Learn to Sew: How to Zig Zag Stitch

Learn to Machine Sew: How to Zig Zag Stitch | www.cucicucicoo.com

Learn to Machine Sew: How to Zig Zag Stitch | www.cucicucicoo.com

Welcome back to our Learn to Machine Sew series for beginner sewers! So far we’ve only worked on the straight stitch (and backstitch) and I think it’s way past time we start branching out into the other important stitch: the zig zag!

The zig zag stitch is wonderfully useful because, as the name implies, the stitch doesn’t just go in a straight line, but back and forth in a zig zag, covering more fabric and being more visible. Zig zags are useful for keeping fabric edges from fraying, joining cut fabric edges, general sewing when you need some stretch or decorative sewing, among many other uses. Today I’m going to focus on how to adjust this stitch and a couple of ways of sewing it. Want to learn more about how to zig zag stitch? Then read on!

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How to Sew Boxed Corners (two ways!)

Tutorial: How to Sew Boxed Corners in two different ways! Part of the Learn to Machine Sew series on www.cucicucicoo.com!

Tutorial: How to Sew Boxed Corners in two different ways! Part of the Learn to Machine Sew series on www.cucicucicoo.com!

Welcome back to our Learn to Machine Sew series, a free online sewing course for beginners! If you haven’t been following the course from the start, take a look at the course syllabus so you can brush up on any techniques that you need help with. Last week we covered hemming and today we’ll talk about something that’s very useful when sewing bags or sacks: boxed corners!

I’d actually wanted to cover other techniques before this, but the practical tutorial for this sewing lesson is something useful for Christmas, so I’m bumping it up in the syllabus. I’m sure you don’t mind, right?!

What is a boxed corner? When you sew together two rectangles and stuff it in one way or another, the corners get quite pointy. You can see this in square pillows, for example (like when we sewed envelope pillow covers last week) or in little drawstring bags (like these ones that I modified for eco-gift wrapping). When you box the corners, they get squared off so that they are not pointy and the object becomes more three-dimensional, with a flat bottom that can stand up.

There are actually two different ways to do this technique, but the end result is exactly the same. I will cover both of them today, so read on if you want to learn how to sew boxed corners!

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How to sew an envelope pillow cover (tutorial)

Tutorial: How to sew an envelope pillow cover. This project practices hemming, covered in the Learn to Machine Sew series for beginners on www.cucicucicoo.com.

Tutorial: How to sew an envelope pillow cover. This project practices hemming, covered in the Learn to Machine Sew series for beginners on www.cucicucicoo.com.

G’day, folks! In my Learn to Machine Sew series for beginners, I pair up a practical tutorial with every techinical lesson. Earlier this week we covered hemming, so today I’ll show you how to sew an envelope pillow cover! These covers (or shams) are wonderfully versatile and don’t require a zipper closure, so they’re super easy to whip up. And what an incredibly fast and simple gift a covered pillow makes for the holiday season! Use any cute fabric, and you’re sure to have a happy gift recipient!

Learn to Machine Sew, Straight Stitch Practice Tutorial: Simple Quilting

But even better is a quilted pillow cover! If you’ve been following this sewing course, you might have already sewn a simple quilted square that is just perfect for this project! Let’s get started!

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Learn to Sew: How to Sew a Perfect Hem

Learn to Machine Sew, Lesson #7: How to Sew a Perfect Hem. Learn an easy trick to make your hems perfectly even! | www.cucicucicoo.com

Learn to Machine Sew, Lesson #7: How to Sew a Perfect Hem. Learn an easy trick to make your hems perfectly even!

Welcome back to our Learn to Machine Sew course for beginners! In our last lesson we talked about how to turn and topstitch, which is a technique in which we sew two pieces of fabric together with a clean finish on the edges. Today we’re going to talk about something somewhat similar: hemming.

When you hem, you fold over and sew the raw edge of a single piece of fabric so that it looks nicer and doesn’t fray. If you need to go over other sewing basics, take a look at the course syllabus to see what other techniques we’ve already covered. Let’s get started!

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Easy Pot Holder Pattern (Turn and Topstitch)

Free Tutorial: Easy pot holder pattern using the method Turn and Topstitch. Part of the "Learn to Machine Sew" series on www.cucicucicoo.com!

Free Tutorial: Easy pot holder pattern using the method Turn and Topstitch. Part of the "Learn to Machine Sew" series on www.cucicucicoo.com!

Welcome back to the Learn to Machine Sew series here on Cucicucicoo! As promised, today we have the practice tutorial for last week’s lesson on how to turn and topstitch. If you need to brush up on that technique or if you want to learn some little tricks to topstitching with small seam allowances, read the lesson before starting this tutorial. Because today we’ll be turning and topstitching to create simple pot holders!

These make a great gift and are so cute as a set with matching fabric, so why not sew up a bunch of them for Christmas gifts? Read on for the free pattern and instructions!

