Your fabric is cut, your sewing machine is threaded…Now to actually sew with it! But wait – you MUST do a test of your sewing settings before letting yourself loose onto your lovely fabrics, or whatever it is you are sewing may be ruined at step one.
Did you save your off-cuts when you cut out your pattern pieces? Of course you did – it’s the start of the hoarding gene kicking in. We’ll put 2 pieces right-sides together and sew 10 cm or so and then cut the threads and remove from the sewing machine. We don’t need to tie off the start and end of the line of stitching as this is only a test.
Check the stitching – if you gently attempt to pull the 2 pieces of paper together, they should stay together
That’s great – but now to think about the seam allowances that the pattern states you must use. It is usually five-eighths of an inch and there is also usually a mark on the sewing machine bed that matches that measurement. So go back to the machine and line up the edge of the fabric with the five-eighths stitching line and stitch 10 cm or so again. Remove from the machine and lay flat on the table in front of you – and get your tape measure out and measure the size of the seam you have just sewn.
Is it accurately sewn at five-eighths of an inch? Some machines are very accurate, others are not! Not a problem, you think. If your seam measures six eighths (ie three quarters of an inch) then a garment could be up to an inch smaller than expected in the bodice, depending on the number of seams used. Hmm, no amount of breathing in would make that look good!
So accuracy is key. If you dabble in quilting – more of that in another technique post – your seam allowance is normally a quarter of an inch. A seam that is too big can increase by as little as an eighth of an inch per seam can result in blocks becoming half an inch smaller and, therefore, the whole quilt could be inches smaller in every direction.
You have been warned!
Alison started her craft skills when taught to knit by her Dad but, having learnt that holes are not what you aim for, moved on to sewing.
From her late teens, Alison has steered her sewing skills from basic skirts to tailoring and shirts and will have a go at sewing pretty much anything!
Check out her Etsy shop ScissorSistas.etsy.com
Made my first purchase for my business, Cathrin Brodie Ltd. Excellent and speedy service, great range of products and competitive prices. One item was missed from the order but that was dealt with and resolved very speedily. I have no hesitation in recommending this business and I will certainly be back!
I was searching for a difficult to find product, Adam from William Gee was incredibly helpful and not only pointed me to the item in stock but also changed the minimum order so it was more appropriate to my needs, thank you that was really excellent! Once ordered the product arrived promptly and as advertised.
Not only do William Gee have an amazing amount of products at great prices their customer experience must be second to none! I placed my order at about lunchtime and it was in my house in Derbyshire by 8.15am the next day! Thank you.
Brilliantly helpful staff, quick to respond to emails and to ship. Helped me find specific items not on the website and very easy to deal with and process.
Will continue to use for future business purchases!
Excellent service - William Gee supplied thread for curtain making that I had struggled to find elsewhere and for a fraction of the price of the few suppliers I had managed to find elsewhere. Delivery was fast and reasonably priced. Would recommend and will be shopping there again. Thank you.
I placed an order for some haberdashery items. They arrived well packed and secure so there was no damage; and, earlier than I expected to receive them. Good quality products, will definitely be ordering again. Thank you very much!
Placed an order online to collect, was ready quickly and they called to tell me so. Through browsing online store it is probably the best stocked haberdashery in the uk, stocking harder to find and a lot of items for designers. Will definatly be using again.
I placed my first order recently and I was very pleased with my purchases. Everything was as described, the quality was outstanding and it was all affordable. Their wide range of haberdashery is the best I've come across. I'll definitely be back for another haul.
I visited WilliamGee store today. I am a new starter in sewing, so I had just a paper with a list of unknown words to me. Effie, the sales assistant, was very helpful, indeed. She explained to me what I needed for and replied friendly to my queries. So, I easily found all I needed and I am happy! I will definitely recommend this place.
Excellent service provided by this family run business. Not only are the prices superb but the delivery time is swift too. I shall be definitely using William Gee again and have recommended them to all of my 'stitchy' friends!
A fantastic place for all haverdashery needs. I've been buying from this company for years. Excellent customer service, responds promptly to any issues. Shopping online is easy, but the shop is always worth visiting.
Placed my first online order with William Gee for my small sewing business. Web site very easy to navigate and use, good quality products and very speedy delivery. Very happy customer, I will be ordering again. Thank you.
Incredible sewing and craft shop, reminds me of long established sewing shops in Manchester growing up in the 80s. It's not a massive shop but they have everything you could ever want at very competitive prices. I also love their bargain bundles and bags.Staff are incredibly friendly and helpful too. I have done both click and collect online and bought from the shop in person, both great experiences but if you're easily tempted I advise the former option.