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Free class: Machine Basics with Amy Alan on Craftsy

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I often meet people who say “I want to learn to sew, but I can’t even thread my sewing machine!”

My answer is always the same: “But that’s the hardest part! It’s all downhill from there.”

What I mean by that isn’t that threading a sewing machine is soooo incredibly difficult. We all know it’s not. What I mean is that, when you’re just starting out, the sewing machine is still a bit of a mystery to you.

Once you’ve unlocked that mystery, when you understand how all the parts work together to form a stitch, suddenly everything else becomes a lot easier to understand. You can understand things on a conceptual level, and so the rest is just building skills on top of one another. The machine knowledge is the foundation.

If you’re in that initial stage of coming to terms with your sewing machine, I highly recommend this free class by local-to-me teacher Amy Alan. It’s called Sew Ready: Machine Basics.

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In the series, Amy walks you through all the basics of your sewing machine. Here’s what’s included:

  • Threading your machine
  • Winding the bobbin (this was the worst for me at first!)
  • How to use common presser feet that you might have
  • Common stitches
  • Replacing your needles
  • Solving common problems, such as tension issues and broken thread
  • Caring for and maintaining your machine

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If you’re a more experienced sewist, you may have had others ask you about learning to sew. I think Amy’s class would be a great place for the total novice to start, and the fact that it’s totally free is also helpful for beginners who aren’t sure how much money to invest at first.

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Plus, everything is covered in just 4 video lessons, with a total runtime of under an hour. It’s a really fast and easy way to get to know your machine, no matter what type you have.

Enroll for free in Machine Basics with Amy Alan >

{This free class is brought to you by Craftsy, one of our partners this month. Thanks Craftsy!}

Like what you read here? Subscribe to our blog via email so you don’t skip a stitch! And sign up for our weekly Snippets email for even more sewing tips and tricks.

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Sign up for your free copy of The Colette Guide to Sewing Hems!

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Well folks, Sept-HEM-ber has officially drawn to a close.

I’d like to thanks Devon for her wonderful contributions all month long. Aren’t her tutorials great? We hope to have her back again very soon.

I thought I’d share a few pages of The Colette Guide to Sewing Hems, the book I put together from all our great tutorials this past month, plus many other tips and tricks from Snippets, past blog posts, and more.

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I’ve been working on this book all month long, and it’s turned out to be over 100 pages of clear, in-depth instructions on all things hem-related.

The book is divided into four main sections, covering all aspects of the process: preparing, finishing the raw edge, hem stitches, and special techniques like hemming knits and sewing mitered corners. I’ve even included a handy dandy chart to help you pick out the right hem for your garment.

To get the book, click the button below and enter your email. I’ll be mailing out the books to download this evening.

And if you read this after I’ve sent them, never fear! Just enter your email and I’ll send you a copy.

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32

How to sew mitered corners

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When hemming two edges that meet, the multiple folds along each edge pile up on top of each other and create an excess of fabric at the corner. Mitered corners reduce the bulk, allow the edges to meet evenly, and look oh-so-satisfyingly neat and tidy.

Here are two different methods for making mitered corners.

Topstitched

On all edges, press half your hem allowance to the wrong side.

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Press the same amount again. At the corners, make sure you fold and press evenly. It will be bulky.

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Unfold everything.

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Find the middle square formed by the folds. Mark a line through its corners all the way across as shown.

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Trim along line.

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Fold angled edge in so that the creases line up with each other. The creases you should be aligning are marked in blue. Press lightly, taking care not to press out your other folds.

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Refold along first fold and press.

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Refold along second line and press.

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Pin corner and sew around inner fold, pivoting in mitered corner directly between folds.

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Sewn and Topstitched

This form of mitered corner is stronger and will stand up to more wear and tear.

First, divide your hem allowance in two parts. You can divide it evenly, or, for a wider finished hem, divide it into a smaller and bigger portion. (For example, if my hem allowance is 1″, I can either divide it into 1/2″ and 1/2″, or 1/4″ and 3/4″.)

Press half your hem allowance towards the wrong side along both edges. If you divided your hem unevenly, press the smaller portion.

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Press half your hem allowance towards the wrong side again. If you divided your hem unevenly, this time press the larger portion.

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Unfold the second fold only. Fold the corner in towards the wrong side as shown so that the creases line up with those from the second fold. The creases we are aligning are traced in blue.

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Press to crease and unfold.

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Now fold the corner right sides together, aligning the outer edges. You should be folding so that the most recent crease – the one diagonally across the corner – is lined up with itself through the layers. This crease is marked in blue. Pin.

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Stitch along crease, backstitching at beginning and end. Cut off excess and clip top corner.

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Turn corner right side out and use point turner or chopstick to push it out.

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Press, then topstitch around free inner fold, pivoting at the corner.

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11

Weekend Reading: Goodbye Worn, Wonder Woman, and the Bechdel test

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It’s been an exciting week.

As you read this, we’re likely packing up the last of our studio in preparation for the big move on Monday!

Even more exciting, we have a new team member this week! Meg has joined us as our new inventory and office manager, so the next time you buy a book or pattern from our shop, you’ll likely have her to thank for getting it to you.

Since things are a bit hectic, I’ll save more on these big changes for another time and dive right into what I’ve been reading.

Weekend Reading:

For more links every week, you can follow me on Twitter, where I’m always posting interesting tidbits I find.

image above via colettepatterns on instagram

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How to sew a baby hem

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A baby hem is essentially a very small rolled hem done on the machine without a rolled hem foot. It’s a pretty and delicate hemming option that is perfect for lightweight and sheer fabrics. (A baby hem isn’t really suitable for thicker fabrics, as they would be too bulky to create the small folds.)

How-to

Stitch 1/8” below your hem allowance all the way around the edge to be hemmed. (Ex., if your hem allowance is 5/8”, stitch at 1/2”.)

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Press fabric to wrong side along stitching line.

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Stitch a scant 1/8” in from the bottom folded edge all the way around.

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Carefully trim the excess fabric as close to your stitching line as you can. You may wish to use smaller scissors for this step. As you trim, try holding the bit you’re cutting in your non-cutting hand to keep it taut.

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Roll the bottom edge towards the wrong side of the fabric to create a tiny fold. Press.

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Stitch down the center of the fold all the way around.

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You will see two lines of stitching on the inside…

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…and one line on the outside.

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Voila! A cute little itty bitty baby hem!

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