Know Your Needles! And the Fabrics They Go With.

There are many different types of needles out there. It would take forever to go through them ALL, but in this post, we’ll touch on the 5 most common and most used in garment sewing, and the fabrics and projects they are best suited for.

Know Your Needles (And the Fabrics They Go With) - The up close photos of the needles really show there is a difference! Must pin this for future reference.

Know Your Needles! And the Fabrics They Go With

Ready? Let’s get started!

 

Know Your Needles (And the Fabrics They Go With) - The up close photos of the needles really show there is a difference! Must pin this for future reference.

  1. The Universal Needle.

    You can use this needle across a variety of woven or knit fabrics, from a mid-weight to a fairly lightweight without too much of an issue. If you’re just starting out and practicing, this might be a good choice for you as they are also sometimes a little less expensive than some of the other varieties. But they will also not always produce as beautiful as a result depending on the other aspects of the project, such as thread and fabric choices.Know Your Needles (And the Fabrics They Go With) - The up close photos of the needles really show there is a difference! Must pin this for future reference.

  2. The Sharp or Microtex Needle.

    These needles have a much sharper point and narrower shaft than other needles, which makes it ideal for lighter weight or more finely woven fabrics like silk, satin, faux suede, and microfiber. It also helps enable perfectly straight stitching which makes it perfect for things like topstitching, edge stitching, and pintucks (which we at Bella Sunshine LOVE to do!)Know Your Needles (And the Fabrics They Go With) - The up close photos of the needles really show there is a difference! Must pin this for future reference.

  3. The Ballpoint Needle.

    These needles were made for knits! Their points are rounded, which allow them to slide through the fibers of the fabric without breaking them, keeping the integrity and stretch of the fabric intact. They also provide the ability to produce more even stitching on coarser knits (interlocks, cotton spandex) as well as preventing damage to more fragile knits (spandex, brushed polyester) that might snag or run more easily).Know Your Needles (And the Fabrics They Go With) - The up close photos of the needles really show there is a difference! Must pin this for future reference.

  4. The Denim Needle.

    These needles are designed thick and strong with an extremely sharp point for powering through thick, tightly woven fabrics such as denim, duck, and canvas. They are also ideal for going through many layers without breaking. In garment making, these would be most commonly used for making winter coats (like Gabriella’s) and heavier jumper dresses or pants.Know Your Needles (And the Fabrics They Go With) - The up close photos of the needles really show there is a difference! Must pin this for future reference.

  5. The Twin or Double Needle.

    Double needles are made with two needles connected to a single shaft. Their purpose is to mimic a cover stitch, or parallel finishing stitch, for a more professional look when completing a garment.

 

We hope you’ve found this helpful and that maybe you’ve learned a little something! If you have any questions about this, please feel free to visit us in our Facebook group here or ask in the comments below and we will do our very best to help! Come back next week to learn about some of the many different types of fabrics there are and all of the wonderful things you can turn them into!

10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit

If you’re here, we assume you sew or want to, and that’s great! Sewing is so much fun! A great way for some to relax, to add some uniqueness to a wardrobe, to expand a wardrobe, to decorate your home… there are SO many reasons people do it! But there are some very common across the board tools that EVERY person will need, no matter the project, and that is what this post is for! So, without further ado, here are our top must-have tools for any home sewist.

10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit

 

10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  1. A sewing machine.

    Do you need a top of the line, it practically runs itself machine? Psshh… nah. Are they nice to have? Of course! But I started out with a low-end Walmart special machine when I started and those projects are still holding up today. As long as you are using it right, the machine does not matter a bit. (well, I wouldn’t buy those handheld machines or child-sized ones, but, you get the idea.)10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  2. Machine feet

    Most commonly used feet (for apparel sewing) are the regular foot, buttonhole foot, and zipper foot. Most all machines will come with all 3 of these feet and we will have tutorials on using different types of feet at some point in the future. 10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  3. Extra machine needles

    ALWAYS a good idea. No matter how careful you are, needles WILL be broken. Just make sure you are buying the correct needles for the job! You can grab a variety of needles in large qualities on Amazxon for super cheap! Check it out here!* (Another future blog post coming your way soon!)10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  4. Hand sewing needles and seam rippers

