Learn the best sewing hacks to make your sewing a lot easier! With these creative and genius tricks and hacks, you’ll be sewing like a pro in no time!
35 Genius Sewing Hacks to Make Your Life Easier
Let’s be honest: sewing can be really challenging sometimes! There are just techniques and processes that can be frustrating to both beginners and pros alike. For example, to this day I still take minutes threading a needle. I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of frustration over the littlest and most challenging sewing things. But worry not! I’ve compiled 35 of the best sewing hacks my sewer friends and I use to make our life a breeze. Feel free to read through our list of sewing hacks and see if you have practiced a trick or two.
1. Use Muslin in Cutting Slippery Fabrics
Cutting slippery fabrics can be a little tricky. There is little to no traction between your scissors and fabric that just begs for a mistake. To help you out, place a layer of muslin under it. You can pin the layers together to make cutting easier.
2. Keep Your Scissors Sharp
Keep your scissors sharp by designating a pair just for cutting fabric. When you use your fabric scissors to cut through paper or other materials, it gets dull and you don’t want that to happen. This is a really important and life-saving sewing hack you have to always remember.
3. Press Buttons Using Hair Straighteners
Use your trusty hair straightener to press fabric between buttons and other embellishments. This is a pretty nifty sewing hack using a day-to-day item!
4. Sew the Perfect Corners
Never worry about sewing corners again! Leave your needle down and rotate your fabric into a clean 90-degree angle and voila! Easy peasy!
5. Use Binder Clips in Applying Your Binding
Who knew these cute little school supplies could help sewing bindings easier? Just clip on these little binder clips with your binding and voila! It’s like you have your own little helper hands.
— SewingDotCom (@Sewingdotcom) March 27, 2017
6. Gather Your Fabric The Easy Way
Use a yarn or a thicker thread to gather your fabric. Sew a zigzag over a length of yarn, then pull the yarn to easily gather your fabric. Yarns won’t easily snap unlike your regular thread, so it’s easier to gather the fabric.
7. Sew Buttons on the Inside of Your Coat Sleeve
Buttons are so prone to popping off. Here’s what I discovered: Sew extra buttons on the inside of your coat sleeve. In case you lose some buttons, there will always be some handy.
8. Use Freezer Paper to Cut Patterns
Press freezer paper to your fabric. It sticks to your fabric and you’ll be able to cut your fabric according to your pattern without weights and cutting your pattern unnecessarily. And even wonderful, it doesn’t leave a residue!
9. Use Painter’s Tape
Painter’s tape is a handy tool to use all-around. Hold your pleats and ruffles together with painter’s tape. It doesn’t hurt any fabric and more importantly, an inexpensive item!
10. Use Dental Floss to Sew Buttons
My children used to pop buttons off all the time! As a result, I keep on sewing buttons back all the time. Here’s what I discovered: using your dental floss as a thread, sew your buttons right back into place. Dental floss are stringer than your usual threads and can keep your buttons from popping off less than regular threads. Now with this trick, I wouldn’t have to keep on sewing buttons back all the time.
11. Use Wax to Strengthen Threads
Use this little gadget. It’s wax and when you pull the thread through, it gets coated in wax. This makes the thread nice and strong while you hand sew.
12. Getting the Thread Through the Needle – the Easy Way!
It’s so frustrating to thread through needle holes. It always seems like the thread refuses to go through the hole. Until I discovered one genius sewing hack: hairspray! Spray the tip so it stays straight.
13. Sewing Over Lumpy Fabrics Using a Plastic
Next time you’re sewing over lumpy fabric like terry cloth or fleece, use a plastic bag. Place it over the fabric you are sewing and watch that presser foot glide!
14. Sewing in Your Zippers
Sew up your seam as you normally would, place zipper face down over the seam allowance and sew it in place. Cut open the seam with your seam ripper to reveal the zipper underneath.
Note: Be sure to check out our easy step-by-step tutorial on How To Sew A Zipper in Two Ways.
15. Taking Advantage of Your Stay Stitching
Stay stitching holds the shape of your material in place as you ease it around curves. Stay stitch anything that isn’t cut on the grain or crossgrain to prevent it from becoming disfigured. To stay stitch, stitch within the seam allowance, try 3/8″ if your seam allowance is 5/8″ and follow the curve of the piece. Stitch symmetrically, start your line on the outside and work your way in on both sides, if working on a center fold.
16. Sewing Using Your Decorative Threads
Use two spools of thread, thread them through your machine and around your needle the same way you usually would, having both pieces of thread through the eye. Now when you sew with delicate metallic thread, the regular thread will help support it.
17. Marking Your Seam Allowance
Rubberband 3 pencils together for 5/8″, or 2 pencils for 1/2″. Trace the edge of your pattern piece for a perfect seam allowance every time.
18. Using Wool Stuffing to Sharpen Your Pins
Next time you make a pin cushion, use steel wool as stuffing. This will keep your pins and needles extra sharp, as it sharpens them every time you poke them back in. Stuff it even fuller with rice, which will help absorb any moisture.
