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Simple Sewing Projects for Beginners

Lesson 2 of 23

Basic Stitching: Satin & Zig Zag

Susan Beal

Simple Sewing Projects for Beginners

Susan Beal

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Lesson Info

2. Basic Stitching: Satin & Zig Zag

Lesson Info

Basic Stitching: Satin & Zig Zag

One thing I love, I love to do personally that I just like to share and I've brought for all my students here is use a simple sketch book where a staple in the fabrics that I've used here's three this's the one I'm wearing today it's a skirt I sewed a year ago, and then I added these applications to the shirt more recently thiss one is a fabric I made on applicant with you'll see a little later, and this is one I'd like to show you now because I'd love to share one more tip this's, another adult t shirt that I embellished with a star. The star pattern is in the pattern that comes with purchase you can see with application will always have some threads to term that's a given, but as you can see this t shirt fabric is very lightweight. It's just got a lot of very just drapey. I'm not very structured, not a heavier weight kids or men's t shirt feel for this one. I used a very lightweight and are facing on the back so you can see here what it looks like with these. I essentially followed t...

he shape of my two applications, but it just gives a better surface to so onto if you're stitching onto a tote bag or a heavier weight t shirt, you won't need to worry about this, but I just wanted to mention it in case you're using like a tissue weight or draibi kind of fashion t shirt this may be a good option for you otherwise the fabric can get a little pulled and distorted. I was watching closely and seemed even I could manage this bit s actually it's quite good how's it being I think so far, so good create stuff on holly you're just finishing up with the eye good stuff doesn't fit but looking good that looks great, I have a question you have noticed that on clothes that I've warned that they have a backing sometimes but not others and the reason for that is if the fabric is lighter yeah, okay, yeah and some of it is tear away or may you know you can trim it at home and again just like our if usable. There are so many different brands and some are meant to stay with the government through repeated washing some might washout if they're designed to just be for the sewing stage on lee, but your goal is just to get a neat clean stitches that don't kind of have create valleys or divots to what that really helps is sometimes when you're doing the stitching, the stitches contend to wonder like tunnel a little bit. Absolutely that backing you're talking about is wonderful for keeping that from happening. So it's it's a really good idea and abusing that? Would you pin that backing to it? Or you just use the directions? Yes, I would exactly thank you. I would just use the directions because it's also, if usable it's a one sided fuse herbal like interfacing. So in this case, I'll just show you a quick visual. This side is not sticky it's just a very kind of woven, almost like a cotton e feel it zaveri lightweight and are facing and the sticky side I I followed the instructions infused to the back of my t shirt so it never shows. But the thing that's nice about it is you don't have to give it like an absolute like hot iron permanent fuse. You could do a little bit of a lighter one and then, after used to travel a case on you have the option of trimming away a little of the excess like here, where the star line it's more of a geometric I just followed that one cannot just one thing to think about was since so many premade garments just there's so many differences but one thing that's always good to look for is just a smooth flat surface that you can start with that's always nice if you have something like a t shirt with a small pocket he'll either one if you something away from the pocket or you may even just uses team report remove it if you do if it just distracts from the overall designer it isn't functional um so what will do next? I know that our shirts or garments are all ready to go is we'll do our application stitching around the edge I loves exact and satin stitching it's a lot of fun it's just it's such a nice clean edge I wanted to show one more government that's just thank you for letting me borrow this back. Um this is a vintage piece that I got for my daughter that she wears all the time. It's now very short tunic yeah, I just absolutely love this one and what's nice about it is as you it's easily thirty five or forty years old but it has stood up through the last four five years of machine washing, mud puddles, art projects and it's because the stitching arounds the's layers is just such a nice tight, even stitch these air going to be used in loved these probably won't be or once your family portrait shirts, I'm guessing your kids may wear these to school and, you know, get dirty and dusty and you'll end up throwing them in the washing machine just like you would a pre made garments. Our goal here is to mix in that sturdy and easy to care for, not just a precious kind of heirloom that will be, you know, very carefully packed in tissue paper if these air handed down to your grandchildren, they'll probably have a few souvenirs from your kids day to day lives on them like my daughter shirt, for example, that she got a year and a half ago, so the satin stitch is an absolutely beautiful example of a very precise one, and I'll just use it as my template for showing you a few quick things while we're talking about this see, um, as you can see, designs consists of all kinds of lines. Obviously there are curves around this balloon are on the top of the elephants, and they're also straight lines and right angles if you have experienced sewing and you're used to that kind of curves in, for example, sewing like the front and back of address together or straight lines as you might construct a pillow it's very similar except zigzagged, you'll be creating a surface design rather than adjoining stitch that's more of a workhorse, but you'll do the same kind of sewing where the straight lines you can go very quickly and use you know your edge of your applications. A guide for the curves you may want to go a little more slowly and follow these, and, for example, I can see here in the stitches there very even, but it looks like here the person made their turn in this area, obviously, as they had kind of gone through a smoother curve, they had to do a pretty significant u turn here. So that's, what we'll be following on our heart, I chose the heart is our first project because it's very beginner friendly, will be starting at this very bottom area, stitching forward up the side, which is essentially a straight line, the easiest, and then, as we do our curve, we'll probably slow a little bit just to get the sense of it, but you'll find that, like any other sewing, once you've had a little experience with it, it does get more intuitive and easier. And so, as we go around our curve, we'll take it a little slowly, as I said, and then when we get to this top center of the heart, we will stop and make a hard pivot just like on this elephant design where this rate angle is then having adjusted our needle down our foot position, we will move around the other side of the heart the same way to rejoin our starting place and that's it. So what I'd love to dio is before we start stitching her precious garment that we just fused let's do some practice stitching on a scrap when I have a chance to just, you know, keep my scraps from a from another project it's always so handy to have pieces of fabric that aren't precious that you can really practice your stitches on that aren't going to be valuable or you won't need to pick up stitches and use again these are just, for example, this is quoting cotton. Another thing I try to do is keep high contrast color pieces from the threat I'm using for my main designs I'll just show you here here's something I was testing my zigzag in satin stitches on last week what's really nice is that even this simple little piece is so visual and this is also a good place to mention that this little scrap that I'm working with here with this exact stitches in different widths, different lengths and different tension settings just to see what really works best um is all kept in a sketchbook I love working with vintage books sketchbooks a friend of mine in jacob deatherage in portland has a company called actually were synonymous, and I was able to find sketchbooks for all of us in studio today to work with. So if you'd like to get your sketchbooks out, they're all a mix of vintage books and blank