    Yes, you will need these. Some patterns will require hand stitching. Even if they don’t, they’re still a handy thing to have around. You never know when you might have to reattach a stray button somewhere. And the seam rippers will be used often. Even when you’re a veteran sewist. Trust me.10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  5. Thread

    Self-explanatory.10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  6. Straight pins and/or Wonder-Clips

    Some experienced seamstresses don’t always use things like this, but if you’re starting out, you’re DEFINITELY going to want to want this anchor to help you out. Even as experienced as I am, I still use them more often than I don’t. (p.s. I use both, which one depends on the project). Every seamstress needs a set of pins and a pin cushion, but Wonder-Clips are amazing!  They are super expensive if you buy them in a big box store, but you can grab them for cheap on Amazon.*10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  7. Measuring tape.

    You’ll need this for making sure you’re sewing the right size if you’re sewing a garment.10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  8. A pattern

    If you’re on this blog, I’m guessing you’re leaning toward garment sewing. And most likely garment sewing for littles. That’s awesome! If you’re starting out, Bella Sunshine has several free patterns you can use to cut your sewing teeth, like Reagan’s Raglan and Isabella’s Banded Skirt! Just join our Facebook group here to learn how to get them! Along with this pattern (if it’s a PDF pattern), you will need a way to print it (either at a print shop or a home printer), along with scotch tape and scissors for cutting paper. Which are NOT the same scissors you will want to use to cut your fabric. Trust me on this.10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  9. Fabric.

    Self-explanatory. Make sure you have the right KIND of fabric for your project as fabrics can vary wildly and will make a HUGE difference in your finished product. Any patterns you purchase should give you a list of suggested fabrics to use for the best outcome. Pay attention to that list for a superior result.10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  10. Fabric cutting tools.

    Here you have a few options. The way I started out was with fabric scissors and a fabric marker. I laid my pattern out on my fabric, traced it with the marker and then used the fabric scissors (again, different from the ones used to cut paper) to cut the pieces. Nowadays I use a rotary cutter, acrylic ruler, and a cutting mat. It’s a little more expensive. It also takes a little practice, especially on the curves, but once you get the hang of it, it is SO much faster and easier than traditional scissors and I can’t imagine cutting any other way anymore. If you don’t already have a rotary cutter, I really recommend Fiskars for just starting out. It is inexpensive, and they have a great warranty.  You can pick up a starter set with everything you need here.*

*Anything marked with an asterisk is an affiliate link. That means if you purchase something when clicking that link, we get a very small percentage which keeps this blog going. That being said, we only link to products that we actually use and recommend. 

6 Reasons You Need a Serger

Sergers. The thought of them either make you super excited or make you want to run away screaming in terror (I promise, they aren’t that hard to thread.) Honestly, though, for someone who sews garments, they are the ultimate sewing want. There are so many things you can do with them. I am in love with mine so much, that I made a list of all the reasons I think you need one in your life.

6 Reasons You Need A Serger

6 Reasons You Need a Serger

  1. Sergers make sewing with knit fabrics a breeze. Do you love stretchy fabrics? Does the idea of sewing with them on your regular sewing machine make you feel physically ill (No? Just me?) A serger is amazing with knits for one major reason: differential feed. While that sounds like something your mechanic might tell you needs to be replaced on your car, a differential feed is just a fancy term for saying that the two parts that feed in the fabric can move at different rates. If you’ve ever tried to sew knits on a regular sewing machine without a walking foot, you will understand why this is important. The differential feed keeps the fabric from being overstretched.
  2. Sergers give a clean, professional edge on all seams. One of the coolest things about a serger is how it cuts off the fabric as you sew. The thread is then looped around giving a nice clean edge that won’t ravel in the wash. Look inside any ready to wear garment you own and chances are the seams are all serged.  This will give your garments a more professional look (which is a must if you are sewing to sell.)
  3. Sergers are faster than a sewing machine. This is partly because they make the seam and finish the edge in one swoop.  Depending on the finishes, you can even sew an entire garment with your serger without even touching your regular sewing machine.
  4. Sergers can create beautiful rolled hems that are perfect for delicate fabrics. Every serger also has the ability to create a rolled hem. Rolled hems are especially helpful for fragile or slippery fabrics and are often used for special occasions or lingerie.
  5. Sergers can make stronger seams than a traditional sewing machine. Because a serger uses at least 3 or 4 threads, the seams they create are much stronger than those created with a regular sewing machine. That makes those garments you spend all that time making hold up longer.
  6. Entry level sergers are cheaper than ever. The price of a brand new serger has come down a lot in the past several years.  In fact, you can get a brand new Brother 1034D on Amazon for pretty cheap.

