How to Baste When Sewing By Hand

Typically when you want to attach two pieces of fabric together to stitch either by hand or machine, you use pins to attach them to each other. This is useful in most cases, but there are times when you want to use a technique known as basting.

Basting is simply a very long, easily removed placeholder stitch. Don’t secure the ends when using a basting stitch, because they will be removed at the end of your project. You can use it in a lot of situations when pins may add too much bulk or not completely hold the pieces together, for example:

  • Attaching certain notions like zippers and bias tape
  • When trying a technique for the first time, to make sure you’re piecing your fabric together correctly
  • When fabric is likely to shift
  • When using a lot of layers of fabric, which pins may cause to bubble or pile up

For a basic demonstration of hand basting, check out this short video:

Now let me show you some of the ways you can use basting on a project by making a zipper pouch.

First, I used basting on one of the sides and the zipper to make sure I was putting it together correctly.

Sewing basting stitches comes in handy for a beginner learning how to sew - Sew Me Your Stuff
Here are the basting stitches when the bag is inside out.

Sewing basting stitches comes in handy for a beginner learning how to sew - Sew Me Your Stuff

Here are the same stitches from the outside. When you sew basting, the stitches will most likely be a little loose as you can see in this picture, so be sure to leave long ends so that they don’t get pulled out of place!

I then used basting to keep the zipper in place before I stitched it.

Sewing basting stitches comes in handy for a beginner learning how to sew - Sew Me Your Stuff

I left the basting in as I stitched, and that held the zipper and fabric together more evenly than pins typically do.

Sewing basting stitches comes in handy for a beginner learning how to sew - Sew Me Your Stuff

After this I removed the basting and repeated on the other side.

Then I used basting to attach the bottom of the bag because I was going to stitch the seam from the outside and use bias tape around the edges.

Sewing basting stitches comes in handy for a beginner learning how to sew - Sew Me Your Stuff

Next after cutting the edges to be even, I hand basted the bias tape onto the edges to keep that in place for stitching too.

Sewing basting stitches comes in handy for a beginner learning how to sew - Sew Me Your Stuff

After this I just stitched the bias tape and it was done!

Sewing basting stitches comes in handy for a beginner learning how to sew - Sew Me Your Stuff

Here’s the bag after removing some of the basting. Note: Usually you use a thread that matches the bias tape, but I used materials that sharply contrasted on purpose for this demonstration!

Now some basic tips to make your basting easier:

  • Use a contrasting thread with your fabric so that you remember to remove it at the end!
  • Try to baste near your seamline rather than near the raw edge to mimic the real thing as closely as possible
  • Save your basting thread once you remove it so that you can reuse it later
  • Like I mentioned before, leave long ends free so that you don’t accidentally pull it through the fabric and lose the stitch
  • Find a way to store your excess thread by color. I use plastic bags and the thread does get tangled occasionally, but storing it by color makes it much easier to get what I need rather than going through a big knot of different colored threads.

Sewing basting stitches comes in handy for a beginner learning how to sew - Sew Me Your Stuff

Here are a couple of my basting bags!

Now go forth and baste away, opening doors to all kinds of sewing opportunities.

Happy sewing!
Learni.st – Learn how to sew starting from step one
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Video: How to Tie off an End of Thread

Here on Sew Me Your Stuff we’ve covered plenty of hand stitches, but never really how to secure those hand stitches. Check out this quick video with a simple method for how to tie off thread!

Happy sewing!
Learni.st – Learn how to sew starting from step one
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Etsy – Shop Sew Me Your Stuff

Video: How to Read a Sewing Pattern

Hello sewists!

I recently shared this post on how to choose a sewing pattern for beginners and this post detailing how I applied that to purchase a sewing pattern for a market tote.

Recently someone sent me this video that does a great job of explaining in-depth how to use a sewing pattern by showing the easiest way to read and interpret a sewing pattern. It’s a pretty long video but goes into detail about the process of finding and choosing the pattern you want to try.

Next I’ll be posting a series on sewing notions. Have a great day!

Learni.st – Learn how to sew starting from step one
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Etsy – Shop Sew Me Your Stuff

The Pressing Issue

Hello sewists! I apologize if it seems there’s been a lack of activity on Sew Me Your Stuff. My dino laptop decided to no longer connect to the internet, so I’ve been using a public computer to update my blog and Learnist when I can. But this is a pretty important post for beginners as you learn to sew so I wanted to be sure I shared it with you!

When you buy your first sewing patterns, you may find that the pattern instructs you to press the craft or garment in certain ways during the construction process. Also, it is necessary during all sewing projects to press your seams as you go to give the product a more professional-looking finish.

So what is pressing exactly?

Well, on the surface, it may look a lot like ironing. But there are a few key differences!

