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Winter coat DIY: how your sewing machine can keep you warm this winter

Do you think that sewing a coat is too tricky a project for you? Well maybe it’s time for a rethink…

It’s only just starting to get colder after what proved to be one of the warmest summers in recent years. But now it’s time to begin preparations for the onset of winter (don’t blame us – it’s not our fault LOL). And what better way to keep the cold at bay with a wonderful new winter coat – especially if it’s been lovingly crafted by your own fair hands!

We’ve put together a list of some great how-tos and tutorials that will help you to get started and that may well demonstrate that such a project isn’t quite as intimidating as you thought it might be.

Enjoy…


Winter coat: to sew or not to sew?

This shows that we don’t just throw these things together! It the perfect piece for those of you wondering whether you should attempt such a task, and making it clear that this will be no twenty minute project.

It comes from the Ageberry website. This is our first visit to this goody-laden blog, but it certainly won’t be our last!

Loads of tip, videos and links that will go a long way towards not only helping you to make your mind up, but learn a whole lot of terrific stuff along the way. Hours of sewing fun!

Don’t panic! “There are so many details in sewing a coat and it feels sometimes a little intimidating but once you start it is not as bad as you thought it is going to be.”


Tips for making winter coats

We’re assuming that if you’ve got this far, you want to know more. This is the perfect next step from Claire-Louise Hardie resides on the Thrifty Stitcher website.

A great overview to flag up some important considerations before you begin.

Top tip: “A great way to approach the sewing of bulky fabrics, is to use a walking foot.”


Top 10 tips for sewing coats

This comprehensive package of winter coat goodies hails from the wonderful Sew Daily website and was written by Lucinda Hamilton from Sew Wrong.

Some brilliant things to consider here in a piece that’s aimed at producing some very high end results. This is serious stuff!

Top tip: “Tailor tacks are your BFF…  it’s easy for traditional chalk marks used in garment sewing to rub off.”


How to sew a winter coat!

If you prefer a video tutorial, you may well like this YouTube offering from SimplyCloe.

It’s pretty high speed stuff, so you will need to rewind and pause a few times – and we really like the odd high speed coffee break. You may feel exhausted by the time you get to the end – the pace is relentless!

We like: the end result – it’s amazing!


The Jaguar sewing range – making all your sewing projects more enjoyable!

Jaguar sewing machines »

The unique DQS (Digital Quick-threading System) has now been introduced to the UK. All current models come with a three year parts and labour guarantee and the 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Jaguar overlocker machines »

Exclusive to Jaguar overlocker sewing machines – the unique cutting system opens up 180 degrees giving easy access to the looper thread guides.

Jaguar sewing machine accessories »

Everything you’ll need for you Jaguar overlocker and sewing machines. The range includes foot control units, sewing feet, overlocker feet and overlocker spares.

39 top sewing hacks, tips and how-tos

Goodies to make all sewists’ lives easier!

Forgive us if we look a little smug with this one: we’re rather proud of how much sewing usefulness with all these sewing hacks that we’ve managed to cram into one article!

The conversation here started off with a chance remark “what is that little knobbly bit on an unpicker for?”

It quickly developed into us seeking out a whole range of quick fix hacks, hints and tips from across the sewing globe.

And there really are some rippers here (as they say in Australia, the source of our first hack).

Have fun!


Life hack: What that little ball on your unpicker is really for!

We’re off down under for this excellent how-to. A big thank you to the Starts At Sixty lifestyle blog.

This beauty focuses on the small ball on one of the prongs on your unpicker (or seam ripper) – you may have wondered what it’s actually used for?

Enlightenment is at hand! “That’s to allow the unpicker to be slid along a garment in one swipe – no more fussing over individual stitches!”

There’s even an accompanying video that really help you get to grips with the whole concept.

Sobering thought: “We couldn’t help but feel silly when we saw this tutorial – it seems so obvious now!”


11 sewing hacks you need to know

This wonderful collection of goodies comes from Christine Haynes on the Bluprint blog.