Still not convinced? Don’t have the money to shell out for a new serger quite yet? While you can’t get all the cool features like rolled hems or differential feeds on your regular sewing machine, you can fake a serger edge with a side cutter sewing foot for less than $10 on Amazon. The edge is not as crisp as a serger, but I used one for a few years before I decided I had to have a serger in my life.

12 More Bad Sewing Habits You Need To Quit Doing - So guilty of number 5!

12 More Bad Sewing Habits You Need to Quit Doing

A year ago today we wrote our viral post 15 Bad Sewing Habits You Need to Quit Doing.  That post has had over 170 comments at the time of this writing.  It was so popular that we thought we would follow it up with another post.  So without further ado…
12 More Bad Sewing Habits You Need To Quit Doing - So guilty of number 5!

12 MORE Bad Sewing Habits You Need to Quit Doing

1. Using your teeth to cut your thread

Broken teeth, appendicitis, dentist trips. Holy smokes! This was the number one thing people commented and said was a bad sewing habit of theirs that they had to break.

2. Not ironing your fabric before you cut your pattern

OK this may only apply to those of us that prewash and put the fabric away as a wrinkly mess. (Please tell me I’m not the only one!) I once cut out a dress from lining without ironing the fabric first and ended up with a dress an entire size too big.  Whoops!

3. Getting in too much of a sewing groove (AKA not paying attention)

This totally happened to me the other day. You would think a fashion designer would know better, but I was listing to music, enjoying some kid-free time, and cutting away. And then I realized I had completely laid out the fabric wrong and not paid attention to the grainline.  Have you ever cut two left pant legs because you were in a groove? Yep, me too.

4. Knowingly using the wrong needle for a project

Admit it. You do this. You do this more often than you care to admit. Ok maybe I’m just talking to myself here, but I have totally used a stretch needle on woven because, eh, I don’t care that much and I’m in a hurry. Please let me know I’m not the only one that’s done this.  I do normally regret it later when my seam looks terrible.

pins photo

Photo by gosheshe

5. Thinking, “I’ll just hem this later”

And there is sits for 6 months (or more!).  This bad sewing habit is also a cousin to, “I’ll finish this hand stitching tomorrow.”

6. Setting anything on your cutting table that does not directly relate to the project you are working on

This is by far the quickest way to turn your cutting table into something that slightly resembles that tv show Hoarders. Seriously, how does all that “stuff” pile up so quickly?

7. Not changing your rotary blades often enough.

This is one of the bad sewing habits that I am the most guilty of! You know what happens. You get a tiny knick in the blade, but it still works 50% of the time.  And that knick is small.  It just misses one thread or two and if you press harder it works fine. Before you know it every inch you blade isn’t cutting and you know it needs to be replaced, but you just keep using it and you don’t know why. When you finally do replace it you wonder what in the world took you so long and remember how nice it is to have a nice fresh blade on your rotary cutter.

pins photo

Photo by dhendrix73

8. Sewing Over Pins

Now this is a topic that is much debated in the sewing world. But if you’ve ever hit a pin just right and had it go flying at your face, you will understand exactly why this is a bad sewing habit. One perk is that it normally only takes this happening once or twice before you decide that this is a habit you must break (you know, next time you sit down to sew something.)

9. Taking too many sewing short cuts

Understitching? Eh, topstitching is close enough. Grading those seams? I’d rather keep sewing. Basting? I’m sure if I put enough pins, it will turn out fine. And then you look at what you just did and all you can think is, “Why didn’t I take the extra step?” For the record this is the point in the project that you and your seam ripper become BFF’s.

