10 Sewing Mistakes and the Best Ways to Avoid Them

When I first started sewing, I didn't like it (gasp!). But now I do. I could sew all day and all night.

Good habits make sewing more enjoyable!

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I made habitual mistakes that killed joy. Let's not let this happen to you. I want everyone to love sewing! So let's talk about these mistakes I made and see if any of them sound familiar to you.

1. Rushing into a project

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I think I was looking forward to the finished product so much that I didn't slow down to enjoy the process. This made my work sloppy. I was rarely proud of my finished work.

How horrible is this? I learned to slow down. Now I turn off my phone, turn on my favorite music, and spend an hour (or two or three) sewing!

2. Sew things I didn't want to sew

Woman learning sewing
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My sewing time is limited, so it is precious to me. Everyone is different, but I don't want to spend my time sewing someone else's work aprons, gun sleeves, or cheap clothes.

I prefer to sew quilts, tote bags and sometimes unique things to wear – unique That's the point ! I give away almost everything I sew. Sewing for money makes me feel undervalued and takes away all the joy. This isn't the case for everyone, but if sewing to make money takes all the joy out of you, what will you do about it?

3. Using the Wrong Fabric for the Pattern

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This was the problem behind so many of my sewing failures. I would fall in love with a beautiful print or color of fabric, and I would use it whatever the pattern called for. This doesn't always work.

There's a very good reason why patterns suggest “fabrics.” The pattern makers want you to succeed, so you will love the project and buy another pattern. They include the important “suggested fabrics” section to give you the best chance of success.

4. Using the wrong type of needle

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Sewing needles come in different sizes and types. Universal needles will work for most projects, but if you're having trouble, try a specialty needle such as one of these:

  • A jersey (or ballpoint) needle is designed for sewing stretchy knitted fabrics. The tip of the needle will slip between the fibers without damaging them like a sharp needle would.
  • Sharp needles are ideal for woven (non-stretch) fabrics.
  • Denim needles are specially designed for sewing denim fabric and other thick or dense fabrics.
  • Topstitching needles are pointed needles with a larger eye to accommodate thicker threads.

5. Using the wrong needle size

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Common needle sizes include:

  • Size 70/10 – Suitable for light fabrics
  • Size 80/12 – Used for most common fabrics and quilt piecings
  • Size 90/14 – Used for heavier, thicker fabrics and quilting
  • Size 100/16 – Used for heavier fabrics or multiple layers of fabric. Particularly useful for sewing thick bags and wallets.

6. Using a Needle Once It Becomes Dull or Damaged

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A dull or damaged needle can cause tension issues, create holes in your fabric, and shred the thread. All of these situations are very frustrating. When in doubt, change needles! It is an inexpensive solution to many problems.

7. Using poor quality materials

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In almost all cases, high-quality fabric, thread, and tools are easier to use and will improve your projects. As a result, you will be more satisfied with the finished product. Use cheap materials only when necessary and only if you are convinced that the quality is not great. Stay away from old fabrics, threads and notions as much as possible.

8. Not taking care of your sewing machine

Use a stiff bristle brush to clean the sewing machine
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Sewing machines need to be cleaned regularly to ensure they function properly. Lint and dust accumulate under the needle plate and in the hook area, which will eventually cause sewing problems or damage the machine. Remove the needle plate and remove the bobbin case as often as necessary to clean these areas with a fine brush. Then apply oil if specified in your sewing machine manual.

9. Sew with inaccurate seam allowances

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It is essential to respect the seam allowance specified in your pattern. If your seam allowances are not exact, every subsequent step of your project will be affected. The pieces won't match, the clothes won't fit, and your quilt pattern won't look like the pattern.

It's worth checking your seam allowances from time to time. Sew a test piece and measure the seam allowance to make sure it is correct.

10. Neglecting to iron

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Developing the habit of ironing at each step will make your sewing life much easier!

  • Iron your fabrics before starting for a more accurate measurement.
  • Follow the instructions for the fuse interface, including the pressing time required to ensure the interface is completely fused.
  • Press seams open or side as specified in the pattern. All seams should be ironed after sewing them, so if the pattern does not specify a direction, use your preferred method for ironing.
  • Tap your project when it's finished to help it look its best!

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Disclosure: Some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of these links, I may receive a small commission, so please support SewCanShe when you shop! All opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂




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