Some are really simple, but can make such a difference! They include:-

  • “Add a seam allowance with a double pencil tracing tool
  • “Mark your seam allowance on your machine”
  • and the wonderfully simple “Leave notes with your fabric stash”.

We love: “Nobody wants their bobbins rolling around and unraveling all over the place. Keep them in place by storing in toe separators.”


15 sewing room hacks

Even more goodies for you here, courtesy of the wonderful Heather on her Heather Handmade blog.

A whole range of hot tips for you here – many of which will change the way you organise your sewing, from the really simple “Turn all your machines on with the button on a power strip”, to “Create a tiny ironing area next to your machine for quick pressing” and “Store hand needles in a bulletin board.”

There’s even an accompanying video that covers all the tips.

Top tip: “Use a glue stick to ‘pin'”. 


12 sewing hacks every seamstress should know!

Last and by no means least we have this collection of sensationalises from Kimberly Coffin on the Sweet Red Poppy website.

Some we’ve seen a few times before – but even the most experienced of us have been gobsmacked by some of these amazing how-tos.

Golf tees, pattern weights and perfect ruffles can all be found here.

Look out for: “…a quick and easy way to create beautiful ruffles without all the hassle!”


The Jaguar sewing range – making all your sewing projects more enjoyable!

Jaguar sewing machines »

The unique DQS (Digital Quick-threading System) has now been introduced to the UK. All current models come with a three year parts and labour guarantee and the 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Jaguar overlocker machines »

Exclusive to Jaguar overlocker sewing machines – the unique cutting system opens up 180 degrees giving easy access to the looper thread guides.

Jaguar sewing machine accessories »

Everything you’ll need for you Jaguar overlocker and sewing machines. The range includes foot control units, sewing feet, overlocker feet and overlocker spares.

Our top tips on avoiding those dreaded sewing mistakes

Sewing techniques – a list of “how-not-tos”

It’s important to make sewing mistakes – or so we’re always being told. It’s supposed to be how we learn. But when you bog up your latest potential masterpiece, that’s not much consolation. So much better to let others make mistakes on your behalf LOL.

The playwright George Bernard Shaw wasn’t, as far as we know, a renowned sewist, but he did offer some advice that is hugely relevant to all of us.

“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.”

We think it’s so much better to avoid them in the first place…


3 Sewing Mistakes I’ve Made (and how I avoid them)

This cautionary tale is courtesy of the marvellous Sew Can She blog, which is wonderfully well put together by Caroline.

The three tips seem obvious when you think about it, but they will save you an awful lot of grief if you bear them in mind.

Caroline covers:-

  1. I would rush my way through a project.
  2. Sewing things that I didn’t want to sew.
  3. Using the wrong fabric for the pattern.

We like: “There’s a very good reason that patterns have ‘suggested fabrics.’ Pattern makers want you to be successful – so you’ll love the project and buy another pattern! They include the important ‘suggested fabrics’ section to give you the best chance for success.”


How To Avoid The 13 Most Common Sewing Mistakes

This blog full of cautionary tales comes from the Contrado website and it includes a whole lot of hair-pulling-out-prevention tips, including one of our all time absolute faves “Measure twice, cut once” as well as a number of goodies including “Have plenty of fabric at hand”, “Use the right tools” and, importantly, “Fabric preparation is key”.

Look out for: “Some fabrics can shrink after washing them, and if you haven’t prepared for it, then your garment will not fit properly when it is made. Sewing disaster!”


Sewing Mistakes That Will Make Clothing Look Cheap

We recognise ourselves in the introduction to this how-to (or rather how-not-to) piece by Annabelle Short on the Wunderlabel blog.

“It doesn’t matter how much time you’ve lovingly put in to making your clothes, even the smallest of details can make your clothing look cheap if you’ve made a mistake.”

Yep – that’s us all from time to time!

All sorts of super tips here that cover many potential aspects of your sewing projects, including choosing the zip, spacing your buttons and sizing up your button holes and making darts.

Why read this? “Avoid the little mistakes and avoid making your clothing look cheap.”