10. Letting those little threads/ fabric scraps go everywhere but the trash can

Does your dog wear thread in his fur like its an accessory? Does your daughter hoard little pieces of scraps she finds randomly all over the floor? When you are at the grocery store, does the person behind you say, “Ma’am, there’s little pieces of red thread all over your back.” Just me? Ok moving on.

thread photo

Photo by sarae

11. Not snipping your threads after every seam

In my head, its easier to just wait until the end of a project and snip everything all at once. As I’m sewing I actually repeat this to myself in my head as I see all those loose threads. But you know what happens at the end of a project? I forget spots. Then later when my daughter is wearing the garment I notice all these threads randomly hanging. My New Year Resolution for last year was to cut these threads after every seam. I would love to tell you I succeeded, but…

12. Trying to take on too many projects at once

OK this might just be a me thing, but I tend to think I can make no less than 75 things any given week. And I’m not talking about 15 minute projects. No, I mean dresses with 1.5 miles of ruffles with more pin tucks than you can count. Oh and did I mention I need to drive to the fabric store to get materials too? Then before I know it I have a million half used supplies and a ton of unfinished projects. I have sewing ADHD.

So tell me, did you fair better this time? How many of these are you guilty of? Let me know in the comments. And if you have anymore bad sewing habits that are not on the list, tell them to me!

 

 

 

The Secret to Perfectly Sewn Bias Tape

There is a secret to perfect bias tape that not many newbies know. I know when I first started sewing, I would marvel at how other seamstresses would add bias tape trim and it would look so perfect!  I wanted to know how to get those results, but every time I tried to add it on, I failed miserably. Well, fear no more! You too can end up with bias trim that makes other people wonder how you did it.

The Secret to Perfectly Sewn Bias Tape - This tutorial is super easy to follow! I can't wait to try it out next time I sew something with bias trim. Pin for later!

The Secret to Perfectly Sewn Bias Tape

The first time I applied bias tape, I wrapped it around the edges and sewed it on in one swoop. If you’ve ever done this, you know that a majority of the time it looks like you sewed it in the dark. While it is quick, the result is terrible. It makes things look more “homemade” than handmade. The real trick to bias tape is to not only apply it in steps, but also apply the right side of the tape to each side of the fabric. Confused? Don’t be. It’s easy. Let’s get started.

The Secret to Perfectly Sewn Bias Tape - This tutorial is super easy to follow! I can't wait to try it out next time I sew something with bias trim. Pin for later!

Bias tape (the commercial stuff anyway) has a longer/wider side and a shorter/narrower side. This helps you catch the entire tape when sewing it on in the final step. Keep on reading and you will see what I mean.

The Secret to Perfectly Sewn Bias Tape - This tutorial is super easy to follow! I can't wait to try it out next time I sew something with bias trim. Pin for later!

We are going to sewing on the wider/longer side first. Open up your bias tape and place the right side of the bias tape to the wrong side of your fabric. Align the raw edges and then sew the bias tape on using the fold as a guide for your seamline.

The Secret to Perfectly Sewn Bias Tape - This tutorial is super easy to follow! I can't wait to try it out next time I sew something with bias trim. Pin for later!

Now refold the bias tape back down towards the raw edge…

The Secret to Perfectly Sewn Bias Tape - This tutorial is super easy to follow! I can't wait to try it out next time I sew something with bias trim. Pin for later!

…and flip you fabric over to the right side. Continue to refold that bias tape around towards the front of the fabric. All raw edges should now be enclosed in the bias tape. You re now ready for the final step.

The Secret to Perfectly Sewn Bias Tape - This tutorial is super easy to follow! I can't wait to try it out next time I sew something with bias trim. Pin for later!

Sew the bias tape along the fold to close it. Now since you took your time to apply it, you back should look like this…

The Secret to Perfectly Sewn Bias Tape - This tutorial is super easy to follow! I can't wait to try it out next time I sew something with bias trim. Pin for later!

Ta-dah! Like magic! Now everyone will wonder how you got those stitches in so perfectly. And you can tell them its because you can sew like a boss!

Want to practice your new found bias tape sewing abilities? Several of our pattern feature bias tape like the Holiday Cutout Dress & Top or the Alice Pleated Dress.

The Alice Dress & Top releases next week! Be on the look out for sneak peeks on our Instagram!

What is your next project you plan to use bias tape on? Let me know in the comments!

 

5 Sewing Articles Every Seamstress Should Read in 2017

I am one of those people that likes to soak up knowledge like a sponge. And in this day and age, you can find out the answer to almost anything on the internet.  That’s especially exciting when it comes to fun things like sewing. We wrote several articles this year that you are going to want to put on your reading list for 2017. I thought the best way to showcase our most popular sewing related posts was to put them all in one spot so you could easily pin them and refer back to it later.

