Jean's Top Ten Dressmaking Hints

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  •   Measure once, measure twice, then cut. This is the most important tip, unless you want to buy more fabric.
  •   Invest in sharp scissors - they don't have to be dressmaker's scissors, but sharp is essential.
  •   Iron up hems before sewing - sometimes you can avoid having to pin and tack if you do this - and the resulting finish is neater.
  •   On a similar note - press the finished garment with a damp cloth between the iron and the fabric - unless it's velvet! Steam, don't press velvet.
  •   If you're in a hurry, and don't want to tack seams, pin using pins which are at right angles to the direction of sewing and sew straight over them. Note: one day, you will get a broken needle when it hits the pin square in the middle, and doesn't slide off, but it's only happened to me twice in forty years of sewing.
  •   It's quicker and neater to line a sleeveless top or bodice than it is to use facings.
  •   If you're sewing fine fabrics, use a strip of Stitch & Tear between the layers of fabric to minimise pulling and gathering.
  •   Always use a ball-point needle when machine sewing synthetics - it slides around the threads in the weave rather than trying to cut them.
  •   Don't wait for your needle to break before changing it - they do wear!
  •   Know your machine, look after it, clean it, oil it and it will last for years.
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