New Products, Upcoming Contest, Free Fabric

on March 28 | in Contests & Giveaways, Products | by | with 446 Comments

I’m sitting here in my kitchen, watching it snow for the third day in a row.  So strange for the end of March, but it’s very lovely and I’m thankful that I haven’t done any new planting.  Hooray for procrastination! 

If you’re stopping by the blog for the first time this week, you should take a look at two pattern reviews we posted.  Rachel reviewed the Tea Party Sundress from Oliver + S, Liesl Gibson’s new pattern company.  Annika reviewed the very popular Emmeline pattern from Montessori by Hand.  If you’ve been looking for great new patterns from small independent manufacturers, look no further!

This week we received an eclectic variety of prints from Robert Kaufman.  The first image is a fantastic forest silhouette design, which comes in four different colors.  The center image is a leaf print on a cotton/bamboo blend.  This fabric has a wonderful soft hand that drapes very nicely.  The last image is a hip modern tree print from the Carnaby Street group.  There are several beautiful new florals as well, so stop by the store to see all the Kaufman fabrics

I also wanted to let you know that we have a contest coming up in April in which we’ll be giving away $25 gift certificates to the store.  We’ll have all the details for you on Monday, but for now, you might want to start thinking about that tutorial that you’ve been meaning to write (hint, hint.) 

For today’s contest, however, all you need to do is write a comment.  Tell us about the single best sewing tip anyone ever gave you.  Whether it’s how to fold your patterns, or how to hem a circle skirt, we want to hear about it!  We’ll randomly select four people to win one yard of fabric and announce the winners Monday morning.  Have a great weekend–go sew something!

PS–We moved to a new server last night and it’s always a nail-biting experience.  Please let me know if you have any troubles with the store or the blog.  Thanks so much!  [email protected]

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446 Responses to New Products, Upcoming Contest, Free Fabric

  1. Lynda Doepke says:

    Now I don’t know much about it. but maybe I will be writing articles like this in two month

  2. Alejandra says:

    Nobody is perfect, Just try and do your best…..my husband tells me this all the time because i’m afraid to ruin things, I quit even before trying.

  3. My grandmother once told me never to get discourage if I sew and make a mistake because I can always rip it off. Nothing is permanent, in the sewing world anyways..,. But it takes patience. But I don’t have as much as she had.

  4. Michele Maxhimer says:

    The seam ripper is your best friend is what my mother always tells me and the more I sew the more I see that once again she is right.

  5. Kristin says:

    The best advice I think is to measure twice cut once. :) I know simple, but the best one I think.

  6. Lindsey says:

    I am a beginner sewer and took a class where we made a skirt. The instructor had a lot of experience and she told me to be as percise as possible when measure my fabric to cut out. I had messed up because I tend to move too quick and want to finish the projects quickly. Luckily she had a few tricks up her sleeve and the skrit fits perfect.

  7. sarah says:

    Basting is your friend.

  8. Allison says:

    This tip is so obvious it’s really quite silly, but it has saved me time and aggravation! Maggie, owner of the Sewing Lounge [ http://www.sewinglounge.com/ in St. Paul, MN, once told me that I should always clip my thread tails when I finish sewing a seam. She’s right. The garment looks tidier and the tails don’t get tangled up and lumpy. Plus, snipping those little buggers is very satisfying! My personal twist on this sage advice is to keep my super-pointy mini-Crane scissors stuck to my magnetic pin holder (which lives on the top of my sewing machine) and keeps them handy.

  9. cass says:

    I taught myself, so when someone mentioned the thread cutter on the side of the machine, that made things so much easier! duh!

  10. Outi says:

    I just created an account with you.The fact that you stocked the Cake Rock Beach collection finally made me do it.
    I will be ordering soon.I have been enjoying your blog for almost a year and it is very inspiring and rewarding,even now, just reading all these sewing tips.
    My tip has to do with sewing time.I keep my sewing space easily accessible so that even if I have only 15-30 min.to do a few seams, cuts or basting I can feel that I am making progress.If I wait to have several hours to proceed projects just pile up and frustration sets in.Some times as much as changing your needle,thread and bobbin can get you going again.

  11. Sarah S says:

    Interface the seam allowance where you are installing a zipper for a bump-free seam. Oh, and don’t forget pressing!

  12. I think the best thing I’ve learned lately is how to make my own bias tape. It has really given my projects that extra something that makes them unique. The first great tip I learned was to always iron my seams. Always.

  13. Carrie says:

    My mom is a retired home ec teacher so I got lots of tips over the years. The one that she had to repeat over and over to me though is “take your time”. I am one who needs instant gratification so I to this day still need to repeat this to myself as I sew.

  14. Trina says:

    “Make a Muslin”! it’s never a waste of fabric to make a muslin mock-up of a bodice first – it helps you get the right fit and keeps you from wasting your fashion fabric.

  15. betsy says:

    The best technique I ever received was to use a stiletto stick to help guide the fabric throught. This is so good for keeping seams flat and in the right direction.

  16. Larici says:

    I don’t have much experience sewing and I tend to become impatient and try to finish quickly sewing without basting and maybe using just one or 2 pins. My mom has always recommended me basting and after riping the seams several times on different projects now I follow her advice (not always though, still impatient some times).
    Beautiful fabrics by the way.

  17. I have to echo what a lot of you have already said, iron every single seam, it makes all the difference. Also, I have found my seam gauge to be an invaluable tool. Checking measurements makes sure everything lines up like it should.

    I have also noticed that everything comes out better when I take my time and pay attention. When I am in a hurry, I can make the silliest mistakes, like sewing the wrong pattern pieces together, or forgetting one altogether. LOL

  18. Louanne Neeb says:

    The best sewing advice I ever received — and perhaps the most basic too — is to always press the way you sew, before you press your seams open. It absolutely makes a difference ! Sometimes I get in a hurry and want to skip the step, but you can always tell if someone has or hasn’t ironed properly.

  19. Heather says:

    The best piece of advice I ever got was to gently tug out a thread in the fabric to ensure that you get a straight line. I think its an old tailors trick, and its changed my (sewing) life!!

    keep up the great blog!!

  20. Leah says:

    Clip your curves and corners, it makes a huge difference.. Also make sure the scissors are sharp and don’t get too close the stitching….

  21. Katrin says:

    The best sewing tip, I recieved was:
    Just give it a try!
    And that’s what I do. Some times I am pleased with the result sometimes not – but I tried.

  22. Kristine says:

    Oh geez, this is going to be sad, but the best advice I ever received was to always check that I lowered the presser foot….

  23. Julia Oberhardt says:

    Many have commented on pressing their pieces as they sew. I thought I was doing this until I read just recently how to “press”…not move the iron back & forward which can move the fabric. But lift the iron down & up. This seemed a no-brainer, but I’ve been doing it incorrectly for so many years. What a difference it makes!

  24. Melody says:

    The best tip I have received is to slow down and double check often. Most times when I don’t double check something because I’m in a hurry or I’m sure I know what to do, I’ve ended up messing up. In the end, it really saves time to pace yourself and re-read directions, and the item you sew looks nicer too!

  25. Jodi Renshaw says:

    I just bought some fabric from you guys and was very pleased. Thank you!
    Best Sewing Tip: Read all the directions first before beginning a project!

  26. Melana says:

    I have learned to use disappearing ink pens over washable ink pens on my projects. Sometimes I have unintentionally made permanent the washable ink while ironing a project which has caused great heartache. So far, no such problems with disappearing ink!

  27. Kate says:

    Yes, it has been said before, but the iron really is your best friend!

  28. Karen aka Grammy Mac says:

    Always keep a spare package of needles on hand because, you know, if you don’t you’ll break the only one you have and then where will you be…Also, along with keeping you scissors out of the reach of children who might cut paper with them…keep them away from your husband who thinks his hair need trimming and the only sicssors he can find are your good sewing scissors.

  29. Debra Cooper says:

    I really wanted to come up with something original, but the best advice I’ve received so far is to press every step of the way. It really is the difference between a professionally looking finished product and an unprofessional one. Also, I’ve had many projects I thought had been ruined only to find them salvagable by pressing them carefully.

  30. Mary says:

    Seam allowance is more important that you might think, although I tend to always mess it up… turns out I am not quite sure how a ruler works… how big is 5/8?

  31. Nicole says:

    haven’t read through all these comments, so perhaps this is a repeat? the best advice i’ve received recently was to make sure my fabric is laid out perfectly on grain before placing and cutting pattern pieces. with fluid fabrics especially, it’s time-consuming, but makes a WORLD of difference in how the garment hangs.

    love the fabrics!

  32. TBers says:

    An oldy but a goody…….measure twice, cut once!!! how many times this has saved me you have no idea! Came accross your blog late last year and love it, keep it up!

  33. Lil' d says:

    I’m still learning as I go, so I’m not much help here. Probably my best tip is that the internet is a great information source, when you don’t have family or friends that sew!

  34. Janice says:

    The best advice given to me was “Learn to love your ripper” I haven’t taken that advice yet, but I know it’s good, lol!

  35. Michael says:

    Lots of good tips!
    I’m still very new to sewing with a lot to learn, but here’s one sewing machine lesson I’ve learned already:

    If you’re having trouble with the thread bunching up/looping out too much, always check that everything’s threaded correctly. Even if you’re “sure” it is. Checking that is so much easier than messing around with tension settings. It can prevent a lot of wasted time and frustration!

  36. Cheryl says:

    I’m a really new sewer, so I think I will bookmark this page and take notes on all of the great advice here! So far, the best tip anyone has given me was to measure twice and cut once. I learned the hard way that those words are so true! ;)

  37. Julie says:

    Pre-wash the fabrics. It helps to reduce fraying if you trim the edges with pinking scissors.

  38. Thursday Next says:

    Probably the best advice I got was to not be so critical to my own work when showing it to other people. If people don’t notice the mistakes, don’t point them out to be sure they get noticed! My dad always told me… if people notice that, they’re standing too close.

    Be proud of what you’ve accomplished. There is such a thing as good enough.

  39. Andrea says:

    I am learning to use more pins and measure 2x, cut 1x

  40. Tina says:

    Loving the new fabric, especially the forest print. Still need to check out the link to the rest of the new stuff. I’ve probably read only 1/3 of the posted tips, and I’ve already garnered a lot of new information!

    My favorite “tip” is how to knot thread when hand sewing. Someone a long time ago (I have no idea who) said to wrap the end of the thread around the needle 3 or 4 times, then grab it with your fingertips and pull it down the thread. Always works great. I just read in Doodle Stitching to wrap the end around your finger and then roll it off your finger, thus forming a knot. Also a good method, but I’m not quite adept at it yet.

  41. Stacy says:

    I read somewhere once that when a project is going badly and you are frustrated to just put it away and get it out later, that after some downtime it is never as bad as you thought, and taking a ‘time out’ helps to refocus and finish it later. I also learned that other people never notice your mistakes, they are just happy to receive a handmade gift that is made with love.

  42. Marie says:

    Trimming the bulk in seams when sewing clothing! 5/8″ seams on standard patterns adds up quick to a lot of bulk on fitted garments.

    Thank you!!

  43. Malissa Eekhoff says:

    One tip from when I first started sewing. Even though you might not know everything about your machine at first, learn thread tension and practice it. It just looks so much better when the thread is at even tension.

  44. Jennifer says:

    My 7th grade home ec teacher, Mrs. Walkup, taught us how to prepare fabric pieces to be sewn together: “Pin the corners, and stretch to fit.” It is the simplest tip ever, probably, but I still hear her saying that to me when I am pinning.

  45. Bron says:

    Simple but essential: always watch your fingers around the sewing machine needle, especially when it is moving!

  46. Amy says:

    Two tips.

    #1(Mom taught me this.) If it is 1am, and you are feverishly sewing away, trying to complete a project, STEP AWAY FROM THE MACHINE. Anyone who had been in this position will know exactly what I mean. ;)

    #2. (Can’t remember where I heard this.) For organizing patterns. I put them in an 8 1/2 x 11 manila envelope. I cut the original pattern envelope and glue it to the manila one. Then stick the pattern and whatever else inside. They fit perfectly in a magazine holder and keep extra pattern pieces all neatly in one place as well.

  47. Steph W says:

    I was once complaining about how long it to me (a novice sewer) to make a “fast” apron because the whole thing had a narrow-edge hem. A blog reader told me to simply line it – voila! Two aprons in one for half the time!

  48. Beth says:

    When hand sewing rub the needle in your hair before stitching and the needle will glide through the fabric easily!

  49. deliarose says:

    I was told at a very young age to use good thread. It holds up much better and is less likely to leave fuzzies in your machine.

  50. jennifer says:

    My friend, Jenny taught me to always press my fabric before sewing. Especially when quilting. It makes a huge difference for me.

  51. Janet says:

    I have been sewing for over 50 years, and the best tip I ever received was just last year. A cutting and layout table (like the ones you can purchase at Joann’s) is an absolutely invaluable item. No more aching back and miscutting from reaching or bending at odd angles. It makes the entire creative process so much more enjoyable.

  52. Shelley says:

    Measure twice, cut once!

  53. Alycia says:

    I learned to take a swatch of the fabric with me when I was shopping for coordinates – rather than relying on my memory of what colors I would like to match.