Common mistakes in Sewing and How to Avoid Them

This highly individual approach to sewing pitfalls has been interestingly assembled on the Sewsonatural by Juliet blog.

This is well worth a careful read and it covers all sorts of mistakes made by Juliet and others and they include:-

  • Orange peel effect on facings after attaching interfacings
  • Sewing along without bobbin thread
  • Not paying attention to the feed dogs.

Top tip: “Iron a strip of interfacing on your zip seam allowance – where the zip would be attached. The interfacing enables the fabric to remain stable whilst you’re sewing the zip.”


The Jaguar sewing range – making all your sewing projects more enjoyable!

Jaguar sewing machines »

The unique DQS (Digital Quick-threading System) has now been introduced to the UK. All current models come with a three year parts and labour guarantee and the 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Jaguar overlocker machines »

Exclusive to Jaguar overlocker sewing machines – the unique cutting system opens up 180 degrees giving easy access to the looper thread guides.

Jaguar sewing machine accessories »

Everything you’ll need for you Jaguar overlocker and sewing machines. The range includes foot control units, sewing feet, overlocker feet and overlocker spares.

Sewing tutorials: how to banish those dreaded zip fears!

Now zippers need hold no fears for any of us!

The whole world of zips is one that conjures up fear and dread, even amongst some more experienced sewists. But fear not! Help is at hand in the form of some of the best how-tos and zip sewing tutorials in internet land.

We start off with a really straightforward one, then gradually immerse you in ever more specialist examples – some are more challenging than others!

Enjoy!


Sew a lace zipper tutorial tutorial

So let us take you by the hand and lead you very gently into zipper land. This nice, gentle and not at all stressful start is by Ali on the Lorelei Jayne website.

Some of us do have a number of lace zips hanging around. And even if you don’t, this is a nice, straightforward, well presented start.

Top tip: “Before starting I recommend giving your zip a light press with the iron to ensure it sits flat.”


How to sew a zipper: zipper pouch tutorial

Having broken you in gently, as it were, we’ve now come up with a more involved how-to – in the shape of this excellent piece by Rochelle Freeman on the really cool (does anyone use that word any more?) Seams and Scissors website.

Firstly, this piece has introduced us to the word “Semptress” (check it out) and really brings across what we all feel when confronted with the dreaded “zip” – or “zipper“ for those of an American persuasion.

“Easy, Simple, Painless, no word in the dictionary has squelched the fears created by the thought of installing zippers in projects in the mind of the home Semptress!”

Don’t panic! Rochelle takes you by the hand to fearlessly confront the whole otherwise terrifying world of the dreaded zip!

Sneaky tip: “One solution is to put tabs or little pieces of fabric on the end of the zipper”.


30 days of zippers video tutorials

This veritable behemoth of tutorials – courtesy of the amazing Sew What Alicia website contains thirty – yes 30 – video tutorials, all helping you banish those zipper fears!

So take the phone off the hook, make sure you’ve got plenty of coffee and cancel those holidays.

No – on second thoughts ignore that bit about the holidays – they ALWAYS come first. Even ahead of sewing? Well, perhaps sewing holidays? Now there’s an idea. Anyway, we digress…

There are some belters here, including:-

  • Adding structure with fusible fleece
  • A zipper pouch with inside zipper pocket
  • Fold over clutch with faux leather
  • A quilted pouch

…well – you get the point.

One thing we didn’t know: according to this article, September is national zipper month in the USA.

It takes all sorts…


The Jaguar sewing range – helping you to make light work of all those zips!

Jaguar sewing machines »

The unique DQS (Digital Quick-threading System) has now been introduced to the UK. All current models come with a three year parts and labour guarantee and the 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Jaguar overlocker machines »

Exclusive to Jaguar overlocker sewing machines – the unique cutting system opens up 180 degrees giving easy access to the looper thread guides.

Jaguar sewing machine accessories »

Everything you’ll need for you Jaguar overlocker and sewing machines. The range includes foot control units, sewing feet, overlocker feet and overlocker spares.

