7 Sewing Tips for the Beginner.

Monday, March 4, 2013

            As I've gotten more comfortable with sewing, I've found that there a few things that I wish I would have known before I started. So here they are, written down so no one else has to suffer through them like I did. ha they're super random and all over the place so just fair warning.  

Tip #1. Make sure you love the fabric you're using.  Like really love it. Because if you don't love it now, you're not going to magically love it later. Trust me on this. 

Tip #2. Don't spend a ton of money on a sewing machine when you're first starting out. The fancier machines have nothing you'll be using anyways so really it will be just a waste of money. I know they're super tempting (at least for me!) with their high-tech displays but the last thing you want to be doing right now is spending a lot on a sewing machine that you don't even know you'll be using for sure. Ideally you will stick to sewing for the long haul but that may or may not be the case so for now, seriously save your money. I paid like $150 for my first sewing machine and guess what? I still use that very same one! It has worked great for me and although I'm due for a new one sometime soon, I'm super glad I got my bearings down in sewing first and then started looking for for a nicer one.

Tip #3. But you're just starting out in sewing right? So what do you need to buy now? Well besides the obvious like fabric, and a sewing machine, you will need thread, fabric scissors (sharp!), pins, a seam ripper, fabric pens (preferably water-soluble so that the markers come off when you squirt them with water) and a seam gauge (which is a fancy ruler type thing that helps you "gauge" accurate measurements. Hey I never thought about why it's called that! ha funny.) All of these supplies are called "notions" in the sewing world and are necessary if you don't want sewing to become much harder than it should be. 


Tip #4. This one's important. Make the sewing process fun! Listen to music or an audiobook while you're sewing and if you need to unpick something, take it in front of the TV. This helps me get through the less than awesome parts of sewing, like unpicking. and hand-sewing. Yuck.


Tip #5. Surround yourself with things that inspire you. Wow cheeseball status right there, ha but really it helps! I always have pictures up in my sewing room of sketches and inspirational photos for projects that I'm working on. For example I currently have this picture hanging up for the coat/jacket I'm working on. Doing this helps me stay excited about what I'm making and keeps me motivated. 




Tip #6. Subscribe to Joann's newsletter. Do it. Ya the constant emails are kind of annoying but you WILL save money and it will make a difference sometimes. I just saved like $35 on wool fabric for this coat I'm making from one single coupon. For reference, that's HALF of what the total cost was. Savings like that add up, and plus it always feels so good to see the price go down from a coupon. ha ya, Subscribe to the newsletter.


Tip #7. While we're on the topic of saving money, Buy patterns on sale. This isn't typically an option for patterns from independent designers like ones found on Etsy, but as far as Butterick, Simplicity, Vogue, etc- definitely wait for the sales. Fabric stores tend to rip. you. off. when you buy them full price.


That's all I have ladies and gents. Annoying I hate that I ended on number 7, that's such a random number. Also, I CANNOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME GET THIS TEXT TO GO BIGGER. Ugh so annoying, try not to go blind reading it. 

Oh I do have some exciting news for you guys myself though! I was featured on Kollabora today and I'm kind of psyched out of my mind about it! So of course I'm going to be an annoying blogger and say something about it. haha really though Kollabora, thank you so much for the spotlight! 


26 comments:

  1. Huuuuuuuuuuge congrats for the feature! So exciting!
    <3 <3 <3

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  2. Congratulations on your feature! And your list is pretty much perfect ;o)

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    1. Thanks Shantel! I'm glad to know a fellow seamstress agrees so I know I'm not just like pulling these tips out of no where. haha, thanks!

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  4. I agree with all these things! My sewing machine was £20 second hand and I love it - and I love that when I do upgrade to a better machine I'll know what kind of sewist I am and can hone in on the features that matter to me.

    I did a similar post (http://www.annabelvita.com/2012/09/25/what-ive-learnt-as-a-novice-seamstress/) but my tips were all a bit weirder... These are much more useful! (I also really like how you laid it out).

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    1. Exactly! Ohh and I loved your post. What are you even talking about, it wasn't weird at all! I thought it was super helpful and I'm also glad because it led me to your blog which I am obsessing over now. ha but
      I so agree with you on the free tutorial thing. Some of them are great but I also have had some BAD experiences where they were just WAY too confusing and got me absolutely nowhere. And man #7 and #8 is SPOT ON. Especially for me with the one handed thing, because heck if I can do it then ANYONE can do it. Great tips Annabel!

