Welcome back to the FINAL week of our tips and tricks recap from 2019!  We will be reviewing tips from letters R-Z and then we will post a GIVEAWAY at the end... so lets get started!!

R is for a Rolled Hem!  A rolled hem is a very narrow finish and can be made on a regular sewing machine or using a serger!  

If you are sewing on a serger, you will only use three threads.  The settings may vary from machine to machine, and on some you may need to remove the stitch finger.  You may want to consult your manual for the correct settings for your specific machine.  If you are sewing a rolled hem on your regular machine, there is a specific foot you can use (although they come in several different sizes).  It features a groove on the back and a funnel on the front side.

This is where your fabric will roll up into and will go out through the back, running through the groove while the needle goes through it, creating a very small hem.  Rolled hems are usually done on a regular machine when working with light-weight to medium-weight woven fabrics, but is most common with delicate fabrics.  On either the regular machine or serger, it is a beautiful finish and can be especially helpful if you need to squeak out a hem that takes up less than a 1/2" of fabric.

S stands for Selvage!  A selvage is the side of fabric where the finished edge stops the edges from fraying.  The warp threads run parallel down the length of the fabric and the selvage is created when the weft threads are folded back on themselves at the end of each row as the fabric is woven.  

The selvage has become a beautiful part of the fabric design, and holds a wealth of information, such as the name of the fabric manufacturer and fabric make up.  We have seen people use them on quilts and in other small projects.  Another great use for them is as size tags on your projects.  The color swatch circles usually have numbers printed inside of them and, since they don't fray, they work well for small size tags.

T is for tension! In the sewing worth this can easily bring on a headache if you do not understand it properly. If you are somewhat new to sewing, you may be asking what in the world it is?  Tension is what keeps your bottom and top stitches in equal timing with one another.  This ensures that the stitching on the front and back of your fabric looks the same, and that neither the upper nor the bobbin thread shows up on the opposite side of the fabric.

When the upper thread (what's going through your needle) is showing on the wrong side of the fabric, this means your tension is too low.  In order to fix it, you raise the tension little by little, by rotating your tension knob to the right.

If the bottom thread from your bobbin is showing on the right side of the fabric, then it means that the tension disk is too tense.  Slowly begin rotating your disk to the left, checking with each movement of the dial to see if the thread tension has evened back out when you're sewing.  

If you have tried troubleshooting using these tips above, but are still having issues with your thread tension, your problem might be with your bobbin.  The bobbin case also has some tension for the thread, and depending on what machine you use, you may be able to adjust it slightly by tightening or loosening a screw located on the side of your bobbin case. It is definitely a trial and error situation, but once you get the settings adjusted to the proper tension, you will notice right away if something is off again in the future! 

U is for Universal Needles!! Whether you have the newest model sewing machine or a basic, entry level machine, the most important tool used is your needle! 

Did you know?  The sewing life of a needle is 8 hours!  After that, the point will become worn and stitch quality may become compromised.  We always keep some on-hand to change regularly.  A good rule of thumb is to use a new needle at the start of every project.  

Now, on to the Universal needle.  The name says it all - universal - because it can be used on the majority of projects.  We can use universal needles for both woven and knit fabrics because the point of a universal needle is both sharp and rounded, allowing the needle to have the characteristics of both sharp and ballpoint needles alike.  They are not optimal for knits though, like true ballpoint stretch needles.  Here is a great guide to knowing what needles you have and/or need!


V is for Vinyl!  One of the latest and greatest things to enter the craft world over the last several years. With the Cricut, Silhouette, Brother Scan & Cut and other home vinyl cutting machines available, we've seen all sorts of great uses for this product.  

We have seen so many creative ways that our members have incorporated vinyl into their at home sewing projects, to include details for princess costumes, wording for special occasion tops/dresses, and even adding size tags inside clothing with the vinyl!  One of my personal favorites though, is how Ashley Cowan used vinyl to create the face for her blushing bunny! 

You can use a vinyl machine to add so many personal touches to your sewing projects!  The options truly are endless!


W is for the Walking Foot!  The walking foot is a presser foot that allows even sewing over lots of layers or thicker fabric.

