Understanding the Nap and Print Direction of Fabrics

sewing tips

If you have recently purchased a sewing machine with the sole purpose of making items of clothing or quilts, there are a few important considerations to address before getting started. Once you understand how to operate your sewing machine and when exactly to put your sewing equipment to good use, you should start learning all about the fabric itself. 

Most of the time, especially when making clothes for wintertime, the fabric in question will have what is called a ‘nap’. Furthermore, when working with patterned fabrics for dresses and shirts, for example, you must be aware of how to manipulate the direction of the fabric to ensure symmetry. Here is a breakdown.

What is the ‘nap’? 

The nap of a piece of fabric refers to the raised, fluffy side which is traditionally placed on the inside of the garment for maximum comfort and warmth. However, some sewing professionals choose to do it the other way around, keeping the smoother side on the inside and embracing the softer effect for the outside. It is a personal choice, so feel free to experiment. 

Also, keep in mind that placing the nap vertically can give the illusion of a slightly darker shade. You may opt to pair up vertical and horizontal naps for a textured effect, or you may opt to keep your garment consistent. Either way, it is important to be aware of how the nap is placed and why. 

What is print direction? 

Print direction is exactly that – the direction that the fabric print faces. Usually, you will need the print to remain consistent at all times. It is, therefore, essential that you pay close attention to this direction throughout your project, especially if you are making a quilt. 

The best way to get symmetry when making a quilt that has a square in the middle and is surrounded by strips is to cut two horizontal strips and two vertical strips. Be sure to sew them in the right order and you will be able to keep them all pointing in one direction. 

In search of a trusted sewing machine and equipment supplier? Along with affordable sewing machine models, Empisal can supply you with other must-haves, including overlockers and steam presses. Get in touch today to learn more.

How to Organise Your Sewing Space

sewing space

A tranquil, well-organised sewing space is sure to be conducive to more enjoyable and successful sewing machine projects. As such, here are five helpful tips for organising your sewing machine and equipment space like a real professional. 

Organise Your Patterns 

Begin by placing all of your patterns, whether they are printed patterns in PDF format or pattern envelopes, according to category. Start by sorting them into general categories, such as patterns for women, patterns for kids, and so on. If they are still quite difficult to work through, take it one step further and sort according to different garment types within those categories, such as patterns for blouses, dress patterns, patterns for quilts, and the like.

Organise Your Fabric 

You will need to organise your fabric according to colour for the best results. In order to ensure that you can find a specific one for a specific use, consider storing the fabric in wire baskets or see-through plastic drawers. 

Organise Your Ribbon and Trim 

One of the smartest ways in which to store and organise ribbon and trim is by wrapping each item around a clothespin and storing them in a large glass jar. 

Organise Your Buttons 

You should store your buttons according to colour or size. Large glass jars make for the effortless button storage too. 

Organise Your Sewing Machine Odds and Ends 

When you own a sewing machine, you are likely to have a wide array of sewing equipment, from thread to pins, needles and machine feet. How do you store these smaller odds and ends? You get creative! For instance, think of using old pill boxes for needles, ice cube trays, labelled bead boxes, and more. 

Looking to invest in a new sewing machine or sewing kit before tackling a sewing machine project? Perhaps you have noticed that you are missing a few essentials after organising your sewing space as per the advice above? Either way, you are sure to find everything that you need at Empisal

We specialise in sewing machines and equipment, overlockers, ironing equipment, steam press models and much more. Contact us today for more information or for suggestions on buying an affordable sewing machine. 

Need a Beginner Sewing Project? These Are the Best Sewing Books to Buy!


 When taking on a sewing project as a beginner, you might run into a few snags along the way. With these great resources, you can easily find solutions to your problems and get inspired with ideas for your next sewing project at the same time.

Our List of Books to Get You Started on Any Sewing Project:

  • New Complete Guide to Sewing (by Reader’s Digest Association)

This book is a must-have resource for sewing enthusiasts of any skill level. It’s a comprehensive guide to learning the skills, techniques and fundamentals of construction. It features an extensive collection of photographs, illustrations and instructions as well as practical step-by-step guides for various projects to try. It is a handy reference guide to refer to whenever you find yourself struggling. And, it will give you years of use.

  • Sewing For Dummies (by Jan Saunders Maresh)

Part of the “Dummies” series, this book is a fantastic resource for absolute beginners who have never threaded a needle. It has extensive instructions on different techniques and gives you information on the different sewing equipment you might need. There are instructions for practical sewing projects like hemming and seaming clothing, adding buttons and zippers, and even shaping clothing to fit better.

