I have recently been approached by a few people asking if I knew anywhere that sells cheap sewing machines. I can’t help but ask what they mean by ‘cheap’. As you know, everybody has their own idea of the term ‘cheap’. An amount that is considered cheap to one, may be thought of as expensive to another.
The best beginner sewing machine, in our opinion, would be a sewing machine that is not overly complicated. By that I mean a sewing machine that doesn’t necessarily have hundreds of bells and whistles. Like the Brother Innov Is NV550SE for example. – A computerized sewing machine with 429 utility and decorative stitches, 3 lettering styles etc.
When you shorten eyelet curtains (Ring top curtains), they need to be shortened from the bottom.
This may seem an obvious statement but some other types of curtains can, and should be, shortened from the top. When you shorten Net Curtains, it is almost always done from the top. Or, Pencil pleat Curtains – they can also be shortened from the top. Which can make the job a lot easier especially if they are lined – See our guide on How to Shorten Curtains the Easy Way for more info.
Anyway… back to this guide.
How To Shorten Eyelet Curtains:
Things you will need:
Things you will need to make a pillowcase:
- Measuring tape
- Sewing Machine
Making a pillowcase in its basic form involves only two hems and two seams. You can’t get much more simple than that.
Step 1: Cutting your fabric to size.
To make a pillowcase we first need to measure and cut our fabric to size. In the UK, the standard pillowcase size is 29.5 inches x 19.5 inches (75cm x 50cm). This would be the finished size we are aiming for. When cutting our fabric we need to allow for hems and seams.
So, with our fabric on a flat surface, we cut a rectangular panel that measures 68 inches x 21 inches (173cm x 54cm). Now I do realize that the length does seem rather long but all will make sense as we progress to make a pillowcase.
Step 2: Sewing the hems.
Now that we have our fabric cut to the correct size, we need to sew the hems at each end. In this ‘make a pillowcase’ tutorial, I have given a hem allowance of 4 inches (10cm).
So now, with our fabric folded in half length ways, measure in 2 inches (5cm) form each end, and put in your marker pins.
Open out your fabric so it’s face down and at one end, fold your fabric back to form a crease level with the two marker pins.
Place a few pins along the crease to hold it (or iron it if you prefer). Now fold the cut edge down into the crease to form another crease and complete the hem. Pin (or iron) along the second crease and remove the pins (if used) from crease 1. Next, do the same again the other end.
Once both ends have been folded and pinned, we can stitch them in place removing any pins as we go.
Step 3: Sewing french seams.
While writing this guide on how to make a pillowcase, it dawned on me that very few, if any, of my readers would be likely to have an Overlocker (what’s that?). So I have decided to show you how to use french seams to make a pillowcase. Don’t panic if you don’t know what french seams are, just read on.
Now, although the way you make a pillowcase with french seams is different, it does eliminate the need for an overlocker. Anyway… enough waffle, let’s get on with the task at hand.
So, fabric folded length ways then, measure in 5 inches (13cm) from one end and put some marker pins in both layers. Your getting good at that now aren’t you! 🙂
Open your fabric out with the face down. Then, as we did with the hems, fold the end back to form a crease level with your marker pins. Pin or iron in to place.
Now, taking the hem at the other end, fold your fabric in half so that the edge of your hem is also level with your marker pins. Smooth out any wrinkles, pin along the cut edges and remove the marker pins.
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Next, sew along the cut edges you just pinned, sewing about half an inch in from the edge and removing the pins as you go. (If you’ve never made anything using french seams before, you may be thinking – “Hang on a minute… if I sew it like that, the cut edge will be on the out side.” – Well, Don’t worry… things will become clear in just a moment.)
After sewing along both edges, just have a quick double check that all pins have been removed. Then, with our ‘almost pillowcase’ laid out flat, trim off the cut edges on both sides, about a 1/8 of an inch (3mm) way from your stitches.
Taddaaa!!… (Oop’s sorry, we’re not ready for that yet.)
Now turn your ‘almost pillowcase’ completely inside out. Next we need to iron the seams on either side. Getting the seams pushed out nice and straight while ironing, can prove to be a bit tricky. Luckily though, I know a little tip that can help.
To be honest, personally, I love my sewing machine. I don’t mind the odd bit of sewing by hand, but it’s definitely a case of the less the better. Maybe it’s because I’m not very quick at hand sewing, or because I have an awful habit of jabbing myself with the needle.
How to Sew – Learn to Sew with a Sewing Machine
Obviously there are some things that need sewing by hand like hemming trousers and skirts. Unless that is, you happen to have a Blind Hemming Machine. That would be a subject for another time though.
Learning how to sew with a sewing machine (a standard one), is relatively easy. The vast majority of things can be made this way,and it really isn’t all that complicate.
Sewing – The First Things You Need to Know
Some of these are obvious, some maybe not so much. The first thing is that the most common stitch by far, is the straight stitch. This type of stitch is used on literally everything made through the craft of sewing.
The second most common stitch, would be the zigzag stitch. For example, around the edge of the faithful old buttonhole, look closely, and you will see a compact form of zigzag stitch. They also appear in combination with the straight stitch, to create the Overlocker stitch
When you want to learn how to sew, it may seem rather daunting. Fear not though, it’s really not all that complicated. Just take a look at any of the fabric items around you. I can pretty much guarantee that they will be made up of just two things – Seams and Hems.
These are were two (or more) pieces of fabric join together.
These are found at the edges and formed by folding and stitching the fabric in place, to form a neat edge.
So there you are. Putting those few things together gets you well on your way in your quest to learn how to sew.
Here at We’re in stitches, to help you further along your way, we have put together some easy sewing projects. They will show you step by step how to sew a range of soft-furnishings including pillow cases, cushion covers and curtains. So be sure to check them out!