5 Sewing Articles Every Seamstress Should Read in 2017 - Must Pin for Later!

5 Sewing Articles Every Seamstress Should Read in 2017

Let’s do a countdown to our top 5 articles on the BSD blog:

5 Sewing Articles Every Seamstress Should Read in 2017 - Must Pin for Later!

5. Is That REALLY My Size?

With the release of our first woven pattern for women, the Paradise Island Shift Dress, I wrote a detailed article discussing size as it relates to your bust. I see so many women sewing the wrong size when what they really should be doing is making a bust adjustment (or do yourself a favor and just buy a BSD Ladies Pattern where the bust adjustments are included.)

5 Sewing Articles Every Seamstress Should Read in 2017 - Must Pin for Later!

4. 10 Things Only A Seamstress Can Understand

Seamstresses can be a rare breed. We do and say things that others would give us the side eye for. How many of these seamstress only things can you relate to?

5 Sewing Articles Every Seamstress Should Read in 2017 - Must Pin for Later!

3. Tip & Tricks 4 Printing PDF Sewing Patters: Printing Your Pattern

Turns out a lot of people are confused at how you can buy a PDF document and end up with life sized (or person sized) pattern pieces.  This article is part of a series that discusses the ins and outs of PDF Sewing patterns.

5 Sewing Articles Every Seamstress Should Read in 2017 - Must Pin for Later!

2. 10 Mistakes Beginner Sewist Make

You don’t know what you don’t know right? That’s why we wrote an article just for those that are new to the sewing world. Check this article to see if you are doing any of these newbie sewing mistakes.

5 Sewing Articles Every Seamstress Should Read in 2017 - Must Pin for Later!

1. 15 Bad Sewing Habits

Even experienced seamstresses have picked up a bad habit or two over the years.  How many are you guilty of?

What other articles are you looking forward to reading? Anything you wish you knew but haven’t been able to find the info on?  Let me know in the comments and you might just spark our next blog post!

Gabriella’s Winter Coat Sew-A-Long: Day 8 – Final Details, Button Holes, and Buttons

Day 8: Final Details, Button Holes, and Buttons

Today is also a catch up day.

Welcome to Day 8 of the Gabriella’s Winter Coat Sew-A-Long! Are you still with us? Day 5 was a mid sew-a-long catch up day. If you need to go back, here is where you can find Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 6, and Day 7.

Today will be fairly quick to finish. If you have never sewn button holes before, don’t worry, I will be showing you how in detail. Today will be steps 35-39 of the pattern instructions.

Final Details

Follow steps 35 & 36.

With the main side up and beginning at the bottom of the right front placket (the right when you are facing the coat), top stitch at 1/4″ up the placket, around the neckline, down the opposite placket, and around the hem of the skirt.

TIP: Since the layers are a little thick, use a medium-long stitch length for top stitching. If you have to lengthen your stitch even further when going around the neckline due to there being more layers there, do so.

Make sure to move the hood out of the way of your stitching so you don’t sew it down.

top-stitching Read more

Gabriella’s Winter Coat Sew-A-Long: Day 2 – Cut Material, Create Hood Pattern, Interface, and Prepare Bodice

Day 2 – Cut Material, Create Hood Pattern, Interface, and Prepare Bodice

Welcome to Day 2 of the Gabriella’s Winter Coat Sew-A-Long! Find Day 1 here.

Today we will be cutting our material, creating our hood pattern, interfacing the pieces, and preparing the bodice for construction. These are steps 1-5 in the pattern.

Cutting the Material

Cut your main, lining, and interfacing pieces using the instructions on the pattern pieces. Compare the pieces you have to the cutting guide on page 11 of the pattern to be sure you have everything. There are a lot of pieces to this pattern! Take your time cutting out all of the pieces. Accuracy when cutting leaves less room for error when sewing.

TIP: If your material is dark and you are having difficulty tracing it, rub chalk off the edges of your pattern piece to create an outline. You can also use baby powder on a sock to rub the edges. Another use for chalk is to write on your mirror image pieces in order to more easily see which is which. It should all come off when shaken vigorously.

