Following are 10 tips for getting the most from the wide variety of projects on our website. While many projects are fairly generic, some were developed for a certain sewing machine, call for a specific sewing pattern, or describe what kind and color of fabric to use. If you don’t have that brand or model of sewing machine, most projects can easily be adapted to the equipment you have in your own sewing room. If a pattern number is no longer available, look for a similar style in the pattern books and your own collection. If you don’t like the color scheme or don’t want to purchase new fabric, take a look in your stash – you just might already have the perfect fabric!
1.Some projects are best used just for inspiration. Even if you don’t plan on making a project, take a quick look at all the projects you scroll through. You never know what will trigger your creativity or give you great ideas for something else you’ve been thinking of sewing.
2. Nearly all machine-specific projects can be adapted for the machine you own. Your machine’s settings and capabilities might be different, but don’t let that stop you. Rely on your own sewing knowledge to adapt a technique using your machine. Look in your owner’s manual to see if your machine has capabilities you’re unfamiliar with. And don’t be afraid to experiment – you might just develop your own technique!
3. Don’t own a serger? Many of our serger projects can still be made on a conventional sewing machine. Start by thinking about the project simply in terms of construction: what gets sewn to what. And many techniques that first appear to be serger-specific can actually be done on a conventional machine. For example, if a project calls for a serger rolled hem, you can sew a rolled or narrow hem on your conventional machine, too.
4. Are you a fan of no-sew projects? Many of our sewing-oriented projects can be made with little or no sewing. Utilize the great selection of products in the notions aisle of your fabric and craft store. There are all kinds of fusible webs and fabric glues. Or get creative. For example, instead of sewing two pieces of fleece together, why not cut a series of slits along the edges and lace them up?
5. Do you love sewing so much that you avoid no-sew projects? Many no-sew projects are based on wonderfully creative ideas. Just adapt the project instructions to incorporate as much sewing as you like.
6. Embroidery designs – let your imagination take over! Most embroidery projects specify the design to be used on the project. If you’re just beginning to explore machine embroidery, many projects will teach you to manipulate designs in all sorts of clever ways. But who says you’ve got to use the designated embroidery design? Use what you already have or take advantage of the many free downloads on our website. Let your imagination be your guide.
7. Check out embroidery projects even if you aren’t interested in machine embroidery. Some of our embroidery projects are great items to make with or without the machine embroidery. If you want to create some sort of embellishment, you can always try hand embroidery, ribbon embroidery, hand beading, interesting fabric combinations, and other surface designs. The choices are practically limitless with the array of ribbons, beads, feathers, fringe, tassels, and appliqués currently available.
8. Fabric and color combinations are entirely up to you. Many of our projects specify the type and color of fabric so that you can duplicate the project if you wish. Often these fabrics and colors work together so well that you’ll be inclined to make the project as described. But part of what so many sewers enjoy is selecting the fabrics and combining colors. So let the fun begin!
9. Yes, we realize that commercial patterns do go out of print. But some projects based on commercial patterns are just too good to pass up. And remember, if you can’t get a specified commercial pattern, all you need to do is find one similar to it. Occasionally you can even take the creative idea that makes a project interesting and utilize it on an entirely different kind of garment or item.
10. Quilting projects don’t always have to end up being quilts. Even if you’re not a quilter, take a look at the quilt projects on the website. You might come across a beautiful color combination you’d like to use in your sewing, or be inspired to put together fabrics in a new way. Or perhaps you’ll find a quilt motif that you could use as an appliqué on another item.
The bottom line is: be creative! Let your imagination take over and you’ll enjoy sewing more than ever before.