Sewing a seam is the most basic of sewing skills to learn! It's super easy to do, but there are a few things that will make your sewing go nice and smooth. :)
To prep yourself for sewing a seam, check out my "how to sew" instructable.
Step 1: What You'll Need:
If sewing by hand, you'll need:
- a sewing machine (this is mine - it's the best sewing machine I've ever had)
- a bobbin loaded with the same thread you're using in the needle on the machine (mixing threads can cause problems with tension sometimes)
- an appropriate machine needle for the weight of fabric you're using. Because I'm using muslin, I've got a quilting needle installed.
For both handsewing and machine sewing, I like to use a cotton/poly thread. It's a bit stronger than plain cotton. :)
Step 2: About Pinning
Everyone has their own preference - but I prefer to pin vertically instead of horizontally, especially for machine sewing! (And that's only when I pin - I mostly pin during my instructables to make things look organized, otherwise I run wild with no pinning. It's faster!)
Sewing over pins is dangerous to boot and can break your needle, so you have to pull them out as you go. I like to zip along so pinning vertically is the way to go for me.
Also, when sewing on a machine, always points the tips of the pins toward you - this will save you stabbing yourself in the hands.
Step 3: Sewing a Seam on a Machine
Here are my steps to sewing on a machine:
- pin your fabric right sides together
- insert the fabric under the needle so your seam allowance is correct and the edge of the fabric is 1/4 inch past the needle and pull the threads to the back of the machine
- use the hand wheel to move the needle down into the fabric
- backstitch to the edge
- sew down the seam to the opposite edge
- backstitch for about 1/4 inch at the end
Step 4: Sewing a Seam by Hand
Sewing a seam by hand is fun, but I tend to avoid it because it can be very slow going and the results (for me, at least!) are rarely as sturdy as a machine sewn seam. There are certain applications where it works great through, including small dolls and toys, delicate hems, and finishing items professionally.
Here's a list of things to remember when hand sewing:
- a backstitch is more durable than a running stitch (click through to find explanations)
- tie strong knots!
- pin and mark the sewing line if necessary to keep your stitches straight - this is great for beginners!
- the smaller and closer together your stitches are, the stronger the seam will be
- beeswax is great for keeping your thread from tangling
- I like to hold the fabric taut between two fingers while sewing - it takes a little practice, but allows you to move a little more quickly!
(This is definitely not the fanciest hand sewing I've ever done. It was ridiculously hard for me to film myself and do this! :P I typically hold the fabric up at chest level - that's a much more comfortable position.)
Step 5: Using Beeswax
Here's a quick gif of how to use the beeswax! All you need to do is drag the thread along the top of the chunk of beeswax.
I like to do this a couple times just to make sure it's coated well, and sometimes I'll also rub the thread between my fingers to help warm up the wax.
Step 6: Comparing the Seams + Extras
As you can see, the hand sewn seam is looser by far. You can tighten it up considerably by using tinier stitches and more of them!
I like to press my seams with a steam iron after sewing because it makes them look a little neater. :) You can also clip the edges with pinking shears to stop them from fraying - I almost always do that.
Have you mastered the basic seam and want to level up in sewing? Have a look at my French seam tutorial! It's much easier than it looks, and it's a fantastic way to make clothing and accessories look and feel more finished. :D