pages. So if you'd like to flip tio an early blank page in your book and at home, if you have any blank bug, no book, just a slip of paper, just something that you'd like to make notes on your project on. Maybe you want to write down a few tips or what iron setting you used to fuse your application on so far or just anything that kind of jumps out at you that's a great way to get started. I just really like having the's kinds of notes. For example, I've written myself a few notes here about the hard application particular where I like to start, where I do my needle pivot, as I just described, but one thing that's, my absolute favorite, is taking my fabric scraps in this case, our rainbow that we just trams and it doesn't have three huge piece, but enough to get a nice bit of the design, you clean up the edges, and I just staple it right in and this is completely optional, but I do think it's a nice way to work if you like having a little visual record maybe, you know, just ah place to write your tips stone this's also really wonderful for more complex patterns like when I've done alterations on my own like commercial or independent dress patterns and then sona muslin I always try to make notes on the changes I made the hem length just anything that I did that I want to remember next time for good or to do differently so this is my newest little applicants watch kind of excited toe have a join its neighbors and if you're interested in finding a book jacobs website is that book journals dot com he has hundreds and hundreds of them he has a wonderful store in portland where if you go in you can look at these shelves after shells of vintage books and will make you one on the spot, but he also ships so that's just one option for finding a nice one. So back to our applicator practice I've gotten just a very simple it's just quoting cotton white because my threat is going to be light blue just like my heart applicator and as you'll see, you'll wanna have some contrast like, for example, my scrap here obviously I used a little bit of my rainbow that was left over at home and I one thing that's really useful to write when you're doing your application descriptions, is, for example, what with and what length, and what tension work twelve on the project, and today we're going to be doing a very quick trial in here, so we all find out for ourselves on these wonderful singer, heavy duty machines. They're all mechanical, so adjusting them is very easy and very straightforward and direct, so we'll start by taking our pressed scrap of fabric and folded in half, so you have a double layer to work with a single heir of pulsing cotton. Not only does it not kind of duplicate the thickness of your riel design, but it's just it's, easy to have the needle go into far and catch it wrong, so a second layer just gives it a lot more durability and body. So for this project, we're using a matching bob in with our top thread. If your attention is good, when once we tested, our scraps will see exactly what works best for this type of project, but it does the bob, the bobbin thread color is not crucial, except for that. If it does come up just a bit through the surface, you'll want to make sure it's not a glaringly different color, and then it does match well, so what I'll do is I'm going to start with a zigzag that I will ask you guys to match your settings on your machines if you'd like for wit, we're going to change it to three point five settled between be between three and four and on this singer this with measure dial is at the top of the machine on the right side, so I'm going to try it up three point five for length I'm going to adjust it between zero and one I call it a zero point five and then for tension I'm going to set it on five and see how that looks your goal with his exact stitch is tohave this's just be very even above and below so that you don't have the threat coming up and so for my first row of stitching I'm just going to start by going forward a straight stitch on I'm just going to see how that tension looks because the streets stitches so much more straightforward than this exact it's not a huge difference but with those execs and she will be going back and forth this is a very tight stretch yeah general purpose photo or would you like a steve's a different foot? I'm the sad and such but would be wonderful thank you it's so nice having becky heroics singer because she has everything great up her sleeve you know I actually have the foot here on dh this isn't a lot to show but I'll just while we're changing sewing machine pete just mentioned this ah little straightforward stitch that I'm doing the with obviously doesn't matter in a straight stitch when that's your default setting on your sewing machine but what I'm just showing here is that the back looks neat there's not a lot of thread tangling or anything that's out of out of order so what we'll do next as well adjust this you this exact setting which on this this singer is a mechanical dial with the red s on it and again drop my foot drop me need on and then I'll just stitch forward let's see how this one looks you don't have to go the length of your fabric this's really more of a small test I'll show this year but for this one this's his exact that's very close to a satin stitch but it's not quite as a czar not quite as I'm dense is a satin such but when we're sitting with minutes sometimes I think having a little bit less of a tight satin such is a little easier to maneuver when you're so in a sentence such which can look wonderful can occasionally get a little tight and not move forward quite as quickly as this exact with a little more breathing room so this is the setting that I used justice comparison on this project my heart on this red tank top, and I deliberately chose a very high contrast color, just so you can really see the design a more subtle color match, where there's some more harmony is also really beautiful, but just for the purposes of the sewing project, that that it would be nice to kind of give you a riel high contrast version, so I'm happy with the way that my stitches look here, I think it'll look even more kind of a fuller effect when I'm stitching a woven reinforced fabric over in it. So if you'd like to adjust your with or length of your searches for a difference, exact now is a great time to do that about earlier susan is, if you are terribly intimidated by sewing machine, or you don't have won, all of these projects can be so bye hand as well. It's going to take you a long time, admittedly, but it's. Impossible to do all of it by hand, is it? Yes, absolutely, and one thing that you can dio is the fuse herbal. Up until this point, everything we've done obviously hasn't involved machine, you'll just follow the same directions to create an applicator design, and then you could d'oh in hand, such a decorative handset should be lovely, maybe a blanket, such as a very kind of utilitarian one that also forms a nice edge. But before I knew how to use a sewing machine, I actually made my husband and applicator pillow. Gosh, this must have been. I learned how to sew fifteen years ago. So is a year or two before that will be in first met and I s o the entire thing by hand. I cut out an application that of his drum set, and I put it over a heart and hand sets the entire thing on to a pillow, which I then hand such the perimeter of the pillow. I can tell you it took about fifteen times longer than if I had known how to use the machine in those days that it was a labor of love and we still have it. So, yes, it's, a very good alternative. So now that people have had a chance to just try the's stitches, one very important thing we'll do is look at the back. I want to make sure that our back like space on this one it's, I'm going to adjust my tension a bet. And try the same stitch, width and length because I'm happy with that. I'm just going to try it out for and see how that looks, because, again, these aren't huge differences, but it is the kind of thing where, when you're stitching mitts and multiple layers, it can make a difference. So I'll remember that the first one I sewed to this side was tension up fives, and I'll try it with such enough so let's see how the back of this one looks and these little scraps let's, see just for comparison. I like having these little things, and one thing you could do is use a permanent fabric marker to just mark. How did you know your tension level? How was it, what was it said that you can record that and staple it right into your sketchbook, so I'll do this one at three and check that, okay, great, perfect. I'm going to move it back up, so I liked that first one, the best, but now I have a comparison to look out for later.

