Sewing Tips Newsletter – Issue 13

Sewing Tips Newsletter
by Jenny T.

I’m back! Did you know I was gone?? I was in Nags Head, NC on vacation with my family and friends. It was a terrific vacation. My placemat tote with the vinyl bottom was perfect for the trips back and forth to the beach. And my grocery tote held all of my take along magazines, notebooks and books. Yes… even on vacation I’m thinking about how to improve this site! You (the readers) make it worth it. Truly.

I am a bit behind now. I’m a one-woman shop… so, if I don’t work, nothing gets done. I’ll be hiring an assistant soon. But for now, it’s just me. So, I ask that you bear with me this month, as I get caught up. I promise I’ll make the wait for some of the content worth it! The kids go back to school next week and I plan on over delivering to you. Fall is here, the kids are in school, and it’s time to sew!!

One more thing before we jump into this week’s juicy sewing tip… based on the feedback I’ve received for quilting, I will be launching a new site dedicated to quilters. It will have quilt blocks of the month, quilt designs, mystery quilts, quilting how-to’s, quilting projects and more. If this sounds like a site you would enjoy, let me know!

In this issue:

1. How To Applique

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 #13: How To Applique

If you’ve avoided sewing projects because it requires applique, fear no more! Applique is not only easy… it’s a lot of fun. And once you have this sewing technique down, your friends are going to have to hold you back from applique-ing everything. Applique is not just for quilts. You can applique a design on your tote bags, pillows, blankets… even on window treatments.

Ok, so what is “applique”. Applique is a method for sewing cut out fabric shapes to a main piece of fabric. You layer several different shapes of fabric to create a picture or design. Applique designs range from geometric shapes, to flowers, snow scenes… the list goes on forever and is limited by your imagination.

In this lesson, you’re going to learn how to machine applique and hand applique.

How To Machine Applique

1. First, you need to cut out your shapes. Using Paper Backed Fusible Web… or double sided fusible web… draw your shapes on the paper side of the fusible web.

2. Cut out the shapes… cutting about 1/4″ outside the drawn lines

3. Fuse the cut out fusible web shapes to the wrong side of your fabric

4. Cut out the fabric shapes on the drawn lines

5. Place your shapes on the background fabric and fuse in place

Now, it’s time to sew the shapes to your fabric.

** Note: For a layered design, you may need to place and sew the background pieces first. Then lay the next piece down and sew. And so on. **

6. Sew along the raw edges of your shape with a machine blanket stitch or satin stitch. For a clean look, reduce the stitch length of the stitch so that you get a satin stitch. For a hand blanket stitch look, increase the stitch length.


6. Keep the edges raw and sew a straight stitch about 1/8″ inside the raw edge.

How do you machine blanket stitch? This is better explained by video. You can watch the latest episode of which will show you how to applique. And inside of will be videos on machine applique.

How To Hand Stitch Applique

1. First, you need to cut out your shapes. Using Wax Paper… draw your shapes on the smooth side of the wax paper.

2. Cut out the shapes on the drawn lines

3. Pin the paper shapes onto the right side of the fabric and cut the fabric about 1/4″ outside the paper edges.

4. Position the fabric/paper shape onto the background fabric

5. Thread a hand sewing needle

6. Using the tip of your sewing needle, tuck the raw edge of the fabric under so that the folded edge is aligned with the paper edge. You’ll do this only for a small section at a time.

7. Slip stitch the folded edge in place.

Repeat steps 6 and 7 until you complete the shape.

You may need to snip V shapes and curves to get the fabric to fold under.


You can follow steps 1 through 5 of the machine applique instructions and then hand blanket stitch the shape in place.

For video instruction on hand stitches visit

To watch the video that shows me Jenny T. showing you how to applique, visit

** WAIT! The video isn’t posted yet. I’m still a little bit behind schedule. I will send an email letting you know when the video is up. It’ll be worth the wait.**

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 Amber: Hi Jenny, I love, love, love all of your sites and the wonderfully helpful information you provide. I started sewing draperies about 2 years ago. When setting up my price I would charge about $12 an hour and try to estimate how long it would take me to finish the project. It always took me longer than I expected. I have seen your reccomendation to charge between $12-15 a square foot of fabric but that means I have been way underpriced. Is about $2500 sound right for 3 sets of lined drapery panels that have a finished length of 87″ and are about 54″ wide per panel? I look forward to hearing from you. Amber

Answer: Most people I speak to that I trying to get their workroom off the ground charge way too little. If you go to a store like Calico Corners (great store!), and get a quote from them, you’ll see that even they charge quite a bit. A customer paying for custom drapes will usually pay anywhere from $1000 to $2000 per window including fabric. I think your fee of $2500 is right on. Now, what you should do, is time yourself on these drapes. And see what you come up with hourly. So, if the drapes took you 24 hours… then you’re making over $100/hour. This may be a clue that you’re over charging a bit. But if it took you 40 hours, that’s $62/hour… and that’s good. Do not lower your rate to a sad $10 or $20 an hour. How in the world can you pay bills and grow your business on that? You’re a business, take yourself seriously and charge like one.

