5 November 2011

Musings on Pattern Cutting... and a Giveaway!


"Pattern cutting is a skill through which we are packaging human anatomy, just like designing a package for an object. Many products we purchase nowadays rely on intelligent packaging design for marketing: the iPod, chocolate, shoes, books, perfume and many more. In the same way, designing clothes that fit the human shape well affects marketability, both of the clothes and also of the package within - the wearer.

Imagine you are wrapping a present. Some of the easiest presents to wrap are flat rectangular shapes or cubes, such as CDs, books and diaries. It has always been much more challenging to wrap a gift that is an irregular shape, like a mug or a coffee maker. Under those circumstances, we will automatically go to look for a box...

Body packaging has to cope with a basic principle: human anatomy is an irregular three-dimensional shape. We do not have the option of searching for a box. Pattern cutting is about finding ways to cut fabric so that it wraps neatly around the three-dimensional body in the desired shape."

- Dennic Chunman Lo, Pattern Cutting, p.16

When I read this section in Pattern Cutting, a little lightbulb went off in my head. Ding! It may be obvious, but describing pattern cutting like wrapping an awkwardly-shaped gift sounded like a perfect summary of a process I find quite difficult to explain to people who have no idea of what it involves. I tested this explanation out on my boyfriend the last time he asked, "Er... what is pattern cutting again?" and he understood the concept immediately.

If you're keen to get your hands on this book following my review last week, I bring good tidings! The good people at Laurence King publishers are offering up a copy to one of my blog readers. To be in with a chance of winning, leave a comment below. How about sharing your favourite sewing tip or trick as part of your entry?

The giveaway is now closed
The deadline to enter is Thursday 10th November at midnight GMT. The giveaway is open internationally with shipping included. The winner will be picked by random number generator and announced on Friday 11th November. Don't forget to leave your email if it's not attached to your blogger profile so I can contact you if you win.

Bonne chance!

[Soundtrack: 'Video Games' by Lana Del Rey]

163 comments:

  1. I loved the definition , so true! xx

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  2. I'd love to win the book please!

    My tip is something basic, make sure you fill your bobbin right up at the beginning of a project as there is nothing more annoying than running out half way down a seam.

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  3. i love this definition, i never thought about pattern cutting that way until now!
    my sewing tip is: never think "oh, i don't have much time, but i just have to hem this skirt/sew a buttonhole/.. that will be done quickly", that's the point where something goes wrong and you spend way more time on your project than when you would just have done it at another time! happens to me every time :D

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  4. I would love this book.

    My sewing tip is to match the needle in your machine to the fabric you are sewing, even if you are just doing a few seams. This would have saved me some wrecked projects, had I followed it myself!

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  5. oops, allphysio at hotmail dot com.

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  6. This is a truly clear and easy to understand definiton! thanks for sharing.

    I'm also in for the book!

    My tip - the obvious - measure, measure, measure twice, then cut.
    And,if the difference between your waist and hips is more than 20 cm - use 2 darts instead of 1 (i.e.in total this makes 8 darts instead of 4)to get a nicer shape

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  7. Great explanation, it makes so much sense. And also explains why draping is such an effective fitting and pattern making method!
    My tip is to always sew a gored skirt's seams from the hem to the waist. Same for round, v or sweetheart necklines;sew from the lowest point to the shoulder on each side. Doing this stops seams from going wavy.

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  8. Make sure you've read through the pattern instructions before you start, have everything you need for the project to hand and of course a hot cuppa and something good to sing along to as you go!

    Sounds like a fantastic book, would love to win it please! Thanks!

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  9. I don't have a tip as I'm completely new to sewing but I am hoping to start a short course in January, this book will help a lot!

    mzbhaving at hotmail dot com

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  10. patbeadle@hotmail.co.uk5 November 2011 at 08:53

    That so makes sense.Some people (myself included) only understand plain english.

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  11. Great giveaway and also asking people to leave a tip in their comments! That's given me a whole lot to remember this morning!

    My tip: when machine sewing oilcloth (right side), stick some masking tape to the bottom of your foot to enable it to glide easily across the surface. I wish I'd thought of this before starting my oilcloth placemats... would've saved a lot of time, frustration, jammed bobbins and broken needles!

    elisalexdcp (at) hotmail (dot) com

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  12. This book sounds like a really interesting read, and I'd really love a copy!
    My biggest tip/trick that I have discovered so far (in my grand total of 6 garments made) is to press EVERYTHING - because a couple of millimetres at each seam and dart make a whole lotta difference to how the whole thing lines up at the end!
    (Barbara, thanks for the tip about the darts - I'll have to give it a try on my next skirt!)

