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Applique is adding pictures or designs on your project by means of cutting out shapes in fabric, sticking them to the project and sewing around them. You can cut shapes out of different coloured fabrics to form a picture, writing or simply create abstract designs. There are various products on the market used to stick down the fabric. Vlisofix or Heat’n’Bond are the most commonly known. The products have a paper backing with a film over the top that melts and sticks to the fabric when pressed with an iron. You then peel back the paper and press the shape onto the project. The style of stitching and threads used around the shapes can also vary, depending on the overall look you are trying to achieve.

Tools to help you:

  • open toe foot for your sewing machine
  • small, sharp pointed scissors

Click HERE for Heidi Ho patterns that teach you applique

Technique Tip! Sew slowly and steady, a good even pace will give you a smoother line around the shapes.

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Binding is the fabric that you sew around the edge of a project that has various layers, such as a layer of fabric either side of wadding. A quilt is a perfect example but can be used for many smaller projects as well. The binding is sewn on to one side of the project and flipped to the other side and stitched down, completely concealing all of the raw edges. It can give your project a strong contrasting border or if you prefer, simply blend in.

Tools to help you:

  • walking foot for your sewing machine
  • hot iron

Click HERE for Heidi Ho patterns that teach you binding

Technique Tip! You can hand stitch the binding on the flip side but if you choose to machine stitch it down, consider using a decorative stitch.

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Decorative Stitches

decorative stitches,

Decorative Stitches are a way to embellish the fabric. Most sewing machines have a nice selection of decorative stitches but even the basic stitches can look effective in contrasting thread. Any combination of stitches can be used whether it be straight lines or randomly squiggled over the fabric. A straight line of stitches top-stitched along the edge can make a prominent border.

Tools to help you:

  • border guide foot for your sewing machine
  • stabilizer

Click HERE for Heidi Ho patterns that teach you decorative stitches

Technique Tip! A twin needle can introduce two different coloured threads, shadowing each other for an outstanding effect.

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Overlocker projects are usually quick and fun to sew. They can serve two purposes: the first being, overlocking the raw edge to prevent the fabric from fraying and giving it a very neat finish. The second is that you can enhance the fabric with the decorative stitches such as rolled hems and flatlock. The thicker perle thread can be used with these techniques and it will give the stitching a more dramatic three-dimensional look.

Tools to help you:

  • tweezers for threading the overlocker
  • perle thread for decorative stitches

Click HERE for Heidi Ho patterns that teach you overlocker projects

Technique Tip! Metallic thread can easily be sewn through an overlocker without all of the thread breakages that often happen when sewing it through your sewing machine. The secret to success is the thread is threaded through a looper and not the small hole in the needle.

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Piecing is what you call the technique that you use when patch-working. It is when you sew all the little pieces together to make one big piece. There is hundreds of designs of patchwork squares and different rules apply to each one depending on the shape of the pieces sewn together. In each case, Heidi shows you step by step what is required for the pattern you are sewing.  

Tools to help you:

  • ¼” foot for your sewing machine
  • 32mm rotary cutter and small rotary mat

Click HERE for Heidi Ho patterns that teach you piecing

Technique Tip! Not only is the sewing important to be accurate when piecing, it is also important to press the seam allowances the correct way for that particular square.

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Piping foot

Piping is an excellent way to ad extra emphasis to a seam, a contrast to a colour-way, or strength to a bag. When piping, its important to choose a piping-cord size to balance your project. Medium sized projects like my bags usually use a size 2, bigger household projects like a cushion can get away with a 4, and more delicate projects like clothing uses the finer size 0. Piping is relatively inexpensive, so you should always buy double of what you need so that you can practice and to cover (Heaven forbid) any mistakes that you might make.

Tools to help you:

  • a piping foot for your sewing machine
  • tweezers

Click HERE for Heidi Ho Patterns that teach you piping

Technique Tip! Don’t try to catch your piping into your seam all at once. Make your piping first, then apply it to one seam, then join the second piece of fabric by sewing the seam again.

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Pockets are essential in every bag. Sometimes you simply need an open pocket to slide things into and other times you need the pocket to be zipped up securely. Pockets on the exterior of a bag need to be a little bit extravagant.  Heidi has used a variety of pockets throughout her range, ready to suit any occasion.

Tools to help you:

  • open toe foot for your sewing machine
  • fusible interfacing

Click HERE for Heidi Ho patterns that teach you pockets

Technique Tip! To strengthen the pocket, fuse an interfacing to the wrong side of the pocket fabric.

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Quilt As You Go

quilt as you go

Quilt As You Go is a more manageable way to quilt a project. Meaning that the project is made in sections, whether it be a quilt, tablerunner, cushion etc. For each section, you piece the top layer then place it on top of the wadding and backing fabric. Quilt through the three layers. The section is fully completed (except for around the edges). The sections are then sewn together. There is a variety of methods in which you can sew them together. Heidi will show you the best suited for the particular pattern.

Tools to help you:

  • open toe walking foot for your sewing machine
  • large square ruler

Click HERE for Heidi Ho patterns that teach you Quilt As You Go

Technique Tip! If using the “Tram Technique” make sure the trams are perfectly straight. Stand at one end, bend down and look up along the tram. This is the best angle to see.

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Ruffles are a great way to add a feminine touch to a project. They can be soft and delicate or quite bright and quirky. It gives you a chance to play with colours and add a whole new dimension to the project.

Tools to help you:

  • open toe foot for your sewing machine
  • double sided adhesive tape

Click HERE for Heidi Ho patterns that teach you ruffles

Technique Tip! Gathering on your overlocker is quick and neat way to gather strips.

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Webbing Handles

webbing handles

Webbing Handles are an alternative to making handles out of fabric. The webbing is a bold contrast against the fabric bag. It’s ready made and quick to sew on. Accompanied with metal hardware, gives you a professional finish to the bag.

Tools to help you:

  • edge joining foot for your sewing machine
  • denim needle

Click HERE for Heidi Ho patterns that teach you webbing handles

Technique Tip! Always use a strong denim needle, size 14-16 and sew at a steady pace over the webbing.