  54. Suzanne says:

    Let’s see: disappearing purple ink fabric pens, pressing your seams open– and I just read one above about attaching a small brown paper bag to your sewing desk to gather up all the scraps and cut threads while you are working, great tip! Another idea I came up with recently is to use a clear over the door shoe storage hanger to store all of my fabric squares…I hung it right on the back of my office door (next to my ironing board) and now I have the squares, grouped by color/designer/colorway, etc. that I am working with handy and visible (instead of in piles all over the place!)

  55. Toni says:

    Read the instructions. I can’t tell you how many times I did it via the picture – and it came out WAY wrong. :)

  56. JP says:

    The best advice I got was press as you go!! It makes things so much easier!

    JP

  57. Rachelle says:

    The best tip I got was from Amy Karol’s Bend the Rules Sewing. To change your sewing machine needles every time you start a new project. It makes everything go so much smoother!

  58. Leilani says:

    The best sewing tip I’ve received came from my husband as I was contemplating buying bridesmaids dresses versus sewing them. He said, ” Anyone can buy a dress, but sewing a dress, even if it is more expensive, is so much more worth it.”

  59. tanja says:

    Best sewing tip: “Cut twice and still to short?!” You can never make a smal piece longer – measure and cut, never the other way round!

    Love the brown fabric!

    Have a nice weekend!

    Greetings from Germany,

    Tanja

  60. Debra says:

    Best advice I got was that the world will not come to an end if I mess up and have to start again. With every mistake a lesson is learned that will benefit me in the future!

  61. dianne says:

    The best advice I ever got from the best teacher I ever had – Mom told me to SLOW DOWN! It really does help.

  62. Molly says:

    Probably the best sewing tip I got was from my Mom. When you have screwed something up a couple times and you are getting frustrated just get the seam ripper and undo the mistake and then LEAVE IT. Come back to your project after a good night’s sleep.

  63. Mary says:

    When you’re hand sewing, always thread your needle with the end that comes off the spoon first. This seems to keep the thread from tangling and knotting. Waxing the thread will help this problem also.

  64. valcatraz says:

    I received this advice from my next door neighbour who’s a professional seamstress: on patterns, for tops, shirts and jackets, raise the back neck curve by 1-2 cm: this will end up lengthening your shoulder seam a bit and require lengthening your front shoulder seam as well, but in the long run your top, shirt or jacket will sit better around the back of your neck and not tend to creep back down – you know that feeling that you sometimes get when your garment feels pulled down from the back? that’s it! Ciao from Val

  65. Caroline says:

    All my best tips have been said…but Anna Marina Horner gave this demo on making perfect circles with fabric …so genius! http://annamariahorner.blogspot.com/2007/02/super-circles.html

  66. Rachel J says:

    My Grandma taught me to tie a quick knot in thread by wrapping it around the needle three times and pulling the needle through while pinching the the coils. Quick and Easy.

  67. Margaret Law says:

    Always always prewash you fabrics before you cut and sew, and the other tip was always trim your threads as you go. Margaret. p.s. New fabrics look fabulous.

  68. christina says:

    The best advise I have ever received was from my boyfriend. When he and I started dating he taught me all about the trusty seam ripper, which he learned about from his mom. I know, i’m probably the only one in the world who didn’t know what a seam ripper was when they were 22 and had been a life long crafter. Oh well, I know now. Ha Ha

  69. monica says:

    I hope this doesn’t gross people out , but my mother would lick unruly thread ends before trying to put them through the eye of the needle. I picked it up. Now my daughter asks “why do you put it in your mouth before you put it through the needle, mommy?” It really does help.

  70. Annie says:

    In Amy Karol’s awesome book she mentions how important it is to change the needle on your sewing machine. This bit of advice has seriously changed my life! I have no idea why I wouldn’t have thought of such an obvious thing- it makes me feel ridiculous but I think I may have used the same needle for many years in a row (like five??). Yikes, did I actually post my name along with this… very embarrassing…

  71. Beth says:

    The tip I have enjoyed is cutting things on the bias. It is probably a simple thing to you sewing experts, but it made a big difference when I was sewing roundish stuffed animals.

  72. MelissaB says:

    The best sewing tip I’ve ever received is being told “it’s your hobby, what’s your hurry?”. Well I’m trying my best to take it to heart, quality over quantity. There is no reason to rush through and do a bad job, when I can take my time and do a great job. So now I’ve slowed down, sure wish the ideas in my head would slow down too or someone would invent a battery pack I can snap on to myself so I could sew all night while the kids sleep! ;-)

  73. Laney says:

    I think the best tip I got was from my grandmother when I was a little girl. She taught me to wet the end of the thread with my lips when threading a needle. I think everyone pretty much does this – it’s almost an automatic action when threading needles -why? – because it works!

  74. Ruth says:

    If it isn’t right–rip it out and do it over until it is! Patience and perseverance (or stubborness, in my case) will get you there in the end and you’ll be much happier with the result.

  75. Amy says:

    Save your scraps of fabric. You never know when you will need a piece for a new project.

    I used scraps from previous projects to make the eyes on Freddie the Frog!
    http://newenglandquilter.blogspot.com/2008/03/freddie-frog.html

    So glad that I had these scraps, so I did not have to cut into a new piece of material.

  76. NIKOLE says:

    Just like Jessica, my mom always said to “iron, iron, iron” and it’s really great advice. Pressing and ironing will make things looks so much better. Sometimes after I sew an item of clothing I’ll even have it pressed at the dry cleaner to get it all spiffed up and perfect looking!

  77. min says:

    my aunt once told me, when putting two pieces of fabric together for a quilt which are supposed to be the same size….and they just don’t match up perfectly….to pin and pin and pin and pin and force the fabric into submission. It works! I always remember that — I am the ruler over that pesky fabric!

  78. Faith says:

    My tip was given to me by my high school home-ec teacher 35 yrs ago. When sewing set-in sleeves, sew the shoulder seams, pin and sew in the sleeve before sewing up the sides of your garment. After sewing in the sleeve, match the sleeve seams and side notches, then sew all the way up the side seam, through the underarm seam to the end of the sleeve. This makes manuvering your garment through the sewing machine easier and you will suffer less pin pricks.

  79. Ashley H. says:

    The best advice I got was from my mom, too. She taught me how to read and follow a pattern and it saved me hours and hours of confusion and frustration.

    Love the new Kaufman fabrics!

  80. Richelle F says:

    Keep the seem ripper handy. And a small trashcan to put all the scraps of thread and fabric.

  81. Sommer says:

    First…I just love your site!

    Second…I have learned that pre-washing and ironing is essential, but my favorite tip is to pre-thread several needles and have them ready, so that you do not waste time threading in mid work. When I hand sew…this is such a timesaver! Can’t remenber where I got that tip…but it was a sewing magazine or book:-)

    Sommer

  82. mikawendy says:

    The best tip I’ve gotten is from one of the ladies at the quilting store: press all seams three times–once right after sewing (before opening the seam), then once from the back and once from the front.

    The second best tip is their advice to use a little basting spray on buttons when sewing buttons on by machine, so the button stays in place and doesn’t move under the button sew-on foot.

  83. Beth says:

    I don’t know if this is advice exactly but I took it to heart: To be a great sewer you need to be a great ripper. I make lots of mistakes and I think of this little quote every time. It keeps me sane.

    Beth

  84. Rebecca Ottensmann says:

    My friend Kathy gave me an old sewing book, The Bishop Sewing Method. I have used it more than once. I also invested in a sewing dress form and that has made my life so much easier in regard to fitting, hemming and being able to see how the fabric lays and fits. The form has been a life saver.

  85. Tanya says:

    Clip threads as you go. It is such a pain to finish and have to search for all those little guys — better to just take care of them as you sew!

  86. Jessica says:

    My mom always stressed pressing, and I really think it makes all the difference between something looking professional or homemade!

  87. danna osen says:

    my best tip is to read all of the tips in this comments section. there is a multitude of information.

  88. Emily says:

    I really want to try that cotton/bamboo leaf pattern… I love it! Woo Hoo… A contest – can’t wait to hear what it’s about!

  89. sherri says:

    I’m a beginner at this, but when I took a sewing class the teacher told us that one way to have fun with sewing is to actually choose something you want to sew, even if it seems “too hard.” If all you make are simple (but perhaps boring) things–because you’re scared you’ll “mess up”–it won’t be fun and you’ll stop sewing. So go for it, enjoy it, and yes, the seam ripper is your friend! Thanks for all your giveaways.

  90. Wendy says:

    The best advice I ever got was from my Grandma. She told me to always sew a little sampler piece using the fabric and thread I would use on the final product. that way I could make changes to tension or needles without having to tear out stitches or ruining the fabric. I’m sure this is an obvious thing for pretty much everyone else though. I’m a little bull headed and like to just charge in to things so this was a very sound and much needed piece of advcice.

  91. Kris says:

    My Mom always told me to think before I cut. So I wouldn’t waste any fabric, and so I would actually read the directions!

  92. Jenn Johnston says:

    OMG I love that fabric… The single best sewing tip I have ever gotten or given would be to run your hand stitching thread through bee’s wax, and then Iron it before stitching. It doesn’t tangle, or not up on you and it always stays straight it makes hand sewing a dream :)

  93. Lindsey says:

    Not sure if the ocntest is just for Friday or not, but the best tip I ever received…

    If you are making your own pattern and do not have pattern paper, use your Newspaper or Tissue Paper as a substitute:)
    They work great!

  94. Kate says:

    To try your best to make something wonderful. But don’t shoot too far, so that you might be disapointed if it doesn’t go perfectly.

  95. natalie says:

    My friend, who works as a seamstress, introduced me to crazy quilting and taught me the “sew and flip” method. It’s simple and quick and gets you using all those little scraps of fabric without having to worry about cutting and measuring each piece.

  96. Jennifer says:

    My mom taught me to always sew with fabric you like. She and I have different tastes so we always make very different decisions when we are at the store. Liking the fabric makes all the hard work easier.

  97. oooooh, i LOVE those new robert kaufman prints *drool*

    i think the advice that helped me out a lot was to iron… everything! it really does make a huge difference!

  98. andrea says:

    When I was just beginning to learn how to sew, my friend and instructor told me to just pin the heck out of everything so it all stayed in place as opposed to being afraid and only using a few pins and of course she gave me a supplies list which included the handy magnetic pin holder :)

  99. Sharon Gollman says:

    Next to pressing as you go, get the best iron you can afford. It will save time and work. I have a Rowenta, and would not get any other.
    Sharon

  100. Nancy says:

    I use two magnetic pin cushions. One at my sewing machine and one at the ironing table. I pin at the ironing table and remove at the sewing machine. When one gets full, I just exchange them.

  101. wendy says:

    The best advice I’ve gotten is to iron, iron, iron. And then iron again. Always iron. :)

  102. Dana says:

    Don’t be afraid to make friends with your seam ripper.

  103. Christina says:

    Basting spray instead of hand basting. Worth its weight in gold.

  104. Oiyi says:

    Using the 3M Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape (delicate surfaces) for marking straight quilting lines.

  105. A friend once showed me the little thing on the left side of my sewing machine that clips your threads. I know that sounds simple and silly but I really didn’t know it was there and it saves a ton of time when you have a lot of stop and go sewing, it’s much faster than always reaching for the scissors! Lovely Fabric pictured.

    Hugs
    Julie

  106. Katie says:

    Sharpen your scissors when they need it and keep them far away from children who will try use them on paper! I learned this from my mom when I was the scissor stealing child. :)

  107. Holly says:

    I have to echo the “don’t sew when you’re exhausted” tip. It’s so tempting to press on with a project when I’m ALMOST done but more often than not I make more mistakes and end up with seam ripper in hand.

  108. Anna says:

    The best tip I ever heard was to leave your needle in the “down” position when you stop to change your grip on the fabric when sewing in long lines (like bag handles), or when sewing zippers. It keeps your stitching much straighter.

    From personal(bitter) experience : sometimes the sewing mojo just deserts you. Try it again tomorrow.

  109. Tamerq says:

    my best tip was being dilligent about ALWAYS pinning pattern pieces together…not just ‘winging it’. I know its a no-brainer, but it saved me MANY headaches!

  110. Ashley says:

    tissue paper under stretch clothing fabric!

  111. melissa s. says:

    Running thread through beeswax for hand-sewing projects is my favorite piece of advice from my husband’s grandma and avid hand-quilter. It keeps the thread from getting tangled and knotted and keeps you from cursing up a storm!

  112. Alisa says:

    I LOVE that leaf print in the centre!

  113. Nikki says:

    I think the best tip I’ve ever gotten is not only to change my needle often so it’s nice and sharp, but to use the right kind of needle for my project. This is particularly helpful when sewing on knits. A ball-point needle makes a HUGE difference and avoids a lot of frustration.

  114. Read through the whole pattern instructions before you start sewing.

  115. Melanie W. says:

    I am self taught and probably need more advice than I can give. My sister clued me into to making copies of all the sizes of my patterns using wrapping paper. Buying Christmas paper cheap after Christmas. I just found out that Wonder Under comes in strip tape and works great for setting ric-rac in place before sewing.
    I’ve been lurking around for awhile. Love the site – and the lovely fabrics!

