So although I am not an avid sewer making a living off of what I love, I have found some helpful tips along the way and I figured I would share them with you!
#1- Cheap Fabric just doesn’t exist
Seriously have to do some good hunting. What I have learned is to ALWAYS look in the scraps bin. Usually everything in there is 20-50% off the original price/yard and sometimes they even have a whole yard of fabric in there. Also most fabric stores have coupons every week. Hobby Lobby always has a 40% off coupon and sometimes their fabrics are the sale of the week too. So you’ve got to watch closely and shop wisely! Also asking for giftcards to fabric shops is basically never a bad idea. I will go binge shop for fabric with my gift card and it keeps me stalked up for a while!
#2- Buy when you can
If you’re like me, you’re broke most of the time. So buying what I want/need when I actually need to get or want to get a project done doesn’t always work out. That’s why I like to buy fabric here and there when I have the money. I try to buy at least two yards of whatever I’m getting. Most projects don’t take more than that. This way I always have a nice little stash of stuff if I need to whip up a gift in a jiffy!
#3- That damn bobbin
You know the moment when your bobbin runs out of thread in the middle of what you’re doing? Everybody hates that. It sucks!! I’ve learned when I am spinning a bobbin to go ahead and make 2. Then when I run out, I can quickly switch over, and if I don’t need it, then next time I don’t have to spin before I start! Problem solved! (Uh except for when I’m lazy! Haha!)
#4- Cutting Shears/Scissors
I’m not fancy, I just call them scissors. But I have made an extremely STRICT rule in my house that NO ONE is to use my sewing scissors on ANYTHING except fabric. My son has tried to steal my little ones a few times. Nuh-uh sir. Just cause they’re little doesn’t mean they’re for you!! Making this rule helps keep your scissors sharper longer and that’s important when you’re cutting fabric, you don’t want it looking all gangly. That’s the worst. I also have a scissor sharpener on hand for when they start feeling dull.
#5- Fabric Markers/Chalk
I’ve never been a huge fan of the chalk but the erasable markers for fabric are basically a gift from heaven. When I first started sewing I would use a pen, pencil, or even sharpie😁! Bad idea. Those are all hard to get off your fabric later and sharpie is the worst as it doesn’t wash out and depending on your fabric, it shows through the front side. Invest in those little markers. They’re totes worth it.
Now, I still don’t know all the ins and outs of thread. I basically stick to “all-purpose” thread for all my sewing and “machine embroidery thread” for my embroidering. However, a piece can look so much more complete, neat, and professional when you choose to match your threads to your project. It’s worth the couple extra bucks to buy the spool of purple for that bag you’re making for a friend. It’s little things like that, that just totally make a difference! Splurge a little. Plus it’s an excuse to go to the sewing section of Walmart, sorry babe!
#7- The manual
I know, I know, I hate it too. Those little books that come with everything from your new microwave to your box of tampons…yeah, those are manuals, and they come in REALLY handy when you have questions about your sewing machine that youtube can’t answer. I keep mine in a safe place by my machine and I still pull it out all the time to refer back to things I haven’t done in a while. Don’t throw that thing away!
Save them!! I know they don’t look like much but there are SEW MANY projects out there for those little pesky scraps! They’re great for quilt squares, little Chapstick holders, making your own bias tape, and the list can go on and on. Just find a designated bin for them and keep them there until you need them. Plus, there’s always going to be that one fabric you can’t get anymore so you’ll pull out that scrap and reminisce about how beautiful that fabric once was….
#9- Rulers, cutting boards, and those markers…
Straight lines are imperative in order to make your project look nice and neat. It’s worth the extra time to measure exactly using your ruler or yardstick and trace the line all the way across with your awesome fabric marker. The marked cutting boards are awesome too! I promise it makes all the difference in the end, even though it takes a few extra minutes in the beginning.
#10- Pinterest, tutorials, YouTube, and even Grandma
Ideas are everywhere, sometimes they even come from your own brain. Put those ideas to good use and HAVE FUN!! I suggest reading your tutorial through a couple times before you begin and have it pulled up as you work for the easiest process. And having Grandma on speed-dial doesn’t hurt either. I’ve called mine more than once about confusion on a project.
I hope you enjoyed these simple helpful hints! Now go create something!