  • The Sewing Book (by Alison Smith)

Another fantastic addition to your sewing library, this book has beautiful, high-resolution photographs and annotated instructions that help you to really grasp the technique that is being explained. There is a handy section on mending clothing that will help you to understand exactly why a specific technique is preferred. It also comes with a collection of projects to help you practice many of the skills described in the book. It focusses on the proper ways of executing techniques, which may be a little in-depth for some users. But, all-in-all, it is an incredible teaching tool.

  • First Sewing – Simple Projects for Beginners (by Cheryl Brown)

If you want to skip all the techniques and teaching and just get down to a project, this book is perfect for you. It has a collection of over 20 projects from simple decorated blankets to curtains, dresses and more. Each project has a beautiful, clear photograph as well as instructions that are easy to follow.

If you’re looking for a sewing project to take on with your new Empisal sewing machine, this collection of books will get your fingers itching.

Baby Gifts: How to Sew a Receiving Blanket

Attending a friend or family member’s baby shower? Or celebrating the birth of a new little bundle of joy? There is no greater gift than something home-made from the heart! Here is how to sew a beautiful receiving blanket:


What You Will Need: 

In order to start this sewing project, aside from your sewing machine and sewing equipment, you will need only two things:

  1. 2 x 1 metres of appropriately patterned/coloured fabric, and
  2. Matching thread.


You can choose the same fabric for both pieces. Or, you can mix-and-match for a bit of creative flair. Either way, the best type of material for making receiving blankets is flannel.


How it Is Done: 

  • Begin by making sure that both pieces of fabric are the same size, and by cutting away any stray ends.
  • Place the fabric together, and use your sewing machine to sew around all of the edges.
  • Leave a small opening so that you are able to pull the blanket the right way around once you are done sewing.
  • Pull the blanket through so that it is the right way around, and use an iron to ensure that all edges are even and flat.
  • Once you are satisfied, the final step is to whip stitch the opening shut and VOILA.
  • Experienced sewers may also choose to complete the sewing project with a decorative stitch if they wish. All in all, it should not take you more than 10 minutes to complete.


For more information on how to sew beautiful items for a new baby, or for details on our range of affordable sewing machines, sewing equipment and overlockers, be sure to contact Empisal today!

3 Ways to Make a Closure for a Pillowcase


Are you having a problem in how to sew a closer for your pillowcase? Then you can start to worry less because this article will give you a guideline on how to solve that problem.

Different Ways to Make a Pillowcase Closure

If you have a pillowcase sewing machine project, the following are tips on how to make the perfect pillowcase closure:

  • Slip-Stitched Pillowcase Closure

A slip-stitched closure is the simplest and most comfortable style in which to sew your pillowcase. The style closes the cover with an invisible seam after the pillow is inserted. This style of closer is meant for a permanent pillow, which is not made to be washed. Therefore, if you ever need to remove the pillowcase, then you will have to have it dry or vacuum cleaned.

  • How to slip-stitch the closure:
    • Add up to one inch of the height and length inserted for the seam allowance.
    • Pin together the right sides facing. 
    • Add marks at the bottom on the right and left side every three inches. 
    • Pinch the corners and turn it inside-out.
    • Press the edges of the pillow and slip stitch the opening shut.
  • Envelope-Backed Pillow Closure

Creating a pillowcase to an envelope-backed shape is easy. On the back of the pillow, one overlapped fabric is sewed at the back that is used as pillow closure.

  • How to make envelope-backed pillow closure:
    • Measure the size of the pillow to determine the size of the rectangle back pillowcase closure.
    • Fold the left and right side in.
    • Pinch the bottom and the top part and over-lock them using the appropriate sewing equipment.
  • Zippered Pillowcase Closure

Making a pillowcase closer with zipping makes it versatile. Moreover, you can easily remove the inside fabric or stuffing to wash it. And, you can also easily wash the pillowcase cover. A polyester zip is advised for the pillowcase closure as it is soft and smooth.

  • How to make a zippered pillowcase closure:
    • Measure the length of the pillow to have a zip with the same measurements.
    • Sew the zip on the inside of the pillowcase.
    • Turn the pillowcase inside-out and insert the pillow stuffing into the pillowcase.

Are you in need of making a pillowcase closure? Empisal has the very best sewing equipment available. For more information, do not hesitate to contact us today.

