How to Defeat the Struggles of Sewing in 5 Easy Steps

by Fatema Yousuf
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How to Defeat the Struggles of Sewing in 5 Easy Steps

There is this gorgeous coin purse or a beautiful laptop case and you desperately want to make it. So you get your fabrics together, start planning, reading the step-by-step tutorial and you eventually start cutting and sewing. 

You're half way through and you just can't seem to get things right. The seams don't look so neat and you just aren't getting positive feelings from this project and you feel like giving up.

We have all been there and I know that sometimes you just need a little direction, a little helping hand, a word of support and someone to tell you "you can do it". 

I know that person is not always around but I'm here to give you some tips on how to overcome that short period of angst. 

1. Understanding the level of complexity.

When your're starting out and you have an explosion of ideas that you want to try sew, you may pick a project that is simply just a little too difficult at this stage. While its great to be enthusiastic and passionate about starting a hobby, you just need to take a step back and see where you can improve. 

This can be anything from understanding sewing terminology, how to cut fabric, machine sewing, learning about interfacing and use of trimmings. There are hundreds or tips, tricks and articles for new beginners and advanced sewists that can help you learn and improve every step of the way.  

"The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice"

Don't worry, every experienced sewer started at the bottom and worked their way up with practice and an open mind to keep learning. 

2. Lack of sewing tools & notions.

Again, when starting out you may want to jump into sewing but then half way through your sewing you realise you're stuck and you try and find a way to get past it without the proper tools.

For example, you need a zipper foot to put the zip into your little coin purse. Now, you may have seen an experienced sewist get around this by using a regular foot but now is not the time to be experimenting your expertise and definitely not something to do if you've never sewn in a zip.

Likewise, having a rotary cutter to make straight cuts so that your pieces align perfectly, or using the right wadding, or using a specific type of interfacing can all help enhance your sewing.
So decide whether you want a hurried half-hearted, looks-kind-of-okay finished item or if you can wait a few days to get the right tools in to make a more neat & professional item. 

3. Taking your time.

I know, you love sewing and enjoy it but sometimes you don't have the time allocated for it and try and get it done in the little time you have left before picking the kids up from school. So you speed up the process and run against the clock to finish it.

In the hast of doing so you might skip a step, or improvise it and you think you've managed to get past it, but it could be the make or break of your sewing project. There are times when you think this small step won't really make much difference, but that is where you could be wrong. 

It may be stay-stitching, or making notches at the seams, or back-stitching, or something as simple as ironing. These little, and sometimes annoying steps will make your sewing look professional. 

4. Time-out

Okay, so you have all the time in the world yet you still can't get the machine to sew without making a slugging noise, or your fabric pieces won't align like the instructions and you might just start pulling your hair out. This may sound simple and completely irrelevant, but just step away.

Go and make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, watch a bit of TV or read a book or simply lay down for a while. Sometimes, when your mind is over-worked and you are totally focused on sewing, it can make you weary and this is a sign that you need to take a break. Calm down. Relax.

And when you've had some time to revive your energy, you'll find it much easier to get over the 'struggle' in your project with a fresh mind.  

5. Quality Materials

Now, you've finally improved your sewing, used your new notions, taken your time to complete all the steps and took breaks to keep level headed. So you're project should look near enough perfect, but somehow it just doesn't cut it. 
Does the fabric look over-handled? Maybe the design didn't quite give you the look you wanted? Or the fabric doesn't hold up well? 

Chances are, like all beginners you think you can't handle good quality materials and you opt for the cheapest. The cheapest good looking fabric or the cheapest lace you can find. While I understand that it can be scary to start something new, and you'll try to avoid everything you can to keep your costs low, there is no reason to compromise on quality.

If you try out projects that are well within your reach you can be confident that your projects will turn out great and hence, using good quality fabric will enhance it further. It will result in professional looking, expensive quality work, that you expected to achieve from your sewing project.  

by Fatema Yousuf


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