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We are currently offering the SewSanne sewing patterns in Norwegian and German only, however, we will be translating them into English as soon as possible. If you interested in a particular pattern, please contact us for a translated copy. Until then, please enjoy our English sewing encyclopedia found below
Get to know important sewing terms and techniques
A sewing pattern is a type of stencil used when cutting out fabric parts for a sewing project. Most sewing patterns are printed on paper. The pattern pieces are cut out and placed on the fabric and used as a guide for cutting. Some types of sewing patterns (like the one pictured above) must be traced first.
A sewing pattern usually comes with instructions which explain how to sew together the parts which have been cut out.
A cutting layout is a drawing which shows how to lay out pattern pieces on fabric. A cutting layout can also be a drawing which shows how to draw parts directly onto a fabric.
Often you need two equal, but mirrored fabric parts (for example when making sleeves). These parts are made at the same time by layering two pieces of fabric with the sewing pattern on top.
Many sewing patterns have two symmetric sides meaning only half of the pattern is needed. In this case, fold your fabric and align the edge of your pattern along the fabric’s fold. This is called cutting on fold.
Fabrics with one-way prints on can only be cut in one direction to remain in their appropriate up-right orientation. Often more fabric is needed when using one-way prints compared to fabrics with solid colours or multi-way prints.
Use the plain seam to sew fabrics together. Sew 1 cm from the fabric edge.
Seam allowance is the area between the fabric edge and the stitching line. A 1 cm seam allowance is included in Sewsanne patterns
When pressing seam allowances open, fold the seam allowances to each side using your fingers and iron over the folds. Fabrics such as cotton are pressed with the iron. Seam allowances for delicate fabrics, however, are secured by hovering the iron across on a high steam setting without direct contact.
Fabric edges must be secured so that they do not fray when washing. This can easily be done by sewing a zigzag seam along the edge. Alternatively, an overlock machine (serger) can be used to sew along the edges.
An overlock sewing machine can trim, stitch, and overcast seams in a single operation. An overlock machine is very practical, but does not replace a regular sewing machine.
To prevent the beginning and end of seams from unraveling, they must be secured. This is most easily done by backstitching. Sew 2-3 stitches backwards and forwards at the beginning and end of each seam.
Topstitching is a technique where seams are sewn next to another seam or along a folded edge. Topstitching is used for both practical and decorative purposes
The ladder stitch is a useful hand-sewing stitch to close an opening.
Sometimes you must sew two fabric pieces together and then turn them inside out. To do this, you must leave an opening.
To turn something with corners inside out, trim the seam allowance in the corners before turning. Cut diagonally.
To turn inside out at a round edge trim the seam allowance by cutting out small triangles.
How to sew a corner: Sew to the corner and lower the sewing machine needle into the fabric. Next, lift the presser foot slightly, then turn the fabric and lower the presser foot before continuing to sew.
How to sew curves: Sew 2-3 stitches and lower the sewing machine needle into the fabric. Lift the presser foot slightly. Next, turn the fabric slightly and lower the presser foot before continuing to sew. Repeat this process until you have sewn the whole curve.
Sewing machines sew with two threads. The top thread and the bottom thread (bobbin thread). The top thread is visible on the upper side of the fabric, the bottom thread on the wrong side of the fabric.
If the tension of the two sewing threads is correct, you’ll get a strong and balanced seam. See your machine’s manual for instructions on how to adjust the tension. When sewing gathering seams, you need to decrease the tension of the needle thread.
Gathering is a technique for making small folds in fabrics. Two parallel rows of running stitches with reduced upper thread tension are sewn. The stitching threads are then pulled so that the fabric forms small folds along the threads.
The right side of a fabric is the printed or "pretty" surface of the fabric. The wrong side is the other surface of the fabric. Right sides together mean that you put two fabric pieces together, so that the right sides of the fabric are touching each other.
Woven fabrics have two finished edges, which are known as selvage. A long arrow on the sewing pattern indicates the grainline. This is to help you to place the pattern piece correctly on to the fabric. The arrow must be parallel to the selvage.
Woven, knitted and non-woven fabrics are distinct from each other must be treated differently. For example, denim is a woven fabric, jersey is a knitted fabric, and felt is a non-woven fabric. It’s important to use the type of fabric recommended in the sewing instruction.
Interfacings and stabilisers are used to reinforce or stiffen fabrics. For Sewsanne projects use Vlieseline F220 or similar. Vlieseline 248 or similar are used for giving extra volume.
The sewing instruction states how much fabric is required for a project. Fabrics have width of either 140 cm (clothing fabrics and fabrics from Europe) or 110 cm (quilt fabrics and fabrics from outside Europe). Interfacings often have a width of 90 cm. If you use a fabric with a width different to the one specified in the instructions, the amount of fabric required needs to be adjusted.
It’s a good idea to prewash fabrics as those made from natural fibers may shrink with the first wash. Washing will also help prevent color bleeding. Stabilizers, hobby felt, and ribbons should not be pre-washed.
Double-sided sewing tape / Wonder Tape is used for fixing fabrics temporarily. The tape does not stick to the sewing machine needle, and it disappears in the first wash. Wonder Tape also makes it easier to sew in zippers.
A humb jumper or seam jack is a practical thing that, among other things, can be used to lift the presser foot at the same height as a fabric edge.
The zipper foot can be used for inserting zippers as well as making and inserting piping or cording. The zipper foot allows the needle to stitch close to the teeth or spiral of a zipper.
For more information on the zipper foot for your machine model, refer to your sewing machine manual.