Learn These Sewing Trade Secrets

Sewers love sharing trade secrets-- anything to make sewing easier, right? Here are some trade secrets you may or may not know…

First, there’s the seam allowance, right? Most commercial sewing patterns use a ⅝” seam allowance, but you can oftentimes get away with using a ⅜” seam allowance. Why do this? Well, it works well on curved seams, it reduces bulkiness, and, in the end, it can make setting in sleeves easier.

Did someone teach you sewing using lots of pins? For some, pinning was/is where it’s at. But maybe, just maybe you can skip the pins all together. You see, pins cause your fabric to lay differently, often resulting in puckering. So, instead of using pins, try pattern weights when cutting pattern pieces. And when you’re at your machine, just use your left hand to hold down the fabric, while, at the same time, holding both pieces of fabric in your right hand. The tension you provide with your hands and the machine mimics the effect of pins.


Do you absolutely need a serger? No. A serger can make sewing easier, but you don’t have to use it. If you want to sew knits, use a ball point needle and a zigzag stitch!


For those who use piping, if there’s a need for the stiffer maxi piping, try using electrical wire in place of cording-- see what works best for you. Choose wiring that’s the right thickness for your project.

Help Your Sewing Toolbox

Tired of clipped threads making a mess? Why not add a lint roller and magnet to your sewing toolbox? The magnet attracts pins and the lint roller cleans up stray threads efficiently.

Making the Right Cut

Fabric cut off the bolt has a straight edge and fabric, in general, rips straight. If you’re trying to line things up “perfectly,” you can make a slight cut on the gross grain of fabric and “rip away.”

Using a Folding Template

Finally, if you don’t want to use a seam gauge, use a folding template instead. You fold the fabric down to the appropriate line and then press with your iron-- very efficient. 

These are some handy trade secrets sewers can use to make their sewing sessions better.

If you're looking for a great selection of fabrics in the Houston, TX area, stop by Fabrictopia today.

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June 04, 2018

Why Nylon Spandex Is Ideal for Leotards and Other Clothing Items

What is a leotard? It’s a unisex skin-tight one-piece garment. It covers the torso but leaves the legs exposed. You’re likely to see dancers wearing leotards, as well as acrobats, gymnasts, figure skaters, circus performers, and, on occasion, actors and/or athletes, too. If a leotard covers the legs, then it’s called a unitard. As for above the waist, leotards can be sleeveless, short-sleeved or long-sleeved.

The leotard first became popular thanks to Jules Leotard, a French acrobatic performer who wore the garment back in the mid-1800s.

Today’s leotards are typically made of stretchable nylon spandex. Did you know that spandex is a modern day synthetic (man-made) fiber? Known for exceptional elasticity, it’s popular for many other reasons: it’s lightweight, supple, comfy, flatters the figure, and it even dyes easily. Thanks to a scientist at DuPont in the late 1950s, spandex developed to the point where it could suitably be used for garments when blended with another fabric, like cotton, linen or nylon.

In the early 1960s DuPont put out its brand of spandex, called Lycra, in the form of women’s pantyhose and underwear. Later on, spandex expanded to uniforms, swimwear, and athletic apparel. If you were alive in the 1980s, you probably remember seeing women wearing leggings made from spandex (and cotton) as they did their aerobics classes.

The combination of spandex and nylon works so well for making leotards. Nylon is made of polyamide, a molecule that allows for rigid flexibility. Spandex is made of a polyether-polyurea copolymer which is also flexible-- able to curl on itself at rest but also be pulled straight without breaking. When spandex and nylon combine, together they make for fabric that can stretch but also holds its shape in a rigid enough way to look good and function well for people and their movements.

From white to black, with many bold colors in between, like pink, red and blue, Fabrictopia offers a nice variety of nylon spandex for sale. You can see what nylon spandex choices are available here.

If you were thinking of making your own leotards, you should buy nylon spandex from Fabrictopia, which is located at 2950 Fondren Road in Houston, Texas. You’re also welcome to call 713-977-0747 or email with any questions you might have.



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May 10, 2018

How to Maintain Your Sewing Machine

If you own or use a sewing machine there are some things you can do to maintain it so it lasts a long time.

For starters,  it’s a good idea to keep your sewing machine covered when it’s not being used. This is to prevent dust from getting into the machinery. People either use a dust cover or a hard case cover in order to cover their machines.

Next, in order to prevent interior lint buildup you should use high quality thread. Preferably, use new thread rather than old. Furthermore, dust inside the bobbin case using a brush every couple months-- make sure to unplug the machine before you do. You’ll want to make sure that lint doesn’t build up in the bobbin case. Did you know most quilters clean the bobbin case after every two or three bobbin changes?