Gabriella's Winter Coat Sew-a-long Day 2: Shows how to add a hood to any coat pattern. This tutorial will be useful for future projects. Read more

10 Mistakes Beginner Sewists Don’t Know They Are Making

I would say a majority of the people that I talk to today are self-taught.  First off, can I just say you rock?  Sewing can be complicated and even a bit scary at time, but you guys figured it out all on your own.  Way to go!  Me? My grandmother taught me to sew at the tender age of 9.  She was picky, guys.  About everything.  There was lots of ironing, lots of hand sewing, and very little time sitting in front of an actual sewing machine.  My 9 year old self just wanted to sit at the sewing machine and rev it to its full potential like a 16 year old driving their dad’s sports car. Which brings me to my list…

Wow, I didn't know some of these beginner sewing mistakes! I'm so bad about number 1!

10 Mistakes Beginner Sewists Don’t Know They Are Making

1: Driving Too Fast

OK, honestly, this isn’t really just for beginners.  I am super guilty of a lead foot. But the faster you sew, often times the wonkier your seams are.  And no one likes crooked topstitching

2: Not Paying Attention to your Seam Allowance

This is huge guys. I know using a 1/2″ seam allowance over a 1/4″ seam allowance may not sound like much, but it can easily make the difference between a garment that fits and one that doesn’t. Be sure to figure out the seam allowance that is included in the pattern and stick to it.

3: Not Using a Specialty Foot When Needed

Did you know there are speciality feet that will help you get near perfect edge stitching? No? How about one that will make installing a concealed zipper a breeze? How about a foot that will do a beautiful rolled hem on your sewing machine? Or a walking foot that will make sewing with knits so much easier? Specialty feet can positively impact the quality of your finished product.  I am a little addicted to presser feet to be honest.  I’ve found great luck with buying them off Amazon.  I own this kit, and it’s my favorite (and an amazing deal too.)

This is a great list of beginner sewing mistakes. And I am so in love with this sewing pattern!

4: Not Using a Quality Pattern

OK, OK.  As a pattern designer, this is a bit of a shameless plug since the above picture is of our very own Sweet Lilly Pintuck Dress pattern, but it is so true!  Nothing kills your confidence like spending all day making something and having it not fit. You think, what did I do wrong? But sometimes, that problem may lie with the pattern itself. If the pattern designed drafted it wrong, even Martha Stewart is going to have a hard time.  I highly recommend using patterns that have been tested and have great reviews.

Wow, I didn't know some of these beginner sewing mistakes! I'm so bad about number 1!

5: Not Measuring your self/child/friend/model/person

I always hear, “Well my daughter is 4 so she would wear a size 4.” or “Well she wears a 6 in ready-to-wear so that’s what size I’ll make.”  That’s a recipe for disaster.  Here’s why. Does Gap fit the same as Express? What about H&M? Ralph Lauren? J.Crew? Nope. They all use their own measurement chart.  Pattern designers are no different.  Plus, even if you measured two months ago, measurements may have changed by then.  If you are going to spend hours making a garment, spend two minutes to measure first so you can be positive you are making the right size.

6: Ignoring Grainlines

Those little lines with the double arrows may seem insignificant, but ignoring them can really warp your project if you aren’t careful.  The reason is that the grainline is the direction that the fabric is the strongest. If you cut something on the bias that’s not meant to be cut on the bias, it can make a garment stretch and warp. (And for those that don’t know, the grainline is parallel to the selvage.)

Wow, I didn't know some of these beginner sewing mistakes! I'm so bad about number 1!

7: Not Using the Right Needle

Using the wrong needle can cause major problems with your project.  It may seem like you could use a universal needle with everything, but it may be too dull for heavier fabrics like leather and too sharp for stretchy fabrics like knits. I like to order my needles on Amazon. They are cheap, you can get a variety and can order in bulk.  Which will be perfect to prevent next mistake…

8: Not Changing the Needle Often Enough

As I mention in my 15 Bad Sewing Habits post, It is often recommended that your needle should be replaced after every project.  Now I don’t usually replace until every 3 or 4 project, but a lot of people don’t even replace that often. A bad needle can cause lots of sewing stress.  If I’m having a tension issue, its often because my needle needs to be replaced.

9: Ignoring The Pattern Instructions

I’m not talking about when you are personally trying to hack a pattern. I know, this is another one of those pattern designer rants, but hear me out for a second. Sometimes, even when the instructions seem off, there is a methods to our madness. I’ve helped customers out that have had problems with their projects that could have easily been solved if they just followed the directions. While a beginner might think things like basting and stay stitching seem pointless, they are important for a quality, well finished garment.

