Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Learn To Sew- Understanding the Terms

This is the first in a series of simple basic sewing lessons.

These instructions are designed for those with little or no sewing experience.We'll help you understand the terms and walk you through some easy fundamental steps- soon you'll be making projects of your own or tackling those simple repairs you keep putting off. (watch - your own seeds will begin to grow!)

Preparing to Sew- Understanding the Terms
Fabric width- most fabrics fall into one of three widths- 45 inches, 54 inches, or 60 inches. Remember that fabrics sold on the bolt are folded in half. The width measurement is the total width when the fabric unfolded or from selvage to selvage.

Selvages of fabric- these are the edges along the width that are machine finished. Sometimes the selvages may not be the same design as the fabric. They are usually an half inch or so wide. They can be compared to the margins on a sheet of paper you don't want to use the selvages. When the fabric is folded in half the selvages will be on top of each other.

Grain of the fabric-follows the length (not the width) of your fabric. When you lay out a pattern on your fabric you line the arrow on the pattern with the grain of the fabric (parallel to the selvage). Note- fabrics with a border design are meant to be cut crosswise or against the grain.

Nap- fabrics such as corduroy and velvet have a direction to their weave. If you brush down it looks a certain way and if you brush up it looks different. It is important to place all your pattern pieces in the same direction if you are using a fabric with a nap.

Seam Allowance-tells you how far in from the edge of the fabric to sew. If you are using a pattern and they have not indicated otherwise the seam allowance is 5/8 inch. When I sew without a pattern, which is quite frequently, for simplicities sake I use 1/2 inch. Beware seam allowances can change and make sure you read all the instructions before you start to sew.

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