Sewing Questions Answered

For the most part Hebrew Israelite homemakers wear many hats, being the home seamstress or garment maker or you just alter garments – is one of the many hats the women wear.

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.” Proverbs 31:10,22

If we are not a seamstress then we may be learning how to sew, or just plain curious about aspects of the process.  This article will give helpful hints to the beginner and advance seamstress and it is written based off peer sewing experiences.

Sewing Annoyances & Solutions:

Sewing annoyance #1 – It is so difficult to find 100% percent material according to the law, especially if I want two different colors or patterns.

Solution #1” I discovered a year or two ago that most home bedding sheets and even curtains are made with 100% fabric.  1 King size flat sheet made 3 tunics for my household.  I saved a lot of money and time using this type of material to sew my garments.” -Taza Payan

Annoyance #2 – Something that annoys me that I would like some helpful hints on is when the fabric frays at the edges. I don’t know what to do to stop the fabric from fraying or how to cover it or stop it from fraying further up the garment.

Solution #2 – “To get rid of fabric frays a Japanese woman taught me long ago to use a lighter or a candlestick and slowly but steadily run the edge of each seam very close to the fire without touching the fire, the edge will seal. It works like a charm but requires practice on scraps before trying it on your actual garment. Stores sell anti-fray liquid now, but I have never used it especially on satin.” -Taza Payan

Sewing Annoyance #3 – The the sewing process alone creates anxiety and frustration, but it has to get done anyway.

Sewing Solution #3 – “One hint I can share on the sewing process is to get ready to sew. Before you start the sewing process, even before you buy the fabric, PRAY.  Get your mind, body and spirit ready to create lovely garments.  If you don’t feel like choosing fabric, or making measurements, or sewing, it will show in your work.” -Lashanae

Sewing Annoyance #4 – I hate facing, and it still doesn’t look good on the inside hem – neck or sleeves.

Sewing Solution #4 – “Use a flexible trim that can bend and twist as the facing instead of cutting lots of facing and still dealing with making the inside look beautiful after sewing it on.  It will save cutting time and make the inside of your garments beautiful. I have used this method only when I had enough money to buy an excess of trim.”  -Taza Payan

Sewing Annoyance #5 – Sewing is hard.

Sewing Solution #5 – “Sewing doesn’t have to be hard for beginners. For me it was riding a bike, but I know for others it may not come as naturally. Don’t be in a rush to get through your project. Knockout other chores so you won’t find excuses to leave your station, or be stressed out with things on your “to do” list. Never have liquids near your work station, or at least not on the same surface as your sewing machine. Have all your supplies nearby and if possible, keep them organized, it helps. Try to think positively and if you mess up, let it be a learning lesson. A good quality seam ripper comes in handy, and if you need to do something over, don’t get upset or anxious. Pop in some music, personally I like relaxing instrumentals or r&b and get to taking it apart to try it again. I find that watching television while doing this can be a distraction, but to each his own.  Shalom.”   -Radah

“One thing I believe everyone should do is practice measuring, cutting and sewing in a straight line, before they try to make something. That would be helpful. ALWAYS remember measure twice (or more) and cut once.” -Yashar Raah

Sewing Annoyance #6 – I don’t sew on a machine at all, I only know how to add fringes and ribbon of blue.

Sewing Solution #6 – “I found many costumes that are patterned after royal garment designs. Many costumes are already made from 100% polyester fabric.  Just buy it and add fringes and ribbon of blue.  Here is a popular medieval costume website : http://www.medievalcollectibles.com/c-458-medieval-renaissance-costumes.aspx You can also, ask a sister in the church who sews for others to sew some garments for your family.” -Taza Payan

Sewing Annoyance #7 – There are only a few things I dread, cheap bobbin thread, a broken needle, and the lack of time to sew.

Sewing Solution #7 –  “If possible always use good thread for sewing…its worth the extra money. Its better for your machine and definitely better for quality stitches. A great mid-level brand would be Coats & Clark dual duty or if u have extra money to spend, use a high-end thread like Gutermann. Before starting a sewing project, always have at least 3 extra needles for your machine. Make sure to buy the appropriate kind for the type of fabric you are sewing.” -Parah

“Cheap bobbin thread… It might not always be the thread but how tight the tension on the upper thread and or lower thread (bobbin) is for the particular fabric . It’s always good to have a scrap of fabric to test on when you find an issue to save the garment pieces you have already cut out.

Broken needle… Believe it or not even the best home sewing machines aren’t made like they were even just thirty years ago. I could put a  ton of sewing pins in a section to be sewn together, sew and not bat an eyelash. Now it’s almost impossible to construct a garment without stopping to remove each pin or risk breaking the needle.