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  5. Make sewing fun is super important. It's really easy to get wrapped up in the sewing/blogging world and trying to keep up their pace but we're only one person! Take it step by step and make sure that you're learning!

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    1. Oh my gosh YES. This should be #1 on all beginning sewing lists everywhere. It is so incredibly easy to just get completely overwhelmed at how many amazing projects there are out there but you're right, we ARE only one person and that is ok. Would you care if I went back and added this into the list? I think this is super super important to remember.

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  6. Hey Haylee, your tips are really good. I love what you have to say about sewing and how you go about it all. I am going to do some of those things more for sure. Fun to learn more about you too....even though I am your mom most of those things I didn't know except I do love watching Miss Congeniality with you and I can't remember who Hagrid is. I keep trying to remember except you don't say things that are ever out of place or that shouldn't be said that I can even think of. You say things that are kind and happy and I love being around you. MOM

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    1. haha thanks Mom! Hagrid is from Harry Potter. :)

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  7. Thanks for the tips! I am so happy for all of these!

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    1. Of course Sara! Thanks for reading. :)

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  8. These are lovely tips! I wish I'd known these, too, although I was lucky enough that I borrowed a machine from my sister when I first started sewing so I knew what I needed when I got my own machine about a year later. But I really have to second the one about really loving the fabric you use-- you really don't love it more down the road if you're on the fence at the beginning. :)

    Curious about the coat you're making!

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    1. haha I know, isn't it so true? I've learned the fabric thing wayy more times than I can count.
      That's the way to do it for sure! Does your sister sew too then? Do you guys have like sewing parties every weekend? haha in a dream world at least, right? :)

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  9. Thanks for sharing this! I've just been getting back into sewing, so I am basically a beginner. All of these tips are SO helpful. Especially #7. I was itching for a Simplicity pattern at Joann's and almost bought it for $10. The last time I was in Hobby Lobby they were having a .99 sale on Simplicity. I would have been SO mad! Great tips all around.

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    1. Thanks so much Victoria! I appreciate the feedback because I wasn't sure if this was even helpful at all for anyone so thanks for telling me that. I'm loving your blog by the way, I can't believe you call yourself a beginner at all because you definitely seem to know what you're doing!!

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  10. I love this Haylee. I just went to Joanns and found myself without a coupon and thought, that was dumb. Luckily I wasn't getting much. Also I LOVE your gold dress! You are amazing.

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    1. Sadie I love you, thank you! Also next time you need a coupon just call me. Seriously, I always have at least 2 or 3 saved in my phone and I never use them all so seriously call me.

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  11. Oh the price of patterns! I wish we got the same sort of coupons in Australia as you guys seem to get over where you are - 35% off wool! We do get the big four patterns on sale though, $7 for a pattern is pretty good here, normally they cost the same as the independent patterns $18ish

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    1. No way? Man, well I'd say I feel bad for you but you live in Australia so I'd still trade places with you any day. haha I seriously LOVE it there. You guys definitely have more pricier things though, I have some friends from Perth and it still makes me laugh because when they came to visit the States I guess they LOADED UP on clothes, shoes and other things because compared to Australia they were all so cheap. haha but you guys have Frankie magazine, amazing buildings, and Tim Tams! So I'd totally trade any day.

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  12. Hi,

    I came across your blog from IFB, congratulations on the feature! I like your list, it takes a lot of inspiration -not necessarily expensive stuff - to start sewing. I was planning on buying a sewing machine but I have to hold back. I'm your newest follower! :)

    xo,
    Gwen
    http://greenbellpepper.net

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    1. Girl you are the sweetest! Thanks so much Gwen. And to be honest I hadn't known about the feature until you mentioned it so thank you for making my freaking day! haha thanks so much Gwen.

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  13. Loved the tips shared here. It is actually very important to love it while sewing. Though, I was aware of these things, but in unconscious mind, which came to light after reading this.

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  14. Independent retail stores get zero discount on the big four patterns. If the retail price is marked at $35.00, they are paying $17.50 for it. Meanwhile you can buy it at JoAnn or at the BMV site for $5.00 at times. It's offensive to say that retail stores are "ripping you off." They are charging a normal retail markup at the "suggested retail price" and every shipment they get costs thousands of dollars.

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