Triangular Bound Buttonholes

Bound buttonholes can be made in any shape which will suit the overall garment design elements and button shape.  Because of the shape of the centre front panel of my Marcy Tilton jacket (Vogue pattern and unfortunately now discontinued) which is wide at the hem and narrows towards the collar, I decided that triangular buttonholes would work really well.

Front bands are wider at the hem and narrow towards the neckline.

Front bands are wider at the hem and narrow towards the neckline.

Button sits at the point of the buttonhole.

Button sits at the point of the buttonhole.

There are two methods which can be used and the chosen method will depend on the thickness of the fabric and the desired finish.

Measure the width and depth of the button and add 1/8” / 3mm when determining the length of the buttonhole opening.

Wrap thin ribbon around the button and mark the width.

Wrap thin ribbon around the button and mark the width.

Lay the ribbon flat and measure from the fold to the mark. Add 3mm/ 1/8" and this will be the required opening.

Lay the ribbon flat and measure from the fold to the mark. Add 3mm/ 1/8″ and this will be the required opening.

Interface the fabric under the buttonholes as well as the facing.  Make positioning marks on the wrong side of the garment and thread trace through to the right side of the garment.

Mark the triangular opening on the wrong side of the garment.

Mark the triangular opening on the wrong side of the garment.

Position the buttonhole either vertically or horizontally. Vertical buttonholes are centred on centre front line. Horizontal buttons are positioned as above.

Position the buttonhole either vertically or horizontally.
Vertical buttonholes are centred on centre front line.
Horizontal buttons are positioned as above.

  • The wrapped method gives the appearance of the buttonhole lips raised above the surface of the garment:
    • Cut a piece of fabric for the buttonhole lips approximately twice the width of the finished buttonhole plus at least 1” /25mm and the length of the finished buttonhole plus 2” /5cm. Mark the centre lengthwise as well as the position of either end of the buttonhole.
    • Position fabric with right side of buttonhole fabric to right side of garment.

      Position fabric with right side of buttonhole fabric to right side of garment.

      Position the patch against the right side of the fabric, aligning the centre line over the buttonhole placement line.

    • Starting on one long side, stitch around the buttonhole shape (SL 2.0). Do not backstitch but overlap the stitches for approximately ¼” / 6mm.
      Overlap the stitching to finish.

      Overlap the stitching to finish.

      Using small stitch length, start along one long side and stitch around the triangular shape.

      Using small stitch length, start along one long side and stitch around the triangular shape.

    • Using sharp scissors, make an small clip along the centre line and cut right into the point of the triangle. Then cut right into the corners at the base of the buttonhole.
Slash buttonhole fabric to point and on the same angles as the sides of the buttonhole.

Slash buttonhole fabric to point and on the same angles as the sides of the buttonhole.

Cut on angle of long sides and to point

Cut on angle of long sides and to point

  • On the outside of the triangle, carefully clip the fabric to the pointed end of the buttonhole.
  • Carefully turn the fabric to the wrong side being sure that the fold lies along the centre.
Turn buttonhole fabric to wrong side along base.

Turn buttonhole fabric to wrong side along base.

Turn one side.

Turn one side.

Turn second side.

Turn second side.

Pin in place and press.

Fold buttonhole fabric so that it meets in centre of the hole.

Fold buttonhole fabric so that it meets in centre of the hole.

Fold back the triangle at the base of the buttonhole and, following the previous stitching line, stitch through all layers to hold the buttonhole lips in place.

Press finished buttonhole from both sides.

Press finished buttonhole from both sides.

Fold back the base and machine stitch just inside the original stitching.

Fold back the base and machine stitch just inside the original stitching.

Faced method results in the buttonhole lips appearing to be recessed:

  • Cut a piece of silk organza approximately 3” x 2” / 8cm x 5cm and mark the centre lengthwise and across at either end of the opening. Position the patch against the right side of the fabric, aligning the centre line over the buttonhole placement line.
  • Place silk organza against right side of the facing and stitch around chosen opening.

    Place silk organza against right side of the facing and stitch around chosen opening.

    Starting on one long side, stitch around the buttonhole shape (SL 2.0). Do not backstitch but overlap the stitches for approximately ¼” / 6mm.

Tip:  If your fabric is inclined to fray or move, stitch around the shape twice.

