Worst Beginner Sewing Mistakes – Part 2: Time to Sew!

  • Serger Pepper - sorry dear I have some sewing to do

Remember what we were talking about last week?

Worst Beginner Sewing Mistakes

now it’s time to sew, but better avoid those common errors!

Serger Pepper - sorry dear I have some sewing to do - worst beginner sewing mistakes - let's sew!

Sewing directly on garment, without practicing on scraps

Always save some scraps of fabrics while cutting to practice stitching, new techniques, buttonholes… everything!

I’m sure you don’t want to ruin your project right on the last detail, just because you decided not to loose time on regulating tensions on a little scraps… and you can always toss them later, when the project is finished.

As you may guess, I don’t throw away fabric’s scraps, I put them away, waiting for next project: you never know if when a T-shirt sleeve can come in handy!

Using an old needle

You’ve certainly previously chosen the right one, basing on your fabric and thread, now remember changing it frequently (a good advice is to start with a new one every project. I have to admit that, if I know I’ve used a needle for a short project, I re-use it).

Ignoring notches

If you find a notch on a pattern, it’s because it need to match with something.

Sometimes it looks like a notch is in the wrong place but perhaps it’s not!

Try basting, if you’re not sure, sometimes pins can deceive you!

Sewing on pins

I am often guilty of this one: sewing over pins!

It’s a big no-no because you can broke your needle (that in the worst scenery can finish its run in your eyes) and damage your sewing machine timing.

Run against the time (a.k.a. not sewing at your own pace)

Especially if you’re a beginner, better spend some more time in doing things (and make them good) than be faster and inaccurate, just because a pattern envelope says “you can complete your first pair in half an hour“: sewing must be a fun activity, not a run against the time (well, most of the times)!

If you take your time while cutting, pinning, sewing (and the rest of that stuff), your finished garment will be more likely to be worn and appreciated, and no one love to spend time and money for sewing something that will never see the sunlight, on its hanger, inside a closet!

Double check for grainlines, use them for aligning your pattern; topstitch going slowly: you’re not loosing your time doing that, nothing screams “poorly homemade” more than an out-of-grainline top or a clearly not parallel topstitching…

Not pressing while you sew

This is a must, I always repeat it to everyone (and to myself too).

It’s a suggestion that occupies an entire chapter into one of the most complete classes I’ve had lately on Craftsy:

Serger Pepper - Worst Beginners Sewing Mistakes - Let's Sew

Check also my best tips on pressing while you sew and want to have your own pressing tools, spending no money

My Tip 1: Spend some more time on your seams

I hate when weak seams are popping the first time you (or, worst, someone else) wear something I’ve sewn… it always makes me feel bad!

It happened to me so many times that now I try to reinforce every seam placed on a stress-point (and, with a 5 years old daughter, all seams are involved).

My Tip 2: Warning: your scissors cut!

When you’re reducing a seam allowance (if you’re not using a serger, obviously) or cutting anything else, like a thread tail… check TWICE your scissors points aren’t reaching any other piece of your garment or… you’ll have a “nice” V-cut somewhere

Once, I cut off my mouse wire… then I was wondering why it was no more working... I had made a wire-less mouse LOL

Are you guilty of any of those beginner’s sewing mistakes in sewing?

Do you have any mistakes to add to the list?

Speak now, or shut up forever (just joking!)

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About the Author:

Hi there! I love sewing, creating my own patterns and refashioning pre-loved clothes... If you love the same things, why not be friends? See you on Pinterest http://Pinterest.com/MammaNene


  1. Kathy April 19, 2014 at 01:19 - Reply

    I would add not testing your button hole foot each and every project! I always do a test button hole on a scrap because I’ve learned the hard way that mistakes can happen. My button hole foot is awesome but what if the button is slightly loose? Or I forgot to do the settings correctly? I could ruin my lovely project.

    And the needle! That is a big one! I’ve heard that a great many tension issues are really caused by bad needles.

    • Mamma Nene April 19, 2014 at 11:28 - Reply

      Yes, I agree! Buttonholes are a pain… And remember the trick of the pin when you open them with a seam ripper… if you want to aviod a ripped garment (like I often do)

      Needles are really important! I’m experiencing less troubles using schmetz instead of the cheap ones!

  2. sewing4sofia April 19, 2014 at 03:19 - Reply

    pressing…I just find out how helpful it is ..I was ignoring pressing for a looong time…big misstake!

    • Mamma Nene April 19, 2014 at 11:25 - Reply

      You’re true, Evie… it’s one of the most important things… never ever skip this step!

  3. Agy April 19, 2014 at 06:07 - Reply

    I’m guilty of using an old needle! Actually, a friend shared that the needle should be changed after one project especially if you’re sewing heavy materials such as jeans. Great post, Irene.

    • Mamma Nene April 19, 2014 at 11:24 - Reply

      Thanks Agy! I know, you should change it… and I wrote it as a reminder, principally for me 😉

  4. ksgentry April 19, 2014 at 06:26 - Reply

    I am here to confession that I still have left a few pins in place and the needle crossed it’s path. Guess that is one way to get a new needle installed though obviously not the best time to have to do it.

    • Mamma Nene April 19, 2014 at 11:23 - Reply

      I confess that happens a lot to me too… you know: “Do what I do, not what I say!”… And maybe, one day, I’ll be able to break my sewing machine and have a new fancy one LOL

  5. Beatriz Azuara April 19, 2014 at 11:26 - Reply

    Yes, to me happened years ago that no check tension of the bobbin thread is me were loose and became pants, when I ducked opened me from the knee up, what a mess, yes, heat is not passed and luckily I was home that if I will be around the same fashion implanted lol.


    • Mamma Nene April 19, 2014 at 11:34 - Reply

      Ouch! It’s not fun… Luckily you weren’t at the park 🙂
      But… we learn from mistakes! And I bet you learnt a lot from it!!!

      • Beatriz Azuara April 19, 2014 at 12:12 - Reply

        Good thing I always take it with mood, it was many years ago when I started with sewing, now the pants are all reinforced not happen again lol.

  6. Kukafera April 19, 2014 at 15:38 - Reply

    Your wireless mouse is the best!! Hahaha
    (now I’m getting used to sew over pins, although I know it’s bad bad bad, and I’d never done it before… mmm)

    • Mamma Nene April 19, 2014 at 15:41 - Reply

      Hehehe it wasn’t mine so I laughed hard… it was in my old office… and I called the electrician because I couldn’t understand why it suddenly stopped working!
      I sometimes (often) sew over pins, but it’s a real risk, depending on what you’re sewing on…

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