During your sewing journey, you’re bound to come across some real game-changing advice that sticks with you. It’s these little nuggets of wisdom that make the tedious and time consuming elements of sewing so much easier and quicker. Suddenly, that one task you’ve hated for so long, for example, adding hidden zips into your dresses, just became so much less fiddly thanks to a tiny little bit of advice that was shared with you.
Learning from others and listening to the wisdom that they can impart helps us to move forward with our sewing journey, and step out of our comfort zones. If you’ve found yourself nervously staring at your fabric stash, willing yourself to start creating more technically challenging garments, but not quite having the confidence to get started, this post is for you.
I headed over to my wonderful free Facebook group dedicated to all things sewing, Stitch Sewcial, to ask our community what was the best piece of sewing advice they’d ever received. The comments blew up with advice, suggestions, and helpful tidbits that were just too good not to share so here goes!
Best Sewing Advice: All About Sewing Machines
If you’ve just bought a sewing machine, or even if you’re a seasoned sewist with several machines of different makes and models, these nuggets of advice from the Stitch Sewcial sewing community could make a huge difference to your sewing setup and how you care for your sewing machine at home!
One member of the Stitch Sewcial community recommends changing the needle with every new project. We have a handy guide on choosing the right sewing needle for your project based on fabrics choice, thickness, and thread varieties, so go ahead and check that out.
A couple of other members offered up handy advice regarding bobbins - including mentioning that if you actually manage to put it in the right way, it’s a real game changer!
If you’ve found yourself struggling to remember if your bobbins go clockwise or anticlockwise, here’s a brilliant piece of advice to help you: “Does the bobbin go into the case in the shape of a 9 or a P? I have left-right confusion and could never remember if my bobbins went in clockwise or counterclockwise. (I have 5 machines, not all go in the same way.) Once I learned this trick I never get mixed up.”
Best Sewing Advice: All About Thread
When I asked the Stitch Sewcial members what their best piece of sewing advice was, so many members of the community started to share their thoughts on thread quality, threading hacks, and unpicking stitches.
For those who often find themselves struggling to thread their needles, here’s a handy piece of advice to make the process easier: “Cut the cotton at an angle to make it easier to thread.”
Another great tip regarding threading is to “hold the 2 threads and pull gently when you start sewing…there's no tangling at the start especially when topstitching.”
I’ve said it before, but using good-quality thread will make your sewing projects look more professional and ensure that you don’t encounter fraying or any other issues that can occur with poor quality thread. Don’t just take my word for it, Stitch Sewcial community members also commented on the importance of using good quality thread, remarking that using good quality threads “which match top and bottom WILL make a difference!”
This next piece of advice is a bit of a mindblower: “You can tie a new thread to the end of an old thread and pull it through the machine, instead of rethreading the lot.” Yes, you read that right! Think of the time and amount of faffing that could be saved, especially if you’re a beginner or a sewist who isn’t familiar yet with their sewing machine.
And lastly, when it comes to sewing, “never use a stitch length shorter than you can unpick.” Unpicking is a nightmare and no one enjoys it, so make sure to heed this advice if you want to save yourself a lot of faff.
Best Sewing Advice: All About Fabrics
One of the most popular pieces of advice beginners and experienced sewists alike will have heard is, “measure twice, cut once!” This could arguably be the cardinal rule for cutting fabrics, so always remember to double-check your measurements.
When it comes to buying fabrics, it’s easy to go a bit crazy and plan potential projects (especially garments) in advance. While this is a great idea for some (especially if you’ve found a fantastic deal on fabric), it can lead to a few problems later on…“It is a lot easier to buy fabric than to sew fabric! We change our minds after 6-12 months, or as the seasons change, and what seemed like a great idea last season may no longer be appealing. Try not to buy/plan projects too far in advance.”
Best Sewing Advice: Let’s Talk About Learning New Skills
Attempting a new skill for the first time is scary, no matter if it’s an essential life skill like riding a bike, or learning how to add a hidden zip into your new garment. Sometimes we limit ourselves from progressing by holding back on certain projects that require us to learn something new. The best advice for the situation is this: don’t! This advice sums this up perfectly - “Don't hesitate to try new skills, otherwise, they sometimes become insurmountable in your mind and scary.”
Like I mentioned at the very beginning of this blog post, sometimes even the most experienced of sewists can learn something new, so it’s always lovely to be able to share our collective sewing wisdom with one another. This lady has been sewing for 55 years, and this was her best sewing advice: “Sew bias binding to the wrong side first, then you are machine stitching it down on the right side and can see how neat it is! Game changer after 55 yrs of sewing…!”
Best Sewing Advice - General Sewing Advice
Lastly, the StitchSewcial community has just a few more pieces of advice to share. For many, sewing is a hobby that provides escapism and brings us happiness - especially if we’re able to bring others joy in the process. For this reason, it’s important to remember that “There are no quilting police!”. Nothing has to be flawless, so try to hold that inner perfectionist at bay where possible.
An interesting piece of advice that was left on our community wall provoked real thought and reminded us all that if it isn’t ‘perfect’, it doesn't matter: “The Amish put deliberate mistakes into their work as only God makes perfect things. Also applies to Persian carpets as only Allah makes perfect things.” Of course, we all want to create makes that we’re proud of, so a great piece of advice to follow is to “sew slowly!”.
Sometimes things don’t work out, mistakes get made, and frustrations grow. In this case, a lovely piece of advice from our community that made me smile was this: “Don't blame the machine or the kids if it's actually your own fault there's a problem, i.e. not concentrating on what you’re supposed to be doing, or rushing through/guessing the instructions. I've definitely been guilty of that.” I think we’ve all been guilty of something like this!
A Massive Thanks To The Stitch Sewcial Crew!
I want to say a huge thank you to everyone in the Stitch Sewcial Facebook Group that took the time to comment with their best bit of sewing advice! It’s so humbling to know we have cultivated this little bubble of positivity for passionate sewists to come and talk about sewing projects, share help and advice, and discuss all things sewing. I hope that some of these quotes resonated with you and will help you move forward in your sewing journey. If you have any game-changing advice of your own that you’d like to share, please feel free to pop over and join our group, leave me a comment/DM on Instagram, or drop a comment below!
Sewing. pattern cutting, teaching, tea and Jelly Babies!