- 01. Make Bobbins from Spare Thread Spools
- 02. Hem Jeans with Dental Floss
- 03. Fix a Dropped Hem
- 04. Make Bias Tape from Scraps
- 05. Sewing Machine as Pincushion
- 06. Hem Knits with Washable Glue
- 07. Sewing Needle Threaders
- 08. Lengthen a Skirt with Lace
- 09. Fix Mistakes with Seam Ripper
- 10. Some tips for using a seam ripper effectively:
Sewing hacks are clever tips and tricks that save time, money, and frustration. From preventing mistakes to salvaging projects gone wrong, these simple solutions make sewing more accessible for beginners and experts alike.
This article will cover the top 10 sewing hacks that every sewer should know. These handy techniques will help you sew faster, fix mistakes, reuse materials, and maximize your sewing space and supplies. Read on to learn shortcuts and problem-solvers that will upgrade your sewing skills.
Whether working with delicate fabrics like silk or sturdy materials like denim, these tricks will help you achieve professional-looking results. In your next sewing project, you can implement these hacks with a few essential tools and supplies. We’ll focus on hand and machine sewing techniques relevant to garments, crafts, quilts, and home decor.
From upcycling old materials to neatening hems, this list has tips to make your sewing more enjoyable, efficient, and creative. With this helpful guide, you’ll gain sewing smarts that save you time and trouble.
01. Make Bobbins from Spare Thread Spools
If you have many thread spools left over from projects, don’t throw them away! You can reuse them to make new bobbins for your sewing machine. This crafty hack saves you money on buying replacement bobbins.
Start by gathering your leftover wood or plastic spools. The hole in the centre must fit onto your machine’s bobbin winder shaft. Cardboard spools won’t work as well since they can bend.
Make sure the spool spins freely on the winder. Then, thread your machine as if you were sewing. Guide the thread through the guide holes and into the bobbin winder tension disk.
Wind the thread onto the empty spool, filling it about 3/4 full. Clip the thread and remove the homemade bobbin. Test it by inserting it into your machine to ensure it fits and functions correctly before using it for sewing projects.
Voila! You’ve given new life to old spools that would normally be tossed out. This bobbin hack lets you skip a trip to the craft store next time you need spare bobbins for your projects.
02. Hem Jeans with Dental Floss
Jeans can be tricky to hem neatly by hand. Rather than struggle with hand stitching, try using dental floss for a quick and durable hem in a pinch.
Dental floss is designed to withstand friction, so it creates a hem that is much more durable than hastily done hand stitching. The waxed nature of the floss also makes it easier to thread through denim fabric.
To hem jeans with dental floss:
- Press the hem to the desired length and press with an iron.
- Thread a needle with about 18 inches of dental floss.
- Stitch the hem by bringing the needle from the back to the front, then looping it around to the back again. Continue making stitches about 1/4 inch apart.
- When sewn across, make a knot and cut the excess floss.
The resulting hem will have a visible topstitch similar to the original hem. Hand stitch the last 1-2 inches at either end for a discreet hem.
Dental floss hems hold up remarkably well through multiple washes. While not entirely as invisible as a machine-stitched hem, dental floss gets the job done quickly and creates a durable hem for jeans or any sturdy fabric like denim. Keep a spool of waxed dental floss in your sewing kit for instant hems.
03. Fix a Dropped Hem
One common issue when sewing is a dropped hem – the hem comes unstitched and hangs lower than the rest of the garment. Rather than redoing the entire hem, you can use a hand-sewing technique to fix a small dropped section.
This quick fix prevents you from having to remove the stitches and re-heck the entire piece. It also saves time and effort compared to redoing the whole hem.
Here’s how to fix a dropped hem:
First, thread a hand-sewing needle with a thread color that matches your garment. Tie a knot at the end.
Then, turn under the dropped portion of the hem to match the original hem allowances. Pin in place.
Insert the needle from the inside of the garment up through the hem allowance. Make tiny stitches, catching just a thread or two of the garment.
Work from one end of the dropped section to the other, making tiny stitches to hold the hem back. The smaller the stitch, the less visible the repair will be.
When you get to the other end, knot the thread. Use sharp scissors to clip the thread ends close to the fabric.
With this quick hand-sewing fix, you can save time and effort while fixing a dropped hem. The repair will barely be noticeable, and you won’t have to redo the hem.
04. Make Bias Tape from Scraps
Turning fabric scraps into bias tape is a great way to use up leftovers and get perfectly matching bias tape.
Start by cutting your fabric scraps into squares or rectangles. The length of the squares/rectangles will determine the length of your bias tape.
Cut the squares/rectangles diagonally from corner to corner to create triangles. Each triangle will make one long strip of bias tape.
Open up the triangles so they lay flat. Fold the triangles in half lengthwise with the wrong sides together and press.
Open up the folded triangle and press the raw edges in towards the centre crease. This encloses the raw edges.
Refold the triangle in half along the centre crease and press well. You now have bias tape!
Trim off any uneven edges so the bias tape is an even width. The fabric’s diagonal stretch makes the folded bias tape perfect for binding curved edges.
Making bias tape from scraps is an easy sewing hack that reduces waste—got lots of leftover fabric pieces? Turn them into perfectly matched bias tape!
05. Sewing Machine as Pincushion
Your sewing machine can double as a pincushion! The space around the needle is the perfect place to store pins while you work on a project.
Simply stick pins into the felt pad around the needle. This keeps pins handy while preventing them from falling onto the floor. The felt holds pins securely in place.