 Lack of time but you need to sew… If you have the ability to plan ahead for an event you know about a couple of weeks in advance. Setting a timer for an hour a day or three or four times a week to do what you can only for that hour really does work. Sometimes it’s really not about having time but more to do with not being in the mood. You might find that one of those time block turns into two because you feel the flow. At the end of the hour when the timer goes off your accomplishment will be that you were able to sew for one more hour. Each one hour block turns into a finish garment.” -Robin Powell

Sewing Annoyance #8 – Having to change the thread and bobbin to match the material color you’re sewing

Sewing Solution #8 –  “I usually sew everything that I can, that requires the same colored thread and bobbin before moving on to the next pieces of ribbon or trim of a different color.” -Manachaah

“Take pride in your work, especially if its a royal or priestly garment. I always say, no pain, no gain!! Read over how our foremothers worked so diligently, with great care and detail as seamstresses.” -Parah

“Read Exodus 35:25-26; Proverbs 31:13,22; Proverbs 12:24; Acts 9:36-42.” -Parah

“Color matching the bobbin thread…. I have learned over the years that it’s OKAY for it not to match exactly. Many designers don’t even bother and sew light shaded garments with white even if it’s light blue and darker shades with black. As long as your machine tension is correct it’s not or shouldn’t show on the outside anyway. It always happens. You’re on the very last seam and run out of bobbin thread. Now you have to stop the presses and often times unthread the top thread so you can make more bobbing thread. Very irritating. The best solution is to purchase several extra bobbins and several of the more common thread shades such as black, white, grey, blue, or whatever colors are common for the garments you construct and fill the bobbins so they’ll be on hand and at the ready. Now don’t construct an entire black garment with the hot pink bobbin thread that you’re only suppose to use for the top stitching of the neckline! But have you’re common colors near by when you need them.” – Robin Powell

” I have 4 bobbins pre-threaded at all times, 2 blue, 1 white and 1 black. I choose the bobbin that best matches the outfit that I am sewing. For example, for a yellow skirt I would use the white bobbin. I only match color with my sewing thread.” Rakak

Sewing Annoyance #9 – Sometimes I will be sewing and then all of a sudden a full bobbin is out of thread. It isn’t because I used it all, it’s as if the machine ate it all.

Sewing Solution #9Before beginning your project, pre-fill at least 3-4 bobbins in each of the colors you will be using for your garments so your not interrupted mid-stream while sewing to make bobbins. With pre-filled bobbins, all u would have to do is switch instead of completely stopping to make more.” -Parah

“The machine ate my thread!!! Often times it’s one of two issues. Somehow a small piece of thread dropped into the machine parts that loop to top thread and jams the whole thing. The machine is still trying to work but because that little thread is stuck it won’t let the bobbin thread connect which ends up jamming a bunch of upper loops in the bobbin housing that have to be cut out and detangled from the machine. Signs to look for are the seam stitches on top are straight across the seam instead of in the fabric at the stitch point. Or the needle stitches didn’t connect at all which oft times make larger loops that get stuck in the bobbin housing because they have nothing to hook to. Second problem is it just needs to have to good brushing and a drop of oil so any loose threads will be noticed and removed between garment construction so the first issue won’t happen in the first place.” -Robin Powell

Sewing Annoyance #10– When you’re trying to see something for someone and they don’t have all the materials you need to complete it for them. They give you some at a time which slows me down.

Sewing Solution #10– “When accepting projects for others, keep it business-like. Consider not accepting projects until they have all materials. Have strict deadlines so that you are not sewing until the last minute and you are then too tired and irritated to be in the right spirit for a feast and not in a mood to even enjoy yourself.” -Parah

“Waiting for someone to bring you all the parts to make something they want day before yesterday. I know what it’s like especially when you’re actually in the mood to sew. You can do a few things here. Sew up to the part that’s missing until they bring it and make something else in the mean time. OR go to the store and get it yourself charge them for the item and the time it took to get it. OR tell them kindly not to bring any of it until they have all the components to construct the garment.” -Robin Powell

Sewing Annoyance #11 – Taking apart a garment for sewing or alterations.

Sewing Solution #11 –  “Sometimes I may want to take old fringe off some of my clothes, so I’ll use my seam ripper to unstitch the sewn on fringe. My mom always says that the seam ripper is your best friend when it comes to sewing, and she’s definitely right because it really comes in handy when you make mistakes while sewing and then can easily fix it.” -Sarai 

Sewing Annoyance #12 – How frustrating it gets when putting on the trim because for me most times the trim design comes as I’m putting it on the garment. To turn & position the fabric after you have closed up the arm and side can be challenging to add trim down the side.

Sewing Solution #12 – “Hand sewing trim is usually a desired method especially since the fingers can get into little corners and make circles freely with the thread. I’ve even seen formal gowns with some hand sewn parts to it, so I trust that method.” Taza Payan

Sewing Annoyance #13 – For me it’s having to cut interfacing. because I have to remove the fabric from the pattern piece to do it. If I just pin it to the interfacing with the fabric still attached the interfacing will always be a little big which means you’ll have to trim. I hate trimming just as much as I hate cutting interfacing.

Sewing Solution #13 – “One time I used a pattern and didn’t like how the pattern maker laid out the interfacing, so instead I lined all my garments that year. It was actually faster than the normal turning the hems or interfacing, it is a more costly process because of the extra fabric, but, indeed came to be a time saver in the end.” Taza Payan

Sewing Annoyance #14 –  I hate seam ripping after a mistake like sewing a gird the wrong way and having to start all over.

Sewing Solution #15 – “Early on in my sewing years I had to re-do garments by seam ripping them a lot. But after learning about basting with needle and thread or using straight pins, seam ripping happened less often. (Basting is hand sewing the seam before taking it to the machine)” -Taza Payan

Sewing Inquiry – “I would actually like to learn how to do different types of necks. I believe I have mastered the V-neck and Square neck, but there is so many more.” Yashar Raah

Neckline Video: Here is a video on how to craft various necklines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpiA87ynraI

I hope you have found this article helpful, fun, entertaining, and most of all inspiring.

“And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty…” Exodus 28:2

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