In my 30+ years of sewing, I've learned so many lessons (and made some stupid mistakes along the way). The lesson I'm probably most grateful for is knowing how to say no.
1. Good seamstresses don't sew cheap things.
Cheap items are available everywhere. If you want something sewn quickly with inexpensive materials, you won't have to look far or pay a lot for it.
Seamstresses who know (including me) will do it buy the cheap stuff (let someone else make it) and use their precious sewing time to create something unique, high quality, and can't be found anywhere else.
2. Skilled seamstresses don't take on projects they can't finish on time.
I've been guilty of this in the past – taking on projects with a deadline, especially deadlines that I can't meet.
My sewing studio is my happy place only when I'm not rushing (or not too much). So I learned to say no if a new project caused me undue stress or made me abandon whatever I was already working on.
3. Sewers who know don't sew too long between cleaning their sewing machine
Seamstresses who know how to sew (and love to sew) take good care of their machines.
I used to hate looking under the needle plate – I avoided seeing all those dust bunnies by any means possible!
Now I try to never go more than a week without a quick brushing, and more intensive cleanings are a must (here's how to clean your sewing machine safely).
Depending on your machine, you can also take it regularly to your dealer for a professional check.
4. Seamstresses who know don't sew without an interface.
When I first started sewing, I thought there was nothing more boring than interfacing. So I left it aside.
As you can imagine, my facings were floppy and my bags were baggy.
Now I keep a stash of the interfaces I like and never let them go. Sometimes I add interfacing when it’s not even necessary – like to reinforce a buttonhole or tote lining.
5. Sewers who know do not sew clothes with fabric that is not pre-shrunk.
I admit that I rarely pre-shrunk fabric when making quilts – and there are experts who take either side of this argument.
As for me, I do not pre-shrunk any of my quilting materials. When I'm finished with a quilt, I wash it and dry it and let it get all crinkly and cuddly. This is how I like my quilts.
But when I sew clothes? I always pre-shrink my fabric. Sometimes I wash cotton knit fabrics more than once, just to make sure they don't have to shrink anymore.
I don’t want to work hard on anything – even a shirt – and then make it unbearable.
I'd much rather be safe than sorry, so I wash and dry my clothing fabrics using the same settings I plan to use on the finished piece later.
And you? With everything you know, is there anything you wouldn't want to sew?
Tell us in the comments. I love hearing your stories.
PS If you would like to learn more about any of the projects featured in these photos, just click on the images. I linked them all so you can learn more! 🙂
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