10: Not Trying New Techniques

I know good seamstresses that won’t sew anything with a zipper because they’re scared. The same can be said for any type of technique: buttons, blind hems, knit fabrics, welt pockets, etc. If you never try anything new, how will you get better? While elastic closures and straight seams are great when you are first starting out, you never know how proud you will feel about that beautifully installed zipper, if you never even try to sew one.

 

I know I promised 10 mistakes, but I’ve thought of two more as a bonus!

Wow, I didn't know some of these beginner sewing mistakes! I'm so bad about number 1!

BONUS 11: Trying to Make Something Outside of Your Skill Set

This seems contradictory after my last point. I’m not talking about growth here. I’m talking about trying to do something so advanced that the average seamstress would run in fear. I see in sewing groups sometimes new seamstresses that have never sewn a garment before wanting to make a wedding dress which is often 7+ layers of fabric and using high-end couture sewing techniques. Know your limits. Nothing will make you feel frustrated more than a project that is far more advanced than your current skill set. And you never know, one day you might make sewing couture gowns look easy.

BONUS 12: Not Ironing Enough (Or At All!)

This is the biggest mistake I see seamstresses make. Nothing can make your garment look more homemade (and not in a good way) than not ironing. In truth, you should be at the ironing station longer than you are at the sewing machine. Iron your fabric and every seam, and you will see a huge difference in your finished project.

Alright, fess up.  Which one did you not know about? Know any other mistakes that I’m missing? Let me know in the comments.

10 Things Only a Seamstress Can Understand

10 Things Only a Seamstress Can Understand - Man I can relate to a lot of these since I started sewing!

I never realized it, but apparently us creative types think differently than the rest of the world. For some reason I cannot understand, the rest of the world doesn’t get excited over $2 a yard fleece fabric or finding the perfect buttons for the dress you are making. This sparked a thought… what other things can only a seamstress understand?

10 Things Only a Seamstress Can Understand

10 Things Only a Seamstress Can Understand - Man I can relate to a lot of these since I started sewing!

1. The fear of someone else using your sewing scissors for something other than fabric.

You know that panic you get when you see your husband use your prized Gingher sewing scissors
to cut the tag off his new shirt? Its the feeling you have right before you think of all the different ways you might retaliate for this horrendous offence.

2. The problem of having thread, EVERYWHERE!

You stand in line at the grocery store. You happen to glance down at your shirt and realize that your shirt looks like it was attached by a thread spool.  Apparently this is a problem that only happens to seamstresses.

10 Things Only a Seamstress Can Understand - Man I can relate to a lot of these since I started sewing!

3. The feeling of pure satisfaction when you finish your project right before the bobbin runs out.

You won. You showed that bobbin thread who was boss!

10 Things Only a Seamstress Can Understand - Man I can relate to a lot of these since I started sewing!

4. The love hate relationship you have with your seam ripper.

Your dear, beloved seam ripper.  She is there for you in your time of need, but you wish you didn’t need her quite so often.

5. The feeling of pride when a complete stranger says they like something you’ve made.

Who is amazing?  YOU are amazing!

6. The feeling of elation when you tell that complete stranger that you made the item they are ogling over.

Not only do you know that you are amazing, now THEY know that you’re amazing.  Just give them a few moments to pick their jaw off the floor so they can bask in your amazingness.

10 Things Only a Seamstress Can Understand - Man I can relate to a lot of these since I started sewing!

7. The joy of getting a new sewing machine/serger/sewing tool.

You’ve been drooling over it forever! And now it’s here!  Yippee!!

8. Feeling like a little kid at Christmas when that custom fabric you ordered finally shows up in the mail.

Because you only ordered it what feels like 5 million years ago. Now to wash it and fold it up all pretty so you can stare at it on your fabric stash until you finally get brave enough to cut into it (which by the way, that may never happen.)

9. The annoyance when you see something sold in the stores that was made in china and the stripes don’t match.

Ugh. How can anyone not be annoyed by that?

10 Things Only a Seamstress Can Understand - Man I can relate to a lot of these since I started sewing!

10. The confidence that you get when you make your stripes (or pattern) match.

That’s because you can sew like a boss!

Did I forget one?? What else are thoughts that only seamstresses have? Let me know in the comments and your response might make a future list!