  116. Jonah Lisa says:

    best sewing tip was to use a hemming foot. Has saved me many burned fingers

  117. Christine says:

    The best tip I ever got was to press before you sew and press after you sew.

  118. amelia says:

    take your time!!! i tend to want to sew a million ,miles an hour, so this is perfect for me.

  119. I think the best tip I have is to do your best and have a good time. Let go of perfection. Consistency in the seam allowance is the way to go.

  120. Kim D. says:

    I always keep a lint roller and a pair of tweezers next to my sewing machine. I have found both of these things indespensible! I use the lint roller to pick up threads, small scraps of fabric and lint around my machines, on my fabric, on me and on my floor. I use my tweezers to thread my serger, remove pins, guide fabric while sewing, turn fabric tubes. —lots of other uses as well.

  121. Shannon says:

    Perhaps not the all time best advice, but something I’ve been reminding myself about as I’ve been at my machine for 4-5 hours a day lately – CHANGE YOUR NEEDLE EVERY 8 HOURS. It’s been saving me a lot of grief!

  122. Ann-Margret says:

    Wow — with all this amazing free advice, I *almost* don’t care whether I win any fabric (but, of course, I do!) :D

    It’s probably been said before, but “measure twice, cut once” — I know all too well what happens when you rush ahead with a bit too much confidence instead of taking the time to make sure you’re doing things right!

  123. Olivia Joy says:

    Maybe this sounds dumb. But the best sewing tip my Mom ever gave me was to try again when I didn’t succeed!

  124. Missy says:

    Measure twice, cut once. Do I follow it often? No, I should though!

  125. Aimee Davis says:

    Most of the tips I’ve gotten are mentioned above…ironing constantly, going slow etc. I have learned that what makes a garment or project unique is the imperfections and a seam ripper can be your friend!

  126. Abi B says:

    Best sewing tip was given by my home ec teacher.
    A quote actually, the class motto: “Whatsoever a women seweth that shall she also rip”

    Seam ripper will become your best friend so make sure you have one handy.

  127. Polly says:

    Wow! What a lot of great tips. I’ve been sewing for years and all the tips I’ve gotten are now so secind nature to me I can’t think what ones are the most important. But…some important ones have been chain piecing for quilt blocks, using freezer paper for appliques etc., keep a clean work area and most importantly have a good time. Don’t become a perfectionist and take all the joy out of it.

    I love that new fabric, especially the first one.

  128. annie says:

    my single best tip ever: stop when you’re tired! so many frustrations and mistakes happen when you’ve been sewing for a long time and it’s late in the day and your eyes and hands are worn out. :)

  129. Danielle says:

    The most important thing, I’ve learned myself, is to take your time & work slowly. I am so anxious for the end result and I tend to rush through things and am left with a less than perfect product. I have learned to slow down, double check everything, iron(!), and enjoy the process.

  130. Barb Jansz says:

    If you fold your fabric like this, it will save you loads of times when you need to cut a small strip off the fabric later. The first fold is simply the way it was folded when it came off the bolt, fold the entire length in half again, toward the bolt fold, and in half again. Now take that long skinny lenth and fold it from raw edge to raw edge, and again, until it makes a nice stacked pile of fabric. When you are ready to cut it, simply unfold one of the raw edge ends enough to open your fabric to cut a strip off, depending on your preference of cutting two or four or eight layers at a time.

  131. Yvonne says:

    I have been told to always prewash your fabrics!

  132. Jo Black says:

    I’m still pretty much beginning as a sewer, but I think the best advice I received was how to use interfacing – what a revelation! It can make your fabric stronger, stiffer and just generally more workable – no more floppy handbags!

  133. Manon says:

    The tip that I got, and I think is really helpful, is to always iron.
    I think it is really important to iron the seams flat during sewing. Even though I think it is really annoying to always get up from your sewing machine, turn the iron on, wait and press.
    But your projects WILL look better. It is totally worth it.

    Manon

  134. Ruth says:

    If you make modifications write them down! Especially if it’s two of something that has to match.

  135. Dorte says:

    The best sewing tip ever – I love to sew in waxcloth and oilcloth – and that is a very annoying material… until I was told about the teflon-coated presser foot! Hereby be it passed on….

  136. Ane says:

    I always copy my patterns onto sandwich/ wax paper, it is affordable and I have all the sizes still available if I am lending it to someone, or sewing for someone else. And it is really easy to trace onot because it is translucent.

  137. emily says:

    My favorite tip is, rather than pinking the edges of fabric before prewashing, just run ‘em through the serger real quick. It’s faster than pinking, and less work on the hands, but you still don’t lose fabric to fraying, you don’t have those frayed strips tying your yardage in knots, and it’s easy to tell later whether a fabric has been prewashed by looking at the edge.

  138. lazylol says:

    Practise makes perfect – so just get stuck in and sew as much as you can. That is the only way to learn. I was given that advice by a customer in a fabric shop I worked in as a teenager and it has given me confidence to try anything. You only learn by making mistakes.
    Another tip I always follow is to iron everything as you go along – it makes such a difference to the finished garment.

  139. Hedgehog says:

    So many good tips here!

    I guess the best advice I’ve even gotten was just to try new things. What’s the worst that could happen?

    Best tutorial I’ve found on the web? One I used this week for inserting zippered pockets (link on my blog).

  140. Christina says:

    I’m not sure if it’s the “best” tip, but the one that comes to mind that I use often is to take a small piece of scrap batting and set it next to/in front of your sewing machine to catch your thread as you clip the excess. I’ve done this for years now. It’s great at capturing and holding the thread and when it’s full, I just grap up the clump of thread and throw it away! Saves me lots of time (putting it in the bag was always too much effort.)

  141. Anne says:

    Don’t worry. You can always rip it out.

  142. sarah says:

    My grandma told me to get an excellent pair of scissors and never use them for ANYTHING EXCEPT FABRIC AND THREAD. It is great advice.

  143. Janelle Evans says:

    Just do it. You’ll never learn if you don’t just do it. How can you learn if you never try? So now I love to try new things. And right now, I’m working on my sewing skills and learning more and more everyday.

  144. Ruth says:

    One tip that I’m still working on…. sewing is a process that should be enjoyed. It’s not the amount of items you sew that’s important, but it’s the enjoyment you get from the time spent that counts. In other words, don’t rush through a project just to get it done and start the next project, but take time to enjoy the process.

  145. nora says:

    It is pathetic, but the old saw “measure twice, cut once” is really key. More than a few times I have messed things up by not paying enough attention and cutting wrong.

  146. Tamara says:

    My best tip is to keep my machine clean. Whenever my stitches look unbalanced I check my bobbin case. There is always lint build up. I brush it out and voila! perfect stitches again.

  147. sarah miller says:

    The best advice I ever got was from my mother, which was no advice at all. My mother gave me a machine when I was nine and let me have at it. I did things all wrong, sewed seams backwards, messed up zippers, broke needles on my machine constantly, and ripped out more seams than I could ever remember. And I loved every minute of it. If she had given me advice I wouldn’t have listened but instead I learned from every mistake I ever made. Bravo, Mom. 20 years later I still have a passion and enthusiasm for sewing.

  148. Well, I’m sure someone has mentioned this already but I love Dacia Ray’s hemming technique for jeans. It’s so simple and perfect. I’ve used it many, many times… Here it is: http://daciaray.com/?p=38 -Amber

  149. brigette says:

    from watching my mom sew i learned to cut things precisely and to take time when fabric needs to be marked, pinned, etc. a little attention to detail makes for a better finished product. shortcuts aren’t always shortcuts!!

  150. My best advice was from my Grandma who told me to say a little prayer before using your seam ripper! Concentrate, concentrate, concentrate, or you could ruin your whole piece in a matter of seconds!

  151. Judy says:

    Having (and being) a sewing mentor makes me love sewing more.
    A few months ago, I called up my sister-in-law because I was wondering if pins get dull & need to be replaced. She’s a costume designer & shared this secret she got from the tailor she works with: if a pin seems dull, run it across your scalp…it will slide right through the fabric.

  152. Lisa says:

    The best advice I can think of right now is to save your scraps. Over the years I have made toys, blankets, patchwork dresses etc. out of scraps and every project has a bit of nostalgia.

  153. Alissa says:

    There are SO many comments already that I’m sure I’m not the first to say this but the best tip I ever got was that you can always tear out your sewing… so to not have fear! Just try it. What’s the worst that can happen?

  154. Char says:

    Best sewing tip…using those flat, silver hair clips that snap shut (and open) to hold a binding in place as it gets the final hand stitches on the back of the quilt. Sorry for the awkward wording–I wasn’t sure how else to say it! I found this tip on Heather Bailey’s blog a while back.

  155. Sandra says:

    The tip I remember the most is “measure twice, cut once.” It only takes once to have to recut, and you’ll remember!

  156. Christy says:

    Fray Check – I use it all the time now!

  157. meg says:

    if your pin is dull, run it through your hair and it’ll glide right through the fabric.

  158. amye says:

    well, it may not be original but the best tip I have ever gotten was from my grandmother. she said the best thing you can do to guarantee great results is PIN, PIN, PIN and IRON, IRON, IRON. i was probably a teen when she told me that and i still think about it EVERY time I sew…and now I am 30!

  159. Jill says:

    Some of the best tips I know are the self-taught one’s…like don’t sew with 3 clamoring toddlers during PMS! Another gift I learned to give myself is it takes time to master a learning curve.Give yourself plenty of time to learn & be as kind to yourself &attempts as you would be if it were your best friend.Practically,another thing I learned is to press the folded layers of fabric before rotary cutting,you don’t get the distortion you do otherwise. It’s also okay to not finish some projects & actually toss them,sometimes they actually hinder the love of learning & keep you from moving on.

  160. Leah says:

    Choosing the best tip is hard…. I’ve learned so many things from many people.
    Probably the best thing I learned was if you are getting too tired, stop and come back to it later. Its much easier than realizing the next day you have to pull everything apart as you didn’t complete it properly.

  161. shelli says:

    Best sewing tip ever?

    Don’t beat yourself up, You can use the seam ripper, or just back up a bit and stitch over it.

  162. Amanda G. says:

    The best sewing tip I’ve gotten is to not pull your fabric to keep it straight as you’re sewing. Let your feed dogs do the work. When I was just starting, that was a problem, and now I see that my machine will keep it straight!!! LOVE THE FABRIC. Very nice.

  163. Courtney says:

    Never, ever use sewing scissors to cut paper. Use it only for fabric. Really!

  164. Lisa says:

    the best tip i’ve received has got to be to replace the needle in the machine for every project. when i first started sewing, i don’t even know how many projects i did before i changed it! i was getting so frustrated and ready to quit. i changed the needle and it was a whole new world!

  165. Kate says:

    Best sewing tip: always press your seams. The iron is your friend ;)

  166. Laura says:

    The best sewing tip anyone has ever given me was to get good scissors for cutting my fabric. When I first started sewing, I was cutting all of my fabric with some old cheapie scissors. One day my mom came over to help me with a project, and she told me that I had to get new scissors. I went out a few days later and got a nice pair of sewing shears, and I have never once regretted the money I spent on them. They make every project easier.

  167. Sally says:

    My mom showed me how she reinforces sleeves on kids clothes. This way they never come loose. I thought it was great.

  168. Amy W says:

    The best tip I ever got was to saturate your fabric with starch before cutting it–especially for a quilt. When I did that it was such a breeze to cut my strips! I ran out of starch recently and decided to do without–I’m heading to buy some more starch! I even taught my mom this trick who’s been sewing for–well, for forever.

  169. Esther says:

    Make sure you love what you are working on! Don’t use fabrics and materials that you don’t really care for (because they are cheap or for any other reason), because you won’t be as motivated to create something beautiful.

  170. Robin says:

    The best tip I can remember now is to change the needle often. I’m only an occasional sewer (but a wannabe regular sewer) and I never thought much about the needles. I used to get so frustrated thinking it was me or the machine with all the problems, until a friend told me to change the needle with almost every project. What a difference! I’m a much happier camper when sewing now.

  171. shannon says:

    The greatest sewing tip I ever got was to trace patterns directly on to the fabric using a sharpie or marker pen. This is so much easier than pinning a pattern piece to the fabric and then cutting it out.

  172. Laine says:

    Good selling point: That you could have the most simple of a design (i.e. a sewn checkbook cover) but by adding accent thread for stitching, it makes it look more complicated, well designed and fun! So instead of looking like the five minutes it took you, it looks like it took an hour or so.

  173. Celeste says:

    The best advice I have received/learned over the years is to not waste time trying to figure out how I’ve threaded my machine wrong…just unthread both top and bobbin and start again.

  174. Paige says:

    Hi! I’m a fairly new “sewer,” but something I’ve learned so far (trial by fire, if you will) is to be cautious when using vintage or old rick-rack on items that will require washing, such as a skirt. For instance, I used some vintage rick-rack to trim a pocket on a skirt that I made for myself…after the first wash and dry it totally disintegrated. (The new rick-rack that I had used around the bottom of the skirt, however, was just fine. Oh, well!)

  175. Rebekah says:

    my best sewing tip: you don’t have to use pins all the time. It has saved me a ton of time!

