11 Painful Mistakes Only A Sewist Will Understand
I'm sure all the experienced seamstresses and sewers out there have plenty of advice to a new sewer. Much of my learning has been self taught so I have always (tried to anyway) fail fast and fail cheap.
Here's a list of the missteps and mistakes I've made over the years. Tell me what your best advice is to someone new to sewing.
1. Not taking care of my machines. Most costly mistake ever for me. For whatever bone head reason, I never oiled my serger. I live in a dry climate + I sew a lot = unrepairable machine.
2. Sewing when tired. This one is hard to break. But, I've sewn sleeves on backwards, sleeves on necks, pants only wearable on an alien and so on. If you sew when you're tired have the seam ripper handy.
3. Not taking care with fabric layout. "I know how to lay this out! I don't need no stinkin' directions" Resulting in prints that don't line up or big flower bulls eye right on your 'girls'. Or worse this:
7. Not buying enough fabric (said by an crazy fabric collector). Generally speaking 1-2 yards of fabric is enough to make a skirt, but not a super full one. 3-4 yards is generally enough for a dress or a jacket. 5-6 yards is well, you can make a lot with that. I have some silk that I bought and it was on sale AND I only bought a yard, and everything I wanted to make needed more. I went back and it was all sold out. When in doubt I buy three yards. Plus, be mindful of widths. 2 yards of 60" wide fabric is not the same as 45" wide. Those inches add up!
8. Not knowing your body measurements and pattern size. Pattern sizes are different than RTW. I started out sewing a 14-16, only realizing that I am more like a 6-8 for bodices and 12 for pants and skirts. It's a miracle I kept sewing even though I was swimming in garment after garment.
9. Picking the wrong fabric for the job. Or, using a difficult fabric when you're not ready. Quick advice: Don't sew with silk if you've never done so. At the least try an inexpensive silky from the clearance bin. Once you master that head to the silk!
10. Believing that sewing with knits is difficult. I do not find knits challenging I think the reason why is that no one ever told me THEY WERE! I don't know who started the rumor that working with knits is difficult but it isn't. Once you sew with knits you'll have a hard time going back to wovens.
11. Listening to people who don't know what they're talking about. This is hard to do in the age of Internet gobbledygook. There are a lot of people out there claiming they're experts and just aren't. Be curious, ask questions find a trusted resource, friend or book. Better yet, find all three. This will save you time and money and sanity to keep you sewing for years on end.
What are your favorite tips for new sewers. What was the best advice you recieved? Let me know on the blog!