I often hear seamstresses ask how they can improve their sewing quality. While having a fancy new machine or using quality textiles definitely helps, there are some other really easy things that you can do to help improve your sewing quality. I’ve come up with 10 easy-to- apply tips that can help you improve the quality of the garments that you sew. And the best thing is, they can all be applied today!
10 Ways to Take Your Quality to the Next Level
1: Press Everything
Press your fabric before you cut, press every single seam you sew. Grab your iron when your hem when it’s done. Press EVERYTHING. You should be spending as much time at the ironing station as you do at the sewing machine. Knit or woven, makes no difference. But the difference you will see when you use the iron for everything will blow you away.
2: Clip Curves and Corners
If you are sewing a seam on curve or one that comes to a point, do yourself a favor and clip those curves and notch those corners after you are done sewing the seam. Nothing can ruin a beautiful curved neckline faster than not clipping your fabric. This will help it lie flat and look much more professional.
3: Use Rulers
Measure, measure measure. This is especially important when you are cutting a pattern with rectangles, but it’s also equally important when doing things like hemming. Don’t guess at what 1/2″ is. Measure it.
4: Cut Precisely
A small discrepency can make a HUGE difference when sewing a garment. Make sure you are not rushing through the cutting process to race to the sewing machine. I highly recommend using pattern weights and a rotary cutter and mat when cutting. You will get a much more accurate cut. Plus, once you’ve mastered the rotary cutter, you will save time on top of getting your precision cuts.
5: Change Needle Often
If you follow this blog, you will hear this one a lot from me. It’s so true! If your tension is off or your stitching is not coming out right, a majority of the time it can be blamed on the needle. Consequently, if the needle is fresh, you will likely avoid a lot of aggravation. Many seamstresses will change the needle in between every project. It’s not a bad habit to have.
6: Test Settings on Scrap Piece first
This is especially true when you are working with a fabric you don’t sew with frequently. Testing your machine settings on a scrap instead of on your actual garment will result in a higher quality finish. Getting the tension and stitch lengths right on lightweight and/or sheer fabrics, in particular, will definitely benefit from following this advice.
7: Pin/Clip When Needed
If you are an advanced seamstress, you may not feel the need to ever use pins. I admit, I don’t always use them. But there are certain times when pins (or things like WonderClips) can greatly increase the quality of your garment. If you are a beginner, I highly recommend using pins/clips on every project. And even if you’re seasoned, make sure you’re pinning or clipping on curves at the very least. It helps maintain uniformity in your garment.
8: Use correct interfacing
Not all interfacing is created equal. There are woven, stretch, craft, lightweight, medium weight, heavy weight, and the list goes on. Most patterns will recommend the exact type of interfacing that you should use. Generally speaking, you should use a similar type and weight of interfacing as you are sewing with. And most importantly, do NOT skip the interfacing. It is there to support the garment. Yes, you need it.
9: Make a muslin
Muslins are something that seem to be lost on the new seamstress. A muslin is basically a prototype of the garment that you make out of test fabric to check size and fit. While you can sometimes get away with not sewing a muslin for children’s clothing and still have your garment turn out ok, it is very important when sewing for yourself to sew up a test garment first. Plus, who wants to cut into that gorgeous fabric you’ve ben hoarding and have the garment not fit. Friends don’t let friends ruin awesome fabric.
10: Slow your Roll
I am super guilty of this. It seems like I’m always in a hurry and I’ve often got the petal to the metal when it comes to my sewing speed. I get it. You want to sew the garment for XYZ and you’ve only got a limited amount of time. Do you know what happens to me when I rush? I make mistakes. My seam ripper and I become best friends (and frankly, I wish we were not.) Sometimes slowing down and taking a little bit of extra time can really make a difference in your finished garment.
Do you have any other tips that could give you a better quality garment? Do you have questions about any of these tips? Let me know in the comments! And don’t forget to join our amazing Facebook group for support, sharing, and checking out other awesome projects that people are sewing!