Sewing Tips – “Why Didn’t I think of that?” Hints

by cmorelli, posted on

Sewing Tips and Hints

Sewing tips are the topic this week – PLUS look for the special Blog Reader’s only coupon on notions!  This week we present some sewing tips, tricks, and hints to limit stress as you create!!! Furthermore, we invite you to share your sewing tips, tricks, and hints! sewing notions

General Sewing Tips and Hints:

  • To keep your foot pedal from slipping around on the floor or rug, try placing a wide rubber band or a couple of regular rubber bands around the smaller end.
  • Another foot pedal tip- Attach sticky back Velcro (hook side) to the bottom of your foot pedal – works great on carpet.  A rubber or silicone suction cup works on hardwood floors and won’t leave any residue.sewing machine foot pedal Brother sewing machine foot pedal rocky mountain sewing
  • The LENGTHWISE grain on fabric is parallel to the selvedge edge. The selvedge runs the same as the lengthwise grain.
  • The CROSSWISE grain on fabric runs between the selvedge edges. So – Typically on a 44 inch fabric the width of 44 inches is the crosswise grain and the yardage amount is the lengthwise grain.  If you purchased a quarter yard, you would have a 9 inch lengthwise grain and a 44 inch crosswise grain.
  • Use a bar of soap as a pin cushion. The soap will lubricate the pins making them easier to slide through fabric plus the scent makes your sewing room smell nice!
  • Have more than one pin cushion. Keep one next to your machine, one at the ironing board, and one at the cutting table.    This will keep you from constantly looking for your pin cushion!
  • Purchase 2 spools of the same thread. Use one spool to thread your machine and one to wind a bobbin. With 2 spools of the same thread, you won’t have to unthread and rethread your machine when the bobbin runs out.
  • Keep a small trash bin lined with a plastic grocery bag next to both your sewing machine and cutting table. Make it a habit to toss all your cut threads, snips of fabric and paper, etc. into these. To empty just grab the bag handles and lift out. Amazing how much cleaner your sewing space will be! You can always sort through before emptying. A great way to recycle those plastic grocery bags!

Scissors Rotary cutter sewing cutting tools cutting mat Rocky mountain sewing

Sharper Scissors and Rotary Cutters:

  • To keep your scissors and rotary cutter sharp – fold a piece of aluminum foil to create at least 6 layers and make several cuts through all layers at once.
  • Use and keep separate pairs of scissors for fabric and paper.  Use  your “paper” scissors only on paper, and “fabric” scissors only on fabric. Also – if you cut a lot of cottons, rayon, or linen then you should have a separate pair to use on these fabrics.  Cotton, linen, and rayon are fabric made from plant fibers and can dull your blades faster than cutting manmade fiber based fabric.


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Magnets are Great Tools in the Sewing Room:

  • Use a telescoping magnet to “sweep” across your floor to pick up pins and needles. These are sold in any hardware store!
  • Use a magnetic pincushion to swipe across your sewing table and cutting tables to pick up pins and needles.
  • Use clear nail polish or “Liquid Stitch” to “seal” seam ends or thread ends.


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Non Slip Rulers and Templates:

  • Place small dots of rubber cement on the back of your plastic rulers or templates to keep them from slipping. Make sure the rubber cement is dry and set before you place the ruler or template on fabric. The rubber cement will easily rub off /scrape off when you wish to remove it.
  • Silicone dots found in the hardware section are also great for keeping your rulers and templates from slipping. They are self-adhesive and work great to stick on the back side of your rulers and templates to keep them from sliding. Plus they are clear so you can still “see-thru” when cutting or tracing. ( These were originally designed as “feet” to protect tables and counter tops from being scratched by knickknacks, vases, trays, etc.) Clear thin rubber or silicone suction cups also work well for this.

cleaning brushes paint brushes rocky mountain sewing

Easy Machine Cleaning:

  • A soft paint brush or cosmetic brush works really well for cleaning the lint out of your machine, especially the bobbin area. The lint is attracted to the soft bristles by static charge.
  • A pipe cleaner is also a great tool for cleaning your machine.   Run the pip cleaner through the various areas of your machine where lint accumulates – being careful to avoid hitting wire connections. Also – you can make a cleaning tool by using a 3 to 4 inch piece of pipe cleaner and a plastic drinking straw.  Slip about 2 inches down into a plastic drinking straw and wrap the remaining pipe cleaner around the top.pipe cleaners fuzzy sticks rocky mountain sewing
  • A DRY sponge-like eraser works well on removing sticky residue and smudges from the plastic bed and housing on your machine. NEVER use any liquids on or near our machine. Electronics and liquids do not mix!


