Colette

Announcing Wren Faire: Win Fabric & More!

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cp1033-wren-05-full

We have been overwhelmed by all the love for Wren over the past few days. A few of us here at Colette headquarters are stitching up Wren over the weekend, but we are most excited to see your Wrens.

The creativity of the sewing community never disappoints. In celebration of Wren and all you awesome sewists, we are hosting Wren Faire (yes with an E at the end)!

In collaboration with some awesome stores and bloggers we will be giving away fabric and books. And best of all participating is as easy as commenting!

On the Colette blog

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A few of our favorite fabric stores will be sharing their Wren dresses and fabric suggestions. Participate here at the Colette blog for a chance to win this beautiful knit fabric handpicked by Josie from Fabric Godmother.

Fabric Godmother is a modern haberdashery packed full of great dressmaking fabrics. Win 3 yards of this viscose and spandex mix with a stunning abstract multi-coloured crystal shard print to sew up your next Wren, as well as a copy of The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits.

Just comment below with your favorite trick for sewing knits!

With guest bloggers

erin-mary

On October 29th, Erin of Crayola Creepy and Mary of Idle Fancy will be sharing their Wren dresses. You can comment on their blogs for a chance to win a copy of The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits.

On Instagram

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Celebrate #wrenfaire on Instagram and enter to win gift certificates from our friends at The Cloth Pocket and Harts Fabrics.

On Instagram you can share:
– Your finished Wren dress
– Your in progress Wren dress
– Your stash of knits

Just use the hashtag #wrenfaire, yes with an E at the end.

All winners will be announced here on the blog November 2nd.

Haley Glenn   —   Editorial Director

Five years ago, Haley left the apparel industry to join the world of home sewing. She has been empowering women to sew ever since – first through years of in-person teaching at Sew LA, and now through her writing at Colette. Haley writes tutorials and articles on our blog, teaches sewalongs, and writes and edits for our magazine, Seamwork.

Comments 185

Carolle

I use hair ‘sliders’ instead of pins when sewing with knits. Really handy, and when I drop them I can still use my magnetic pin dish to pick them up.

Jen B beansyb.wordpress.com

What a great name! It took me a minute to figure it out, haha! My favorite trick for sewing knits? Since I don’t have a table large enough to lay out yardage, I set my fabric on my (clean) living room floor for cutting so the fabric lays flat. Other than that, I learned from Thread Theory’s guide for sewing knits to adjust the differential feed on my serger.

Margo

My favorite tip is to use a sharp needle (the type sharp, though your needle shouldn’t be dull!). They work best for me in sewing knits.

Hila saturdaynightstitch.com

My favourite tip for sewing with knits – using a twin needle to finish the hem makes it look so profesh! To reduce tunneling I use water soluble double sided tape to fix the hem before hemming with a twin needle and voila!

Malki

My favorite technique for sewing knits is to use a new ballpoint needle for every project.

Angela

I cut out on our pool table. The felt surface prevents the fabric from slipping.

Heather O

patience and a ball point needle. I only a sewing machine. So I need patience in seeing the stretch seems on my machine.

Claire c

Really looking forward to making a Wren dress, love the shape. My tip when sewing with knits is one I have picked up when I first started sewing with knits. Use some stay tape or ribbon on the shoulder seam to help stop the seam stretching out, and to use a ballpoint needle.

Susan oldbuttonsnewthreads.wordpress.com

I use a fusible knit stay tape when I hem to keep the fabric from stretching and rippling. It works great! Can’t wait till my pattern arrives!

Barbara

What a great idea! I’m gonna try this because that problem has caused me some teeth gnashing.

Verónica

The dual feed presser helps bring the two fabrics at a time and it can be used with all types of stitches

Heather

Yes!! A walking foot is a must!

Lizzy

When I sew with knits where the difference between “right” an “wrong” side is subtle, I always put a bit of tape on the wrong side of the fabric for every piece I cut.

Jenny

I use a walking foot, ball point needle and lightning stitch for seams. I use a twin needle for hems and reinforce shoulders with stay tape

Barbara

What is a lightening stich

Jenny

Ideally, your machine has a stretch stitch. Which one is the stretch stitch? It is the one that looks like an offset zig zag. This stitch goes forward, then back a bit, to create a seam that can stretch with your fabric. I call it the lightning bolt.

