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Monday, January 6, 2014

SEW BAD: 14 Sewing Habits that You Need Break!

Last year, my most popular post was my review of 13 bad sewing habits (in honor of 2013). Now it's 2014, so I thought I'd add 14 more. Many of these are based on the comments that you, the reader, provided! So here we go...

(14) Sewing in the dark. When I first start sewing, I had amazing eye sight. Now I'm blind without my bifocals. For me, great lighting is a must. I'm lucky to have a sister who works for a cardiologist. When they got new beds (is that what they are called?), they got new floor lamps. But the floor lamps were those lamps that we ladies are quite familiar know...not the ones a cardiologist would use. So I have an amazing Brewer Halogen 35 Exam Light! Use whatever works, but stop sewing in the dark!

(13) Not taking the time to press properly. You might go too quickly, you might iron when you should press (and stretch the fabric), you might use steam when you shouldn't, you might use the wrong temperature...whatever the problem, please take time to press!

(12) Watching TV. I don't have a TV in my sewing room, but one of you mentioned that this was a bad habit - mainly because it's distracting. This is especially dangerous when slicing fabric with a rotary cutter! YIKES! And to be honest, I can't imagine watching Downton Abbey while I'm sewing! 

(11) Being careless with your bobbin. One of you mentioned to be sure to thread your bobbin correctly. This is a tension issue - bobbins are wound and threaded in a particular direction for a reason. I've seen lots of bobbin problems: adding thread to a bobbin that already has thread on it (only wind thread on to an empty bobbin); winding the bobbin wrong (read your manual if you are in doubt), placing the bobbin in the machine in the wrong direction (again, check your manual). Also, for a drop-in bobbin, make sure the thread is inserted correctly. If I would get sewing quickly, the bobbin thread in my Janome would pop out of the tension and be all loosy-goosy. I could hear it happen!

And one more thing that a few of you mentioned...thinking that there is enough thread in the bobbin to finish a project. Ah, we all know it runs out with about 2" to go!

(10) Sewing while on meds. OK, I believe in sewing therapy, but there are times that we need to take some cold medication (or similar) that makes us drowsy. Probably not a good idea! Thanks to the reader who suggested this!

(9) Putting pins in your mouth. I rarely use pins, so this is not a problem for me, but,'s an accident waiting to happen. I love my magnetic pin holder. I have several of them. Get those pins out of your mouth! And speaking of pins, you really need to stop sewing over them - if hit a pin with your needle, you can jam that pin into your machine. You machine will hate you! =)

(8) Using a folding chair. My back is sore just thinking about this! I use an office chair - but I have a dedicated sewing room. For those of you sewing a the dining room table, make sure you are getting good support and that you are sitting at the correct height. This Sewlutions Guideline might help!

(7) Not taking breaks. I have a really bad habit of sewing for long periods of time. But sometimes it's just a good idea to take a break, especially when you are struggling. I stretch and go for a run on my treadmill. It clears my head and allows me to problem solve. Do what works for you!

(6) Not practicing new techniques prior to doing them. I'm a teacher who really believes in trying out new techniques. I've posted lots of tutorials in my Craftsy Pattern Store with the goal of helping you learn techniques - instead of being just a project sewer! So practice the technique prior to trying it on a project. Trust me...I've ruined a few projects because I thought I could figure it out. 

(5) Being afraid of zippers. I know. I was there. My friend Caitlin sent me directions for installing a zippered pocket. I was totally freaked out and sat on it for about three weeks. I finally mustered up the courage, got out some scrap fabric and an old zipper, and tried. It was hideously wonky. But I quickly figured out what I was doing wrong. I tried again. Now I can't get enough of zippers. Go to my Craftsy Pattern Store to download some free zipper tutorials! BTW, I buy all my zippers at ZipperStop!

(4) Being afraid to make a button hole. It's all about practicing. Yes, the button hole attachment looks a bit intimidating, but dig out some scrap fabric and your owner's manual and start playing. I think you'll be surprised how simple it is. 

(3) Storing thread out in the open. Yes, it's cute to hang thread on a peg board. My mom did that. In fact, I have a lovely pink peg board. But all of my thread is safely tucked away in drawers and jars. Why? Thread collects dust.  That dust gets in your machine. I once wrote about this...

(2) Using pens to mark up fabric. And by pens I mean pens, like Bic. Use pens and markers designed for marking fabric - or you might permanently stain your fabric. I prefer water-soluble markers and small pencils. But you still need to test them. Even markers designed for fabric can stain!

(1) Guessing when you can look it up. The internet wasn't around when I learned to sew, but I was lucky to have a talented sister and mother who would answer my questions. Now I look things up. I watch YouTube videos. This Craftsy class looks great...40 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know. Sure, some of the techniques are for projects you won't make, but the techniques might help you with other projects. I never considered myself a quilter, but I use quilting techniques ALL. THE. TIME. on non-quilting projects!

Anything you'd like to add?

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