15 Bad Sewing Habits You Need To Quit Doing
1. Putting pins in your mouth
I have to admit, when my grandmother told me this as a kid, I used to give her all the eye rolls. It wasn't until I saw this story that I thought that maybe there had been some wisdom in her advice.
2. Not cleaning out your sewing machineDid you know that your machine can catch on fire if you never clean it? It also can get so much lint build up that it simply stops working. And that's a bad sewing habit that will make you sad.
3. Using your sewing scissors on something other than fabricNow an experienced seamstress will know better, but someone new to sewing may not. Using your sewing scissors on anything other than fabric will dull them quickly. And if you've ever tried to cut with dull scissors you will understand why you would want to protect that from happening with your life.
4. Not measuring your model often enough
While this is huge when sewing for children, it is equally important for adults. If your child grew, or you add or lost a few pounds, your garment may not fit. This is a bad sewing habit that I am often guilty of due to pure laziness.
5. Not measuring your print square
This goes right up there with not measuring your model. As I talked about in this blog post, if your print square is off, it can cause major fit issues. And do yourself a favor and measure the square before you spend all the time taping the pages together.
6. Cutting on the same spot of your cutting mat over and over
This is a bad sewing habit that can cost you money! While its tempting to always lay your fabric on a certain area and cut at the same place every time (especially when cutting the same size over and over), cutting in the same area can weaken your self-healing cutting mat and shorten it's life.
7. Having bad posture while sewing
I'm the world's worst at slumping while I am sewing. It can be a major pain in the back if you aren't sitting properly with your elbows at right angles while you are sewing. This is especially true if you are working for several hours this way! Be sure to supply a nice comfy chair in your sewing room, have your machine at the proper height, and sit up straight.
8. Not using a fresh needle for each project
This is another thing my grandmother used to tell me that I thought was ridiculous, but I've noticed a huge change in my stitch quality since I've started doing it. Plus, if you buy your needles in bulk from a place like Amazon, you won't feel so guilty about changing your needles so often.
9. Not un-threading your machine properlyDid you know that the proper way to un-thread your machine is to clip the thread at the spool and then pull the cut thread from the needle end instead of just pulling it all through the machine when you take the spool off? Doing it the wrong way can mess up your tension disks on your machine. I must confess that this is a bad sewing habit that I do a lot. Pulling that spool out without clipping the thread first is just so darn easy!
10. Not taking your machine in for maintenance
This goes along with #2 and is especially important if you have a computerized machine. There are plenty of great authorized repair shops out there that will give you excellent customer service and take great care of your baby. Plus, it is often cheaper to maintain a sewing machine than it is to repair it once it's been broken due to lack of maintenance.
11. Not laundering your fabricFabric, especially quilting cottons or knits, can shrink. And sometimes they can shrink a lot! Don't put in all that time in effort to sew a beautiful garment only for it to not fit (or be horrible misshapen) after the first wash. Always launder your fabric in the manner you plan to maintain it after the garment it sewn.
12. Not ironing your seams
Or not using your iron period! If you are sewing properly, you should spend more time at the ironing station than you do at the sewing machine. It seems tedious, but I promise, you will notice a huge change in the quality of your work if you break the bad sewing habit of not ironing!
13. Not following pattern directions
Of course as a pattern designer I'm going to suggest you read the pattern. Now that's not to say that you might have a technique you prefer over the one offered in the pdf sewing pattern. But at minimum you should be reading through the instructions once. Because a quality pdf sewing pattern has been tested, the instructions might include something you didn't think of if you decide to go off on your own. I will admit, this is a super bad sewing habit of mine! I get in a sewing groove and often forget to read anything.
We all do it. You are sewing your homemade Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve because you waited until the last possible second to get them done. Procrastination can ruin the joy of sewing. Not to mention it can make you sloppy and make you commit other bad sewing habits because you are trying to rush. Always be sure to give yourself plenty of time to finish your projects.
15. Buying new materials before checking your stashThis has got to be my #1 bad sewing habit of all time! I love buying fabric. I mean, who doesn't? But I can't tell you how many times I have bought something only to come home and find out that I had a near identical fabric waiting in my stash to get a little love. So always check your stash first before buying new fabric. Unless of course the new fabric you find is to die for. Then buy it and please send me some too.
Ok, be honest! How many bad sewing habits do you have? Just one or two? Do you do all of them? I sure hope not! Do you know of any other bad sewing habits that were not on the list? Let me know of any others you thought of in the comments section!
UPDATE: You may not have committed many of the bad sewing habits on this list, but have you checked out our follow-up post 12 MORE Bad Sewing Habits You Need to Quit Doing?