Sarah

The biggest thing I found for not stretching my seams (since I only have a sewing machine and my walking foot is clunky/difficult) is to “inch worm” feed my fabric under the presser foot.To inch worm, I create a tiny fold in the fabric in front of the presser foot by pushing the fabric a little, and then let it feed in normally. Then the seams aren’t all stretched out because the feed dogs aren’t pulling (as much) on the fabric under the presser foot.

Haley colettehq.com

I use this trick too! So handy!

Donna

I’ve never heard of this, and I’m having trouble visualizing it. Could you please have a mini-tutorial with pictures on this? Wouldn’t the little fold get caught?

sarah rootbranchbole.wordpress.com

My favorite way to retain sanity is to skip hemming on really slinky, lightweight knits. That’s not a battle I need to be having! (Oh, and using the triple stretch stitch when I want the appearance of a regular straight stitch. )

Amanda symondezyn.wordpress.com

yes! me too, especially on a maxi dress! ^_^

Audie

Beware of cheap knit fabric. My favorite shirt I ever made is really worn out because I bought cheap fabric from a big-box store.

Robynne

The simplest thing that made my projects so much easier was just buying ballpoint needles. I never have problems with skipped stitches on knits anymore!

jennifer clothinghacker.com

Yay! I have Halloween sewing to do this weekend, so I probably won’t have time to sew up my Wren, but I’ll hopefully at least get to print and tape it.

My favorite tip for sewing with knits is to be sure to not pull on the fabric as I’m feeding it through. Otherwise, my seams become wavy.

Kettle Yarn Co. kettleyarnco.co.uk

I’ve just started sewing with knits and have learned a lot from reading Colette’s tutorials and tips!

I’ve had difficulties tracking down Wonder Tape in the UK but discovered that a thin strip of lightweight fusible interfacing works well for both reinforcing shoulder seams and for clean, unstretched seams when sewing with a simple sewing machine – eg. on the back neckline for Myrtle and hem seam with twin stitch needle.

Jess

I found Wonder Tape on Amazon UK, it comes from the U.S. but I think it’s free shipping. There were a few options when I ordered, hope that helps.

Kettle Yarn Co. kettleyarnco.co.uk

Thanks huge for this Jess! I’ll go check it out.

Naomi

One useful tip regarding sewing with knits is to always check the fabric’s recovery before you buy. If it doesn’t retain its shape, slowly back away – even if it’s super pretty! Otherwise you will have spent time and money on sewing something that just won’t last.

Haley colettehq.com

I agree, as a curvy gal I find this especially important!

Andrea S.

This isn’t very original, but using Maxi-Loc Stretch thread in my bobbin has made all the difference for me!

Nadja

My machine has always skipped stitches when sewing with knits. Now I use a stretch needle instead of a jersey needle and the problem is solved

Caroline Flynn

My best tip is don’t fear knits, they are awesome!

Jessica ayenforcraft.blogspot.com

How exciting ~ although I can’t say I’m surprised at the positive response, this is a really beautiful and versatile design (I mean, all your designs are, but you know!)

I’m still pretty new to sewing with knits, but I’ve found that sometimes my skipped stitches are due to using the wrong size/thickness ballpoint needle. Before I realized that, I would stitch over every seam twice – talk about a time sink. Knits newbie, like I said :-).

Nuala clootiedumplings.co.uk

I use stay tape to reinforce shoulder seams. When using a twin needle for hemming I make sure it’s a twin stretch rather than ballpoint as I get loads of skipped stitches with ballpoint – not sure if that’s common or just my machine! When hemming kids clothes or a really stretchy fabric for myself I use the jersey stretch stitch on my Bernina. It’s not the most attractive but it’s got much more give than a twin needle stitch.

Lynn

Wow! What gorgeous fabric! My favorite tip for sewing knits is to sew neck binding on with your regular sewing machine before running it through the serger. I’m able to check and make sure everything’s attached well to my liking before finishing the edge, especially on v-necks.

Ani

I don’t have a serger or a coverstitch machine. So I looooove my feet! I have a foot for doing overcast stitches, and my walking foot is heaven. Don’t be afraid to switch feet up. I used to feel it wasn’t worth the effort but it totally is :)

Carolyn

Make sure your thread is high quality. Nothing is more annoying than snapping seams while you wear knit garments.
Also – cutting along the grain of knit fabrics can be tricky (for me at least). Stripy knit fabric makes it a lot easier to find the grain.

