If you’re new to sewing or if you want to learn some awesome sewing tips, you’re in the right place. In this post, I’m going to share with you my top 10 sewing tips. Even if you don’t plan on being a professional seamstress, knowing how to sew is a GOOD THING!
These tips are not listed in any order of importance, so make sure you check out the whole thing! You can also watch the video tutorial at the end of the post.
I’ve been sewing for a long time (since junior high school) and have used these sewing skills a ton throughout my life. Not only did these sewing skills come in handy to help put me through college working in sewing factories, but I was also able to make a little money while working from home when my kiddos were little.
I used to sew dance and drill team uniforms while they were at school, and now I am able to share my passions teaching others to sew.
Over the years I’ve learned a few things and am excited to share with you my top 10 sewing tips. Of course, I have several other tips, (and I hope you’ve been able to catch them in my video tutorials and blog posts over time).
For this particular post, I’m going to focus on the ones I find most important. So without any further ado, let’s get into those sewing tips.
Sewing Tips #1 – You Don’t Need A Fancy Sewing Machine
You don’t need to buy a fancy and expensive sewing machine, especially if you are new to sewing. I went a LONG time without needing a sewing machine that had all the bells and whistles.
Let me tell you, there are some expensive sewing machines out there and all you need is a good solid machine with the basic stitches. I recommend looking into buying a USED MACHINE.
Check your local online local classified ads and the Facebook marketplace. Sewing machine repair shops will often have used machines that have been refurbished for sale.
As you continue to sew, you can always upgrade to a different machine and even buy an overlock/serger machine, (which I do recommend you get if you can).
I’ve had many many different types and brands of machines over the years, and I have my favorites. I’ll go over some sewing tips in the near future on how to pick out the right machine for your specific needs.
Sewing TipS #2 – Become Familiar with Your Machine
Your sewing machine will come with a manual, READ IT! If you buy a used machine and it didn’t come with a manual, you can get online and find a copy of the model and make of your machine. You can also get on YouTube and find some great tutorials showing you specific things regarding your machine.
The owner’s manuals will show the parts, how to care for and how to use all the functions of the machine. It’s amazing the things I have learned when I have taken the time to actually read through this information.
I know, that when you get a machine, you are eager just to dive in and start sewing. Take the time to become familiar with it and you’ll save time in the long run.
Another sewing tip I want to mention about your machine is that it will come with several different presser feet. I encourage you to get familiar with them and learn how to use them.
I have a post and video tutorial showing you what the basic feet are and how to use them.
Sewing Tips #3 – Get the Basic Sewing Supplies
When starting to sew, it’s nice to have all the BASIC sewing supplies. This isn’t going to cost you a lot of money and it will save you from being caught off-guard without an item that would really make the task a lot easier.
I have a video tutorial where I share with you a buyer’s guide and my loved recommendations.
Here are some of those items I go over.
- Fabric clips/pins
- Extra bobbins for your machines
- Basic colors of thread (white, blue, tan & black)
- Fabric scissors and paper scissors
- safety pins
- measuring tape/seam gauge
- hand sewing needles
- Universal sewing machine needles
- rotary cutter/mat (optional)
- seam ripper
- fabric marker/chalk
- fray check
Sewing Tips #4 – Learn To Use A Rotary Cutter & Mat
Of course, this is optional, but I find this little tool saves a lot of time AND gives you really good results, especially when cutting straight lines. A rotary cutter doesn’t cost a lot of money and there are so many options out there.
I have a blog post and video tutorial giving you all the details on how to use them, what kind of mats and cutters are best, how to care for them, and some valuable safety tips. You can read the post and watch the video tutorial HERE.
Sewing Tips #5 – Take Care of Your Sewing Machine
Your sewing machine needs to be taken care of just like any other machine. It needs to be cleaned, covered, and occasionally tuned up. Even the best-made sewing machines will need to have a good service once in a while.
I recommend taking your machine into a sewing machine repair shop occasionally to have it serviced, especially if you’re having issues with your stitch! I do have a tutorial showing Common Sewing Machine Problems and how to troubleshoot the issue.
Most of the time, you can fix the issue with some of these simple things (Like re-threading your machine).
The sewing machine mechanic can give it a good cleaning. (You’d be amazed at how much lint and gunk can get into crevices that you can’t get to). It’s worth the money and will keep your machine running smoothly and make it last longer!
Your handbook will give instructions on how to maintain and clean your machine. With newer machines, they usually don’t recommend oiling anymore. Just check your manual.
Sewing Tips #6 – Use The Correct Type of Needle
Most of the time you can get away with using a universal sewing machine needle if you’re sewing on cotton, cotton blends, or some kinds of synthetic fabric. Using the wrong type of needle can put holes in your material and give you a poor stitch.
For example: if you use a regular needle on a KNIT FABRIC, you will put holes in the fabric. If you use a thin needle on denim, you’ll most likely break the needle.
I have a blog post giving all these details AND I offer a free printable PDF that you can download that has a chart showing needle types, size, and what to use them on. YOU CAN GET IT HERE.
Another sewing machine needle tip I have is to use a needle sorter. If you’re like me, I put a needle in my machine and then I FORGET what type and size needle is in there.
There’s no way my eyes can read that tiny print on the needle telling what size it is. That is where this nifty little PIN CUSHION comes in handy. You can learn more about it here, and get the PDF iron-on printable to make your own.
Sewing Tips #7 – Keep Fabric Scraps Handy For Testing
I like to keep small scraps of fabric handy by my sewing machine for testing out new stitches and colors of thread. This allows me to test out the stitch length, width, and color of the thread.
You can also test buttonholes, and decorative stitches before sewing on your final project. It’s much better to make mistakes on a scrap of fabric than on valuable fabric that you’ve cut out and prepared for your project.
Sewing Tips #8 – Use Upcycled/Recycled Clothing As Fabric
If you’ve been following me, most likely you know that I LOVE upcycling. Re-purposing an item of clothing to make something else brings me so much joy, and I like the idea of recycling.
Not only do you save money, but you can also create some really cute, unique, and fun items that you don’t see everywhere. Most of my patterns and tutorials have options to use upcycled clothing.
Here is a post and video tutorial where I give several tips and ideas for thrifting and upcycling.
Oh, the fun things you can make with an upcycle T-Shirt. Check out some of the ideas here.
Sewing Tips #9 – Be O.K. With Making Mistakes
Even the best seamstress will make mistakes. No matter how long you’ve been sewing, you’re going to make mistakes and have to unpick, and that’s o.k!
Once you understand and accept this, it won’t be quite as frustrating when you have to take out a few stitches or even start over again.
Sewing Tips #10 – Take Your Time & Have Fun!
When you are working on a project, I recommend setting up your sewing station, even if that is your kitchen table, and don’t rush.
I went many, many years without a sewing/craft room and I created a lot of items right there on my dining room table. You are going to make a mess, that’s what creative people do, and you can clean everything up when you’re finished.
If you sew in a rushed state, most likely you’re going to be stressed and more prone to making mistakes. Set some YOU TIME aside, and slow down and enjoy the process!
I hope you found these tips helpful! Please reach out if you ever have any concerns or questions and I will try to help out.
You can find my video tutorial on my YouTube channel.
My PDF sewing patterns can be found here on my site.
Thanks for mentioning that it’s important to use the correct type of needle for your sewing projects. I work in a fancy restaurant and I noticed yesterday that my uniform got torn. I’ll have to find a tailor to fix it since I’ve never sewn before.