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Finally, A Show About Garment Sewing! Sandra Betzina is the Best!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sewing Videos - Sewing With Nancy Online

Sewing Videos - Sewing With Nancy

Sewing Friends:

Sewing With Nancy is public television's #1 sewing and quilting show.

All you Nancy Zieman fans will love this. Now you can watch Sewing With Nancy shows online anytime you want. It is video on demand available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Best of all, it is absolutely free. You don't have to give your email address, log in or register or anything else.

Just go to the website and choose which show you want to watch or watch them all. Watch as many times as you like. Pause if you want. Review a technique as often as you need to understand it. All you need is your computer and a click of your mouse. Go online to and check it out.

Currently, there are 3 videos on sewing with knits:
Knits-Easy Fit, Easy Sew Part 1
Knits-Easy Fit, Easy Sew Part 2
Knits-Easy Fit, Easy Sew Part 3

And 3 videos on serging:
Serge Ahead Part 1
Serge Ahead Part 2
Serge Ahead Part 3

These are all very basic, easy to understand sewing videos loaded with good information.

I am thrilled that Nancy's shows are available to all of you. Enjoy these sewing videos.

This is a fun way to learn many wonderful sewing and serging techniques and ideas to help you achieve sewing success.

It just makes sense!

To Your Sewing Success,


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Finally, A Show About Garment Sewing! Sandra Betzina is the Best!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sewing Technique - How To Sew A Perfect Scalloped Edge

Sewing Technique - Scallops

Sewing Friends:

For an dressed up look, add a scalloped edge to your basic garment. Scallops are great for that jacket, dress or top you are making for the special occasion in your life or a pretty party outfit.

It is easy to add scallops at hem edges or faced edges.

Think about the bottom of a top, jacket, dress, skirt, pants or sleeves. How about at the front edge of a button-up front of a garment. Or, make scallops at the outer edges of rounded collars or shawl collars or around necklines.

Sew an outside facing with a topstitched scalloped edge, too.

Put them on pockets and pocket flaps.

Now, don't go crazy and put scallops too many places on the same garment or it will scream "homemade!" Choose one or two places like the bottom of a full sleeve and the bottom of the hem of the garment.

Here is how to make a scalloped edge

First determine how wide and deep you want the finished scallops to be. Use larger scallops on larger areas like a skirt hem and small ones on a child's collar.

Example: I wanted to scallop the hem edge of a plain old tank top like Kwik Sew 2498. The finished width was 42 inches around the bottom. I decided I wanted about a 3 inch wide by 2-1/2 inch deep scallop which would give me 14 even scallops around the hem.

This is the hardest part. You don't want to end up with part of a scallop. Try to make them come out even.

Once you calculate the size of the scallop, draw it on a manila folder or lightweight cardboard.

I usually draw just one and double check that it will work on my garment OK and will come out even.

Then, draw three or four scallops together to make a template out of the manila folder or cereal box cardboard. This will aid in tracing and pressing the scallops.

Strive for accuracy. Recheck your math, drawing and cutting to be sure you are right.

What You Don't Do

What you don't do is cut the scallops in the fabric before your sew the garment. Be patient!

Use the following sewing technique to sew a perfect scalloped edge.

Prepare Folded Edges

My tank top pattern called for a 1 inch hem. I added another 1-1/2 inch to the length at the bottom to give me a 2-1/2 inch hem allowance to make the scallops.

Press and pin the 2-1/2" hem edge up to the right side or outside of the garment. That's opposite of what you normally do. You are actually putting the two right sides of the fabric together.

Prepare Stitched On Faced Edges

Lay the facing on the garment as if to stitch it in the normal way with two right sides together.

Collars and Pocket Flaps

Place and pin two right sides of upper and under pieces together.

The bottom line is the two right sides are together.

Mark the Scallops

Now, lay the bottom curve of the cardboard scallop template 1/4 inch up from the hem fold or from the stitching or seam line on the collar or facing.

Draw around the scallops on the fabric with a fine marking pen or chalk.

Move the template around the edge to draw all the scallops.

Sew the Scallops

Set your sewing machine for a short stitch length of about 18 stitches to the inch or 1.5 on some machines.

Start stitching on the outside curve of one of the scallops.

Stitch to the inner point, stop, needle down, raise presser foot, pivot, lower presser foot, take 2 short stitches across the inner V, stop, needle down, raise presser foot, pivot, lower presser foot, continue stitching to next inner point, etc. You know the routine.

Press and Trim the Scallops

When finished stitching, press the stitching on both sides of the garment to meld the stitches.

