Five Favorite Snippets from 2011


If you’ve signed up for our Snippets newsletter, you receive a sewing-related tip or technique every week. We’ve chosen five favorite Snippets from 2011 to share with you. There were just so many, it was hard to choose only five!

Working with Elastic

Elastic often twists when being pulled through a fabric tunnel. Marking one side can help avoid this annoying sewing glitch.

Before you begin pulling the elastic through, mark both ends of one side of the elastic with a colored pen. There’s no right or wrong side, simply choose one or the other. After you’ve pulled the elastic through, feel along the fabric for twists, and check the ends of the elastic. If they match up, you’re ready to go. If they don’t match, you can easily tell because one side is unmarked. Untwist the elastic and you’re set!

A Usable Fabric Stash

Most of us have a stash of fabrics, don’t we? Be it big or small, there are a number of things you can do to keep it usable and avoid destrying your precious stash.

We’ve learned a few tricks we’d like to share. We find that the more usable your stash is, the more you’ll… well, use it!

  • Keep fabric out of sunlight. This will help prevent fading, since faded folds can ruin a fabric. If your fabric is stored in a sunny room (like ours is), you can always make a little curtain to cover it up.
  • Prewash your fabric when you buy it. That way, it’s ready to sew when you are.
  • Label your fabric. Attach paper tags to your fabric with the yardage and fiber information you may need later.
  • Roll fabric instead of folding. Rolling helps save space and makes it so much easier to pull bundles in and out of shelves. Tie the rolls with bias binding or fabric strips and things will be very tidy.
  • Hang velvet and corduroy. This will avoid destroying the nap (avoid metal hangers).
  • Store large fabrics on bolts. Spare bolts are great for storing wide fabrics or great quantities of fabric. Ask your local fabric store if they can spare a few.

Reinforcing Patterns

Once you have made adjustments to your pattern, make it last!

A simple way to do this is to use inexpensive, non-woven fusible interfacing. Take care when ironing to set the iron on dry heat instead of steam. You don’t want the paper to wrinkle or shrink. Remember to use a press cloth to avoid any ironing mishaps!

Before You Begin Sewing

Everyone has their own method of sewing, setting up a project and getting started. Here are just a few things we’ve found make the process a little easier.

  • Depending upon the size of your project, wind at least two bobbins for each color thread you’ll be using. This will keep from stalling you midway through sewing with unthreading your machine and winding up the bobbin. Isn’t that annoying?
  • Turn your iron on and pull out any ironing tools you’ll be using.
  • Clear your space of various and sundry items that are unrelated to your project. Having a clean space will keep you unhindered when you go searching for that dropped button or misplaced zipper.
  • Grab a bag or trash bin to keep nearby for thread and scraps.

And lastly, remember to have fun! When it stops being fun, put it away for a while.

Pretty Hem Finishes

Sometimes it’s nice to have fun surprises inside your garments.

Little things you do can make your garment even more special and unique. Hems are a great place to customize. You can finish the edge with a contrasting serger or zig zag thread or bias binding. When sewing lace, simply line up the lace to the edge, slightly covering the edge of the fabric then slip stitch to the inside. Lace looks beautiful and also helps conceal hand stitches very well.

Caitlin Clark   —  

Caitlin is the Colette Patterns design assistant. You can follow Caitlin at her blog, the story girl.

Comments 22


The snippets have been so inspiring! In fact, as I begin to sew for 2012, I am excited that most of these I already implement – thank you again for your generosity with your information…



I’m going to have to remember the lace hem finish. That’s a detail that would make me feel extra special wearing a garment.


Thanks so much for sending out the Snippets email every week–I always learn something new!


I adore the Snippets—it’s like getting a little present in my inbox! Thank you for all the helpful info throughout the year. Love the book, love the patterns, love the styling, etc! I’m definitely going to try the tip about rolling fabric as my stash has threatened to take over my sewing closet.


Thank you for the fabric storing tips! I can’t wait to start tidying up my stash tonight ^_^)b


Thanks so much for these. Your blog has been both an inspiration and a fantastic resource for me since I discovered it. Looking forward to a new year of eager following!


Dear Caitlin, thank you for this round up. I only subscribed to Snippets a couple of months ago and I really like it. Is there any way one can retrieve past issues (I mean before I subscribed)?
Thank you again and happy end of the year,


Pamela, we don’t have an archive of past tips yet, but it’s something I’d like to put together. We’ll have to think about how.

Miss Crayola Creepy

Such simple things that can make such a difference! Thank you for posting these as I hadn’t seen all of them.


I have really enjoyed the snippets! I have learned so much from them! They have made my sewing so much better and made my life easier.


great snippets!

about the reïnforcing your pattern … you apply fusible interfacing to the paper?

and I was wondering if you have any tips on how to roll up your fabric … I have very very limited space to store my fabrics so rolling them up to save on space spunds like music to my ears but when I roll mine (mostly folded double so I have 4 layers) they tend to twist and fold and I am afraid I will get wrinkles and folds that will be difficult to get out.

Anyway, thanks a lot for the heart and soul you have put in your patterns, book and blog … they are making me one happy seamstress who has learned a lot!


Yep, you can interface the patterns. :)

As for rolling fabric, what we do is fold it to a manageable width (maybe 12 inches or so), then roll it lengthwise. We then tie the roll with a bit of ribbon to keep it in place. You can get a big spool of inexpensive ribbon for this. Or sometimes we just tie them with torn bit of leftover scrap fabric.


I’ve just signed up for the snippets. Thank you – some really useful information!


Wow I second that comment about wanting to get past issues!! How have I only just heard of this??


I’d love a post on all different kinds of pretty hem finishes–lace, bias binding, etc.!!


The lace hem tape snippet took me back a few decades. It always added that special finishing touch to a garment.

Lil’ Miss Kate

I have a ton ‘o’ fabric! A ton I say! And I am in desperate need of organizing help! How do you store your rolled up fabric so you can see what it is??? What do you think about using the fabric boards?? Will they work as well as rolling your fabric?

Just bought your holiday package a few days ago and I eagerly await it’s delivery!!


We are approaching Valentines’ Day and I think Madeleines is a perfect pattern for
using up and repurposing lovely fabrics you just can’t part with.
Yesterday I read a post where someone said that Madeleine was “ugly cute”.
Just for the record there are those in higher places who might big to differ.
Just check this out!


Thanks so much for the Snippets! I look forward eagerly every week to receiving them . I have picked up so many helpful hints that its made my sewing so much better and easier!

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