Katie Emma instagram.com

I started using ballpoint pins in my knits for the same reason that you use ballpoint needles in your machine. The pins won’t poke holes in your fabric or cause snags.

Kristin P

I love the colors and print on that fabric! I like a lot of the tips others have shared, some totally new to me that I’m excited to try! My tip for sewing knits is when sewing a hem or other seam that goes across the direction of most stretch, I will pin strips of tissue paper to the underside of the seam. Since the paper doesn’t stretch when coming into contact with the feed dogs, it keeps your fabric feeding through nice and evenly. Then, when you’re finished sewing, you can easily tear the paper away.

Meg

I always dew with a ballpoint needle and use a walking foot. I also use a fusible stay tape on the hem to reduce tunneling when stitching with a double needle. I only have a conventional machine and I love sewing with knots. The other advice is to join one of the Colette sewalongs. The help there is invaluable

nothy lane aftagley.blogspot.com

I use the zigag stitch for my seams instead of the straight stitch. I don’t have a serger and the zigzag stitch allows for more stretch.

Catherine

I use a fusible tape to stabilize necklines and armholes, especially with knits that don’t have Lycra or spandex. That way my curves don’t stretch out as I’m handling them! Also, because it’s so very lightweight, it doesn’t affect the drape.

Liz

Tips? Oh goodness. Don’t stretch it too much? I’m still a beginner with knits, I think. :)

Maggie

I love sewing knits, and how fast it can be to make a nice looking knit garment. The first step is really buying decent fabric that has good recovery. Then using a walking foot, cranking the differential feed, and pushing the fabric through (never pulling!) all help avoid the wavy seam syndrome.

Barbara

Not exactly a new tip, but hey, that ballpoint needle sure makes a difference. I admit that I decided to invest in a serger/coverstitch since I just couldn’t get a twin needle to work like I wanted, too. (Is that cheating?) Glad I did!

Lavi

My favorite trick for knits that are slinky and misbehaving is to sandwich them between tissue paper before putting them under the presser foot. A bit of a mess afterwards but no more puckers, uneven stretching, etc… I love this dress so much! I really hope I’ll win the pattern:) thank you!

Mary Beth

Don’t let a lack of a serger stop…if you got a computerized machine you will will likely have a faux serger stitch, use this and then cut away the excess fabric right up to the stitching. It will look like you serged your dress.

Amanda symondezyn.wordpress.com

Since all knits are NOT created equal, I take the time to test different combinations of stitch length, width & tension before I sew; nothing worse than puckered seams or popped stitches!

Melissa craftrambler.blogspot.com

When I’m sewing with knits, I use a lot of pins and take my time – so the fabric doesn’t wiggle around too much!

Robin

Take time at the beginning of every new knit project to test different stitches, stitch lengths, finishing techniques, etc. Knits are so different from one another it really pays to do tests and experiments before committing to the fashion fabric. Take notes on what works so there are few unpleasant surprises!

Gretchen Potts

I’m a big fan of wonder tape for perfect hems and have found that glue sticks or just plain old elmers glue works in a pinch.

Jessica

I always start with a new ballpoint needle for seams and I use a twin needle for hems. Be patient with the fabric and don’t stretch it as you go.

Andrea

My favorite tip is using my ballpoint needle with tissue underneath to slow down the drag by feed dogs. That has been a revelation! Also don’t be afraid to repin when matching a neckband or set-in sleeve to a garment before sewing it. Getting the amount of stretch right can be tricky.

Tricia

I like to use clear elastic to reinforce the shoulder seams and anywhere else that I don’t want to get too stretched out.

Leslie

My best tip for sewing with knits is to baste then serge. That way you can make sure everything fits and is lined up. It is no fun to unpick serger stitches.

Virginia

I love knits! My tips: Use a ballpoint needle with a zigzag stitch and don’t stretch the fabric while sewing it. And have patience with curly edges!

