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Sewing Success: 8 Essential Prep Steps Before Starting Your Project

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When we start sewing we get so excited that sometimes we don't take into consideration certain aspects of preparation. Yes, it can be boring, I know it from experience. Through the years that I have been sewing I have walked that path over and over again. I keep learning, the day I stop learning, it won't be me.

On this occasion we are going to talk about the things that we should consider before starting to sew a piece of clothing or an accessory.

  1. Choose a pattern: make a pattern based on another piece you already have or design it.

  2. Choosing the fabric you need: this step is very important and can make a difference in the final result. If you use a commercial pattern, it always suggests the most suitable fabrics for it. Don’t overlook it. The one who designed the pattern takes this aspect into consideration for the design.

  3. Fabric preparation: wash the piece of fabric, the way you would wash the finished piece. I usually do it immediately when I buy them. This way I already have it ready for when I’m going to use it. This step is important not only because some fibers shrink, but also because it removes any dyes, chemicals, or dust from the fabric. Depending on the type of fabric, it is possible that before washing it you should pass the serger, zigzag stitch or use “pinky” scissors. In this way, fraying is avoided. In the case of natural fibers, it is possible that you need to iron the fabric after washing.   This makes it easier to place and cut the pieces.

4. Choose the size of the pattern: if you sew using a commercial pattern you must choose the size well. In general, they include at least three measurements, bust, waist and hips. If you have weight fluctuations, I recommend taking them frequently. If you have doubts about the size you can measure the pattern pieces.

5. Identify in the pattern what you need in addition to the fabric and thread: sometimes we get so excited about sewing that we forget we need a zipper, interfacing, or buttons and we have to run to the store.

6. Laying out the pattern pieces and cutting out the pieces: if you use a pattern, in the instructions you will find suggestions on how to place the pattern pieces. You can change what they indicate, but always taking into account certain rules that you must follow and are associated with the grain of the fabric or the amount of stretch. Placing the pieces on the fabric is like a puzzle. A good practice is to place the largest pieces first, especially if you are working with a low amount of fabric.

7. Preparation of the sewing machine, identification of thread and needle suitable for the type of fabric: in general, universal needles can be used for all types of fabric. However, it is recommended that in the case of knit fabrics to use those that are specially designed for that type of fabric. The same with thick fabrics like denim or special ones like vinyl. You should also consider the number of the needle and the type of thread. The 100% polyester thread is the most used and recommended.

8. Ironing: ironing is one of the most important steps in sewing, before, during and after sewing. If you have the space, keep an ironing station nearby, which includes at least the iron, the board and a cotton cloth. I am a perfectionist and I like what I do to look as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside. I remember that when I was a teenager, a seam did not fit as I wanted despite trying more than once.  My mother told me, “iron it girl and that way it won’t show”. My mom didn’t sew with a machine, but with an iron she did wonders.

All these steps are just as important as sewing. Skipping a step sometimes leads to failures that we could have avoided if we didn’t.

If you want to learn the basics of sewing and start sewing and you don’t have time for face-to-face classes, I recommend the academy’s basic sewing online course. In the course you learn at your own pace and you can watch the videos over and over again. When in doubt you can ask your questions online and also through the exclusive Facebook group. Tommie never gives up on her students!

If you want to get into sewing, Sirena Elite is perfect for you! You get one free pattern of your choosing every month and other benefits when you become a member.  Join today and enjoy two weeks free here

Until next time!

Article written by

Isabel Hernández

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