Small tears and frayed ends are easy repairs, thanks to Nicole Vasbinder’s guide to machine sewing and hand-stitching.
“Super Stitches Sewing” (Potter Craft/Crown Publishing Group, $19.99) includes 50 machine sewing stitches and 20 hand stitches; each stitch has step-by-step instructions and a sidebar explaining its common uses and recommended thread and needle type.
New sewers can learn the proper way to thread a needle or learn how to use a machine with Vasbinder’s guidance, while experienced sewers can learn new techniques.
Because Vasbinder teaches classes in the San Francisco Bay area, her book focuses on the practical applications of sewing.
Try this stitch from “Super Stitches Sewing”:
The ladder stitch is an invisible stitch that joins an opening in a seam. It is sewn from the right side when you cannot work from the reverse side, and is commonly used to close up openings on pillows, cushions and soft toys. It also can be used to finish openings left on linings and to repair torn seams. When using the ladder stitch, it is imperative to match your thread color well in case your stitches show. You should also use small stitches in order to avoid leaving any gaps in the seam.
Also known as: Invisible stitch
Key feature: Invisible joining stitch
Substitute stitch: Slip stitch
Common uses: To close openings on pillows and linings and for repairs
Fabric type: All woven fabrics; not used on knits
Thread type: Cotton or polyester
Needle type: Betweens or sharps
1. Pin the opening closed to keep your hands free for sewing. Cut a length of thread, thread the needle, and knot one thread end. Take a first stitch at one end of the opening, hiding the thread tail just inside the fold.
2. Then take the next stitch in the opposite fold, catching the fabric again just inside the fold, and pull the fabric taut.
3. Take the next stitch straight across from that last stitch, again catching just the inside of the fold. Continue stitching in this pattern until the seam is closed.
4. On the last stitch, before pulling the thread completely taut, pull the needle through the loop to make a self-knot to secure the stitches. Repeat to make a double knot.
5. To hide the thread tails, stitch the needle back in the seam and pull through to an inconspicuous spot and then pull tight. Clip the thread, and the thread tail will be hidden inside the project.
EXPERT TIP: HIDE AND SEEK
You can also use a backtack stitch at the beginning to secure the thread tails. Make sure the backtack stitch is hidden in the seam.