As someone who loves sewing and quilting and lots of other types of crafting, I get asked about sewing machines quite a bit. One specific type of sewing machine is a serger or “overlock” machine, and today I’m going to go over some serger basics for you!
I actually was sewing for years and years before ever getting a serger, so if you feel like you “need” one you might not really. While getting an overlock machine may not be essential, it is a really fun tool to have for certain techniques, and I find myself using mine on quilts often!
Watch this video to learn how to get started Serging, or continue reading to see each step of the process:
If you have made a simple garment or two and want to tackle some bigger challenges, then this post is for you! This post is also for you if you’ve been sewing other things (like quilts!) for a little while and want to put those sewing skills to the test! I’m going to walk you through some new skills to learn how to sew your own clothes!
I started getting a lot more into garment sewing earlier this year after being super inspired by #MeMadeMay. If you aren’t familiar with #MeMadeMay, it’s when people deliberately wear homemade clothing as much as possible during the month of May and get to share their creations with the world! I was very inspired by all the beautiful garments I saw and just HAD to get started!
The first garment I sewed for Me Made May was my Peplum Top which you can read about here, and then I kept the garment sewing going by making myself a Molly Dress, re-vamping my wardrobe by altering some of my own clothes, and then even made a little girl dress too! Eventually I decided that I really should compile some of my garment tips and tricks into one place for you so I posted Tips for Beginning Garment Sewing. This post is a follow-up to that one, so go ahead and read my initial tips to learn how to sew with Rayon and some of the tools I love to use.
The fabric I used for this top is called Flower Toss in pink. It is part of the Rollakan collection by Cathy Nordstrom for FIGO Fabrics.
Today I want to share with you about the process of making my pink Gelato Blouse. This super comfortable, transitional summer-to-fall blouse fits perfectly into my current wardrobe and is already one of my absolute favorites for wearing to work! The Gelato Blouse Pattern features a couple slightly trickier techniques that make it perfect for an intermediate project. You’ll see this top has lots of ruffles, lots of buttons, and has sleeves, which I was actually scared of until I made this top!
Before I dive into my tips to master these skills, be sure to read about my Tips for Sewing with Rayon if you are using rayon for your project!
Tips for Sewing Ruffles
Ruffles are actually pretty easy and I probably could have shared these tips earlier in my beginner blog post, but the top I made to show off on that one did not have any ruffles so I left it out. The key in sewing gathers is to sew slow and accurate!
Using a contrasting thread color, sew a large basting stitch (I use the largest stitch size my machine has) 3/8″ away from the edge of the fabric, then go back again and sew another line at the 5/8″ mark. Be sure to leave long tails of thread on both sides of the stitches so you can gather
Grab both TOP threads and start to pull gently, careful not to break the thread but firm enough to make the fabric gather together.
Play around with your gather placement for a little while. You’ll want to make it as even as possible, which is harder than it looks!
Before sewing your gathered piece to the garment itself, I like to stitch another line using normal stitch length at the 3/8″ mark (over the first line you stitched). I find doing this extra step helps the gathering stay where you want it)
Tips for Sewing Buttons
I never would have tackled buttons if it weren’t for my amazing sewing machine. My HUSQVARNA VIKING machine actually has an automatic buttonhole foot that makes it a total breeze! I’m here to say though that you do not need a super fancy machine in order to succeed at making a button hole or sewing on the buttons!
Regardless of what your machine is, be sure to look through the owner’s manual to find out what features your machine includes when it comes to button sewing.
Next, go to the good ole’ google machine and search for some videos of people using making buttonholes on your specific make or model of sewing machine.
Practice a few time on scraps of your fabric that you’re using on your garment. If the place on your garment where you’ll be putting the buttonhole is 2 layers of fabric and one layer of interfacing, then create a practice piece with the same layers to give you the most “real” practice experience.
Lastly, you’ve got this! I believe in you! You’ll be a button pro in no time!
