How to hem with bias tape – Easy and fast!

Do you hate measuring, pinning and ironing every time you sew a hem? Check out this wonderfully simple and quick alternative! Learn how to hem with bias tape to save time and frustration! www.cucicucicoo.com

Do you hate measuring, pinning and ironing every time you sew a hem? Check out this wonderfully simple and quick alternative! Learn how to hem with bias tape to save time and frustration! www.cucicucicoo.com

I don’t know about you, but my least favorite part of a sewing project is usually hemming.

I’m not sure why, because it’s really not difficult (and I even shared a great trick for sewing perfect hems here). But I know that I’m not alone here because I’ve heard lots of other sewists say the same thing.

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Luckily, there’s a way that you can sew perfect hems, even on curves, without all the measuring, ironing and pinning and I can sum it up in two words:

BIAS TAPE

Do you hate measuring, pinning and ironing every time you sew a hem? Check out this wonderfully simple and quick alternative! Learn how to hem with bias tape to save time and frustration! www.cucicucicoo.com

Yes! This is one of the easiest ways immaginable to sew a hem and as a bonus you get a cool decorative element hidden on the inside of your project. (That is, if you use a contrasting bias tape. If you don’t want it to be easily noticeable, just use a matching bias tape.)

Just look at how perfectly those curved edges are hemmed in the picture above. That’s pretty much impossible to do with classic hemming, but a cinch when you hem with bias tape. You don’t need any fancy tools or know-how to do this and it’s so quick and simple to do.

So of course I had to include this technique in my Bias Month series! Here is the full list of the Bias Month technical lessons and practical tutorials to practice the techniques on. Just click on any of the links to check them out!

What is bias? Bias vs. Grain
How to make bias tape with a bias tape maker
How to bind straight or curved edges with double fold bias tape
How to hem with single fold bias tape

Free bib and burp cloth pattern (with or without bias tape)
Hem a circle skirt in only 15 minutes with bias tape

Want to find out how to hem with bias tape in just a few minutes? Well then, let’s get started! 

Read moreHow to hem with bias tape – Easy and fast!

How to sew bias tape on curves or straight edges

The best way to bind edges! This tutorial shows how to sew bias tape on curves and also on straight lines with an easy trick for perfectly even stitching!

The best way to bind edges! This tutorial shows how to sew bias tape on curves and also on straight lines with an easy trick for perfectly even stitching!

Welcome back to Bias Month here on Cucicucicoo! This month I’m writing a bunch of lessons and tutorials on how to use bias for better sewing. Here is the full list of the Bias Month technical lessons and practical tutorials to practice the techniques on. Just click on any of the links to check them out!

What is bias? Bias vs. Grain
How to make bias tape with a bias tape maker
How to bind straight or curved edges with double fold bias tape
How to hem with single fold bias tape

Free bib and burp cloth pattern (with or without bias tape)
Hem a circle skirt in only 15 minutes with bias tape

 

The best way to bind edges! This tutorial shows how to sew bias tape on curves and also on straight lines with an easy trick for perfectly even stitching!

Today I am showing you the most common way that bias tape is used: to bind fabric edges.

This technique is used in virtually all types of sewing and is super useful for protecting the cut fabric edges from fraying, but also as a great decorative element. The width and fabric of bias tape can completely change the feeling of the sewn item, so it can be lots of fun to choose!

And because bias tape is cut on the flexible bias of the woven fabric, it can be modelled around convex and concave curves.

Are you ready to learn how to sew bias tape on curves and straight edges? Well, then let’s get started!

Read moreHow to sew bias tape on curves or straight edges

Refashion Tutorial: Make a T-shirt Infinity Scarf

Make a cool and snuggly accessory from your family’s old T-shirts, even if they’re ripped or stained! This tutorial shows how to cut up shirts and piece them together to create a colorful and unique infinity scarf! #sewingtutorial #infinityscarf #refashion

Make a cool and snuggly accessory from your family’s old T-shirts, even if they’re ripped or stained! This tutorial shows how to cut up shirts and piece them together to create a colorful and unique infinity scarf! www.cucicucicoo.com

Some people are obsessed with clothes and have overflowing closets. Other people obsessively buy shoes and have dozens and dozens of them. I, myself, have a thing for neckwear.

