100 Things I’ve learned about sewing

20170909_175325In honour of my 100th blog post, I’ve compiled a list of one thing from each of my blog posts (in order, from earliest to most recent – so don’t judge the early ones!). I started this blog in 2012, took a couple year break from 2012 to 2015 and have been trying to post consistently (roughly weekly) since the summer of 2016. I originally began blogging as a way to force myself to learn more about sewing and record (and share!) my new knowledge. Looking back on my first projects, it’s easy to see that I have learned a lot. Hopefully some of this hard-earned wisdom can help the sewists of the internet improve their sewing, too!

Here goes:

  1. Use cheap (but similar fabric) to make your muslin.
  2. “Couture” patterns have a lot of extra steps that may or may not be necessary.
  3. Marking the grain and crossgrain are useful to easily spot how a garment hangs. (Disclaimer, this is not something I have ever done since, but if I were to make a drapey gown I totally would.)
  4. Blazers involve about a zillion types of interfacing and stabilizer and must be respected.
  5. It is worth it to redo things that aren’t perfect.
  6. Thread tracing it sometimes better than marking with chalk.
  7. Thread is also one way to mark alterations, which is especially useful when working on the final piece (and not a muslin.)
  8. Two ginghams are better than one.
  9. Bias tape makers are the sh*t.
  10. It’s super important to understand ease when making things fit!
  11. It’s ridiculously satisfying to make copies of couture for waaaaaay cheaper.
  12. Stylebook is a neat app that helped me figure out what I wear most (so I can sew more of it!)IMG_0985
  13. Making coordinating separates that turn into a dress is like getting three garments for the price of two!
  14. Sometimes, you make things too small and can’t fix it. That’s okay.
  15. Fabric buying in batches makes it easy to sew clothes you can wear together.
  16. Matching plaid is hard, but necessary.
  17. Grading a pattern is essential. I’m embarrassed to say that it took me to 2015 to figure that out.
  18. Binding in bias is a gorgeous way to finish garments.
  19. When experimenting, have a Plan B.
  20. Sewing bow embellishments is really easy!
  21. Rosettes are also super simple and still one of my favourite ways to jazz up just about anything!
  22. A scalloped edge is surprisingly easy.
  23. Plastic self-covered buttons are garbage. Don’t even bother. (But the metal ones are lovely!)
  24. Fabric shopping mini-vacays are a must-do.
  25. It’s important to have a functional sewing space that also inspires.
  26. This is by far the easiest skirt ever. Absolutely doable for a total beginner. No pattern required!
  27. Aprons are a quick and fun make.
  28. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to go back to relearn basics. There’s a good chance there’s a better/faster/easier way to do something you’ve done the same way forever.
  29. Some makes are only pretty to look at, not to wear, and that’s okay.
  30. Knits are not nearly as scary as everyone says.
  31. Make the clothes you want to wear every day. It’s so much more satisfying than that one thing you pull out every five years.
  32. Always, always make a muslin.
  33. Your makes will always be better than ready-to-wear.
  34. Don’t leave it to the last minute when you need something very specific to wear to a event (or, don’t try to applique a lace cat onto a t-shirt an hour before the party)
  35. Glittery fabric and a bow can absolutely elevate a simple sweatshirt.
  36. No one reads the annual report from WordPress.
  37. It is, however, totally worth it to do your own review and figure out which makes you loved (and which you didn’t) so you can sew more of the pieces that are going to get worn a zillion, trillion times.
  38. I hate sewing curtains. This post doesn’t talk about my loathing of sewing home dec, but I realized this was the last time I sewed curtains and likely won’t again. It’s totally time consuming, uninspired busy work and you can generally buy curtains for way cheaper.
  39. New years resolutions generally suck, but sewing goals don’t!
  40. Always ALWAYS make a muslin. ALWAYS.
  41. You can recreate your favourite clothes without cutting them apart. wp-1458603852606.jpg
  42. Topstitching totally makes a difference.
  43. You can use dental floss to help you gather.
  44. Interlining works in a pinch, but it’s not ideal.
  45. DIY fray trim is exactly what you need if you’re trying to recreate the iconic Chanel blazer.
  46. If you don’t have an overlocker, use a band of fabric instead of hemming.
  47. When accidentally making a top too short, add a peplum!
  48. Quick makes are sometimes exactly what you need.
  49. If you’re not re-using your patterns a hundred (or eight) times, you’re doing it wrong.
  50. A Hong Kong can make a simple pattern look amazing.
