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basic guide for
the truly sewing-impaired
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I'm pretty much a hack when it comes to seamstress skills. Forget skirts, shirts, dresses, slipcovers and the like
— anything more involved than stitching together two pieces of fabric in a straight line is pretty much beyond the scope of my very meager abilities. So it never ceases to amaze me when I encounter otherwise highly-capable quasi-adults who think I'm a genius because I can whip up some pillowcases. Those home ec. classes you sat through back in the middle school days
— were they all for naught? Were we too busy passing intricately-folded love notes to our boyfriends/girlfriends to pay attention that day we learned how to sew a
Even if you never in your life plan to sew your own dining chair slipcovers, check out our guide to a few sewing basics that every adult should know:
The essential sewing kit
All-purpose (polyester or cotton-covered polyester)
All-purpose white thread
needles (buy a package with an assortment of sizes)
pin cushion (highly useful, but not truly essential. You can always keep your needles securely tucked into a folded-up piece of paper.)
iron and ironing board (naturally, you should already have these for, you know, the obvious purpose of rendering your clothes presentable to the world)
How to thread a needle
The simple task of getting that thin sliver of thread through a seemingly near-microscope eye of a needle can certainly verge on the maddening. A few tips to make the process just a bit easier:
1. Cut the end of the thread at a 45 degree angle using the sharpest scissors you can get your grubby little hands on. Actually, scratch the grubby;
when you're sewing, you'll want clean hands.
2. Hold up the needle so that you can see the eye clearly. Make your attempt. If said attempt fails, wet the very end of the thread with just a tiny bit of spit to keep it from unraveling. Still can't get the dang thread through the eye? Take a little piece of stiff paper that's folded in half—
you'll want it small enough to be able to pass through the needle's eye
—encase the end of the thread within the fold, and push the paper through.
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