Stepping off my soap box now…

READERS: If you are a workroom, home business… send me your details and I’ll post it on my drapery workroom site for you! Yes, the site isn’t pretty, but it will be. I just need workrooms first! This is free.

Question from Bevin: Hi Jenny, Why don’t you sew the bottom hem of lining and the bottom hem of the face fabric together when sewing drapes? Is this ever done or is it always open? Thanks! Bevin

Answer: I personally like the method of the lining hanging separately because it allows the drapery panel to hang nicer. It’s sort of the professional standard. BUT, there’s nothing wrong with folding the fabric bottom hem over the lining bottom edge. The only major difference is the sewing. If you plan on folding the fabric edges twice over the lining edges, you have a lot more bulk to sew. Where as with my my method, it’s a bit easier through the machine.

Question from Jim: Hi Jenny, Will a walking foot help feed the fabric layers evenely when working with light weight fabrics such as sheer fabric?

Answer: Yes. And you will benefit from the episode:

Sewing Tip #3: How To Sew Sheer Fabric – 12 Tips at

Question from Cindy: I was watching your video for how to sew the grocery/tote bags, and I am hoping to get the instructions in a printed form…are they available? Thank you, Cindy Amaro

Answer: Yes! It is available at You’ll find the grocery tote project as a link right under the home page or under tote bag sewing patterns.

Question from Janice: My window areas are 92 ” long and 39 ” wide. Should I cut my 60″ fabic or sew 2 together and then half for panels? I need 6 panels.

Answer: You will sew each panel separately. Each panel should use the entire width of your 60″ fabric. Unless you plan on having your curtains perfectly flat with now pleat of gather. Right now, if you use the full width of your fabric… after side seams, you have only 1.5 times fullness. Which isn’t much at all. I hope that makes sense.

Question from Helen: hi Jenny T, I have finish sewing on the rings on my flat roman shade and i realize some of the ring stitches were on the lining only and some of them were on both lining and face fabric do I leave it like that or does it have to be stitch on both fabric

Answer: Your rings really need to be stitched through all layers. Otherwise, the fabric will sag away from your lining at those rings.

Question from Tammy: Hi Jenny T. I am interested in listing my workroom in your list of workrooms website and would like more information. Are you located in Fort Worth? I notice the address at the bottom of your messages is near me. Thanks and hope to hear from you soon

Answer: First, I am in Haymarket, VA now. The email footer needs to be updated. I loved Texas! The workroom site is and it will be a site to help Drapery Workrooms get their name listed under their state. The site will be targeted to Decorators and Home Owners looking for someone to make their window treatments. The user will be able to search or browse by state to find someone close to them. The site is not attractive right now. It was a fleeting idea a long time ago. But now, after many requests, I want to get it going. But I need listings. So, right now, these listings will be completely free to anyone who sends me their info through this newsletter. If I charge… ever… it will be a LONG time from now… and I’m hoping to support the site through advertisers… not basic listings. So, if you sew from home, want to, or have a workroom, send me your info. Name, address, email, website, description of services, etc. I’ll be adding a photo portfolio feature soon too.

Visit and submit your sewing question today.


What’s New This Month In

1. I’m still adding tote bag patterns! Here is the tote bag list to date: Jean Tote Bag, Grocery Tote Bag, Designer Tote Bag, Placemat Tote Bag (2 different designs), Simple Tote Bag, No Sew Tote, Another Designer Tote Bag, A Fabric Hand Bag…. whew! Go check these out at:

2. Several new video tutorials to the How To Sew Grommet Curtains project… this is based on your amazing feedback and requests. Coming this month!

3. Window Treatment of the Month: How To Sew A Victory Valance. (*For Super Sewer Members Only*) ($19.99 value)

4. Sewing Project of the Month: How To Sew A Quilted Holiday Table Runner, Placemats and Napkins (*For Super Sewer Members Only*) ($27 value) Coming this week!

5. Jenny T.’s Sewing Review: coming soon

6. How To Sew… : How To Applique (video) ($7 value)… AND something else… not sure… ideas?

7. The online class “How To Sew Swags and Drapes – Please visit for more info and to sign up. ($67 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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