FAQ

I used to sew when I was at school, but haven’t done any since. Do you offer refresher classes?

Yes, all Know How To Sew lessons are personal to you. I will help you with what you need. This can range from sewing a straight line, to threading your machine. If you have a particular requirement like inserting a zip, I can tailor the lesson to it.   If you want to return to sewing, but aren’t sure what you need we can discuss it, so that you get the most out of the lesson at Know How To Sew.

I have a new machine and am nervous using it!

How lovely! I will enjoy showing you how to use it, slowly at your own pace so that you gain in confidence. Book a ‘Reacquaint Yourself  With Your Machine’ course and I will tailor it to your needs.

Do I need my own machine?

Yes. You need to bring your machine so you can work on it and then you will find it easier when you are back at home. I do not have any machines to lend out.

Do I need materials?

Yes, I will discuss this when we arrange the lesson. What you will need to bring will depend on what you wish to learn! I do appreciate material is expensive and will keep the costs as low as possible. I do not provide material to work on as everyone’s choice is personal, what catches your eye, may not be to my taste.

How to choose fabrics

You can buy three widths of fabric, that is 90 cm (35-36″), 115 cm (44-45″) or 150 cm (58-60″) . Most clothing fabrics, calico, quilting fabric, etc. will be 115 cm = 44-45″ wide (on flat bolts), whilst many home decoration fabrics, like curtaining are 150 cm = 58″ (usually on round rolls). Fabric that is 90 cm = 36″ is less common, although  muslin and interfacing, are often sold in this width. ALL  pattern fabric requirements at Know How To Sew are based on the 115 cm (44 – 45″) width.  Please check the width when you buy the fabric. It should be  labelled on the end of the bolt/roll.  You should also check what the fabric is made from, as well as the washing instructions.  Please make sure that your fabric is at least 115 cm (44 – 45″) wide.  Unfortunately you will be unable to cut down on fabric when purchasing wider materials as you need the length to finish most items.

What is a fat quarter?

A “fat quarter” is a term used in patchwork and sewing. It is a quarter of a yard of fabric that is sold cut in a square shape, rather than cut across the width of the fabric.  If you cut a quarter of a yard from a length of material you will get a strip 9″ by 44 or 45″ which suits some projects, but is too narrow to make much with it.  Fat quarters are lovely to use, you’ll find them in every colour and pattern of cotton fabric. They are often sold separately or in packs of four, five or six co-ordinating colours and designs.  I love to use them in my Know How To Sew designs.

How to choose a thread.

Choosing a thread depends totally on the type of fabric you have bought, whether it is a polyester/cotton mix or cotton.  Your thread must be compatible with your fabric for flat, even sewn stitches. I always sew with Gutermann threads that are easily purchased from most sewing shops, as they suit most machines and rarely tangle or break.  There are two main types of thread to use…
1.       Gutermann Sew All thread is the ideal thread for sewing polyester/cotton material on a machine.  It is made from 100 % polyester and is for use with polyester fabrics.
2.       Gutermann Natural Cotton Thread is ideal for machine sewing on cotton fabrics as it is made from 100% cotton.
Always choose a matching tone or darker thread as this blends in better that a lighter colour.  Light grey is a good choice for piecing fabric together, as in quilting,  as the colour seems to blend in well.

Topstitching

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Zoom in and look at the rainbow stitching, using a King Tut thread.

I love the effect of rainbow threads if I want my quilting or top stitching to really show up.  Some of the threads are more shiny than others, depending on the effect you want.   I use King Tut threads, YLI or Sulky to achieve this look. They all give me good, even sized stitches on my machine.

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Zoom in to look at the top stitching in a matching thread.

Of course you can the same thread for top stitching that you have used to make the item.

I want to make some presents for my family.  Can you help me?

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Travel Tray and Travel Purse

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Jewellery Roll, Travel Purse and Travel Tray

Yes, I make presents for my family all the time.  It is nice if you make them in matching fabric so that they look like a set.   Choose what you want to make and I will design a course that fits your wishes.

Can I come with a friend?

Yes, however I do not offer classes to more than two people as you would lose the individual attention needed to make good progress and use of the time. Know How To Sew is for you, not a group of people who are all working at different speeds and levels.

I want to make bunting. Can you help me?

Yes I can. Bunting with a child’s name on is lovely. What about some Christmas bunting to decorate your home?  Bunting is fun to make as every flag can be different, just by using coordinating fabrics, adding letters or using Christmas materials. I hang my bunting in my garden and around my gazebo, so I will show you how to make ties to hang it up and take it down quickly.  Know How To Sew bunting patterns need time to make each flag carefully, which I feel is very important as you will want to wash it and ensure it lasts for years.

My machine is a bit unreliable, can you look at it for me?

All machines should be working properly. We are unable to service your machine for you and recommend you contact the manufacturer or a local supplier for further advice before you book any courses.

What happens if I book a course and don’t finish in time?

Courses are designed to offer you the individual attention required to best enable you to finish your project and my recommended timings are based on experience. It is important not to rush so if you don’t finish in the booked time we can continue, or alternatively you could book further individual tuition at a later date to finish your project. I only book one course per day because of this.

Should I bring paper and pen to make notes?

I recommend you bring an A4 notebook so you can stick samples in if you would like to. I encourage you to write down notes for yourself to remember when you are at home alone. Some courses have handouts but there is always something extra to note!