Sewing with Confidence

Sewing with Confidence

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced sewer, there will always be projects that seem too tough, that are hard to feel completely confident about taking on. Without a way to approach projects confidently, it can be tempting to skip doing them all together. What a shame it is when we miss out on making something special simply because it seems too hard. Instead, try using these tips to build your confidence and get that project done.


Break it Down

Often, I find myself feeling overwhelmed by a project if I try to look ahead at all the directions. With simpler projects, I can do that and picture the whole thing coming together in my mind. With more complex projects, reading ahead sometimes makes me feel like it’s too hard. I won’t see the project. Instead, I get lost in the words of it and panic at the sight of terms I’ve not seen before.

The simplest and quickest way to overcome my fears and boost my sewing confidence is to take it one step at a time. Instead of reading through the whole thing, I only focus on the step I’m currently working on and the move on to the next. This makes it easy to look up any terms I’m not familiar with and complete each step successfully. And, of course, doing this generates more confidence. I have a hunch it will be the same for you. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Ask for Help

Although sewing is largely a solo hobby, that doesn’t mean you have to work through every project on your own. If you’re stuck, bring your fabric and the pattern to your local fabric or sewing machine store and ask their experts to help you out. They may be able to give you an explanation that’s easier to understand than the one written in your pattern instructions. Also, having the corresponding fabric pieces may help to show you a way to pin or cut the pieces to match what the instructions are asking you to do. And once you’ve learned it, you can apply it, confidently, to future projects.

These two tricks have helped me tackle everything from a sundress to a wedding dress with confidence and wind up with gorgeous completed projects that I’m proud to wear. The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by a project, don’t fret. Try these two tips and get the confidence you need to complete the project without stress.

Five Easy-to-Do Mistakes While Sewing

Five Easy-to-Do Mistakes While Sewing

If there’s one thing I’ve figured out over my sewing ventures, it’s that I can’t ever be sure what kind of sewing experience I’m getting into when I sit down to work on a project. It could be an hour or so that goes as smoothly as sewing can go. On the other hand, it could be a terror of a sewing session where my thread keeps bunching up, and I have to wrestle it back into submission more times than I want to.

Five Easy-to-Do Mistakes While Sewing

But whether or not today’s a day that I’ll sit down to sew and have those problems, I expect that those problems will happen in the future if I continue to sew. And, as much as I wish someone would’ve personally told me more about a budget and a probable no-positive-income when publishing my first book (talk about un-fun surprises!), I think it’s beneficial to step into the sewing world with open eyes as well. Odds are, you’re going to make mistakes, and those mistakes aren’t the best of reasons to throw in the fabric! Just like a new driver, a new sewer can expect to have to learn the skill.

It happens to the best of us…

Want to know something else? Even people with miles behind them in the sewing department can still make mistakes! The point is to be aware that they’re going to happen so that maybe, should you make one, you don’t feel like tossing your fabric to the side and trashing your sewing kit!

And that, readers, is the logic behind this post — to point out simple mistakes you might make, but shouldn’t beat yourself up over! They happen, and instead of letting them get you too far down, remember you’re hardly the only person to make one. Since others potentially make these same errors and keep going, use that for encouragement to continue on as well!

Five Easy-to-Do Mistakes While Sewing

Let me count the ways

With that positive thought in place, here are some of the smaller, more embarrassing sewing mistakes you might make, but should push through:

1) Accidentally sewing your fabric to something you didn’t mean to. There are few things I’ve personally encountered in sewing that can make you feel as amateurish as figuring out you’ve sewn your project to itself in a spot you didn’t intend to (as in, your fabric was folded under itself where it shouldn’t be), or if you’re hand-sewing, that you’ve sewn your project to, say, your own clothes. But as daft as you might feel if you notice that has happened, just — as Taylor Swift might say — shake it off! Sure, you might have to redo your stitching, but it isn’t the end of the world!

2) Sewing without knowing your bobbin is out of thread. This one is particularly troublesome since you could feasibly sew for a lot of minutes on your machine without realizing the mistake. However long you invest in that flawed sewing endeavor is kind of wasted time since there’s no thread coming from the bottom to finish your stitch. So, moral of the story: Check your bobbin before you sew by machine!

Five Easy-to-Do Mistakes While Sewing

3) Threading your needle without really threading your needle. For a sewing machine project, there are a number of steps to threading your needle, and you might miss one. As humiliating as that error might be though, it’s nowhere near as ridiculous as doing this while hand sewing. I, for one, recall thinking I’d threaded my needle, and at some point, I realized that although I’d tied it off and such, the thread actually was not through the needle. Now, that is embarrassing!

4) Cutting material you didn’t intend to cut. This could be in line with the earlier idea of sewing something you didn’t mean to sew in that while you’re cutting fabric, something else could be under it. If you do have this issue, depending on how important the now-damaged material is to you, it could be a big deal! Beyond the possibility of forever ruining Great-Grandma Trudy’s sewn-by-hand quilt that has been in your family for over a century (try replacing that one!), you could also harm your current project by cutting your fabric where you don’t need to or cutting a stitch that’s necessary to your work. This is something, in particular, to keep in mind when making a rag quilt since part of the process is to shred your edges. It would be crazy-easy to shred too far and snap a stitch or two, but imagine the pain of having to re-stitch an up-turned quilt block that’s already sewn to other quilt blocks!

Five Easy-to-Do Mistakes While Sewing

5) Thinking up strategies or tackling projects that you’re not ready for. For this one, I’ll give you an example. I didn’t know anything about using a border on a quilt/blanket project, and once I’d learned about it, I labeled it a waste of time and/or not for me. To my way of thinking — and for my past strategy — simply bending the fabric used for a backing to fold over against the front would work. And, yeah, it might… If I were a better sewer! At this point, I’m not advanced enough to comfortably pull this strategy off so that the sides are one-size at all points. So, don’t be like me! Start simple and with the recommended strategies, and work your way up from there!

Even if you manage to do all of these mistakes in one sitting, don’t give up! If you can keep that determination in mind, you might have a bright sewing future ahead of you!