  176. Libby says:

    I’m fairly self-taught and have not really received any advice except for one from the S.E.W. book. Know your machine. Know what everything on it does.

  177. BlessedCP says:

    OOPS, I forgot to list the helpful hints I have received.
    My mother in law was an inspiration and a great tutor when I started sewing. She taught me how to find the grain of the fabric, how to lay a pattern with the nap and how important pinning is.
    My aunt who is also an accomplished seamstress stressed to me over and over how important ironing/pressing was. When I started following her advice I noticed my item looked much better.
    Adios from BlessedCP

  178. BlessedCP says:

    Wow, so glad I stopped by for the contest. I love the items you feature, carry and your fabric. I am always inspired by your blog.
    Warmly,
    CP

  179. Leslie Newton says:

    I always fold my pattern pieces and press them with the iron. They will then fit back into the envelope.

  180. Meredith says:

    My mom taught me so many things when I was young, trying to teach me to sew. It wasn’t until years later that I started sewing on my own and I hear her voice in my head. ‘Iron that Meredy, it will look better’, ‘Here, tie this dart off by hand, it will make it lay flat and not pucker’. I think above all, she told me though, that the simple act of creating something out of what is basically nothing is very very healing, especially after a hard day.
    I’ve discovered how right she was!

  181. Rebecca says:

    The best advice is the old saying “Measure twice, cut once.”

  182. kellie says:

    I’m still fairly new to sewing, but one of the most helpful things I’ve learned(from Mom) is when a project gets frustrating and nothing is going as expected, stop. Take a break and come back to it later. And press…always press!

  183. Jen says:

    My favorite tip has come from my grandfather while my grandmother was teaching me how to sew. He peered over us and said if he has learned one thing, it was to leave women be while they are sewing. He has since passed away but my husband follows his advice dilegently– which is great when the kids are trying to push the presser foot and I realllllly need to finish the Easter dresses…….

  184. sharon says:

    i recently sewed some jackets for a locale boutique. the owner included fusible tricot interfacing which i had never used … it was a joy to work with … no puckering as with the non-woven fusibles i’ve tried.

  185. Meghan says:

    My mom suggested that for all those little triangle marks, I cut the triangle outside the pattern line, rather than cutting into the pattern line. I think it make the marks a lot easier to match up.

  186. Louisa says:

    The best sewing advice I ever received was from my mom. When I was getting frustrated with making mistakes as a new sewer she told me to stop, breathe, and think. Boy has that reminder to slow down and think about what I am doing come in handy a bunch of times!

  187. jo ebisujima says:

    changing the machine needle often, I never realised that it got blunt quite quickly and that’s why it wasn’t sewing well.

  188. Carolyn says:

    During a beginner’s quilting class I took, the instructor told us that there is no such thing as an absolutely perfect quilt, so not to sweat it! She told us that the traditional Amish way of quilt-making included *purposely* making an error, since the belief was that “pefection belonged to God alone”. While I don’t need to purposely make any errors in my sewing (they’ll be there anyways- lol!), its nice to not have that pressure.

  189. Megan says:

    My friend, and sewing teacher, told me that after she pins her pattern pieces to the fabric she puts canned goods on top to help weigh everything down while she’s cutting. I’m a new sewer, too, so any and all advice is helpful. I completely agree with those who say to take your time and not sew while you’re tired. Sage advice indeed, but also difficult to follow sometimes!

  190. sarah may says:

    I am a pretty much BRAND new sewer. The best advice so far I learned the hard way. TAKE YOUR TIME! I tend to want to see the finished product so badly that I hurry and it never turns out as well as when I breathe and enjoy the process.

  191. Sequana says:

    Some person in England wrote an essay on how to make sure the bobbin tension is just right. That was almost 5 years ago that I printed that out, and I still refer to it.

  192. Kristin says:

    What a fun thread! My husband actually gave me this tip: choose your fabric carefully. Use a solid fabric combined with a fun patterned fabric to really make it pop.

  193. AnnaW says:

    Wow, is it Fri again already? It seems like yesterday…just one of those weeks I guess.
    I’m mostly self-taught, so don’t have a ton of clever tricks up my sleeve (none that everyone else wouldn’t already know anyhow) and, frankly, my brain is too full of baby and puppy right now to pull any up. Am getting some great ones from the commrnts here though – thanks for your great site where we can all gather and share!

  194. Hello!

    The best advice I have is keep a seam ripper handy! You have to be willing to pull the seam out if it’s not quite right. It might be a pain at the time, but you’ll be much happier with the final result if you take your time. No one actually gave me that advice. I’ve learned it the hard way, and I always tell that to others! By the way, I love the green and the brown fabric!!

  195. Alyssa says:

    my mom is my go-to person for all things sewing. She would sigh and shake her head if she saw me sewing and NOT ironing my seams! I do now! Thanks,mom!

  196. Candy says:

    A “duh” moment for me…while machine quilting, take time to re-press every once in a while!

  197. Dayna says:

    When making your own cording. Use the round toed zipper foot and angle it in towards the cord. You make a nice even cording that way….every time!

  198. Amy says:

    This is going to sound like I’m sucking up but the best tip I’ve gotten was from this very blog’s zipper tutorial. Using a glue stick has made zipper installation much more successful for me.

  199. Abby says:

    Tip that has most changed my sewing is having my machine at the perfect height for me. It has changed my sewing life!

  200. Cascade Lily says:

    My best sewing tip is to trace off patterns on baking paper – that way you can reuse the bought pattern in all its different sizes – much better value for money! You can also alter the design to suit, without compromising the original :)

  201. Stacy says:

    It sounds so elementary, but the best advice I was ever told was to iron after each step in sewing. It really does make sewing easier and the end result is so much better than just trying to wing it!

  202. Lindsay says:

    sharp scissors for cutting fabric. best sewing advice ever!

  203. Katherine says:

    Basting and ironing are not optional. I hate basting and I hate ironing, but everything comes out better when I do. Oh, and always wash your pants before you hem them! Several times I have forgotten this basic piece of advice, and ended up with too-short pants that aren’t short enough to qualify as clam diggers and redeem themselves… sigh.

  204. Lia says:

    The best advice I got is some everyone else already knew – back sew at the end of every seem. It still amazes me how many things I made (that have since fallen apart) before someone showed me how to keep seems from unraveling. =]

  205. molly says:

    A friend showed me how to tuck the fabric with the needle and finger press when doing applique — very helpful.

  206. Melissa says:

    I am new to sewing and all the tips I have gotten have come from my one other friend who sews and she is constantly telling me to iron my seams and press everything. I am starting to listen and it does make a difference.

  207. Kathleen says:

    The greatest tip I have ever received came from a carpenter. He said, “measure twice, cut once” Great advice that I’m afraid I haven’t always followed. Oops!

  208. Cocoa says:

    This tip is a no brainer but I forget to do it sometimes. Always wash your fabric first before cutting and sewing. It’s a good think I have six girls so when an article of clothing shrinks after the first wash there’s always someone littler to pass it on too. :D

  209. Kate K says:

    Freezer paper – I copy most of my patterns onto freezer paper. It takes a bit more time, but the originals stay unmarred and it’s easier to precisely follow the pattern lines. It’s also easy to make multiples because the freezer paper stays pretty sticky.
    Masking or Artist Tape – For more complicated patterns, I recently started following the tip of marking each of the cut pattern pieces with the name/number on masking tape. Huge help keeping track of what’s what.

  210. Dawn says:

    I’m sorry I don’t have a very complicated piece of advice, but honestly it’s what I live by: measure twice, cut once. You can never put it back and you can always cut more!

    I’ll be checking in on Monday to check out the new contest!!!

  211. I read once to make often used patterns more durable to back them with Craft Fuse – and WoW – does it make using them easier .. and you just roll them to store them !

  212. Stephanie says:

    When basting a quilt, skip the safety pins and use the basting spray! It always works for me, and those pins are such a hassle!

  213. The tip that comes to mind is the one I learned this week: don’t go too fast when winding the bobbin! It can make the threads on the bobbin not wind tight enough, leading to trouble down the road.

  214. LisaC says:

    OK OK…I will start to iron everything! Maybe that has been my real problem all along. My tip is to store patterns in zipper top bags. They are clear so you can see the pattern through it, but you don’t have to drive yourself crazy trying to get it all back in the little envelope. Someone above suggested storing them in an accordian file, which is great. I throw mine in giant shoe box.

  215. Michelle says:

    My best advice came from a older gentleman at the vacuum/sewing machine repair shop – it was to stick with my old, all-metal Kenmore sewing machine because it was endlessly repairable and I probably couldn’t find or afford a similar quality machine new!

  216. edina says:

    One handy tip that I learned in sewing class back in junior high was to run a scrap piece of fabric through the sewing machine for about an inch of stitches, remove the scrap without cutting the threads, then start stitching whatever you’re working on. The scrap fabric is easier to hold onto to keep the threads from retracting would you lower the needle into your project.

  217. Rebecca says:

    This is pretty basic, but I think my mother’s tip about laying out the pattern pieces (when you have to cut out from more than one orientation of fabric) ahead of time has been a huge lifesaver.

  218. molly says:

    handsewing needles have a right and wrong side. If it is too difficult to thread the needle one way, turn it over and use the other side.

  219. Elaine says:

    One of the first tips I received when I took a sewing class when I was 12 was to always prewash fabric. Also, measure twice, cut once is especially important when working without a pattern. There are also some great and new to me tips here. Thanks everyone!

  220. Meghan says:

    My mother-in-law (who bought me my first sewing machine!) taught home economics, and always reminds me: turn the hand wheel towards you, and keep your threads to the rear! I chant that to myself every time I sew, and it has helped me avoid so many mishaps with my machine!

  221. Serena says:

    Use good-quality fabric. Prewash it. Have a good pair of sewing scissors and a good seam ripper. Press, press, press! Use French seams whenever possible–they’re beautiful. Treat your machine nicely.

    When gathering, backstitch at one end of your basting stitches. That way you can work from one side and not worry about pulling the thread out at the other end. Perhaps that’s a no-brainer, but I was taught to leave both ends loose. I find it much easier having only one end loose.

    One I haven’t tried yet, but that I intend on trying, is to hem a circle skirt with bias tape. How easy is that?!

  222. Shelley Jo says:

    Using medical exam table paper to trace pattern pieces on. You know, if you buy a pattern with multiple sizes and what to use several ones, you can trace them so you don’t have to buy multiple patterns. The medical exam table paper is pretty inexpensive and lasts a LONG time!

  223. Ly Lan Dill says:

    When I was old enough to help Mom by ripping apart her seams but not yet old enough to run the machine, she told me if I ever wanted to learn how to sew, I should not be scared of just cutting into the fabric – regardless of whether or not I was doing it “right”. Wonderful advice for a beginner sewer as well as for a beginner anything. Thanks Mom.

  224. kathy says:

    My grandmother said to just follow the pattern carefully, even if you don’t understand how it will work. I realize that there are always errata, but this helped me because I couldn’t always figure out why I was doing something, but it usually worked if I just did what the pattern said. Clever, I know!

  225. Veronica says:

    Whenever I’m sewing a new project or trying something new (like sewing on a zipper), to take the stress off myself a little, I’ve learned to make a sample or mock-up of the project. That way, if I screw up, it’s not with my good fabric and I’ll know what mistakes to avoid when I’m sewing my final project. This has saved myself a lot of aggravation. Another oldie but goodie is measure twice, cut once.

  226. jessi says:

    Best piece of advise about sewing, given to me by Mom and Grandma – just keep trying! If I’d given up at first when things weren’t really turning out well, I would not have gotten far. This got me through some fairly terribly sewn items when I first started. I didn’t give up, I’m still sewing, and I usually like what I sew now.

  227. Georgia says:

    I didn’t read ALL of the comments, so I hope I’m not duplicating one– My mom is my sewing guru and she taught me that if your machine is acting up, RE-THREAD IT! It almost always solves the problem.

  228. Ulla says:

    I always write on the pattern the size I have drawn, from which magazine/issue it is and I draw the little picture of the garment as well to help me visualize the different patterns I’m looking through later. And I attach a little scrap of the fabric I used so I remember better. I keep the patterns in a big binder in plastic pockets, arranged after size.

  229. Laura says:

    Best sewing tip: use a new needle for every project. Makes a big difference!

  230. Nicole says:

    I was given this tip a few years ago about quilting fabric: When you bring your fabric home from the store wash it but don’t dry it. Take it straight from the washer and iron it. This gives you the best pressed fabric ever! One quilter I know will even throw her fabric in the freezer if she doesn’t have time to iron it after washing it!

  231. kristena says:

    When I first started sewing, I had no idea how to put bias tape on properly. I would just wedge my fabric into it, cross my fingers, and then sew on some of the wonkiest binding ever.

    Then an older lady showed me that all I have to do is unfold the binding, put right sides together, line up the edges, and sew near the first fold of the binding (I hope that makes sense to anyone reading this… It’s much easier to understand with a visual). From that point on, binding has been a breeze to put on instead of the nail-biting experience it once was. Of course, mitered corners are another story…

  232. Joan says:

    I’ve been making cushions for our boat. My favorite tip is to notch the curves with pinking shears. It clears out undesired fullness, helps the seams to lie flat, and saves my arthritic hands from many clips with the regular scissors.

