The world of tailoring is vast, it travels between eras filled with the most diverse products. It is also rich in little sewing tricks that are passed on by word of mouth.
This column originated in the Secret Times newsletter, but given the numerous requests from those who had missed previous issues, I have decided to bring it back as a Blog article.
Throughout my career, someone has always graciously taken the time to teach me things that I want to share with you today.
I hope these tricks will be useful to you. Happy reading!
Clickety Click Barba Sewing Tricks #1
To read the newsletter for April ’22:
Have you ever struggled to pin your pattern to fabric with regular pins?
Long quilting pins will make your life so much easier, you just have to try it to believe!
The Erasable Pen
There are many ways to mark a fabric when creating a sewing project: one may use chalk, evanescent pens, soft stitches, etc…
However, my favorite method so far is the erasable pen. Yes, the very one we used at school. You may not know this, but thanks to heat, it disappears when you iron the fabric. The convenience of using a pen is beyond compare.
PS. Always remember to do a test on a scrap piece of fabric before you start your project.
Clickety Click Barba Sewing Tricks #3
To read the newsletter for November ’22:
If you don’t want to spend an eternity drawing seam allowances around your paper pattern with a ruler, the solution is the transparent ruler!!
Ever since I discovered it, I can’t live without it. Since it is transparent and also has internal graduation it allows you to see the edge of the paper pattern and draw a perfect seam allowance to the size you want.
You can find the ruler in different sizes, the one I prefer though is the pocket size, 15×3 cm, which you can keep on your desk or next to your sewing machine at all times.
If you would like to buy a Universal Ruler CLICK HERE.
Clickety Click Barba Sewing Tricks #4
To read the newsletter for December ’22:
What is the first thing you do when you start sewing and stitching by hand? If your answer is: The KNOT, then pause and read on.
There is a better way to stop your stitch, this will give you a much cleaner and safer result, without having to feel that annoying dot on the garment.
Just make three consecutive, very small stitches in the same place on the fabric at the beginning of your stitching.
It’s way easier than it looks!
You can also use the same technique to stop the thread when you have finished your stitching.
Clickety Click Barba Sewing Tricks #5
To read the newsletter for January ’23:
NO! Not with those scissors..
Have you ever wondered why your new scissors don’t cut the fabric all that well after a while? Well, if you only use one pair of scissors to do everything, you can see the culprit here.
Yes, not many people know that cutting paper with the same scissors as you cut fabric wears out the blade very quickly. This is why it is always better to use two pairs of scissors: one for fabrics and one for paper.
Clickety Click Barba Sewing Tricks #6
To read the newsletter for February ’23:
You’ve just opened your Secret Times package with your shiny new continuous bonings inside.
You cut the strings holding them together so you can start using them for your new project and…Boom!!
The bonings appear to spring to life and start unrolling uncontrollably, filling the room.
Obviously, I speak from experience and so, in an attempt to find a solution, I found a very useful trick for organising them:
Usually used for organising cables, it is excellent for keeping the boning roll in order, fitting perfectly even when the thickness reduces as you use it. Plus I found a white one because after all, aesthetics also matters.
Clickety Click Barba Sewing Tricks #7
To read the newsletter for March ’23:
Goodbye knotted threads, Goodbye!
You grab your needle and thread, and at one point, you want to throw them away!
What happened? Does your thread keep getting tangled? Don’t worry, because here is the trick for you.
As time goes by, due to advancing technology, we often forget about little tricks. The solution to your problem is very simple, and that is wax.
Yes, you read that right!
By running your thread through a block of wax, you can stop the thread from getting tangled all the time
and it will slide through the fabric better. Try it for yourself.
You can find some Prym beeswax HERE
Clickety Click Barba Sewing Tricks #8
To read the newsletter for April ’23:
You’ve just washed your favorite piece of lingerie, put it out to dry, and when it’s all dried up, you notice that the pretty, delicate ribbon that decorated it is all crumpled up.
Such a small detail, however, can ruin the final result. So what do you do?
Ironing can be tedious but, above all dangerous for your poor fingers.
Instead, there is a very simple solution: the hair straightener!
Yes, you got it right, the hair straightener aka flat iron.
It is a very simple process. Make sure your hair straightener is clean and set it to a temperature that is not too high. Then, off you go!
In just a few moments, you will have an ironed, good-as-new ribbon, and your piece of lingerie will look good as new.
Clickety Click Barba Sewing Tricks #9
To read the newsletter for May ’23:
Threading the needle
Sometimes very little is needed to solve minor problems that have been bothering us all our lives.
We’ve all certainly come to terms with the dreaded “needle threading”. Whether it is a classic needle or the one on our sewing machine, we’ve all been there and gotten frustrated.
To make this daily task easier, simply remember to always cut the thread at a 45° slant and not perpendicular to the thread.
Try it and be amazed!
Clickety Click Barba Sewing Tricks #10
To read the newsletter for June ’23:
If you make your patterns on the computer or buy them online, at some point, you must have ended up having to glue together the A4 sheets you have printed in order to obtain the entire pattern so that you can cut it out.
There is no doubt that buying patterns online is quite convenient as you can start working right away without having to go to the print shop or wait for the patterns to be delivered home.
However, let’s face it, cutting and pasting is a real hassle
I found a little trick that will save you some time and tape: roller glue.
It is shaped exactly like a white-out, but it leaves a layer of glue that is about 1 cm wide.
This will allow you to lay out and overlap your pattern without any difficulty. Plus, you can make as many changes as you want with a pen or pencil without the hindrance of tape stuck in the middle.
Bye, bye tape!
If you want to try it out, you can find it HERE.
This product can also be refilled, you can find refills HERE.
Clickety Click Barba Sewing Tricks #11
To read the newsletter for July ’23:
How long should the sewing thread be?
Has it ever happened to you that while sewing by hand, the thread starts to tangle in spite of the wax? (If you don’t know what wax I’m talking about, click HERE for tips and tricks. You’ll find the previous trick listed in the link.)
So, what do you do? You try to cut the thread much shorter, to keep it from twisting too much, but after a few stitches, you find yourself without any thread left.
I was once given some useful advice about this, which I will share with you.
The “correct” length of thread for sewing by hand is equal to the length of your forearm.
Now all you have to do is try it! Oh, and be sure to let me know if it works for you!
Clickety Click Barba Sewing Tricks #12
To read the newsletter for August ’23:
Pinking rotary cutter!
One of the ways to finish the seam edges of our sewing projects is to use pinking shear. This is because when the fabric is cut on the bias at a 45-degree angle, it does not fray.
All is well if you’re making a mini skirt or working on a small project in general. However, if the size of the project you’re working on is big, your hands will start begging for mercy and they’ll get covered in blisters. Believe me, I’m speaking from personal experience.
To save your hands from this unhappy fate, you can use the pinking rotary cutter.
It allows you to easily cut the fabric in a zig-zag pattern without using scissors and applying very little force. Just remember to cut on a cutting mat to protect your table. Try it and be amazed!