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Except for the hottest, most humid summer months, when I can’t bear to have anything on my skin, I love the feeling of having something around my neck. I have tons of necklaces (some of which you can see on my DIY driftwood necklace hanger) and tons more scarves.

About a year and a half ago I got hit by the infinity scarf bug. I have no idea just how many I’ve sewn, but I have more than I can possibly keep track of and have given many more away as gifts.

Make a cool and snuggly accessory from your family’s old T-shirts, even if they’re ripped or stained! This tutorial shows how to cut up shirts and piece them together to create a colorful and unique infinity scarf! www.cucicucicoo.com

See? Here I am in May 2015 (May 30 from my Me Made May 2015 challenge, to be precise) with a series of light springtime infinity scarves that I’d made that day. (I was also about two months in out of the 18 months or so it took to grow out my short pixie haircut!)

Make a cool and snuggly accessory from your family’s old T-shirts, even if they’re ripped or stained! This tutorial shows how to cut up shirts and piece them together to create a colorful and unique infinity scarf! www.cucicucicoo.com

I had some strips of fabric left over from these pant-to-skirt refashions that I did for my daughter, so those became scarves with one printed side and one solid side, an effect that looks wonderful when they get looped around the neck. (Find out how to sew infinity scarves with one or more colors here.)

Make a cool and snuggly accessory from your family’s old T-shirts, even if they’re ripped or stained! This tutorial shows how to cut up shirts and piece them together to create a colorful and unique infinity scarf! www.cucicucicoo.com

But the infinity scarf that I got (and continue to get) the most compliments on was this Spanish-style one with red pompom trim. I cut up the entire shirt, right up to the neck and including the sleeves, and pieced the pieces together along with the trim to make a loop that was wide enough to fit over my head twice. You can see the bit of lace under the neck tie incorporated in the scarf in the bottom picture above.

Make a cool and snuggly accessory from your family’s old T-shirts, even if they’re ripped or stained! This tutorial shows how to cut up shirts and piece them together to create a colorful and unique infinity scarf! www.cucicucicoo.com

A lot of people asked me how I made the scarf and I got more than one request for a tutorial. So now that I’ve explained how to sew knit fabric without any overstretching, bunching, snapped threads or holes, I thought that it was about time to finally explain how to make these!

I’ve given instructions on two styles of T-shirt infinity scarf. The first is a pretty simple two-color version that only takes about 15 minutes to make. The second is a more complex version of the first, using pieces from any number of shirt. You can get really creative and use up fabric scraps, or even salvage usuable parts of stained and/or ripped t-shirts.

These scarves are wonderful gifts, too, so raid your closet for shirts you don’t use anymore and sew up a colorful and unique T-shirt infinity scarf for everyone you know this holiday season! Let’s get started!

Read moreRefashion Tutorial: Make a T-shirt Infinity Scarf

10 tips for sewing knits perfectly

Having trouble with wavy seams, snapped thread and holes in your homemade knit garments? These 10 tips will help you overcome problems and you'll be sewing knits perfectly in no time! Check it out at www.cucicucicoo.com

Having trouble with wavy seams, snapped thread and holes in your homemade knit garments? These 10 tips will help you overcome problems and you'll be sewing knits perfectly in no time! Check it out at www.cucicucicoo.com

When a person learns to sew, the first projects are always with woven fabric. When you go to a fabric shop, you’ll notice that most fabrics are woven. And when you browse sewing projects on Pinterest, nearly all of them use woven fabric.

But take a look at your own wardrobe, or that of your kids. I’m willing to bet that you have a pretty high percentage of garments made with knit fabric. (Such as T-shirts, leggings, sweatshirts/pants and sweaters.) So why do DIY sewing projects focus mostly on wovens?

Simply put, wovens are a whole lot easier to work with (except for some fussy fabrics like chiffon, which tend to cause much swearing). However, knits have a LOT of advantages that woven fabric doesn’t, which is why they’re so frequently used in clothing.

But in order to understand all this, let’s talk a moment about the difference between woven and knit fabric, and then we’ll get to 10 life-saving tips for sewing knits easily and with wonderful results!

