Sewing 101: 5 Small Ways to Avoid a Big Oops!

Hello again, it’s Theresa Gonzalez here sharing a few small tips (and a 50% off discount code!) for my Sewing 101 class! One of the biggest challenges to learning anything new is not getting discouraged after you’ve made a mistake. But errors happen, even for veteran sewers, so here’s a little advice to help you avoid major blunders. Take these tiny steps and you’ll enjoy your first attempt at sewing way more, plus end up with a first project you love.

nicole's classes sewing 101 tutorial!
1. Hide the Fabric Goggles: You may be drawn to a beautiful fabric for its print or texture but read your pattern first. Beginner patterns will suggest a fabric that is easy to work with and suitable for the pattern so go with the label’s recommendation. You don’t want to work with a silk when a pattern calls for a cotton. Silky fabrics, for one, can be tricky as can other drapey fabrics like knits. You want something sturdy like a quilting cotton when you’re just starting out. Read more about choosing fabric on my other post here.

nicole's classes sewing 101 tutorial!
2. Press As You Go: I can’t stress this enough. You want to have your ironing board set up near your workstation and your iron set at the appropriate setting for your fabric. You’ll achieve better results by sewing wrinkle-free fabric from the start and as you go. Also, press your seams on the Wrong and Right side after you sew them to get a more polished look.

nicole's classes sewing 101 tutorial!
3. Read Your Manual: I know it looks like a snoozer but that technical manual that came with your machine is a sewing lifesaver. You don’t have to read it cover to cover, but definitely reference it when you’re not sure about something. It will tell you how to thread your machine, what the stitches on your machine do, what all your feet are meant for, and more so flip through it to become more familiar with the features on your machine.

nicole's classes sewing 101 tutorial!nicole's classes sewing 101 tutorial!
4. Slow It Down: The tortoise also wins the sewing race. Going slowly will ensure you follow along a straight line and turn corners at the exact point. After threading your machine, set your stitch speed to slow. Look at your manual to find the speed dial on your machine (machine manufacturers vary so yours may not look like mine).

Don’t be afraid to stop too in the middle of stitching. As long as your foot is pressed down, your fabric will stay in place. If you need to reset your fabric, keep the needle pierced down, lift the foot, and readjust.

Make sure you’ve blocked a good amount of time to work on your project and that you’re not rushing through it. Daytime is best so you can clearly see what you’re working on and find a flat surface like a craft or dining table to keep measurements and cutting accurate.

nicole's classes sewing 101 tutorial!
5. Use Your Seam Ripper: This beginner’s best friend helps you remove mistake stitches without ripping your fabric. Don’t be afraid to go back and fix your stitching if you’re not totally happy with it. Say you strayed away from a line and didn’t catch a seam. Use your ripper to pull out the part the didn’t work (you don’t have to pull out stitches that look good) and replace your fabric in the machine at that point of redo, backing stitching at the beginning and end so you don’t create a loose spot. If you get frustrated, take a breather and go back to correcting your mistakes. Soon enough you’ll find that you’re learning from them as well.

These 5 simple tips should save you time and stress on all your future sewing projects, and I hope they inspired you to learn more in my Sewing 101 class! We have an April session that started Monday, and there’s still time to join in without missing anything. If you decide to enroll in any upcoming Sewing 101 session between now and Friday, April 5th, enter the discount code NCAPRILSEW at checkout to save a whopping 50% off the full class price!

The course is packed with even more amazing skills and tips just like these, so don’t put off learning how to use that sewing machine gathering dust in the corner… purchase your spot in Sewing 101 now!


Want to see what our classes are really like? Try a free mini course!