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I always thought that making buttonholes with a sewing machine was hard but I was happy to find out that I was wrong. Follow this easy tutorial and you'll be making buttonholes in no time! I'd recommend trying several buttonholes on some scrap fabric before you do it on anything you want to keep. --Molly

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Drafting Japanese Sewing Patterns


One of my favorite Japanese fabrics is Nani Iro by Naomi Ito.  I first discovered it on a trip to Japan last May.  Imagine my thrill when I first started working at Purl and discovered that we carried it too!  I have been (im)patiently waiting for the past few months for her new line to come out, and I wasn’t disappointed.  On top of a beautiful collection of fabrics, Naomi Ito has put out a book, Nani Iro Pattern Book, with patterns using her fabric. Nani Iro is a double faced gauze fabric, which lends itself nicely to loose, flowing pieces versus highly tailored clothing.  None of the patterns have zippers, and only a few have button or hook enclosures. 

Drafting a pattern from a book in a foreign language can be intimidating!  But, don’t worry, Japanese sewing and craft books are very straightforward once you get started.  I rarely read the instructions and follow the pictures when sewing.

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Quilter's Knot

Thread your hand sewing needle with thread that matches your background fabric (for the purposes of this tutorial we've used contrasting thread so you can see it).

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Rotary Cutting

Rotary cutting is a true time saver! It makes clean, quick, accurate cuts, but it can be a little intimidating to the uninitiated. With a few instructions and tips, however, you’ll be wielding a rotary cutter with safety and ease, and once you learn how to do it, you'll never look back!

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Sewing Kit Essentials: Fabric Markers

Marking tools are one of the most useful pieces of a sewing kit, and there are so many different kinds! The marks they make can show you where to cut, where to fold or where to stitch. They can make a permanent or temporary line, and they're available in many different colors including yellow, blue, red, white and more. The secret to making your markers work for you is knowing which marker is the right one for your project. There is no such thing as the all-purpose perfect marker so it's important to familiarize yourself with the different uses of each kind.

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Sewing Kit Essentials: Scissors

When I first started sewing I had one pair of scissors that I used for everything, from clipping threads to cutting out patterns, from ripping out seams to trimming my bangs. My poor scissors! It took me a while to realize that there were better and more specific tools for all of these jobs. Some sewing jobs don't require scissors at all, such as seam ripping, and I now do most of my cutting for quilts with a rotary cutter, but this still leaves a lot of scissor work to be done! Here is what I've learned about the wonderful world of scissors.

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Sewing Kit Essentials: Seam Ripper

I worked at Purl, our knitting store, for a few years before Purl Patchwork opened. One of the mantras I was always telling beginning knitters was, "don't worry you can always rip it out." In other words, there was no permanent mistake, everything could be easily unraveled and tried again.

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Sewing Kit Essentials: Thimbles


I have to admit that before Purl Patchwork opened I didn't have a clue about thimbles. They seemed quaint and old fashioned but I didn't really understand their use (... and I thought that you wore them on your thumb!) Now that I hand sew and embroider regularly my thimbles  have become indispensable. I have different kinds for different uses and I thought I'd share with you what they're all for in case anyone out there is similarly clueless.

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Sewing on a Button

Even though it may seem like a minor detail, once you've spent time creating a special project, it's important to sew the buttons on correctly. It's a quick and simple process that will help ensure your buttons stay on for a long time to come. 

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