Lynne Holyoake Heirloom Sewing - Patchwork Classes - The Carriage Studio - Razorback NSW Australia

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Heirloom Sewing Tips

Madeira appliqué is a stunning heirloom technique that looks difficult but with the new machines and the pinstitch capability can be completed with ease. 

Learn this technique in 1 day and complete a hand towel at the Carriage Studio.

Some tips for my simple Madeira technique

Madeira Appliqué Hand towel 
using the
Lynne Holyoake Technique
  • Always spray starch fabric 
  • When doing Madeira it is most effective to use white fabric and complement with a coloured fabric 
  • Use your open-toed machine foot
  • Use Madeira 80 thread 
  • Always use the best fabric you can afford. You will put a lot of work into your project, so it's worth using great material.
  • Natural fibres such as cotton, fine wool, linen & silk are by far the most beautiful fabrics to wear & to work with.
  • Cotton laces which now have a 10% polyester content for strength in the heading are more expensive but will last longer & not yellow with age & laundering. They are much more beautiful than nylon lace to stitch & wear. Nylon lace can melt if it comes into contact with a hot iron.
  • While sewing, to spare the iron is to spoil the garment, always have the iron close to where you are working & use it after every seam.
  • Use fine cotton thread eg Metler™ 60. or polyester thread covered with cotton eg Rasant™120.
  • A Universal 60 or 70 needle to fit your sewing machine is the best for heirloom sewing. Change the needle every 4-6 hours & if it should ladder the fabric it has a burr, so change it straight away. Machine needles are graded, so that the smaller the number the finer the needle.
  • A twin needle for pintucks should be a 1.6/70 or 2.0/70 or 2.0/80 for heirloom sewing. Always use a stitch length of 2.0 or less. The 1.6or 2.0 represents the gap between the 2 needles in mm. The 70 & 80 refers to the size needle. 
  • Only watch the needle as you begin sewing because if you watch the needle you will sew crookedly. Always watch the edge of the foot or some place on the foot. Run the foot down the edge of the fabric pintuck or lace & you will sew straight.
  • I always keep a wooden skewer close to my sewing machine because it allows me to get close to the needle to manipulate the lace or stitching on the fabric without any risk of the needle going through my finger.
  • Always stitch with a good light & if you need it, use a magnifier.


Sewing Tip for August

  • When gathering your fine heirloom garments, use a strong thread like Rasant 120, 70 needle, reduce the tension to 2.0 and use a stitch length of 2.0. Make sure you pull up the bobbin thread which should pull up very easily. This allows you to get small gathers on your fine fabric garments.
  • Sometimes it is worth using the gathering foot or the Ruffler, experiment with these feet, they can save you a lot of time.