Essential Troubleshooting Tips for Your Sewing Machine

Sewing Equipment

Have you been having problems with your sewing machine recently? Worry no more! We have compiled the following tips on how to troubleshoot your machine:

Tips on How to Troubleshoot

If you have a sewing machine project and you recently had some problems, then the following will help you:

    • Thread that Bunches under the Fabric

First, unplug the sewing  machine, and you need to thread  it again. This allows the machine to receive the thread correctly and it refreshes the tension system. Then, raise the needlebar  to the highest level possible, and proceed to use the machine to sew to confirm if it is the correct tension.

    • Skipping and Uneven Stitches

The problem is commonly caused by a broken, damaged or bent needle. The tip to troubleshooting this challenge is by replacing the needle with a new one. The other reason for this challenge can be, during sewing, when you bow down when handling your fabric. This quickly causes skipped and uneven stitches and at some point, even a damaged or broken needle. The solution to this is to place your fabric where the machine can feed itself when sewing. 

    • Frequent Needle Breakages

If your machine is encountering frequent needle breakages, it can be very annoying. While this may look like a big issue, it is usually not. The primary cause of frequent needle breakages is ignoring the needle-use guidelines. The solution to this problem is using the right needle for the right fabric. Simply use the smaller needle sizes for lighter fabric and the big needle sizes for a sturdier fabric. 

    • Shredding Threads

The primary cause of this problem is a poor quality sewing machine or an old sewing machine. A worn-out needle can also cause this problem as well as a wrongly styled needle. The solution to this problem is to ensure that the thread freely passes through the eye of the needle. Or else, purchase an affordable sewing machine that is of a good quality.

For more information on tips on how to troubleshoot your sewing machine contact Empisal.

REF: https://www.singer.com/troubleshooting-tips

Sewing Projects: 6 Tips for Designing a Quilt


Are you quilting for a sewing project or just ready to dip your toe into the world of quilting? Designing a quilt can be intimidating! But, that’s where we come in with our guide of easy sewing projects. Grab your sewing equipment and let’s help you to design beautiful quilts with our handy tips and tricks.

6 Tips for Designing a Quilt:

Quick Cutting: 

Quick-cutting and piecing strips are recommended for making many sewing projects. Templates are completely eliminated; instead, a rotary cutter, plastic ruler and mat are used to cut fabric pieces.

Choose An Easy Pattern: 

Use an easy pattern as an opportunity to highlight a minimalist aesthetic. Busy patterns might look overwhelming.

Prewash Your Fabric: 

By washing the fabric ahead of time, you’re minimizing your risk of smudging the colours when you wash the finished product. Follow the washing instructions for the material you’ve chosen. Unique materials such as satin or silk might require different washing techniques.


Wear-and-tear is inevitable for quilts. Backstitches are simple, and they ensure that your stitching can survive the rigours of daily handling. 

Buy Extra Fabric: 

This is ideal for when you make a mistake with your measurement and you cut something too small. This will save you time and costs on going out and getting more fabric or using fabric that does not match your original fabric.

Use A New Needle: 

Needles need to be sharp throughout sewing. So, remember to purchase plenty before you start your sewing project. You need to change out your needle frequently, especially after each project. 

We have something for everyone at Empisal, whether you are looking to buy a first sewing machine for your first quilt project or whether you need more sewing equipment to add to your business equipment, you can expect to find a range of reliable and precision sewing machines, overlockers and ironing equipment which simply won’t let you down. For more information, contact us today!

Learn to Sew: How to Reinforce a Buttonhole

sewing tips

Are you trying to learn to sew a buttonhole? Whether it’s for the perfect pair of jeans or for your sewing company, we have a useful, quick and easy guide for you.

Tools Needed to Reinforce Your Buttonhole:

    • Sewing equipment,
    • An affordable sewing machine,
    • A good pair of scissors, and last but not least (!)
    • Your creativity.

How to Sew a Buttonhole:

  1. Calculate the length: 

Working out the correct length for a buttonhole is crucial, as it must be large enough to allow the button to pass through easily, but not so large that it won’t hold the item securely fastened. Sew a buttonhole with a very narrow zigzag stitch. Place your button at the top of the T and redraw the top line if necessary.

