1. Have Your Sewing Machine Serviced

There are no hard and fast rules on how often you should service your machine.  It generally depends on how much you sew. In a standard service the engineer will open up your machine and remove all the fluff, dust, thread and any other debris (insects, buttons?) that has found its way into your machine.

In a sewing machine service they will check the tension and oil all the moving parts and deliver it back to you in full working order... unless it also needs a repair.  Having your machine serviced regularly should mean it keeps running perfectly for years, saving you money on expensive repairs or replacements.  When you pick up your machine you could ask them to demonstrate it is in full working order before you take it home.

2. Clean Your Machine (more often)

Cleaning your machine regularly should mean it is less likely to need repairs or servicing quite as often.  You wont need to do this every time you change the bobbin but if you do spot some fluff, stop sewing and take the time to give the machine a quick clean. Getting into this habit could save you lots of 'tension', aka time spent swearing at the machine and money spent on repairs.

Every third bobbin change is a good rule of thumb for a quick clean of your sewing machine.  Your sewing machine manual will show you how to take the plate off so you can get to the moving parts. (google your manufacturer if you don't have a manual, many offer downloads)

Use compressed air and a little brush to remove the fluff and dust. Be careful not to blow the air too close or it will turn to water, moisture is not good for your machine.

Keep a cover over your machine to ensure no dust or pet hairs (or sticky fingers) can get into the machine. There's a handy pattern to sew your own here.

3. Replace the Needle Regularly

Blunt needles are bad for your sewing, for your fabric and for your machine. If we had a microscope we could see what looks to the eye like a sharp needle may well be blunt or bent and likely to snag your material, even just lightly and cause a less than perfect finish.

Changing your needle when you start a new project is a good habit to get into.  Buy needles in bulk online if you use a particular fabric type for most of your projects, this will save you money and time going to the haberdashery.

4. Change Your Needle Type

There are many different types of needle available, varying in thickness and the type of point.  They have been carefully designed to give the best results when sewing particular fabric types and you should take advantage of this feat of engineering.  Don't just use what you have and risk a puckered unprofessional finish.  Use the right needle for the job.

5. Keep Scissors Sharp

Only use your scissors to cut fabric. If it helps buy 10 pairs of scissors for the kitchen to avoid anyone in the house ever reaching for your expensive fabric scissors. Keep scissors sharp by cutting through tin foil every now and then.  If they feel blunt you can use a sharpening stone, you'll have to take them apart with a screwdriver and sharpen each blade independently.  If you learn how to do this you'll never have to buy another pair!

Sponsored by Janome

You can save yourself a lot of stress by investing in the right machine! With that in mind, this post is sponsored by our friends at Janome.



6. Read Pattern Instructions in Full

You may think you know exactly what to do just looking at the pattern and reading the first few sections, but reading the instructions in full is always a good idea so you know the correct order.

If you are planning to hack a pattern bear in mind exactly how it will affect the construction by jotting notes down on the instructions where you will need to deviate from the pattern in advance.

7. Pre-wash Fabric

Fabric shrinks and whilst the excitement of starting sewing with your lovely new stash is a little overwhelming you must be strong if you are making anything where it will need to be washed.  Cushion cover or new dress, both will be a disappointment if they shrink after the first wash.

8. Iron Everything

The difference that a well ironed seam can make to the construction and finish of your sewing project cannot be underestimated.  If ironing seems like a faff it may be because you haven't got your sewing and ironing 'area' set up right.  You could try using a small table top ironing board if space is at a premium. Take 5 minutes to reorganise your sewing space, even if it means just using an adapter so you can move the ironing board a little closer.

9. Organise Your Craft Stash

One of the most frustrating parts of sewing with a disorganised craft stash is the time wasted trying to find, that zip, that interfacing, that wadding or just hunting out your zipper foot for half an hour (why didn't it just go back where it came from!).

Take a day (or a week!) to organise all your sewing supplies into tubs, tins, drawers or whatever storage you have available.  An organised craft space or craft storage system will save you time and money because you wont be popping out to the craft shop to buy new supplies and fabric.

10. Make Yourself Time

Sewing under pressure is no fun.  If you haven't got time to finish it, never rush as it's the most likely reason for making mistakes, seam ripping is never fun, nor is re-cutting patterns and wasting fabric.

If you liked this post, you might also like...

Craft Hack: Bobbin Storage Ideas

Check out Lou's top tips for storing those pesky bobbins so that they co-ordinate with the right thread!



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