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Tips for beginning sewers

I am not the kind of person who should enjoy sewing. Sewing takes patience, and precision, the ability to measure and to follow directions. Sure, once you get good enough you stop following other people’s directions and start making your own patterns, but sewing is never as free form as, say, finger painting. I have no patience, I dislike precision, and anything involving numbers (including measuring) makes me feel slightly nauseous.

And yet I really love sewing. Go figure.

I figured I should share some really basic tips for people who have never sewn anything before and are thinking of taking the hobby up. Tips for people just starting to learn to sew. Tips for people who maybe don’t think of themselves as exact, or neat, or patient but really like the idea of making things they can wear.

These tips are all based on lessons I have learned as I’ve taught myself to sew.

1. There are no shortcuts. Do not try to take shortcuts, or invent shortcuts. They will only cause you to have more work later. All other tips are essentially subsidiaries of this one.

2. You can (almost) never have too many pins. There may be some instances in which too many pins is a bad thing, but I haven’t run across that situation yet. You can, however, have too few pins. One pin in each cardinal direction is not good enough. Your fabric will slip around and your finished product will look funny. This is especially true of slippery fabrics.

3. Measure twice, cut once. But make sure you move the tape measure before your cut, and make sure that it isn’t hiding somewhere under your fabric. You wan’t to cut the fabric, not the tape measure. I’ve lost at least two tape measures this way.

4. Iron your fabric. BEFORE you cut the pattern pieces. Believe it or not, wrinkles in the fabric affect the size and shape of the fabric you cut. Also iron your seam allowances.

5. It does matter what the inside of your item looks like. Not as much as what the outside looks like, of course. But it shouldn’t look like a small war has been fought on your seams.

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4 thoughts on “Tips for beginning sewers

  1. yeah i find it strange how you enjoy it…but that is good!

    i am frightened of sewing. i have wanted to so i can incorporate it into my bottle cap paintings…but your entry has helped me to learn some things i would have prolly done. i love the part where you cut the mearueing tape hahahaha! love it made me smile.

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