Up today are my top five sewing tips for professional results. I had a hard time narrowing it down to five so I decided to concentrate on the construction of a pillow cover. Pillow covers are my all-time favorite thing to sew. There really isn’t even a close second. Pillow covers don’t take much fabric, they are quick and they can change the entire look of a room.
The first thing you should keep in mind when sewing a pillow cover is to keep your stitch length short. This will help the seams stay strong and prevent them from tearing away. As you can see in the picture above, I have an ancient sewing machine. It’s about 20 years old, has about 15 stitches and runs like a top. I adore it and have no intention of replacing it any time soon! For pillow covers just select a stitch length that’s in the middle of the range on your machine.
One of my pet peeves in life is loose or hanging threads on ANYTHING, but especially on soft home furnishings. (I have a thing about tags too. They get cut off right away!) Clipping threads will give any project a clean and professional look.
When I started to actually sell the things I was sewing, I knew that my interior seams had to be finished with a serger. My dad and my husband bought me one the first Christmas after I opened my Etsy shop. I have to admit now that I’m spoiled and will probably never make anything again without serging the seams. BUT…if you are sewing for yourself, pinking shears or a simple zig-zag stitch will finish your seams perfectly.
How to finish pillow corners is for the most part a matter of taste. Designers and decorators sometimes round the corners. Personally, I like a crisp, pointed corner. (So does my favorite designer, Sarah Richardson.) To get the job done you need a tool called a point turner. Don’t use the tip of your scissors or a letter opener! Anything metal could slice right through your fabric. I’ve had the same Dritz point turner since my Singer sewing lesson days when I was a teenager. It’s just like this one…except mine is brown. It’s like an old friend.
I’ve saved the most important tip for last. In my opinion, based on years (more than I’d like to admit) of experience, pressing as you sew is what gives your piece a professional look. When you sew a seam, press it. Use a hot steam iron and press after each step. Not only will the end result be SO much better, the steps will be easier as well. You will save time and energy if you work with neatly pressed pieces of fabric. Here’s the best part…the feeling of accomplishment is amazing when you finish that last pressing and your pillow cover is ready to use. That moment for me is pure fun and no matter how many projects I have completed, it just keeps getting better. Does that sound lame? Oh well…lame but true!
If you want to try your hand at sewing a pillow cover, here is an easy tutorial on making one from a shirt. Just a few items and about 20 minutes is all you need.
If you have an extra minute I’d love for you
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