When sewing on sleeves, you will want to go slow and be very careful not to gather too much or too little. Your pattern will likely allow for a tiny but of gathering, and will show you how to match them up to the bodice, so each sleeve is even.
When getting ready to sew on your sleeves, I recommend pinning very carefully, and then sewing it on with a large basting stitch just as if you were doing the real thing. Basting stitches are much easier to take out just in case you don’t love how it looks the first go around. Once your sleeves are basted on, try the shirt on and see how it looks. Are the sleeve ladies even? Are there any accidental holes or puckers? Once everything looks satisfactory, go ahead and sew right on top of your basting stitch with a smaller stitch length. Ta-da, your sleeves are now done!
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Are you considering buying a new sewing machine? Maybe you’ve been having the itch to learn how to sew for a while now and you just want to dive in by getting your very first machine, or maybe you are gaining experience and are looking to upgrade! Whatever the case, I am here to help guide you towards finding the best machine for your needs!
As a sewist and a quilter, there are a few key things I looked for when sewing machine shopping, and even some features that I wasn’t particularly looking for but I turned out to love SO MUCH! so are you ready to find out the Top 5 Best Sewing Machine Features?!
You might already know this about me, but I am a total HUSQVARNA® VIKING® fan. My very first machine was a HUSQVARNA® VIKING® EMERALD that I got for my 16th birthday and I’ve been obsessed with this brand ever since. The machines are total workhorses and have tons of unique design features with the sewist in mind! I recently upgraded to the HUSQVARNA® VIKING® DESIGNER BRILLIANCE 80 machine and I am pleased to announce that this machine has all 5 of these amazing features and so. much. more.
Maybe you’ve already noticed, but I have been dedicating a LOT of time over the past year focusing on hand quilting, and before that I did a ton of straight line walking foot quilting, but I am thinking maybe I should do some more quilting on my machine – Free Motion Quilting, to be exact – also known as FMQ! I have actually made a couple quilts over the years with FMQ but I have never been happy with my stitches or designs.
Recently, I heard about an online course for learning how to Free Motion Quilt and I’ve decided it’s time for me to get some official training on the topic! Signing up for Free Motion Quilting Academy will be a great way for me to expand my skillset & get better at it, while also getting to practice it with some accountability! I love the idea of taking an online course so I don’t have to give up a whole weekend & lug all my stuff to an in-person class, but I can still connect with the other quilters in the class via virtual groups & show off our progress in photos!
Have you been wanting to learn how to Frr Motion Quilt but you’re worried your machine isn’t up for the task??If you are concerned that you do not have the right machine for Free Motion Quilting, HollyAnne Knight is here to debunk your worries and explain what the most important things are to look for in a machine for FMQ! Continue Reading →
This post is for all you high-tech high-quality sewing machine lovers out there! Did you know there is a way to have sewing instructions and tutorials completely integrated into your sewing machine?! It’s practically like having a sewing teacher that lives inside your machine!
Since getting my HUSQVARNA® VIKING® DESIGNER BRILLIANCE™ 80 sewing/embroidery machine I have actually learned SO much about sewing, quilting, embroidery, materials, stabilizer, thread, stitch length, and well, a lot of stuff! One of my favorite features on this new HUSQVARNA® VIKING® machine (that I was not expecting to find so impactful) is the JoyOS ADVISOR™ which came built into the machine. Continue Reading →
Last week I shared a blog post showcasing my “Wiggling Quilt” from the book “Modern One-Block Quilts” and it kicked off a quilt pattern book review blog post series! Who doesn’t love a good blog series?! If you want to read about the fun and quirky book “Modern One-Block Quilts” and see cute pictures of an adorable baby girl floral quilt, click here!
Today’s stop on the Quilt Book Review Series is a book that has been around for a little while but will always be a winner in my eyes! My mom got Simply Retro by Camille Roskelley a few years ago and I have been looking through these beautiful patterns ever since! I’ve actually made FOUR baby quilts already from patterns in this amazing book, so you can definitely say I got my money’s worth! (That is a joke since I stole my mom’s book… thanks mom, you’re the best!)