Tips and Sewing Knowledge Every Sewist Needs

Posted on December 15, 2020 by Shavonne Cruz

No matter where we are on our sewing journey, there’s always room for us to learn and grow. From beginner to seasoned professional, there are few knowledgeable things we need to keep in mind so we can continue on our path of making beautifully finished garments. Let’s all make sure we are equipped with the most useful information to help us along the way!

Knowing How to Get the Best Use of Your Sewing Supplies

Over the years, I’ve been able to acquire a pretty extensive collection of sewing tools. I try not to get sucked into every Instagram ad that pops up for some new nifty sewing gadget. Yes, they can be fun and helpful, but I tend to accumulate more than I actually use. More importantly, I try to always have the most essential tools that work for me and the type of sewing I’m accustomed to. Every year, I take inventory of my sewing tools and supplies. I make note of what needs to be replaced and organize the rest.  

Tip: Take care of your sewing tools and equipment. Store them when they are not in use. Try to perform yearly maintenance checks to preserve the quality of your supplies. If you are new to sewing here’s a great list of Sewing Tools and Supplies to use as a guide.

Knowing When To Adjust Your Machine’s Settings

Have you ever gone from project to project without adjusting your machine settings or changing sewing needles? I have been guilty of this during my early years of learning how to sew. It wasn’t until much later that learned not all fabrics are sewn the same.  Sewing needles, presser foot attachments, and stitch settings will need to be adjusted according to the fabric you choose. Your machine will only perform as well as you guide it to. Not adjusting your settings can even damage your fabric and your machine. I know it can be exciting to start a new project, but be patient and take the time to see if anything needs adjusting. Trust me, you’ll be so glad you did! 

Tip for beginners: Take your sewing beyond your machine’s standard settings by learning how to use the following needles and accessories for pleasing results.  

  • Hemming Foot
  • Cording Foot 
  • Quilting Foot 
  • Embroidery Foot
  • Gathering Foot 
  • Walking Foot
  • Twin Needle 
  • Ball Point Needle

Knowing How to Choose The Right Fabric For Your Project

So, you have an awesome pattern that you want to sew. Most likely there are photos of the completed garment that will give you an idea of what fabric you should use. Well, the fun and exciting parts of making your own clothing are that we get to be creative and think outside of the box (or packaging for that matter). Most patterns have suggested fabrics printed on the back along with any sewing notions you may need. Some patterns may work with a variety of different fabrics but this is not necessarily always the case. If a pattern only suggests that you use woven fabrics, chances are the construction of the garment would only work with wovens. Understanding the difference between a woven and a knit is extremely important. Woven fabrics will barely have any give, and knits are usually very stretchy. Knowing what works best for you and your body type is also important. Understand the construction of your garment that you want to make. Does your garment call for a loose drape or a more tailored fit? These are all factors that will help you decide on the best fabric for your project.

Tip: Get a swatch of fabric so you can touch and feel the hand. Check out your favorite bloggers’ fabric hauls videos and unboxings. There are usually some great suggestions on how they can be used. For more detailed information on How to Choose the Right Fabric for Your Project click here

Know Your Basic Sewing Terminology

Understanding the basic sewing terms will help you with any project you are making. These are words and phrases that have been created to help us understand why we use certain techniques when sewing. Once you understand the basics, you’ll be able to follow along with pattern instructions or even quickly identify an issue with fit or construction. Knowing when and why we use these words and phrases will help us achieve the best results!

Tip: Invest in a good sewing dictionary. A great library of sewing information is a priceless tool. Every good sewist should have one. Click here for Mood’s Ultimate List of Sewing Terms to Know

Knowing How to Read and Understand Patterns

Understanding how to clearly read sewing patterns is a crucial part of the sewing process. They provide tons of useful information in addition to the written instructions. Most patterns have symbols and markings that coincide with these instructions to help guide us through the process. For example, these markings help us to find the size we are cutting and if we need to cut our fabric on the fold. They also help us to determine the grainline and where to sew in darts. You’ll begin to learn new symbols as you advance on to more difficult patterns. This will increase your knowledge and confidence as a sewist!  

Tip: Transfer pattern markings onto your fabric with tailor’s chalk or washable ink to ensure you don’t miss a step! 

Knowing the Basic Body Measurements for Sewing

Sewing patterns are graded to accommodate all beautiful shapes and sizes! To get the best fit for you, you’ll need to know how to properly take your body measurements. Most patterns will have a size chart to show the different body measurements for each size. How you take your measurements is key. These are the basic measurements you’ll need to know:

  • Bust 
  • Waist
  • Hip
  • Back-neck-to-waist

For a more detailed look at How to Measure Yourself for Sewing and Why click here

Tip: All pattern companies do not use the same measurements for their sizing charts. Make sure to only follow the size chart specifically for the pattern you are using.  

Are there any sewing tips or tricks you've picked up along the way? Let us know in the comments below!

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