  51. Here’s how I sew a bias tape binding.
  52. Sewing teaches kids (and adults) essential skills beyond sewing a button – math, fine motor, perseverance and more.
  53. Making multiples of one pattern is the most effective way to do it.
  54. If you accidentally made a skirt too short, you can squeeze out a little more length by binding with bias tape.
  55. Once you find a basic pattern, make it your block and use it to make ANYTHING!
  56. If I haven’t said it enough – make a few separates that coordinate to get the most out of your handmade wardrobe.
  57. You don’t need to make ultra complicated patterns to make your clothes look fancy. A few couture finishing techniques go a long way to make basics look great.
  58. Sewing for friends and family can be really satisfying if you save it for special projects.
  59. PDF patterns are convenient if you hate leaving the house, but a pain in the arse to put together and use.
  60. Custom designing makes a great gift.
  61. You can make a DIY pleating board out of a paper bag!
  62. Capsule wardrobes are the best!
  63. Try temporarily stabilizing shifty fabrics using gelatin.
  64. Use a rolled hem foot to finish ruffles for a lovely, polished look.
  65. To avoid making mistakes, visualize each tiny step in your sewing before you do it.
  66. You can totally make any blouse into a breezy, flowy top by taking out darts and lengthening the hem.
  67. Even experienced sewists make clothes that don’t quite work.
  68. Saving hundreds of dollars making your own maternity snow gear is reeeeeaaaaaally satisfying.
  69. The online sewing community is awesome and it’s fun to make online sewing friends in far-off places.
  70. Ikea has amazing options for sewing spaces. If you’re thinking of upgrading yours, I have tips for you!
  71. Interface shifty or see-through fabric for self-covered buttons.
  72. Some patterns are crappy and you can totally just throw them out.
  73. Feel like yourself during pregnancy and make your own clothes. Re-creating my favourite sweater to accommodate my bump made me feel 100 per cent better. 20170129_091756
  74. Here’s how to make a Peter Pan collar to stick on about anything.
  75. You can easily maternity hack pretty much any top pattern.
  76. Pattern placement makes all the difference.
  77. Add a zipper to a basic hoodie pattern.
  78. Sewing allows a person to solve a problem in fabric.
  79. If you give yourself a time limit to finish something, you can (and will!) do it.
  80. Want to sew more? Move your sewing machine into the living room.
  81. Don’t cut button holes until absolutely necessary. You can totally unpick them if you’ve put them in the wrong spot.
  82. Try the stretch stitch on your machine. It’s a game-changer if you like to sew with knits and hate the look of a zig zag.
  83. Don’t use the eraser end of a pencil to turn a drawstring.
  84. This is the easiest top you will ever make. No pattern required!
  85. Make a babywearing insert for your favourite fleece to keep baby warm on those late summer nights.
  86. Sew on vacation – I dare you!
  87. Hand-sewing finishing touches can be tedious, but it’s so nice when it’s done!
  88. When your sewing machine light burns out and you can’t get to the store, a headlamp totally works.
  89. If you think the line you graded looked weird on paper, it will look weird on the garment.
  90. Don’t mess with a good thing. It’s okay to make four exact copies of the same, awesome shirt.
  91. Instagram is an amazing way to see how a finished project fits on different body types or hangs with different fabrics. wp-image-1566550910
  92. The best way to get lots of wear out of your me-mades are to plan capsules with easy-to-wear garments made out of comfy fabrics. 
  93. Save fusing interfacing for a time when you need to multi-task. It’s mindless work and you don’t need to waste your precious uninterrupted sewing time!
  94. The Linden Sweatshirt (or just about anything with a raglan sleeve) is the BEST stash-busting top. 
  95. Sew-alongs are amazing. ALWAYS check to see if the pattern you are sewing up has a sew-along – it saves so much thinking!
  96. Sometimes the best option is saving special fabrics for ultra-easy basics.
  97. Planning out your sewing step-by-step on a calendar can make you way more productive. 
  98. Always test finishing techniques on your fabric. 
  99. Go with your gut when choosing fabrics and patterns. There’s nothing worse than spending hours upon hours making a garment and looking at it sit in your closet.
  100. #selfishsewing for the win! The minute sewing feels like a chore, stop. You can buy those dang curtains and be done with it.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Debi Topham says:

    Fantastic list. So much to learn, I’m totally with you on the curtains. I absolutely hate sewing them and it’s amazing how many people ask if I do sew curtains! 😑

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