Monday, August 04, 2008

this is ... my trade secret

Well, I'm getting my ass into gear and getting back into the "this is" game.  This week's topic comes from Amelia

I did think about posting my "trade secrets" LOL for machine appliquing and how to get nice rounded curves and lovely flat satin stitching on all different fabrics, including stretches but decided that probably needed some in action shots and... well, it's amazing I'm remembering to blog this!!

so I decided on some other tips, that I'm often surprised sewers don't know. Not really trade secrets by any stretch of the imagination but hopefully helpful to someone just the same.

1. Needles 
I can't express how important it is to use not only the right type of needle but also the right size needle for the fabric and task you're sewing.  It will give you a much better finish every time, and really it only takes a couple of seconds to change a needle.  When I'm making a pair of my pants that I sell, I use three or four different size/type needles.  
If you're not sure what needle to use, check the users guide that came with your machine; good machines will generally have a table or some instructions in there to help you out :)

And change your needles regularly, eight hours of sewing time is plenty for any needle.  This little tomato thing helps me keep track of how many hours I've used my different needles for.  I like to begin a new special project with a fresh needle too. 

2. Time
is precious and often in short supply when you're a mum sewing but.. taking your time on a project and paying attention to the little details wields much better results. You might be able to whip up a pair of pants in an hour, but put in a bit more time and deliberate over each step and you'll have a well made pair of pants that you'll be proud of.  It can be the difference between something you'd only let your child wear around the house, or something you want to show off. 
3. Scissors
Growing up we all knew in our house that Mum's sewing scissors were only for cutting fabric. Great rule to have, only use your sewing scissors for fabric... nothing else! 


  1. Thanks Tik for the trade secrets. I actually did not even register about the different needle sizes, so you certainly helped me out somewhat. And changing them after a time......gee whiz, I only change them (begrudgingly) when they snap LOL. Ta matey :).

    You have such a love for your work, and it shows through in the beauty of the pieces you create. I show all my friends the inside of the pants you made and they ooooh and aaaaah over that more than over the outside *grin*.

    Thanks again for this post!

  2. can i ask where you got your tomato thing? I love it!!!!!!!!

  3. Love your tips, I'm pretty slack with my needles too and I love your tomato. I do stick to the fabric only scissors rule though, my husband is too scared to even pick them up now!

  4. thanks for the good advice tik!
    I generally just use the same needle for everything... whoops! like shannon - change it when it snaps.
    you are a wealth of information, thanks :)

  5. aww Shannon, you say the nicest things!! You've made me all warm and fuzzy ~ thank you!!!

    Steph, I found the tomato needle holder in the notions section at Spotlight. :0

  6. all great tips, Tikki! - and if you decide to do an appliqué tutorial, I'll definitely be book marking it. I could use some help on going around curves.


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