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15 Bad Sewing Habits to Stop Right Now

Bad habits can develop in even the best of us and below is a list of the Top 15 which we have dubbed the worst. I am super guilty of A LOT of these but some bad habits can cost us time and money or worse- our sanity. Let’s see how you stack up!

#1 Not taking current/accurate measurements before beginning a new project.

The best way to ensure you have a well fitting garment is to start with CURRENT and ACCURATE measurements. This is especially true for children whose measurements can take a jump overnight. Or for people like me whose measurements steadily increase from October to January every year. Thank you holiday carbs!

#2 Not reading through the tutorial before sewing or skipping important steps in the tutorial

Reading through the pattern tutorial at least once is so important. There are finished measurements, fitting instructions, fabric recommendations- so much useful information that can really affect the final outcome of your garment. Also, try to avoid skipping steps. Even those annoying things like basting and ironing can really affect the final product. Read it and heed it, y’all.

#3 Not taking the time to grade your patterns.

Most people will not fit squarely into one size block. Grading between sizes gives the best fit for your body. With that being said, not all patterns will necessarily neeeeeeeeed to be graded. This is where your judgment comes into play. My waist/hip measures one size above my bust but with circle skirt patterns (like the Women’s Mistletoe) I don’t bother grading the skirt because it is so full already.

#4 Skipping a muslin.

Making a muslin is always important when you are trying out a new pattern for the first time, especially if you plan on using expensive fabric. This is also a great way to determine what adjustments you may need. Learning to sew for your body is an amazing thing, y’all!

#5 Not checking your fabric/notions stash before buying something new.

I am sooooo guilty of this one! I will see an outfit I love and immediately order fabric to recreate it- only to find out later that I had something similar in my stash the entire time. The same goes for notions. I feel like I buy elastic and thread every time I go to Joanns or Hobby Lobby knowing darn well I have some at home. Why am I like this? lol

#6 Not changing your needles to match your project.

Different types of fabrics require different types of needles. Yes, it is annoying to change them but it is important. Using the wrong needles can cause a slew of problems- snagging, dragging, pulling, breaking, cursing. So maybe that last one’s just me.

#7 Skipping machine maintenance.

Wether you are servicing your machines at home or at the repair shop, getting regular maintenance is important for the longevity of your machines. Your handbook likely comes with a guideline on how often your should clean/service and maybe even a guide on how to do it at home- if not youtube is a great resource!

#8 Putting pins in your mouth.

This is something we have probably all done at least once or seen someone do. I remember a few years ago reading online about a woman who was caught off guard by a sneeze and inhaled a pin she was holding in her mouth that had to be surgically removed. Yikes.

#9 Not pre-washing your fabrics.

Pretty sure this is aimed directly at me. The only fabrics I prewash on the reg are flannel and cotton interlock because both shrink like crazy. It is always best to prewash your fabrics before cutting and sewing. The biggest reason is because of shrinkage, but also because there can be chemicals on your fabric from manufacturing that can irritate the skin. Clothes generally tend to hold up better from pre-washed fabrics in my opinion- especially woven garments.

#10 Not giving yourself enough time to complete projects.

Again, side eyeing myself so hard right now. I am 100% on Team Procrastination and sometimes I do my best work under pressure, but curse words and coffee can only get you so far! When you don’t leave yourself enough time to get your project done you’re basically asking for trouble- Murphy’s Law and all. What can go wrong will go wrong!

#11 Not adjusting your machine settings as you change fabrics.

Use a scrap piece of fabric to test your settings before starting your project. Different fabric types require different tensions. Heavier fabrics like denim will require more tension than light fabrics like chiffon. All sewing machines will behave differently with different fabrics too. Find what works for you and make note of your settings to reference later.

#12 Not gathering your materials before starting your project.

I don’t know how many times I have sat down to work on a project only to get half way through and realize that I am missing something that I need to complete it. Then this leads to #13…

#13 Starting a new project before finishing the current one.

Again so, so guilty. I have a whole tote full of UFO’s (unfinished objects) that will likely never see the light of day. It is so easy to get distracted by a fun new project and that can leave you feeling less than inspired by your current one. Try adding fun trims or buttons to help you get back on track. If all else fails, get creative and repurpose it into something new and fun!

#14 Avoiding patterns with unfamiliar techniques.

Ahem, buttons. Cough, cough, zippers. Learning something new can be difficult and take some practice but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try! Between Pinterest and YouTube, there is a wealth of information at your disposal- use it to learn all the things so you can sew all the things!

#15 Stop doubting your mad skills.

You’re a badass. A domestic goddess turning a flat piece of fabric into a 3 dimensional work of art. Flaunt your skills and take a bow, you’ve earned it and we’re here for it!

-Ashley R.

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