10 Sewing Tricks Professionals Refuse to Share

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If you enjoy sewing, you should know all the best secrets and tricks that professional seamstresses use. These tricks make it easier for any home sewer to work more efficiently and improve at the art of sewing. So stick around to see 10 sewing tricks professionals refuse to share!

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  1. Surprisingly enough, professional sewers rarely bother taking the time to pin things together. {A trick I believe in!} Pinning just creates one more step. As you get better at sewing, you’ll get better at just holding your pieces together as you feed them through the machine.
  2. Use the steam of your iron to help you manipulate stiff fabrics more easily. You don’t even need to touch the iron to the fabric. Hold the fabric over the iron and release a burst of steam. It helps soften the fabric and makes it easier to work with.
  3. If your fabric is stiff or heavy enough, you can fold a simple crease in it to mark various lines–stitching lines, fold lines, etc. It’s much faster than getting out your chalk or marking pen!
  4. Professionals continually experiment with their sewing techniques to find what really works best for them, and you should too! Don’t be locked into what you’ve been told is the best way to do something. If it’s uncomfortable for you, experiment until you find an easier way.
  5. Patterns usually call for a standard 5/8″ seam, but you don’t have to stick to that. It’s too bulky for certain things such as collars and waistbands. You can reduce those seams to as little as 1/4″ and it’ll save you time clipping them open later on.
  6. Instead of trying to cut those annoying diamond shapes to mark seams, just nip them about 1/8″. They are really more accurate and won’t fray your seams.
  7. Instead of pinning the pattern to your fabric, weight it down with weights. Think of the time you’ll save!
  8. Sew as many seams as possible before stopping to press them open. This is another time saver the pros really use.
  9. Don’t mark where your buttons go until after you stitch the buttonholes. Then cut the buttonholes open with a punch, not a seam ripper. Much easier!
  10. Instead of an ironing board, which is often not wide enough to keep your fabric from hanging on the floor, build yourself an ironing station. A sheet of plywood covered with wool and muslin is much wider and accommodates a much bigger section of whatever project you’re pressing.



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27 comments for “10 Sewing Tricks Professionals Refuse to Share

  1. LaNell Mueller
    April 18, 2018 at

    Where are the other nine sewing tricks. I was only able to open one.

    • Dianne
      May 27, 2018 at

      Hit on the little arrow next to the “2” of the page number.

    • Dianne
      May 27, 2018 at

      Click on the arrow next to the “2”.

    • Julie
      June 5, 2018 at

      Me too

    • Dawn
      June 24, 2018 at

      LaNell, if you’re opening the first page, look for the numbers “1, 2”. Then click on page 2. All the sewing tricks are on page 2

    • Bobbi
      June 26, 2018 at

      If you look under the picture you will see 1 of 2 and an arrow to the right. Press that and there will be details of the other hacks. They are in writing, not photos.

    • Savana
      June 27, 2018 at

      I had to scroll down pretty far to see them

    • Vicki
      July 1, 2018 at

      They are all there, just click on the arrow. But none of the tips are of any use whatsoever.

    • Fi
      July 5, 2018 at

      Click for page 2 and scroll down, its just a list written underneath the sewing machine image

    • July 12, 2018 at

      As you look at the webpage you’ll see 2 arrows that look drawn in . They point opposite directions w/ 1 – 2 between them. Press on arrow pointing to the right & you’ll see all 10
      At least this worked for me.

    • Ev
      July 12, 2018 at

      they are on page 2

    • Leslie Shifflett
      August 18, 2018 at

      LaNeil, above and below the photo, there are arrows and says 1 of 2—–click on that, and it will take you to the 10 tips.

    • Pearl
      August 23, 2018 at

      I hit the black arrow to the right and they opened up.

    • S. Clayton
      September 6, 2018 at

      LaNell – on the second image, if you scroll down it counts up to 10. There isn’t a separate picture for each number. I was wondering the same thing at first.

    • pam
      September 7, 2018 at

      click on the # after the arrow on the first page 12

    • Deborah
      October 14, 2018 at

      They are all listed in first section. Numbered 1to 10.

  2. Anita Thomas
    April 22, 2018 at

    As someone who worked in the industry as a pattern drafter for over 24 years, I can tell you #5 and #10 are not at all true. ALWAYS sew at the recommended seam allowance. If you do not, you will be altering the size and fit. It’s unfortunate home sewer patterns are made with such wide seam allowances, but it is what it is and you have to use that. In the industry we put ON THE PATTERNS 1/2″ seam allowance and 3/8″ around necklines and 1/4″ around collar, cuff and placket edges that are being turned out. As for #10, never do we use a big board to iron on. It’s important to use the shape of a proper ironing board to facilitate construction pressing as you work and in the final press. Pressing can be the mark if a “home-made” or a professionally made garment. Learn how to do it right. All else mentioned were good.

    • Stephanie Laakson
      June 28, 2018 at

      Totally agree with your comment about#5. I also trim underarm seam close and double stitch that one. #10 can be useful but only if you use pressing tools to mimic the rounded shape of the regular board. You are so right about that curving making the difference!

    • carol
      August 7, 2018 at

      Thank you to both ladies. As with anything the more you do the more you learn the more you improve. Sewing to me is about having fun and enjoying the process, if you make a mistake think outside the box or just make a different outfit with it. Inventing and creating are what I think sewing is all about.

    • Marylyn
      August 23, 2018 at

      Thank you, Anita for your response as one who is trying to get back into sewing garments for babies, children and adults, your remarks were very helpful for me.

    • Debi Yakel
      September 23, 2018 at

      Anita Thomas, I so agree with you! Seam allowances are in a pattern for a reason. It will alter the size of you make it smaller. Just trim it down if you want it less. You’ll be happier with the outcome.
      Also, the big ironing board space is something that quilters do for a larger flat surface. It works great for that,but not for ironing garments.
      I’ve been sewing since I was about 7 or 8yrs old. And I’ve sewn for the public for maybe 40 yrs. I’ve made many mistakes,hopefully I’ve learned many lessons and sewing tricks and shortcuts along the way 🙂

  3. Ann Clark
    May 30, 2018 at

    I agree with Anita!! First read the pattern and use the seam allowances called for. They are there for a reason, sometimes so you can handle all the fabrics you are putting together (layering the seam later to give a professional quality to the garment), and sometimes for stability in the finished garment. As for #10, that is the best way to take a garment you have created and turn it to a piece of trash. The ironing and steaming of the garment is the best way to get a beautiful finish or really wreck it. The support surface you are ironing on needs to match the contour of the garment you are ironing. This is why professionals use tailors hams, tailors sausages, the small rounded area of the ironing board, and is some cases I have even used my hand with several layers of towel to get the right contour.

  4. Teresa
    July 7, 2018 at

    Anita, thank you for your tips!

  5. Patricia
    September 28, 2018 at

    I clicked on the “2” over twelve times, the number lit up like it was going to work, but I never got the tips.

  6. Melody
    September 28, 2018 at

    I have to disagree with #6. Take the extra 2 seconds and cut the notch outward. It is way too easy to over snip and snip into your seam allowance or snip so close to the seam allowance that the seam will fray in that area after a few wearings/washings.

  7. Cheryl Masters
    October 11, 2018 at

    If you don’t pin where you’re sewing, how do you put in a puffed cap sleeve?

  8. Adrienne Gudvangen
    October 24, 2018 at

    What foot do you use to sew bias tape when it is folded so you catch both sides

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