Strap Sewing Hack

 Confession: I procrastinate. I’m not sure exactly how long I’ve had this little top cut out and pinned onto one of my dress forms, but it’s been more than a couple months. I had the lining sewn together and the exterior fabric together-and even top stitched, but joining the two pieces was something I just didn’t seem to ever “get to.” You know those things you put off because of something silly? I was not looking forward to sewing this together or turning it out. Crazy, I know. But I think when we break down the stuff we put off, a lot of times it comes down to something we’re dreading, but isn’t really that bad. That being said, I’m going to give you guys a little life hack to make turning out a top with straps a little less procrastin-able. That’s right. . . Procrastin-able: The ability to procrasinate. (I think I actually medaled in that sport in Middle School.)

The problem with sewing lining onto a garment with straps is that they tend to slide around inside and can get caught in the stitching. You can pin them to the fabric, but you still have to turn it out after. Serious Ouch Potential.

Here’s what I did to avoid the ouch: Tied a little ribbon on it! Well, it’s actually a knit fabric scrap, which works better because of the stretch. I just wound up the strap until I was pretty close to where it’s sewn onto the top and tied it. Then I tucked it into my meticulously pinned packet, closed it up, and continued to pin.



    

I was then at the refreshing liberty to sew without any fear of my strap sliding over and getting sewn into the darn seam.   If you don’t know what that agony is like,

  

And this is me turning my garment out without bleeding on it from pin pricks. That’s always a really good thing!
I hope this little trick helps you guys out. Let me know in the comment section if you have any other tips and tricks for sewing lining or straps! I’m a lifelong learner and I hope you guys are, too!

Hand Sewing Hack

IMG_2766How do I love Duct Tape? Let me count the ways! 

IMG_2763Today’s tip is using tape to make an impromptu finger shield while hand stitching. I’ve lusted over the fancy adhesive thimbles in expensive quilter’s catalogs, but I couldn’t bring myself to purchase something that costs so much per use, since they are disposable. On this project, however, I was beginning to long for them, as hand sewing through as many as 8 layers on the seams while attaching this binding can get a little…shall we say, complicated. (Complicated is code for painful!) Thimbles suck, so they’re not a good option for me, plus I needed something for my thumb, not my fingers. What popped into my mind? Miss Liz from Swamp People- my husband’s favorite show. She wraps each finger with what appears to be electrical tape so the lines they drag the alligators in on don’t cut through. (If you haven’t seen the show, it’s worth a watch…not very cerebral, but intriguing on a very-umm-primal level.)

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How you do it: Cut several strips and layer them on your thumb or whichever finger you use to push your needle through. It’s that simple. And it’s marvelous! It’s one of those ideas you can’t believe you hadn’t thought of before. I’ll definitely be keeping a roll of tape close by my sewing supplies from now on. I will say, though, it’s not totally impenetrable, so if you try this hack, use a little finesse. Remember the back of the needle is pretty sharp, as well. Mine went through the tape when I was sewing through the side seam and just pressed my thumb down onto the needle like a madman-directly from the top, not the side. Not my smoothest move ever. This works very well as a barrier as long as the needle is at an angle-not perpendicular to your thumb if you are applying a ton of pressure.

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The Moral of The Story?

Thimbles suck-unless your goal is to see how wobbly your needle can be as you try to sew.

And there are very few problems in life that Duct tape can’t solve!

How to Sew an Easy, Decorative Waistband



 

This tutorial is on how to make an interior waistband using decorative bias tape or fabric. I’ve seen this a lot lately in jeans and some trousers, but I didn’t realize how much easier it could make waistband sewing until I used it. I’m making a pair of green palazzo trousers and once I get them finished, I’ll post the whole process and let you see how this waistband looks once sewn in place. I may also do a post just about the pockets, which are out of the same brown striped fabric. (One day I’d like to do a sew-along with you guys. I have to perfect grading my patterns to fit different sizes and learn how to make them into PDFs for purchase. Let me know what you think.)

When asked what people dread most about sewing, the pretty universal response is “zippers,” but I’ll take a zipper any day over a waistband or a collar stand. Not that they are hard to sew by themselves…it’s just that I hate flipping them over once the first side is sewn and turning up just the right amount of fabric and hoping that I catch both sides and it doesn’t look too uneven. I’m definitely getting better at it, but it had been a long time since I sewed pants so when I made the test pair to make sure my pattern fit correctly before using my good fabric, the inside waistband was a little bunched up in places. Nothing horrible, but enough to make me think, “I have to find a better way!” I was just about to YouTube it when this method occurred to me. Easier and decorative? A two-fer, right up my alley! (To see my practice pair and and a tip for sewing on buttons easily, click Here.)

OK, So Here’s How to Do It:IMG_2203

1. Take bias tape or a strip of fabric 1″ wide by the length of your waistband (I had to join two pieces) and pin it to the part of the inside waistband that will be at the bottom. Make sure you’ve already attached your interfacing.

Note: The fabric doesn’t really have to be cut on the bias. Mine was really stretchy on the crosswise grain, but it doesn’t even need to be that stretchy for this project.

2. Sew or serge the contrast fabric onto the waistband at a scant quarter inch.

 

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3. Flip the fabric over, tuck it under on the back so the raw edge isn’t showing, and pin in place. (I wish I had gotten a pic of this from the back. Sorry, guys!)

 

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4. Stitch it into place.

 


 

That’s it! 4 simple steps  and you’re done!

The next part of the process will just involve sewing the top of the outer and inner waistband and attaching it to the pants. Once you attach the bottom of the outer waistband to the pants, flip this part inside and pin the waistband in place. Sew from the front, using the waistband seam as your guide. Here are two pictures of jeans I own that use this method. Isn’t it pretty? IMG_2236

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My Related Posts:

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Taggie Blanket Tutorial

Girl’s Skirt From a Pillow Case