I remember reading a Singer sewing guide from the 50’s and 60’s and it stated that before you start to sew you need to have your lipstick on and your beds made so that you would not be distracted while you are sewing. I don’t know about you but, I hardly wear lipstick to do anything let alone sew. Making the beds, well that is hit or miss around here.
I do have 10 things that you should do before you start any new sewing project that are actually useful and necessary.
- Measure yourself or whomever it is that you are sewing for, do not make my famous mistake and assume that the measurements have not changed. If its been more than a week or so you may want to take measurements again. I find this especially true with kids and babies.
- Read all the directions, and even the extra notes that the pattern designer gives you. Every pattern I have used seems to have their own way of doing things. Some want you to fold right sides out, some want the whole pattern cut in a single layer, and others want you to fold the selvage to selvage with the wrong side out. Makes sure you to ask around or look up online or in a book any questions you may have before you start.
- Ok, so you have all the directions straight and your measurements written down, now you need to find the pattern pieces you need for the view you are sewing. If you are using an Indie designer pattern that you print out you may be lucky and be able to cut out only the size and pieces that you need. If you are using a tissue pattern, find the pieces you need and cut them broadly of the main tissue.
- Iron the tissue pattern pieces you are using. Maybe you have never heard of this but I am here to tell you that it makes a huge difference while you are cutting out. There will be folds and creases and we all know how much of a difference it makes while putting those pieces together later. If you are doing a printed pattern, line it up and tape them and cut out. Make sure you double tape any important lines and markings.
- Since you have that iron out, quickly iron your fabric if it is wrinkled up too much. Do not cut a pattern out on wrinkled fabric, it will probably not fit right and you wont have anything to find the grainline on.
- Find the grainline on your fabric. here is a great video on finding the grainline from Go To Patterns.com. It is important to pin your markings on the grainline first then pin the outer edges.
- Check out the instruction sheet again and make sure that you are using the same layout that they are suggesting. There are a few reasons for this. You need to make sure all of your pattern pieces fit, and you need to be sure that the grain is going the correct way.
- Cut the notches on your pattern through to your fabric. When you are putting pockets, or sleeves in these are lifesavers, so don’t think you don’t need them, you do.
- Transfer pattern markings onto your fabric. You can do this with chalk, a pencil, a bar of soap, a tracing wheel or even just chalk from a chalkboard. Fold lines, seam allowance, center front and back and so many other things need to be on your fabric while you are sewing.
- Mark your pieces as front, back, left, right and etc, if you are doing a quilt or craft project you can number them and this will help keep things straight when all the fabric pieces look the same.
- BONUS! Wind extra bobbins with matching thread, and check to make sure you have the correct needle threaded on your machine.
I know this seems like a lot of things to do, but most of them are quick to do and will save you tons of time at the sewing machine later. One thing that I have learned since sewing seriously is that you spend more time preparing to sew then you do actually sewing!
Do you have any tips that you would add to this list? I would love to hear them, drop me a comment!