It grips the fabric on the top, while the feed dogs grip the bottom, and they work together to help the fabric to walk through when sewing.  It is a very bulky and strange looking foot, but has a few different uses. 

Many people use it to sew knits, but we don't think they are necessarily helpful on all machines.  Some machines sew knits just fine without it, but there are people who have lots of success sewing knit with the aid of this foot, so it may be worth experimenting.  It can also be very useful when sewing multiple layers, like on straps or binding.  It will keep those ripples that can sometimes show up from happening because all layers of the fabric will be fed evenly through.  Whatever you decide to use your walking foot for, it is a very handy foot to own!

 X is for X-tra! We are getting close to the end of the alphabet, and finding "sewing" themed tips for each letter has been a lot of fun...but the letter "X" had us stumped!  Not being able to come up with a term that started with the letter "X" we decided to get a little creative!!  Letter "X" for our tips and tricks is going to stand for being a little "X-tra" = something we always encourage!!  We provide the patterns, and what's great about them is all the room for creativity you have with them!  We love it when we see designs that have gone the extra mile: put on that extra trim or those special buttons.  Sometimes it's the extraordinary touches that brings an outfit from great to spectacular!  So, don't be afraid to be a little "X-tra!" Make your garment unique to you and "X-tra" special!! 

Y is for a Yardage Chart!  When you are out and about at a fabric store, having a handy yardage chart for easy access can make deciding on how much you need cut a simple task!  Just print (or save a screen shot) of this cute little chart below and keep it for a quick reference!  

And moving on to our FINAL letter of the alphabet - AND our giveaway as well.....

Z is for ZIPPERS!!!  Zippers are something we are ALL familiar with using in our day to day lives, but did you know there are many different kinds of zippers? Depending on what project you are working on would decide which type of zipper you should purchase?! 

Although there are many types of zippers, for times sake, we are going to cover the 3 most commonly used zippers!

The first type of zipper (shown above) is the Nylon Coil Zipper (also knows as an all-purpose zipper) and is the most common zipper option and can be used to make a variety of projects. Coil zippers are thin, lightweight zippers with small teeth. They are made of plastic with polyester sides and come in a variety of colors. The endless varieties of colors available make this zipper a great choice when making our patterns, since you can usually find a match for the fabric you’re working with. This lightweight zipper can bend and flow with the garment and doesn’t weigh down the material like a heavier type of zipper would.

The second type of zipper (shown above) is the Invisible zipper!  Unlike the nylon coil zipper, the coil for an invisible zipper is located on the back of the zipper, which hides it from view. The only part of the zipper that is exposed is the tear drop pull at the top of the zipper. This zipper is also lightweight and has very fine teeth. An invisible zipper can be tricky to sew, and I recommend ironing the zipper open before pinning it to your garment. You can also use an invisible zipper foot which helps to create the best seam.

The third type of zipper is the metal and plastic molded zippers.  Both molded plastic and metal zippers have teeth that have been molded at regular intervals on both sides of the zipper tape.  Both of these zipper options are very sturdy and do well when using heavier material, so better to be used for jeans, bags or jackets versus lightweight dresses.

And there you have it - our A-Z Sewing Tips & Tricks Roundup!! We hope you enjoyed these helpful tips and tricks being posted in one handy location for future reference!  And to end it with a bang, we would love to do a GIVEAWAY for one lucky reader to be able to choose ANY 3 of our patterns to download, FREE OF CHARGE!!  All you have to do to enter is comment below with your 3 favorite tips we have shared (they can be from any of these 3 past blog posts from our A-Z roundup!) and we will choose one random winner to receive the patterns of their choice next week! 

Edited to add:  CONGRATULATIONS to our winner = Lindsay Gibson!! 

 We will be sending you an email so you can claim your prize!



January 17, 2020 by Jessica Herning



Harley said:

K for knit I always nervous to se knit so this was nice. S for salvage I love the idea of the numbers for the size definitely going to try. And U for Universal needle so good info I didn’t know. Thank you for all the great information:)


Aimee said:

A! I always buy cheap thread and wondered what kind would be best!
K! I’ve been intimidated to try sewing knits so it’s good to know what kind to try!
R! I’ve been wanting to try a rolled hem! Thanks for all the tips, and your beautiful patterns!

