Taking It Up a Notch


Update – This blog has taken off beyond my expectation so I’ve bought my own domain name. The old links still work, but if you’ve bookmarked the site and would like to update the blog address, it’s http://www.takingitupanotchsewing.com .

I’ve been sewing a long, long time. I’ve sewn for pleasure, I’ve sewn for profit, and I’ve sewn because it was the only way I could afford to have nice clothes for me and my family. When I look at old photos of us wearing things I made, which I thought were pretty darn nice at the time, I see things I would do very differently if I made them today. I’m not just talking about never being caught dead in stretch stirrup pants again. I see collars that don’t have a nice roll, lumpy hems, facings that are peeking out, decorative stitching that is a little lopsided, and stripes and plaids that almost match, but not quite. While my sewing got better over the years from just practice, a lot of improvement has come from snippets picked up in sewing groups, new products hitting the market, and a good part of it from classes I’ve been fortunate enough to take. I’m still learning.

My last teaching position before I retired was a science, math, and technology curriculum designer for an international online school. Teaching people I can’t see sitting in front of me was a new challenge. Hopefully, I learned enough about how it’s done to be able to write a blog about how to make your sewing better a little bit at a time in a way that’s engaging for you and enough fun for me to stick with it.

I’m only going to be demonstrating techniques not going to go through the steps it takes to make a particular pattern. I might choose a pattern and show you how you can “take it up a notch”, but that’s not being critical of the pattern. To reach a wide market most indie pattern designers make their patterns “beginner friendly”.  But you can often use the same pattern and get a more upscale look out of it with just a few modifications. I also will not just be using be using pdfs. The Big Four get a bad wrap online, and it’s really not deserved. They put out some nice stuff.

After I have a couple of weeks of this under my belt (would you like to know how to make a belt?),I will take requests, but we’re going to start by talking about hems. Because nothing screams “homemade” louder than a poorly done hem.

Make me proud of you!


Update: A picture glossary of sewing machine feet has been added to the blog pages.


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10 Responses to Taking It Up a Notch

  1. LK Creates says:

    Hey Roberta, love your blog and I’m following. I LOVE everything you share in all the fb groups, can’t wait to see more of your blog. I just started one as well, check it out, http://www.lkcreatesnc.wordpress.com


  2. elliesmom says:

    Thanks! This is turning out to be a lot of fun.


  3. christineousley says:

    What a great series. Hems are so important and I’ve learned so much from reading your posts.


  4. Dwayla Dallas says:

    Another suggested topic: adding built-in bras.


  5. Dwayla Dallas says:

    Another one: anything to be done for rick rack other than hand sew or accept that machine stitch line down the middle?

    In general, decorative trims!

    Liked by 1 person

    • elliesmom says:

      I will do a lesson or two on attaching decorative trims, but a quick answer to the rick rack question is you sew it on with a zigzag stitch and invisible thread. It’s like a very fine fishing line and comes in clear to a darker tint. You choose the one that disappears into the color of your rickrack better. It only goes in the needle. It can be a bit of a pain at first, but it does the job really well. Here’s an example of it in clear.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dwayla Dallas says:

    I have this in my possession, and found it at WalMart. Tried using it to hand hem but struggled: can’t see it very well.


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