With pretty much everything, there is more than one way to do it. And, sometimes just changing one small method, can help make a process easier, and quite possibly more enjoyable.
a. Matching Thread Colour and leaving it in
For many people, it might just seem instinctive to use the same colour of thread as your fabric when you baste a sewing project. After all, you’ll have it on hand since that’s the thread you chose for the project. If the colour matches the fabric perfectly, there’s a good chance you can leave the basting thread in and no one would know. Then once you know that you’ve got everything placed as you want it to be, you can simply stitch again, over the basting thread with a finer stitch length to finish.
• Already have the thread colour on hand
• No need to spend time pulling out the basting thread
• If you look closely you can see the basting thread
• If your thread isn’t a perfect match, it can look sloppy
b. Contrasting Thread Colour and pulling it out
If you plan to pull out the basting thread when your final stitching is complete, having a contrasting colour is the way to go. It’s a lot easier to see a high contrast thread colour against the fabric. No need to squint! (Well, maybe you’ll still squint if your eyes are anything like mine, but at least the thread will be more obvious.) This is a great technique to use, especially, if you can’t quite get the thread colour to match perfectly, or if you know the stitches will be obvious on the outside. Removing the basting threads can really help to give a polished finish to the garment.
• Easier to remove
• Looks cleaner
• Extra steps
• If you do end up accidentally missing some thread, it will be more noticeable
2. Hand Stitching
a. Single thread
When you ask someone to thread their needle for the first time, it’s just the logical choice to cut the thread, and put one end through the eye of the needle and then to knot the other end. It’s simple, and uses minimal materials. It might not create the strongest stitches, and that initial knot can just be frustrating on sleepy days or downright ugly to look at. But, it is nice to only worry about getting that one thickness of thread through the eye of your needle. (I swear that they keep making the eyes smaller and smaller!)
• Thread only one thickness
• Uses minimal materials
• Fiddly to tie initial knot
• Weaker initial knot and seam
b. Double thread
Cut the thread double the length you need, and then bring the two cut ends together, threading them both through the eye of your hand sewing needle. “What?!” you say? “What is the benefit of this?” When you do your first stitch, pick up a tiny bit (a thread or two) of the fabric with the needle; pull the thread through the fabric until just a wee little loop remains. Then direct the needle through that loop and pull until it locks the loop. No knot necessary! This makes for a sturdy starting point to your work. While stitching, the doubled up thread gives you a stronger seam. It does take more materials, and can it be frustrating to thread the needle with two thicknesses of thread though. Personally this is my “go-to” method.
• No need for knot
• No worry that the knot might not hold
• Stronger first knot
• Stronger stitches (due to each stitch being two threads instead of one)
• Uses more thread
• Must thread two ends instead of just one
Scissors are nice and simple. They take up very little space, and most of us have been using them for a long time; we generally all have scissors around somewhere. And, good quality sewing shears glide through fabric. However, a lot of the time, you still need to do multiple strokes to cut your pattern piece, which can make it tedious to get a perfect edge. With each stroke of the scissors you run the risk of putting a wobble or jags in the cut. With enough patience and, it doesn’t need to be an issue. You can minimize any jaggedness in the cutting line by making long smooth strokes with the scissors. Scissors excel in cutting fussy shapes with inside corners.
• Space efficient
• Easy to use
• can use tips of scissor blades to cut inside corners and odd shapes easily
• Can be difficult to cut a smooth edge
• Might need to sharpen or replace
b. Rotary Cutter
Rotary cutters can take a bit to get used to, but their wheel-like blade means less lifting of the blade, helping to create a more seamless edge. When it gets dull though, the blade really needs to be replaced, or else it can do more damage than good. You also do have to have a cutting mat, as to not wreck a surface, or dull the blade faster. Rotary cutters are great for long straight or curved cuts. They are not as easy to use when making tight complicated cuts.
• Cleaner edges
• Less motions
• Must replace the blade relatively often
• Need a cutting mat
• not as user friendly when cutting tight complex shapes
With sewing, like anything, there are many different methods you can use to get a job done. Hopefully one of these will be worth a try for you. I always encourage people to experiment and find the way that appeals to them the best.
Are there any particular tools or methods you love to use? Or something you like doing a little differently than most, depending on the project? I’d love to hear from you.
Happy Sewing 🙂