Now, with small, sharp scissors, trim the seam allowance around the outside of the scallops to only 1/8" from the stitching line. (That's why you used short stitches. It will hold!)

With trimming so closely you will not need to clip the curves. You may need to very carefully clip in a tiny bit to the points. Be very careful.

Turn the scallops right side out.

Slide the cardboard template inside the scallops to help shape them evenly.

Press the scallops with the cardboard inside. Some people prefer to use the single scallop pattern to do this. Others use the full template

Remove the template and press the fabric again.

Repeat this procedure around the scalloped edge.

Finish the Hem

Finish the hem with hand stitches or machine blind hem or fuse in place just as you normally would.

Press well .

You Just Made A Perfect Scalloped Edge

What do you think of your scallops? Aren't they elegant?

More Ideas for Scalloped Edges

Scalloped edges are beautiful in home dec items. Think about making a scalloped edge table cloth with matching napkins or placemats or pillow cases or even pillows. What lovely gifts.

Sew perfect scallops. It just makes sense!

Let me know how you liked this sewing technique and how you used it.

To Your Sewing Success,


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Finally, A Show About Garment Sewing! Sandra Betzina is the Best!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Classic Sewing Patterns - Kwik Sew 2498 - Misses Camisoles

Classic Sewing Pattern
Kwik Sew 2498 - Misses Camisoles
Sewing Friends:

Kwik Sew 2498 is another classic sewing pattern for you. You will want to sew a dozen of these for some basic camisoles and tank tops in your wardrobe for both dress up and play.

The pattern is designed for lightweight woven fabrics such as cotton types, challis, rayon, crepe, tissue faille, crepe de chine, charmeuse, silk, silk types and handkerchief linen.

The sizes range from XS to XL with bust sizes from 31-1/2 to 45 inches.

There are 4 styles offered with unlimited possibilities on what you can create with them.

  1. View A is a pull-over tank top. The neckline and armholes are finished with a simple narrow hem. This is a great beginner sewing project.
  2. View B is a cropped tank top with button closure on the front. Put the button closure on the back if you like.
  3. View C has bust darts, wide shoulder straps, facing at the top edge and button closure on the back. I have this in a lightweight linen type fabric to match a gored skirt. It looks like a sundress.
  4. View D is a pull-over style with spaghetti straps, bust darts, V-shaped neckline and a facing at the top edge. This is gorgeous in silk charmeuese. Line it for real luxury.

The seam allowances are 1/4" so there is no extra trimming required. . .a real time saver . . .making this a very fast, easy sewing project to serge or sew.

The pattern has a slight waist shaping that is nice to have also.

Sewing Tips and Suggestions

  • Mix and match design features of the different styles.
  • Sew the side seams on Views A and B before you finish the armholes for a more professional look.
  • On View C, change the button closure to a zipper one or eliminate it all together and wear the top as a pull-over.
  • Criss-cross the straps in the back for another look or exchange straps between Views C and D.
  • Add slits to the sides.
  • Square the neckline of the tank or make a V-neck. Raise it or lower it to your personal taste.
  • Create facings for the tank top. All-in-one neckline and armhole would be best.
  • Instead of facings, cut two full tops, sew them together and make a reversible top or a fully lined top especially the View D in a silk charmeuse.
  • Bind the edges with self fabric or trim.
  • Add your embroidery designs, appliques, unique trims, decorative stitching, whatever you can dream up. Copy ready-to-wear.
  • How about lengthening these tops into tunics, dresses or floor length. Use them as beach cover-ups, night-gowns or whatever. Add a belt or an elastic casing waist for a lovely dress or just leave it straight or add some waistline darts. Make sure you have enough width for your hips plus ease. Add a lovely shrug or shawl and you are ready to party!
  • Views A and B do not have the bust dart. You can add it for a more flattering look and better fit especially if you are a B cup or more. Copy the dart from View D and add that amount of extra length to the bottom of the front of Views A and B. Or, see the sewing video, Make A Muslin and learn how to add a bust dart to a sewing pattern.
  • Curve the bottom edges of the tops so you eliminate that straight around hemmed look.
  • Some designers curve the front even lower than the back. Test it and see what looks best on you.
  • Maybe you would like View B as a vest. You might want to cut it a little larger if you plan to wear it over something else.

Again, I suggest that you directionally staystitch all necklines and armholes to help keep from distorting them during construction.

Another sewing tip is to add clear elastic to the necklines and armholes of the tank top to help keep the curves from gapping.

  • Measure the paper pattern minus the seam allowances to get the measurement required for the elastic.
  • Give the clear elastic a few good stretches before you cut it. Let it relax and then cut exactly what you need.
  • Zigzag or serge it to the wrong side of the armhole or neckline edge. Turn the edge under and topstitch.