  233. Emily says:

    I don’t know that I’ve been given any sewing advice. Whenever I pass some on, I make sure I include how important sharp scissors are. I really like sharp scissors.

  234. Jessica says:

    Using the right equipment makes all the difference!

  235. Becky says:

    The best sewing tip I ever got was from my grandma, who passed away 9 years ago at the age of 99. She told me that no project is ever complete unless at least one seam has been torn out and resewn. I know now that it isn’t true, but for a new seamstress it was just what I needed to take the pressure off.

  236. I love it when you do contests like this, not just for the contest but for reading all the comments! Together your reader’s could write a whole book! I have 2 tips. 1. I guess my first tip is pretty specific but it’s for oilcloth, or other vinyl type fabrics where you don’t want to poke holes in them. Use binder clips from the office supply store to hold these fabrics together- they are a great way to “pin” without pinning. 2. Also I just read the other day, haven’t tried it, but apparently there are hammers made especially for sewing and when you are sewing a 4 way seam, a thick stabalized handbag or some other thick object that won’t pass through easily, supposedly you give it a few whacks with the hammer and it helps it lay down better to go through the machine. After fussing with it, it sounds like a good way to get out your frustrations!

  237. Melanie says:

    My best tips have been mentioned and as many above came from mom: pre-wash, iron, take care of machine, sewing only scissors. One helpful hint: role the edges of the shopping bag your project items came in, place near sewing spot and you have easy, disposable project garbage pail.

  238. My mother told me early on that if I wanted an easy gather or ruffle to use cotton twine. I zig-zag stitch over the twine (and my fabric) and then pull to gather! It is the easiest way to gather and holds beautifully and you never have to worry about your thread breaking!

  239. Jennie says:

    Measure twice and cut once.

  240. Dallas says:

    I learned a cool tip last week for threading a needle for handsewing. Cut a tiny sliver of paper, fold it in half, and put the thread perpendicular between the two halves. Then stick the ends of the paper through your needle hole and pull the paper through, which will bring your thread with it. It works great with embroidery thread when it’s starting to unravel.

  241. Samantha says:

    Measure twice, cut once. I’m not the most patient person, but I’ve learned that it takes more time and effort and money to correct a cutting error than it does to make sure it’s correct the first time.

  242. Hjordi says:

    I think masking taping your backing to the floor before basting was the best tip ever! It works GREAT!

  243. ariana says:

    Changing my needle often. Makes it feel like sewing butter!!

  244. There’s some great advice here. Mine is to go to your sewing machine store, and get familiar with the feet you can buy for your sewing machine. Relatively painful tasks like narrow hems, gathers, zippers, etc all get easier with the right foot. My new favorite is my edgestitch foot, which has enabled me to narrow hem without pressing, and is worth every cent I paid for it.

  245. Sarah says:

    Be obsessive about grain lines, and press, press, press. A little attention to details goes a long way.

  246. Letty says:

    My quilt teacher always says: It’s OK that it is not perfect, because it is OK to show it is handmade!
    Letty

  247. Andrea says:

    I think the best tip I have received is to use Heat N Bond Lite for all my appliquéing needs. It is perfect to hold intricate shapes in place for machine sewing or hand embroidery.

  248. Anne says:

    I love all these tips! I feel like I should be taking notes! My best advice was also from my mother, and it was, “Make best friends with your seam ripper.” She knows me well.:)

  249. Heather says:

    I don’t know where I heard this, but I love this: I loop a piece of masking tape (wide) and stick it to my sewing table, and put all my little thread ends on there. It keeps the threads ends from being all over the place!

  250. tira says:

    change your sewing machine needle! i had no idea how fast they dull, and what a difference a sharp one makes!

  251. tasha roe says:

    One of the best pieces of sewing advice that I ever recieved was to read the directions before cutting out the pattern. My mom taught me how to sew when I was in 5th grade and she wanted me to be able to complete a project on my own after time. She would always instruct me to read the instructions before i laid the pattern out so that I had a feel for what was next. I also gave me the opportunity to make changes to the pattern with out tearing everything apart.

  252. Kate says:

    The best tip I ever got was to make sure and iron. And then iron again. And iron some more. I got that tip from my mom, the master of obsessive ironing.

  253. Annika says:

    My favorite advice: don’t watch the needle, watch the fabric. (And I’ll add that watching the foot has helped keep my seams straight–when they need to be straight, that is!)

  254. Mommykatt says:

    Press, press, press. And then press some more! The iron is your friend…

    Oh, and masking tape when sewing pleats. It holds things together a little easier than trying to pin each individual pleat.

    And save your empty tissue boxes. They are great little thread collectors when you’re sewing. The plastic bits will even help get those pesky threads that hang onto your hands. When it’s full, just toss the box!

  255. Teri says:

    Best sewing tip? This shouldn’t be hard, as I’m a brand new sewer and have very very few tips in my arsenal. But I always remember one I got from someone at my church – always say a prayer before you begin to sew that your work will be blessed. I would never have thought to do this my little old ordinary projects (tote bags and aprons at this stage). But it is a creative work, right? And why not invite the Lord to bless it and you? I love that. And try to remember to do so every time I sit down at the machine.

  256. Red says:

    One tip came from a good friend that told me to cut out the pattern in the largest size and make slits down to the size you want to sew, and fold back the rest. That way you’ll always have all the sizes.

  257. Andrea says:

    Well, I guess everyone now knows you should iron often for a nice looking finished item. So I won’t say it again. :)
    For me, I need to remember to slow down and do things, like pin and clip corners, in order for projects to turn out nicely. All too often I get so excited about finishing something that I don’t take these simple steps and end up disappointed. Thanks for the advice mom!

  258. Carolyn says:

    My father was a carpenter and his favorite phrase was “measure twice, cut once”……this advise has served me well when using a rotary cutter and rulers.
    Also, read all the instructions before cutting out the pattern…….don’t even ask why…….LOL

  259. Liz says:

    The best tip I’ve ever heard was written on Soulemama’s blog. She said not to ever push or pull fabric along, but to simply keep it going under the presser foot straight. This saved so much frustration for me in my early days of sewing, and I remember it to this day.

  260. Maggie says:

    Have patience. I am one of those people that wants to get to the end satisfaction fast fast fast. Hurrying through projects or taking shortcuts rarely pays off and then the end product doesn’t give me that satisfaction. My grandmother told me, always use a little patience. It has meant a lot.

  261. Kathryn says:

    I see that several people have already written it down, but I’ll add my two cents. The best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten is to change your needle often. It’s not expensive to do so and has saved me from ruining nice fabric or playing with the tension on the sewing machine. I used to alway think my tension was off, but it was actually my needle, that I’d been sewing with for well over a year, was horribly dull. It’s seems so simple now, but I never would have thought of that.

  262. Rachel says:

    One the most helpful tips (does that make it the best?) was when I was first quilting and trying to get the right seem width. I was using a slightly older machine and the alignment was off. So my mom helped me put down some masking tape (doesn’t leave sticky glue) to mark where 1/4 inch was really supposed to be. This proved to helpful when I upgraded to a machine which has cm for the footplate markings. And it’s often much easier to see than the little lines on the footplate.

  263. michal says:

    the best tip i ever got was to not to skip the ironing. i try and not be lazy and iron all my pattern pieces, fabric, creases and while sewing, but every once in a while i don’t and i can’t even tell you what a difference it makes. even if i’m sewing a simple pouch – the pieces always fit together better, sewing is simpler and faster and the end product looks much more professional. i can’t remember where i read this tip – but the writer was totally right! i think this should be the first class for in sewing school – iron-iron-iron!

  264. lindsey says:

    love the new fabrics!

  265. irene says:

    My advice is the measure carefully and be sure you cut a straight line. A neat straight seam cannot emerge out of a sloppy cut. Take your time, measure and cut it as perfectly as possible! You’ll never regret it.

  266. Mikaiya says:

    The tip I love most came from my mom (and every woman in the family). Always wash the fabric the day you buy it! It’s the only way to guarantee that everything is pre-shrunk when you get the yen to sew.

  267. Sara says:

    The best sewing tip……..changing out the sewing machine needle after every project.

  268. Beth says:

    My tip is already listed – press, press, press! When I first started sewing, I didn’t press my seams and my projects looked sloppy. Now I press each seam after it’s sewn and my results are much better.

  269. tanaya says:

    measure twice, cut once!!

  270. Charlotte says:

    Well, the best advice has already been said many times: always iron and don’t be afraid to rip seams. So here’s some second-tier advice:

    Making a garment? Before you cut up your fashion fabric, try out the pattern in a mock-up with some other fabric. Fiddle around with it to get it to fit the way you want. When the fit is perfect, you can take apart the modified garment and use it as the pattern on you r fashion fabric. If you’re making something that’s lined, you can use this mock-up as your lining.

    Bonus tip: rummage sale sheets and tablecloths are great sources for fabric — sometimes for mock-ups or linings, sometimes for the real garment (or project). They can also be used for backing quilts.

  271. Vanessa says:

    The single greatest tip I ever received about sewing was from my mother: “Read the pattern twice. Sew once.”

  272. Katie says:

    Well, I have two pieces of advice that I’ve found very helpful. The first one comes from famous knitter Elizabeth Zimmermann, who wrote something to the effect of, “did you run out of yarn after only one sleeve? Well, decide that you wanted sleeves of different colors!” That sort of relaxed, go-with-it attitude is not one that comes naturally to me, but it has helped a lot in my sewing adventures! The second piece of advice is from my mom, who always says “Measure twice, cut once.” It’s a little cliched, but so true. I often walk away and come back to look at the pattern with fresh eyes, and I’ve often noticed that the directional print on the fabric is facing the wrong way, or some other important detail that I overlooked when laying it out.

    I love the new Robert Kaufman fabrics! I sure hope I get picked!

  273. Celeste says:

    Yep–I’m with a lot of the others: press and pin, press and pin!

  274. Emily E. says:

    My grama taught me how to sew, so everything she said was the “best sewing tip”. If I had to pick just one, I’d say it’s trimming the corners…I never would have figured that out on my own.

  275. Coralee says:

    I think the advice to sew slowly through difficult areas, to take my time has kept me from stitch ripping a lot.

  276. coffeechris says:

    Single most valuable sewing advise mmmm that’s a hard one. I guess it would be measure twice – cut once. Happy weekend.

  277. Rachel says:

    The best advice I ever got was to press everything and to not talk about the mistakes you made to people. They really won’t ever notice. Allow people to tell you it is well-made, even if you see all of your errors.

  278. Terri says:

    When I’m complaining about bobbin tension problems, my mom always reminds me to clean my sewing machine. Sure enough, after a good cleaning and oiling, all my problems go away.

  279. lauren says:

    The best advice I ever got was to change my needle regularly, because, for a long time (and sometimes even now), I would just sew with a needle until it broke and never change it for different fabrics or when it got dull. A new needle can make all the difference in a project!

  280. Jacquie says:

    Best tip I got was from a quilter friend who encouraged me to fuss and fuss about getting that perfect scant 1/4 inch seam allowance on my sewing machine. Practice with scraps and measure. When that seam is right, piecing is much easier. Don’t assume that the 1/4 in line on your machine will give you the correct 1/4 inch seam allowance. Mine sure didn’t.

  281. Zainab says:

    The best tip I’ve been given? Walk away when you are tired, don’t push it. It’s not worth it, and you usually have to re-do it the next day anyway.

  282. Christy says:

    I’m sure it’s been posted already, but wash your fabric as soon as it comes in the door. That way you’re not standing in front of your fabric cabinet wondering “did I wash this already or not?” only to remember after you’ve sewn it that no you hadn’t washed it, and if everything has been washed in advance you can start sewing the moment that inspiration hits instead of pacing in the laundry room.

  283. Valerie says:

    My mother taught me that it is important to get out the seam ripper when necessary rather than let the mistakes slide…man, how I hate that tip, but it really is true! :)

  284. Liz says:

    Store your patterns in ziploc bags — you still have to fold the pieces back up, but not nearly as small, they’re nice and protected, and you can see what the pattern is.

  285. Holly says:

    My best advice was get a great pair of scissors and only use them for fabric! I also use the advice of getting large white envelopes (letter size) and photocopying a picture of the patten onto it and then placing the pattern pieces inside. It saves your from having to figure out how to fold everything back up to fit into the original pattern envelope.

  286. Breckster says:

    The greatest tip I’ve ever received was not to be afraid to use the hemmer foot. Once you’ve mastered using you can save hours of time.

  287. Jocelyn says:

    Ok ,this may not be a tip but it was a huge timesaver for me. I have a 36 year old machine that does terrible buttonholes. My Grandma told me she used a buttonholer, something I did not know about, so she showed me hers and it made a buttonhole in about a minute.Wow this was terrific since the last time I tried to do one on my machine I spent an hour trying to make one decent hole. So if you don’t have a new machine with one of those neat little buttonhole things and your machine is old like mine this is an awesome gadjet and a huge timesaver.You can find them on ebay. All the other tips are great.

