TEN quick steps to improve your sewing skills

batik blouse
As I was finishing a last minute garment for the AUC fashion show at Morehouse College (#Forcoveredgirls) I started to notice something’s about the garment and even though I made and used this pattern several times over. I still felt I could make improvements to the garment, including garment construction.
I am constantly asked about my sewing skills and how does one improve on them. So today I thought I would list out ways that I have improved my skills and my garment construction. Here we go!

1. Do not stop sewing! You need to sew something either everyday or every week. Meaning find something you can finish up quickly. I like instant gratification. If I am working on a project and it takes more than a day or two to finish. Then I will get bored and side tracked. When I have a project I can finish in 24hours and see the results. That motivates me to sew more. There are plenty of sewing books on the market filled with beginner projects, 24 hour projects and easy projects for the home. Just to name a few. Sew, find something easy and quick to do and Keep Sewing!
2. When sewing for someone else I make sure I treat the fabric. When I sew something for myself and I want it to look “extra” nice. I actually treat the fabric. There are several ways to treat fabric. The two main ways is to
a. Pre treat fabric by washing and ironing it.
b. Tear an 1” or so from the top and bottom of the fabric to find the true grain.

3. Make sure you have a quality iron on hand at all times. Go ahead and spend the money for a good iron. One that turns off automatically, so when you bump the iron board and it falls it WON’T burn the carpet.
4. Iron as you. Believe me it will make a difference. Especially if your garment has a collar.
5. Use the correct interfacing. The last thing you want to do if use a dark interfacing and it shows through your wonderful garment. No one else will see it, but it will bother you! Trust me on that one.
6. Make sure you choose the correct needle. Some times you can get away using a needle with a bigger eye on a woven fabric. BUT if you are sewing on silk or a sheer fabric. The last thing you want to see are these huge holes along the seam.
7. Make sure you use the correct thread. If you are sewing on silk material use silk thread. Not cotton. If you are sewing on knit material use thread specifically for knits.
8. Do not allow your material to fall off the table when sewing, especially knit material. It will pull the fabric and cause puckers (on knit material) Also, on woven material if the fabric is to heavy you can break your needle.
9. Think about how you are going to finish off your garment. Will it be a roll hem? A narrow hem?
10. Something that I have been doing for the last 5+ years. I will visit high-end boutiques or visit my favorite high-end store (Neiman Marcus, Saks etc) and visit the couture and designer section. I will turn a garment inside out to get a glimpse of how they constructed and finished off their high-end garment. Then I will turn around and use that same technique for my own garments.
So, this is my short list of how to improve your sewing skills. Check out my full list on my blog and as always KEEP SEWING!

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