19. Finding the Grain Without a Fuss
Clip into your selvage just a tad, and pull on a loose thread. It will tug at your fabric and gather a few; gently pull it all the way out. Then, line this thread left behind is your cross-grain, which is perpendicular to your grain line. When you fold your fabric in half this line should match up on both sides.
20. Sewing Without a Sewing Machine
A glue gun is a messy and clunky way to sew. However, if you’re not interested in making anything fancy, perhaps just a new table runner for the next party, or a quick pant hem, break out the glue gun! Just keep the same rules of sewing in mind, and don’t forget your seam allowance.
21. Threading Your Drawstring in
Need to pull all that cord or elastic through that waistband? Pin the end with a safety pin and drag it through, bunching up the fabric as you go. This technique is technically done with a bodkin, but those aren’t just laying around the house by the dozens now are they?
22. Turning Thin Projects Inside Out
Turning a small bag, or in this case, a small tail? Use a straw and a chopstick or skewer, imitate the picture above: poke one side into the other.
23. Using a Rubber Bands a Non-Slip Paddle Bands
Slippery paddles are my worst enemy. That is, until I found this genius sewing hack! Slip a rubber band into our sewing machine paddle. No more slipping ever again!
24. Using Nail Polish to Keep Your Buttons From Popping
Apply clear nail polish over the top of your buttons. It will help keep all the little threads in place. Too late? Learn how to sew on a button here.
25. Altering Your Shirt Sizes the Easy Way
Turn your clothes inside out and sew up the sides to make them fit better. If your clothes are made of a stretchy material, use the zig zag stitch on your machine. To truly get the perfect fit, wear the clothes inside out, and pin on the sides. Mark your fabric where the pins are, remove them so you don’t stab yourself, then remove your clothes and sew up the sides. Do this for basic shirts, dresses, pants. You’ll find all your clothes are fitting much better in no time.
26. Sewing Your Elastics
In the need of a quick elastic stitch fix? Or maybe you want to attach elastic to something but don’t want to bother gathering it, or dragging it through the casing. Just stretch out your elastic over the area you want to cover, and sew it in place, holding the stretch elastic over the flat garment. The garment will pucker as you sew, but the elastic will remain taut as long as you hold it in place.
27. Keeping Your Pattern Pieces Down Using Nuts and Bolts
It is recommended to pin your pattern pieces in place over the fabric. But you can also use anything with a bit of weight to it. Examples include nuts and bolts, washers, spare change, and river rocks. Get creative, as long as your pattern pieces stay in place you won’t have anything to worry about.
28. Faking a Hem
Use the same pattern piece you used for the bottom of your garment to cut the hem, but just trace the bottom 2 inches. Cut out your fabric, pin it to the bottom of your garment (right sides together) stitch and turn. Viola! A perfectly fitted hem, no weird puckering or unforgiving stitches. Read this tutorial on how to hem pants to overcome that final step.
29. Keeping Your Needles and Pins in Order
Add magnets to a bowl to keep your pins in place. I love using these while sewing, tossing them into a bowl saves time as I remove pins as I sew.
30. Keeping Your Fabric From Fraying
Cut your fabric out with pinking shears to keep it from fraying while you sew. This will also save a step when you’re finishing your garment (if you’re in a hurry).
31. Using Ribbons to Keep You From Losing Your Scissors
Grab a piece of ribbon long enough to wear as a very long necklace, loop your snips through it, and tie it around your neck. Now you’ll like a true seamstress, and never lose your scissors again!
32. Pre-Washing Your Clothes to Keep Them From Shrinking
Always pre-wash your fabric. Zig zag stitch your edges before washing if your fabric is prone to unraveling. To learn more about your fabrics, check out this article: Types of Knit Fabric: What You Need to Know.
- Use hot water and hot dryer when pre-treating fabrics like flannel and knits.
- Treat your silk with a hand wash over the bathroom sink with a baby shampoo.
- Wash your linens with a hot bath and dryer. It will soften up after washing.
33. Finding the Right and Wrong Side of Your Fabric
Did you know all fabric has a RIGHT and a WRONG side? This terminology might sound a bit odd while sewing: “Sew the wrong side? That can’t be right!” Just keep in mind, the right side is typically the side where the pattern is at its best, or the side you want people to see. If your fabric is truly the same on both sides, like a muslin, just try to keep your sides consistent so you don’t get confused.
34. Using a Serger Thread to Keep Your Thread From Ever Running Out
Use serger thread on your sewing machine. Ok, so you’ll run out eventually, but it’s going to take a lot longer. If it doesn’t fit over your spool pin, invest in a spool stand.
Maybe it’s just me, but I love bias tape. Use this to add a crisp even finish to any raw edge. It might take a while, but I prefer it over rolling under hems or fiddling with lining.
Learn more sewing hacks from this video by DIY with Manneken:
These genius hacks are so good yet so simple! I can’t believe simple, everyday items can be used to make life and sewing easier. I’m so excited to use some of these hacks on my next sewing projects!
Want to know some sewing projects you can try these sewing hacks tricks on? Check out 33 Spring Sewing Projects For Beginners!
Do you know other sewing hacks and tricks? Let us know in the comments below!
Editor’s Note –This post was originally published in May 2014 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.