Easier Seaming:

  • Coat your needle with “Sewer’s Aid” or spray with a silicon lubricant so it will glide through vinyl, leather, oil cloth, and other tough to stitch fabrics.
  • Paper like or woven like wash-a-way stabilizer makes sewing knits a breeze. Simply place the stabilizer on the bottom of the fabric – the side that passes over the feed dogs. As you stich your seam the stabilizer will keep the fabric flowing smoothly thus preventing puckers, snags, etc. Because it’s wash-a-way, it’s easier to remove than tissue paper.
  • Using wash-a-away stabilizer in a similar manner is also great for seaming slippery fabrics like chiffon and satin or tricky fabrics like nylon netting and lace.
  • To smoothly stitch or seam fabrics with a nap or loops like terry cloth, velvet, suede, etc., place a piece of clear wash-a-way or heat-a-way stabilizer on top. Much easier to remove than plastic grocery bags and is see-thru! (Plastic wrap is too “tacky” for this and doesn’t work).
  • To create a perfectly stitched corner on your sewing machine, keep the needle down and in the fabric. Only lift the presser foot, swivel the fabric 90°, lower the presser foot and continuing stitching. After stitching, go back and stitch diagonally across the corner before cutting or turning. Now cut, then turn. Poke the point with a cotton swap, or other rounded blunt point object to push out the point. You will now have a perfectly pointed corner that turned easily.

sewing pattern pattern tracing pattern layout rocky mountain sewing

Sewing Tips for Pattern Perfection:

  • Trace pattern pieces onto iron-on interfacing or stabilizer BEFORE cutting out your fabric. You can cut out the interfacing or stabilizer and fuse to your fabric instead of pinning or fussing with paper pattern pieces.
  • If you don’t want to fuse anything to your fabric, try pattern weights instead of pins. This is really good for vinyl, oilcloth, or leather.
  • Instead of cutting out notches, simply mark with a water soluble ink pen ( or heat away marker). Use one line for small notch, 2 lines for large.
  • If you plan to use a paper pattern more than once, iron it onto freezer paper or fusible stabilizer or interfacing.  This prolongs the life of the pattern.


fusible interfacing example Handy Multi-Use Tools

  • The red ball on the end of your seam ripper is not only a safety device. Rub it over any holes left in your fabric after you remove the cut threads. The rounded ball tip makes the holes disappear! ( Sorry- usually won’t work with leather or vinyl – but always worth a try ! ).seam ripper rocky mountain sewing
  • You can use your seam ripper as a stiletto too. Just remember to keep the cutting blade facing up and the backside of the point against the fabric as you push it under the feed dogs.
  • An old fashioned ice pick also makes a good stiletto.
  • Use clear nail polish or “Liquid Stitch” to “seal” seam ends or thread ends.MagicEraser Rocky Mountain sewing
  • The white “sponge like” cleaning erasers are a sewing room must have. Use them to remove any sticky residue from your cutting mats, scissor blades, iron sole plate, needles, machine embroidery hoops, etc. They also are great for rubbing out any ink , chalk, or pencil marks from fabric. NOTE: You can use this eraser type product on your stitch plate – HOWEVER you need to remove your stich plate and clean it away from the sewing machine.
  • Don’t overlook the USB port, if your machine has one.  This is great for adding extra lighting to your sewing table.
  • Embroidery Hoop Tape is also great for marking a seam allowance on your sewing machine.  It removes easier and leaves less residue than masking tape.sewing supplies

Sewing Tips: Do’s and Don’ts

  • When using pins, make sure they are glass head pins.  Plastic tipped pins melt when ironed.
  • Pin Parallel to the seam and in the seam allowance.  Thus, you will not accidentally sew over a pin and the pin is easier to remove as you stitch.
  • Don’t lick your thread before threading a needle.  Do wet the needle instead.  The thread is attracted to the wet needle.
  • Use a colored sticky note on the foot ankle  behind the needle eye to aid in threading the needle. The colored paper makes it easier to see the needle eye,  and if the thread passed through it.  Remove the sticky note before stitching.
  • Don’t ever spray any liquids near your machine.  Overspray can permanently damage your machine.
  • Always test a small scrap of fabric before using or applying any chemical, stabilizer, cleaner, adhesive, marking pen, etc.
  • Do purchase more fabric than pattern calls for – even with quilting projects.  Mistakes happen so be prepared. Popular fabric tends to sell out quickly and most companies have limited production on copyrighted fabrics. A few dollars on a little extra fabric is less costly than not being able to complete a project and wasting the money you spent on the original supplies.

We Want to Hear Your Sewing Tips, Tricks, and Hint

If you have any sewing tips, tricks, or hints – we want to hear from you!  Please enter them in the comment section at the bottom of this page.  Let us know what you think of our sewing articles or our website.  Give us ideas for future articles, tutorials, or guides.  This site is for you, our customers.

Did you find the Notions coupon for Blog Readers only?

Classes at Rocky Mountain Sewing

Looking to learn a new technique?  Interested in a quilting class?  Want to know how to use your machine?  Trying to figure out inserting a zipper?  Then check out the class selection at Rocky Mountain Sewing and Vacuum.  We offer all types of classes.  We even offer FREE machine usage classes no matter where you purchased your machine!!!!!  If you don’t see a class your looking for on our calendar, LET US KNOW.

We have 3 locations in the greater Denver area as well as one in Colorado Springs.   Our friendly and cheerful staff is ready to assist you and answer any questions you may have on sewing and vacuums!  In addition to sewing, we also know vacuums.  You can even schedule a one on one vacuum session to get the most out of your vacuum.  So please, stop in and see what we’re all about.  Sign up to get email offers and our newsletter:

Special Offers: Get special deals on sewing machines






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