  288. Julia M. says:

    My two favorite tips I have learned are, how to use a seam ripper properly and to use a chopstick to turn small tubes right side out. P.S. That new fabric is beautiful. Also, I have no tutorials, because I am new to sewing. But I hope this means you’ll be posting more. I love them.

  289. Robin says:

    Pre-washing fabric and changing your needle every project from practical people, and “don’t think, just sew” from my most creative and fearless friend Gretchen.

  290. Des says:

    When i first started quilting, I read somewhere to use a ‘thread saver’. It is a tiny scrap piece of fabric and i always start and finish a seam with one. It keeps the loose end threads from jamming up your sewing machine and also enables you to do easy chain piecing. It’s the first thing I always teach a beginner.

  291. Lalie Hoaglund says:

    The best advice I ever received was to relax!
    I was told that stress will show up in any sewing that you do.
    The second best tip I learned was making a design wall for quilting out of felt because fabric will stick because of the static electricity. Saved me a lot of time and money!

    Lalie

  292. Stacy A says:

    I am just a beginner as well. Brand spankin’ new. One of the best things I learned recently is how to do the quilters knot. I know it seams simple but for hand sewing, quilting and closing up seems, it is the best. I screamed when I finally got it. My husband thought something horrible had happened. he he With the quilters knot under my belt, anything is possible! Right?

  293. Megan says:

    My favorite tip is from Bonnie at quiltville — to cut your scrap fabrics into pre-measured strips and blocks, then store each size separately in a bin or basket. When you need a scrappy border or a bunch of 2″ blocks for a quilt, all you have to do is go sort through what you already have! Easy and fun.

  294. Melissa says:

    The best sewing tip I’ve received is to not rush it. Enjoy the process. An added bonus when you take your time is you don’t have to go back as much and fix your mistakes!

  295. renee says:

    Well i’m kind of self taught but one of the best tips i’ve learned was in the very early days and how to sew a button neat by winding it around the shaft of the button a few times and tying the knot by winding and then going between the threads a few times. That way there’s no knot at the back and the button is also more sturdy.

  296. Maryalice says:

    My favorite tip is from my mom. She tells me to only sew with fabrics I absolutely love. It really makes a project more fun to work with something I have a crush on.

  297. Elorie says:

    I once read never to backstitch when you are beginning and ending a dart, as to avoid puckering or a little “bubble”. Tie the thread ends and press the dart towards the outside edges of the garment piece. Everything looked much nicer! Also: mark your fabric scissors loud and clear. . .permanent marker or ribbon or such. . and declare them off limits to husband and children. This has saved me much time and money.
    Elorie

  298. Jen says:

    Other people have said this but its SO TRUE it bears repeating – iron every seam while you’re sewing! Especially when quilting, it makes such a huge difference.

  299. kristen says:

    Use the iron!

    I also got great advice about making bias neckbands on smocked dresses (bishop style) but I couldn’t put that into words ;)

  300. Tina Cavaluzzi says:

    i just got a tip from my mom about making a template to use to cut out quilt pieces. i was going to measure each one and cut them out that way. her way saves time. (it’s my first quilt…your blog inspired me.)

  301. Mel H says:

    My Mom gave me the best tips 1) always keep a lunch bag taped next to work space 2) Measure twice and cut once 3(splurge on a good pair of scissors and 4) when in doubt, call Mom.

  302. janalee acereto says:

    my tip is don’t buy cheapie fabrics. When I started sewing, I’d buy discount clearance cheap wal-mart fabrics, make a really cute dress for my daughters and after I washed it, it’d look terrible and we’d never use it so it was a total waste. Quality fabrics – the dresses get worn and washed hundreds of times and still looks great.

  303. EmmyLizzy says:

    There are soooo many that I can’t live without, but my favorite is cutting all of my patterns out of freezer paper and ironing it to my fabric. You get a nice close, accurate cut with no pinning and no shifting!

  304. Laura says:

    SO many great tips already listed. I will echo the importance of ironing as you go and changing your needle often. It really makes a difference.

  305. Pamela says:

    A jeans foot and proper needles really do make all the difference when sewing corduroy and other thick fabrics. :thumbsup: A Tutorial contest??? Hmmm. That would require me to create that oft dreamt of blog. :) Off to ponder…

  306. Shana says:

    My mom and I are both prone to obsessing over projects and staying up late to get them done. The best thing she taught me was by example; when it’s late at night even if you really, really want to finish something when you start to make mistakes put it down and start again in the morning. When you’re exhausted you won’t sew your best.

  307. Jane says:

    I was at a quilt class taught by a national level teacher. She saw me in contortions trying to rotary cut some fabric and gave this left-hander some great advice: put the cutting blade on the OPPOSITE side of the rotary cutter. (on the right side of blade holder/handle) Makes it so much easier to cut up close to the ruler… and is a more natural cutting motion. This simple solution made a BIG difference! Lots of fun to read the other comments.

  308. denitza says:

    Well, I just started quilting and the best thing I ever read is to press your blocks before sewing them together.

  309. Jen Coyle says:

    To cut my hanging threads an the end of each seam after backstitching. Whenever I’m lazy and don’t they always get caught up in the needle, feed dogs or next seam.

  310. Sara R. says:

    Use sharp scissors! My mother was always so upset when my sisters and I would steal her sewing scissors to use for cutting paper, and now that I sew, I understand why.

  311. Lissa says:

    my best tip is if making an epic quilt, do a ‘test’ block first.. sometimes patterns are wrong (grrr) and you dont want to of cut all your fabric out and the block to be ‘out’.. so I do a test block first, in a fabric I use all the time (30′s) so later on, i’ll have a sampler quilt made out of all these test blocks…

  312. Nada says:

    Press every seam was the best advice I ever got

  313. susan says:

    Never, never underestimate the importance of pressing seams after each step! The final result will always look better.

  314. Lauren says:

    Oooohhhhh, I love the Trees fabric! That would make cute pillows!

  315. Rachel says:

    Clip your corners and curves!!! Everything looks so much nicer when you turn it after clipping the curves. Also, for a long time I was afraid (perhaps ashamed) to use my seam ripper. I thought if something wasn’t perfect the first time it was a failure and I was a failure! Not everything has to be perfect on the first try. (Thanks, Mom)

  316. Reese says:

    Go slow, read the instructions, press as you sew, use a 3-step zigzag to understitch facings, don’t be afraid to rip it out and try again. There’s no such thing as ONE best sewing tip, I’ve seen so many. I’m even seeing some new ones on here!

  317. Anary says:

    Use picking shears! Best thing ever for tricky sticky fabric. TEFLON FOOT!
    Gosh I have so many others…: )

  318. Amy says:

    Chain sewing when piecing is my favorite tip! I look for patterns where this is possible – it saves time and thread. =)

  319. whitney says:

    My mom always tells me that when quilting little mistakes, puckers, and uneven corners add character to the quilt. It’s much more fun to complete two quilts with “character” in the time it would take to finish one perfect quilt!

  320. Amy says:

    I would have to say the best tip I have gotten is to iron everything when you are sewing. When I am sewing that is the only time I get my iron out, because I absolutely hate it! Ironing makes everything so much easier and the finished projest is so much better. I love this site, it is so much fun!

  321. Susan F. says:

    The best tip I ever received was to use quality fabrics. After all the cutting, and careful sewing it is heartbreaking to wash the project and have it fade or lose shape. Pretty prints on poor fabric can fool you in the beginning, but later there will be regrets.

  322. cally cruze says:

    Just because your way is different than Mrs. jones’, or your technique isn’t in the book, doesn’t mean it’s not awesome.

  323. Hannah says:

    The best sewing tip my mother ever gave me was this: “Don’t follow the pattern.”
    While this rule may have some exceptions, I’ve found that it does make more sense to do thing is easier order than the way the manufacturer tells me. Like putting the zipper in a dress first, or sewing the sleeves in before sewing up the garments sides. My mother’s method of putting in a zipper is definitively easier than anything I’ve ever seen on a package too.
    Just call me a rebel.
    Hannah from cultivating home.

  324. Karmela says:

    There are a few already mentioned here that I want to echo. I just learned to make the lining of a garment first to test for fitting. GENIUS! That will make such a difference in my confidence as I start sewing with my “good fabric”. Another tip that I love is to wash your fabric as soon as you get it, so its ready to go when you want. I was slow to pick that one up, then i’d get frustrated that my fabric wasn’t ready for a project. Now they’re all washed and ready to go. I think the tip I have had to learn the hard way is that sometimes when something just doesn’t seem to be working out is to just step away. Let it sit for a night then come back to it. Its refreshing. Frustration is so useless.

  325. ellen says:

    My mom gave me some great advice about sewing. You know when you’ve been working on a project and you just don’t want to put it down, but you’re sooo tired? My mom always makes herself put it down and come back to it the next day. It’s hard when you know you’ve only got a little bit more to go but I’ve pushed myself too many times and ended up with all kinds of mistakes.

  326. Amy says:

    This will probably seem silly, but the tip that most changed my sewing was to pin seams perpendicular to the seam. Somehow, when I started sewing, I thought the pins should go directly on the seam, just like they were the thread. It made sewing a pain, and when a friend showed me the proper way to pin, everything went so much faster and better!

  327. Maggie says:

    Here is a tutorial by Heather Bailey (creator of gorgeous fabrics!) on how to tie a knot when embroidering or hand sewing. Seems simple, but this has helped me a lot! http://heatherbailey.typepad.com/photos/my_favorite_knot/index.html
    I also watched a tutorial on binding a quilt all by machine that I can apply to any binding, unfortunately the link doesn’t seem to be working anymore.
    I love all of the other tips I read on here and will apply some of them to future projects.

  328. Jen says:

    That old standby: measure twice, cut once!

  329. Katie Wools says:

    Never to forget the importance of ironing your fabric, before you start and as you go along. My mom taught me that a correctly pressed seam can mean the difference between a piece that looks professional and one that looks homemade.

  330. I always wondered how most easily reuse a pattern for different sizes without duplicating the pattern. I learned to pin around the size I am aiming to make. Then carefully remove the pattern from the fabric, slipping the paper off the pinheads/ends and viola, you have an pattern outline to cut by following the pins. I just made 5 pairs of PJ pants all varying sizes with this tip and it worked like a charm.

  331. Stephanie says:

    The single best tip anyone ever told me about sewing was to choose your fabrics well. If you don’t like the fabric, or if it’s low quality, then you’re not going to like the final result. Who wants to waste all that time sewing something if you’re not going to like it/use it? Great advice that couldn’t be more true.

  332. Mary says:

    The best tip I ever got was from my husband who can barely sew on a button . His mom is an awesome seamstress….Really, really awesome! She makes men’s suits and stuff like that. When I was first wanting to sew, I was very intimidated by her expertise. My husband said, “Just try it. Don’t compare yourself to Mom. She was sewing before you were born….She didn’t start out knowing it all. Just try something……If it’s not perfect, consider it part of the learning process.”

  333. Cindy says:

    The best advice in quilting was to TRIM and SQUARE up and PRESS every step of the way

  334. My mom always told me to make friends with my seam ripper. And to buy a new one once in awhile – they do get dull! It’s a learning process, so don’t be ashamed of ripping it out and doing it again if you aren’t happy the first time.

  335. Theresa says:

    Iron your patterns flat with a warm iron when you’re done, so they’ll fit nicely back in the envelope.

  336. Anne says:

    what great advice! It’s not exactly advice but I love my rotary cutter and self-healing mat – it makes cutting patchwork pieces so much easier!

  337. Megan says:

    The gal who used to teach me some sewing tricks taught me that the seam ripper was my best friend. I know, this isn’t a news flash, but often I want to rush through something and overlook a minor thing, but if I take a few minutes, correct a mistake and fix it, I’m always, always, always much happier with what I’ve made.

  338. dodee says:

    The best advice , which is basic common sense, read all instructions before begining any project. A lesson I keep forgetting to do.

  339. The best tip I have gotten was how to properly rip fabric on the grain to make it perfectly straight instead of cutting it.

  340. Christy says:

    I always buy a little extra fabric, when I am doing a project, this way there is room for mistakes. If I damage fabric, redoing a seam, or maybe didn’t read something in the directions correctly (I tend to rush through stuff), soooo. Buy extra, read thoroughly, and go slowly. All good advise fellow sewers are always giving me, and I am not always so good at following…. Love the new fabrics will prob. put in an order next week.

  341. sarah s. says:

    The rotary cutter instructions on purl bee (and in the last minute patchwork & quilted gifts book) were so good and made my first couple sewing projects go really smoothly! also, I found a great video online for how to blindstitch a binding onto the back of a quilt, and that was really wonderful because the written/diagrammed instructions I saw elsewhere made NO sense to me!
    http://sewforless.com/embroideryblog/index.php/2008/03/08/video-blind-stitch-binding-to-the-back-of-your-quilt/

  342. Kristan says:

    I don’t know if it is the “best” advice, but I love it none the less. Before you wash your fabric, cut the corners off at a diagonal and your fabric won’t fray. Weird, but it works, especially on flannel.