Easter bunny sewing projects for you to try

Cute, fun and rather addictive. Welcome to the strange world of the Easter bunny…

You might just have a few days to spare over the Easter break. Hurrah!

The trouble is, the weather forecast isn’t as good as it might be, so what better way of indulging in your favourite pursuit than getting out the sewing machine and trying some Easter bunny projects?

You’d better get moving – there are only a few days to go. So enjoy these fun and even downright wacky sewing projects…


Easter bunny bags tutorial

An excellent place to start is the Jude Designs website. These lovely bags are a great way to present a gift to friends and family – especially if they’re a fan of chocolate (don’t get us started…).

A very detailed and straightforward how-to with plenty of wonderfully clear images.
There’s a useful ear template to download, helping with one of the trickiest parts of the project.

Be aware: if the ears aren’t right it will look very strange – hence the template!


Bunny face bag tutorial

This is one we’ve used ourselves – the excellent Bunny face bag project on the always entertaining Sew Very blog.

It’s quite simple, but you do need to pay close attention to this one. There’s a free template to download, but you will need to register first.

Alternatively, try out your own templates by making the key parts in paper first and trying them out. You may find that your first couple of attempts look rather strange, but stick with it and you will be able to make this project your own.

Top tip: the positioning of the eyes is particularly important!


Roly poly fabric easter bunnies

Another one where the tiniest eyes and mouth detail can make the difference between “cute” and “strange” – and we much prefer the former!

This lovely project comes courtesy of the Flamingo Toes creative blog by Beverly McCullough.

Simple and straightforward, the tutorial photos are lovely – and you’ll just keep smiling every time you look at all those bunny faces!

Be warned – these things are addictive and we can’t quite work out why.

When you’ve made one, you’ll quite like the idea of making another – and another…


Spring bunny tutorial

We love the Sew Mamma Sew website – and the latest project to excite us came with this Spring bunny how-to.

A free downloadable template gives you a very sound start (just click – no need to register to download). Be aware that the templates do not include a seam allowance – so you can make bunnies of varying sizes from the same pattern by enlarging or reducing the original file to suit.

We suspect that these may become addictive…


The Jaguar Sewing range – perfect for Easter?

Jaguar sewing machines »

The unique DQS (Digital Quick-threading System) has now been introduced to the UK. All current models come with a three year parts and labour guarantee and the 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Jaguar overlocker machines »

Exclusive to Jaguar overlocker sewing machines – the unique cutting system opens up 180 degrees giving easy access to the looper thread guides.

Jaguar sewing machine accessories »

Everything you’ll need for you Jaguar overlocker and sewing machines. The range includes foot control units, sewing feet, overlocker feet and overlocker spares.

Sewing tips for beginners

Even experienced sewers had to start somewhere…

The great thing about sewing (along with the 157,001 other reasons) is that it’s fun. And importantly you don’t have to be a Rembrandt with the needle and thread to get enjoyment from it.

The key when you’re starting out is to pick up as many tips and tricks as you can to help you to progress as quickly as possible. And of course, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to hint at a Jaguar sewing machine that might be absolutely perfect for a beginner.

More of that anon – in the meantime, lets get underway with this magical tip fest with…

Don’t overlook the obvious…

We thought we’d start this article off with a whole fifteen interesting ideas. Serger Pepper posted 15 Top Beginner’s Sewing Tips… because Sewing is Fun – and we really agree with that point of view of course!

A huge amount of common sense on this wonderful article – which just goes to show that you can’t afford to ignore the obvious. Take sewing tip #11 – check the amount of thread on the bobbin.

“…this may sound silly to you but, basing on Murphy’s Laws, if you have to guess exactly when your bobbin’s thread will finish, you can be sure that it will happen right in the middle of a princess seam (or any other complicated stitching), and you’ll notice it only after 30 cm of unlocked stitching…”

15 tips not enough? Here’s 23!

We love the Threads website – and here’s an excellent reason to love it even more – Sewing for Beginners: 23 Tips and Techniques You Should Know.

This slideshow throws you in at the deep end (in the nicest possible way) with a video “How to serge seam allowances”.