Read more10 tips for sewing knits perfectly

Refashion tutorial: make pants from sleeves

Make pants for kids in a flash from sleeves! No pattern necessary! Refashion tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com

Save time when sewing your children's clothes with this refashion tutorial: Make pants from sleeves for (almost) immediate results! No pattern necessary! #refashion

It’s fall again and I’m having the same problem I have every. Single. Year. My kids have no pants that fit them correctly.

Both of my children are average height, but are very thin. This doesn’t create many problems in the summer because shorts and skirts don’t have to be long. However, when it’s time to wear long pants (or trousers for you British folk) again, we find that all their pants that fit fine in the spring are now too short. And most store-bought pants that are long enough for them are too wide in the waist for their long, thin build.

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So either my kids go to school with ridiculously short pants (which doesn’t bother them, but it does bother me), I buy them some new ones (which rarely fit properly and anyway I decided years ago not to buy any new clothing), or I sew them new ones. However I’m usually particularly busy with the hectic start of the school year, and have a hard time finding time to find a pattern, modify it to fit their thin bodies, and cut it out.

What a time-saver! Make pants for kids from sleeves! Refashion tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com

That’s when this comes to the rescue: old sweatshirts. Because adult sweatshirts have sleeves that are a great length for pants for young kids (up to about age 5) and they already have a wonderfully comfortable cuff at the bottom. (Or, if not a cuff, a finished edge, like in the pair seen below.) So your discarded clothing (or a super cheap thrifted sweatshirt, like this one that I bought for €1 to make my son’s Minion costume) can become fantastic sweatpants for your child!

What a time-saver! Make pants for kids from sleeves! Refashion tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com

They’re so comfortable for kids to play in and you don’t even need a pattern to make them! You can simply use a pair of pants that fit as a cutting guide!

What a time-saver! Make pants for kids from sleeves! Refashion tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com

What a time-saver! Last year I made four pairs of these pants in about one hour and my boy was set for that season’s pants!  (Yes, that is a patch of white hair my son has. He was born with it. I didn’t bring him to the hairdresser to do it, as some people have asked me!)

So what are you waiting for? Let’s make pants from sleeves for your children!

Read moreRefashion tutorial: make pants from sleeves

Attach elastic to a waistband – no casing or twisting!

Learn to sew the easiest elastic waistband ever- with no casing or twisting! www.cucicucicoo.com

Learn to sew the easiest elastic waistband ever- with no casing or twisting! www.cucicucicoo.com

Can you imagine what it must’ve been like to wear clothes long ago, before there was any elastic? Sure, there were buttons and laces to tie up, but my favorite garment fasteners, elastic and zippers, are relatively new inventions. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must’ve been to get children dressed… and undressed, and dressed and undressed… without elastic waistbands!

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I LOVE elastic waistbands! They’re comfortable, give more flexibility in sizing, and are easy for kids to get on and off by themselves. They come in all different widths and even in awesome colors and prints, so you can make them part of your garment’s overall look.

Learn to sew the easiest elastic waistband ever- with no casing or twisting! www.cucicucicoo.com

As part of my Learn to Machine Sew series, I’ve already published two lessons on elastic waistbands: sewing an elastic casing and sewing an exposed elastic waistband. The technique I’m showing you today, which I’m calling an attached elastic, for lack of a better name, is yet another way to create an elastic waistband and, like the others, it has its pros and cons.

Elastic casing waistband:

Pros: elastic can be easily removed to adjust sizing, ugly elastic is hidden inside, no need to split elastic/fabric into fourths

Cons: must measure and iron fabric to create the perfect width of casing, elastic can twist up inside the casing

Exposed elastic waistband:

Pros: doesn’t require extra fabric to cover the elastic so is good if you’ve cut the garment too short, shows off cool elastic, no measuring or ironing of fabric necessary

Cons: possible lost stretch, need to split elastic/fabric into fourths, more difficult to remove the elastic if adjustments are necessary

Attached elastic waistband:

Pros: very fast and easy, ugly elastic is hidden inside, no measuring or ironing of fabric necessary

Cons: possible lost stretch, need to split elastic/fabric into fourths, difficult to remove the elastic if adjustments are necessary

I will be totally honest: this attached elastic technique is not my favorite way of sewing a waistband. In general, I prefer not to sew into elastic because some qualities can lose stretch when you stretch and sew over them. But the main reason is because I quite frequently have to adjust the fit of elastic waistbands. This can be either because the elastic has stretched out over time, my kids have grown or I made a measuring mistake when sewing the garment (hey, it happens even to the best of us, right?!). This is why I almost always sew a casing for waistbands.

