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April 2015

Hello again


Brrrr, the weather is finally cooling down at my corner of the world and I'm super excited about starting to think of cosy things to sew.

I always find it easier to sew during winter; I'm not sure why.  I think it's something about the darkness of the day coming early, lighting the fire each evening and channelling those home making women of generations past. And then the kids start up with their latest argument over who knows what and shatter my little daydream into oblivion.  Ah well, there's always that time after bedtime :)

While we're chatting, I'd like to share Tracey's story.  She's one of the most active people on my Facebook page.  She got all inspired to finally drag out her sewing machine these school holidays and have a go at making a quilt for her daughter. Not only has she completed her patchwork top (and waiting on some cute buttons to tie the quilt layers together) but two strings of bunting.  The sewing bug has definitely bitten and I'm so excited that I was able to help her along the way.

I'm very happy to answer any sewing questions you've got as you sew.  For example Tracey wanted to know how to wind thread onto her empty bobbin (she used one of my Resource articles) as well as how to bind her quilt (my fav tutorial is this one by Cluck Cluck Sew).

Are you ever stuck on a step of a pattern?  Confused by a term or did they say to so something and you have no idea what they're talking about?  Just hit reply to send me an email and ask away.  I'm only too happy to help.

Happy Sewing ♥ Sarah x


I'm developing an e-course titled "How to Sew Like a Pro".  It's going to be like a guided sew-along where we meet online once a week for a video tutorial stepping you through the cutting, pinning, sewing and finishing of a brand new pattern and at the end of four weeks or so you'll have a beautifully finished bag to call your very own.  

I don't want learning to sew be a giant onerous task so I'm chunking everything down to be completed in say 30 mins of sewing time on a Sunday afternoon with a private FB group for ongoing support.  I'll have a guide for buying fabric and also some videos covering those key foundation skills before we get into the main bag making part.

I'm still in the development phase right now but if you'r super excited to get some help on the foundation skills of sewing then sign up to be on my VIP Launch List (and get some bonus lessons and other goodies)

The Wedding!  

In the last newsletter, I shared with you some decorations I'd sewn for my sister's wedding so I'd thought I'd follow up and share some photos of them all in place.  It was an absolutely glorious day with fabulous weather and the beautiful surrounds at Rottenest Island.  
My thanks to Mike Sippe Images for one of the photos featured here.

What is this Sewing Tool?

Have you ever seen a hem gauge before?  It's a brilliant little tool for making sure you measure and mark accurate hems.  A hem is the fabric folding back on itself to enclose the cut or raw edges - think of the bottom of dresses, and pants.

The gauge helps you to fold down a set amount of fabric so you can get an even and accurate level.  You could also use this gauge to form a casing for elastic or drawstring.

To use, start by laying a section fabric as flat as possible.  Using the plastic slider, set the gauge to the amount you wish to fold down.  My usual first fold is 1/4".  

Now run the gauge along the folded edge of the fabric with the raw edge aligned with the end.  The slider will help to push and fold the fabric which you can press into place with your iron as you follow along behind.

You can pin first but I normally use my gauge on my ironing board to press the edge as I go.  Be careful not to iron over the top of the gauge as the slider will melt (or so I’ve heard ;) ).  It's definitely a two-handed process!

HOT TIP – Push pins down into your ironing board to hold your fabric in position – they’re like little metal fingers that won’t burn when you get close.

I would now fold the fabric down again - say 1" this time - and press to form a double fold hem.  This will enclose all the raw edges completely and stop any of my fabric fraying in the wash.

Alternative hems

There are a few different alternatives to the double-fold hem which will add a bit of variety to your sewing.  Trying a new technique is a great way to challenge yourself and improve your sewing skills.  The Seasoned Homemaker has a tutorial on using bias tape (rather than folding your fabric over, you attach the tape to the raw edge and fold that under - especially useful when you don't have enough main fabric to make a hem or it's a tricky tight curve like this armhole).  

Wrap skirts cut on the bias are easy to make and drape beatufully but they can be hard to hem -- well, they were until I found this tutorial by Collette Patterns.   
I had a question from within the Hunting for Ladybugs Helpdesk group about how to sew a 'baby hem' so I found this tutorial by We Are All Magpies which uses a product called ban roll (a starched plain-weave tape) - I've always wanted to know how to get that SUPER superfine hem and needless to say it's now on my 'to try' list 
The Scientific Seamstress has a free printable template you can use for both straight and curved hems.  Print it out and stick onto some cardboard for repeated use.  You can also purchase metal versions.

Further Hemming Help

Melly Sews is a fabulous blog full of all sorts of sewing goodies and lots of free patterns.  Melissa covers lots of different hemming techniques such as double fold, bias tape and a blind hem.  Read More...
Hemming knits can be tricky as they are easily stretch out of shape and go all wonky (yes, a very technical term).  Rae Gun Ramblings will teach you how to use a twin needle for a truly professional finish.  
Add a pretty scalloped edge on a dress or skirt.
The best 'how to' tutorial by Colette Patterns here.
Do you even need to hem your jeans but you'd like to keep the original hem?  Check out this tutorial by Sew Much Ado Read More...

p.s. I've got a video version of this technique appearing very soon over at Mums Take Five
About Sarah

I live in rural Western Australia.  I love living in the country; 
there are so many things that I enjoy about the rhythm of life out here.
Being a long way from a fabric shop isn’t one of them (thank goodness 
for online, I love fabric parcels in the mail!). When I finally pull myself 
out from behind my sewing machine, you’ll find me tending a sadly 
neglected garden with a G&T in hand while the kids bounce on 
the trampoline. I may also be found occasionally in the sheep yards 
helping my farmer husband.

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