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  13. The best advice I always give myself is not to hurry sewing something. It always ends in desaster when I try to finish say a skirt for that party starting in three hours.

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  14. Brilliant definition! So true, and yet I've never thought about it like that before..... Would love to read the book, it sounds very interesting!

    Hmmm... favourite sewing tip..... my fave at the moment is one I picked up from Gertie's blog, actually. Don't use pins - it's a lot faster (and it doesn't run the risk of distorting the fabric) to just hold the fabric in place while you sew or cut. Speeds things up so much, and it surprisingly easy!

    macska at gmail dot com

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  15. I love those ding moments.
    I cannot for the life of me think of a sewing tip that is worthy of sharing.
    But in life, don't let people's judgement stop you wearing what you like. Life is meant to be fun.

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  16. Damn it, finding a box would be so much easier!
    The tip I'm loving at the moment is to fasten two pens or pencils together with a rubber band when you're tracing patterns from burda magazine as it instantly adds seam allowance without having to draw it in afterwards, just measure the distance between the lines and use that when you stitch the seams - most are 1.0-1.5cm.

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  17. That definition is simple, yet brilliant! I'd love to win a copy of this book, it when straight onto my wish list when you reviewed it.
    My sewing tip isn't original in the slightest, but was a revelation when I actually tried it. Waxing hand sewing thread! I did find though that you really do need to iron the thread to get the best results - which is why I've got some greaseproof paper in my sewing room as it protects my ironing board and iron when doing that little job!

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  18. I would love to win this book!

    I don't have any magic sewing tips, I'm not that experienced. But for me the most difficult part is starting and making myself dare to try something I have never done before.
    So my tip is: just go for it!

    animierdame at gmail dot com

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  19. The book sounds ideal, I also hadnt thought of it like that but it totally makes sense. Of course it's like wrapping a present! I dont know why I didn't see it before.

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  20. That book sounds like a true treasure and the definition is really inventive!
    My tip is already mentioned here but as it is really important: read the instructions completely trough before even cutting into the fabric. If there are some points you don't understand think them trough.
    And change your needle at the beginning of each project. I can't even remember how many seams I have ripped out because the needle was too dull and the seam began puckering...

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  22. This book sounds amazing.
    My tip is never sew when you're tired...you'll only have to undo it. And take your time. If you rush you'll make mistakes and the whole thing will take more time in the long run. And yes...this is the voice of experience!!! ;-)

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  23. My best sewing tip is this:

    Listen to other people's sewing experiences, but don't listen to their opinions.

    And by that I mean, learn from others as much as you can, but once they start saying things like "slide-fasteners are a pain in the back", "trousers and bras are the most difficult to sew" or "knit fabrics are for professionals", it's time to let it go in one ear and out the other. For one thing, it's bound not to be true, and for another thing it's up to you, not other people, to decide your limitations.

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  24. I had a lightbulb moment when I read the definition of pattern cutting!

    My tip is to store patterns in clear plastic sleeves with prepunched 3-ring binder holes. You can see the pattern front at a glance and you don't have to try to refold (aka cram) the pattern pieces back into the tiny envelope. You can then insert them into binders for easy storage.

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  25. You make this book sound better and better!
    My tip is pretty basic. Don't rush it, and by that I'm not talking about the speed of your sewing machine. Don't rush it because not only because mistakes can happen when you're rushing along without thinking it through, but it's way more enjoyable if you are in the moment while you're sewing.

    limes.sweet@gmail.com

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  26. I would love to win the book!

    My best tip is for using up the miles of satin ribbon I have- I press it in half and use it to encase the straight seams in children's garments, to make them look nice and itch less.

    email: glasstapper (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  27. Love the definition, had never thought about it that way, but it's so true!

    I've been steaming wool this morning, so here's the first thing that pops into my head: irons that shut off automatically is good in theory but annoying when steaming. Also, salespeople always like to sell you heavy irons, and I'm sure they're great for pressing curtains and tablecloths, but when steaming something a lighter iron is a lot kinder on the arms.

    My email is b_akire@yahoo.se

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  28. Ooh, yes please!

    My favourite sewing tip is from my mother. "A good seamstress is never afraid to unpick."

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  29. Gift wrapping for your body, I love it!

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  30. Good choice of quotation, Tilly - and as someone who is struggling a bit with fitting at the moment, this is comforting and motivating.

