How To

Lapped Zipper

9:24 PM

definition: a technique of sewing in a zipper commonly used in dresses, skirts and dress pants. This type of zipper has one row of topstitching.

How to sew a lapped zipper:

1. Sew seam up to the end point of where the zipper will be.

2. Press the right side of the seam along the seamline (at 5/8").

3. Press the left side of the seam at 1/2". It is important that you continue pressing 1/2" below the end point of the seam.

2. Pin the left side of the zipper to the left side of the fabric. Continue pinning to 1/2" below end point of seam. Be sure the fold of the fabric buts up against the zipper.

3. Use a zipper foot and move the needle over to the right side. Edgestitch along the fold of the fabric. Continue stitching 1/2" past the end point.
Note: The zipper foot is helpful because you won't have to sew with the foot over the zipper teeth.

It should look like this when you are finished.

4. Close the zipper. Place the right side of the fabric over the previous edgestitching. The fabric should lay as if the seam had continued all the way up the fabric.

5. Pin the right side of fabric in place.

6. Move the needle over to the left side. Using a seam gauge, place the needle at 3/8" from the fold.

7. Sew parallel to the fold.

8. When you reach the end point of the zipper. Stop, pivot and carefully sew across the zipper to the end point. Do not back stitch- instead, pull the top thread through and tie a square knot in the back.
Note: If you are using a zipper with metal zipper teeth, do not sew across the zipper. Stop at the end point and hand sew across the zipper.

It should look like this when you are done. (Sorry, the stitching isn't completely straight, but with a matching thread, it should be fine.


French Seam

8:50 PM

French Seam: a type of seam finish that encases raw edges so the seam does not fray at all. This type of seam can only be used on lightweight fabrics, and straight (not curved) seams.

To make a French seam:

1. Sew seam at 3/8" with right sides together and trim seam allowance to 1/4".

 2. Press seam open.


4. Fold and press seam back on itself with right sides together.

5. Sew pressed seam at 1/4".

6. Press seam to one side (towards back if applicable). Now you have a completely finished seam allowance. No fray here!

Note: Only use the French seam finish on straight seams (not curved) like side seams or CB seams. The heaviest weight fabric to use French seams is quilting cotton. French seams are perfect for chiffon skirts.


Whip Stitch

12:39 PM

Whip Stitch: A stitch made by going around the edge of a piece(s) of fabric.

A whip stitch is sewn by inserting a threaded needle 1/4"-1/8" away from the edge of a piece of fabric, pulling the thread through and then inserting the needle again on the same side of the fabric next to the previous stitch.


Reinforcement Stitching

9:13 PM

Reinforcement Stitching: Smaller length stitching that make a seam stronger (12-14) stitches per inch). Reinforcement stitching is used in places like crotches and corners.

Reinforcement Stitching: A second row of stitching to make a seam stronger. This type of reinforcement stitching is used in places like armholes.


regulation stitching

9:10 PM

Regulation stitching: Basic stitching used for most techniques. Regulation stitching has 10-12 stitches per inch.



8:46 PM

Gathering: a technique used to add fullness or create shape by bringing the fabric together creating small tucks.

To gather:

1. Sew 2-3 rows of basting with out back stitching. For 2 rows, sew at 3/8 in and 5/8 in. For 3 rows, sew at 1/4 in, 1/2 in and 3/4 in.

2. Pull the threads from the right side of the fabric to gather the fabric together.

3. Measure the piece of fabric that you'll sew the gathered piece to.

4. Pull the threads until the length matches the other piece.

5. Anchor using a pin to wrap the threads into a figure eight. This allows you to bring the gathers to the edge of the fabric so they are more even.

6. Even out the gathers, and pin to the other piece.

7. Sew the pieces together with the gathered piece facing you. This will help you even out the stitching as you go.

*One little tip: When you are sewing with lighter weight fabric, sew with smaller basting stitches. (Set your machine closer to a 4 or 10-12 stitches per inch.) A general rule is to make the basting stitches as small as you can while still being able to pull the threads. This just makes your gathers more even.


Basting Stitch

8:38 PM

Basting Stitching: a temporary straight stitch with few stitches per inch, so the stitches are longer and easier to remove. The setting on most machines for basting is about a 5 for length. That comes out to be about 8-10 stitches per inch.

ie: When fitting, you may want to baste the item together first, try it on, and make sure it is correct. It is easy to change if changes need to be made, and you can restitch using regulation stitching if it is correct.

ie: Another use for basting is in gathering.

seam finishes

Zig Zag Stitch

8:27 PM

Zig Zag Stitch: a stitch that creates a Zig Zag pattern. Zig Zag stitching is used for finishing seam edges, stitching seams on stretch-knit fabrics, and decorative top stitching.

The picture below demonstrates the finishing of a seam with a zig zag stitch. The stitching is right along the edge of the fabric, so the stitching catches the edge and keeps the fabric from fraying.


Back Stitch

8:20 PM

Back Stitch: a few stitches backwards at the beginning and end of a seam that will anchor the seam (create little knots) so stitches don't fall out.

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