- If your finished article is likely to be washed at some point, then it is a good idea to wash the fabric first as most fabrics will shrink a little on the first wash. Also make sure that you press the fabric before using, as any little crease can alter the shape of pattern piece once it is cut out.
- When pinning the pattern pieces to the fabric, make sure the pattern is the right way up, there's nothing worse than finding that the pattern is upside down on some or all of your component pieces.
- Unless you are cutting out bias binding or the pattern tells you to place the pattern on the bias, make sure that the pattern is placed on the straight grain of the fabric. If you don't then your finished item will not hang correctly. We've all bought cheap clothes that twist and warp after the first wash haven't we? This is because in order to save money they twist the pattern pieces round in order to get as many garments out of a piece of fabric as they can.
- Check that everything is correctly placed on the fabric before cutting.You've heard the old saying 'measure twice, cut once'..
- Make sure your cutting shears are sharp. Blunt blades will snag your fabric.
- Pin or tack your fabric pieces before you sew - this will help stop your fabric creeping and ensure that all notches and markings are held together.
- When sewing make sure you use the correct needle and thread for your fabric. You don't want to be using heavy thread on your fine fabrics.
- Pink your seams once sewn to prevent fraying, but if they are going to be exposed it is better to over-lock or over-sew them.
- Press those seams open - it will give a much better finish, and clip any curves to help them sit flat.
- Top stitching or stay stitching is really important. They will both stop edges from rolling out and will give a really professional finish.
Lastly, relax and enjoy your sewing, it should be fun!
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