  343. Carrie says:

    I think the best “sewing” advise is something that I read on a blog somewhere that has really stuck with me through all the projects I’ve worked on. It was about your approach and attitude towards sewing. This lady stated that her focus on each project was to get it finnished, not perfect. This has been such a help for me on some of my more difficult projects! Usually my imperfections are hardly noticeable and are easily corrected the next time I make the project. This attitude has saved me a lot of stress and has helped make sewing such an enjoyable outlet for me! Also my mom has always stressed the importance of having a good pair of fabric scissors and using them ONLY on fabic!!!
    p.s….love the new Robert Kaufman fabrics!!!

  344. Carol says:

    Most of the tips I have been taught or learned on my own have been covered above! Wish I had had them in one place like this – like replace needles often, oil the sewing machine regularly, use that iron, sew slowly, rip seams correctly… I recently embraced Lynn’s 10 ft. rule – tho I use 5 ft as a distance. Truly, if you can’t see it, it’s ok.

    I guess in addition to the ‘always iron’ recs, I would also stress that you are supposed to press the pieces and not iron back and forth, which stretches the fabric. Starch (Best Press) is your friend.

    I also have to thank Eleanor Burns for her use of a stiletto and absence of pins (combined with seams that are pressed the opposite way and nestled) – these have made a remarkable difference in my finished quilts and the time it takes to make them. And if you do need to pin, use the thinnest that work!

    I was also taught how to hold a rotary cutter correctly (point with the index finger) and that not all are equal. I have no pain using the curved handle cutters all day, but the straight ones cause pressure on my hand nerves.

  345. The best advice I received was to always purchase the highest quality of fabric you can afford. And, to use you iron and press your seams, Always – Always – Always

  346. Mama Urchin says:

    I think probably the best advice is to have un an not be afraid to experiment. It is only fabric and thread after all.

  347. Amy says:

    Best advice was from “bend the rules sewing” book; take a picture of your quilt pieces laid out before sewing together. Obviously this works best digitally.

  348. Karen says:

    the best tip that I’ve ever gotten was mentioned several time already- changing needles. I’m self-taught, and years ago I was making couch cushion covers with some really nice bark cloth. And it was snagging all over the place. I asked the sewing machine technician and he totally laughed at me…. such a simple thing to fix!

  349. Mellissa says:

    The best sewing tip that I’ve ever gotten is to let go of perfection. It will never turn out perfectly, but the flaws are what makes each project unique. It is ok to have a little wiggle in the sewing.

  350. alison says:

    The best tip I ever got was from my sewing teacher (20 years ago) – Don’t sew when you are exhausted. When I sew when I am really tired I just keep making mistakes that take up more time because of having to rip out seams and try again (and again and again sometimes). Sometimes if you just rest and go back to it in the morning it will just flow so much more smoothly and you can see where you went wrong.

  351. Regina says:

    I do a lot of quilting, and the best tip I got was how to chain piece – it is amazing how much more quickly things get done. Especially when you combine it with a rotary cutter!!! Lots less thread used, lots less time spent clipping little threads, and a great sense of accomplishment very quickly.

  352. micki says:

    The best sewing tip EVER came from this very blog! I found your link to sewing zippers with a glue stick and it really did change my sewing life. I am no longer terrified of zippers. Buttons are a different beast all together, but zippers are now fun and easy. here’s the link in case anyone doesn’t want to search for it http://sewmamasew.com/?p=87

  353. The single best piece of sewing advice is to measure twice and cut once. Although this is the best advice, I often fail to do it and then end up short on material.

  354. Alison says:

    I am very, very new to sewing but am loving it too much! I used to try and rush through everything with such excitement to get to the finished product. Quite often I’d find I’d catch one layer of material and not the other and have to rip out and start again. Then I read a tip on here (while looking for advice on how to attach bias binding ensuring you always catch both sides!) that said to take the time and baste and use the basting as a guide to sew. Now I always take the time and tack together everything – the time I save not having to rip and do over more than makes up for the tacking time! I love this site!

  355. amberly says:

    I am loving all these tips and want to say Thank YOU All! The best tip I have gotten with my sewing is to BE PATIENT! Pinning and Pressing and all the basics all take time but if you are patient then its so worth it in the end!

  356. Anne says:

    I don’t remember who gave me this advice, but I wish I did so I could thank them. Invest in good scissors. I got by for years with some Fiskars that were probably on sale at the fabric store. When I finally got a couple of pairs of really good Wiss shears. Suddenly the cutting process was much less odious (although I still prefer the sewing). Good scissors cost 3x more and they’re worth every penny.

  357. Victoria says:

    P.S. So now after posting, I go back and read others’ comments. And I thought my post on ironing would be the only one, LOL. Next time I read the other comments before posting – sorry!

  358. Victoria says:

    Nothing new here but the concept of pressing constantly while sewing was a new one for me. I avoid my iron like the plague when it comes to my wardrobe, but have totally fallen in love with my iron for sewing. It really does make a world of difference. I’m even researching a better iron right now!

  359. Collins says:

    I learned from a sewing teacher how important it is to wash and iron your fabric before cutting. Also to iron my pattern pieces.

  360. Jody says:

    I was recently talking to my sister-in-law, who is a far better seamstress than me, and she said, “make sure you have a good iron and don’t be afraid to use some steam”. It has really helped! Also, for anyone just starting out, I would say, be patient…most of my learning has been with trial and error and just to keep sewing!!!

  361. Sarah S says:

    The single best piece of sewing advice I’ve gotten is to not be afriad to admit defeat and use the seam ripper. It’s all part of learning and getting better. That said, taking your time, pressing and pinning carefully can eliminate too much quality time with the seam ripper.

  362. Alice Stephenson says:

    1) Read Sew Mama Sew blog for excellent pointers and tutorials
    2) Don’t sew when overly tired. You make time consuming mistakes, which I’ve found out the hard way.

  363. Kim says:

    My mother-in-law taught me to pin so that I don’t have to take them out when I am sewing! This saves so much time. I just need to remember to take them out when I’m done with the project! Don’t want little ones getting poked with those pins! heehee!

  364. Staci says:

    The best tip I can think of at this moment is how I use and store my patterns. I trace the size of the pattern I am making at the time onto an old white sheet. Then I always have the original pattern if I want to make another in a different size. I then put all the fabric pattern pieces I have cut and the original pattern in a manila envelope with the pattern packaging clipped to the front of the manila envelope for easy reference.

  365. A great piece of advice I received was to take a piece of tape (wide tape works best) and make a circle out of it so the sticky side is out. Stick it on the table where you are sewing. Whenever you clip threads stick them on the tape. Voila! No little pieces of thread littering your sewing table or floor.

  366. Stacey says:

    I think the best advice around sewing for me was to not get intimidated by a pattern. If I saw something I wanted, just go for it. That helped me not get caught up in the “Oh, I could never make that” mentality.

  367. tammie says:

    Always pre-wash your fabrics. For some reason, that took me a long time to actually start doing, the lure of the fresh new fabric meant I would dive right in.

  368. Straughn says:

    Ironing as you go – does make such a difference!

  369. Deb says:

    It was so interesting to read several comments about using your iron to your advantage when sewing, and I think that’s a wonderful tip. I think older people especially like things ironed more than folks today. My mom visited last week, and my daughter put on an old work shirt-unironed. My mom’s comment was, “Lost your iron, huh?” Getting rid of wrinkles makes a lot of difference–in whatever you are sewing…and in people’s attitudes around you. :)

  370. Anna says:

    I have to say that although most tips are about doing it “right” and taking care to take the time to do follow through on all the preparatory details, my favorite tip has been one I gave myself. Sewing is for fun and for enjoyment and for the love of making things, so if sometimes I don’t feel like pinning the pieces together before I stitch them, or I don’t want to iron all the seams, that’s ok! As long as I am loving what I am doing (and, more practically, as long as I’m not doing shoddy work for others!), a few skipped steps here and there are just fine.

  371. Karen says:

    One that springs to mind this week as I’ve been making some of those lovely Montessori Emmeline aprons for gifts has to do with turning ties inside out. If there is only one open end, pin a large safety pin on the right side of the fabric on the end that will be closed. Make sure to pin it far enough away from the edges that it doesn’t get sewed over as you sew the two halves together. This safety pin ends up being on the inside in the “dead end” of the tie, and by just working the safety pin towards the opening, you can turn even very large ties inside out very easily. It’s been a real time-saver for me this week!

  372. Sarah says:

    I’m afraid I have to stick with the ironing theme! When piecing for a quilt I was taught to heat set the seams first before pressing them to one side. It only takes a second to press the seam just the way you sewed it, then press it to the side. And if I’m chain piecing, I leave the pieces sewn together and press the whole batch, then cut them apart. I guess another tip would be to try to have someone experienced teach you how to sew. My mom taught me so many great shortcuts and tips, I am forever grateful!

  373. Kate says:

    I don’t really have a tip to share, but I have learned a lot from all of these! Thanks!

  374. Ellen says:

    Best advice: don’t try to read directions and figure difficult patterns out when you are tired!!
    For me morning is my best time to tackle the challenges…

  375. Michele says:

    In the little time that I’ve been sewing…I’ve learned that a nice sharp pair of scrissors are so valuable! Now I have a good pair that I use for FABRIC ONLY…when I first started sewing I was using one pair of scissors for all of my crafting. Not a good idea. Also, it really makes a difference if you change out your machine sewing needles often. They are inexpensive and it shows on your finished project.

  376. Sarah says:

    The best advice, which I’ve read and heard over and over again, is to iron, iron, iron. It can be really annoying to have to do all that ironing between every. single. step. But it definitely makes a difference in the finished product.

  377. CArol says:

    I’m with all those who consider ironing to be a vital part of sewing.

  378. Anna says:

    My mom always told me to slow down….when I was young and learning to sew I was always hurrying to get the job done, and the end product would be terrible. As I have matured, I have learned to take her advice, and while I am often able to complete my work quickly, I recognize that patience makes the best projects.

  379. Deborah says:

    I think the best advice I have ever received was from my grandmother who was a great seamstress. She advised to buy the best material you can afford so your newly sewn items will stand up to the test of time. She had very little money, but wanted to make sure that the items she made could be handed down through the years and still look presentable.

  380. Kelly Sales says:

    The best advice I ever got about sewing was from my Dad. He was a WWII vet and could build or fix anything and taught us that we could too. When I was first learning to sew when I was 7 or 8, he showed me how to clean and oil my machine. Buy the best tool I could afford and learn how to take care of it was his advice. He told me that was the most important part of using any machine or tool. And last but not least, mistakes could be turned into design elements

  381. Rita Pereira says:

    The best sewing tip that my mother gave me was to iron every piece of fabric before and after sewing to stretch the seams.

  382. melissa says:

    iron your fabric! this is a no-brainer, but still, i sometimes don’t do it, and i always regret it.

  383. Sue says:

    My mom showed me how to iron a pattern on a low setting. It makes it easier to position the pattern since you don’t have to smooth the folds.

  384. Jeannine says:

    I will concur with changing the needle often. When I began sewing, I did not know that and used a dull needle way too long.

  385. Lynn says:

    The best tip was more of advice… the 10 foot rule. If you can’t see the mistake from 10 feet, leave it. Better finished than nothing!

  386. Karie says:

    After I cut out my pattern pieces and use them I always Iron the paper pieces and fold them nicely and put them into a seperate envelope marked with the # of pieces and the numbers included in the envelope. I then place the new envelope back into the one the pattern came with that way I dont have to sort out all the pattern pieces ever time I make a pattern. Some times when I use a pattern a ton I like to iron the pattern pieces onto interfacing so it is less likely to tear or damage with all the use.

  387. Ursa says:

    I love your blog. Found it out this week. Will be back more often now.

    My aunt was teaching me to sew garments last fall. She told me to baste everything before sewing. I agree it is a lot easier then pinning things together. Nothing moves.

  388. candi says:

    the best advice i was given was to always be precise in measuring. you should always measure your fabric two plus times to make sure you only have to cut once and dont end up ruining your fabric…should have listened the first time my mom told me this!

  389. Stephanie says:

    Tip: Use your common sense. If it seems difficult, there may be an easier way. Take a step back and see if the way that you’re assembling something really makes sense. An example would be sewing sleeves into garments. Many times it’s easier to sew the sleeve in first, then complete the side seam rather than trying to adjust one circle inside another.

    For quilting, I put a 1/8-inch width piece of quilt marking tape on my machine plate so I know where 1/4-inch is when I’m sewing (I don’t have a special quilting foot).

    Lastly, if I’m sewing a garment with a lining, I sew the lining first to get a feel for how the pattern is constructed and check for fit. I can then make adjustments prior to sewing the real thing.

    This is great – I am learning a lot from reading the other tips. Thanks!

  390. liz elayne says:

    i appreciate how amy explains in bend the rules sewing that you don’t always have to pin. this little bit of advice changed the way i sew and patchwork and other things go so much faster now that i have permission not to pin!

  391. Tabitha says:

    Fusible hem tape is a lifesaver! It’s light enough that it doesn’t effect the drape of the fabric and it tacks down a hem before sewing it, so you don’t have to worry about shifting. I buy the 1/2″ to 1″ size and then cut it down if I need it. It also works really well when embelishing with slippery ribbons and sewing on Girl Scout patches. I still finish with the sewing machine but a small strip of the hem tape holds everything in place–be sure not to put the iron directly on the patch or ribbon, though, as the iron tends to scorch.