The Machine's Needle

Consider the sewing machine’s needle. If you’re experiencing problems such as looped threads, skipped stitches or pulls in your fabric, it’s time to replace the needle. Many people who sew change their needle for every project they do. Experts would tell you to replace the needle after 8 to 10 hours of use. In order to keep your machine working well, be careful about what kind of needle you use with regards to the weight and weave of fabric being used.

Routine Maintenance

It’s always a good idea to clean your machine after each project you do. One particularly helpful hint to clean the machine is to use compressed air. This helps clean off areas like the feed dogs, tension discs and bobbin area in an efficient manner.

Just like you’d have other things in the home checked by a professional annually, consider having a professional check your sewing machine once a year. He or she can oil it with sewing machine oil, which helps maintain the internal moving parts, as well as recommend anything that needs repair or adjustments.

Keep Unwanted Debris Away

In general, the best way to maintain your sewing machine over time is to combat/eliminate dust, lint and/or thread bits so they don’t cause problems. The cleaner you keep your machine, the longer it’ll last, working well for the projects you want to accomplish.

If you're looking for the right fabric for your next project, stop by Fabrictopia today.

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April 12, 2018

Common Myths Regarding Sewing

What are some sewing myths?

Sewing is For Older Folks

For starters, some people might think “no one sews anymore.” Not true! In fact, sewing, which many consider a “retro skill” that their grandma did, is actually making a comeback with ladies in their teens, 20s and 30s. Retailers have reported a leap in sales of dressmaking patterns and sewing machines in recent years as the next generation discovers they can have fun making their own clothes as a hobby.

Sewing is Expensive

Isn’t it expensive, though? The myth that sewing is expensive only applies if you’re planning on buying a top-of-the-line sewing machine along with a costly ironing system and the most high end fabrics. If you don’t want to spend a bundle, there’s always various options. Some people use hand-me-down, mechanical machines they get from their grandma’s basement or an estate sale. Others shop around for affordably priced fabrics-- with remnants and/or fabrics on sale helping to keep costs down. Depending on the materials you choose, sewing can be as cheap or expensive as you want to make it.

Sewing Takes a Special Skill

Sometimes people who don’t sew are afraid to learn because they think, “Well, so-and-so must have a special talent for it, and I couldn’t possibly do what she’s doing because I don’t have the talent.” Hogwash! Every sewer has to learn the craft and it takes time to get good. Great sewers aren’t born-- they’re made. Sewing isn’t about talent, as much as it is about dedication, perseverance and practice. In other words, you don’t have to be particularly creative, even, to sew. Moreover, you don’t have to be perfect. It has been said that sewing is more about persistence than creativity.

Sewing Is Just Too Hard

Finally, what about the myth that “it’s too hard?” Just like with any hobby, there are different skill levels. Beginners can start out doing easy stuff and work their way up to the more difficult patterns and such. Once you get the basics, like learning how to set up and thread your sewing machine, then sewing becomes easier over time. If you take it step-by-step and give yourself permission to make some mistakes along the way, you’ll do just fine.

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March 07, 2018

Save Big When Celebrating Fabrictopia’s 3-Year Anniversary!

Fabrictopia is celebrating its third year anniversary in business, serving fabric customers in Houston and beyond. This February is the third year anniversary month-long sale, so be sure and stop in to see what kind of deals are available for a limited time. The store is located at 6959 Harwin Drive, Suite 103, in Houston, and open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., as well as Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fabrictopia believes that the essence of fabric is inspiration. When you think of an idea and want to see it come to fruition, Fabrictopia wants to be your supplier of the right fabric or fabrics to create your inspired design. From light to heavy weight satins, along with chiffons, laces and spandex, Fabrictopia is the kind of place where people who make their own clothes and accessories feel right at home.

Meanwhile, when ladies want to have their wedding dresses made, where do you think they or their designers get fabric in the Houston area? They visit Fabrictopia, of course! The store stocks bridal fabrics including French fashion laces, guipures, and hand beaded laces. Some of the hand beaded laces will make a woman look like royalty-- their intricate design will have other ladies “oohing and aahing” over the gorgeous gown.

For those who are novices when it comes to fabrics, a trip to Fabrictopia is a great way to meet experts who know all about the different types of fabrics, their uses, benefits, and design “tips and tricks” to help make someone something special and beautiful. Indeed, many visitors to the store come in looking for fabrics to make clothing and accessories for others, oftentimes as gifts to daughters, grandkids, and babies.

Should you be in a creative rut and want some fashion fabric advice, come see Carmen in the store. Customer service is key at Fabrictopia, and one of the main reasons customers keep coming back, supporting this unique place. For three years, now, customer service has been emphasized, so it’s not just like you walk in, see something, buy it and walk out. At Fabrictopia, you can talk about the different fabrics with knowledgeable people who want you to succeed at what you’re making and creating. Get inspired at Fabrictopia.

