1- Measure twice cut once. This was drilled into me by my textiles teacher! If in doubt don't cut.
2- SLOW DOWN! Sometimes the best way to keep your stitching neat is to slow it right down, on some machines you can turn down the speed or on tricky bits you can can turn the wheel by hand.
3 - Use the right pins, Buying cheap pins means your left with one thing, cheap pins. Which can be thick and bulky and leave holes in your fabric. For really expensive fabrics like silk invest in silk pins! For fabrics that can be marked by pins like leather use quilting clips or paper clips.
4- Learn to fit properly. Fit can make a huge difference in something looking okay and something looking amazing! Their are hundreds of tutorials on-line which should help you find out what alterations you need to make for your body type.
5- Read the instructions. I know this sounds obviously but actually read them, and then read them again, and keep checking them! This isn't flat pack people the instructions might actually be helpful!
6- Don't sew when your tired/or after 3 glasses of wine, you'll make mistakes. Although after 3 glasses of wine those mistakes are 100% more hilarious, after 4 they are tear inducing though!
7- Challenge yourself, You won't improve if your don't push yourself and take risks.
8- Read your sewing machine Manual, Yeah its probably more dull than the phone book but it could really help your learn some of the amazing things your machine can do! You never know it might be able to do something you never even thought of!
9- Iron, Iron, Iron , It's surprising what a difference ironing everything out is, but it really does improve the look of a finished garment!
10- If in doubt tacking, after doing two lessons on tacking at high school I hate it with a passion, but sometimes for a really great finish its worth the extra time and effort!
11- Regularly measure yourself, mainly to make sure your garments fit but also because your body can change a lot due to stress, holidays etc. I like to measure myself before every project so I don't get any nasty surprises.
12- Take a course! So many places are offering sewing courses now, abakhans do workshops, sew over it has courses where you can actually come away with a garment and it all else fails and you don't feel like leaving the house craftsy so courses on-line [jammies not compulsory!]
13- Clean your sewing machine, clean sewing machines sew better, nuff said, mike drop.
14- Apply buttons properly, yes using the shank method and the match stick and stuff! Its long and it boring but it saves you sewing them on again in a few weeks time!
15- Keep beverages away from fabric, Yes everyone loves a brew as their sewing! but no one likes tea stains on their new garment! Be aware of where you brew is!
16- Always Prewash! I can't stress this enough, prewashing saves so much heartache in the long run! DO IT !
What are your sewing tips?