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Sewing Tips For the Beginner Seamstress

By Sabina Taylor I love sewing, it is my main hobby of choice. I do enjoy many other crafts outside of stitching, but my sewing machine is always close by and ready for whatever the task. I find it rewarding to make clothing and useful things to decorate the home. There is always something new to learn allowing your imagination to grow and soar with endless ideas. Designing is where I find the artist in me, others may find their creative sides in other areas of the craft. Since you have developed the interest for sewing, there are a lot of things
you will learn along the way. I would like to take this time to share some helpful tips I've learned during my life from others such as my mother (my first teacher), through craft classes, courses, workshops, trial and error. I have shared these tips with many newbies and received very positive results. No, I've never worked for any big time designers or went to any big time schools. I initially learned at home alongside my mother and grandmother who were both very skilled in the craft, and I have a natural hand for garment construction.
Learning to sew can be such a great benefit for yourself and family. To begin, no one has to worry about a lack of clothing to wear. Also it is great to be able to style and fashion your clothing and accessories to suit your needs and preferences. Being a seamstress is also wonderful and fulfilling way to earn an income from home as well. Please enjoy the tips and advice below.
Tips and Advice: 1. To begin, take your time, be patient and absorb the craft. 2. Learn to have fun, it's supposed to be a fun and rewarding experience, this way it will never feel like its a task chore. 3. Learn to appreciate your work and the work of others even if its loaded with mistakes. 4. Also, expect to make mistakes even when you become an advanced Seamstress. After all, seam rippers were designed to rip out mistakes made. Personally, I almost always make a mistake where I have to use a seam ripper and I've been sewing for over 30 years. 5. Designate
a pair of scissors only for cutting fabrics and threads. Tie a string onto the thumb loop of them so they will not get mixed up with other scissors and tell others at home not to use them. If you use your scissors to cut more than just fabrics, they will dull quickly and not cut your fabric with the same precision as they would had you followed this tip. 6. Practice sewing often to build your ease and skills. Start out with small projects like pillow cases and
potholders, clothing for
dolls, etc. 7. Be as
organized and neat as possible. 8. Take good care of your
sewing machine(s) and supplies. If you take good care of them, then others will take your craft seriously.
9. Always plan your projects even if its a small one. Planning saves time, you'll have less headaches, and save money. It also increases the excitement and enthusiasm of completing what is being made. 10. Everyone has their own unique style, do not be afraid to explore and express yours as well as appreciate and try the styles of others. 11. Volunteer your services to an advanced seamstress to gain in skills. There is always some seamstress/designer who can use a helping hand, but has not the budget to hire help. If your skills have matured a bit and you can volunteer, that seamstress/designer can sure use your help. 12. Be sure to read the
instruction and care manual of your sewing machine carefully. If you can, take a small workshop online or at a local crafting shop instructing you on how to use it properly. 13. I strongly suggest you be the only one to use your machine at first. Too many beginners on a machine will keep the tension thrown off which will decrease its level of performance in no time. 14.
Buy extra supplies of needles, bobbins, and light bulbs for your machine. This is something you will need to have plenty of throughout your sewing experience. There is no worse feeling than to break a needle or blow a bulb in the middle of completing a project, and not have a replace of either on hand. 15. Before starting a project, thread two bobbins of the color(s) you are using each. This saves on time and eliminates sudden frustration later. 16. When doing a project, make a timed schedule for your entire day that includes important tasks, household chores and a break for yourself. For example: Clean your home and even prep your dinner if you can before you begin your project. This way, if times escapes and you not notice it, you won't have to dash around frantically at the last minute trying to ready things. 17. It is very important to prioritize your tasks. Sewing may be fun and enjoyable, but it's not fair to make it precedence over things deemed important. It will then become a chore itself. 18. Never throw away scraps and salvage pieces until you have completed the project entirely, you may need them to make alterations and where you have purchased the fabric may not have anymore in stock. Save your salvages just in case you may need them. You may even use them in making other things.
A Little About Tools: In order to sew effectively you will need the basic tools and notions. After all,
fabrics and textiles are just that, "fabrics and textiles" and they will remain in this state until someone comes along using some tools to transform them into something of use. I suggest initially purchasing
an inexpensive sewing kit. Major department stores usually sell starter sewing kits for less than $10 and they include: a pair of scissors, a pin cushion, a flexible measuring tape, a seam ripper, a hem gauge, a tracing wheel, a piece of tailor's chalk, and some hand sewing needles/thread. All the basics. Some even come with a couple sheets of pattern making paper. These are the basic tools I think we (the novice to advanced seamstress) all need in order to sew anything. Yet, as you grow and learn there will be patterns and projects that may require the use of tools more intricate and challenging than these basic ones mentioned here. In addition, I suggest to purchase a large bait and tackle box to use for building your own sewing kit comprised of all the basic, common tools and gadgets, and any odd finds they may come across in their travels. Especially those unique things that are inexpensive you think you will never use, as you grow and advance those same notions will not look so strange, and will be of some use trust me. A bait and tackle box is cheaper than those fancy sewing baskets, plus they hold a lot of small things very well in place as the inside of it has endless large and small compartments, and a huge space at the bottom where you can keep your threads and a few patterns. They also store away nicely and keep things neat and in order. Overall, sewing is a wonderful pastime. Remember to keep it stress-free and enjoy yourself.
For sewing tips, the best ebook buying list (good and cheap), sewing tutorials, group sew-alongs, great links for buying machines, and much more, join me at Also join the family and follow the blog!

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Comment by Marilyn Macrae on July 26, 2009 at 3:47pm
I love No 7.Isn't that the truth but it's so hard to achieve... It usually looks like a storm went through my sewingroom on most days. I'm in the middle of reorganizing I'm finding all kinds of interesting things I forgot I owned. But alas somethings are going away because I'll never use them..
Comment by Jill Dewar on July 26, 2009 at 2:48pm
I agree with Nancy - there are alot of good tips here & I have a basic sewing book that I use alot especially when I get frustrated trying to do something that I "know" how to do & it isn't working out.
I liked tip # 16 - make a schedule so your day won't get away from you - I've been guilty of that so many times and tip #15 - makes 'sew' much sense!
Comment by Nancy Mattison on July 26, 2009 at 10:15am
This is a great list! I might add a basic sewing book--a quick reference for when and how to edge a seam or how to measure and put together a drapery. Those of us who have been sewing for eons forget sometimes how baffling some of that was!

Of all your tips, patience resonates the most with me! It's so difficult to maintain! Teaching myself to walk away from the sewing when I am frustrated or in a hurry to get done has proved essential.

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