Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Handy Scrap of Fabric

Wednesday Tip of the Week

I always keep a scrap of fabric from the project I am working on at my sewing machine station throughout the construction of every project I am making. It's there to test the stitches, or techniques, I plan to use on my project. Or, for anything else I feel the need to test before I sew on my project. Since every fabric performs differently when sewn on the machine and have their own fraying issues, I always like to test stitch lengths and tension before applying them to my project. This ensures I am using stitches that are going to work well with the fabric I have selected. By doing so it prevents me from having to undo an unsatisfactory seam unnecessarily. In addition, with some fabrics, it also prevents me from over-handling it which can cause the fabric edges to fray excessively.

Since I don't have a serger finishing my seam edges is often an issue with whatever I am making. That scrap of fabric becomes my test lab for testing what options will work best. Will a simple zigzag finish work and if so, what length and width is best for the fabric? Or, perhaps another overcast stitch will work, or better yet, do I need to consider a French seam or Hong Kong seam?  Why over-handle your project, sewing and removing unsuitable options when you don't have to.  By testing first on a scrap of fabric I keep my project pieces in good order - no over-handling or stretching. 

If there is a technique I want to try or am unfamiliar with, here again, testing it on a handy scrap of fabric can keep me from over-handling my project or risking making mistakes.

The real lesson here, of course, is to test before you sew.  All fabrics perform differently and require different settings on your sewing machine. Testing your stitch selections on a simple scrap of your project's fabric before you begin saves you time from having to undo unsatisfactory seams and prevents you from over-handling your project. Keeping a simple scrap of fabric always at hand is just good sewing.

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