sewing 101: seams of all kinds

Posted by & filed under Sewing 101.

Okay, today we are going to cover a TON of information. If you are new to some of these techniques, they may take some practice. But, none of this should be too overwhelming to even a beginning sewist. This is your moment to tackle and master some great fundamentals!

Maybe this is silly, but I am going to begin by teaching you how to sew a curved seam before a straight seam. Possibly crazy, but since we already sewed some straight lines in yesterday’s lesson (and assuming you’ve spent some time getting comfortable with sewing a straight line since then), I think we can do this!

We will start today’s lesson with a curved seam, then a right-angled seam. I’ll show you how to clip and notch these angles. Then we’ll walk through three different types of straight seams – and if you can master these three, you’ll be on your way!

So, let’s begin.

(with clipping & notching)

 Let’s start with the video:

(here’s the bib tutorial I mentioned in the video)

And now on to how this page in your book should look:

(with clipping and notching)

First, the video:

And now, how this page should look in your book:

Okay, now that we’ve covered a few tricks, let’s get back to straight stitching. Below you will find video instruction on a simple seam, topstitching, and a french seam.

(simple, topstitched, french)

First, the video:

And that lovely page in your book:

Okay, that was a lot to take in! How is it working for you to follow some of these lessons by video vs. photo? I am hoping it allows for a clearer explanation of the process, but I’d love your feedback!

Practice these seams tonight and come back tomorrow with your needle & thread, tracing paper and tracing wheel. We’re going to learn to make darts!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Brother NX800 machine mentioned above for free in exchange for a mention of the product in my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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18 Responses

  1. Teresa 11 April 2012 at 3:12 pm

    I like the videos a lot. I am more of a visual learner. The only feedback I have is to maybe list stitch length and width and seam allowance before or after the seam video. I liked being able to work along with you in the video and pausing it/rewinding it while working :) I’m pretty excited about this sewing book that we’re putting together!

  2. A.J. Dub (Amy) 11 April 2012 at 3:22 pm

    I agree with Teresa about having the info to set up in text ahead of the video in the post, including the supplies needed for each portion. Also, I noticed it was easier to see what you were doing on your machine this time around. The curve took some thinking. :)

    I love the videos even though I have to come back and forth from my sewing area to the computer. Just photos would be more difficult for me I think.

  3. Shannon 11 April 2012 at 4:59 pm

    I’ve never even heard of a french seam, but I love the look of it and it gives the piece a more polished look. I have a skirt pattern I bought a while back but haven’t tried out yet. Can’t wait to try it now using this newly learned seam.

  4. Krista 11 April 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Just got done with this and there will be no posting of pictures tonight as my “straight” lines were straight… but somehow every topstitch I did was almost diagonal. Makes me think back to taking home ec in 7th grade and how we had pieces of paper that had different lines on them (straight, curved, 90 degree angles, crazy swirly patterns) and we had to “sew” on them with just the needle, no thread, and master our lines before we actually got any thread for our projects.

  5. Lisa 11 April 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Well, I thought I was doing swell until I got to the French seam. Made a little oopsie, but know what I did wrong. Guess it’s a good thing I bought enough muslin for about 40 squares :)

  6. Ani 7 September 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Hi! I found this, clearly, after the fact, but I am really loving it. I just have one question — did you trim the first two samples down to match the size of the french seam? Or am I just not getting it when my French seams turn out smaller (it makes sense, right? There are two seams instead of one, so a larger seam allowance is required, yes?) Or am I just being a silly?

  7. Jayney M 5 February 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Hi. I am 11 years old and I just started sewing. I have made a few dresses and skirts and lots of handbags and simple things. I am using my grandmother’s old machine and I really like it.

    I also think your blog is really great. I appreciate all the great tips and ideas you share.

    Anyway, I am writing an article for school and would like to interview you. We can either do a phone call or I can email you questions. Whatever is easier for you.

    I hope to hear from you soon.

    Jayney M

  8. Susie 2 March 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Hi! I’ve just started to learn how to sew (literally just bought a machine and made my first stitches following your sewing 101 series!). I wanted to bring to your attention that the third video on this page is a repeat of the first. I think it’s actually supposed to be a video teaching 3 different stitches? Loving the series, it’s been so helpful getting me started, thank you!
    ~ Susie ~

  9. Ashley 29 March 2016 at 8:05 am

    I just wanted to thank you because you literally taught me to sew with these videos! I’m 25 and just bought my first machine about 3 weeks ago and your videos were insanely helpful!

  10. Isa 7 May 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Thank you for keeping all of this up on your blog 4 years later. This is truly a gem! I love seeing and have an 80 yr old indusrial Brother machine from my grandma. Thank you for making this series and the videos. They are beyond helpful. It is difficult to find help learning to sew, especially if you are older than 13 but younger than 60. People don’t take you seriously. Anyways. Thank you for keeping this up. Never take it down. It’s a great series. I am so thankful I found it.


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