Other highlights include “How to sew inseams” and “How to master the backstitch”.

Have you considered the pins?

We’re fans of the wonderful Leslie on The Seasoned Homemaker website – and her article Sewing tips for beginners has some really informative content, such as understanding all about fabric grain.

A really good piece is “Sewing pins are essential”.

“When it comes to sewing pins, I prefer the It Takes a Village approach.

“No, I don’t have a weird pin-fixation.  All of these pins have a purpose in sewing. Use the wrong pin and you could ruin your project.”

Make something easy

Of course, it’s all very well being taught all these wonderful techniques, but you also want to actually get shifting and make something – don’t you?

So here’s a lovely project to kick off with – and easy fashion scarf project, courtesy of those lovely people at the Better Homes and Gardens How to Sew website.

It’s a great project for the inexperienced sewist – step-by-step instructions and diagrams: and we particularly love the video at the end of the article showing the “magic invisible closure”. Well worth getting out of bed for!

And the best sewing machine for the beginner?

Well you couldn’t really expect us to be impartial with this could you?
The Jaguar Novum Life 157 machine is very popular with children and adults who are looking for their first sewing machine.

It is also ideal as a second machine for those who need a lightweight compact machine to take to classes.

Have a look at all our wonderful Jaguar sewing machines »

The Jaguar Novum Life 157 sewing machine is ideal for first timers
The Jaguar Novum Life 157 sewing machine is ideal for first timers

 

Top tips for sewing with corduroy

Corduroy isn’t a difficult material to sew – but it helps to know a few key points…

If you’ve never sewn any corduroy before, you might find it helpful to read these wonderful tips before you begin.

Corduroy has a great number of advantages – it can be used for special or casual garments, it’s easy to look after and it’s really comfortable to wear. If you’ve not tried it before, now may be the ideal time to give it a go.

So here are some of our current favourite corduroy how-tos, starting with an introduction to the fabric itself.


Corduroy and stretch corduroy

This is the perfect place to start – an excellent definition from the Emma One Stock website by Shannon Gifford.

This corduroy introduction also includes information about pretreatment, needles and threads, seams, finishes and hems and interfacing.

Useful tip: “Corduroy is a perfect candidate for machine blind-hemming.”


Five tips for sewing with corduroy

If you’ve not checked out the exquisite Tilly and the Buttons website yet, now’s your chance! Her Five tips for sewing with corduroy blog article is a brilliant introduction to the fabric!

Her usual array of easy to follow instructions and clear photos make this article a must-read. It covers

  1. “Decide what direction you want the nap to lie
  2. “Keep the ribs straight when cutting
  3. “… and keep the ribs straight when sewing!
  4. “Avoid squishing the fabric
  5. “Be prepared to make a mess!”

And don’t forget

“…give your sewing machine a good clean inside and out after sewing!”


Seven tips for sewing with corduroy

Even more hot topics for you on this marvellous piece on the Alina Sewing website.

Very usefully, all seven tips are incorporated into a tutorial on the production of a marvellous corduroy Chi-Town Chinos skirt. We love her “jump right in and get on with it” type of approach, which is the perfect way to tackle a corduroy-centric project.

Top tips here include:-

  • “Pre-wash and pre-dry
  • “Find the nap and pay close attention
  • “Order additional fabric
  • “Press lightly – or not at all”

Our favourite bit concerns keeping a small piece of the original material to refresh the nap with from time to time. Nice!


The Jaguar Sewing range – treat yourself!

Jaguar sewing machines »

The unique DQS (Digital Quick-threading System) has now been introduced to the UK. All current models come with a three year parts and labour guarantee and the 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Jaguar overlocker machines »

Exclusive to Jaguar overlocker sewing machines – the unique cutting system opens up 180 degrees giving easy access to the looper thread guides.

Jaguar sewing machine accessories »

Everything you’ll need for you Jaguar overlocker and sewing machines. The range includes foot control units, sewing feet, overlocker feet and overlocker spares.

So you have a sewing machine – what are you going to do with it?

