How To Sewing Guides

  • How to Choose the Right Fabric for my Sewing Project

    How to Choose the Right Fabric

    Put simply choosing the right dressmaking fabric can make or break your sewing project. A number of customers have told us they struggle with this aspect of dressmaking so we've written this guide to help you along the way. Fabric shopping should be nothing but a purely joyful experience after all! Plus we want you to reap the rewards of the time and money you invest in every project.

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  • How to Pipe Seams & Embroider a Garment

    How to Pipe Seams & Embroider a Garment

    In this blog post we'll show you how to get super professional results when piping seams and customising a garment with machine embroidery. Piping is a beautiful way to finish the seams of a garment adding an interesting extra bit of detail to really give it the wow factor. Combine piped seams with embroidery you've chosen to customise that garment perfectly and you have a truly original design in exactly the right colours to match your accessories. This is how the idea for this unique dress made by our very own Angela (co founder of Sew Essential) came to life. You see Angela has a bit of a shoe obsession and just couldn't resist these gorgeous green LK Bennett shoes, but had nothing to wear with them so she did what any respectable seamstress would do and made something.

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  • How to Sew a Neat Waistband with an Invisible Zip

    How to Sew a Neat Waistband with an Invisible Zip

    Here are our top tips for sewing a super neat waistband with an invisible zip. After the troubles I had with my denim skirt waistband I decided it was time for a crash course with Angela to really nail the key techniques - how to get sharp corners and a neat finish, plus how to insert an invisible zip that crosses a waistband seam. I was working on a lovely Simplicity vintage inspired pattern (2154) with our gorgeous Ohio fabric and this was the perfect opportunity to practise these techniques. I will, of course, blog about the skirt itself very soon.

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  • Tissue Fitting & Sewing The Tilly & The Buttons Agnes Top

    Tissue Fitting Pattern

    This Tilly and the Buttons Agnes pattern in our lovely geometric jersey fabric was the perfect quick and easy sewing pattern for bouncing back after my challenging denim skirt project. Plus I find long sleeved T shirt tops one of the most useful things to have in my wardrobe all year round - perfect for layering, comfortable and ideal for wearing with skirts or trousers they tick all the boxes. I also thought this easy top project would be a good way to try and understand a fitting issue I have where the fabric of the garment gathers into creases that run from my armpit to the shoulder seam, which Angela spotted on my embroidered denim dress project.

    At first we thought maybe I had made a mistake with the sleeve insertion, but then I noticed it on some of my favourite ready to wear garments too and so I had discovered my first fitting issue. That's the wonderful and awful thing about dressmaking isn't it - your standards for the fit, hang and finish of a garment become so much higher than they ever were before. I never noticed this before and now it bugs me every time I wear something where it presents itself and that is how this quick easy project became a little bit more interesting...

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  • Handmade Christmas Decorations Ideas

    Handmade Christmas Decorations Ideas

    Whether you're thrilled or mortified at the prospect Christmas is just around the corner and what better way to get in the festive spirit than making your own decorations?! We have Christmas fabrics, ribbons, decoration kits and more and have created this handy page to help you find exactly what you are looking for plus we thought we'd share a few quick, simple ideas for whipping up some decorations in no time...

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  • Five Ways To Machine Stitch Hems

    Five Ways to Machine Stitch Hems

    Having covered hand sewn hem techniques and hem finishes on an overlocker in previous articles, it's time to talk machine stitched hems. Whilst it could be argued a hand stitched hem is always preferable there is definitely a time and a place for machine stitching. Not only is it quicker (in most cases) it is also easier to achieve professional results for some fabric and hem types. For example it is much easier to achieve a flat hem when creating a narrow hem on a sewing machine than by hand. Hand stitching stretch fabrics can be tricky and if you don't have an overlocker or cover stitch machine a machine stitched hem with a twin needle is a great option for a professional finish. Plus there are now some fab sewing machine feet available (see our full range here) that make accurate, neat machine stitched hems easier than ever to achieve.

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  • Hem Finishes On An Overlocker

    Overlocker Hem Finishes

    A few weeks ago we shared five hand stitched hem techniques here on the blog and I promised there would be further posts on machine stitched hems and hem finishes on your overlocker. Seeing as it is now well and truly Autumn when we find ourselves reaching for the cosy knit fabrics in our stash or the fabric store (we have a good range of stretch fabrics on our site if you want to check it out) I thought we'd share the hem finishes you can achieve on your overlocker. Plus I must admit I'm currently in the throes of a long and unwavering love affair with my Babylock overlocker and can't stop raving about it having spent a little time exploring its full capabilities. If you have an overlocker or are considering buying one it is well worth spending a little time opening your eyes to the tasks you can complete on an overlocker - ironically finishing seams is merely the starting point.

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  • How To Sew A Fly Front Zip

    How To Sew A Fly Front Zip

    A fly front zip is the fastening traditionally used on jeans, trousers and can often be found on skirts and shorts where the zip is positioned on the front of the garment. The zip is hidden from view by a zip facing or extension and is covered by a fly shield from the inside of the garment. Knowing how to sew one is a great skill to add to your sewing arsenal so we've prepared this handy guide for you to refer to.

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  • How To Hand Stitch Hems

    How to Hand Stitch Hems

    When I first started dressmaking I realised it isn't always immediately obvious from the sewing pattern instructions how to hem the garment. I often found myself wondering how deep the hem should be, which stitch to choose and whether it should be machine or hand stitched to achieve the best finish.

    Here, in our series of articles on finishing techniques, Angela (co founder of Sew Essential, general sewing mastermind and guru) helps us to understand which type of hems are appropriate for different garments followed by step by step instructions and videos for five hand sewn hem techniques. We will cover machine stitched hems later in the series.

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  • How To Finish Seams: 5 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know

    How To Finish Seams: 5 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know

    For most of us sewists the holy grail of dressmaking and sewing your own clothes is to make something that is fitted and finished beautifully as if a professional dressmaker had created it. In a series of articles our resident sewing guru and founder of Sew Essential, Angela, will take you through some of the key finishing techniques that will help you to achieve excellent results every time starting with seams. There are many types of seam finishes used in dressmaking depending on the garment and fabric type chosen. Here are a few of the most common ones to master.

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