    My best tip might sound obvious - but I think some of the tips are. It's STOP WHEN YOU GET TIRED. This is not something I'm good at, because when I get into the groove I don't want to stop. But that's when you make mistakes, swear at your sewing machine, cry, sulk with your boyfriend because he told you to go to bed an hour ago but you thought it was a good idea to start making buttonholes even though it's after midnight.... you get my drift, I think :)

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  31. It´s quite an interesting perspective on pattern cutting. I should get the book!
    My sewing relies on slow slow slow. And don´t sew it if you don´t like it.
    Thanks for the giveaway.
    lainglesitablog at gmail dot com

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  32. Definitely put my name in the hat! hmmmm...one of my all-time top tips is to work on projects that excite you...no matter how complicated (or easy).

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  33. Crossing my fingers, I really want this book!
    Thanks for th giveaway, Tilly!

    paunnet@gmail.com

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  35. Ooo...what a great giveaway!
    My tip: If you ever decide to alter a pattern piece (for reasons of fit or design) make sure you think through how it will affect all the other pieces and the rest of your construction process. It seems obvious, but after you cut is not a good time think of the reasons why the alteration isn't a good idea. Ask me how I know. :-)

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  36. I'd love to be included in this giveaway, thanks! My tip would be to explore the full range of feet and stiches on your machine. I'm sometimes a bit lazy with this, but it's always worth taking the time to discover a new technique - they generally make life much easier!

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  37. I have no sewing pics to share, because I'm still learning.
    But I hope I can sign me in this lovely giveaway! :)

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  38. I actually put this book on my wish list after your review so I'd be delighted to win it! My tip would be: do as I say, not as I do: muslin!
    ghainskom at yahoo dot com

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  39. Awesome! I think my main tip is to just sew regularly. I don't sew nearly enough, and I am always reminded of how competency comes with continual practice.

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  40. I would indeed love to receive that says that.
    My tip : I use washable glue to install my zippers. I get better control when positioning and then I wait for it to dry before sewing.

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  41. ooh, how lovely! the biggest "tip" that has made a huge difference in my sewing is to PIN! (i know, huge revelation, right?) amazing how seams come out as intended when you keep adding in more and more pins!

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  42. sweet giveaway! my tip: my favored one for crafting, sewing, & embroidery: take the time to set up! all threads, pins, papers in place before you start. saves so much time in the long run ;)
    jlalexia(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  43. Brilliant definition on pattern cutting! It IS like a light bulb going off.
    My tip, hmmm...not original, but tissue paper is a must for the sewing kit.
    You can lay it down when cutting slippery fabric. Or sandwich it between fabric when sewing seams on slippery or stretchy fabric. It's helped me TONS!
    I've loved reading all these tips, great idea :)

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  44. Excellent definition. I never would have thought of it that way! One of my tips (which I really need to use more myself) is to make a list of everything you'll need for your next project or two and getting it before you start. I always end up missing something vital (like an invisible zipper foot) and pausing my sewing halfway through.

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  45. How lovely! My tip would be to invest in quality tools from the beginning! I made the mistake of buying cheap pins once and I'm still finding crappy ones in my pin cushion. They catch on everything and bend really easily!

    girlwiththestarspangledheart[at]gmail[dot]com

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  46. Yay! My tip is to transfer the markings for folded tucks and pleats. Not only do you get a great line to sew on, but you get perfectly straight tucks and pleats every time!

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  47. I want so much to have this book!
    My tip is just read all the instructions that come with the pattern before you start sewing :)

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  48. The book sounds wonderful. Thanks for offering a giveaway!

    My tip is, really understand how your particular machine works. Make sure it is threaded properly, make sure you only turn the handwheel forward, etc. This will make a huge difference in how well the machine works, hence reducing frustration.

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  49. This book looks so great!
    My tip is..try one new thing at a time. It makes learning new techniques less daunting if you choose one feature for each project.

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  50. I loved you review and the book seems really useful! I'd love to have my own copy. And my sewing tip: always use a proper sharp sewing needle.

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  51. I'll have to second (or twelfth!) pressing as you go! If I had to recommend one thing to a new sewer it would be to press everything!

    I'm so excited for the book! I've been wanting to read a book on this subject for a while now.

    Thanks!

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  52. I would LOVE to win this book!! I put it on my Amazon wishlist just last week!!
    My sewing tip is: if you want professional looking results you should expect to spend as much (or more) time at the ironing board as you do at the sewing machine.

    thillsd@gmail.com

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  53. I'd love this book - i'm just starting to get into drafting.
    My tip - if making something from scratch - make a toile. When I don't, I always end up having to make huge adjustments, as i'm not a standard size - and to be honest who is a standard size?

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  54. Please enter me in the giveaway! My tip is that I use a pin to shape my collar points. It works much better than placing a pointed wooden object or scissors into the collar piece. Less chance of poking a hole in the fabric.