Samantha C

Samantha C said:

Clear Elastic, Knit, Nap are my favorite 3.

The first two because I am just beginning to venture into knots and I need all the help I can get. 😅 Lasty Nap, I had personally never heard of! I’m sure it will come in handy in the future.


Bree said:

My 3 favorites are selvage, tension, and needle tips. I never thought to use the selvage for a tag! What a clever idea.


Erin said:

Ok I’m totally using my selvage for size tags now! And I had forgotten about my rolled hem foot. Need to bust that out again. And thanks for the info on needle types! Who knew?


Juli said:

My favorite was about the rolled hem! I’ve never done one before and I just got a new serger, can’t wait to try it out.

Jennifer Carl

Jennifer Carl said:

Tension, rolled hem, selvage tags


Bethany said:

My three favorite tips are 1. Grainlines- I’m super new to seeing and this is really helpful to know when cutting my patterns. 2. Selvage – what a clever idea to use these numbers as size tags! 3. J-Just do your best. I’m a perfectionist, but also a beginner, so it is hard to be happy with my projects when they aren’t perfect BUT I’m just doing my best and I know that I will get better with practice! Thank you!


Jenna said:

Universal needles, zippers and rolled hems

P. Nichole

P. Nichole said:

These posts were super helpful. I definitely plan to incorporate the tips for Tension, Hong Kong seams and X-tra 😊

Katie Howard

Katie Howard said:

My favorites were : S, for selvage, U, for universal, and X, for extra. All very helpful tips for a beginner like me!


Melissa said:

My three favorites were the yardage chart, zippers and tension. Thanks for all the great tips.

Jen R

Jen R said:

My favorite tip was X! I have definitely seen pieces where the little finishes take an item that extra level. If like to incorporate more of that. Other favorite tips were the yardage chart and just do your best. It can be hard to do something when you’re afraid of failing, but you’ll never know how you’ll do until you just do it!


Elizabeth said:

Aurifil, Knits and Walking Foot are the 3 i found the MOST helpful ☺ Thankyou for doing such a wonderful A-Z!


Mallory said:

I loved getting these emails all last year and I especially love that they are on the blog now so I can look back at them over and over! My favorite tips were the most helpful to me-Knits, zippers, and walking foot (I need one now!).

Bethany Bryant

Bethany Bryant said:

I like the “G” for grainline, the “H” for Hong Kong seam, and the “T” for tension posts! This whole series has been helpful! I didn’t even know the Hong Kong seam was a thing!

Krista Simon

Krista Simon said:

I found all of the tips very helpful, since I just discovered the world of dress making and your patterns this month! I’d say the most helpful to me were ballpoint needles… because I’ve had them in my sewing kit and didn’t know what they actually did. I’ve only ever attempted using universal! Also tension. I have noticed when trying to make bows that sometimes the thread doesn’t look right under the surface and gets tangled… probably because my tension was off! I will pay more attention now! And lastly, the “just do your best!” Because I am TERRIFIED of trying to start sewing from patterns. There are so many terms I don’t know what they mean, and everyone else’s finished items look AMAZING so I’m intimidated! But everyone has to start somewhere, right?? :) thank you for the wonderful blog post!

Kimberly Seegmiller

Kimberly Seegmiller said:

I liked the knit tips a lot. And also the rolled hem and the zipper. Because I LOVE invisible zippers. These were fun to see which I knew and which I could learn from. Thanks!


Cerahnaomi said:

I learned about Hong Kong seams…didn’t know that’s what they were called! :) I like learning about knits & needles too because I often just guess my way through that stuff ;)


Courtenay said:

I liked Tension (was having issues with this now I can fix!), rolled hem and zippers (I’m yet to brave a zipper)


Katy said:

Lots of great tips! Hong Kong seams, tension, and selvage tags were my favorite tips. I especially can’t wait to use the selvage tag idea!


Ashley said:

Zippers, Knits, and Rolled Hem have been my favorites! Now to try a zipper. 🙂


Jasmin said:

My favorites were the clear elastic and the different methods for doing seams like hong kong, french etc..


