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Q & A: Fabric and Sewing

Here are some of the interesting fabric and sewing questions we've gotten over the years...

Q. I am going to be making satin dresses for my girls for Christmas - is there any way to make it less "slippery?" so it sews like other fabrics. See answer.

Q. I have made a top with a square neckline but the is far too wide, stands out, and shows almost my whole bra strap. Is there a clever way to resize it? I ran a basting stitch but it had that 'peasant' top look which totally destroys the classic look of the top. See answer.

Q. I'm trying to do a roll hem with a serger on a bridal dress with a chiffon overlay. So far I've attempted to do the roll hem on the chiffon but it seems like it's to heavy and not neat looking. See answer.

Q. I am trying to make a straight line on a dark fabric. I have tried a black marker and a white tracing pencil. See answer.

Q. When I try to start sewing a regular 1/4" seam on Hand Dyed Fabrics, the material is being drawn down into the needle plate and jamming up in the bobin case. I have tried sewing with a leader strip and have changed needles and sizes to no avail. It still jams. Do you have any suggestions? I just looked at your needle chart and it doesn't mention hand dyed fabrics or a needle size to use with hand dyed materials. My machine is a Janome 6500 and I was told by my dealer that it's the fabrics fault because it's been handled multiple times during the dying process and therefore has a different thickness or surface that is pulling it into the needle plate. See answer.

Q. I'm a beginning sewer, and would like to make a simple handbag (patternless). How do I mark the seam allowances so they are straight and accurate? I used a rotary cutter to cut fabric pieces but maybe I'm not cutting straight and this is why my lines seem crooked? I used a sewing gauge to make a 5/8" mark every 2" or so down the length of fabric on both sides & using a ruler to connect the dots so to speak! Any advise on fabric cutting and seam allowances. Thanks a bunch! See answer.

Q. I would like to know the best way to finish edging for a chiffon veil. I have a thin rope style ribbon that I would like to attatch. This is for a wedding veil and again I would like to finish the edging so that it will not frey. P.S. I am a novice. See answer.

Q. Can you tell me how I can sew stretch velvet panne fabric with a conventional sewing machine (not a serger or overlock machine)? I know it can be done - I just don't know what kind of needle, thread, tension, etc. to use. See answer.

Q. Is there a way to join the ends of ruffles? This particular ruffle is to be used as the outer edge of a baby blanket? See answer.

Q. When sewing on an applique are you supposed to back stitch or do you just use the threads to tie a know? I tried back stitching but it gets to thick and the threads get all caught up to. See answer.

Q. What kind of special care/treatment, seams, pressing treatments, and level of difficulty is it working with chambray? See answer.

Q. I'm working with silk and I had to rip out a seam. The stitch marks from the ripped out seam are visible. Is there any trick for getting rid of the stitch marks? See answer.

Q. How do I hem without having another person to help and get the legs even on a pair of shorts? See answer.

Q. I'm sewing with crepe for first time and have a New Home Janome. I have the correct needle, why does it seem to gather? I've changed needles for lighter fabric 1-4 stitches, 4 being basting, I'm using 3. See answer.

Q. How do you make nice mitered corners? See answer.

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