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  55. What a nice give-a-way!

    My tip is to walk away when you make a mistake. Just remove yourself and come back in a different frame of mind, so that you can repair without falling into a cycle.

    And, I love this tip from lazystitching:
    The tip I'm loving at the moment is to fasten two pens or pencils together with a rubber band when you're tracing patterns from burda magazine as it instantly adds seam allowance without having to draw it in afterwards, just measure the distance between the lines and use that when you stitch the seams - most are 1.0-1.5cm.

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  56. The few people I've ever discussed this with grasped it right away. They said it looked hard and that they imagined that strong spatial relationship skills were necessary, such as those an architect would have.

    Even with the myriad asymmetries and inherent oddness of the human body, I'm not sure I like to think about it as an awkwardly shaped package.

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  57. This book looks amazing. I'd love to get my hands on a copy!

    My tip may be something that everyone does, I'm not sure: put a piece of masking tape or bright electrical tape on your machine on the line that you use to measure seams as you sew. That way it's much more visible than the little line that's engraved in the machine, and the tape comes right off when you're done!

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  58. Oh, wow, what a good giveaway! Thanks so much far sharing! My favorite trick is to use the applique stitch on my sewing machine for just about everything! I use it for lace insets, monograms, embroidery, and colorful touches of contrasting threads.

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  59. Great giveaway! My tip, based on ruining one too many patterns, is to trace off multisize patterns rather than cutting out one size. Then, if you make a mistake during alterations, or choose the wrong size, you will be able to go back to the original pattern, rather than wondering how you're going to stick it back together!

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  60. Thanks for a great giveaway ! I would love this book ! BTW Your drafted bodice looks good :-) I am new to sewing, so the best tip for me is measure twice cut once ! x

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  61. Get someone to help you make some basic slopers. Then you not only have a pattern you can embellish and modify to make just about anything, but it will help you make alterations to commercial patterns as well.

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  62. My tip is to have a really good seam ripper. I have a stainless steel one with replaceable blades. It cuts thread like buttah. So smooth. I don't dread unpicking anything anymore. Ruth
    rutheblack at hotmail dot com

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  63. My main tip is to read everything before you start!

    emmalawson at gmail dot com

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  64. Thank You very much for Your revieuw! And I definitely would love to win the copy of this book.
    Reading all the tips above like "make a toile", "pin", "press", "read the instructions", "put everything ready before You start", " take Your time", "invest to good scissors" etc. - I completely agree.
    Extra tip from me. First of all: make Your own clone, Your double-body dress form. From paper or tape, doesn`t matter. Very useful.

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  65. Would love a chance to peruse this book. As a beginner to sewing, I try to take in a lot by reading lots of sewing blogs. My tip is to read less, and do more. You really do learn more by doing. I still can't help my blog-surfing habit though! ngoc.n12 at gmail

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  66. I'd love to win a copy of the book.

    The best sewing tip i can think of is also good for the rest of life: preparation. Know your fabric before you start sewing, know the fit of your pattern before you cut, and BASTE. A stitch in time really does save nine.

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  67. My advice is very easy, think before you start or read the instructions carefully. Because using a seam ripper can be very frustrating. And take enough time and care when transforming the pattern to your fabric.

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  68. I'm not sure I need another pattern cutting book, but I every time I get a new one I always feel like there's something lacking in it that could be supplemented by another book... so I'd love to win this one and see what perspective it offers. The tip I always have to remember is to take it slow and not get overconfident—once I feel like I know what I'm doing and stop paying attention, I make tons of mistakes!

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  69. That book sounds great! I would love to win it!

    It's funny to think of myself as a coffee maker!

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  70. Fantastic excerpts of this book and I like the wrapping a present analogy. Might pinch that!

    Not sure I have any sewing tips or tricks yet but on advice from more experienced sewists I now always aim to mark stitching lines in my pattern pieces and cut fabric. Very helpful if like me, you are a not so accurate cutter and very good for curves.

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  71. I was going to say "Don't rush" but since we learn best from mistakes, why not just go for it sometimes?

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  72. That description is so useful! Thanks for running a giveaway--I'd love to read the whole book.
    se_aguila at yahoo dot com

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  73. Oops, forgot my tip (aimed mainly at myself these days--you only improve at garment sewing when you actually _do_ garment sewing

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  74. Would love to win a copy of the book, please!!!
    My tip is to enjoy sewing, have an open mind and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised with the final outcome.

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  75. Never sew when tired. You'll only have more to unpick.

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  76. Sounds like a great book!