1. Unlike ironing, you don’t typically move the iron back and forth across the fabric in swift motions. When pressing, you use the tip of the iron to manipulate fabric, and you use repeated pressure rather than wide sweeps.
2. The goal of ironing is to remove wrinkles, which is why you use the back and forth motions to force the fabric flat. When pressing, your goal is to set a piece of fabric into a particular position, such as pressing up a hem or pressing open a seam. Sweeping back and forth would distort the grain of the fabric when doing this, so you only press the specific point you’re working on with the tip of the iron.

So what is pressing used for?

Typically, you’ll use pressing after sewing a seam. Stitch the seam, then separate the seam allowances to press it flat until it seems to become one with the rest of the fabric. At this point, it’s a good idea to finish the raw edges as well, but make sure the seams lie flat. Sometimes your pattern instructions will tell you to press the seam in a particular direction, but otherwise assume it’s to be pressed flat.

Also, pressing is used when tucking a raw edge in towards the craft or garment, like when you’re completing a hem. In these situations, your pattern will often call for you to press the edge up (or down) once or more and them stitch it in place.

So how do you press?

You may want to find a pressing cloth before you start. A pressing cloth can be anything as long as it’s 100% cotton. Most often recommended are old bed sheets and T-shirts. It’s helpful if you have something transparent so that you can still see what you’re pressing.

Once you have your pressing cloth, place your fabric in position according to the directions and the pressing cloth on top. Then press the tip of the iron to set the fabric into position inch by inch.

One thing I’ve learned from styling hair (random, I know) is that you get your best results if you hold the fabric in place with your fingertips after you lift the iron until the fabric cools. This will keep the new fold or seam in place better than pressing it over and over without holding it.

If you need a demonstration, here’s a short video where I demonstrate how to press a simple seam open and flat.

When you press your seams, you’ll probably want to repeat the motion more than I do in this video. This is just a quick demonstration of the technique.

Right now in the beginner stage, pressing seams flat is probably the best choice as you learn to sew from patterns and more complicated projects. As you become more advanced, you’ll find many ways to finish your edges and give your hand-made projects a more professional look and feel.

Learni.st – Learn how to sew starting from step one
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Happy sewing!

Video: How to Sew a Sunglasses Case

Hello sewists!

Looking for an easy project that you can do with just scraps of fabric? Look no further!

Apologies for the lack of sound. I lost my voice while filming this so I just cut out the sound to spare you all.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A 6″x6″ square of any fabric of your choice
  • A 6″x6″ square of felt or fleece if you would like your case to be cushioned. If not, fabric of your choice.
  • Fabric marking tool (I recommend chalk for this so you won’t have to wash it)
  • Needle & thread
  • Scissors

And that’s it!

This is a great easy project that you can really get creative with. Have fun and happy sewing!

Learni.st – Learn how to sew starting from step one
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Etsy – Shop Sew Me Your Stuff

Video: How to Sew a Blanket Stitch Heart

Hello everyone! I’m back home in the USA and that means sewing videos! For my first video I just wanted to demonstrate a really simple craft you can do to get used to hand sewing and fabric marking and cutting:

A blanket stitch heart is a very simple craft for someone who's learning to sew
A blanket stitch heart!

Here’s a video demonstrating how I made this. The ending got cut off awkwardly but hopefully you can still follow what I’m doing.

The materials I used are:

  • Felt fabric – cut by the yard then cut into a square
  • Embroidery thread, double threaded
  • Embroidery needle
  • Tailor’s chalk
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Polyester pillow filling

I only had to buy the fabric, filling, needles, and thread for this specific project and it cost me under $15. I have plenty of material left over to make many more!

And that is the first original Sew Me Your Stuff video! Thanks so much for watching. Let me know if you try this and how it turns out! You can do any shape in any color so I think this is a great craft for beginners. It was actually my first time doing a shaped pillow so I had some mistakes along the way, but I’ll definitely be exploring this more.

Have a great week!

Learni.st – Learn how to sew starting from step one
Pinterest & Twitter – Follow for tips, ideas, and more
Etsy – Shop Sew Me Your Stuff

Video: Sewing Tips for Beginners

Hello everyone! I apologize for the lack of posts for the last few days, I’m just wrapping up things here in Shanghai and am leaving for home tomorrow!

I found a really sort video that I wanted to share because it has a couple of pointers I wish I’d heard when I first started sewing.

Definitely believe him when he says don’t overwhelm yourself! When I started, I thought I could dive right into sewing dresses and garments that would be wearable, and it just caused a lot of frustration and wasted materials. Instead pick a project that you think you could feasibly do right now, and then actually do one that’s one level easier than that.

So looking forward to getting home and posting some project tutorials!

Have a great weekend!

Learni.st – Learn how to sew starting from step one
Pinterest & Twitter – Follow for tips, ideas, and more
Etsy – Shop Sew Me Your Stuff