/ / 3 Sewing Mistakes I’ve Made (and how I avoid them)

3 Sewing Mistakes I’ve Made (and how I avoid them)

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A long time ago I didn’t love sewing so much (gasp!).

But now I do. I. Do. Love. Sewing. So Much!

So what happened?


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I think the mistakes that I was making were killing the joy.

And I don’t want that to happen to you.

Really.

I want everyone to love sewing!

So let’s talk about those mistakes that I was making and see if any of them sound familiar…


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1. I would rush my way through a project.

I think I was looking forward so much to the finished product that I didn’t slow down to enjoy the process.

And that made my work sloppy. 

So I was seldom proud of my finished work too.

How awful is that?

So I learned to slow down.

Now I turn off my phone, turn on my favorite music, and have a sewing hour (or two or three)!


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2. Sewing things that I didn’t want to sew.

My sewing time is limited – so it’s precious to me.

Everyone’s different, but I don’t want to spend my time sewing someone else’s work aprons, gun sleeves, or dresses that they don’t want to pay $40 for.

I’d rather be sewing quilts, tote bags, and sometimes unique things to wear – unique being the point!

I give away almost everything I sew, and this is why – sewing for money makes me feel under-appreciated and takes away the joy.

I’m not saying that’s the case for everyone. But if sewing for money takes the joy away for you – what will you do about that?


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3. Using the wrong fabric for the pattern.

This piece of advice is more technical than the first two, but if I’m honest, it’s the problem behind so many of my sewing fails.

I would fall in love with a beautiful print or a beautiful color of fabric and I’d use it no matter what the pattern called for. Oops! That doesn’t always work.


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There’s a very good reason that patterns have ‘suggested fabrics.’ Pattern makers want you to be successful – so you’ll love the project and buy another pattern! They include the important ‘suggested fabrics’ section to give you the best chance for success. 

So stick to one of those suggested fabric types, at least for the first time you sew up a pattern. After that (when you have some experience with the pattern) if you still feel like a non-suggested fabric might work… proceed!

Do you have any lessons learned to add? Tell us in the comments!

p.s…

If you are wondering about the projects in the photos. Here they are:

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Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂

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31 Comments

  1. I don’t think I have hurried through many things that I have sewn. I hate to rip out. Read instructions could be included in your tips. There is a reason for instructions. Way back when, I ripped out the stitching on the first pair of pants that I sewed – twice. I was in tears because I did it wrong – not once but twice. My mom finally helped me out. I was 12 or 13 and I guess I didn’t understand the instructions. I think I may have worn the pants once after all of that.

  2. Jennifer Meas says:

    This is such good advice and I am in complete agreement. I’ve never looked at my sewing from this perspective. Im giving these suggestions a go! Thank you!

  3. Gene Judge says:

    Best advice EVER, Caroline ! Took me YEARS to figure out those 3 tenets ! Working on my 2nd Glitter quilt: a rosy-pink Father’s choice. It is beautiful !

  4. Finally someone else gets the "I don’t like sewing for money" thing. I have sold some things, but I don’t want to mass produce items or do someone else’s mending or altering. I work full time – sewing is my creative outlet and stress relief, plus I have enough projects of my own to last a couple life times….lol Thanks for all the inspiration you post!

  5. Ophelia Chang says:

    The single most important thing for me is to keep my sense of humor. I will utter a hearty expletive when I make a mistake, but all in fun. I laugh at myself and even harder if I’ve ripped out an error to find that it wasn’t an error after all. If it’s really a doozy, I make sure I post evidence of it on social media so I can share the laughs.
    Keeping my machine in perfect working order is important too, since machine glitches and errors are the least funny to me.

  6. Rebecca M Trevino says:

    Such good advice. I would add, change your sewing machine needle often and make sure that you’re using the right needle for you project. Needles are small, but they are mighty and they are engineered to match our fabric type and density. The wrong needle or a dull needle can ruin a project and leave you sad.

  7. Thank you for your article. This hit closer to home than I would have believed. I will be making some adjustments so that I too LOVE to sew again.