  392. Jess says:

    The best advice given to me so far has been to take my time rather than trying to rush through a project (which I have a tendency to do).

  393. ssw says:

    prewash your fabric!

  394. One good tip was that you can use the blade on dental floss to cut thread, if needed. This is especially good when doing activities on the plane. It also is useful for thin yarn.

  395. talya says:

    The best tip anyone has given me is to use pinking shears on the edges of new fabric before prewashing — the fabric unravels a lot less this way!

  396. Bonny says:

    ALWAYS IRON. I hate ironing whether it is pressing seams for ironing clothes. As far as sewing goes ironing throughout and at the end makes the best finished beautiful projects. Its worth it!

  397. Becky says:

    the best sewing tip I ever got was from a book on setting up a “quilting studio” – can’t recall title or author, but the tip I liked most was arranging sewing machine/cutting area/ironing board in a U-configuration. It is so much handier and efficient!

  398. Brandy says:

    Freezer paper. Best tip I’ve ever gotten. I cut my patterns out and I can reuse them a couple of times. I was constantly losing the marking pencils or stabbing myself with straight pins but no more!

    I adore that leaf print. Would make some fab bags or cushions for my front porch!

  399. Tammy says:

    Echoing some other comments: my grandma taught me to iron as I go. It makes things so much nicer. :)

    Something I learned a few years ago from a book (have no idea what book though!): to get a curved seam to lie flat (like a collar), stitch, then zigzag right next to the stitching. Trim close to the zig zag stitch, turn out and press–NO NEED TO CLIP! It really works!

  400. Teresa says:

    My mom, an engineer, taught me that I don’t have to stick to store bought patterns, I can create my own. It is just a numbers game when creating a patter, nothing to be intimidated about.

    By the way, I love the Robert Kaufman fabric!

  401. Kirsten says:

    I use a Japanese tailoring product called Melt Fuse for all my hemming needs. My mom recommended it to me for my knit shirts that tend to have wavy hems….It keeps the hems from stretching out.

  402. Lael says:

    As teenage users of my mom’s old sewing machine, my sister and I were so unpatient! We thought since it was a machine we should be able to stitch fast. So the best advice I was given to overcome this foible was to go at a measured speed and let the fabric feed on its own through the machine. Seems simple, but to youngsters it was not so….

  403. Jenn says:

    My best sewing tip is to keep at it until it’s how you want it. Not a technical thing, but important none the less. My mom and Grandma both taught me not to be afraid to rip things apart and change how it’s done in order to get the results I want. For instance a handbag recently turned out super cute, full of pockets right where I needed them (on the second try) and the straps just the right length for my long torso and arms, BUT it was all floppy and it bothered me. Just needed to rip it apart and add in some stiff interfacing and now it’s just perfect. Best advice ever given to me!

  404. Bean says:

    Love the new prints! The best sewing advice I’ve ever received is – Don’t panic!! Thanks, Douglas Adams! :)

  405. Suzi says:

    I’m beginner when it comes to the machine and am not happy to read all the comments about ironing! – although I’m guessing that ironing may well be my answer to this same question in 6 months time ;-)

    My mum did advise me to always take the time on the finishing touches – hem a skirt by hand with invisible stitches, so the finish is better than shop bought..

  406. mandy says:

    This might seem a little obvious but I still needed someone to tell me. After washing your fabric fold it up and wait until you use it before ironing. Before this genius comment I had been washing, ironing, folding, and then ironing again before cutting.

  407. Water Works says:

    Wow this is hard…the single best tip ever?! My mom is such a fabulous source of how to’s and good tools for me. The tip that stands out the best today is take the time to research any new needlework or sewing endeavor…make sure you have the right tools and take the time to learn the techniques involved. And, most importantly, remember that the best of the best still rip out mistakes! I am still loving those Swell fabrics…maybe this week I’ll win a chance at one??!!

  408. Kate says:

    My mother constantly reminds me of a very simple and obvious tip that I often over look. PINS!! I am a slacker sometimes at not using enough pins and she politely reminds me that they will save the day when sewing or quilting. I’m slowly learning to use more pins.

  409. Yetta says:

    The best tip I ever got was super simple yet amazingly effective: change your needle often. Almost every time that I think my machine needs to be serviced or I need to find a new hobby because sewing is just too frustrating, replacing my needle makes everything better.

  410. Beth says:

    Love the new fabric. I became a grandmother last year and recently started sewing for the first time in my life. I am having a blast sewing things for my grandson. My favorite tip is to pre-wash and iron all fabric and ribbons, etc. It’s also the hardest for me to do because when I get new fabric I can’t wait to get started on my project, but have to wait to wash and iron first!

  411. Alissa says:

    The best advise I ever received was to start over until I get it right. I have a habit of figuring it will turn out all right, or at least good enough. My mom made me unpick a whole dress once. Now I even quilt, with those delicate 1/4″ seams (I have unpicked a few quilt blocks before, I’m still learning, but at least learning right).

  412. linda p says:

    the best tip i got was from a magazine (that my mom told me to read) which said you could mark all of the dots (from sewing patterns) on your fabric with stickers. I could never find the pesky chalk marks, so this tip has been a lifesaver!

  413. Ritz says:

    to iron between every step.

  414. claudia says:

    Use sharp needles! I don’t know if this is the best piece of advice I’ve received but it IS an important one. It’s amazing how smoothly you can get through a project just by using a new needle. It is recommended you change your needle after about 8 hours of sewing.

  415. Claire says:

    My Grandma taught me how sew, and the best thing she taught me is how to alter clothing. Among other things, she has showed me how to lengthen pants and shorten hems. Her advice has been so valuable over the years.

  416. emmyjane says:

    My mom always uses freezer paper to give structure to her applique shapes. Iron the freezer paper onto the fabric, cut a seam allowance, and press the edges in. When you’re almost done with the applique, stick the needle and then your finger inside to pull out the paper. It works great.
    I also treat patterns like recipes and write notes to myself all over the pattern. It helps me visualize what’s happening the next time I use the pattern. Happy Sewing!

  417. Sara says:

    read the directions well and sew SLOW best advice

  418. Crisanne says:

    My mom’s best advice has been to press, press, press! A good ironning job makes all the difference.

  419. Esther says:

    The best advice I have recieved was to always measure twice and cut once!

  420. Joanna says:

    Oh and by the way….I’m doing a giveaway on my blog if anyone is interested!!

    http://www.sugarbug.wordpress.com

  421. Joanna says:

    I agree with all the comments bout ironing. Whenever I am trying to make something quickly, I’m tempted to skip things like ironing seams open, etc., but I always regret it! I LOVE that forest silhouette fabric-it reminds me of Angry Chickens paper cut outs…

  422. Mindy says:

    Ya’ll have the bestest giveaways!!

  423. Katie says:

    Really good advice that I learned was iron as you sew and pin pin pin! Those are no fail tricks. Love the new fabric!

  424. Katie says:

    I see that my favorite tip has been mentioned by a few people already…I got this from my mother: press, press and press again! Good ironing will make your project come out better every time. Thanks Mom!

  425. Melanie says:

    That’s funny, but my best sewing advice came this week, and it’s a pretty simple one, it’s how to use a seam ripper properly!

    http://www.purlbee.com/the-purl-bee/2008/3/25/mollys-sketchbook-sewing-kit-essentials-clover-seam-ripper.html

    I’m always scared to use my most beautiful fabrics, because I can never rip out a seam without damaging my fabric! Now it’s over, I will make sure to use this method the next time I make a mistake.

  426. tara says:

    Best advice – a simple little thing, but I read somewhere to use pinking shears (or pinking rotary cutter) on your raw edges BEFORE you pre-wash your new fabric. It comes out so much nicer, and no frays, tangles, etc.

  427. amy says:

    The loop turner by Dritz is a life saver when turning those long strips of sewing, like dress ties, belts or shoulder straps. My Mom gave me one in the sewing basket she prepare for me when I got married. Also in the basket was psalm 31 written in her own hand “A wife of noble character who can find ?”. I will always cherish it.

  428. I am very new at sewing. I just started really sewing anything except straight stiches about 5 months ago. As I was trying to think of the best tip I heard, I started reading these comments. After everyone I thought: “What a great idea, I am going to try that.” so I would have to say, the comments on this post are the greatest tips I have gotten! :)

  429. Liz R. says:

    My friend showed me a tip with zippers- I am a beginner sewer so anything helps. After you pin your zipper and before you sew, put a strip of clear tape over the zipper on the side you will be sewing( the right side of the fabric? I am a visual person). Then just sew down the sides of the piece of tape. The width of the tape is just a little less than the width of the zipper so you are sure to catch the fabric of the zipper every time. Maybe everyone else does this but it was new to me!

  430. Chandra says:

    Reading all of the tips are great! The best advice that I have is to iron between every step-it’s time consuming but the finished product will be more professional looking. The other advice is to change your sewing needle on a regular basis. A new needle can make all of the difference in the world!

  431. Cami Paul says:

    A tutorial?! You really know how to raise the bar!

  432. Miss Sassy says:

    My friend Marsha told me to use the best quality fabric. Cheaper fabric doesn’t sew well and the finished project doesn’t look as nice. I always feel like a bad sewer when I try to fuss with a cheaper quality fabric and then remember – oh yeah, you get what you pay for!

  433. Amy says:

    Hmmm…I have picked up little things here and there it almost seems just like second nature to me. I guess my favorite technique learned was the french seam. The other bit of advice that I love while hand embroidering is using an old tissue box to collect all of those tid bits of floss. The plastic around the opening holds it all in and works like a dream!

  434. probably everyone knows this, but if you iron your used patterns as you fold them to store, they’ll lay as flat as when you bought them!

  435. Kirsten says:

    I wasn’t actually given this tip but rather clued into it as I browsed other people’s blogs and flickr pics. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. A uni prof once told me, “Perfection can be an obstacle.” It’s so true. As a new sewer, striving to make my projects perfect got me really frustrated with not very much to show for. I say, just go for it…make mistakes and learn.

  436. Molly says:

    Although I hate to do regular ironing, I think it is the best thing to make your projects look finished and professional. Whatever you are making, a quilt, a bag etc. . . it will look better if you take time to press it well.

  437. Jenn says:

    My mother’s voice is always in my head why I’m trying to be courageous and do a project I’m intimidated by: just try it. What’s the worst that can happen?
    She taught me that sometimes the hardest challenges can be the most rewarding and to just give it a go. She gave me the confidence to believe that I am more talented then I give myself credit for.
    She also taught me to chain peice to speed up the process, and does it ever! I have to say, that’s about the best tip I have:)

  438. Jeanne says:

    I’m just a beginner, but the best advice I received was to buy the best basic machine I could afford. Sadly, I didn’t follow that advice (hoping to save a few bucks). Since then, I’ve had a chance to sew on a great basic machine that is 15 years old (versus my cheap, new machine), and I’m now kicking myself. The difference is amazing! I thought perhaps I just wasn’t good at sewing, but a good machine makes a big difference in my final product!

  439. claudia says:

    I love tutorials and tips in general but I must confess the best tip I ever received wasn’t about any technique but how to approach sewing (or any work): I met an old lady in a shop and while commentiing and discussing about fabrics and options, she told me that the most important part of sewing was the love and care put in the work. “If you don’t do it with love, it doens’t matter how perfect it will be, it won’t carry the warm needed for the person to enjoy it.” And this is what carries me with all I do (or try to do).

  440. Valerie says:

    Love the new fabrics! The best tip was from my Mom- she taught me to press everything with a good iron, and don’t be aftrid to try new things, what’s the worst that can happen?

  441. knittin mama says:

    Somewhere, a long, long time ago, I read about taping a small paper bag to the edge of the table by the sewing machine to hold all the little pieces of thread that get clipped.

  442. Katherine says:

    The best piece of sewing advise I received was from my mom, who told me to make friends with my iron, and iron everything, before and after sewing every seam. I alway follow this advise and it makes a huge difference in how things turn out.

  443. lindsey says:

    A common thing but new for me. I make “copies” of my pattern in each size. That way as the girls grow I can make bigger sizes and still have the smaller ones for when I make dresses for gifts. or new addtions! And Storage is an issue. I put mine in a accordian folder. I would love to hear how people organize their patterns.

  444. When I was 14, I wanted to make myself a red plaid robe. I had beginning sewing skills and my mom had given me her sewing machine that she got when she was a teen. Lovely grey and pink singer that was heavy as a sack of bricks! (Still have it by the way!) I cut out the pattern and pinned together the pieces and sewed here, sewed there, but when it came time for the collar, I couldn’t figure out how to do it. Believe it or not, my Dad came to the rescue! He explained how to pin on a curve and showed me how to sew it on the machine and then let me finish it off myself. Needless to say, I looked at my dad in a different light after that!! His advice on how to pin on a curve has stuck with me nearly 20 years later.

  445. Robyn says:

    A great tip I read was that, when folding up garment pattern pieces for storage, refold them so that the piece number is on top. This saves tons of time when you go back to make the pattern again – you don’t have to unfold pieces to find the ones that you want.

  446. Debbie Swoboda says:

    A colleague at the fabric store (decades ago) brought my attention to the Dritz Ezy-Hem. No more scorched fingertips when pressing a 1″ hem.

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