13 Common Sewing Mistakes for Beginners to Avoid

Are you just starting to learn sewing? Do you feel confused and often make mistakes during the process? If so, don't worry anymore! I'm here to help! 

But first, the most important thing you should know is that making sewing mistakes isn't shameful. Don't let these mistakes discourage you. This blog post will list the most common mistakes for beginners and, of course, methods to avoid these mistakes. Read on and get helpful tips for your next sewing project.

1. Starting with a Complex Project

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Always don't start with a complex project when you're new to sewing! Alternatively, select an easy project according to your skill level. Easy projects include crafts, tops, underwear, and flowy skirts.

Additionally, stick to only one project at a time. Make and finish one project and then start another one.

2. Taking Wrong Measurements

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No matter whom you're making a garment for, getting the right measurements is always a critical step. Don't just use the standard sizes but the actual body measurements. Use a measuring tape to measure at least twice for accurate numbers. 

3. Knowing Nothing of a Sewing Pattern

Understanding a sewing pattern is crucial. Each symbol and phrase in the pattern has a specific meaning that will help with your work. Don't just start sewing directly, but read the pattern carefully to get an impression of the construction of the garment. If there’s something you don’t know, search online or ask a sewing professional for help.

4. Not Knowing Sewing Terminology

During your sewing process, you'll see or hear many different sewing terms. Knowing these terms can help you better understand your sewing steps and sewing patterns. But you don't have to learn all these terms in advance since there are hundreds of them. Alternatively, learn sewing terms as you go; just don't ignore them!

5. No Fabric Preparation

Do you really know how important fabric preparation is? Many of you, not just beginners, tend to skip this step and rush to start the project. But the final product often doesn't fit.

Before jumping into your project, prepare your fabric first, especially if you're making a garment. Some fabrics can shrink after washing, making your garment tighter or shorter. To avoid this, pre-wash or dry-clean the fabric according to its care instructions.

6. Choosing the Wrong Fabric

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The fabric you choose plays a key role in your sewing project. Before choosing a fabric, ask yourself: Do I really know what type of fabric I need? Many of you fail because you only think about fabric colors and designs you like.

Conversely, take into account your project requirements, such as fabric weight, drape, or stretch. For instance, heavier fabrics like denim are more durable and can withstand a lot of wear and tear. Lightweight fabrics like chiffon are ideal for creating delicate and flowy dresses. The drape of the fabric is also important, as it determines what your final project will look like.

So remember to do your research before making your final fabric choice. Consider all the necessary factors and then choose wisely.

7. Choosing the Wrong Needle and Thread

The correct type of needle and thread is crucial for a successful project. For most garments, you can use 100% polyester, universal thread. When sewing natural fibers, universal needles are totally enough. Ballpoint and jersey needles are better for knitted fabrics. There are also stretch needles for stretchy fabrics and other specialty needles for specific fabrics. Make sure your needles match the weight of the fabric for a professional result.

8. Using Wrong Sewing Tools

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In addition to the right needle and thread, other sewing tools also determine how successful your project will be. For example, scissors are one of the most important tools. Never use kitchen scissors to cut your fabric! You should look for a pair of sharp, high-quality fabric scissors. Also, keep in mind not to use these scissors to cut materials other than fabric. Doing so will only blunt your blade.

9. Not Pinning or Clipping Fabric

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Pinning or clipping your fabric before sewing does have a lot of benefits. Not only does it prevent your fabric from shifting when sewing, but it also ensures even seams.

Additionally, when working with a sewing pattern, you can pin the pattern pieces together for precise cutting.

10. Forgetting Seams

For a neat and polished look, don't forget to finish the seams. Fold the edges over and sew along them to create seams. Or apply bias tape to cover the edges. Whatever the method, the seams will prevent your fabric from unraveling.

11. Skipping the Backstitch

To backstitch or not to backstitch is always a hot sewing debate. For beginners, I recommend doing a backstitch.

Backstitching is a simple sewing technique that involves using the reverse sewing direction to secure the start and end of seams. It reinforces seams and prevents them from unraveling. 

12. Not Setting the Machine Correctly

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Sometimes, you fail when using a sewing machine because you set up your machine incorrectly and ignore the specific requirements of your fabric.

The two most common setting mistakes are tension and stitch length. Machine tension can cause uneven or very tight stitches. It's a difficult skill for beginners to master. To avoid wrong tension, first, make sure the bobbin is threaded correctly, then check the tension using a test piece of fabric. As you check, adjust it until you find the right tension.

To ensure proper stitch length, you can search for professional settings for your fabric. Then, use the test fabric to check and adjust the length if necessary.

13. Not Replacing Needles Regularly

Remember to replace your needle regularly, about every 6-8 hours of sewing, to keep your sewing neat and professional. While the needle may appear sharp enough, its tip actually dulls with repeated use, much like a knife edge.

A dull needle cannot pierce through the fabric. It will damage the thread and leave unsightly needle holes.

14. Not Cleaning Your Machine

All machines need cleaning regularly, and sewing machines are no exception. Cleaning your sewing machine from time to time ensures it runs smoothly. 

Threads and dust often accumulate under the needle plate and in the hook area. To clean them, open the needle plate and bobbin case, and then use a fine brush to carefully remove threads or dust. If necessary, you can apply oil to specific areas. But remember to read the care instructions for your machine first!

15. Ignore Ironing

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Don't overlook the power of ironing. It can enhance your work at every step. When preparing your fabric, ironing it can provide an even surface without wrinkles. If you're working with fusible interfacing, follow the instructions for proper pressing time. For seams, you can either press them open or iron them after sewing for intact edges. Once your project is complete, give it a press for a polished look.


To sum up, these are some common sewing mistakes you might encounter. To avoid them, first do research on your project and fabric, then prepare all the necessary tools and materials. Follow the right instructions and make adjustments as necessary.

The most important is to be patient and careful, so you can achieve a successful result!  Do-Follow


May 24, 2024 — Woan Yen Khoo