  8. Me encantaron tus consejos, sobretodo no coser por obligación, y ahora es preciso lo que me paso y he perdido mi alegría, voy a tomar el rumbo y lo haré por voluntad por que me encanta coser

    1. Hi Alexa! I used Google to translate your comment:

      I loved your advice, especially not sewing by obligation, and now it is necessary what happened to me and I have lost my joy, I will take the course and I will do it by will because I love sewing

      I wish you good luck… maybe you can find time to sew for the joy after your work is done! xoxo

  9. Rosemary B says:

    YES!
    I agree. How many tmes have people, friends, others said to you "Oh you could sell those on Etsy and make a pile of money" No one says that to me anymore. Nope, I do not want to make and sell.
    Or, yes, someone’s friends sister would like me to hem her pants…. two pair.

    If I offer to do sewing for someone, I will offer. I love making blocks for charity quilts. I cannot bust out a quilt on my own in record time but I love participating and sharing.
    I believe most of us are on the same page here.

    Sometimes I have to lie…. eeek. I will say, I do not know how to hem pants
    Oh have you ever had someone ask you to make curtains?

    Then, for me…. sewing is not fun.

  10. I don’t sew for profit. In my younger years I sold doll outfits to doll collectors, especially fancy Barbie fashions and gowns. Ebay was not even ‘born’ yet and advertising was done via doll magazine ads. Sewing for charity and for my great nieces and nephews takes up my time now and I enjoy it so much. As for rushing, it never works out well for me. Learning to sew as a child was the best skill I could have brought with me into adulthood. I do wish I’d kept up with piano lessons too but that’s another topic!

  11. I totally agree with your opinion about the first two mistakes we should avoid. I always rush to finish whatever it is i am sewing. They ended up disappointing or left alone as project half done. uups.. I also give away most of my projects and it feels good to know someone who did that also.
    Thanks for all your writings.

  12. Mariette Forget says:

    Hi and thank you so much for these wise pieces of advice. Have a lovely day!

  13. I always have people asking me to make things for them and sometimes I get myself into trouble because what I’m asked to make ends up to be more time and trouble than I expected and I feel underpaid. I was asked to do some 5" letters on a set of sheets, pillowcases and a duvet cover. It sounded like so much work and I really didn’t want to do this but never learned how to say no. I wanted it to sound too costly so I blurted out "oh that would cost you $400 at least!" The girl said "just a minute and I’ll call my boss." She came back in 2 minutes and said to me "he said ok do it!" I was sick!! Well I did the job and it came out fabulously but I learned that one little word WAY overprice it if you really don’t want to do it!!!

    Also, I have a bin with things to be finished because I missed the deadline. It’s awful to rush through something and it doesn’t come out the way you want. Then you end up having to make another one and it’s not in the beautiful fabric you picked for the project. I take a day and do nothing but what’s in that bin. When it’s empty I’ll treat myself to a sewing book, a piece of fabric or a new notion but not unless the bin is empty! I too have learned to slow down!

  14. Ms Moomby says:

    WOW, what a great insight. Never thought of it that way. Thank you!

  15. Jean Stocks says:

    I would never sew for money, it becomes a job then and not a hobby, would much rather make something to gift to friends, family etc. including Linus quilts.
    Totally agree with the first two tips.

  16. If I start making STUPID mistakes I stop and put everything away. Its obvious that I am too tired or my mind has wandered. Sewing for money is great if that is necessary. But sewing for love is so much more fun and rewarding.

  17. Bucky Rivera says:

    Thanks for this! I can relate to all 3. I just finished working on some BB jerseys, taking them from xxl to Med. I only did it cause it was for my husband’s team. But it was no fun even though I’m getting paid for it. Most of my sewing 🧵 now is like yours (all 3) and that makes me happy 😊

  18. Stephanie says:

    Great suggestions. I would also add to get friendly with your iron. You press / iron as much a you sew. Takes it from homemade to handmade. Rembrandt was a painter but I bet no one asked him to paint a house. I am picky about what I do for others because I sew for my pleasure…..and my time is valuable to me.
    Enjoy all of your posts.

  19. Mistake: not buying a little extra fabric to account for my mistakes!

  20. My mistake also is being in a hurry. Thanks for the reminder to slow down. Diann

  21. One thing I’ve noticed in the sewing classes I take is that a lot of beginners take on advanced projects or choose difficult fabrics to work with. So right off, they run into trouble and hate sewing. If you’re just starting sewing, don’t try to make a complicated party dress out of silky fabric. Or leggings with 4-way stretch jersey, when you don’t even know the difference between needles, threads and stitches. Accept you are a beginner, and choose something more appropriate to your level. You WILL get better, and then you can tackle harder projects.

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