    My tip is something I refused to do for a long time: hand baste my zippers before stitching them. I don't do this for fly zips, but for others it's saved me so much time and seam ripping.

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  77. If I make three tiny mistakes in a row, it's quitting time. Also, as long as I don't let the dog sleep on it or light it on fire in a fit of pique, a project can ALWAYS be salvaged.

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  78. I love that take on pattern-making!

    Hmm, my favourite sewing tip? Go for it. Don't be intimidated by new patterns, techniques, or anything. Just go for it. :)

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  79. Oh, fun. The excerpt makes me want to read more! Love the visual imagery. run2mommyatverizondotcom

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  80. Great definition! I am brand new to sewing clothing...my tip would be to read the pattern all the way through (and read through each step multiple times to make sure you are doing the right thing the right way!)

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  81. My sewing tip is to highlight pattern instructions before beginning sewing if it's one of those patterns that jumps around from view to view. I've detoured onto the wrong view's instructions one time too many. :-)

    And, I hope I win the book as I've been wanting to try pattern drafting.

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  82. Sounds like a great book! I'm in for a chance.

    Favorite tip thus far is from Patty the Snug Bug: use Steam a Seam to turn up jersey hems before sewing!

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  83. The book sounds interesting!

    My time is to not let yourself get frustrated! You make even more mistakes if you're tired/frustrated.

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  84. That sounds so very much what it feels like to me :D
    And most wrapping techniques appear not to include a non-model shape, too ... lol

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  85. The book looks good. Drafting my own patterns is something I am slowly dipping my feet into... and making many mistakes!
    My tip-- always press as you go. I love the iron!

    sewmyway@gmail.com

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  86. Also placing fabric weights on top of your fabric while cutting, instead of pinning the pattern to the fabric really speeds things up!

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  87. When sewing buttons and buttonholes, the button is not supposed to sit in the center. Make sure you know where to sew it on :)

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  88. I have a very basic sewing tip that I still need to remember to do for every project: ironing your hems before you sew them closed saves you a lot of aggravation and looks so very nice!

    Love the definition!

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  90. What a great give-away!
    My best tip is... when in doubt - baste! It has saved me so much time and energy :)

    pandagirrrl at hotmail dot com

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  91. What a great description! And all the great tips people are leaving. I definitely must come back and read through all of them.

    The tip I'd give myself most of the time is to just do it. I waist so much time thinking about and planning a project and there never seems to be enough time to get to it. Use every opportunity to take a little step towards completing a project.

    Would love to get my hands on that book!

    hanna dot paal at gmail dot com

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  92. My tip?
    Wash your hands and face, tie up your hair, and wear something clean and fresh EVERY TIME you sew. This will improve your attitude and save precious fabric from ruin.
    North_ern.Comfort@Yahoo.com

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  93. I'm working hard to improve my sewing skills and would really like this book.
    My tip is more of an organizational tip. To store your threads neatly wrap a piece of Amazing Tape or Reusable glueless tape around them. This is a clear, plastic tape found at the hardware store and it protects your thread from dust.

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  94. Sounds like a great book. I find it useful to machine baste my zips and zip them up to make sure seams and ends match before sewing them for real - saves fiddly unpicking!

    bonesandshelley [at] gmail [dot] com

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  95. Ooh please include me too.

    My tips is to baste generously by hand. Especially if you're unsure of fit or have a tricky zip placement. Also don't sew when you're exhausted.

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  96. Pins. Lots of Pins. Not using pins doesn't save time because you end up ripping out so much.

    Thanks for the giveaway chance.

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  97. that's a brilliant definition of pattern cutting, one I will be bearing in mind from now on.

    count me in for the give away,

    my tip is: to always iron out the teeth on a concealable zip before inserting it in to a garment. that way you will be able to sew much closer to the teeth, giving a more professional finish.

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  98. My tip? Enjoy the whole process of sewing with a cup of tea (or coffee). This causes me to slow down and THINK before I do anything.
    And use your iron to press each seam as you go.
    jar6566 at comcast dot com

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  99. Sleep before you sew, because you will inevitably make mistakes that you never would have made had you been more awake and alert.

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  100. My tip is essential to sewing, and everything - recipes, job applications, simple plumbing repairs. Read the dumb instructions. And not just once, so you can say that you read the dumb instructions, but read them until you understand them. I have learned, and continue to learn, this lesson the hard way.

    I really like your blog!

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  101. What a cool definition, it totally makes sense! And so many good sewing tips!

