I secretly love home dec sewing. But Elizabeth, sewing for your home is b-o-r-i-n-g.
I’ll admit sewing a pillow isn’t as glamorous maybe as making a tailored jacket with all the fixings. Still, that humble pillow will be enjoyed by everyone who enters your home for years to come.
When you sew for your home, you’re sewing to create a cozy spot for you and your family. You’re sewing to add your personality and favorite colors you might not be able to buy.
Am I convincing you that home sewing can be more than the sum of its parts yet?
Over the years of making many things for my home, I’ve developed a lot of home dec sewing tips that will help you create a beautiful space you want to live in. Here’s 7 home dec sewing tips to help you make projects for your home that you’re going to love.
Home Dec sewing tip #1: Keep your fabric from dragging
Home dec sewing projects seem to fall in two categories:
- They take just a little fabric (think pillows)
- They take ALL the fabric (curtains and quilts)
For those big yardage projects like curtains, all that heavy fabric can get overwhelming to work with.
You really become a Fabric Wrangler here, and one of the things you’ll notice is that all that fabric is going to get heavy.
All that weight of fabric and your fabric will want to drag. You’ll know the fabric is dragging if your stitch length starts looking extra short or if it becomes hard to keep your fabric from pulling to one side.
Keep the fabric on your lap as much as you can, and not hanging freely off the table. This will keep the drag to a minimum.
Also, try sewing with taut sewing.
What the heck is taut sewing? Get a full explanation here:
How to sew without pins
The best way to save time and stitch more accurately every time you sew.
#2 Use good quality fabric
Let me tell you a story. Once I was in line at a fabric sale and the lady behind me was going to buy no less than 15 yards of a certain curtain fabric she found marked at $2/yard. You’re thinking, that’s a great deal for all that fabric and you would be right.
But the fabric was a dated floral print on a jet black background and it was for curtains for her living room. I couldn’t get it out of my head how depressing that fabric was going to look in place and how it was going to suck all of the light out of her space. I know I sound super critical here and this is no attack on this lady’s character in any way, but it made me think.
There’s lots of times to save money, but when you sew for the home, investing in good quality fabric is worth every penny.
Better quality fabrics last longer, are easier to sew, and the reality is that you’re going to be looking at your home decor projects for a long time. You can’t really hide ugly curtains like you can a DIY blouse that didn’t work out.
Look for natural fabrics, shop deals as much as you can to get the best price on the best quality fabric you can find. Buy swatches so that you’re sure of what it is that you’re buying before you invest a lot of money in your home dec fabric.
#3 Trims make your home sewing better
Trims are the one simple way you can make your home dec sewing projects sing.
Got a pillow that needs something extra. [sprinkles fairy dust] Add some piping.
That little bit of extra color and texture you’ll add will really make your project stand out.
You can always buy packaged trims and sew them into seams just like piping. For an extra custom look, make your own trims like piping or pleated trim.
How to make piping for cushions
Life is too short to sew with boring piping. Here’s how to make your own.
How to make pleated trim
Add some jazz to your edges with this easy to make DIY trim
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#4 Use the right interfacing
Interfacing is a deep subject in sewing in general, and it’s important when you’re sewing for your home too.
If you’re sewing curtains, be sure to use an interfacing that will support the weight of the fabric. Header tapes and buckram are great choices. They’ll give the tops of your curtains some structure so they’ll hang nice.
If you’re adding hardware like grommets, that buckram will protect the fabric from getting torn up by the grommets.
For pillows where you’re adding a zipper, be sure to add a strip of interfacing in the seam allowance behind the zipper. It’ll make sewing in that zipper much much easier and keep the zipper from going all wavy on you.
I usually buy buckram from Joann, but this iron-on buckram is on my list when I run out. So easy!
#5 Use cardboard pressing strips
Curtains look great with big deep hems, but it can be hard to measure those hems accurately.
For a quick and easy way to measure your curtain hems, use a ruler to measure out a strip from file folder.
You can make strips as wide or narrow as you need. I tend to use 4″ wide cardboard strips for my curtain hems.
When you need to press up a hem, simply fold the fabric over the strip and press with your iron.
#6 Mix up your textures
Another tip for all your home dec sewing: don’t be afraid to mix textures of fabric.
You could make a pillow from a plain cotton fabric, but you could make it much more interesting with faux fur or with yoyos or even silk.
Don’t forget to think about visual texture too. Sometimes a print can really spice up a space. Something like bleach dyeing or ice dyeing can be a quick ticket to making plain fabric into eye candy.
How to sew fabric yoyos
Make use of your scraps and add some awesome texture to your sewing life.
How to sew a silk pillowcase from a scarf
Turn your vintage scarves into showpieces for your favorite chair
How to ice dye fabric
The easiest, most beautiful thing you’ll ever do to fabric
#7: Create a color story
My last home dec sewing tip for you: create a color story. I’m all for eclectic styling, but when colors clash together things look chaotic.
When you’re working on some home dec projects, pick 1 or 2 main fabrics to be the star. For most rooms, that’ll be curtains or bedding since they take up the most real estate.
Any other fabric that you add to that mix, make sure that it matches with your star fabric.
What’s the best way to do that? Collect swatches and take them with you when you fabric shop. Places that sell home decor fabrics are awesome and very often will give you swatches for free or for a very low price. Take advantage of that and put together fabrics that make sense together.
You can go a step further and create your own DIY swatch book.
That way you’ll always have a reference on hand when you’re thinking about your next home dec sewing project.
Hopefully these tips will help you make things for your home that you’ll cherish for years to come.
Check out these simple home dec sewing projects.
How to make chair cushions
How to sew the easiest curtains ever
Make an easy envelope style pillow with showstopper fabric
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.