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We’re still looking for 10 great member tips to feature in the upcoming winter issue of BurdaStyle, only now we need to know: What are your most advanced sewing tips or techniques?

It can be about anything sewing related: hand stitches, machine skills, serger tips, cover stitch tricks, sizing advice, alterations, pattern adjustments… you name it!

All we need you to do is:

Comment below with details, and include:

• Your first name and Last initial
• City and country (or state if you live in the US)
• A high resolution picture of you (it will be published in the magazine if your tip is chosen!)

You can send us your photo (and comment if you like) via email to answers@burdastyle.com. Please include your BurdaStyle username or a summary of the tip in the email body!

If we receive your photo and the details outlined above, your insider tip could appear in the next issue of BurdaStyle US!

17 Comments

  • Missing

    Sep 27, 2014, 06.16 PMby HugsandStitches

    I think one of the best things you can do is always keep your iron clean. I use Dritz Iron Off Cleaner to clean it monthly. Always iron all seams when sewing. It takes a bit longer but is really worth the extra effort.

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    Sep 16, 2014, 03.11 PMby Dissylu

    Fabric has personality!

    When selecting a pattern, don’t let the suggested fabrics keep you from picking out that scrumptious fabric you keep walking past. It’s speaking to you for a reason. It’s probably saying, “Buy me. I’m you.”

    Fabric has its own personality, just as you do. The pattern you selected which shows a houndstooth fabric might have that collar you’ve been dying to have, or that sleek line you’ve been craving, but alas, the fabric you’ve been keeping your eye on might be a hot pink jersey print.

    That’s okay—this is where you turn from pattern buyer to DESIGNER.

    Purchase your pattern AND your hot pink! When you get home, keep the favorite element from your pattern in mind and then modify your new pattern to allow the personality of your new fabric to come through.

    For instance, the collar you love may look divine in your hot pink, but the buttons just won’t work. That’s okay. Perhaps a silver zip with a crystal pull will look smashing. How about those welt pockets. Dash them. What does your fabric tell you? She may tell you no pockets, or she might tell you more zips. Your new fabric may be softer and lighter to the touch. That’s okay, stabilize. Your houndstooth won’t mind. She is just a suggestion.

    Let the designer in you create something truly unique. Your fabric is you. She has your personality. Your pattern is just a tool to get you there. Gorgeous in every detail.

    Cynthia W, Round Rock, TX.

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    Sep 16, 2014, 12.54 AMby shanailromane

    I’ve learned several things when it comes to sewing, but the best advice I can give is to always hand sew/stitch the inside of the skirt or trouser waistband and liner that goes around the zipper closer to finish it off. It always gives it a classy and professional look. The stitch you want to use is called a slip-stitch. Do this along the inner fold of the waistband and also around the zipper close to the teeth, but not so close to where you are touching and obstructing the opening and closing of the zipper. Make sure you take your needle and go in towards the side of the inner fold and take a small piece of the bottom where you’ll connect the two pieces together, and repeat this process along the entire waistband and zipper closer. I hope this helps you with your final garment pieces. Happy sewing!

    Shanail, R Chesapeake, Va

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    Aug 29, 2014, 04.34 PMby Ruthied1968

    I think the best tip I have is in preserving Patterns, you can either iron them to freezer paper, or you can use interfacing to make them a bit more reusable. I found that after the first time using a pattern they can become raggedy.

    Ruth-Dawn G. California USA

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    Aug 23, 2014, 02.09 AMby claireokc

    For a fine finish a great line and shape to a garment is key. Think of your side seam as an outline that you are drawing with a pencil – only you’re using needle and thread (and a machine!). Ever so slightly shape in to the bra-line (the point where the bra strap goes around the chest), and upper waist.

    If you are thick through the waist, keep the shape very subtle and keep the smallest waist-like point above the waist so that there is the illusion of the waist when you are shaping in below the bust.

    For a small waist, don’t fit too closely t your waist and also your waistline above your natural waist as this will make a gentle fall from the waist to the hip. This is a technique used by Armani, Valentino, Oscar and lots of the master designers to make their clients look very attractive and gives them shape where they really don’t have it. A good example is Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall’s wedding gown and the ensemble she wore to Katherine’s wedding. Nichols Hills, OK http://www.sewingartistry.com/documents/pictures/personal/hi-rez.jpg

  • Missing

    Aug 21, 2014, 07.48 PMby quiltgal

    For a professional finish when sewing a shirt, interface both sides of collar, neckband and cuff pieces. It stabilizes them so much better than when done to a single surface. You will love the crisp finish.

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    Aug 20, 2014, 09.48 PMby wanderingmuse

    When ripping out seams, I use my seam ripper to remove stitches one by one without breaking the thread until I have a long enough thread to really grip with my hand. Then I break a stitch a couple inches ahead on the same side of the fabric with my seam ripper (how far ahead depends on the fiber and thickness of fabric). Then I grip the thread with one hand, pinch the fabric gently with the other hand close to where the long thread is coming out of the fabric and pull the long thread. The fabric will scrunch up and then the thread will pull out. Be careful not to break the thread. Then flip the fabric over to the opposite side, and there will be another long thread. Break a stitch a few inches forward as before and pull. Keep repeating until the seam is out! This method makes removing seams much faster by removing inches at a time instead of stitch by stitch.

    -Lisa S., Portland, Oregon

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    Aug 20, 2014, 09.48 PMby yas1282

    I’ve learned that it’s better to sew all the seams that do not cross first, before pressing. This saves a lot of time while sewing and you won’t have to go back and forth from your sewing machine to the ironing board every single time you sew a seam. You can stop sewing when you get to seams that crosses each other.