  • Using sharp scissors, make an small clip along the centre line and cut right into the point of the triangle. Then cut right into the corners at the base of the buttonhole.
  • Carefully turn the organza to the wrong side and press in place.
  • Cut a 2 pieces of fabric for the buttonhole welts – 2” wider and longer than your opening. Place these pieces right sides together and mark the centre lengthwise.  Using a long machine stitch, join these two pieces along the centre line.
    To make lips for faced method, stitch fabric strips right sides together with long straight stitch.

    To make lips for faced method, stitch fabric strips right sides together with long straight stitch.

    Fold each side away from the centre and press in place.

    Fold fabric with right sides out and press.

    Fold fabric with right sides out and press.

    Position lips with join in centre of hole. Stitch across base.

    Position lips with join in centre of hole. Stitch across base.

    Position the buttonhole welts under the faced hole with the centre line running from the point to the centre of the base. Fold back the garment and stitch across the base.

Tip: Pinning the garment piece to the ironing board before slipping the buttonhole welts in place will make this easier

  • Fold back the garment along one long side of the triangular opening and stitch through the garment and into the welt. Repeat on the other side.
    Fold garment back and stitch just inside former stitching lines.

    Fold garment back and stitch just inside former stitching lines.

    Remove tacking stitches and trim the shape.

    Remove tacking stitches and trim the shape.

The faced method can then be used with either technique to finish the buttonhole openings in the facing of the garment.  The underside of the buttonhole can replicate the triangular shape or take the form of a rectangle over the opening.

Turn organza to wrong side of facing and press.

Turn organza to wrong side of facing and press.

Turn organza to wrong side of facing and press.

Turn organza to wrong side of facing and press.

IMG_3037

Both of these styles use the same construction method:

  • Apply the facing to the garment, trim, grade and understitch as needed
  • Press the facing in place
  • From the right side of the garment, place a pin through the corners of the buttonhole and into the facing
  • Place the organza patch over the pins and mark the stitching lines round all sides of the buttonhole
  • Stitch in place, clip and turn as detailed above – press in place and then handstitch to the wrong side of the buttonhole.
    Position faced hole in facing over the underside of the buttonhole and handstitch in place.

    Position faced hole in facing over the underside of the buttonhole and handstitch in place.

    IMG_3041

Triangular buttonholes are great fun and I hope you will give them a try.

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Buttons and Machine Buttonholes

The choice of buttons can greatly affect the impact of a garment and, with such a wonderful selection available, we are spoiled for choice.

I believe that Sckafs Fabrics at Indooroopilly Shoppingtown have the best range of buttons that I have found in Australia and if you are visiting Brisbane, well worth a visit.

Buttons make a great memento of a holiday visit – and they don’t add much weight to your luggage!

An assortment of my souvenirs from the button shop in Nurses Walk, The Rocks, Sydney.

An assortment of my souvenirs from the button shop in Nurses Walk, The Rocks, Sydney.

Buttons:

There are a few things to consider when selecting buttons for a garment and I hope this information will be a helpful guide:

  • If using a commercial pattern, check for size of buttons
    Left - correct size Middle - larger - seam line needs to be moved out Right - smaller - seam line needs to be moved in

    Left – correct size
    Middle – larger – seam line needs to be moved out
    Right – smaller – seam line needs to be moved in

    required – detailed on back of pattern envelope in the Notions section. If you wish to use a larger or smaller button, the pattern will need to be altered to accommodate the different size.

Button extension should be the button width so that when garment is buttoned, button sits at centre front and there is a space half the width of the button between the edge of the button and the edge of the garment.

Button extension should be the button width so that when garment is buttoned, button sits at centre front and there is a space half the width of the button between the edge of the button and the edge of the garment.

  • If you are creating the pattern, the button extension will need to equal the width of the button.
  • The suitability of button style for the intended garment:
  • shank versus holes – if the fabric is bulky or thick, a shank button will better accommodate this thickness of the two sides of the garment under the button. A thread shank can be added under a flat button but for thinner fabrics, flat buttons are a better choice as shank buttons tend to hang down.flat versus dome or rounded shaped – if making a shirt, it is often better to use flat buttons if the shirt will be work under a fine wool pullover
Top row - rounded shape Bottom row - angular shape

Top row – rounded shape
Bottom row – angular shape

  • round, square, triangular or oblong style – if using a graphic print, match the dominant shape in the print to the button shape. For swirls and curves – a round button; for angular patterns – a square, oblong or triangular shape.
  • How to care for them during the life of the garment – do buttons need to be removed before washing or dry cleaning, for example glass and antique buttons?
  • To properly assess the actual measurement of the button, measure the circumference of button use narrow tape or ribbon. Wrap the tape around the centre of the button (just to the side of a shank) and pinch tape together.  Slide button out and flatten the tape – this is the required length for the button to pass through the buttonhole.
    Measuring dome button.

