Here are some handy sewing tips I've picked up along the way, which I thought I'd share with you all.
Pre-shrink your fabric
If you're sewing something that is going to end up in the washing machine, always pre-shrink the fabric before you even think about switching that sewing machine on. Cotton is especially prone to shrinking. As soon as you get home from the fabric shop, pop it straight in the washing machine and wash at the temperature you would wash that type fabric at normally. If you're not sure, check the recommended washing temperature for some clothing you have in the same fabric.
Read the manual
I cannot emphasise this enough! For getting to know your new sewing machine or trouble-shooting or simply to find out things you never knew your machine did, read the manual. It saves tantrums, tears and throwing in the towel on sewing!
Sharpen those tools
I remember a whole day of sewing that was a complete and utter nightmare. It felt like my sewing machine would not work, despite trouble-shooting every little part of it....except checking if the needle was blunt and ahem, it was. I might as well have been sewing those hems with a large knitting needle. So folks, remember to check the needle on your sewing machine is sharp enough and that you have spare needles in different sizes (see below!).
Also, remember to keep those sewing scissors clean and sharp...and no cutting paper, it ruins them! Want to know how to keep them nicely sharp? Check out Claireabellemakes fab tip for sharpening scissors.
Different size needles
Did you know that different fabric requires different sized needles? Check your manual for guidance on which size needles to use for different fabrics. I remember the first day my Mum said "Have you tried a different needle size?" as we were going through a list of possible problems. It was like getting the right key for the lock. It worked. I now make sure I have a range of different size needles...and spares too!
Clean the machine
Try and clean your sewing machine/overlocker on a regular basis. It's incredible how much fabric and dust builds up...and that dust can cause some time consuming problems, like birds nest. Haven't heard of birds nests in sewing? It's that little bundle of thread and dust below your feed dogs that builds up and basically stops you from sewing.
Do you have any other handy tips for sewing? Please do share in the comments below.