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March 30, 2011

License to sew

License to sew

In primary school in textiles class we were all given these rather spiffy "Sewing machine driver's licenses" when we had learned how to operate a sewing machine properly. I had of course learned how to work a sewing machine a few years before this, as my grandmother taught me how to sew when I was about 6 or 7.
...my handwriting could have obviously done with some more practice at the time though. :)

I truly appreciate everyone who has taught me the ins and outs of sewing, from my gran and my primary school teachers to Mrs. Earnshaw who taught textiles when I was in secondary school (she along with my grandmother were the biggest influences in me choosing my career path) and all my teachers when I was in Savonlinna studying to become a costumier. All my teachers have added to my love of sewing by sharing their own passion for it, and I am grateful for everything they taught me.

To share some of the vast amount of sewing knowledge that was given to me, here's a little tutorial on sewing perfect corners. I learned this while in Savonlinna, and this trick makes making tidy corners so much easier and quicker.

Sewing the perfect corner, step 1

First sew one side of whatever it is that you're making. I'm using a contrasting thread here to show the stitches better, but it's of course best to use thread that matches your fabric.

cornering, step 2

Fold the seam allowance forward along the stitch line and pin it down (or simply hold it down if you can't be bothered to fetch your pins from the other table like me).

cornering, step 3

Sew the other edge of your project, making sure the seam allowance of your previous edge is sewn down too.

cornering, step 4

Fold the seam allowance down like you did before.

cornering, step 5

I find it's good to hold the seam allowances in place when turning your piece, so that they'll stay nicely stacked and won't get all rumpled in the process. It does help to have small fingers that don't get in the way when working with smaller pieces.

cornering, step 6

Turn your piece right side out.

cornering, step 7

Ta-dah! You've made a really nice corner!

I also made a video of this process, you can view it here: video!
The best thing about making corners like this is that they're strong and durable because there's no need to clip the seam allowances, and the very tip of the corner is always nice and sharp.
So, go forth and conquer those corners and spread the love of sewing everyone!


I had no idea you could do corners this way, thank you for sharing. Im quite envious of the sewing licence as well.

Beautiful! I can't wait to put this into practice because I'm frequently dissatisfied with my corners not being quite square. Love the fabric you demonstrated with too :)

what a cute idea giving out "Sewing machine driver's licenses" :)

thank you for the tip&trick as well


Wow, it's like magic! I can't believe you can get a sharp corner like that without clipping seams!

Thanks for sharing - this is definitely one of those revolutionary techniques.

H x

Wow, what a simple tip. Thanks for sharing!

Oooooooh great tip :D And I LOVE the ring you have on your left middle finger. Beautiful!

Thank you to everyone for your comments! It's good to know my little tutorial is of use. :)

Chrystal, thank you, the ring is my mum's class ring from high school.

Oh wow this is awesome! Thank you for sharing the tip. I can't wait to try it out.

Thanks a lot for sharing, tis looks much better than my corners usually do :)

This looks really cool, I can't wait to try it out! I think it'd be fun to still make "sewing machine licenses" for ourselves and hang them up :-)

thank you so much!

Wow, thank you for sharing this! I never seem to be able to get my corners square, so I'll definitely be using this trick next time :)


thank you for sharing!


I found you through a link on the Craft blog. Thanks for the great tutorial! I've been sewing all my life and have never seen corners done this way - I always trim the corner at an angle and then turn but am always afraid I'll cut too close. I'm definitely going to try 'your way' the next time I have a corner to sew!

Wow! Thanks so much for sharing this. I can't wait to go try it out!

What!?! This looks too good to be true. I'm going to give it a try. I'll report back as soon as I'm done!


wow! this is brilliant! i found you through a pin on pinterest.com! i can't wait to try this out the next time i sew up some pockets! thank you so much for sharing with us!!! :)

i love that sewing machine license. so clever!

question...while i thought this tutorial was brilliant, i have to say, i was taken by the fabric you used! i love it. do you have any info on it?

thanks so much again for sharing! :)

Shannon, the fabric is from an old duvet cover. I recycle old bed linens as stuffing for my Rag Pets and I save a bit of the prettier ones for other uses too. :)

Fabulous. A total lightbulb moment! I'll never do a corner the same way again. Thanks!

thanks so much eerika for your reply about the fabric in this tutorial. i thought that might be the case! i collect "vintage" sheets and fabric as well! :) that one you used is just so pretty. i love the colors.

thanks so much again for sharing with us! :)

Wow, that's great! Thanks so much for the how-to, I would love to link to this if you didn't mind. I love that fabric also!

Rachel, it'd be super for you to spread the link! :) It's great that people are sharing this and spreading knowledge.

Whoa!! That's AMAZING!! I love this idea. I'm definitely going to share this!

Thanks for the pocket tip!! I've never sewn in my life, but my mother has since could remember and so I ordered a machine online and started making outdoor gear for myself and others.....
Pockets ARE the biggest hassle to make I found.

Wow, thank you! What a great tutorial :)

Thank you for this awesome tip! I am always unhappy with my corners and this will be a big help!

This is brilliant, just did 4 perfectly - there's no going back! Thanks so much for sharing.

Fascinating! I'm just about to start a very cornery project and this is exactly what I needed. Thanks!!!!

What a great tip, I have never seen this before!

How is it that even after 45 years of sewing I have never come across this trick? I love it thanks so much! Cannot wait to try it.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. It's through tips like yours, I've become an even better sewer!

Oh my!! I've been sewing 20+ years and have been doing my corners the hard way! Thanks so much for sharing this little tip!

I love it - new, yet so obvious that I can't believe it hasn't been done before.

Ohhhhhhhh this is going to make the slip pockets inside my bags so much tidier. I always have such messy corners. Thank you soooo much for sharing!

Great post. Sewing is really one of the best and productive habits an individual can gain. You can also do sewing for duvet covers. This site is informative: http://bestbedcovers.com/.

Thanks for sharing. Keep it up.

Really nice ♥♥♥
Thank you, I had no idea you could do it like this!

This is so amazingly useful! Thanks so much for the tip.

Perfect corners(or the lack of) have been the bane of my existence! Thanks for the how-to-do them correctly!

I've been sewing over 50 years & have never seen this. Just when you think you know it all...

Thank you!!! I have never seen this tip! This is invaluable!

Thanks for the tutorial on corners. That is sooo cool. The license to sew is a great idea (will use it for my grand daugthters. Thanks again.

Nice info! I will try this next time.

I believe most Finnish schools gave out those drivers licenses, it was so cool!!! :)


Would this work on quilt corners?

I'm making pocket organizers for my daughters using scraps of fabric from dresses I made them when they were little. I've done the pockets for the first one and was less than satisfied with some of my corners. Searching the Internet, all I found were the same methods I already knew, which weren't working! I love your method, and second daughter's organizer will definitely have better pockets!

wow, i sew a lot of fabric books and will try this today!

Thank you for this GREAT sewing tip! Can't wait to try it on my next project.

Thank you so much. I have to try this soon.

Wow! I've been sewing for nearly 30 years and learned something new today! Thank you for this technique. Def. will be using it often!

Wow, you make it look so easy. I would love to be as good as you. Gotta try this new technique!

very nice thank you so much ^^

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