However, do consider that this is my own personal preference and that there are LOADS of sewists who prefer this method over the others, so it’s really a matter of personal preference. I suggest trying them all out so that you can choose the most suitable technique for each of your projects!

Follow the links above for learning more about the first two elastic waistband methods, or keep on reading to find out how to attach elastic to a waistband in the third way!

Read moreAttach elastic to a waistband – no casing or twisting!

Sewing concave and convex curves together

Sewing concave and convex curves together (or an enclosed circle) is easy once you know a little trick. Learn how with a free pattern for a curvy potholder! Part of the Learn to Machine Sew course on www.cucicucicoo.com!

Sewing concave and convex curves together (or an enclosed circle) is easy once you know a little trick. Learn how with a free pattern for a curvy potholder! Part of the Learn to Machine Sew course on www.cucicucicoo.com!

Summer’s over and it’s back to school time, which means it’s also back to sewing school time! (Did you know that I have a FREE beginner’s sewing course?) Last week I mentioned that I have a new free pattern for a pencil-shaped pencil case to share with you (update: here’s the info on the pencil case pattern!), but first I want to explain an important technique that you need to know to sew it. I’m talking about sewing concave and convex curves.

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Don’t confuse this with simply sewing curved seams, which I explained how to do in this other Learn to Machine Sew lesson on turning and topstitching. What I’m talking about now is piecing together different shaped curves to create one flat piece of fabric. This technique is often used in garment sewing (such as attaching the arms to the armscye or creating princess seams) and in patchwork, but is seen in many other sort of projects, too.

Sewing concave and convex curves together (or an enclosed circle) is easy once you know a little trick. Learn how with a free pattern for a curvy potholder! Part of the Learn to Machine Sew course on www.cucicucicoo.com!

I will show you how to sew a circle enclosed inside another shape, as seen to the left above, and a convex curve (curving outward) to a concave curve (curving inward), seen to the right. A good example of this second style is my Hands Free Asymmetrical Bag. And because I hate wasting practice pieces, you can then sew these pieces together for a funky patchwork-style potholder.

Sewing concave and convex curves together (or an enclosed circle) is easy once you know a little trick. Learn how with a free pattern for a curvy potholder! Part of the Learn to Machine Sew course on www.cucicucicoo.com!

It can be a little tricky to figure out the exact shapes for this type of piecing, so I’ve created a free pattern for you to print out and get working on right away!

Want to get started? Keep on reading to find out how to sew different shaped curves together!

Read moreSewing concave and convex curves together

Why fabric drape is so important in your sewing

The importance of fabric drape and why you need to understand it in your sewing. A sewing lesson in the free Learn to Machine Sew course for beginners on www.cucicucicoo.com
The importance of fabric drape as shown in classical sculpture (The Veiled Christ). A sewing lesson in the free Learn to Machine Sew course for beginners on www.cucicucicoo.com
The Veiled Christ. Photo source: Museo Sansevero, Naples

One of the most visited artistic tourist attractions in Naples, my adopted city, is the Veiled Christ in the Sansevero Chapel. This statue represented a life-sized Jesus after his death, covered in a death shroud, and is celebrated for its realistic and masterful sculpting of the body as seen beneath the fabric. But this masterpiece wouldn’t be half of what it is if it weren’t for the artist’s skillful use of fabric draping.

The importance of fabric drape and why you need to understand it in your sewing. A sewing lesson in the free Learn to Machine Sew course for beginners on www.cucicucicoo.com

The drape of a fabric is one of its key characteristics, yet there’s no real way to measure and quantify it. It refers to the fluidity or rigidity of the fabric, which has an effect on how the fabric falls and creases, therefore influencing what your sewn project ends up looking like. Let me show you what I mean.

