Friday, August 24, 2012

Word of Wisdom: Sewing Up a Storm w/ Barbara of hodge:podge

Hello Friday!  Hope you all learned a valuable lesson on Wednesday on paint technique and be so inspired that you will try a stripe wall treatment in your home.  Today, we are learning how to sew.  I don't know about you, but I surely do love mixing fabrics for pillows and drapes.  This may come as a surprise to many of you ... I actually don't know how to sew.  Yup, all the amazing pillow creations you saw at my projects or my own home were designed by me and put together by the talented Wesley of Wesley Seto Design.  

To conquer my fear, I thought why not invite an expert to DesignMaze to show us a few tricks for Sewing 101?  Please welcome Barbara of hodge : podge on perfect sewing ... every time! 

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So honoured to be visiting Tim's blog again....I guess I didn't scare him off when we met in Toronto in May. While he is galavanting out and about on his vacation {lucky guy} I will help by holding down the fort along with a few other bloggers. He asked me to share some of my sewing tips. As an avid sewer, I have picked up a tip or two and would love to pass on some of my tips to you!

A little background in how my love affair with sewing began. I remember sewing at the age of 3, my mom would give me a huge box of buttons and taught me to sew a button, let's just say many a thing had a button sewn on. Then when I was about 8, deep in throes of the world of Barbies I would drape and fashion dresses for my dolls. By the time I was 10 my mom let my take over her Singer sewing machine and then the real fun began. After taking sewing classes, tailoring and even a few fashion design courses I developed my skills and just love to whip out my machine and create.

Are you a bit afraid of sewing? Are you dying to make a few throw pillows or  - gasp - even drapes, to be the talk of the neighbourhood? Don't be afraid -  I tell anyone, if you can sew a straight line, you are on the road to becoming a sewer! The key is to start out small. Make a throw pillow, or just a table napkin. Something small and square. There are COUNTLESS tutorials on the internet, you can even drop by my blog and check out my DIY page to find a few!




Here are some bits of wisdom I have gathered over the years {Ok, that makes me sound old, well, my kids say I am old, but 40 is the new 20, right???}

#1: Learn to sew a straight line. If that means taking scraps of fabric to practice then do so. Get to know the machine. Most sewing shops offer free courses to learn to use a sewing machine. But a simpler machine, one with less bells and whistles, is easier to use. In addition, always have a great supply of needles on hand. I like to start with a new machine needle for every new project.


#2: An iron is a sewers best friend. Iron your fabric before you sew. Iron after sewing, pressing seams open. Iron your finished product. It is the key to a great finished product {along with sewing a straight line, if you can't do that, then forget it.....} Iron, iron, iron. Got it?



#3: Invest in good quality scissors. Keep them sharp and don't use them for anything else {like paper!}Good scissors will help make good clean, straight and even cuts. Remember tip #1? It will help you sew straight lines if you have a straight edge.


#4: Measure twice, cut once. I can't stress that enough, if that means brushing up on your math skills then do, sorry if you think you left basic math behind in high school, sewing involves math. Basic math, addition and a bit of division {if you are brave enough to make drapes.}

If you think you have it right, measure again and maybe even again. I have had MANY projects I have rushed with and then came out short. Tears came, cursing followed. Not pretty my friends.


#5: Don't rush, take your time. Drum up bucket loads of patience and a strong cup of coffee or if need be, a stiff drink. Be careful not to overdo the stiff drink, remember tip #1!!!

#6: Make a plan, don't just start sewing. Read the instructions, a tutorial or come up with a plan before you sew. It will save you heart ache later. #7: Get to know your fabric. Touch and feel fabric in the stores. Understand that some fabrics can't be used for home decor and some can't be used to make clothing due to weight, stretch, etc. Ask questions and order samples from online shops if need be.

 #7: If all else fails, you get a good laugh {or tears}, have another glass of wine and you can call it a party.

These are just a few tips to get you started. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me! I get many emails asking me specifics and I love to help.

Thanks Tim for having me here. I know you have mentioned how you wish you knew how to sew. Maybe a trip to Vancouver for some sewing lessons are in order?


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So now all I need is a good teacher to show me how to use this solid vintage sewing machine I received as a gift over a year ago.  I have been told by a pro that this hand-me-down machine is a keeper!! Straight line, scissors, and iron, you guys are next on my checklist!  I can't promise you a deadline for this sewing challenge, but I assure you to be the first to read about my sewing adventure here in the new future.

Thanks Barbara for the amazing sewing tips!

8 comments:

  1. I am TERRIFIED of sewing, but have wanted to learn since I was a little girl....I'm imagining all the fabulous things I could make if I actually knew how to sew ;)

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    1. Sorry I must have hit the wrong button!

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  3. Hi Barbara. Great sewing tips! My biggest fault when sewing is rushing.....Often times I don't take time to use the iron...heat it up, stand up and walk to the ironing board...you know its lots of effort. I will try it your way and see if I can get some improvement in my results :)

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  4. Great, great tips Barbara. You may have inspired me to haul out the sewing machine when I get back!

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    1. maybe we need to organize a sewing 101 in Toronto Lisa!

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  5. Great tutorial Barbara! My daughter has a sewing machine but it's not the greatest quality so may need to invest in a proper one and then fly out to Vancouver for lessons!

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