    My tip is to notch curvy seams (like princess seams) before sewing. Makes it so much easier! :)

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  102. I would love to have this book - thanks for the chance to win it!
    My tip: Stretch press your bias binding before you use it. This will prevent your band from being twisty or warped when applied. To do this, cut your strip wider than you desired finish (how much depends on the fabric stretch - test). Pin one end of your strip to your iron board and gently stretch the strip as you iron.

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  103. Hi!
    My tip- if you make clothes for yourself, check your own sizes and don't depand blindly on the pattern.
    Good luck & happy sewing!!

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  104. I would love to win this book! My tip for better sewing is to not try and do tricky things when you are tired - it's asking for trouble!

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  105. I have been lurking around your blog for so long ... But now it's time to break the silence :) That definition is exactly what I needed!

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  106. I've been asked several times to teach people to sew. Haven't agreed yet but one of the exercises I consider is just as the author suggests: have the learner wrap fabric around a ball vs a cube to see how many more darts it would take to fit the fabric.

    Thanks for having the giveaway. My only trick is this: I thread two or more needles with the matching color so I don't have to stop a handmade hem just to thread my needle. Especially useful for pleated or circle skirts (which I love!!!)

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  107. I always wondered why my zippers were always wonky.. until I discovered that that weird attachment that came with my machine was a zipper foot. So tip: use that, it makes your life a whole lot easier. Also, the seam ripper is a sewists best friend.

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  108. Oooh, yes please! I think all my tips have been superbly covered already - the one I'm trying to stick to at the moment is to pace a project without manic rushing to keep the process enjoyable.

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  109. Oh, that'd be fantastic to have on my bookshelf for reference!

    My trick is that any left/right symmetric seam like a collar should be sewn in two pieces, starting from the middle and sewing out to the edge. It's a lot easier (for me anyway) to keep the piece centred properly that way.

    Millie
    interrobangs.anonymous at gmail dot com

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  110. Ooh, excellent! I'd love to have a copy of this book! My tip is to always set your stitches by pressing them flat, especially when sewing a seam before pressing the seam allowance apart. It really does help to set the stitches properly into the fabric. Thanks for the opportunity to win. tabathatweedie@gmail.com x

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  111. Oh it would be wonderful to have this book - it sounded so fabulous when you reviewed it! My tip is to cultivate a newtork of other sewists and enjoy their company as much as possible. You can learn from them and teach them, they'll mark your hem for you while you stand on a table and you can help them with that crushing party dress deadline, and when all of you are frustrated or bored with the thing in your hands, you can simply swap projects and keep sewing and you all get more done then if you'd thrown it in a corner and stalked off! MrsC is one of my favourite sewists to hang out with. jwintour at clear dot net dot nz

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  112. I'd love the book as well!

    My sewing tip: One step at a time. One step back is also a step forward.

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  113. The book sounds fantastic!
    I don't really have a sewing tip, more of an organisational tip. If you trace patterns, always immediately note on each piece the pattern number/name, size and the number/name of the pattern piece itself and any adjustments you made. No more anonymous pieces! Also, write a review of the pattern (even if you don't want to put it on the internet), as you'll have a good record of what you did with a pattern and how it worked out. This helps to figure out what patterns work for you and your body type and will speed up the process of sewing a pattern a second time if you like it.

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  114. That definition does make a lot of sense, although I would never have thought of it that way myself. And the more difficult a present is to wrap, the more satisfying it is when you do it well, just like sewing :).

    My tip is pretty basic: pre-wash every piece of fabric as soon as it comes in your door, that way you can just pick it up and start working when the time comes without waiting for the wash.

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  115. Wonderful giveaway!

    My tip or trip is tried but true: Measure twice, cut once. Nothing sucks more than getting it all wrong and ruining a perfectly good piece of fabric.

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  116. Thanks for the chance to win this book, Tilly! If the quote you shared is in line with the rest of the book, I imagine there's a lot in there I'd learn from.

    My tip is to use nice fabric. I've found I really cherish and wear the garments I've made from really nice fabric, while I'm always passing over (or cutting up!) the garments I've made with cheaper stuff.

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  117. I would say start simple so you can achieve the thrill of completing a project gain some skills and work toward you dream project.

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  118. I'd love a copy of this book!

    My tip would be to NOT sew when you are in a rush. I always find that haste makes me grab the seam ripper.

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  119. The book looks great. My tip is that if you are using a serger to sew a seam, the left needle thread is the one that could show through on the right side of the garment. So if you just match the left needle thread to your fabric colour, you can get away with using white or black for the other three threads. This way you don't have to buy four spools of thread for every colour of fabric you sew.