Using your sewing machine as a pincushion has several advantages:
- Convenient access to pins while sewing
- Prevents losing pins
- Saves space in your workspace
- Eliminates the need for a separate pincushion
The area around the needle is designed to hold pins in place. Felt pads vary by machine model but typically provide ample space for multiple pins. Take care not to insert pins too close to the needle so they don’t interfere with sewing.
Next time you sit down to sew, look around the needle for a built-in pincushion ready for use! This handy hack keeps pins organized and close by as you work.
06. Hem Knits with Washable Glue
Knits can be tricky to hem since they curl, stretch, and fray. Rather than struggling with a traditional hem, try using a washable glue stick to create an invisible hem on delicate knits.
This sewing hack takes just a few minutes and leaves you with a professional-looking hem that stays in place. Here’s how to do it:
- Trim your knit fabric to the desired length, leaving about 1/2 inch extra to fold under. Be sure to cut perpendicular to the knit rows to prevent curling.
- Apply a thin line of washable glue stick close to the cut edge of the fabric, about 1/4 inch from the edge.
- Fold the raw edge along the glue line and press in place. The glue will help hold the fold as you work.
- Topstitch close to the inside folded edge to secure the hem. The glue will wash out later.
The washable glue stick creates a simple hem that is barely visible from the right side of the fabric. It prevents any stitches from showing through to the front of delicate knits. Plus, it holds the hem in place during washing to keep it from unravelling.
This quick sewing hack is perfect for hemming knit T-shirts, dresses, scarves, blankets and more. The project takes under 5 minutes and creates a hem that looks professionally stitched. The glue washes out in the laundry, so it’s not a permanent finish. Next time you need to hem knits, grab your glue stick for invisible hems in no time!
07. Sewing Needle Threaders
Sewing needle threaders are an inexpensive but invaluable tool for making threading needles easier. The threader is a thin wire loop that slides into the eye of the needle. To use it, slip the wire loop through the needle eye, hold the thread to the side of the wire, and then pull the threader back out. This pulls the thread through the eye effortlessly.
Needle threaders are especially helpful if you have trouble seeing the tiny needle eye. Trying to get the thread through the eye without one can be extremely frustrating. The threaders take away that frustration and make threading simple.
Many sewers with vision challenges rely on needle threaders daily. But they can benefit any sewer, whether you have vision issues or not. Keeping a few in your sewing box means you’ll always have help threading tricky needles. Look for tiny plastic needle threaders that easily fit in a sewing kit. While extremely basic, these tiny tools solve the tedious task of threading needles for all sewing projects.
08. Lengthen a Skirt with Lace
If you have a skirt that has become too short, there is a simple and pretty solution to make it longer again – add a panel of lace to the bottom! This is a great way to salvage a skirt you love that may have shrunk a bit too much.
First, lay your skirt flat and determine how much length you want to add. Measure that distance from the existing hem and mark it with pins. Then, cut a panel of lace the same width as the skirt hem, adding 1⁄2″ seam allowances on each side. The length of the lace panel should be the amount you want to lengthen the skirt, plus 1″ for the hem.
Line up the top edge of the lace panel with the pins marking the desired new hem length on the skirt. Sew the lace to the dress with a 1⁄2″ seam allowance above the hem. Press the seams toward the lace.
Finish the hem on the lace panel, turning under 1⁄2″ then 1⁄4″. Topstitch the hem in place close to the folded edge. Voila – you’ve added pretty lace to make your skirt longer! This simple trick can breathe new life into a favorite dress.
09. Fix Mistakes with Seam Ripper
One of the handiest tools for any sewing project is the seam ripper. This small tool allows you to quickly remove stitches when you make a mistake instead of having to cut out the stitches or start your sewing over completely.
The seam ripper has a sharp tip on one end that can slice through thread. On the other end is a small curved blade. To use it, insert the pointed tip under the stitches you want to remove and slice through the thread. Then use the curved blade to pull and lift the cut threads up and out.
10. Some tips for using a seam ripper effectively:
– Work patiently, removing a few stitches at a time. Ripping out long rows of stitching aggressively can damage the fabric.
- For thick seams, cut through the top couple of threads first to reduce bulk before ripping out completely.
- If the stitches are tight, wiggle the seam ripper tip gently under the stitches to loosen before slicing.
- Keep the seam ripper blade sharp for easy slicing through threads.
- Position the fabric taut in an embroidery hoop or pin it down to keep it steady as you work.
Using a seam ripper prevents you from cutting into the fabric to remove mistakes. And it’s much faster than picking out by hand or redoing entire pieces. Keep one handy in your sewing kit to quickly remedy any sewing mishaps!
These top 10 sewing hacks provide clever solutions to common sewing challenges. By using spare thread spools as bobbins, dental floss for temporary hems, washable glue on knits, and other innovative tricks, sewists can save time, money, and frustration.
The beauty of these hacks is that they use simple household items in new ways to overcome problems. Turning a sewing needle into a threader or stitching on lace to lengthen a skirt transforms sewing obstacles into quick fixes. Any sewer, beginner or expert, can use these handy shortcuts to make sewing more accessible and enjoyable.
Rather than giving up on a project or buying new supplies, these hacks enable sewists to solve issues with spare pieces around the home. Minor tweaks like a hem fix or pincushion maximize the value of sewing gear. Creative use of scrap fabric, thread, glue, and other essential items gets projects back on track.
Sewing can be daunting, but it becomes more approachable and rewarding when equipped with these clever hacks. By spending a few minutes implementing one of these tips, sewers gain confidence to complete and improve projects. Simple sewing fixes bring satisfaction and empower sewists to keep pursuing their craft.