By the way, if you need help with a particular project, come see our seamstress. You’re welcome to call the store with any questions you might have-- 713-977-0747. And remember, come into the store during the month of February for special deals as we celebrate being in business for three years now, with many more to come.

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February 01, 2018

The Many Benefits of Lace Fabrics

Grandmother was so excited to hear the news. “My daughter just called. She and her husband are having a baby girl,” she told her best friend. The two women smiled at each other over a cup of coffee at the local diner. “I cannot wait to be a grandma! And I’m so happy she’s having a little girl. I plan to dress her up just like a doll and take her everywhere with me, showing her off, of course.” Indeed, many grandmothers and mothers have looked forward to taking care of little girls in their lives.

Now little boys generally don’t get dressed in lace. But little girls? They do! Lace fabric can be elastic or inelastic, as well as embroidered and/or patterned. Now lace fabric is also relatively thin and delicate, so it’s not for “rough and tumble” types. It’s no wonder, then, that millions of grandmothers and mothers around the world seek out dainty lace fabric to make cute little outfits for the granddaughters and daughters in their lives. Furthermore, lace accessories are popular-- perhaps a headband or bow to wear on the little girl’s head, right? Can you imagine how adorable she’d look in the pictures?

What mom hasn’t called her little girl her “angel?” With that in mind, a white angelic dress with lace elements is the perfect way to dress up the perfect little angel. Lace is soft and comfortable. It can be colorful and detailed if need be. And it’s the ultimate “girly” fabric.

Interestingly, lace is innocent when worn by babies, but it can be-- how shall we say--- suggestive when that little girl grows up to become a woman.

The chief benefit of lace on women of a certain age-- say, her 20s, 30s and well beyond-- is that it makes them look and feel great! Lace is a wonderful fabric for women to have at their disposal.

Fabrictopia supplies people with a variety of fabrics to make all sorts of clothing pieces and accessories, from baby dresses to exotic lingerie. Check out some specialty coco paisley laces and our chemical lace pieces.

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January 19, 2018

Christmas Gift Ideas for Sewers

According to the Wikipedia definition, sewing is the craft of fastening or attaching objects using stitches made with a needle and thread. As an ancient textile art, sewing has been around for generations-- even during the Stone Age. Without sewing, people would have a hard time finding any clothes to wear!

With Christmas coming, what are some Christmas gift ideas for the people who sew in your life?

Here are ten good ideas:

1) Flowerhead pins are handy because they lie flat under acrylic rulers and they won’t melt.

2) People who sew can always use more fabric. Fabrictopia of Houston is where you can get great fabrics!

3) In order to make accurate cuts, consider giving a sewing/quilting ruler. These differ from typical rulers because they offer gripping ability (to keep from slipping when using a rotary cutter) and they’re transparent.

4) A mini-iron helps smooth things out when needed.

5) To keep all the pins in one place without them falling all over the floor, give your sewing friend a magnetic pin cushion for Christmas.

6) For those who have to cut fabric, how about a rotary cutter with extra replacement blades? You can also give a rotary cutting mat.

7) In order to cut fabric, specialty scissors come in handy, especially a pair of 8” long-lasting dressmaker sheers and/or 4” embroidery scissors.

8) Help them learn some new techniques regarding pattern fitting and design by buying them sewing books for Christmas.

9) Buy various threads to be used for embroidery purposes. And then give a thread organizer box, too, so they have somewhere to efficiently store them all.

10) Finally, a new sewing machine would be a great gift! Brand names like Bernina, Brother and Pfaff are good choices. Better yet, ask them what their dream machine is, and then get them that one!

In the Houston area, a great place to shop for Christmas gifts for your sewing friends and family members is Fabrictopia. Located at 2950 Fondren Rd., Fabrictopia is a discount fabric store featuring satins, sequins, lace, organza, lame, taffeta, spandex nylon and more. As a wholesale/retail outlet, Fabrictopia has a wide variety to choose from; call 713-977-0747 with any questions you might have. We’re happy to help you find the perfect Christmas gift fabric!


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December 07, 2017

Tips for Using Sequins

Pink and Red Sequin Fabric

It’s interesting to think about great entertainers, especially those of yesteryear. What did most of them have in common? Sequins-- especially in the 1970s.

Many famous entertainers have worn sequins because they embellish their overall look, capturing the lights and attention of all those who see them. Sequins sparkle, and for that they’re popular in entertainment circles. Sequins have never gone out of style. Today’s top performers like Beyonce, Selena Gomez, Rihanna, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga are well-known for their outfits featuring sequins.

What Are Sequins?

What are sequins exactly? They’re disk-shaped and flattened beads used on costumes and clothing to enhance the overall look. In olden times, sequins started out as coins worn by people who wanted to show off their wealth-- the more you wore, the richer you were!

