Sure, you may be an experienced dressmaker and have your own tips to share. Well, that’s awesome! They may be the same as what I’m listing here or completely different. Doesn’t matter really. The point is that there are some guidelines that simply make period sewing easier, make your garments better, and make the whole sewing experience more enjoyable.
Even if you are well-versed with the tips here, it’s always good to refresh the knowledge.
It’s the best secret to successful sewing that I know. I believe the key to success in anything is organization. I mean, how can you achieve your goal if you don’t have all the parts in place and ready to go? Get together all the parts associated with your project into a special bin, drawer, shelf or basket. Even if you are unsure of trims at the beginning, just start with the basics: fabrics, pattern and thread. Some projects require you finish an item before deciding on trim placement anyhow.
Also, some garments change throughout the construction process. Allow this to happen. Be open to new ideas as you create your project. Keeping your sewing area in place and with your supplies handy will allow the construction process to run more smoothly and be finished on time, something we all strive for.
Replace Sewing Needles as Often as Possible
Old needles burr and can snag your fabrics. They also make your machine work harder. And if you sew over pins, which you should not be doing anyway, the needle quickly becomes dull. What’s more, your stitching will show it. With certain fabrics a pulled stitch is quite visible making the garment look home-made. Do try to avoid such hassle whenever you start your project.
Routinely Turn Off the Iron’s Steam
Need I say more? Have you been there too?
You have that lovely tiny bias finishing on your bodice with the delicate drawstring inside. All you need is one last press to make it ready for the ball. Then – OUCH! A burst of steam rushes out of your iron and directly over your fingers that are holding the bodice to your pressing ham. And this isn’t the first time it’s happened to you. Remember this sewing tip, so your fingers will only get burned on the seldom occasion instead of with every project.
Use a Seam Sealer
Have you ever experienced accidentally cutting your fabric with your seam ripper when cutting open buttonholes? Does your bonnet tie suddenly have fringe on the ends when they should be a smooth edge?
A slip of the scissors or a seam ripper is more common than not. Protect those sorts of situation from becoming sloppy and use a seam sealer for your cutting mistakes instead. Or even simply to keep a cut edge neat.
Forget About Full Placket Opening When Cartridge Pleating Skirts
I was thinking I would be smart and add a nicely finished placket to the center back of my sister’s first 1850s skirt. I love cartridge pleats. And I was very pleased with my work on sewing the skirt to the waistband. Then I closed up the back opening and right in front of me was a wide, flat section of skirt surrounded by fabulous tiny pleats! What was I thinking? Finish the edges of your skirt where your pleats will start with a narrow hem or small bias placket. Avoid the wide, separate plackets to finish your opening to avoid my mistake.