    Measuring dome button.

    Wrap ribbon around dome button right beside the shank - underside.

    Wrap ribbon around dome button right beside the shank – underside.

    Flatten the ribbon and measure the length required for the buttonhole (my cat, Beau, decided to help me!)

    Flatten the ribbon and measure the length required for the buttonhole (my cat, Beau, decided to help me!)

  • When buttons are sewn to the garment, the direction of the stitching through holes or shank should be the same as orientation of the buttonhole.
  • So that both sides of the garment sit comfortably on top of each other without being squashed by the button.
  • For thicker fabrics, make a thread shank for buttons with holes.

Machine Buttonholes:

  • Pattern markings indicate where buttons sit but this needs to be checked so that the placement the placement and number of buttons suit the stature of the wearer. For women’s garments, especially fitted styles, the garment needs to be tried on to determine best position for buttons, especially at bust point.
  • Place first button on centre front, exactly at bust level with remaining buttons spaced evenly from there. Lowest button should not to be too close to the hem (unless it is a key design element) usually no closer than 12-15cm /5 -6 “from the bottom of the garment.
  • Buttonholes should be approximately 3mm / 1/8” longer than button – except high round buttons which may need longer length buttonholes
  • Consider the orientation of the buttonholes. Buttonholes should be stitched horizontally to centre front unless there is a front tab when they are stitched vertically.
  • Some machines offer a number of options for type of buttonholes – this is best determined by stitching samples on your fabric to see which is best for the style of garment and weight of the fabric which has been treated exactly as it will be in the construction of the garment (facing interfaced and stitched to garment, trimmed pressed, and under stitched).
Selection of buttonhole styles - stitch a sample of each to make it easier to make a choice.

Selection of buttonhole styles – stitch a sample of each to make it easier to make a choice.

  • The programmed buttonholes will default to a base width and length of buttonhole which affect the thickness of the side bars and ends as well as the density of the stitching. Adjustments can be made to suit the type and thickness of the garment fabric.
  • Density issues resulting in very tight stitching or stalling of the stitches can sometimes be solved by using stabiliser underneath fabric and/or a plastic topper.

Tip:  Be sure you carefully grade seam allowances at front openings to minimise problems with an uneven surface when stitching buttonholes.

  • Use FrayCheck on centre of buttonhole and allow to dry before cutting
  • To cut buttonhole:
    • Use buttonhole chisel with block of wood or plastic board for clean cut, or
    • Place pin through fabric at either end and, starting from centre of buttonhole, cut with unpicker or scissors
Buttonhole chisel and block; awl and Fray Check

Buttonhole chisel and block; awl and Fray Check

All buttonhole feet have prongs at either end. Wrap thicker thread around the back prong and fasten in the grooves at the opposite end. Stitch the button hole as usual - over the cord. When buttonhole is complete, pull the cord ends and use a hand needle to feed them to the back; trim the tails.

All buttonhole feet have prongs at either end. Wrap thicker thread around the back prong and fasten in the grooves at the opposite end. Stitch the button hole as usual – over the cord. When buttonhole is complete, pull the cord ends and use a hand needle to feed them to the back; trim the tails.

  • For keyhole buttonholes, use an awl at the rounded end and carefully trim the fabric away
  • Use small sharp scissors to remove any stray threads from cut hole
  • Buttonholes can be corded for strength and definition – use Güterman™ topstitching thread or fine crochet cotton

Tip:  If you don’t have thicker thread, several strands of regular thread can be used.

Tip: This is an excellent technique for stretch and stretch/woven fabrics when buttonholes can easily stretch out of shape.

Until next week. Happy sewing!

Threads, Needles and Pins

In this blog I am sharing some things you may not know about threads, needles and pins.

Much of this information was in an article which I wrote for Dressmaking with Australian Stitches.  This article was first seen in Australian Stitches magazine  Volume 22 Number 11. Permission has been sought and granted for Electronic use and the photos and text remain the property of Alison Wheeler – Sewing Lady.

Threads:

Selecting the most suitable thread for a project is not just about the best colour match. Threads vary in composition and thickness.  Using a thread that is not compatible with the fabric (too weak or too thick) can spoil the finished result as the thread will not do its job of holding the garment together while remaining an invisible part of the construction.

There will be times when thread is used in a decorative context but, for the main construction, the thread’s smoothness, strength and ability to blend and meld into the fabric are the most important requirements.