Nique

Using the decorative stitches on my machine for hems is awesome. Still gives a great amount of stretch and looks fancy

Charlotte thecreativedomestic.com

I sew all my knits on my serger–it’s my favorite way to sew! Everything goes so quickly! You have to make sure that your seams are what they should be, because serged seams are harder to take out. But it’s so worth it!

Vanessa G P

I’m as green as it gets when it comes to sewing with knits, so thanks for all the tips and tricks everyone! I hope to sew a few pairs of leggings for my wee ones as a beginners project.

Meredith

What beautiful fabric. My tip for working with knits is similar to alot of the others. I always use a new ball point needle and a zig zag stitch.

Rebecca uglycutedesigns.blogspot.com

I baste my sleeves in first on my sewing machine, and then I serge over the basting stitch as a guide. This way, I can check how the sleeve looks before I commit to serging.

Claudia

My trick for sewing knits is to stay calm and stop fearing it. I don’t have a serger, but I think it can be more difficult to sew up a slippery viscose fabric than a knit fabric.

Caroline

My favorite trick for sewing with knits is wine.

francesca

:)

Haley colettehq.com

I endorse this tip!

Heather

Concur. :-)

Lyn

yeah but I’m new to sewing with knits, (just sewed a Mabel) and I don’t know if I should be drinking red or white while sewing knit fabric? please advise :)

Kimber Crow

I’d say white wine, save the red for making jeans! ;)

Hansi

I just finished my first knit project – the Mesa dress from Seamwork! Yay! I used some lovely fabric from Art Gallery. It turned out lovely.
I used my walking foot and a stretch needle. And lots of patience.

Hansi

And I forgot to say – I used my lightning bolt stitch, 6.0 mm wide. I found the narrower widths to not be stretchy enough.

Deedoo facebook.com

I use clover clips instead of pins to sew knit fabrics. It avoid to brake a pin into the serger machine !

I love the Wren dress so much ! Thank you !

Mags magscreativemeanderings.blogspot.uk

Using the IDT on my pfaff or a walking foot. I also dtsystitch necklines.

Alice Lam

My favourite tip for sewing with knits is to buy really good quality fabric, and use a new ballpoint needle

Josie

Lots of pinning for me and my babylock evolve serger gets my knits sewn right every time I!

Valentina

Hi everybody, my favourite trick to sewing knit is using the walking foot, especially with lightweight knits.

michela

I usually use zig-zag stitch to sew the horizontal seams in order to allow the fabric to stretch a little as I pull the dress on and off

francesca

Most of the above – plus, I would not be without my rotary cutter, a fresh blade and my cutting mats which cover the dining room table practically permanently – the best way of getting things cut evenlly…. also, I always lay stretch fabric out on the table at least overnight for it to relax back into shape. Otherwise oone can have an unpleasant surprise length wise! And last but definitely not least, I bought a slide=-on free arm table for my Bernina, which has made a huge difference in eerything – and with knits, it stops them hanging over and stretching out of shape, which they tend to, even if you support them.

rbjaneite

My favourite tip for sewing with knits is, when pinning on a neckline binding, to pin the bodice neckline into my ironing board, making it easier to stretch out the binding evenly as I pin it on.

camelia calcedoniasewing.blogspot.nl

What I like to do is cut my knit fabric with the rotary cutter, no pinning just some weights on to hold the pattern in place and a good sharp blade on my cutter, so easy ! Also using my serger as much as possible on the seams and the IDT on my Pffaf when I use my regular machine. I own a coverstitch but I must say that I use a simple double needle more often because is so easy and love the results .

Amy

Knits look wavy when they are laying flat on a table. This does not mean you failed at sewing:) Nine times out of ten, when you put the garment on, the fabric will stretch to accommodate and smooth itself out. So don’t stress unnecessarily over a wavy seam!

Marta

I have yet to start sewing knits, so I don’t have any tip, but the guide would so useful for me! Thank you for creating a knit dress as flattering as Wren!

Fabric Tragic fabrictragic.blogspot.com

Lots of great tips here. My main goal when sewing with knits now is to get the best finish possible. This means pressing every seam, just like with wovens, practicing with different tensions to reduce the chance of wavy seams, and my latest epiphany is to block fuse any pieces that require interfacing, such as facings, then cut out the pattern piece. If you try to iron a stretchy interfacing to a stretchy piece of fabric you’re almost guaranteed to distort it.

