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|Are there any special techniques for working with 2-way-stretch knits?|
|I’m having a difficult time putting in a zipper, can you help?|
|What are nap and selvage?|
|What do I need to know about handling and sewing lightweight soft fabrics and soft transparent fabrics?|
|What's the difference between a ‘denim’ needle and a ‘universal’ needle?|
|How often should I change my needle?|
|How often should I oil my sewing machine/serger?|
|When should I have my machine serviced?|
|What does a serger do and do I still need my regular sewing machine.|
|My thread is making loops on the underside of the fabric, do I need to adjust my bobbin tension?|
|Do I need to have my embroidery machine plugged into a serge protector?|
|Will my sewing machine use a twin needle?|
|Will serger thread work in my sewing machine?|
Do not allow the fabric to stretch when cutting and marking. Do not allow it to hand over the edges of the table.
Do not use pins to secure the pattern. Trim the excess paper along the cutting lines of the pattern, and use weights to keep the pattern from shifting around.
Mark around the edges with chalk. Lift the pattern out of the way to mark notches and avoid using small nips in the edge to mark them. If you use even the smallest of cuts for notches, the cuts have a nasty habit of "growing" larger.
Use a new sharp needle (not a ball point or universal point). A sharp, violet-band needle, size 10 or 12 in both your sewing machine and serger is recommended. If you are having trouble getting the fabric to feed evenly without bunching when using your serger, try this needle before you replace your cutting blade.
Serging is best for all seams. If you don't have a serger, use a small zig zag (1 mm wide and 1.5 mm long) on the sewing machine.
Use the differential feed on the serger, and the walking foot on the sewing machine. This usually works to tame the slipperiness and uneven feeding of layers.
If you are finding it hard to get started at the beginning of each seam on the sewing machine, place a lightweight machine embroidery tissue underneath the fabric and hold the thread. Remove the paper gently after you're done.
What you do depends on where the hem is, and your equipment situation. For all hems, first serge/zig zag the raw edge and mark the hem allowance on the right side of the fabric with chalk. To hem side slits and simple necklines, turn the hem allowance to the inside and sew from the right or wrong side. To hem bottom hemlines and simple necklines, the treatment of choice is to use the twin needle from the right side. Blind hemming works well for hemming bottom edges too. Forget about hand hemming-the fabric is so stretchy the stitches will pop once you've worn the garment a couple of times.
Steps for putting in a zipper
Lightweight soft fabrics include crepe de chine and charmeuse. Soft transparent fabrics include chiffon and georgette. They are all fragile and elusive. Follow these tips for easier cutting and handling.
When cutting out, lay the fabric on a non-slip surface, such as one that is padded or covered with cloth. Or, if the fabric is transparent, trace the required number of pieces onto tracing paper with a pen. Place a single layer of fabric on top making sure the grainlines are properly aligned and the fabric is as straight as you can get it. Cut through the paper and fabric all at once. Hem or sew as soon as possible; allowing the pieces to rest causes the edges to relax and "grow" larger.To minimize wobbly seamlines, use a walking foot for even feeding of the layers, and sew slowly for greater accuracy. If the fabric gets pulled below the needle plate, you may need to stitch on top of tracing paper or embroidery paper, removing it carefully afterward. Avoid backstitching-use a smaller stitch at the beginning and end of each seam instead. Use narrow hems. Included are: the rolled hemmer on your serger/overlock machine, hand rolled hem or narrow machine rolled hem. Consider trimming the seam allowances and darts to ¼" (6 mm) on very sheer fabrics. French seaming of seam allowances is another option.
Use sharp shears or a rotary cutter. Use pattern weights rather than pins. If it is absolutely necessary to use pins, use silk pins and pin only into the seam allowance.Use a new needle, Universal Point, Yellow Band, in a smaller size, such as 60/8 to 70/10. Use a loosely balanced thread tension. Iron with a low temperature. Sheer and lightweight fabrics are easily damaged by hot ironing. Avoid excessive handling and unpicking of seams.
Most needles you purchase off the wall are a universal unless otherwise noted on needle package. Universal needles are slightly rounded at the tip and are used for both knit and woven fabrics.
Most people mistake larger needles for denim needles. Using a size 18 would be like driving a nail through fabric due to the slightly rounded point. A denim needle has a very sharp point so that it will penetrate tightly woven fabric much easier, therefore a size 14 denim is all that is generally needed.