Use Pellon or something similar to make permanent patterns of your favorite tops to keep forever.

Look beyond what you see on the pattern envelope. You are the designer!

You will have so much fun sewing camis. They take so little time, effort and fabric. Think of how much money you will save just by making these simple tops that fit you!

It just makes sense!

To Your Sewing Success,


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Finally, A Show About Garment Sewing! Sandra Betzina is the Best!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sewing Silk - Sewing Video and Guidelines

Sewing Silk

Sewing Friends:

Silk is a favorite fabric of mine. I love the way it looks and feels. Silk is not that difficult to sew. You just have to know a few tricks to help you achieve sewing success. Don't be afraid to try it. Check out some of the advice here in the sewing video and guidelines. Apply what you learn to your next sewing project with silk. You will like it, too.

Here is a sewing video entitled, "Helpful Hints for Sewing Silk" by Sandra Betzina.

Sandra Betzina, TV host and author, takes some of the guesswork out of sewing with this slippery fabric. Shifting fabric, snags, and puckered seams are just a few of the pitfalls in working with silk. In this video, Sandra Betzina, host of HGTV's Sew Perfect and author of Fabric Savvy, offers tips to help you sew silk with the confidence of a pro. From choosing the right needle, thread, and stabilizer, to preshrinking and final pressing, Sandra simplifies this intimidating process.

Here are some additional guidelines for sewing silk from Denver Fabrics. I love the tip about using toilet paper - never thought of that!

Shannon Gifford offers some good information about sewing different silk fabrics at Emma One (a designer fabric online store). Try these links to silk sewing guides to learn more:

Sand Washed Silk Sewing Guide

Silk Dupioni Sewing Guide
Silk Jersey Sewing Guide
Silk Mesh Knits
Silk Sheers
Silk Charmeuse

Learn a few tips and enjoy sewing and wearing silk garments. It just makes sense!

To Your Sewing Success,

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Finally, A Show About Garment Sewing! Sandra Betzina is the Best!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Classic Sewing Patterns - Kwik Sew 2952 - Misses Shirt

Classic Sewing Patterns
Kwik Sew 2952 - Misses Shirt Pattern

Hi Sewing Friends:

Here is a classic sewing pattern I recommend that you add to your wardrobe. It is basic misses shirt that you can sew with ease. It is Kwik Sew 2952.

This Misses blouse has bust darts (Hooray!), collar and optional pocket. View A has long sleeves with cuffs. View B has short sleeves. View C has side hemline slits and short sleeves.

It is designed for lightweight woven fabrics with suggested fabrics: cotton, cotton types, chambray, shirtings, silk like fabrics, satin, challis and linen.

I can see it out of a lot of other fabrics, too. How about silk organza, or other silks, lace or suede like fabrics or even a lightweight wool?

I've checked a number of patterns for a good basic shirt and so far, this is a winner for me. This one will go into my "Core Wardrobe" group.

I love to wear these shirts as a shirt/jacket here in Florida. It helps ward off the air conditioning chill plus it covers up a multitude of sins while dividing my figure when I wear the shirt open.

The Good Points About Kwik Sew 2952

  • Bust darts
  • 1/4" seam allowances
  • Back shoulder cut longer than front shoulder
  • Under collar cut smaller than upper collar
  • Five sizes available from XS to XL in same envelope fitting bust sizes 31-1/2" to 45"
  • Three style choices with endless possibilities to expand the design
  • Cut similar to ready to wear shirts

Design Possibilities

The possibilities for this shirt is endless. Just think about it. Once you get this shirt to fit you, you have the beginning of an unbelievable number of different styles you can create with very little effort.
  • Not only can you turn it into a casual jacket, but how about a dress or a robe. Just lengthen it. Make sure you have enough room over your hips and go for it.
  • Make it collarless or add a mandarin collar.
  • Make a vest. Eliminate the collar and sleeves, cut it down the front on the center front line, change the neckline to a V if you like and bind all the edges.
  • Take this vest, leave the sleeves on and make a gorgeous lace jacket using the scalloped edge of the lace to finish the edges of the sleeves and the jacket.
  • Eliminate the collar, scoop the neck, cut the center front on a fold and you have a pull-over top.
  • Curve the bottom up at the sides for a shirt-tail look for a more flattering look around you hips.
  • Cut it across the back, add seam allowances and make a yoke any shape you want it.
  • Change the sleeve styles to any thing you can dream up. Maybe you want them to bell at the bottom.
  • I prefer 3/4 sleeves for a lot of my shirts. They say it is a more youthful look as the forearm is the last to go! Three quarter sleeves hide the ugly upper/under arm and wrinkled elbows on we older women.
  • Create a turn back cuff with a slit for a little flair.
  • Want a round collar? Round the points.
  • Add more buttons closer together for a more quality look.
  • Take in the waist about 5/8" on each side to add more shaping. Taper back out to your regular side seam top and bottom.
  • Add waist darts or tucks front and/or back to create a more fitted look.
  • Add belt loops and a belt and shoulder epaulets for a safari look.
  • Change the design of the pockets. Add welt pockets or inseam pockets.
  • How about using your heirloom sewing techniques?
  • Or cut the pattern pieces apart and create a "patch work" shirt using all your sewing machine stitches or embroidery designs.
Don't forget when you cut the pattern apart to add seam allowances to the pieces so you can sew them back together again.

