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The Pristine Swing Dress and the Criss Cross Pinafore were both free for helping test.
Here are 5 sewing rules you should never break if you want good results.*
5. Clip your threads
This is important for a number of reasons. First, loose threads hanging off your projects just looks sloppy, even if everything else is great. Secondly, those loose threads could get caught in your machine, causing an unsightly tangled mess, or worse, damaging your machine.
4. Clip/notch your curves
Clipping or notching curves helps the fabric "bend" and will give you a smoother curve. When you're sewing a convex curve, you should cut notches into the seam allowance (but not the stitches). When you're sewing a concave (think concave like a cave) curve, just clip into the seam allowance. Make sure not to cut through the seam in either case.
notch convex curves
clip concave curves
Turn and press
3. Pay attention to seam allowances
This is really important. If you aren't paying attention to your seam allowances, things won't line up properly. Take the Pristine Swing Dress for example. If you look at the yoke, its made up of several different pieces. There is also a front yoke facing that is all one piece. If you aren't paying attention to your seam allowances when putting together the front yoke, it's not going to be the same size as your facing, and then the dress won't work and you'll either have to cobble something together or scrap your project.
Your sewing machine has seam allowance guides on it, so you can use those to make sure you are getting the correct seam allowance. You can also buy an inexpensive seam gauge. Those are helpful when you're pressing a hem to make sure you're pressing the correct amount. Which brings me to the next step.
2. Press as you go
This is so important. It helps give your project a more crisp, professional look. Every time you sew a seam, you should press it, either open or to one side. I was taught to press my seams open, but if you're using a serger, press it to the side. Also, make sure you're pressing and not ironing. When you press, you should place the iron on your fabric, and then lift it up off the fabric before you move the iron, rather than sliding it across the surface of your fabric. If you don't lift your iron, you can stretch the fabric the wrong way, which can mess up your project.
These side seams are hard to see, but they're pressed open. The bottom of the yoke was pressed down before I added the binding.
1. Have some chocolate handy. But not where it will stain your fabric.
This one is self-explanatory. Check out this recipe if you need help.
*Disclaimer: This is a classic example of do as I say, not as I do. You could go through this blog and find examples of me breaking every one of these rules. Ahem.
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