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  120. Hi ya Tilly, i love pattern making, it really opens up your sewing world. because i mostly just sew for myself these days i apply my knowledge to changing commercial patterns, mostly because i only buy thrifted patterns, and its a better use of my time to alter, than start from scratch. saying that though, last weeks Melbourne cup dress, was a pattern from scratch, and i am soooo happy with it, and will make multiples for summer.
    MY TIP. i do all my "un picking" with a packing knife, i find it so much better than a regular unpicker.
    thanks Happy sewing. Jacky Matthews jarm at iprimus dot com dot au

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  121. This book sounds perfect, I could have saved some awful projects.

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  122. That excerpt is such a fitting way to describe pattern cutting!

    Honestly, my tip to anyone sewing is never, ever lose your seam ripper. That baby will be your best, best friend as you muddle your way through your first ever run of a garment. Trust me, when you've put on the waistband to your skirt backwards once or twice like I have, you'll know how useful a little tool like that can be!

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  123. I wouldn't have thought of it that way, but it completely makes sense!

    My tip is also pretty basic--make sure you have everything you need to start a project (buttons, zippers, interfacing, thread, etc.) before you start. I have this awful habit of just cutting out a fabric and not cutting out interfacing, or not making sure I have enough thread to finish the project, because I'm just so eager to start. Especially when I sew from a fabric that's been in my stash for awhile that I didn't necessarily have a project in mind for initially. And then I have to keep stopping and running out to the store, or cutting out interfacing, or things like that.

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  124. I love it when things fall into place after reading/hearing things that have been phrased a certain way.

    My tip is, when sewing several layers of fabric or an area of thicker fabric, you can use the wheel at the side of your machine instead of the pedal, so you are not making the motor work too hard. It is good for short sections of sewing when you know your machine might struggle.

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  125. My tip: Don´t forget to oil your machine every few projects. Just a drop makes a real difference.
    And the next: taking time to hand baste tricky parts of your garment can save you a headache.

    Would love the book! I am really into patterndrafting

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  126. My tip measure your children before you sew....they grew (and for girls change shape) very quickly and it is very frustrating if things you have spent a lot of time on don't fit!

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  127. No tip but I'd love to learn pattern drafting!

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  128. Sounds like a great book.

    My tip: Stock up on your tissue paper for the year at the after-Christmas mark-down sales in the giftwrap section. I find they usually have just tons of packages of white tissue at much more affordable prices. Then I don't feel bad about using it like crazy to trace out and adjust patterns.

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  129. I would be more than happy to offer a home to a copy of this book.

    My sewing tip: Always use beeswax when working anything by hand. That's what I do anyways.

    sewlyaharpist @ gmail . com

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  130. I'm glad I added the book to my wishlist instead of buying it outright, I'd love to win a copy!

    My fave tip right now is to use a rotary cutter to cut bias. I am learning to quilt, and learning the right way to use a rotary cutter and ruler has changed my bias and piping on fashion sewing forever!

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  131. I would love to win the book. I'm a beginner in sew. I hope get luck.

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  132. Thank you for the opportunity! My favorite tip is not to sew late at night when you are sleepy!

    Rose in SV

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  133. So many good tips here. I am a novice sewist, but my learning the hard way tips are: never sew late at night, never sew when overtired, have a good seam ripper, pin like crazy. And I am just discovering the value of hand-basting tricky or hard-to-fit bits first. Thanks very much for the giveaway, I'd love to win the book.

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  134. What a brilliant definition. I used to work as a gift wrapper in a department store and can wrap presents galore really neatly. So why do I find drafting a pattern really difficult?
    I think the only tip I can give is don't try to sew black fabrics in artificial light!! Oh and be confident in what you're doing!

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  135. Very interesting review Tilly and thanks for the great pictures. I think even those who hve more experience can benefit from rereading the basics, so much we learn and then forget!

    So many great tips above, I don't want to reiterate something that's already been said so my tips are:

    Bulk prepare some projects and have projects at different stages of completion. I often find myself in the mood to trace/draft and alter patterns but not sew or to sew something without having to copy a pattern or cut fabric. By prepping several projects when the mood bites you, you can then have a choice of projects to pick up and put down at your whim.

    Also I always write a bullet list of instructions (in order) as well as a note of any alterations I have made to the pattern, cutting or finished style. When making alterations that are beyond the pattern this forward planning makes sure I don't do something silly that trips me up further down the line and I end up unpicking it all. I then cross off each step which is really satisfying as I see how far I am with the project. Also essential if you are working on multiple projects (or doing the above) so you don't forget where you get to!

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  136. what a great definition. It's certainly true. I'd love to be in the running for this book please!

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  137. I've been drooling over this book for a while now. I'd love to win a copy!

