I've shared a bunch of sewing project with you guys, but have never gone into much detail about actually sewing. I know that there are all levels of sewers out there, and I want my blog to be a place where all are able to enjoy my projects. This is why I wanted to give some tips for all you beginners out there interested in whipping up some new handmade goodies. I've highlighted what I think are the most important things to know about sewing. I'd also love for you to share your important tips or techniques in the comments below!
Know Your Machine & Read Your User Manual
I believe knowing your sewing machine is the most important part of sewing. Not only does getting acquainted with your machine help you achieve a more professional result, but it will also aid in troubleshooting if something goes wrong- and trust me, something will go wrong eventually. It's crucial for one to understand what each knob and lever does. Without knowing these things you can not guarantee a smooth sewing experience, or the desired results you're looking for. Even though I am an experienced sewer that is familiar with my machine, I still pull out my manual from time to time. It's great for repair advice, and even for tips on how to sew certain stitches.
Google For Reference
This tip may sound a bit lame or obvious, but it is still high up on my list. Like your user manual, searching the internet can be your best friend when it comes to troubleshooting your machine, or finding tutorials on different techniques. My boyfriend makes fun of me for constantly typing any question I may have into Google's search bar, but I can't honestly remember a time when I did not find what I was looking for. The same can be said for ewing. I am constantly searching for information on new techniques, and even refreshing my memory with how-to's on stuff I've just gotten a bit rusty at. Plus, it's always nice to be able to find written directions, as well as a video.
Have The Correct Accessories
There are certain accessories, or tools, that every sewer should have. It doesn't matter if you are a novice or an expert. There are just some things that can make any project easier to tackle. Here's a list of what I think are the most important. Straight pins and pin cushion, seam ripper, fabric scissors, fabric chalk or pencil, an iron, and a flexible measuring tape.
Did you notice that an iron was in the list of important tools to have? Well, that's because pressing is the most important thing after doing any stitching. It may seem tedious to have to iron over and over while working on your project, but I'm telling you it's worth it. Pressing is essential to set in your stitches, and will help you to avoid sewing any unwanted puckers or tucks. It also gives the garment a professional appearance.
Start With Woven Fabrics
Woven fabrics are those that are formed by weaving, and are only stretchy on the bias. They are also the easiest to sew with. Most accessories that come with a sewing machine are for sewing with wovens. Whereas, sewing with a knit, or stretchy fabric, requires some additional accessories and sewing guidelines.
Start With A Small Project
It's important not to get ahead of yourself when starting out. I used to get discouraged a lot when I first started sewing. I would try to sew up dresses that were way out of my league, and they would always end up laying around unfinished. Starting with a small project will allow you to practice your skills, while still being able to have a finished product. More advanced projects are also more time consuming. I used to find it hard to sit through hours of sewing just to see some sort of finished result. Small, instant gratification designs allow you to achieve results faster, while still helping you exercise your skill.
Pinning your pattern pieces together is the only way to ensure that seams will match up and be sewn properly. There are many styles of straight pins on the market, and I think one must figure out which type they prefer. No matter which type you use, there are two key rules to remember when pinning. 1. Always make pin perpendicular to the seam. This protects any slippage in the fabrics or pins themselves. 2. Never sew over your pins. If you sew over your straight pins you have a good chance of breaking your needle or machine, and it always weakens the stitch.
Key To Straight Lines
Sewing a straight line at a steady pace can be a challenging task as first. You will probably want to watch the needle, but this is the wrong place to look. The solution to wobbly sewing is simply establishing a sight line, and maintaining speed control. Use the lines on your needle plate to make sure you are sewing at the correct seam allowance. Then, pick a place around the presser foot where you will watch and make sure the fabric does not stray from. I usually watch the line of the needle plate that I matched my fabric up with. Slowing down your speed is also a good way to correct sliding fabric.