Genya

My first garment was a knit long sleeved tshirt, i thought that knit was so easy to sew, well, i have an antique sewing straight line machine and i still managed to sew the shirt which is still going strong. How -simple: when sewing horizonal seams you stretch the fabric slightly and on vertical and round seams you stretching quite a lot, so the finished straight seem will be gathered once the fabric recover the stretch.

Logan loganstitches.wordpress.com

Wondertape double sided press apply wash away seam tape is hands down my favorite trick for hemming knits and avoiding wobbly seams. I use tissue paper underneath thin knits for stabilization.
BTW, I love the way your comment section is set up. It’s far more user friendly than most.

Cyndi

I am new to knits & my only advice is practice!

Sallie sallieoh.blogspot.com

Ha! I LOVE the name of this contest!!
My favorite knit sewing tips are to use fusible interfacing for wide hems, like full skirts, to keep the seam from rippling, then also (this isn’t really a ‘trick’ persay, but I did recently discover it and feel like a genius!) hemming small circumferences with my machines triple stretch stitch has been a revelation. No more popped stitches! It’s ACTUALLY stretchy, unlike my machine’s zig-zag or twin needle which only has a little bit of give. Plus it looks super clean and professional.

Lisa patternandbranch.wordpress.com

Fun! I love to use my walking foot when sewing knits.

Laura C sewknitrun.wordpress.com

I always add a strip of tricot interfacing to my hem before using a double needle. Makes all the difference in the world.

Vanessa Smith

Use a new ball point needle. It keeps your machine from skipping stitches. Be patient.

Claudia propertension.blogspot.com

I know it’s been said already, but patience, time, and focus (you don’t always have all three simultaneously) would be my tip.

Le Papillon creationsdupapillon.fr

First of all, reading your tips is certainly the best advice I would ever share with any sewists ! But un great serger is quite great for sewing knits. And the Moneta pattern, my fav ever ! Sewn 4 times and another one will arrive soon ! Thank for this give away !

Julia

My advice is to measure carefully, take deep breaths, and don’t rush.

Lisa

I like to use tissue paper under the fabric when I use lightweight knits with my regular sewing machine. That way the fabric doesn’t get sucked into the feed dogs. It also helps to keep the two layers feeding through at the same rate.

Katya

I’ll reiterate having a good serger if you can! I was lucky to get mine handed down from my mother. Also, if you find out that your fabric doesn’t have the recovery you hoped (happens to me a lot when buying online) then you can compensate by making it a size smaller. It isn’t ideal since the first wear or two its a little snug but once it stretches out it’s great! I’ve saved a few Netties this way. (alternatively you could just size down after it has stretched out but once I’m onto my next project I rarely look back!)

AmandaS

The first garment I ever made was a knit dress and I just dove right in head first. It came out great! My advice is to be bold and have no fear for sewing with knit fabrics. Just take care with it. If you have the right tools, you will do great. Ballpoint needles and fusible interfacing are the only must haves, in my opinion. Though I do love me a twin needle, and I plan to get a walking foot one of these days.

Karen livinginserendipity.com

My favorite tip is to sew the shoulder seams with a strip of clear elastic. It gives the seam some stablization (is that a word?) as well as some stretch.

Rose

My favorite tip for sewing knits is changing the needle for new projects (and using a ball point needles).

Many thanks for the opportunity!

Hannah

Moneta was my first knit project, and all I had was a beginner’s sewing machine to tackle it with. Here are the best tips I discovered, for working with knits!

– Everyone’s mentioned this already, but a walking foot + twin needle help so much to avoid stretching your fabric, and creating nice finished edges.

– Clover fabric clips are helpful to keep from savaging delicate knits with pinpoints.

– I find working with elastic to be a nightmare. For my first Moneta, I broke the task down into smaller pieces, and sewed the elastic into each of my skirt pieces separately, before then sewing my skirt pieces together. No problems!

Tamara

I don’t have a serger, so I use the walking foot on my machine with a narrow zig-zag stitch, brilliant for very fine knits like slippery bamboo jersey.

