Sewing is really an awesome skill. You get a new way to express your creativity, save money, fix problems with your clothes (and fabrics around the house), and create a whole new style for yourself. It even enhances your motor skills, especially your hand-eye coordination. And that’s just the beginning! There really is so much to love about sewing that, no matter the reason why you choose to do it, you probably want to get better at it every day.
However, beginners might feel a little intimidated by the amount of lingo, basic sewing techniques and stitches they have to master before feeling like a pro. It doesn’t matter if you are a mother, a father, or a young teen trying to pick up a useful skill; these sewing tips will keep on helping you even if you are a master of the craft.
Here are the 5 basic sewing tips for beginners you should follow!
Always keep notes (and the manual) close
Once you get the hang of sewing, you will want to take projects a second time to see how much better you’re getting and how much more pretty it can be. Because of that, it’s very useful to keep notes from the moment you tackle a new project so you don’t have to rediscover and test out all variables each time you do it again. Say, for example, that you finished a project using a zig-zag stitch with a specific length, width, and string tension; if you take note of that, then you won’t spend hours reaching those measurements next time.
Also, keep your sewing machine manual in good shape in case you ever need to adjust tension settings or troubleshoot a problem. Yes, there are many resources available on the internet, but it’s good to keep the one that was custom-made for your equipment at hand.
Make lots of tests before starting a project
Testing out different stitch lengths, width, tension, and other variables will help you work out the kinks before actually starting on your project. It might be really tempting to just jump in and adjust your results after you’re done, but think about how much better you will be if you know what actually works before doing it! Use any random scraps of fabric that you have laying around, and keep them in a journal or notebook to have a quick visual reference of how different techniques look when used on different materials.
Rely on magnets to keep your pins in check
You might already know or expect this, but pins really are surprisingly easy to lose track of. Not only is this annoying and can slow down a project, but it can actually be dangerous if you or a family member (or someone cleaning the house) end up stepping on them or pinching their finger. To prevent this, you can glue a strong magnet under a small or medium saucer so the pins stay in place but are more accessible than on a pincushion. Also, keep a separate magnet at hand to quickly collect any fallen or hidden pins both on the floor and your workspace. Remember that not all pins are the kind with colorful ball ends!
Understand thread weights and what they’re good for
Once you start advancing further into the world of sewing, you will have to start considering things like thread weight for your projects. The very first lesson about thread weight is that the higher the number, the thinner the thread. As you can imagine, each particular number will be better suited for some projects above others, which is important to remember but easier to master than you would expect.
The most common thread, the one that would be considered all-purpose, is the 50 wt. thread, a polyester/cotton blend that will do a great job on most projects. 18 wt. thread, on the other hand, is the one you would need to stitch denim and other heavy-duty fabrics. There’s a very comprehensive guide offered by Seasoned Home Maker that will show you exactly what we mean!
When in doubt, rethread
One of the oldest rules in sewing is that if your seams are too tight or loose, or if your machine banged up a job, then you need to rethread everything. It sounds drastic, but it will solve the problem almost every single time. In a way, it’s the equivalent of turning your wi-fi modem on and off before trying anything else. As an extra tip, look out for lint below your sewing machine’s needle plate when you reposition the bobbin, as that is often the reason for missing stitches. It never hurts to double-check.