Playing Favorites with BurdaStyle’s Denise Wild

Today, BurdaStyle editor Denise Wild is stopping by Sew Daily to share her favorite sewing tips, tools and notions that are also part of her new book, Mend & Make Fabulous. Grab a copy of Mend & Make in the Sew Daily shop and ask Denise what more of her favorites are (color? movie? Team Edward or Team Jacob?) in the comments below. Enjoy!

When it comes to sewing, people often ask me what my favorite things are: my favorite thing to sew, my favorite place to buy fabric, my favorite sewing machine, etc. Well, I’d like to share some of my favorites with you! These are some that I’ve included in my book Mend & Make Fabulous — it’s part mending resource, part DIY wardrobe modification, all with detailed techniques and how-tos. Let me know what you think of these, and share with me some of your favorite sewing things, too!
Denise Wild
Editor, BurdaStyle 

Fabric: Stretch cotton twill

I love fabric with stretch because even the slightest bit of give means a better fit. And, I love stretch cotton twill because it’s easy to wash, easy to sew, it presses well, and it holds a great shape for fitted dresses.

Presser foot: Walking foot

This presser foot helps feed your fabric through the sewing machine better, which means it’s great for sewing slippery fabrics, sticky fabrics (like leather and vinyl), and for matching plaids and patterns. But I like to keep a walking foot on my machine at all times to keep all fabric types lined up perfectly. Here’s a video I did about this great presser foot.

Machine stitch: Stitch-in-the-ditch

I’ll admit it…probably the biggest reason this is my favourite stitch is I love saying it out loud! On top of that, it’s such a great stitch for finishing waistbands and lined dress bodices, and I find it extremely satisfying to sew slowly and perfectly, focusing intently on my stitch-in-the-ditch, making sure it’s absolutely and perfectly “invisible.” Here are my tips for the perfect stitch-in-the-ditch:

  • Make sure your thread matches your fabric exactly, which will enable to thread to “disappear” and hide in the ditch. If your fabric has more than one color, choose the most common color or choose a dark color so that the stitches hide in the shadow of the ditch.
  • Sew with a stitch length slightly shorter than normal—longer stitches will be more noticeable.
  • Consider sewing with an open toe presser foot so you can see the ditch more clearly.
  • Make sure you’re sewing VERY slowly, and if you think you’re heading off-course, take your foot off the foot pedal and use the handwheel instead for the most controlled placement of your stitches.

Hand stitch: Slipstitch

I love that the slipstitch is so quick, versatile, and invisible! I could happily and meticulously slipstitch hems in front of the TV for hours. The trick? Make sure you’re using a thread that matches your fabric exactly (to prevent the thread from showing on the fabric right side), and choose a slightly shorter needle—I find it gives me more control and I can sew faster. Here’s how to slipstitch a hem:

  1. Double-thread a hand sewing needle. Tie a knot at the end.
  2. From the wrong side of the hem, bring the needle through the fold of the hem to the right side. Pull the thread tight.
  3. Pick up a small amount of the garment fabric (just two or three fibers) with the needle.
  4. Enter the fold of the hem just beside the point where you previously exited the fold, traveling ¼” (6 mm) before existing the lining again.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the hem is sewn. Tie the thread in a knot and trim the thread ends.

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