Bad Sewing Habits

Awhile back I read this article called Bad Sewing Habits, which got me thinking about mine.  Turns out there are quite a few.  Well, first let’s start with the things I’m really good about.

Good habits:

1. I am a firm believer in preparing your fabrics, so I always wash and dry them before I start cutting or sewing.  I don’t always iron them, but I usually do, especially if it’s super wrinkled.

2. I do press my seams while sewing.  I agree that this is an important step and will help your projects look clean and sharp (not sloppy!).

3. I always pin before I sew.

4. I do my research and use my resources.  I don’t follow patterns too often and obviously don’t take lessons or have a sewing coach or anything, so when I’m trying to figure things out I definitely spend time looking things up online or reading my sewing machine manual.  There’s no need for me to guess how to make an automatic buttonhole – the manual tells me exactly how!  I don’t need to struggle through hours of trial and error trying to figure out how to make a pattern or add sleeves or line a jumper – brilliant and generous people have already figured it out and then posted free online tutorials, or even videos showing me how!  I am not too proud to ask for help.  Google is my best friend.  Just ask Hideko.

Bad habits:

1. I definitely do not change my needle every time I start a new project.  In fact, I never change my needle unless it breaks, or I’m sewing something super special that requires a different needles (which is not too often, yet).  I’ve heard people swear by it, but it just seems like a waste to me.  I start a new project almost every day!  That’s A LOT of needles!  How often should I change my needles?  How do you know when a needle is not sharp enough anymore?  Where is a cheap place to get needles in bulk?  If I can get answers to all these questions, maybe I’ll try breaking this habit.

2. I wing it.  A lot.  And I’m not convinced that this is a totally bad habit.  I think there is a lot of freedom and creativity that comes with experimenting and not following the “rules” or following a pattern step-by-step.  There have been a couple of times when I didn’t read through the directions all the way through first and ended up having to spend time undoing and redoing something.  That can be a waste of time, so I understand how that is a bad habit.

3. I often eyeball measurements or don’t take measurements at all.  I’m definitely changing my ways here, especially after completing projects only to find out that they don’t even fit.  That’s an extremely disappointing feeling (not to mention a HUGE waste of time), so I try to avoid it now.  The difficult thing is that I really only get to sew at night when Yuki is sleeping.  Once I start a project, I don’t like to wait until morning to measure her or try it on her, because I’d have to wait until the following night to finish it.  But like I said, I’m getting better about this and realizing the importance of taking measurements.  I try to get exact measurements for all people that I’m sewing for.  I’m also trying to figure out some standard measurements I can use for kids clothing.  I read somewhere that you should just measure your child and keep those measurements handy (you know, waist, chest, height, arm length, etc. etc.) and update it every so often.  I’ve yet to do that, but it sounds like a good idea.

4. I stay up REALLY late to sew.  Sometimes this means not being at my sharpest.  It means mistakes get made and I get frustrated easily.  And it also means I’m usually super tired the next day.  Not good.

5. The habit that has recently been frustrating me the most, is that I start too many projects at once and don’t necessarily finish them.   Every time I have a new idea or get really excited about a project (which is quite often), I run out to the store and buy fabric and get started, abandoning whatever projects I had going.  Then when I hit a roadblock, I stall and am often on to the next exciting idea.  Before you know it, I have 8 unfinished projects on hold, 20 other projects brewing in my mind and maybe I’ll finish one every once in awhile.  I love that I have so many ideas but I can’t keep up with them.  And I get bored with them quickly too.  I need to be better about following through with projects.  I should come up with a rule – only 5 (or 3?) projects at a time.  I’ll have to finish one before I can start another.  I’m not sure how I’ll keep track or be held accountable to this, but I can try.

6. I’m messy and disorganized.  My desk area gets cluttered quickly.  I can’t always find what I need.  I sometimes end up buying something I already have because I don’t realize that I have it.  This is one habit that I’m not sure I can break.  Although I am trying to keep my new crafting area clean and organized, it’s just not part of my nature.  Have you ever known anyone super messy who’s been able to change their ways as an adult?  If so, please help me.

7. I need better lighting.

Messy sewing center with piles everywhere.

This entire basket is either unfinished (but started) projects, or projects waiting to be started.  And this isn’t even all of it.

Well, there they are, the good and the bad.  Clearly, the bad habits outnumber the good.  I guess I have some things to work on.  How about you?  What are your good and bad sewing habits??

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6 thoughts on “Bad Sewing Habits

  1. Enjoyed reading this guilty of some of your bad habits but my worst by far is holding pins in my mouth – trying really hard to crack this with wrist pin cushion. Far too many stories of peoples swallowing pins & having to have operations.

    • Yikes! I do this too and I hadn’t really thought about it until I saw a story about someone who INHALED the pin and they had to have surgery to remove it from their lung. It scared me, but I still do it too :/

  2. Oh gosh, I think we all have them. I am the world’s messiest sewer and I often sew over pins (i know, I know). I only clear off my cutting table when I just cannot “shove” things out of the way anymore. This leads to me constantly looking for things and wasted time that I could spend sewing if I were more organized.

  3. Oh my gosh! Your sewing room looks like mine! I have clutter everywhere and I have a pile of mending/tedious sewing that I have been putting off (hemming hubby’s pants, replacing a zipper on my daughters cute pants- they are probably too small for her now!) I am bad about downloading patterns, but never actually starting them, so I have hundreds taking up my hard drive and a lot of them would be too small for any of my kids!

    • Glad to know I’m not alone! I also have a pile of to-do projects that I constantly put off and also a collection of patterns I’ve never sewn! At least they are just on your hard drive and not taking up physical space in your home!

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