Sewing Tips & Tricks

Lots of people lately are learning how to sew, which is amazing! Some people have asked me for tips and tricks, so here you go. 

  1. Start out on a quilting cotton. Easiest fabric to work on.
  2. Top stitching looks professional, but too much top stitching is too much.
  3. Iron when possible. Iron on a lower setting to prevent burning fabric.
  4. You don't need a super expensive machine to make great things. Like you don't need a serger/ overlocker to start sewing. If you want to sell the clothes, yes, you should probably have one. If you are just sewing for yourself, you don’t need one.
  5. Always double check to the threading of the machine.
  6. CLEAN YOUR MACHINE! This will help to prevent some of the dreaded “THE MACHINE ATE MY FABRIC!!” that seems to happen all too often.
  7. Start simple. Don’t try something that has multiple pieces, or multiple steps you don’t know how to perform.
  8. Watch videos, read blogs, and even take a class!
  9. Make things you want to make! It doesn’t make you more creative to sew something you don't want to sew. Also make things that you would wear. Now, I don’t really follow this rule, as I make certain things for my dolls that I would never wear, but this gives you a good starting base.
  10. Learn how to use a tape measure! Honestly, I like to measure things in centimeters sometimes, and some tutorials are in centimeters. Likewise, you need to know how to measure in inches. Also being able to do simple math is helpful. There are so many tutorials that can be resized for dolls, and this requires a bit of math.
  11. Make sure your sewing space has good lights to cut down on accidents of all sizes.
  12. Have these things next to you at all times: machine key (screw driver), machine cleaning brush, fabric scissors, trash can, seam ripper, pins and pin cushion.
  13. Look at people for inspiration. Now this is a benefit of going to public school! I have definitely recreated some pieces I’ve seen classmates wear. Also, follow other seamstresses on Instagram, Blogger, or Pinterest.
  14. Use patterns in the beginning. Now this is another rule I didn’t follow (shocker!), but it would probably help to start sewing other people's patterns before creating their own. I have a page of free patterns on my Pinterest and I’m adding more all the time.
  15. Use good thread! A bad thread is super thin, super cheap, but it breaks often. That’s the biggest annoyance to be in the middle of sewing and have the thread break.
  16. Learn how to hand sew. This is just a good skill for life.
  17. Go to fabric stores! I think this is one of the instances that you should DEFINITELY NOT shop online. You need to feel the fabric, see the scale, and just look at it before purchase.
  18. Clip corners and curves! This will help the garment press flatter and cleaner.
Now a little bit about my sewing "journey". I started hand stitching sewing doll clothes in Summer 2015. That Christmas I received the Brother CE1100PRW and I currently use that machine. I did sew a little bit on a machine before I got mine, but never seriously. That summer, I also started making my own patterns. I starting sharing my creations on IG 3 days after Christmas 2015, and starting sharing patterns on the blog here a yearish later.  I made a lot of my favorite patterns in the beginning of learning how to sew, and I'm still trying to make new ones now.

I've learned a lot about sewing through trial and error which isn't the best idea.  However, its the best way to learn. Watching videos helps me to learn some of those things I can't figure out. I mostly watch videos for inspiration rather than actually learning. Sometimes things pop up in patterns that I don't know how to do, so that's when I look things up.

What other sewing related posts would you like to see? Maybe a post about the worst projects? I'm thinking about recreating one of my worst projects in a post.

Comments

  1. Great post! Thanks for all the tips!
    Haha! Yep, I have indeed had the "sewing machine ate my fabric" incident, multiple times! One post that I would be interested in is how to clean your sewing machine.
    I don't tend to have a trash can next to me when I sew, so a large pile of thread and fabric bits often grows on the table! Those are great things to keep next to you, although, what is a machine key? Or do you mean the instructions? Now that I think of it, that would be helpful to have on hand while sewing!
    Thanks again!
    ~Gracie
    smileandcraftag.wordpress.com

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    1. You are welcome Gracie!
      The machine key is how you open up the top plate of the machine (it's kind of like a screw driver). I'm not technically sure if it's called a machine key (that just sounded logical to me), but it's always helpful to have on hand. I think most machines come with one. Thinking about it now machine screw driver sounds like a better name 😅

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  2. Excellent tips! Thank you, Sophie!

    I usually don't buy my fabric online for the same reasons you mentioned, but there is one exception for me: Girl Charlee Fabrics. They have adorable fabrics for really good prices, and they always tell you the fabric scale, so it's easy to see if a certain print would work for doll clothing or not. I'd encourage you to check it out! Here's the link: www.girlcharlee.com

    Happy sewing! :)

    ~Lizzy

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Lizzy! I'm definitely going to check that one out!

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