    I've mentioned this before, but my favourite sewing tip is for easing in sleeves. I'm really not very good at doing it, but a friend gave me a bit of advice that has helped immensely. Whenever you have to ease a larger piece of fabric with a smaller one, put the gathered larger piece on the bottom while sewing on the machine. The feed dogs will pull the bottom layer a little bit more than the upper layer, and this will help ease in the fabric. :)

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  138. Thanks for sharing! It is a very clear and phantastic definition.
    Oh jes, the book........
    up(point)hagedorn15(at)t(minus)online(point)de

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  139. Thanks for a lovely blog, Tilly! It's one of my daily reads:)

    My tip is to read through the pattern description and do all your fabric and notions shopping before you start a project! Pretty basic, I guess, but important..

    emge86 (at) yahoo (dot) no

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  140. I'd love to win this one.

    My tip is always put an allowance on the fabric so you'll have enough room for adjustment.

    my email is quiamoi_tres@yahoo.com

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  141. My advice: plan, plan and the plan some more. At all stages of a project. Saves lots of frustrations :)
    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  142. Wrapping a gift! It's lovely to think of ourselves as gifts.

    I've just sewn my first dress and there were some fitting issues, even though I did a muslin first, so this book would be very useful for my next project.

    Thank you for the giveaway.

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  143. Oh this was really a great blog post and now I'm itching to read/use that book!

    My tip is to always have a extra large roll of freezer paper on hand. You can iron fabric onto the waxed side and use is as a stablizer when sewing tricky fabrics and then peal it right off! Also it's awesome if you are draping with muslin and you want to flat a pattern, just iron it on and cut around, you have your pattern in an instant.

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  144. My tip is make sure you properly pin everything not half arse pin things because then it can go very wrong.

    x

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  145. I'm very excited to get into dressmaking, so no tips yet but sure after a few adventures with this book I'll have learnt a lot!

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  146. What a lovely book. I am a beginner sewer (sewist) but my favorite tips is measure twice, cut once, I have learnt this the hard way.

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  147. my tip (courtesy of one of my Singer sewing reference library books): If you have a overlocker/serger, keep a stock of thread in blendable colours (ivory, grey, rose etc NOT primary colours). You can use these blendable colours quite successfully instead of an exact shade.
    poohssee at hotmail dot com

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  148. Ooooh! What a wonderful book to be able to give away.

    Hmmm... favorite sewing trick ehh. I've found that using strips of silk organza underneath invisible (and regular) zippers helps a ton with stability and to prevent warping. They're little strips of amazing. heh

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  149. My tip is to take a break and walk away when you're getting frustrated. Sewing should be enjoyable, and sometimes a little break is all that's needed to regain perspective and figure out a new solution.

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  150. Wow, the book sounds really interesting, I would love to win it.

    My tip is the following: when you are out on the streets, look around. Watch what people are wearing (unobtrusively of course). Does it fit? If it doesn't, what are the problems and what would you do to correct the pattern.

    If you are a beginner like me, most of the time you will not come up with the correct answer of course, but I think you can train your eyes and learn from it.

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  151. As am just a beginner id say my tip is to read as much as possible watch and look at the shape and stitching used and last of all take your time rome wasnt built in a day once finished a dress ect make it again in a diffrent colour practise makes perfect.

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  152. What a really good give away!

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  153. My tip is to change your sewing machine needle when you need to. This tip is courtesy of a little incident during quilt binding last night where my needle broke and the tip flew off and hit me in the chin. I'm glad it wasn't my eye! Phew! Note to self, start sewing with glasses on instead of contacts ;-)

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  154. My tip-If you get frustrated at any point walk away and come back to the project when you're feeling better. It can save a lot of heartache later.

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  155. Brilliance! I'm just started out in front of a machine, so eagarly eating up all this advice!

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  156. My main tip is one that others have mentioned already but is important for me to remember: when frustrated, walk away, do something else for a bit, calm down and only then return to your project.

    To coincide with this is that mistakes need not be frustrating if you're learning from them. If you make the same mistake over and over again, you perhaps need to take time to work on the skill required to overcome that hurdle.

    I've found myself enjoying sewing so much more since I've adopted both of those ideas.

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  157. My sewing tip is to make sure not to over fit a garment. I've learned the hard way to leave enough ease for eating, small weight fluctuations, etc.

    Please enter me in the drawing!

    Thanks,
    Carrie

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  158. I think my main tip is to give things a go; often they're not as hard as you think. Matching plaids is an example of this, my mother said it was really hard, so I had to try it. She was wrong, it was challenging, but not hard.

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