Posted in Cut and Stitch Corner

My top tips when learning to sew.

Today I was planning on showing the progress on the skirt that I am currently making – but I forgot to take any photos so instead, I thought I would share some things that I have learned about dressmaking and sewing that might help any other novices.

My top tips:
1. Practice on lined paper.
Using a non-threaded sewing machine and some lined paper is a really good way to get some practice at sewing in a straight line.
2. Start with plain fabrics.
If you are making things with patterned fabric, you could find yourself getting stressed about trying to match the pattern at the seams so that it looks even all the way around.  For your first few projects, it’s probably just easier to stick to plan fabrics. I just bought myself some polka-dot material for the skirt and working out where to cut it to keep the spots even drove me crazy for about half an hour.
3. Pin and iron often.
This one seems obvious, but it’s something that I’ve found myself slipping into bad habits with.  In previous projects, I either didn’t put in enough pins when attaching my pattern to the material which lead to making cutting a bigger headache that it needed to be, or I didn’t iron the material enough in between sewing sessions which lead to things being misaligned at the end.
4. Have the needle plate directly in front of you.
This is another one which might seem really obvious, but it honestly never occurred to me until today and I’ve also not seen it mentioned in any of the tutorial materials I’ve been using.  When you sit down at your sewing machine, have the needle plate directly in front of you.  Without thinking about it, I’ve been having it slightly to the left (I think this may be due to the way the machines were set up in my old textile lessons at school) and wondering why I was finding it so hard to sew straight for long periods of time.  Just on a hunch I moved my machine a few centimetres to the right and all of a sudden, while still not perfect, it is now a lot easier to sew straight!
5. Take your time!
Maybe it’s because I’m still very new to this but I find making clothes surprisingly exhausting mentally (or maybe it’s just me!).  I find I have to stop every couple of hours at least and do something else for a bit, if I try and power through then I make mistakes.  For example, the last skirt I made ended up back to front.  -_-
So those are my tips, I hope they are of use to some of you.  If you have any tips that you would like to add, please leave them in the comments below 🙂

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