Seam Allowances

Besides the bust darts, another great feature of this pattern is that it has 1/4" seam allowances already. You don't have to trim anything. It is already to serge or sew and go.

Make sure you make a note on your pattern that it has 1/4" seams and not 5/8". Also, put notes on your garment pieces to remind you of the 1/4" seam allowances when you go to stitch the garment together.

Instruction Improvements

Here are a few suggestions I would make to improve the instructions.


I believe in directional staystitching necklines to prevent stretching while you are working with the garment. This should be done before anything else

Set the machine for regular stitch and sew the neckline from the neck/shoulder point to the center front and center back on both fronts and on the back pieces. Staystitch the facing from the neck/shoulder point to the center front.

Remember that you only have a 1/4" seam allowance. So staystitch just barely inside the 1/4" seam line.

Staystitching Plus

The back shoulder is 1/4" wider than the front shoulder on the pattern. That's great! The back should be wider than the front. You round out in the back. That 1/4" of ease helps to accommodate that curve.

To make the back fit the front without stretching the front, ease the back with staystitching plus.

Start at the neck/shoulder point and stitch to the shoulder/arm point while holding your finger behind the presser foot to "bunch up" the fabric while you stitch.

The little "pleats" will come out very easily, so immediately put the front and back shoulders together and stitch the shoulder seam from the neck/shoulder point to the arm/shoulder point with a 1/4" seam.

Pressing Tips

Sandwich press the shoulder seams and then press them over a cushion or pressing ham to help mold the shape of the shoulder.

Also press the bust darts over a pressing ham. Don't press beyond the point of the dart when pressing a dart. The dart is there to create shape where you need it.

Remember The Sewing Rules

Never sew more than 2 layers of fabric together at one time.

Click the link to read more about this sewing rule.

Additional Sewing Tip To Make Your Sewing Easier

See this sewing tip to help you match up all your sewing pattern pieces faster and more accurately as you sew your garment. I posted this on my Sewing Project Tips Sewing Blog.
You can read the entry here. . . . .

Kwik Sew 2952 is a well designed pattern and the instructions are relatively easy to follow. Remember to always cut and stitch accurately.

It might help if you compare the pattern to a ready-to-wear shirt that fits you. Now, make the pattern fit your shape, add your special touches and have fun with it. Copy ready-to-wear ideas. You are the designer!

Let me know how you liked this pattern and what you did with it.

Do you like my comments and suggestions for using the pattern?

Try it! It just makes sense!

To Your Sewing Success,


PS: I just finished a cotton shirt as a sample for my sewing classes and also made one up in silk that feels so luxurious.

PPS: Sew his and her matching shirts. See my Sewing Project Tips Sewing Blog for: Sewing Pattern - Men's Sport Shirt

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Sewing Videos - Learn More About How To Sew

Sewing Videos

Hi Sewing Friends:

There are more and more sewing videos available every day. Some are pretty good, others aren't. Some include free sewing projects, how to's, sewing tips and techniques. Others share general sewing information that is good to know.

Remember that there really is no right or wrong way to do anything. If you achieve the results you want, then whatever technique you used is right for you. You are the designer!

My one granddaughter always preferred to sew her projects with her seams exposed, frayed edges showing and sometimes wore her garments inside out. She was ahead of her time. Then, it was not the thing to do. Now, you find garments like that in pricey boutiques and in every fashion store around town. I never thought I'd see raveled edged dresses in Saks Fifth Avenue, but they are there sporting a hefty price tag!

I prefer to use my classic, common sense sewing and fitting techniques in my sewing courses , articles and blog posts because they just make sense and work the best for me. You have a choice. Try different methods and techniques and see what works best for you.