How Sequins Can Help Your Style

Sequins are known for reflecting light so they add a richness to clothing that really turns heads. They can be round in shape, or other shapes such as octagons, hexagons, hearts, flowers or starbursts. Some have an opalescent or iridescent sheen to them, while others are clear.

When working with sequins, it’s best to use just as many as needed to get attention without “overdoing it.” Keep in mind that sometimes there will be gaps when applying a whole bunch within close proximity-- that’s okay. To apply sequins use whatever you deem necessary to keep them in place, from glue to pins, for example. Many people sew them onto fabric projects as trim.

If you want sequins to turn and sparkle, attach them loosely to allow movement. For those of you who want the sequins to reflect light in a great way, choose metallic finish ones-- these work well for things such as dance costumes.

Remember-- less is more. Start out with a few sequins and add as needed. With sequins, a little goes a long way.

Fabrictopia of Houston, Texas, offers several sequins for sale, including glitzy ones in colors such as rainbow white, black and silver. You can also choose quad sequins which look like little boxes or squares, in colors such as green, red, and gold. If you have any questions about sequins, call Fabrictopia at 713-977-0747 or email

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November 06, 2017

The Many Uses of Lace Fabric

Lovely lace fabric typically involves looping, braiding or twisting a thread complete with an embroidered pattern look. Woven from cotton, rayon or silk these days, lace generally has what’s known as an open weave. There’s visible space between weaves. Lace comes in several forms, including beaded, Chantilly, corded, filet, guipure, and limerick.

The Different Uses of Lace Fabric

What are some uses of lace fabric? Thanks to its mesh-like appearance, lace is often used in women’s fashion. From runway models to celebrities, many ladies love to wear clothing incorporating lace fabric elements. Indian women often have sarees (also spelled saris) utilizing lace. Sarees are strips of unstitched cloth ranging from four to nine meters in length that get draped over the body in various styles-- like large scarves.

The lace look is considered both classy and delicate-- it has a feminine quality to it, so it’s more likely that women will gravitate to lace while men will not. Well, men will admire their brides in lace-laden wedding dresses as well as sexy lace lingerie, so there’s that…

Harper’s Bazaar magazine once proclaimed lace to be “fashion’s most romantic fabric.”

Interestingly, lace fabric is also used in home decor products such as curtains, lamp shades, and table cloths. Lace pillows have a charming, decorative look, while bedspread throws add that special touch to making a bed look prettier, softer and more inviting.

Clothing-wise, most women have owned, currently own, or will own items with lace fabric. This is pretty much a given. It’s ubiquitous, popular and beloved.

Please note that lace fabric outfits are dry clean only. When stored, they should be kept between a layer of blue-colored tissue papers to prevent yellowing.

Fabrictopia sells a variety of lace fabrics, including names like “rosette satin,” “swirl organza,” and the always popular “coco paisley.” Fabrictopia also offers chemical laces in four colors: gold, brown, fuschia, and silver, available to see here:

If you were thinking of utilizing lace fabric in the making of dresses, gowns, or other clothing items, Fabrictopia is definitely the place to check out for lace fabrics that will meet your needs. Please visit the shop at 2950 Fondren Road in Houston or call 713-977-0747 for more information.

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October 12, 2017

Tips for Using Fabrics in Scrapbooking

Do you want to take your next scrapbooking project to the next level? One of the most fun ways to do it is by incorporating different fabrics into the mix. While scrapbookers have long turned to pattern paper to do this, fabric can really set your scrapbook apart and make it look unique. It can also help you to draw attention to certain items within your scrapbook. Here are a few fun ways to use fabric when you are working on a scrapbook.

Use fabric to make your titles.

The title of your scrapbook is probably big and bold already. But if you really want to make it special, use fabric to create the title. You can use cardboard to create each letter for the words that make up the title and then cover the cardboard with fabric to give it extra dimension. It will look great when you use fabric to make a scrapbook title.

Bring large objects to life with fabric.

When you create a large object within a scrapbook, you can help set it apart by using fabric to do it. For example, let’s say you are working on creating a tree for your scrapbook. You might want to think about using something like a corduroy fabric for make the bark for it. You also might want to find a deep green fabric to make the leaves. This will enhance the tree and make it more visually appealing.

Create a border using fabric.

Most scrapbook pages have some kind of border around them. Why not make some of those borders using fabric? It’s often easier to do a fabric border than doing one using paper, glitter, sequins, and more, and it will look a lot better when you go with fabric. It’s also a creative way to pull some of the different colors on a page together.

If you’re not already using fabric for your scrapbooking, you don’t know what you’re missing. Fabrictopia can provide you with the fabric you need to get started. Call us at 713-977-0747 today to place an order.



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September 08, 2017