When you first learn to sew, there’s a lot to learn. You take a few baby steps and learn it bit by bit. And truly you can keep learning for decades because the scope of sewing is deep and wide. No matter how much I know or what I’ve learned about sewing, I keep discovering new techniques, finding better methods, and exploring new stitching avenues. But looking back, there are few things I’ve learned over the years that I wished I had known sooner. I’m glad to know them now and if you are a sewing newbie, I’d like to share five little lessons that may help you sooner rather than later on your stitching journey.
Quality Tools Make a Difference
From sewing machines to scissors to seam rippers, you should always look for quality in your sewing tools. It may cost a bit more up front, but you’ll never be sorry because you’ll have less frustration and more sewing success when you have tools that work properly. Also, these tools usually last longer so you spend less time and money replacing them.
There’s More Than One Way to Do Things
When I learned to sew, most sewers made garments and the techniques were very specific. Instructions for each technique had to be precisely followed in order to be “correct.” As someone who doesn’t always play by the rules and often likes to make things up as I go along, I felt very frustrated at times. Over the years, new products have been developed, better techniques discovered, sewing machines are easier to use than ever before and the “rules” have relaxed because the entire concept of sewing has become more creative, more DIY, and more fun – yay for progress!
There’s More to a Sewing Machine Than a Straight Stitch
Of course, I know that most sewing machines have more stitches (sometimes a lot more!) than just the straight stitch. But I spent years sewing only with mostly the straight stitch. I may have used the zigzag stitch to finish a seam or two, but that was it. Machines today have loads of practical and decorative stitches, and both can be useful for a wide variety of projects. The best way to explore the stitches on your machine is to start by making a Stitch Book. It may take a while because you’ll sew every stitch on your machine on fabric pages and turn it into a book! ! It’s amazing what you will find and how much you can learn about your machine!
You Don’t Have to Finish Every Project
Just to be clear, I have had a LOT of unfinished projects over the years for a variety of reasons. Some I lost interest in, some were beyond my skills, and some just didn’t work the way I thought they would. But I always looked at them as failures. I felt bad/sad about the loss of time, effort, and money with nothing to show for them. I have fewer unfinished projects these days but when I do, I take a different approach. I look at what I learned by starting the project. I may have learned a new technique but wasn’t inspired enough to finish the project. Or, maybe I didn’t like the technique and/or project so I won’t do that again. But mostly I’ve learned to take what I can from it and move on. It’s all part of the creative process and in one way or another, my unfinished projects contribute to my overall skill set, adding knowledge and experience to my sewing.
There’s Power in Presser Feet
I talk a lot about using specialty presser feet and how they’ve improved my sewing skills, made me more creative, and enhanced the finished look of my projects. You can do all of this with specialty presser feet even if you have a simple, basic machine. They add capabilities to your machine that you just can’t do without them. If you haven’t discovered them yet, I encourage you to explore the specialty presser feet available for your machine. You’ll see how much you can expand your own personal stitching journey!