12 Tips and Tricks for Sewing Machine Beginners

Sewing Machine Secrets

Are you new to sewing machines? Don’t worry, these 12 easy-to-apply tips and tricks will help you to get the most out of your sewing machine.

Tip 1: Choose the Right Machine If you’re in the market for a sewing machine, make sure to select one that’s ideal for beginners.

You can see more about our recommendations in our comprehensive ebook, Sewing Machine Secrets, available only through our exclusive offer at Sewing Pattern Secrets.  To see this offer, go to: www.sewingpatternsecrets/vsl

Sewing Machine Secrets

Tip 2: Read your Sewing Manual and Practice, Practice, Practice Different fabrics, threads, and stitches have unique characteristics. Take time to read your manual, watch a video or two on it’s use, and to practice and adjust your settings without ruining your work.

Tip 3:  Take a Course with a Human!  We encourage you to find an in-person class at your local sewing machine shop, community ed, art collaborative, or private lessons.  This will help the majority of people who are learning for the first time to sew with a machine.  You will save time, money and frustration levels.

Tip 4: Keep Your Lines Straight and Your Curves Neat Stitching straight lines and smooth curves can be easy if you follow these tips.  Beginners and Intermediates would do well to practice on scrap every time they have a new fabric or rethread their machine.  This will give you time to observe several important behaviors of the fabric and the machine.  Does the fabric hold nicely in place, or does something need to be tightened?  Importantly, don’t allow the weight of the garment to hang heavily off of the surface you are working on, as it pulls the garment off and away from the straight line you are aiming at.

Tip 5: Keep Hold of the Threads’ Tails at the Start. Avoid tangled threads by holding their tails at the start.  Be sure that the needle thread is pulled all the way passed the presser foot toward the back of the machine.  And equally, be sure that bobbin thread is also pulled under the presser foot and toward the back.  (Note:  sometimes the thread cutter attached to your machine becomes dull and rips the thread instead of cutting it, causing more time and delay in threading your machine.  If this starts to happen, see if you can sharpen this or use snips instead to cut the thread loose after sewing.

Tip 6: Flatten Your Fabrics Before Sewing Them:  Iron or flatten your fabrics before sewing to avoid crooked stitches. We know pulling out the ironing board for a “quick sew” is annoying.  Consider purchasing a smaller sized iron or craft iron for on the spot seam ironing.

Tip 7: Use Matching Threads Use the same thread type, material, and thickness for the top and bottom threads to avoid uneven tension, jams, and breakages.

Generally, an all purpose thread can be used for many fabrics, however, with silk, nylons and spandex fabrics, we recommend that you study a bit further.  Some of these can melt with an iron, or break with age. Beginners should stick with a cotton fabric which requires either a cotton thread or all purpose thread so that the seams will not pucker after washing, drying or ironing.

Tip 8: Keep Your Scraps of Fabric: Save your scraps to use for practicing or adding unique touches to your projects.  We go even further and we create an index card with fabric information when we purchase, and place in a zipperlock for later.   We were glad we did this when we tested our patterns, because a great deal of the samples were created with fabric from Fabric.com which closed shortly after the pandemic ended.  When they did all the information about those orders and fabric compositions were deleted as well.

Tip 9: Don’t Be a Slob: Clean your machine from time to time to prevent fluff from affecting its performance.  Seek your machine’s manual, website, YouTube, or for older machines, you may find your manual on Ebay.

Tip 10: Maintain Ideal Sewing Conditions: Regularly cleaning, rethreading, and changing the needle can prevent mechanical  glitches.  Neatly organize your needle inventory.  Chronolize which needle is in the machine.  If you have something other than a Universal or Jersey Needle in the machine, take it out and replace it after your project with a Universal.

Tip 11: Choose the Right Needle for the fabric a needle.  Select one that’s suitable for the type and thickness of the fabric you’re using.  Generally speaking, a Universal Needle will do the trick for beginners, but jersey, stretch, and denim needles are also among the most popular.

Tip 12: Don’t Rush. Take your time and enjoy the process of sewing. Rushing can cause mistakes and frustration.

AND:  Read the pattern directions and think before you start stitching.  Pants and shorts projects are famous for novices errors like sewing the inseams together, or getting confused at the crotch.  Think, watch videos, don’t rush and buy a seam ripper for those inevitable and lesson learning mistakes.

With these 12 tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a sewing machine pro!

If you have any other tips for new machine users, please feel free to comment in the section below!

Marjorie Vaudreuil

HI. I'M MARGIE I love creating and creations of all kinds! I love Jesus, I love my family and I love to teach! That's what makes life exciting for me and that is why I have so much to share with you. I am founder and owner of SewingPatternSecrets LLC, based in Boston, MA. I am a writer and an avid sewist with a background in fine art and design from New England School of Art and Design, Boston. Sewing Patterns Secrets was conceived with my husband (my #1 supporter), inspired partly from my grandmother, but largely inspired by my mother, who passed in 2017. She supported many decades of my artistry, including, but not limited to, sewing. Whilst my mother was indeed, an important benefactor, my husband has unfailingly supported all of my endeavours and is the Director of Sales. As the Product and Project Director, I conceptualized, developed, produced, tested, and edited all of the 125+ curated sewing patterns, instructions and ebooks, using my decades of experience. I managed a team of fashion designers to help me with the 3D software and production. I and three other master seamstresses, vector artists, graphic designers, and one amazing fashion illustrator. Production took two solid years of detail and hard work and another six months of sales funnel creation. I give thanks to: Fer, Rima, Oksana, Debbie, Kathreen, Suanne, Elizabeth, Jacki, Bronwen, Kimberly, and the many others who contributed. As such, I am gifted with the ability to share with you my expertise and everything that I have learned along the way, as relates not only sewing, but to project and product creation and all areas of design: web, graphic, fashion, pattern and product creation. This would include 10s of software, marketing and SEO tools, affiliate marketing and so much more. All you have to do is ask! In addition to writing all of the ebooks for Sewing Pattern Secrets, I am also the main writer of this blog, but looking for other (Human) sewing bloggers who would like to partner with us. We welcome guest bloggers, vloggers, influencers and also an invitation to blog for you as well. We always want your advice and we also want to hear from you regarding ideas and improvements to our blog, product, or advertising. PLEASE COMMENT. Please do write me at support@sewingpatternsecrets.com. Blessings, Margie "Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you." 1 Thessalonians 4:11 www.sewingpatternsecrets.com/vsl www.thesewingbuzz.com www.marjorievaudreuildesigns.com www.buysewingpatternsonline.com (coming soon)

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