I’m not a seamstress, but having attended Pinterest University, I’ve learned a lot about sewing. I recently decided to add some color and privacy to my daughter’s room, and being a DIY-er to my very core, I of course could not possibly buy curtains. That would be lunacy. So I made them, forgetting how hard it is to get nice gathers, how tedious pinning and hemming is, how I don’t have a serger to finish raw edges. What did I learn in this endeavor?
- Zigzag stitch over strong fishing line or dental floss for your gathers. That long basting stitch my mom taught me? You know the one that snaps every time you try to pull to make gathers? Fuhgettaboutit. When you zigzag over the floss or fishing line, you can pull and adjust the gathers exactly how you like, sew, and the floss or fishing line slips right out when you’re done.
- No straight pins! Use clothespins instead. Seriously. Bam, bam, bam! You’re done. Using clothespins instead of straight pins was so much faster and easier, and if I drop a clothespin, I don’t have to be afraid that it will somehow become embedded in the carpet and I’ll kick it with my big toe.
- Rolled hem presser foot? What’s that? Totally unnecessary, that’s what. I’m not a fan of extra, super-specialized tools. I have too many interests to be getting a special tool for every little thing I want to do, and from the tutorials I’ve seen on YouTube, I’m pretty sure my method is just as easy and maybe even neater. I have a roll of cash register paper that I got for 50¢ at the thrift store, and I ripped off a strip the length of my hem. I sewed it to the right side of the fabric with 1/4″ seam allowance, ironed it flat, turned the paper in to the wrong side of the fabric, and top stitched the hem to keep it down. Then I just tore the paper away and was left with the neatest, most evenest (double superlative!) hem I have ever sewn in my life. For the tabs at the top, I hemmed them in one big long strip, then cut them to size for the tab. Go here for a full tutorial on this technique.
- And a bonus that I did not learn for this project but from sewing a dress for my other daughter: French seams. I don’t have a serger and won’t be getting one any time soon (see #3). But who wants their seams fraying? Not me. So when I sew a seam, I first sew wrong sides together with a narrow seam allowance, iron, then turn the fabric right sides together. This sucks the raw edges into the seam, so no fraying. It works much better than zigzagging, and is only a little more effort.
So tell me, what have you learned from Pinterest University?