I’ve been sewing for several years now and other than hiring a seamstress to teach me for about 6 months, I’ve learned everything via internet and YouTube. I remember my first machine, and the first project I had in mind. I was so pumped and couldn’t wait to dive in. I’m going to share with you the 10 biggest sewing mistakes I think are avoidable. Learning to sew properly will help you enjoy the craft more and your projects will look more professional.
1 NOT READING THE MANUAL!
Okay, okay I know how utterly boring it is to pull out the manual and read each section but listen (that’s southern for pay attention). It is worth the effort to learn your machine, and find out exactly what each piece is for (let’s be honest, companies aren’t just giving you shiny freebies…these parts serve a purpose). It was MONTHS before I realized I could make my projects easier and faster if I’d just use the appropriate part. Which brings me to my next piece of advice.
2 LEARN YOUR PRESSER FEET
Your machine will come with a few (or many) presser feet. Watch the CD or read the manual and find out what each one is called. Write them down. Look up on YouTube exactly how to use each foot so that you can branch out your sewing skills. For example, the zipper foot is AMAZING and will help you insert a zipper into pillow cases or clothing with ease. It’ll also help you make beautiful piping to give your projects pretty details.
3 BEING AFRAID TO TRY NEW SKILLS
I know it feels intimidating to start a new project with skills you haven’t mastered yet. Believe me, I still get nervous when I get to a step I’m not familiar with. Utilize YouTube, Pinterest tutorials and Google to help you along. The ONLY way you’re going to learn to insert that zipper like a master or make those baby shoes for a shower gift is to actually do it and practice. I started out making bags (yes, I had an Etsy shop) and moved onto baby shoes, detailed wallets and clothing. Also, trying your hand at Halloween costumes is a great way to learn new skills and branch out.
4 NOT MAINTAINING YOUR MACHINE
Y’all. Sewing machine cleaning kits are super cheap, can be found at Joann’s or Michaels and sometimes come with the purchase of your machine. They are super easy to use and help the longevity of your expensive purchase. Use the brush to get all that lint out, replace your dull knife, clean out the bobbin case, replace dull needles and replace the light bulb. You can prevent major damage to your sewing machine if you follow the maintenance guide that comes with your manual. (See #1 above).
5 NOT READING THE BACK OF PATTERNS
So you stood in the store looking at patterns for an hour, then stood in that long line to have your fabrics cut and stood some more waiting in line to purchase your items. You get home ready to dive in to your new project with excitement and begin. Halfway through, you realize your zipper is too short or your thread is wrong or you forgot interfacing. DRAT! Back to the store you go. Make sure you read the entire back of the pattern so you can purchase everything you need in one trip.
6 BUYING BOBBINS AND NEEDLES THAT DON’T FIT YOUR MACHINE
Going back to #1 with reading your manual, make sure you purchase bobbins and needles that were designed for your specific brand machine. You do NOT want to break your machine with this simple mistake. Trust me on this one.
7 USING THE WRONG FABRIC FOR YOUR PROJECT
Again, if you’ll read the back of your pattern, it’ll tell you exactly what fabrics are suitable for which designs. Fabrics have a certain way they “hang” and your garment will turn out messy if constructed with the inappropriate fabric.
8 NOT TAKING MEASUREMENTS BEFORE YOU BEGIN
For the love. Take the measurements of either you or your child or whomever you’re making this project for. There’s nothing worse than sewing for hours only to realize the garment is all wrong because you “guessed” on the size needed.
9 USE A RULER
When you need a straight edge, your eyes WILL fool you. Use a ruler and take the guess work out of aiming for a straight line.
10 MAKE IT FUN
Sewing shouldn’t feel like a chore or you’ll end up hating it. Pick projects YOU like and are excited about. Personally, I love making gifts for baby showers, clothes for our daughter Libby, and skirts for myself. I get excited about those and that makes me WANT to learn better skills. But you pick projects you’ll enjoy and sewing will be more enjoyable for you.