    Yetunde S., Baltimore, MD

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    Aug 20, 2014, 09.35 PMby Debbie Allingham

    I’m definitely trying the dart idea below! A great way of quickly then securing the thread without hand knotting is to finish stitching, raise the foot and needle and then move backwards to make a lock stitch in the body if the dart, just above the tip, without cutting the threads. Works a treat and none if mine have ever unravelled. Debbie Allingham, Washington, Tyne and Wear

  • Missing

    Aug 19, 2014, 02.32 PMby KateyJohansen

    When cutting out sleeve pattern pieces, cut a notch at the center of the sleeve cap. When putting the garment together, you match this center cap notch to the shoulder seam for those designs with a shoulder seam at the center point of your shoulder. It insures that the sleeve is sewn in properly without having to keep track of other markings.

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    Aug 18, 2014, 06.29 PMby darcie

    We all know not to backstitch at dart points. But I recently started doing something else to create clean points. I use a 2-2.5 length stitch for most of the dart, up until the last inch. Then I turn down the stitch length to only 1, and I run the stitches off the garment. It creates a precise dart point, and the stitches will not easily come out. Darcie G. Davis, CA

  • Missing

    Aug 15, 2014, 01.31 PMby Erin Heintzinger

    When making pattern alterations, don’t reach for your tape dispenser, invest in a few large glue sticks. The glue sticks work effectively with traditional pattern paper, craft paper, and Bosal Create-a-Pattern. Whether you are repairing a tear, or slashing and overlapping, or slashing and spreading, this is the most effective technique. Use the glue stick in a small area along the edge you need to adhere, take your time and place the next piece, you can lift and readjust quite a bit without causing more problems. Once you have the layers the way you want, hit it briefly with a hot iron to immediately dry and set the glue! Works like a charm every time and no melted tape when you accidentally hit it with the iron.

    Erin H Pittsburgh, PA Headshot available at TeamRedhead.net

    1 Reply
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      Aug 19, 2014, 04.26 AMby schnui

      Brilliant tip. Never occurred to me to do that and yet is makes perfect sense to.

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    Aug 15, 2014, 01.05 AMby auschick

    I learned this one from doing oliver+s patterns: when doing hems or facings, machine baste the fold line first, using the throat plate as your measuring guide. Much easier and more accurate than fiddling around with a ruler and marker! Natasha T., Centreville, Virginia

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    Aug 14, 2014, 09.39 PMby Erica Jacobs

    My most advanced sewing technique I learned when I lost a lot of weight. I had this beautiful pencil skirt which did not have a waist band but was fully lined, I needed to bring the waist in but did not want to sew the lining to the fashion fabric via the darts. I found a technique which creates a double v dart where the opening of the v is located when the fabric and the lining are joined. At the largest part of the V you pull up the presser foot turn to adjust the angle and sew off the fabric to create mirrored dart without pulling the skirt apart. Erica J. Port Deposit Maryland.

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    Aug 14, 2014, 09.37 PMby Debbie Allingham

    My tip isn’t highly technical but it’s a guaranteed pain free way of making those lovely skinny couture rouleau straps.

    First grab a piece of cord. Don’t panic – it’s not part of the finished article! Next using the zipper foot take the fabric strip that you’re making your strap from (it should be three cm plus seam allowances longer than the finished strap length) and fold it wrong side together at one end, along the length. Pop the cord inside the fabric strip, butted against the fold. The cord doesn’t need to run the length of the fabric BUT be sure to have a the cord hanging out the top of the ‘sandwich’ to at least the finished length of the strap. Trust me! Now, sew across the top short edge of the sandwich firmly stitching the fabric to the cord. Next, turn the fabric so that it is right sides together. You’ll need to flip it over the length of cord you left hanging out the top and in so doing you’re also flipping the fabric over itself at that seam you just sewed. See where we are heading? With the cord butted tightly up to the fold and using the zipper foot to get nice and close sew the long seam ensuring that you avoid sewing right at the start where the fabric is attached to the cord. That’s why we used an extra three cm on the length of the strap. Finish the seam with a lock stitch and here we go! As you’ve already realised, you’ve already created a turn in the fabric with that clever right side out seam. Trim down the seam and then one quick pull and that seam just wants to turn and flip out your perfect rouleau!!! Just cut through the end and the cord to release it, press and feel very pleased with yourself indeed. No more tears, tantrums or sorry frayed wrecks in the bin. Enjoy!

    Debbie A, Washington, Tyne and Wear, UK

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    Aug 14, 2014, 10.08 AMby Sabrina Wharton-Brown

    I learned these tips while making a horse-riding jacket for uni. It was made of faux leather and British Wool.

    There were Princess seams. I used 0.5cm seam allowance because I didn’t want to be clipping and notching, and I didn’t want to use pins. To sew the seams, I matched them at the straighter end of the seam (the hem end) and placed that part under the presser foot. To match it up the rest of the way, match up the raw edges at the other end of the seam, or at a notch, and “walk-match” it until your fingers arrive at a place that is a comfortable distance from the presser foot. Sew. Repeat until you get to the other end of the seam. Walk-matching is especially important on curved seams like Princess seams, because they won’t match at the other end if you don’t do it.

    When sewing curves, have one layer flat on the sewing machine, held with one hand, and the other layer held in the air with the other hand. It helps to use the presser foot as a guide for seam allowances, which is one reason that narrow seam allowances help. Sew, guiding the layers so that their raw edges match as the fabric feeds under the presser foot. At first, it’s like rubbing you tummy and patting your head, but this way you don’t need pins and it’s so much easier and quicker!

    Another tip is that you CAN unpick and resew faux leather. It’s plastic, so if you heat it a little with the iron (through a press cloth) the holes heal up. This doesn’t work with buttonholes though!

    Sabrina WB Cottingham, East Yorkshire, England

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