A variety of exiting projects for sewists everywhere

It’s quite often the case that you have a sewing machine, but after a while your inspiration begins to wane. Sometimes all it needs is a little inspiration and you’ll rediscover the joys of sewing all over again!

So here are some rather nifty ideas to get you back to what is for many of us a real passion – sewing!

Here at Jaguar Sewing Machines, we’re often on the lookout for hints tips and tutorials. So we’ve put together five of our current favourites.

1) The high-low T-shirt

We really like this one by Mayra at So So Easy, which is subtitled “How to hide your panty line” – something that concerns a number of us from time to time.

It’s very well illustrated and the step by step instructions are a pure joy! We particularly like the fact that

“It will be loose around the hips and closer to your body at the shoulders. Perfect for the ladies who want to hide some extra pounds around the waistline and are looking for an easy going, comfortable top to walk around in.”

2) Cute things for the kitchen

Actually this isn’t one tutorial sewists – it’s actually nine! The beauty of these is that they make wonderful presents for friends and family.

This wonderful piece of work is by Caroline on the Sew Can She website and the tutorials include:-

  1. The classic tie on dish towel
  2. The one yard magic apron – with a pattern
  3. Cloth napkins
  4. Potholders with pockets
  5. Tea towels – and so on…

3) Basic zipper pouch tutorial

Short, simple – and to the point. The See Kate Sew website provides an excellent little tutorial aimed at beginners and early sewers.

Zipper pouches are so useful – you can’t have enough of them! Someone here at Jaguar (mentioning no names, Jane) got so carried away that she created eight of them – and now all her daughter’s friends want one as well.

So no chance of having an under-utilised sewing machine in this particular case then…

4) How to sew a mitred corner

Very useful advice on this blog article which deals with techniques rather than a specific project. 

The source is the always excellent Tilly and the Buttons blog. As ever, the photos are clear and the text well written and informative.

“Mitred corners create a neat finish on exposed corners, without any flappy bits that you might get by folding one edge over the other.”

5) How to finish a knit neckline (3 ways)

One tip, three techniques – this blog article by on the Melly Sews website really is jam-packed with useful information!

Great step-by-step photos and instructions are complimented by a YouTube video detailing

“…two ways to sew knit neckbands (out of rib knit or self fabric) and another option to bind the neckline.”

Jaguar Novum Craft 590 sewing machine

Jaguar sewing machine focus

Our customary Jaguar Sewing Machine plug on this article features the excellent Novum Craft 590 sewing machine (see above) which can handle all types of fabric from silks to soft furnishing materials, it’s suitable for all levels of sewing from beginners to experienced can get the best out of this computerised machine.

And don’t forget, we stock a whole range of Jaguar sewing machine accessories!

More about sewing machine feet – why we love them!

The wonderful world of sewing feet

Some are common and some a little more exotic. Sewing machine feet – or presser feet – come in such a huge range and fulfil a number of specific purposes. They do however have one very important thing in common – they make certain sewing tasks much easier!

One of our most popular blog articles to date has been Why do you need to know about sewing machine feet? So we’ve decided to have a rummage around the wonderful world of the SewingWeb to come up with some ideas and suggestions that should make sewing even more enjoyable!

Sewing machine presser feet

First off, we have the excellent Sewing Machine Presser Feet Guide on the Made to Sew website. It’s a good introduction which includes the basic selection that may have come with your sewing machine and move on to some additions that will prove to be really useful.

Look out for the blind hem foot, overcast and walking foot, the really useful invisible zipper foot and the darning foot. As an added bonus, there’s also a sewing machine presser feet video. Enjoy!

Presser feet fun

One of our very favourite people on the SewingWeb is the wonderful Katy Mathews – we love her blog Quilting Sewing Creating which is part of the Chicago Now network. She’s posted the lovely 10 Fun Facts about Presser Feet, including an actual definition, being “A forked metal device on a sewing machine used for holding the fabric in place while stitching.” She covers the history of sewing machine feet and scratches the surface of the thousands that are potentially available.