Debbie said:

No matter how long you have been sewing, you can always learn something new. Thanks for all your hard work on all these great tips.


Dawn said:

Tension, universal needle and yardage chart. These are great. Thank you!


Denise said:

A few of my favorites were knits, rolled hem, and the yardage chart!!

Allison Eldredge

Allison Eldredge said:

Just do your best, universal needles, yardage chart.

Newbie… these are all great!


JoJo said:

I only saw the R-Z tips and they all were wonderful. I have a learning disability so I can’t wait to try all your tips! Is there a way to see the other tips? I like the universal needles,rolled hem and zippers because stay away from patterns with them because I don’t know how to put one in. Did you have something on making button holes? Thank you for your kindness and beautiful patterns. God Bless

Tonya Rudder

Tonya Rudder said:

I love being reminded to change needles!! I love the Hong Kong seam and Tension!! Tension is so important!

Elisse Florance

Elisse Florance said:

The hem, zipper and size tag idea were my favorite tips! Thanks for doing these blogs!!

Leslie Long

Leslie Long said:

My favorites are the Walking Foot, Salvage Tags, and Universal Needle. I am in love with this site!!! It’s the sewing family I never had. Happy Sewing, y’all!!!💗

Kathryn Rundman

Kathryn Rundman said:

Knits, walking foots, clear elastics and french seams! Thank you for all the great tips!


Cheri said:

Such great tips! I especially appreciated H – Hong Kong seams (can’t wait to try), S – Selvage (need to try the size tag idea), and Z – Zippers (breakdown of the different types).

Thanks so much!

Victoria Jones

Victoria Jones said:

Universal needles and tension. It’s good to have visual.


Tara said:

I learned so many things reading these tips’ The three that really taught me a lot were:
- French and Hong Kong seams; excited to try these to finish seams since I don’t have a server yet.
- All of your knit tips: I really want to be brave and sew with knits
- Tension: this is something I knew very little about until I read this post.

Nancy Cronk

Nancy Cronk said:

Thank you for all the great tips. My faves were Knits! Rolled hems!! And the beautiful Yardage chart which I plan to print out!!!

Sheila Baucke

Sheila Baucke said:

I appreciated your tips on Universal needles, French seams and Ironing (my personal goal is to iron my projects when sewing)!

And just in case I am imagining I, I enjoyed learning about grain lines.

Deb miller

Deb miller said:

Great tips. Loved Rolled hem. Zipper and universal needles. Thanks


Rita said:

I loved all of your A-Z tips…thank you! I think my favorites were clear elastic, Hong Kong seams and selvage ideas.

Maryam Suleiman

Maryam Suleiman said:

My 3 favorites are sewing with zippers, adding a little ‘x-tra’ to my projects and using the yardage chart.

Suzie Hurst

Suzie Hurst said:

They were all so great! The most helpful ones, because they are ones I’ve been intimidated to apply are knits, zippers, and rolled hens!

Sarah Turner

Sarah Turner said:

My 3 favorite tips are French seams, clear elastic, and rolled hem feet for your machine :)

Rosemarie Moyster

Rosemarie Moyster said:

I for interfacing
H for Hong Kong didn’t know that one !
O for overlock Have a serger and contemplating getting a overlocker !

Thanks for being my favorite pattern maker and for all the X tras !!!

Clarissa Fairchild

Clarissa Fairchild said:

I liked S,T and U the best. I never knew a needle had so many parts that had names lol!

Amy Jolly

Amy Jolly said:

The needles, rolled hems and zippers were so helpful, but all of them were!

Ashley Cline

Ashley Cline said:

Tension, yardage chart, and knits would be my favorite, but they’ve all been helpful!

Angela L. Daniels

Angela L. Daniels said:

There are so many wonderful tips and tricks!!
I narrowed my three to: B – for the ballpoint information, I – for interfacing (hate to mess with it, but know it is necessary), and T – for tension (the illustrations!!)

Chrysi price

Chrysi price said:

I loved h, s, and k. They were all great tips and will definitely help me in the future!


Tammy said:

I LOVE you guys! Thanks for all the great tips! I will be trying my first rolled hem today! This will most definitely help!


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