Alexandra B sewingwithpurpose.blogspot.ca

The tip I use for sewing knits (I don’t have a serger) is that I baste everything with a long straight stitch before I go over it again with a triple stitch. I find the straight stitch isn’t durable enough for a quality garment, but the triple stitch is HORRENDOUS to try to seam rip. It’s much easier to take an extra 45 minutes to baste it and make sure I haven’t made any assembly errors than the headache of trying to rip out a triple stitch without making holes in my garment.

stephanie costello

I have not yet started to sew knits but have purchased the Olso pattern and plan on starting with that. The above tips are all fantastic along with the pdf download. Love all this inspiration.

H hshandcrafts.wordpress.com

I’m not sure I can share a tip as I have never sewn with knits before! However that gorgeous fabric and the wren pattern might just persuade me to give it a try!
H.

Nickkole

I use a serger, so sewing knits isn’t difficult at all, my tip though would be to make sure the bulk of the garment isn’t hanging as you feed it through the machine, even if you have to push the machine further back on the table make the bulk rest on the table. Otherwise you’re practically guaranteed stretching

Courtney

Patience. A ball point needle. A milkshake with lots of protein… I always loose track of time and with knits it can be especially hairy if you try to rush :-)

Liz

My favorite trick for sewing knits is to use spray starch as a stabilizer.

Starch stiffens the fabric slightly. It’s really good for slippery knits.

Andit washes right out!

Knitnrun4sanity

My tip is similar to others. Use a walking foot, stretch needle and for seams that get a lot of stress the triple zig zag stitch.

Christina

I am pretty sure everyone has already mentioned my ‘must haves’ lol. A proper ballpoint needle, fusible stay tape and a walking foot are my essentials for knits. Making sure you have enough room to lay out the fabric so the cutting doesnt get distorted is crucial too.

Soph

I have been enjoying learning to sew with knits. Brand new ballpoint or stretch needle is a must when project begins.

Yasko

Lovely new pattern! I can’t wait to sew it. Almost every tip I use for knit fabric has been mentioned already but my favorite is to use a clear elastic on shoulder seams so that they don’t stretch over time and also change a ballpoint needle often.

Anya anna-zoe.net

I LOVE it! I already have plans for a few Wren dresses :)
One of the tricks I use with knits that roll – during the cutting of the fabric, I pin all my pieces together either before I cut the fabric or as I cut. This way the fabric doesn’t roll on me when I move it around prior to actual sewing.
Another thing, is making sure the dials (stitch length, differential feed, stitch width) are set properly on my serger for the weight of knit that I use so that the seams do not come out stretched out. I always test it on the scrap of fabric before I start sewing.
Finally, set in sleeves flat, so that if I have to take the final garment in at the sides, it is a lot easier to do that!

Sylvia

I love the Wren and the Moneta for my pear shaped- larger hips than bust figure.
I’ve just started sewing knits. The biggest help for me was setting it on our pool table- where all the fabric was supported- not stretching, and pinning the edges of the folds together so they wouldn’t shift when I pinned the pattern to the fabric.
I learned fast that putting in a fresh ballpoint needle for every project has helped me – no more skipped stitches.
Thank you for the chance at the drawing.

Heather

Thanks for all the great tips!
I always try to buy a quarter yard extra of fabric when shopping for knits. That way I have lots for testing stitches and finishes.

Zanda zanzibach.com

My success in sewing knits is to use new needles and right size. For heavyweight knits I use Stretch needle nr.90 , but for lightweight knits Stretch nr.75. When I sew knits on my sewing machine invaluable feature is adjustable foot pressure which I have on my Jukki .

Beth

After many years of owning but never using a twin needle, I recently used it to hem a knit skirt. It was surprisingly easy (I used the Colette Guide to Sewing Knits to help guide me). I’m no longer intimidated about working with knits and knowing there’s so much knowledge and support in this community, I feel confident enough to give this dress a go!

Anne Lyth topstitched.net

There is a lot of great tips here, but I’ll add something I don’t think has been mentioned yet.
Whenever i have to put a zipper in a knitted garment, I use Wonder tape to stabilise and glue the knit fabric to the zipper tape. This makes the seam less prone to stretch out when I sew the zipper with my machine. And as a bonus: no pins necessary= less bulk.

Vicki Kate

i love fusible stay tape for a knit hem, but if I’ve run out I use a lightweight woven fusible interfacing cut into bias strips! Has got me out of a sewing funk on a couple of occasions…

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