Sewing machine feet for quilting

My colleague Dawn here at Jaguar Central is a very keen quilter – and she wanted to make sure that her co-enthusiasts weren’t being neglected. So we’ve come up with the interesting article Which Machine Feet Do You Use for Quilting? on our old friend the Craftsy website.

The author Sherri McConnell lists her favourites – and keeps it to the point, dealing with her favourite five accessories, but listing in detail why and how they should be used.

Sewing feet make sewing easier and more fun!

Here are a few of our Jaguar favourites – from the 43 that are currently available.

Other sewing machine makes

If you need sewing feet for machines other than Jaguars, check out our sister site GUR Sewing Machines, where they cover many makes including

Send us your sewing tips!

Get in touch with us here at Jaguar Sewing Machines with your tips and if we like them, we’ll publish them on our blog. Make sure to tell us about any website and email links you’d like us to include!

Our favourite quilting tips

Everything from fabric choice to photographing your quilt…

We love quilting! It’s such a terrific worldwide passion, with thousands of people improving their techniques over decades as they brush up on their knowledge. Which doesn’t mean that you have to find everything out for yourself of course – which is precisely why we thought we’d share some of our current favourites with you…

As the song goes, “Let’s start at the very beginning…” – which is indeed a very good place to start!

How to choose the correct fabric

A great starting point is a recent post by Mary Kate Karr-Petras called Workshop Wednesday: How to Choose Fabric for a Quilt on the McCall’s Quilting blog.

Mary Kate recognises a position we’ve all been in – being daunted by the process of selecting suitable (and desirable) fabrics and the self-doubt that can result. Predetermined palettes provide a bit of a safety net, but sometimes they take the spontaneity or even creativity out of the process, leaving the end result as a potential disappointment.

So what she has done is assemble a number of videos that can really help to get those creative juices flowing – and they include

  • Best Fabric for Quilting
  • How to Read Fabric
  • How to Choose Quilt Fabric.

Getting to grips with zips

Now we’ve got you nicely warmed up, we thought we’d tackle one of the more difficult areas for quilters – the dreaded zip. Panic not! Help is at hand in the form of a really helpful article and video Zipper tips for quilters on the Quilting Digest website.

The video features Jennifer who provides and excellent zipper overview and shows her “no-hassle” sewing methods.

The bit that we really like is where she uses adhesive tape instead of pins to held everything together.

“Nothing can shift, making it simple to get perfect alignment of the fabric next to the zipper.”

The bit about effective use of the zipper foot is also particularly useful.

Puffy Blocks

Some of us hoard a certain amount of special fabric – just hoping for that inspirational pattern that just might surface one day.

This particularly splendid example from the Quilter’s world website is called Puffy Blocks Puffy Projects. The example given is based on a pattern by Chris Malone which was perfect as the author had plenty of pre-cuts saved as well as a whole container of 5″ squares.

The best bit of advice is to try a new technique by making a small project or part of a larger one first before diving in.

“I’ve found that most UFOs (UnFinished Objects) in my studio are projects that I really didn’t like once I’d worked on them a bit. I could have saved myself a lot of trouble if I’d simply played around with the concept a bit before jumping in.”

Photographing your wonderful quilts

You spend age making your wonderful work of art and want to show it off! You can’t always cart it about to show to friends and interested parties, so you do the next best thing – take a photograph. The trouble is, it’s often not a very good one, so people’s response to your masterpiece may be disappointingly lukewarm at best.

Not surprising really, so what you need to do is brush up on your photography, not your quilting!

And surprisingly, there is a website that can help you with this – Shoot That Quilt! It’s aimed at the non-professional photographer, so it’s decidedly un-technical.

The article has many useful sections, including

  • Hanging the quilt
  • The lighting setup
  • How to shoot closeups.

And a plug for our wonderful sewing machines!

If you have got to the stage where your next quilting purchase is a sewing machine, a wonderful Jaguar machine may well be the best place to look. Jaguar are an internationally recognised, high quality Japanese producer that works with most major brands. Unlike many other suppliers, Jaguar produces all of its machines in its own factories.

They also stock a wide range of sewing machine feet and overlocker feet.

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