Types of thread:

Most threads intended for general construction are either polyester or a polyester wrapped cotton thread.  They are usually very strong and suit the majority of fabrics.  Cotton thread is readily available and gives seams a softer feel making it ideal for heirloom sewing and quilting.  Silk thread is extremely fine and very strong – and threading needles is a breeze with such fine thread!

The main things to consider are the thickness and strength of the thread.

It is interesting to compare threads as the thickness can vary widely

Threads arranged according to thickness - finest to heaviest. From left: Gutermann polyester topstitching Gutermann polyester all purpose Metrosene poly sheen embroidery Metrosene polyester all purpose

Threads arranged according to thickness – finest to heaviest.
From left:
Gutermann polyester topstitching
Gutermann polyester all purpose
Metrosene poly sheen embroidery
Metrosene polyester all purpose

.

If you are sewing a fine, lightweight fabric it is best to use a finer thread. Thicker threads are more suitable for heavier fabrics.

Threads are identified by numbers indicating thickness– #100 very fine, #50 fine, #40 medium, #30 thick.  Most common machine sewing thread is #40.  When you see a thread marked for example #50/3, the first number indicates the thickness of the thread and the second number is the number of filaments wrapped together to make up the thickness.  A thread with 3 filaments is not necessarily thicker but will be stronger.

Silk thread comes in a variety of thicknesses from #100which is wonderful for hand-sewing hems – it is so fine that hemstitching is not visible from the right side of a garment  (provided of course that a very small stitch and fine needle are used!). #50 weight silk thread blends into the fabric beautifully with machine sewing.

Left - 50 weight silk for hand or machine stitching Right - 100 weight silk for hand stitching

Left – 50 weight silk for hand or machine stitching
Right – 100 weight silk for hand stitching

Decorative and specialty threads are available for specific purposes – fine rayon machine embroidery thread, topstitching thread, fine cotton heirloom thread, #50 quilting cotton.

Tips for Usage:

  •  Always use a good quality thread.
  • The thread colour looks darker on a reel than when it is unwound so choosing a slightly darker thread to match the project will give a better match.
  • If you are unable to match a colour in topstitching thread, you can use two regular threads through one needle to add the required thickness – just be sure to use a needle with a larger eye to accommodate the extra width and do not use your machine’s needle threader.  The two threads can be blending colours for multi-coloured garments.
  • Use fine thread for buttonholes – heirloom or #50 cotton work well for machine buttonholes; use silk buttonhole thread if making hand-worked buttonholes.
Top - #50 silk thread - all purpose Bottom - silk hand buttonhole thread

Top – #50 silk thread – all purpose
Bottom – silk hand buttonhole thread

  • Use topstitching thread to sew high use buttons in place e.g. coat or jacket buttons.
  • Most general purpose threads are cross-wound and work well with horizontal feed.
  • Some specialty threads are not cross wound and will work better with vertical feed.
  • If your machine does not have provision for two spools feeding in the same direction, there are separate thread guides available for a reasonable cost – these can also be a great sanity saver when using twin needles or two threads in one needle.
  • If you have difficulty threading a machine needle, place a small piece of white paper directly behind the needle and the hole will be more visible.
  • Cutting thread on an angle also helps with easier threading.
  • If bobbins are wound at high speed, there can be problems with the thread stretching as it is wound on to the bobbin, resulting in puckered stitches – slow down to around three quarter speed to avoid possible problems.
  • Make sure the thread is securely in the bobbin tension as you are winding a bobbin – it should be loose between the thread reel and the tension mechanism and taut from the tension mechanism to the bobbin. If you end up with a “squishy” bobbin, failure to do this is the most likely cause.
  • “Squishy” bobbins can be rewound from the thread spool to a new bobbin.
  • Avoid adding thread to a bobbin which is already wound
  • Always make sure the thread type being used in the needle is exactly the same as the thread wound on to the bobbin. Different colours can be used but, for perfect stitching, the thread brand and weight needs to be the same – unless of course you are using decorative techniques.
  • Press seams and darts flat as sewn to blend the thread into the fabric.

A few words about thread tension:

Many sewers are wary of thread tension, often resulting from “never touch the tension dial!” warnings in their early sewing experiences.

I hope that an explanation of how thread tension works will help your understanding.

All machines have tension discs (some times visible, sometimes not) to control the speed at which the needle thread passes through to make a stitch. Basically, it is about the needle and bobbin threads being in perfect balance so there are no loops on either side of the stitched seam and the fabric pieces are lying exactly on top of each other with no gap forming when they are exposed to the pressure of wear.

