Creating a home by hand.

Simple Little Sewing Trick

As I mentioned at the end of my last post about my Disappearing Nine Patch Quilt, for the past several days I’ve been working on secret Christmas projects.  I won’t be able to share those until after Christmas.  Instead I’ll share this little trick I learned recently.

Perhaps you already know about this, but it was an Ah ha moment for me and a solution to something that has frustrated me for as long as I’ve been sewing (35+ years.)

Here’s the scenario:

You’re sitting at your machine.  You’ve got your pattern pieces (or quilt block) pinned and ready to start sewing.  You place them under the presser foot.   And then when you start sewing, the fabric won’t feed through and it just sits there with the needle going up and down so that this is the result?

Just look at that knotted mess
Just look at that knotted mess

It doesn’t happen every time.  Most times, the fabric will feed through and you go ahead and sew your seam (as of course it did, when I tried to get a picture of the knotted mess above to show you.  Brownie points for a patient husband who stood ready with camera in hand.)   But it happens often enough to be frustrating and usually on something that you really want to feed through perfectly.

Well I’ve learned a simple little trick to prevent this from happening.  Take two small pieces of scrap fabric and place it under the presser foot, then place the project you want to start sewing butted up against it, like this:

Scrap fabric butted up against whatever you want to start sewing
Scrap fabric butted up against whatever you want to start sewing

Your fabric will feed through smoothly and you won’t have to worry about a mess of knots at the beginning of the seam.

The fabric feeds through successfully
The fabric feeds through successfully

Once you’ve finished sewing your seam, trim the little scraps off when you trim the threads.

I used this little trick when I was sewing my Disappearing Nine Patch Quilt and on other projects since and it works like a charm.

I would be so pleased if you chose to share by clicking on one of the buttons below!


  • Sheryl Scholte
    March 31, 2011 2:51 am

    another great idea i cant believe i havent found your blog before,i love it ,you have a new follower now,lol.

  • Jean Burke
    March 31, 2011 7:23 am

    I call that a thread bunny. I think I learned that from a quilting teacher somewhere along the line. The last one stays under the foot and becomes the beginning of the next seam – it’s awesome! And it saves a whole lot of thread. Piece….

  • Roslyn
    November 8, 2015 5:42 pm

    Bonnie Hunter uses a “leaders and enders” technique to build little blocks for another project.

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