Class Description

Are you intimidated by your sewing machine? Don't be! Join experienced sewist Susan Beal as she guides you through the basics of sewing, including using straight stitches, zigzag stitches, simple appliqué, and easy binding.

Using simple projects in kid's sizes, Susan will teach you to customize t-shirts, create simple tote bags, reusable napkins, and more! You'll learn tricks that the experts use to create their own contrasting binding tape, how to sew on a variety of fabrics, and how to incorporate snaps and eyelets into your projects.

If you're a beginning sewer this course will give you clear, easy-to-follow ideas and inspiration for projects that tap into your family’s creative spirit.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Susan Beal Back to School Craft Ideas and Projects.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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What a great class! Susan does a fabulous job explaining each project and is great at giving you a heads up on what issues you might face with each project. I've now made two applique projects with another in the works. I've also made two of the girls skirts. Susan gave me the confidence to try and I am really happy with the results. Hope to try the binding tape soon. Thanks for offering this video.

Amanda Siska

Susan's projects were the best introduction to sewing I could have hoped for! I wasn't able to watch every project, but the ones I saw were simple, VERY clearly explained, and perfect for a beginning seamstress like myself. I'd never used binding tape before, or elastic, but now I'm confident about making my own binding tape and adding elastic waistbands to pretty much anything. I was immediately inspired to make a few skirts for myself after watching the simple children's skirt in this course, and I'm planning to make cloth napkins and an oilcloth lunch sack as well. I wish I'd gotten to see the applique portion, so I think I'll have to purchase the course in order to see that part. I'm positive that it will be just what I need to learn the process! I see that the previous reviewer was disappointed by the lack of diversity of crafts for this course, but I find that the name "Simple Sewing Projects for Beginners" was completely accurate for what it was. Perhaps it was categorized in a craft category, which would still seem applicable. I think it was advertised as having back to school projects to make for your kids, which is an even more detailed description of the course, since it includes clothing for boys and girls, as well as a lunch tote, cloth napkin, cape, and maybe more things I missed. Overall, this was my first Creative Live experience, and I was blown away by how informative and fun it was to watch!


Fun projects to make for your little one. Susan explains things so clearly. Very nice that she also offers patterns and written instructions for free