If the tension is too tight, bobbin threads can be pulled through to the opposite surface of the fabric and, if the tension is too loose, needle thread will show on the underside of the seam.  Tension which is too tight will result in puckering of the fabric and tension which is too loose will allow gaps between the layers.

The tension is adjusted using numbers either with a lever, dial or button on an LED screen:

  • small number = looser stitches/lighter tension = no puckers
  • larger number = tighter stitches/heavier tension = no gaps between layers

Universal tension (the automatic setting) is 4 and this works well on the majority of medium weight fabrics.  When using fine, lightweight fabrics, a lower tension (looser stitch) is required and setting is around 3.  If sewing heavy fabrics (for example some heavyweight denims), the stitches need to be tighter so that the layers are held firmly together – a setting of 5+ may be needed.

When sewing buttonholes, lower the tension to 3.

All of this is a guide and making a test seam before starting a project is essential.  Take two pieces of fabric approximately 30cm/15″ long and cut on the same grain as your seam.  Stitch the strips together, press to meld the stitches and inspect the result.  Make any necessary adjustments (using the information above) and test again.

Needles:

Machine needles are identified by type on the package by both their type name and a type number which is common to all brands. The needle size is also marked on the package.

An assortment of machine needle types and sizes.

An assortment of machine needle types and sizes.

An excellent resource to learn about machine needles is the Schmetz Needles website –http://schmetzneedles.com which provides an wonderful illustration of their colour coding system for download as a PDF as well as the following diagrams and information for which they give permission to reproduce in blogs.

How to Read the Needle Package

Home sewing machines require a flat shank needle with a scarf. These characteristics are known as needle system 130/705 H. All needles in system 130/705 H have a scarf and a flattened shank for perfect positioning in the needle bar in relation to the hook.

How to read the needle package.

How to read the needle package.

The anatomy of a machine needle.

The anatomy of a machine needle.

With machine needles, the smaller the number, the finer the needle.

Schmetz also have an app for iPads/iPhones which would make needle choice when shopping for notions very convenient.

Tips for machine needles:

  • Most machine needle threaders will not accommodate a needle smaller than Size 75. If using a finer needle, it needs to be threaded by hand.
  • Needles should be changed regularly at approximately 6-8 hours of actual use. Be guided by your fabric as polyester fabrics dull needles much faster than natural fibre fabrics. If your machine is making a louder sound as you stitch or is skipping stitches, consider changing the needle.
  • Dispose of bent or broken needles (and pins) in a sharps container (readily available at pharmacies) and when full place in the bin.
  • Do not store needles in a pincushion. It is very easy for them to disappear into the pin cushion and if the filling is a type of fibre-fill, they can rust. Emery powder or fine, dry sand is a better filler but be aware that in very humid climates, moisture can be absorbed by the sand and can also resulted in rusted needles.
  • Needle sharpener "Strawberry"

    Needle sharpener “Strawberry”

    Use an emery strawberry if you think your needle may have a burr which is most often caused by hitting a pin.

  • Do not sew over pins and, if you do accidentally hit one, stop and check the needle immediately.  If working with very fine fabric, change to a new needle regardless or you will risk pulling threads in your fabric.
  • For storage of needles which have been used but are still usable, mark needle types with a permanent fabric marker on an inexpensive pin cushion.
Needle storage options - I have added needle types for machine needles.

Needle storage options – I have added needle types for machine needles.

Needle storage idea

Needle storage idea

Hand needles: 

The sizing system for hand needles is the opposite of that for machine needles (why this was done I have no idea! Doubtless there was a good reason which has been lost in the mists of time).

Assorted hand needles and needle threader

Assorted hand needles and needle threader

#3 is a large needle; #6-7 is medium and #9-12 fine to very fine.

When selecting needle size, match the size of the needle to the thickness of the thread and type of fabric being sewn.  Most hand needles (except Milliner’s) have a thicker width at the eye.

Needles come in different types for different techniques

  • Sharps are general sewing needles
  • Crewel are intended for embroidery
  • Milliner’s needles (formerly called straw needles) are used for making bullion stitch but are also wonderful for dressmaking purposes because they are an even width from end to end and therefore pull very easily through the fabric
  • Quilters/Betweens are used for stitching in smaller spaces.

