Sewing Tips Newsletter – Issue 8

Sewing Tips Newsletter
by Jenny T.

Oh boy… I am so sorry this newsletter is late! I’m fighting some nasty virus that I caught from my son. I won’t have any new video for you this week. But I’m able to sit up at least today… so I figured I’d better write to you now before my fever spikes again. Ugh. I hate being sick!! If I’m able to get moving tomorrow, I may be able to get some video posted for you… if so, I’ll send you a quick email to let you know.

In this issue:

1. Getting the Perfect Thread Tension

2. Ask Jenny T. Now

3. What’s new in Simple Sewing Projects

4. Content Request

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


Sewing Tip #8: Getting the Perfect Thread Tension

If you’re like me, I truly enjoy easy exercises that help me to make my sewing better. This exercise that I’m going to share with you today is one of those. It’s to help you learn what settings on your machine give you the perfect thread tension for your fabric set up. This exercise will help you to learn how your sewing machine works and to get familiar with your machine’s thread tension. Although this is a beginner level exercise, I still do this exercise whenever I’m working with new fabric.

The video for this lesson is at (** Ok, I’m sick this week, so there’s no video YET. Check back in about a week **)

1. Cut 2 pieces of fabric that are 12″ long and 6″ wide.

You can use any fabric… if you don’t have any specific to use… then muslin is a great fabric to start with.

2. Thread your sewing machine with the same type of thread for the top and bottom threads. But thread a different color in the bobbin. Again, make sure the 2 threads are of the same type.

3. Insert a new sewing machine needle that is appropriate for the weight and type of your fabric. You’ll be sewing through 2 layers of the fabric. To learn more about how to choose the right sewing machine needle, visit

4. Lay the 2 pieces of fabric on top of each other, aligning one side edge.

5. Using a ruler, measure and mark every inch for 8″. Draw lines across the fabric for each mark. And write 0 through 8 on the lines.

6. Reduce the top thread tension to 0.

7. The stitch length should be 2.5

8. Start about 1 inch in from the raw edge and at the 0 lined. Start stitching a straight stitch.

9. When you get to line 1, increase the top thread tension to 1

10. Stitch to line 2, increase the top thread tension to 2

And so on.

Now, look at your sample on both sides. Where does the stitching look most balanced? The thread should look taught.. no loops… and you should not see the other sides thread color.

Get a notebook and write down the following details:

  • Type of fabric
  • # of fabric layers
  • Needle size
  • Thread type
  • Stitch length
  • Thread tension

You can continue this exercise by changing the stitch length. Increase it to 3.0 and do the same exercise.

Make sure you write down your findings.

Doing something like this before you start a big project will save you a lot of time and reduce the risk of ruining your fabric. Plus you can use your notebook as a point of reference for your future sewing projects.

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 or newsletter!

Question from ?: tips to attach the rings on a roman shades.

Answer: There’s a step by step video on that shows you how to sew on a shade ring for your reference.

Question from Mary Ann: Where can I locate the video that shows how to make a cushion cover? Not the box cushion you are showing now…but the one that takes 45 min. Thanks. mary Ann

Answer: Hi Mary Ann! This video is episode #4 on

Question from Janice: Hi Jenny, Sure hope you can help with this: I own a Singer Futura CE100 for about 2yrs., and I haven’t mastered the embroidery feature yet. Is there anywhere on line that I can get free info. for this. Thanks Jen

Answer: Oh Janice… this is such a specific need and not something that is online. I did search for you to see what I could find… and all I found was a lot of complaining and reviews on this type of machine. But no actual instructions. The only thing I can suggest is to find a local Singer dealer and request a lesson on your machine. Most dealers provide this service. Does anyone else have any ideas?

Question from Patty: I made my first relax roman shades. I actually made two alike. They go on two windows that join up in a corner. The windows are 4′ x 4′. One worked out fine and hangs great. The other, made exactly the same way, pulls more on one side than the other. I don’t see where I messed them up. Any ideas

Answer: I don’t think you messed up. I imagine that if you made them the same… they are in fact the same. The trouble is in the lift cord tension. You have one side too tight… causing the one side to raise faster than the other. Try readjusting the thread tension and see how it goes.

Question from Mary Ann: Hi Jenny, I just joined and am very excited. Can you show how to make sheer pleated drapes? I have been told they are pretty difficult. I don’t want to attempt it till I see what the problems can be. Thanks. Mary Ann

Answer: Hi again Mary Ann! I just came across your question. Inside of there is a video series on sewing pleated drapes. These videos cover sheer or unlined drapes. Then at there is a video that reviews lots of good tips on sewing sheers. Hope this helps.

Question from Arlene: I want to make austrian shades out of sheer fabric, should I line with another piece of sheer or will 3x the width give me the body and fullness?

Answer: I wouldn’t line or double up your sheer fabric. 3X fullness should be enough. If you really want more body, you can try to find interfacing for sheer fabric. If you’re not a workroom, this may be hard to find. But you want it to be big enough to accomodate the width of your fabric.

Question from Sue: Hi, Jenny. I am making Roman shades, one that measures 28″ wide by 42″long and another that measures 44″ wide by 42″ long. How many vertical columns of rings do I need for each shade; and in each column, how many inches apart should I place the rings? Hope you can help. Thanks!

Answer: You should have 3 lift cords for the 28″ shade. And 5 lift cords for the 44″ wide shade. The ring placement varies on how big you want the pleats. Hop on over to and use the free roman shade calculator that will help you decide the ring placement.

Question from Natalie: Hello I am interested in making a London style blind verses the roman. What is the difference? how do i start?

Answer: A flat roman shade lays flat with no pleats or swagging. And when it is raised, it pleats neatly with no swagging. The London Shade only has 2 lift cords. They are placed at 2 box pleats on the shade. So, when the shade is raised it swags deep in the center and has butterfly tails on the outside. This is a great look. You can learn how to make both styles at

Visit and submit your sewing question today.



What’s New This Month In

1. Project of the Month: How To Sew A Piped Box Cushion. (*For Super Sewer Members Only*)

2. Window Treatment of the Month: How To Sew A Slatted Roman Shade. (*For Super Sewer Members Only*)

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. Week 3 is partially posted. I’ve been sick and behind schedule. I’m sorry!!

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 Sew Custom Welt Cord (piping)

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!


Content Requests

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?

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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