Here is a list of sewing videos available at that you might like to check out:

Sewing Tutorial: Stitching Zig Zag Patterns

Great Sewing Notions: Sew With Buttons & Zippers

Everything You Need To Know About Sewing With A Serger

How To Make Your Own Decorative Pillow

Making Decorative Pillows and Patterns: Tips and Techniques

How To Thread & Use a Sewing Machine: Free Videos

Supplies & Materials for Sewing: What You Need to Start To Sew

How To Sew: Patterns & Basics

How To Make Homemade Makeup Bags

Making a Personalized Vintage Kitchen Apron

Cloth & Fabric Tutorial: Velvet, Linen, Tweed, Oh My!

How To Sew A Quilted, Handmade Christmas Stocking For The Holiday Season

That should keep you busy for a while. Enjoy watching these free sewing videos. It's great that they are available to us. I hope that you will pick up a sewing tip or two even if it's what NOT to do. Perhaps you'll realize how much you already know.

In case you missed the sewing videos I posted on my Sewing Project Tips Sewing Blog, you can go here for more information:

Sewing Videos Help To Teach You How To Sew

Sewing Video: How To Sew An Easy Flat Fly Front Zipper

If you have a favorite sewing video, please share it with us. I would love to add it to our growing sewing video library.

It just makes sense!

To Your Sewing Success,


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Friday, July 06, 2007

Classic Patterns - Kwik Sew 2935 - Men's Sport Shirt

Men's Sport Shirt - Sewing Pattern

Sewing Friends:

I know I told you that I would share some sewing patterns that I found that would be considered as classics. Here is one on my Sewing Project Tips Sewing Blog that you might want to add to your collection of classics.

It is Kwik Sew 2935, a man's sport shirt. Check out the details and try sewing a man's sport shirt. This is a quick and easy pattern to sew. Follow some of my suggestions for a first class quality shirt that your guy will love. You guys who sew or want to try sewing, this is a good one for you.

Use the techniques to sew shirts for the whole family. It just makes sense!

To Your Sewing Success,

PS: Let me know how you liked this pattern. What are your favorite classics? Please share.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fitting Tip - How To Determine What You Need For Forward Shoulders

Fitting Forward Shoulders

Sewing Friends:

Do your shoulder seams fall to the back? The neck point seems OK, or maybe not. But the shoulder point definitely falls back. You most likely have forward shoulders and need to make a shoulder alteration.

Most fitting books address the problem, however, here is a tip to help you determine how much you need to alter your sewing pattern for forward shoulders.
  • Make up a top using 2 different colors of fabric.
  • Use a light color for the front and a dark color for the back.
  • Cut it so that you have 1" shoulder seam allowances.
  • Baste it together and press it.
  • Try it on.
  • Now stand in front of a mirror and look straight on at the outline of your shoulders.
  • Check out your shoulder seam front and back.
  • Look in a mirror to check the back.
The shoulder seam should sit exactly on top of your shoulder.

You shouldn't be able to see the other color of the front or back if you are looking straight on.

Someone else looking eyeball level to shoulder level may be better able to help you with this. You don't want them looking down on your shoulder. You want to look at the silhouette or outline of your body.

It may help to see this difference if you have someone take a photo of you front and back.

Open the shoulder seam allowance.

Add to the back and substract the same amount from the front shoulder points tapering back to the original neck point until the seam sits on top of your shoulder and you can't see the other color anymore from either the front or the back.

Some of you may need to change the neck point. Many people find this point rides to the back also. You may need to add to the back and take off the front here. However, if you have a high round back, you should do that alteration before you change the neck point. The high round back alteration may take care of the neck point problem for you.

By having two different colors for the front and back, it makes it easier to determine what you need and how much you need at your shoulder to have it be on top of your shoulder where it should be.


Some people move the dot on the sleeve to match the shoulder point change. Other people find the sleeve hangs better if they leave the dot alone. The underarm seams may not necessarily match. It depends on how the sleeve hangs on your arm.

Before you actually stitch your sleeve to your garment, try it on and pin it to your bodice where it hangs best on your arm.

Don't worry about matching dots or underarm seams at this point. Pin it where it hangs nice and looks good.

Now baste this sleeve into the armhole and check out the fit. If it hangs correctly, make new matching points on this test sleeve to your new shoulder seam. Then, make the corresponding changes to your sewing pattern.

You will most likely need to make these shoulder alterations to all of your sewing patterns.

Hope this fitting tip helps you determine what you need for your forward shoulders.

Get your fit in some classic styles that you wear most often and enjoy sewing.

It just makes sense!

To Your Fitting and Sewing Success,

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