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5 sewing mistakes not to make as a beginner

I started sewing in March 2019 – back then I had never touched a sewing machine. As things go, I made a few mistakes I want to share with you today – so you don’t end up making the same mistakes 😉


1. Buying the cheapest sewing machine available


When you’re just about to get started it might seem reasonable to buy the cheapest machine you can find. This is exactly what I did. I saw a really good offer in a discount store. The machine cost me less than € 80. I thought, why spend a lot of money on a machine, when I don’t even know if I will enjoy sewing that much. The machine was really bad quality and broke down 2 weeks later.


I learned from my mistake and did some research about sewing machine brands and looked for used models online, as I still did not want to spend a fortune on a brand new machine. I found a second hand Elna. It was used but that didn’t matter as the machine was sturdy and I could feel the better quality as soon as I started using it.

So when you’re just starting out, do your research first and look for good quality, branded sewing machines – it is worth spending a little more money on a (used) machine from a good brand. Even if you don’t end up sewing a lot, you can still sell it for a much better price.


2. Not following every step of the pattern


When following a pattern, it’s tempting to skip seemingly unnecessary steps. Staystitching, understitching or finishing the edges may seem unnecessary and time consuming, but they make such a huge difference to the look of the finished garments. As a beginner, I usually skipped steps to finish more quickly, regardless of the effect it had on the garment. Gaining more experience I realized sewing is not about quickly whipping up a new shirt or two, but it’s about taking the time to create a garment that you will enjoy wearing for a long time.

3. Blaming your machine whenever something goes wrong


In the first few months after I started sewing, EVERY TIME something went wrong I blamed my machine for it. Needles breaking, thread breaking or just stitches that did not come out straight. 99% of the times, it was actually my fault for going to fast over thick layers of fabric, using wrong needle/fabric combination or threading my machine wrong. I had to learn that whenever I got frustrated and something was not working, I needed to take a break, change my needle/thread and try again. And usually it worked just fine after taking a few moments to breathe 😉


4. Buying cheap thread


Similar to the first mistake, I bought a huge set of thread including matching bobbins. I didn’t even think about quality differences or buying branded thread. I started having problems with skipped stitches, thread breakage and tangled thread. After a while, I noticed the thread is not smooth and even, and pretty thick. I bought better quality thread and never had problems with it again. It’s not even a lot more expensive, just something to think about.

5. Never cleaning your machine (or cleaning it the wrong way)


After a few weeks of sewing (I already sewed quite a lot back then) I noticed my machine being really loud and my stitched would be uneven. I googled and learned that a machine needs to be cleaned regularly. I never heard this before, as I (obviously) had not read the manual. My first idea was to blow into the machine to remove the dust but this is something you should NOT do 😉 It traps the dust even deeper inside your machine and can cause damage.


Most machines even come with a little brush that can be used to pull out dust and fluff from your machine. I like to use make up brushes as they are a little bigger. I try to clean my machine at least every few weeks, and I oil it after cleaning to keep it running smoothly. Having a shiny, clean machine is the best feeling ever!


I hope you liked this post and you won't make the same mistakes ;-)




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©2019 Lisa Mezler, Austria

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