Too many times I hear, 'I have a sewing machine but don't use it. I did once and it got all (insert tech verb here), so I haven't used it since." Yikes! Don't give up after the first few tries - I'm getting ahead of myself. Patience - that's a practice I need to work on when I'm not sewing!
First practice (or best practice) of sewing: Patience. I bet you guessed that. Sewing can't be rushed. Sewing should be approached with patience or you will spend hours seam ripping, threading and re-threading the machine, fixing bobbin jams and replacing machine needles.
Break your project into achievable time blocks.
Second practice: Confidence. Knowing your machine and tools for sewing is a solid confidence builder. When I purchase a new machine I read the manuals, and then read while looking over and learning about the machine. As for patterns, do I read the entire layout pages, terms, and review the pattern? I do review the pattern to make sure all the pieces are there, review the steps (sometimes they through a curve ball in the instructions!) and read all the pattern pieces. Approach your project with confidence that you know your machine and raise your confidence level with sewing by knowing what to expect from the pattern.
Knowledge is Power. True; however, let's not take that statement to mean you need power as seamstress (unless you plan on developing a fantastic identity and costume to be an Avenger!). Take in the form of your skill set for sewing. What can you do confidently? What do you need to practice. with? Do you know your machine and can you confidently run a straight or zig-zag stitch? Can you set the tension properly or stitch length/width?
Techniques and steps to follow are as important as the traits above. Below are a few examples.
Physical Care is an excellent practice to keep up with. Sewing places a large amount of strain on your neck, shoulders, back, hands and knees. Taking stretch breaks is good for you physically and mentally. Stretch your back, shoulders, knees, etc. Walk away from your sewing area when you need to stretch. You won't be sitting at the machine for an hour sewing; however, 15 minutes of sitting in the position to sew at a machine can be toll heavy. A few tips:
Keep It Clean. Your sewing area should be kept clean. Pick up pins and needles as you drop or find them. Pick up dropped threads (they clog a vacuum brush), pieces of fabric and other items. Don't keep food anywhere near your sewing project - this goes for drinks as well. If you do have a drink, keep it away in an area that will prevent spoiling the garment.
Keep your machine and tools clean! They are investments to protect the same way you would protect and care for a vehicle or other valuables.
That sums up some of the best practices for beginning sewing that I recommend. What practices would you add? Share your thoughts in the comments - I'd like to hear from you.
With that, I wish you success and inspiration in your new sewing adventures, today and always!