Read moreWhy fabric drape is so important in your sewing

How to Sew an Exposed Elastic Waistband in 5 steps

How to Sew an Exposed Elastic Waistband in 5 steps: an easy alternative to fussy zippers and elastic casings! Learn how on www.cucicucicoo.com

How to Sew an Exposed Elastic Waistband in 5 steps: an easy alternative to fussy zippers and elastic casings! Learn how on www.cucicucicoo.com

Sure, you may know how to sew an elastic casing or how to install a zipper, but do you WANT to? Sometimes you just want to do things the fastest and easiest way. And sometimes you just don’t have enough fabric to do so. This is when you can resort to the easiest waistband method ever: the exposed elastic waistband!

This waistband is exactly what it sounds like: exposed elastic, which is sewn directly onto the top edge of your garment as a stretchy waistband. I’ve started using this solution a lot when refashioning because sometimes I’m just too lazy to pick out the old over-stretched elastic and just cut it off, or because I’m on the tall side and often need to add a little bit of length to my garment, and this method allows you to actually add on length instead of removing it to sew in a casing.

How to Sew an Exposed Elastic Waistband in 5 steps: an easy alternative to fussy zippers and elastic casings! Learn how on www.cucicucicoo.com

For example, when I totally screwed up a pair of leggings, which ended up too tight and too short, I added an exposed elastic waistband to avoid making an elastic casing that would end up halfway down my bum. A perfect fix!

Today, as part of my Learn to Machine Sew series, I’m going to show you how to sew an exposed elastic waistband in just five steps! You can practice this technique on any tube of fabric or do as I did, and add it on to a skirt (or pair of pants, shorts or leggings) that has an old elastic that needs to be replaced. Then in the next tutorial on Cucicucicoo, I’ll show you how to sew a skirt from scratch with this type of easy waistband.

How to Sew an Exposed Elastic Waistband in 5 steps: an easy alternative to fussy zippers and elastic casings! Learn how on www.cucicucicoo.com

Are you ready? Let’s start!

Read moreHow to Sew an Exposed Elastic Waistband in 5 steps

How to Sew an Infinity Scarf in one or two fabrics

How to sew an infinity scarf in one or two fabrics: a Cucicucicoo Learn to Machine Sew tutorial | www.cucicucicoo.com

How to sew an infinity scarf in one or two fabrics: a Cucicucicoo Learn to Machine Sew tutorial | www.cucicucicoo.com

I get sort of obsessive every so often with certain projects of mine, and just can’t stop making them. And this is definitely one of those situations, because ever since May 30, 2015, when I made three springtime infinity scarves from refashioned clothes as part of my Me-Made-May challenge, I haven’t been able to stop making them!

Seriously, I love infinity scarves (which are also sometimes called “circle scarves”). They can really make an outfit and can have totally different feels depending on which fabric is used in what size. They can be casual or relatively fancy, for warm weather or freezing cold weather. Fuzzy, silky, smooth. With embellishments sewn into them. From brand new fabric yardage or upcycled fabrics. You can really go wild with your creativity!

How to sew an infinity scarf in one or two fabrics: a Cucicucicoo Learn to Machine Sew tutorial | www.cucicucicoo.com

And these make such great gifts! Here is my friend Laura from Le Pecionate when we met up at the Abilmente creative fair in Rome, wearing an infinity scarf that I sewed her. (Isn’t she adorable?) Infinity scarves are very in right now, you can make them to suit the recipient’s needs and tastes, and they’re relatively fast to sew. I’ve been giving different versions of these for months, and have gotten nothing but rave reviews.

I actually meant to create this tutorial months ago, but I first wanted to publish a sewing lesson on how to sew the ladder stitch by hand. If using a single fabric, all you need to do is sew two seams with the sewing machine, then close up an opening by hand, so I decided to include this project in my Learn to Machine Sew series, even though it is not entirely machine sewn. I’m sure you’ll forgive me!

Let’s get started!

Read moreHow to Sew an Infinity Scarf in one or two fabrics