Sewing Tips Newsletter – Issue #11

Sewing Tips Newsletter
by Jenny T.

It’s so HOT! And my Air Conditioning went out. Yep. I’m gonna need a new unit. These things are crazy expensive. I’m going to try to get through the summer without it… but I’m pretty spoiled when it comes to cool air. This is good news for you though. In order to raise the money to purchase the AC Unit, I’ll be putting on a CRAZY sale on all my products. So, keep on the lookout for this announcement.

One more thing before you dive into this week’s sewing project… are you a quilter? What’s your favorite part of quilting? What do you like least or have trouble with? I personally LOVE to quilt and piece. And I want to know if I should be adding some quilting tips to this newsletter. So, let me know!

In this issue:

1. How To Sew A Grocery Tote Bag

2. Ask Jenny T. Now

3. What’s new in Simple Sewing Projects.

4. I need your help and feedback! Please read.

And now… on to this week’s sewing tip!


QUICK TIP: I just wanted to share with you real quick… if you ever want to see a complete list of all the sewing projects on visit:

If you would like to read the back issues of Sewing Tips, visit


Sewing Tip #11: How To Sew A Grocery Tote Bag

Have you been inspired to go “green”? To start using reusable grocery bags and do away with the plastic and paper? This week I share with you a step by step project that will show you how to make a strong and reusable grocery tote. Make a bunch of these and have them on hand when you go to the grocery store!

You can also use this type of tote for any heavy lifting… use it for your beach or pool supplies… or fill them with your needle crafts. They’re also perfect for storing fabric and fat quarters. Install hooks on your wall, fill the totes and hang them. You’ll have instant fun decor and creative storage!

This sewing project requires illustrations, so I’ve posted the complete step by step illustrated instructions at:

It is absolutely free for you to download, open and print. Promise.

And if you want to watch the video for making this tote bag, visit:

Discover video and audio of even more sewing tips, how-to’s and resources by visiting You’ll even be able to subscribe to these weekly sewing tips and how-to’s and receive them through your iTunes or podcast player.


Ask Jenny T Now

While you wait for the next sewing tip, be sure to visit and submit your sewing question. Your question maybe answered in my next podcast.

Question from Martha: Hi Jenny, Have you ever used bump interlining? I have a pretty basic machine. I’m wondering if my machine would even be able to handle it. What type of interlining do you use to get the fullest effect? Also, do you know who typically has the best prices on interlining and lining?

Answer: Bump interlining is some pretty heavy stuff, but I think if you take your time with your machine, you’ll be ok. I recommend that you use a bigger needle, like a size 90 and increase the thread tension. I would follow my guide on getting the right thread tension… refer to last week’s newsletter or watch the video at . You don’t need to go so thick with the interlining to get a full effect. Bump interlining is used for efficient insulation for extreme weather conditions and leaky windows. For most of my drapes I use a light weight interlining… which is easy to sew and still adds fullness. You’d be amazed at how little you need to get that professional fullness. These days, fabric stores everywhere seem to have lining and interlining on sale. I like for online shopping. But what I usually do is browse the clearance bins at the fabric store to see what I can find. Sometimes you can find just the right amount of material for 75% off.

Question from Sheryl: Jenny, What would be good to use for weights to help hold the roman shades down?

Answer: You can use a 3/8″ steel rod, which you can find at local hardware stores or on

Question from Helen: Hi Jenny i would like to know how to make a customade kingston swag/valance do you have any either how to

Answer: I hear ya Helen! I don’t have a pattern for that YET. But it’s on the project list… stay subscribed and you’ll find out when it is released. It may not be this year though.

Question from Martha: Jenny, I’m new to your site and I think that you are a genius! I need help deciding which type of pleat to use. I’d like the pleat that makes my fabric look the fullest. My drapes will be interlined and the tops will be partially covered by a cornice. Which pleat should I choose? Or, does it make a difference? I’m going to hold off on my decision until I hear from you. 🙂

Answer: *Blush* Well… I would say genius…. but thank you! If the top of the drape is going to be covered, then I recommend making pencil pleat drapes with pencil pleat pleating tape. It’s easy to use and will neatly gather the top of your drape creating really nice fullness. You can find this tape at

Question from Kathy: How do you use crinoline for extra support when making lined drapes.

Answer: Crinoline is used for the heading of the drapes. It is used instead of buckram. When making drapes, you typically want to stiffen the heading of the drape so that it hangs nicely and creates clean pleats. You would fold down the top edge of your drape over the crinoline or buckram and sew across the top and bottom of the strip. Then hang and / or pleat as desired.

Question from Janis: i am trying to sew a balloon shade i can’t get it to form right i am making it to fit a window 81″

Answer: Not knowing exactly what the problem is… I will do the best I can to help you. Is the shade pulling in on the sides when you raise it? If so, you’ll need to insert a wood dowel or weight rod into the bottom hem. Is the fabric not swagging? Then you have your lift cords too close together. Are you making a pleated balloon shade? Send me an email with more details and I’ll help you out a little more on this.

Question from Cathy: I purchased you video about roman shades. My question is where to find instructions on a shades without slats and how to place the cord along the rings.

Answer: You can find these instructions at:

Question from Gail: You mentioned in one of the past newsletters that you would be producting a video on sewing slip covers for furniture. Do you have a date for this instructional video?

Answer: Yes, I will be. I don’t have a firm date… but my goal is to start an online class for it at the beginning of November. Once the class is completed, the videos will be available all the time.

Question from Catherine: Hello, I have some lovely silk curtains and would like to interline them do you have some tips for interlining curtains that have already been finished.

Answer: What I’ve done in the past is cut the interlining to the width of the drapery panel. The length should be from the bottom of the heading to the bottom edge of the drape. Fold up the bottom edge of the interlining 1″ twice and sew across the top folded edge. Lay the interlining on the lining side of the drape. Align the side edges. The top edge should be just below the heading. Fold under the side edges of the interlining about 1/2″. Hand stitch the side edges in place with a whipstitch. Hand whipstitch the top edge in place. To learn how to whipstitch visit


Visit and submit your sewing question today.


What’s New This Month In

1. Project of the Month: Totes for any occassion. (*Grocery Tote and Fabric Tote are now posted. More to come!*) ($27 value)

2. Window Treatment of the Month: How To Sew A Grommet Curtain. (*For Super Sewer Members Only*) ($27 value)

3. The online class “How To Sew Swags and Drapes – A Live Case Study” is available for you to sign up! Please visit for more info and to sign up. ($67 value)

4. Jenny T.’s Sewing Review: Using a ruffler presser foot, a rolled hem foot and a binder foot

5. How To Sew… : How To Read and Use a Sewing Pattern (video) ($7 value)

Gain immediate access to all this exciting content plus to all of the archived sewing projects and how-to’s.

Here’s the link to subscribe to

I hope to see you in the member’s site!


I need your help and feedback! Please…

Do you have a request of what you’d like to see in A window treatment, a project, a product reviewed, a sewing technique… anything?

Can I do something better?

What do you think of a 30 day sewing challenge?

How about a monthly quilt block?

Does a member’s photo gallery interest you?

I value your opinions and I would appreciate any feedback you can offer! Thank you!!!


Happy Sewing!

Jenny T.

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