Hints and Tips

These Hints and Tips include those shown on my old blog, but they are still as useful!

To keep crewel work or other hand embroidery clean whilst stitching:

When doing crewel work or other hand embroidery in a hoop, place the outer ring of the hoop on a flat surface, tear a strip of cling film large enough to hang over the edge of the hoop, all the way round. Place the cling film on the outer ring of the hoop, then place your piece of work with the right side facing down on the cling film, making sure that the area you want to work on is within the circle of the hoop. Push the inner hoop down onto the fabric and secure it in place. Turn the hoop over so that the right side of your work is uppermost. With scissors, carefully score the cling film, encircling the area you are about to stitch. Remove the piece of cling film and begin stitching. The cling film protects the area of fabric that is not being worked upon.


“What have wooden coffee stirrers to do with sewing?” I hear you ask. Well, today on The Craft Channel the guest demonstrator for The Crafty Kit Company, unfortunately I didn’t catch her name, showed how useful wooden coffee stirrers are for turning fabric the right way out when you have stitched two pieces together! I haven’t tried it yet, as I don’t have any of the wooden stirrers, but I shall be collecting some as soon as I can and giving it a go.


An easy way to peel the paper off fusible web after it has been attached to fabric.

Janet Clare, on Create and Craft today, mentioned a good tip for removing the paper from fusible web after it has been ironed on to fabric. If you try to peel the paper from the edge of the fusible web it may well cause fraying on the edge of your fabric. Instead, you should fold the area of paper across your finger and carefully score the paoer with scissors. You should then be able to remove the paoer from the fusible web easily.


How to keep your pins sharp in handmade pincushions

If you are making a pincushion for yourself or as a gift, use a steel wool scourer, or some steel wool from a DIY shop, as some or all of the stuffing. It will help to keep your pins sharp when you push them into the pincushion.


Yardages required for upholstery
Here is a useful infographic showing approximate yardages required for upholstering different styles of chairs and sofas.

Approximate yardages for

Handy Quilting Crib Sheet
I saw this posted on Facebook and thought it would be good to share it here.

Scrap-busting Idea (1)

Here is a lovely idea from a member of the Shortcuts To Sewing Forum whose nickname is JJR14. JJR14 is making a bunting pennant each year using scraps left over from projects she has stitched during that year. She has even stitched a tag with the year the scraps are from!

Scrap-busting Idea (2)
If you are like me you will hate throwing away any scraps of fabric! I get a thrill from using scraps as, to my mind, it is using ‘free’ fabric.

Here is a natty idea for using fabric scraps to make your own unique bias tape. 
You could develop the idea for example by making it colour-coordinated, or creating ‘memory’ tape using scraps from certain projects or clothes. How amazing would it be to bind your grandchild’s quilt using tape made from their mother’s or father’s old clothes? All sorts of wonderful possibilities from your bag of scraps!

Crocheting A Circle
I have just seen this post about crocheting a circle. 
I don’t seem to have the problem of my circles appearing to have corners, but I do always seem to have a visible seam, so I must try this method next time.

Left-Handed Scissors
I heard Jennie Rayment giving this tip.
“If a right-handed person uses left-handed scissors, it ruins the blades.”
I assume the same is true of right-handed scissors. I do not allow others to use my best scissors. I think scissor blades probably wear according to the way you use them (much the same as shoes wear), so that if someone else uses them it will have an effect on them.
Keeping Your Glue Tip Clear
This tip comes with kind permission of Purple Daisies.

To keep the tip of your flue nozzle clear and free-flowing, put a one inch (2.5cm) length of a plastic tag used for price tickets into the nozzle.

Which Colour is on Your Bobbin?
This tip comes from May Chappell.
Try this easy way to label a sewing machine bobbin so that you know which thread is wound on to it.

Buy a pack of reinforcing rings (the ones that are used to strengthen holes that are punched in paper so that it can be put into a ring binder). Using a suitable marker pen with a narrow point, write the code of the thread onto one of the rings. When the writing is dry, stick the ring onto the top or bottom surface of your bobbin. **Important** Be sure to remove the label and any glue from the bobbin before using it in your sewing machine!

An Easy Seam Guide on the Sewing Machine
I saw this tip on http://sewchic.blogspot.co.uk/ and thought I would share it.If the stitching you are doing on your sewing machine needs a seam guide wider than the marks on your machine:

  1. Take a length of elastic about 3/4″ [1.5cm] wide. 
  2. Wrap the elastic around the free arm of your machine, stretching it slightly. 
  3. Sew the elastic together to form a loop.
  4. Slide the loop onto the free arm and position according to the width required.

*If you need the guide to be clearly visible, use black elastic instead of white.

Using a Twin Needle on Your Sewing Machine
When you are going to do a small amount of stitching with a twin needle and need both rows of stitching to be the same colour, fill an extra bobbin with the colour and use that on the spindle with the reel of thread, rather than buying a second reel.
I saw this tip on Make It & Love It.

Making Life Easier When Doing Free Motion Quilting

  • Thank you to Val who has advised me that it is a good idea to use an old fashioned wooden embroidery hoop when doing FMQ. The hoop needs to be tightened firmly before stitching. It will have to be ‘jiggled’ about to get it into position on the machine before beginning to sew.

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