Tips For Getting the Most Out of the Sewalong
Tea and a Sewing Machine’s first ever sewalong starts next week, and I’m hoping you’re going to join in. It’s going to be fun!
Last week I published this post explaining exactly what a sewalong is, what we’ll be doing and what you can do to get ready.
Today I’m going to give you some tips for getting the most out of the sewalong, so that everything goes smoothly and you enjoy it!
Make Sure You Have Everything You Need
I mean everything!
The last thing you want is to discover that you don’t have something you need and abandon what you’re doing to go out and get it, or wait a few days for the postman to bring it.
So make sure you have everything ready and to hand before you start.
You’ll need your fabric, zip and bias binding, and matching thread.
You’ll also need big bits of paper (like pattern paper), a pencil and a ruler. You might also want to use a French curve, but you can improvise with a plate.
Don’t forget about your normal sewing stuff! Your sewing machine needs to be functioning. Do you know where your scissors are? What about pins? Everything’s much easier with a pin cushion and it reduces the chances of you being tempted to put them in your mouth (it’s dangerous, don’t do it!), so do you have one and do you know where it is? What about your tape measure? And your seam ripper?
If you have everything ready beforehand, you’ll be able to start as soon as the sewalong starts.
Wash Your Fabric
It can be tempting to skip washing your fabric, and to be honest, I have done this myself.
But washing it first is definitely best!
Cotton does shrink a bit sometimes the first time you wash it. It’s better to have it shrink before making it into something, than to have the thing you made end up too small!
Even if it doesn’t, sometimes fabric is treated with chemicals which can make it smell odd and feel weird.
If you bought it online, or if it’s in a pile you’ve been storing somewhere, it might have some creases or lines where it’s been folded up. So stick it in the washing machine, get it dry then run the iron over it.
This also gives you a chance to admire the lovely fabric you’ve bought before you cut into it!
Sign Up For the Emails
You’ll get an email everytime a new post goes live, so you won’t miss any of the steps.
You’ll also get some printables that will help you to get the most out of the sewalong.
If you haven’t signed up for the emails yet, you can do that by filling in this form.
Print Out the Printables
The printables are designed so as to be useful to you
The measurements printable will help you to be sure about what you need to measure, as well as providing you with somewhere to record your measurements.
For some of them, you’ll need to divide them by 2 or 4, and the printable prompts you to do this as well so you won’t get into a muddle and end up with something that’s the wrong size!
The skirt measurements printable will help you to work out the dimension of the skirt.
Both of these will come in handy if you decide to make the same dress again, and having a record of your measurements is always useful when you like to make clothes for yourself!
The shopping list and the getting ready printables will help you to prepare and the stages one will allow you to keep track of the stages you’ve completed.
Decide When You Are Going to Work on the Steps of the Sewalong
This is possbily the most important tip, and also the hardest!
When you commit to doing somethingm that’s usually not difficult at all!
The tricky thing is finding the time to actually do it.
So have a think, get out your calendar or your diary if you need to and block off some time. And make sure you stick to it! Don’t allow yourself to become sidetracked by laundry, phonecalls or husbands who need help with their train sets! This is a prior appointment with yourself!
Obviously it’s difficult to do this if you are battling illness, pain or small children. You might have to settle for a time that’s most likely to be best, and maybe have a backup plan if that doesn’t work.
You Might Also Need to Decide Where
It can be tricky finding time to sew. It can be even harder finding space to sew. And if you have to spend time getting everything out, then more time putting everything away again, it eats into the time you have.
It’s also difficult if you know you have to clear everything off your dining table so that your family can eat dinner! Or not having anywhere to lay out fabric for cutting out because you live in a small house and anyway, every available surface is covered in toys! Or your husband’s train stuff.
So once you’ve decided when you’re going to work on the stages of the sewalong, decide where you’re going to as well. If you can, get yourself sorted out before hand.
So before the cutting out stage (the bodice post will go live on 4th May and the skirt post on 8th May), clear the toys off the living room floor so that you’ll be ready to start. Or see if there’s a little corner where you can leave your sewing machine out.
Pinterest has set our expectations far too high! Most of us don’t have space for a sewing room. But as I said in this post, you don’t need a whole room. A little corner will do, and I’ve found that it makes a huge difference to how much sewing I do.
Check That You Have Enough Thread
Sewing the bias binding to the hem of the skirt particularly is going to use a lot of thread. So just check that you have enough before the sewalong starts, especially if you already have thread in the colour you need.
If you put the thread on the bobbin as well, than that will give you more of an idea of how much is left on the reel and whether you’ll need to get some more.
Don’t Trim Seams Or Darts Until You’ve Tried it On
This would always be my advice, not just for the sewalong!
Always check the fit first. There’s enough in the seam allowances to be able to let things out a bit if need be. Sometimes a couple of cm makes all the difference.
If it’s too big, it’s generally easier to unpick the seams and resew them if you haven’t trimmed them right down.
Check Your Measurements Carefully
This is the key to making clothes that fit well.
Check your own measurements carefully. If you can, get a friend to help you. If not, use a mirror instead. This will help you to make sure that the tape is straight and not twisted.
Always check your measurements a couple of times!
When you’re cutting out the fabric, check that your measurements there are correct too!
If You’re Not Sure, Ask!
I’m here to help 🙂
Sometimes things seem clear to me but they don’t always come across that way to other people.
Sometimes a little bit of clarification is needed.
So just ask me! You can leave a comment at the bottom of the post, or a message on Facebook, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org