Happy Friday! We made it through the week. Today on the blog, I am going to be sharing a post about 10 sewing tips that I wish I had known earlier when I was learning how to sew. I learned how to sew at my school, when I was a freshman. This was soo long ago, but I still remember that I had an awful teacher who ended up getting fired. I was basically on my own learning how to sew. If I could go back back and tell my past self all of these tips from my current self I would, haha! I hope they are helpful to you. Going forward, I want to post more about sewing and my creations.
1. Buy More Fabric Then Needed
I do not know how many times I have had to go back to JoAnn Fabrics to buy more fabric. Before, I bought just the amount I needed for the project, and that was a BIG mistake. Always buy more because you will use some for scrap fabric to test your stitching. Also, as a beginner you will make many mistakes, and maybe sew the wrong pieces together, or cut the pieces incorrectly, so it is always best to buy extra. Plus, if you have leftovers you can always make another piece.
2. Wash Your Fabric Before Use
I was never told in school you must wash your fabric before use because if you do not, it will leave the fabric very thick and lead to shrinkage. My tip is to always wash the fabric the same way you plan on washing the piece after you sew it together. For example, if you plan on machine washing after, then machine wash first. If you plan on handwashing after, then hand wash first. Cotton should always be washed in warm water. Polyester, silk, rayon, spandex & linen all in cold wash. For drying, I recommend air drying any fabric after washing, so the fabric does not shrink.
3. A Serger Is A Must
Before you even start sewing, you need to serge your pieces. When I was working with denim, the edges were already starting to fray. They have two serger's at my school, and I am so glad I finished all of my serging there before the COVID shutdown because folding the edges in, is just not the same. Basically, you need to run all of your edges through the serger before even starting to sew the pieces together. DO THIS! Trust me, you will thank me later. Here is a Walmart & Michaels Store link to purchase a serger.
4. Lay Out Your Pieces Next
Right after you have finished serging all of your pieces, you need to create a space where you can lay out your pieces into a orange peel of how they will be sewn together. For example, in the pattern it will sometimes give you a picture of your orange peel, and how the pieces go. I highly recommend to go beyond the picture, and recreate the orange peel, so you can visualize how the pieces of fabric fit together.
5. Threading The Machine
When you are first learning to sew, or using a new machine threading it can be hard. I'm not kidding, this is one of the hardest things when it comes to sewing. When threading my brother machine, I was reading the instructions over and over, but it still did not make sense. I then went to YouTube, and simply typed in, "how to thread brother" and then put the model # in and hundreds of videos poped up! For example, type "how to thread brother lx3817" These videos saved me. I would have not been able to thread the machine without YouTube. You can do the same with the Janome machines too.
6. Do A Sample Stitch First
Grab your scrap piece of fabric you are going to test sew on. Stitch a line a couple times to make sure you have the machine threaded correctly, and that the thread underneath is in line too. If yo do not do a couple sewing tests and go right into your pattern pieces, and there is an error, you will wish you would have checked first.
7. DO NOT Follow All Of Your Pattern Piece Instructions
You are probably like, "What?! Did I read that correctly?" Yes, you did. Let me explain, when I am sewing a pattern, I find that at times, the directions can make me even more confused than I am. A lot of the instructions are really old and out of date. When you have been sewing for awhile, you will rely less and less on the pattern directions. My advice is, if you feel like a step does not make sense, search on Google for alternative solutions or go with your gut feeling. There is so many pages on Google that will tell you, "how to sew lining," or "how to sew a button."
8. Steam Your Pieces While Sewing
If you are working with a thicker material like flannel or denim, these can be hard to maneuver sometimes. Keep the steamer nearby, so you can press your pieces to make them easier to sew together. When I was working with denim I was constantly steaming my pieces to give them some moisture, help get rid of wrinkles or indents and make it easier to sew.
9. Always Keep The Seam Ripper Around, Maybe 2
This is a tool that is a must when it comes to sewing. This is the tool I rely on the most. You never know when you need to remove stitches due to error or wanting to change the pieces. The same ripper is my best friend when I am sewing. Here is the seam ripper I have. Have had it for 5+ years, still works great.
10. Take Your Time; Do Not Rush
When I am sewing, I will get into a groove where I am working so fast that I just want it done. Be sure to relax and slow down. Take your time and make sure your piece is perfect because you made it. This is a representation of you. When you finish, you will feel so much joy knowing you took your time in making it your masterpiece.
These are my 10 sewing tips. I hope you all found it helpful and took some tips away from my post. I really wish I would have known these things when learning to sew and a few months ago as well, lol. I find that when I am sewing, I am constantly learning new things as I go. Until the next one.