Tips for using hand needles: 

  • Use the finest needles that will suit the thread and fabric and do the job – no big holes when using fine thread and it is much easier to pull thicker thread through a larger hole.
  • Long needles are best for basting/tacking and running stitches.
  • Short needles are best for fell-stitch and slip-stitch, especially in tight spaces.
  • Sharps have a small eye so if you have a problem threading them, use a Crewel needle of the same size as it has a longer eye and similar tip.
  • Keep your needles in a needle case or piece of wool flannel – the lanolin in the flannel will reduce the risk of needles rusting.
  • The emery strawberry can be used to sharpen hand-needles.
  • Discard bent needles and always store them separately from pins.

Hand-stitching Technique:

There are many resources available to assist in learning hand stitches and their uses and I will cover my favourites in a future post.

Twisting thread is one of the most common problems encountered when hand-stitching.

To minimise twisting:

  • cut thread on an angle.
  • when using thread from a reel, thread the end through the eye of the needle and cut off the required length.
  • when using thread from a bobbin, cut the required length and thread the cut end through the eye of the needle.
  • thread the needle and then iron the thread before stitching.

Technically Speaking:

  • Use a single thread for all handstitching except when attaching fastenings (e.g. hooks and eyes, press studs, etc.).
  • Keep thread length to approximately 50cm (20ins).
  • If you need to do a lot of hand-stitching, prepare several threaded needles before starting.
  • To increase thread strength for permanent stitches only, wax the thread – thread the needle and run the thread through beeswax; place between two pieces of paper towel.  Place iron over the towel and pull the threads through and iron while pulling the thread – this melts the wax and embeds it into the thread.

Pins:

There are many schools of thought about the direction of pinning and the comments I am offering are methods I have found work well for me.

As with needles, there are numerous types and sizes (in both thickness and length) of pins available.

I prefer to use glass head pins because they are generally quite fine and sharp and not too long.  The heads do not melt if I am pressing around pins.  They work well for most general dressmaking.

L - Stretch glass head pins R - magnetic pin dish

L – Stretch glass head pins
R – magnetic pin dish

If using fine silk, I prefer to use silk pins.  Flower (or novelty) head pins are very fine but they are also quite long and care is needed where they are used as it is very easy to catch the fabric with them.  They bend very easily so they are not suitable for use in the fitting process.

Ball point pins are available for use with fine knits.

Fork pins are excellent in helping to prevent slippage of layers when sewing fabrics with nap (for example, velvet) or matching patterns (for example, plaids or stripes) or previously sewn seams.

For pinning thicker garment sections together, it is necessary to use longer, thicker pins which are usually stronger and less likely to bend.

L to R: Flower head pins Extra long glass head pins Fork pins

L to R:
Flower head pins
Extra long glass head pins
Fork pins

Small gold safety pins can be useful to indicate wrong side of fabric or to pin garment pieces between sewing sessions as they will not catch on other pieces.

Tips for Using Pins:

  • As with needles, do not use bent or blunt pins – dispose of them immediately you find them.  It is a good idea to “sort” pins every now and then, removing any that are blunt, marked, bent or burred.
  • If using different types of pins, keep them in separate containers so they do not become all mixed together.
  • Never store fabric which is pinned together for long periods – a recipe for rust marks in a humid climate! – as this can leave permanent marks or holes in some fabrics.
  • When pinning seams ready for machine stitching, I prefer to pin at right angles to the seam line – especially in curved seams.
  • From the side of the fabric to be sewn, pin both the beginning and end of the seam; pin match points or centre point; pin in the middle of each remaining section.
  • Take a small bite of fabric right at the position of the sewing line to control the fabric.
  • To pin a garment ready for fitting, pin parallel to the cut edges right along the seam line and have the pins pointing towards the floor to avoid injury.
  • When machine stitching, try not to sew over pins. Simply sew up to the pins and remove them as you go.
  • If working with delicate fabrics or lace, be sure to use glass head pins as it is very easy to lose track of metal head pins which can be left in the garment.
  • I like to use a magnetic pincushion or dish because I find it easier to grasp and quicker to use the pins as I am working.
  • When preparing to hand stitch, pin the fabric in place and hand tack so the pins can be removed. This saves lots of frustration from hand thread getting caught around pins.

One last tip, invest in a magnetic pin wand! – great when accidents happen and for finding that “lost” pin or needle.

Telescopic magnetic wand - great for finding and picking up needles and pins.

Telescopic magnetic wand – great for finding and picking up needles and pins.

Hope this information will encourage you to explore the wonderful range of threads, needles and pins to make sewing more pleasurable and achieve the great result you are seeking.