  1.  Now draw a line at the bottom of the button.
  2. Use a ruler to join these lines together, forming a narrow, skinny box, about 2 mm in width and long enough for your button to pass through, and sew a box around this line. 
  3. Sew a zigzag line down the left side of the box and repeat on the right side, using a very short stitch.
  4. Use a wider stitch length and the shortest setting your machine will allow, sew a few zigzag stitches across the top and the bottom of the zigzag lines.
  5. Insert your button into the buttonhole foot and use the markings down the side to help you sew a buttonhole that is the correct length.
  6. Put a button in the end of the foot and it automatically adjusts itself to sew the correct length. 
  7. Sew the button in place, either by hand or using your button foot
  8. Viola – you’re done!

Learn to sew with Empisal! Contact us now for sewing equipment!

These Clever Life Hacks Make Sewing Easier Than Ever Before

sewing tips

Making your own stuff can be both fun and satisfying. It’s a great way to exercise your creative muscle, save money and get exactly what you want.

Whether you’ve been at the sewing game for years, or whether you have just purchased your first sewing machine, there is always room to improve your sewing skills. The hacks below will not only make sewing a whole lot easier, but they will also improve your skills in a short period.

  • Toe Separators For Bobbins

Do you have a hard time keeping your bobbins from tangling up? Use a toe separator to secure the bobbins and keep them organized. It will save you from having to dig to the bottom of your sewing stash to get the right bobbin for your project.

  • Use A Mug For Larger Spools Of Thread

Buying large spools of thread saves both time and money. However, they may be too big for your sewing machine. If this is the case, place the spool of thread in a mug and set it next to your sewing machine for easier handling.

  • Shine More Light

Many modern sewing machines come with lights. You can get a high-quality and affordable sewing machine from the team at Empisal. However, if your sewing machine doesn’t have a light or a lamp that provides adequate lighting, tape a reading light to the machine. Reading lights are easy to adjust and will provide adequate lighting for sewing.

  • Two Pencils For One Seam Allowance

You can easily create a seam allowance on your sewing patterns by holding two pencils together with a rubber band and using them to trace the edge of your pattern. Use three pencils if you want a wider seam allowance.

  • Sandpaper For Sharper Scissors

A sharp pair of scissors is a vital piece of sewing equipment. If your scissors are getting dull, cut a piece of tin foil or sandpaper using them. They will sharpen up right away.

Ensure you have all the right sewing equipment to make your sewing projects easier. For more information, contact us today.

Tips and Tricks for Matching Up Seams


Sewing patterns and pieces come in all kinds of unusual shapes. Sometimes it can be a challenge to figure out how they match up. We have some tips and tricks to share the golden rules for matching up seams.


  • Match The Stitching Line


When you match up the edges at the precise point where the stitching line lands at the edge of the fabric, the two patterned pieces of fabric will match up perfectly.


  • Match The Most Visible Seams First


Making sure that the centre of the front pattern pieces of the material match should be your first priority. Be careful of placing prints directly at the apex of the bust on women’s garments. When working with uneven plaids or vertical stripes, place a dominant stripe down the centre front. Make sure to keep it as straight as the edge of a razor.


  • Match Up Two Sides Of A Design


When you need to sew a seam that goes through the middle of a design, you first need to allow extra fabric for sewing the seam (around ½ inch or 1,27 cm extra on each side). Determine this when you calculate where the seam will go.


  • Choose A Good Pattern


Choose a paper pattern or PDF that will work well with a patterned fabric. One easy way to be certain that the pattern of your garment is suitable for stripes, plaids or large-scale images, is if the illustration provided shows that the model is wearing a finished garment cut from a piece of patterned fabric.


  • Buy Extra Fabric


Buy extra fabric when matching prints, plaids and stripes. The general recommendation is to buy an extra half yard (or half a metre) for separates and an extra yard (a metre) for dresses. This, however, is dependent on the complexity of the garment design and the scale of the pattern.


  • Cut One Piece Of Fabric First


The most commonly used method for pattern matching is by cutting one piece of fabric first. For this method, lay out your fabric in a single layer with the right side up. For each piece that requires cutting two, lay out one piece with the paper pattern right side up, and place the grain line marking on the grain line of the fabric. If you are matching two different pieces, lay them out next to each other, keeping a straight line running across the bottom of the pattern pieces. Drawing the pattern on the patterned piece of material will work for any pattern matching.


  • Use Good Sewing Equipment


When sewing seams on garments that you are matching for the pattern, then remember to use more pins than usual and to pin more carefully, checking carefully for the patterns to match up.

Need more tips and tricks for sewing seams? Whether you are looking to buy a first sewing machine or an affordable sewing machine, Empisal has everything from overlockers to ironing equipment. Contact us now!