Tuesday Tips #3: French Seams

French seams in progress

French seams! Wonderful, wonderful French seams. These are an indispensable tool for sheer fabrics or fabrics that fray easily. I like to make summer dresses from 100% cotton in funky prints, and adding French seams in is an elegant way to stop the seams from fraying, particularly if there isn’t room in your two bedroom flat for an overlocker. (sigh – one day…)

If you’re making something out of a sheer fabric like chiffon, voile or tuile, too, a French seam is particularly good, as you don’t want to see an unfinished – or even a finished! – raw seam through your garment. French seams encase any raw edges and give a lovely, neat appearance.

So here’s how you do it. As well as your fabric or garment, your thread and your sewing machine, you will need a ruler, tailor’s chalk, scissors, pins and your iron. Continue reading

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Tuesday Tips #2: Casting on, three ways

ball of maize coloured  yarn

I wasn’t really sure what to write about this week. Not that I don’t have any ideas; quite the opposite. Last week’s inspiration came from a conversation I’d had that week, this week no such luck. So where do we start?

To quote from Rodgers and Hammerstein (via the wonderful Dame Julie), let’s start at the very beginning. You have wool, you have needles, now you just need to start knitting. Wait – how? Do I just tie it on to the stick things and have at it?

No. Not quite. Although not far off. You do ‘tie’ the wool to the needles – after all, knitting and crochet are really just a series of rather cunning knots. We call this tying casting on, and this week I’m going to cover three simple, but highly useful methods of casting on. Continue reading