Every flat pack kit we send out includes a Basic Guide to Hand and Machine Sewing in addition to the instructions for the kit itself. This basic guide covers things like useful stitches, seam finishing and pressing - all practical advice based on years of sewing and making mistakes. At the end I included my top five tips for getting good results, which are:
always use good sharp pair of scissors when cutting fabric
before sewing, double check you have the right sides of the fabric facing each other (unless the instructions say otherwise)
secure the beginning and end of every seam and cut off loose threads as you go
press each seam carefully with the tip of the iron once it is sewn
take your time - follow the instructions step by step and you should get good results
Of course the last one doesn’t work if you’re sewing for Patrick and Esme on The Great British Sewing Bee - it makes me sweat just watching them! I’m a slow fashion advocate and that includes a firm belief that sewing is definitely at it’s most pleasurable when taken at a relaxed pace.
I’ve recently been asking people what they would add to my list. So, I’d really like to know:
If you’re a practiced sewist, what’s the best advice you were ever given?
If you’re a beginner or just sew-curious (ie. yet to take the plunge), what kind of advice would most help you?
My first couple of responses where:
“Keep calm and cut carefully’” and “Use the notches’’ - both are excellent pieces of advice. The first is self-explanatory. The sewists version of the old home DIY/carpenter’s maxim '‘measure twice, cut once”. The second, requires a little bit of explanation for the uninitiated. Notches are marks round the edge of a pattern that you transfer to your fabric when cutting it out. They help you to line pieces up correctly before sewing them together and are vital to certain parts of a make, especially a well attached sleeve.
I can see this becoming a top 100 tips. What would yours be?