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Turning and Topstitching (clipping & notching)

Turning and Topstitching: Learn to Machine Sew, Lesson 6. Why and how to turn and topstitch, including clipping and notching curves/corners and using a blind hem foot for close topstitching. See more at www.cucicucicoo.com

Turning and Topstitching: Learn to Machine Sew, Lesson 6. Why and how to turn and topstitch, including clipping and notching curves/corners and using a blind hem foot for close topstitching. See more at www.cucicucicoo.com

Welcome back to the Learn to Machine Sew course for beginners, in which I teach the basics of machine sewing, with a technical lesson and a useful tutorial for each technique. It’s been a few months since our last lesson, so if you need to brush up on some basics, check out the course syllabus. Today we’re going to talk about one of the most important techniques in sewing that you will come across over and over again: turning and topstitching. In our last lesson we talked about seam allowance, which is essential to turn and topstitch properly, so I recommend you go over that lesson if necessary.

Up til now, we’ve been sewing on the right side of the fabric (see here for more information on the right/wrong sides of fabric). It is often necessary to sew on the right side, but this can be problematic if  we want to hide the stitching and/or fabric edges. Remember that most fabrics fray if you leave their edges exposed, so you need to take measures to avoid this, especially if you’re planning on washing the sewn item (unless, of course, you want the edges to fray for design reasons). (Read more here about the characteristics of different fabrics.) The most common way to deal with these issues is to turn and topstitch. Let me show you how it works and how to get around some difficulties in more complicated cases:

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Simple Felt Coasters DIY

Seam Allowance Practice Tutorial: Simple Felt Coasters with Reverse Applique

Seam Allowance Practice Tutorial: Simple Felt Coasters with Reverse Applique

A few days ago I showed you how to sew while considering seam allowances. I’d say that most things are actually sewn inside out and then turned right side out in different ways. We still haven’t gotten to those techniques, though, and I want to make sure that the practice tutorials for the Learn to Machine Sew course use only the skills covered up til that point. So I decided to use a type of fabric that I don’t use very often and that can be worked in different ways that regular fabric: felt. And why not felt coasters? We can all always use some more coasters in our homes and they also make a great gift, plus they’re really simple to whip up. But just plain felt coasters would be a little too simple, but a bit of very easy reverse appliquè gives them that little bit of pizzazz that they need!

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Learn to Machine Sew: Sewing with Seam Allowance + Pins

Learn to Machine Sew: Sewing with Seam Allowances and Pins

Learn to Machine Sew: Sewing with Seam Allowances and Pins

Welcome back to Lesson #5 of the How to Machine Sew series for beginner sewers! I asked on Facebook if you’d prefer another week of sewing lessons or some beach-related tutorials, and I got a unanimous “BEACH!!” Except I didn’t have my pictures all ready for the beach ones, so alas, those will have to wait til next week. This week I want to talk a little about something very important: seam allowance.

Seam allowance is the distance between the fabric edge and the stitching. This distance needs to be regular for even sewing and usually you need to follow strict guides when following a pattern or tutorial, or else your project could come out the wrong size or the parts could not fit together properly. Let me show you how to get perfect seam allowance.

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Backstitch Practice Tutorial: How to Darn Jeans

Backstitch Practice Tutorial: How to Darn Jeans (a.k.a. How can I save my favorite pair of jeans?!)

Backstitch Practice Tutorial: How to Darn Jeans (a.k.a. How can I save my favorite pair of jeans?!)

Ok, are you guys ready for a life-changing event? I know you have a favorite pair of jeans. And I know the pain when they eventually rip open at the knees, butt, crotch or wherever else. But do not fear, you are not destined to have a dresser full of cut-off jean shorts because today I am going to show you how to darn holes in jeans with what you learned in our last lesson of the Learn to Machine Sew series: the backstitch.

What exactly does darning mean and how is it different from patching? As Wikipedia explains it, “Darning is a sewing technique for repairing holes or worn areas in fabric or knitting using needle and thread alone.” So, while patching is adding extra fabric over or under a hole to repair it, darning is basically recreating the fabric with thread. Now, sometimes I love the way a patch looks (have you ever seen jeans patched with lace? Gorgeous!), but sometimes I don’t want embellishment, just a totally normal pair of jeans. And that’s when darning is just the best thing ever. I’ve lost count of how many holes I’ve darned on my husband’s and my jeans. Every time I do it, I heave a big sigh of relief that I’ve saved yet another loved garment from the Cut It Up Refashion Pile.

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Learn to Machine Sew: How to Backstitch (or Staystich)

Learn to Machine Sew: How to Backstitch (or Staystich) on a Sewing Machine

Learn to Machine Sew: How to Backstitch (or Staystich) on a Sewing Machine

I took a week off from the Beginner’s Sewing Course here on Cucicucicoo because I wanted to share some other things, too. Our last lesson was about how to use the straight stitch (and we then used it to some some simple quilting). Today I want to tell you about the straight stitch’s natural complement: the backstitch.

Learn to Machine Sew: How to Backstitch (or Staystich) on a Sewing Machine

The backstitch (sometimes called a staystitch because it keeps stitches from pulling out) is very useful and also very simple. To do it, you press the reverse button or lever while you are stitching. Check your manual on how to use your sewing machine’s reverse function. Not all machines have this function, unfortunately. If this is your case, just do a few stitches at a zero stitch length to staystitch your sewing (read more about stitch length here). The backstitch is used most often with the straight stitch, which is generally the first stitch in a machine’s stitch selection. My Elna Lotus sewing machine has a special stitch (#2 in the stitch selector panel) which I use almost all the time instead of the regular straight stitch. It automatically starts and ends the stitch with a backstitch so that it comes out perfectly every time and you don’t accidentally forget to do it. But today I will show you how to do it manually.

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