one pass, line up your material from the back side, decide where you want to put your line of stitching. In this case I've got it lined up so it's roughly a sixteenth of an inch from the edge of my presser foot. Take the material, flip it over, drop your presser foot down, begin stitching slowly. Once you get about a quarter inch in, press the reverse button, go back about three stitches, and then run your stitch through. When you're finished, pull it out, cut it off. Clean beautiful edge, both sides of your seam. Those are some very basic sewing tips.


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