A Few Helpful Sewing Tips & Tricks for Beginners


A list compiled of a few helpful sewing tips and tricks for beginners that can help you have a more professional and polished looking project when finished.

Use matching threads

When I say use matching threads, I mean this in two ways…

  1. Every sewing machine has a top thread and a bottom thread (a.k.a. the bobbin). You should always use the same TYPE of thread, meaning the same material and thickness. Doing this will help to avoid uneven tension, jams, and breakages. Your top and bottom threads do not need to match in colors, however.
  2. Use a thread color that best matches your fabric color. Having a color that blends in with your fabric color and print can hide imperfections. Grey thread is also nice to always have on hand. It is a neutral color that is best when you are working with multi-color fabrics. If you are on a budget, this is the color to have on hand.

Have Extra Bobbins Prepped

Take some time before you get started sewing to see if you have bobbins ready to go. This will save you time so you do not have to unthread and rethread your machine to wind a new bobbin. As stated above, the bobbin thread does not have to be the same color as your top thread. I typically have a few white, black, and grey bobbins on hand at all times. Those three colors are my staples.

Save your Scraps

Scraps are a great way to test your stitch length, width, and tension before you start sewing your actual project.   Making sure your settings are right and that everything looks and sews in a straight line first is a good practice to get into. And although we like to think all projects go smoothly, truth is, every now and again sewing machines may jam up. Having scrap fabric handy to test if your troubleshooting has worked in fixing the “jam” is always a good idea. This habit can save your final fabric and project from being thru a tougher journey than it needs to.

Practice on Paper

Did you know you can practice your stitching on paper?  It’s true. This is a great money saver tip because it saves not only on fabric, but also on the thread. All you have to do is remove your thread, print off a stitching guide, and practice, practice, practice.

Have Tape in Your Sewing Kit

Need more practice sewing a straight line? No worries, you can sew perfectly straight topstitching on fabric without marking it by putting masking tape along the fabric. This is a great way to establish a topstitching guide that is easy to follow. After you put your tape on, all you need to do is stitch along the edge of the tape. Remove the tape when you are finished and WHA-LA… straight lines!

Sewing Machine Needles Matter

No, all sewing machine needles are NOT the same. Yes, it does make a difference which one you use on each fabric type. For example, you can’t use a regular point needle for knits — it will look terrible! Or you cannot use a regular point needle for quilting. – it will break! Take it from me, the last thing you want to worry about is a broken needle flying at your eye. You can learn more about sewing machine needles in this post.

Clip Your Corners and Curves

Clipping your corners and curves is a step I find left out of a lot of tutorials but is important for beginners to know. Clipping your corners and curves prevents your fabric from puckering or wrinkling. For corners, cut diagonal, close to your stitch line, and for around the curves, snip inward several times leaving a little space between each “snip” so the fabric has more movement and shape in that area. This is where your snipping scissors will work well. Doing these two things can give your project a more finished and professional look. Speaking of a more professional look…

Ironing Matters

Iron your fabrics before, during, and after sewing them. Sewing with a flat fabric will ensure your fabric properly lines up and it will also help you avoid the crooked stitches that come from sewing scrunched up fabric. Sewing your seems flat along the way will make sure your fabric lays correct and it will prevent it from bunching. And, of course, giving it one final press with the iron after you sew will give it a polished and finished look as well.

Joan Mantini

About Joan Mantini

After several years of being the Facebook page owner at Beginner Sewing, I noticed there was a desperate need to have a single go-to spot for members to be able to find answers to their common questions, get some useful tips & tricks, as well as find reputable places to purchase sewing products online. Taking my role as a trade publication editor by day, and combining it with my knowledge of frequently requested beginner sewing advice, I created www.beginner-sewing.com. An outlet that gives new sewists a free digital magazine geared for entry level sewing as an extra bonus!

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