sewing mistakes for beginners

Avoid These Devastating Sewing Mistakes for Beginners

As someone new to sewing, I find it easy to make mistakes. But don’t worry – even experienced sewists run into problems sometimes. This article covers seven common sewing errors and how to avoid them.

Here are the key points we’ll discuss:

  • Using the wrong needle for your fabric
  • Pulling or pushing the fabric too much
  • Not preparing your fabric properly
  • Sewing without a backstitch
  • Choosing the incorrect stitch length
  • Threading your machine incorrectly
  • Not maintaining your sewing machine

Ready to sew like a pro from the start? Let’s get started!

Using the Right Needle

One mistake is using a needle that is not meant for the fabric you’re sewing. There are different needles for different materials. Using the wrong one can cause skipped stitches, fabric damage, and broken needles.

For example, you need a sharp needle for woven cotton fabrics. But for stretchy knits, you want a ball-point needle. It won’t pierce and tear the elastic threads.

Don’t Pull or Push Too Much

Don't Pull or Push Too Much
Photo credit: pexels

It’s easy to pull or push the fabric too much when guiding it through the machine. This causes uneven stitches and puckering. Instead, let the feed dogs do the work. Gently guide the fabric without pulling or pushing.

Also, don’t yank the fabric out from the machine when done. This can break your needle! Hold the thread tails and snip them with scissors instead.

Prepare Fabric Properly

Not preparing fabric ahead of time is another common oops. Always wash and dry fabric before sewing, as some shrink after. Then, it is put on good pressing with an iron.

You also need to clip any loose threads from the cut edges. Otherwise, they can get caught in the machine and cause jams or messy stitches.

Always Backstitch

What’s backstitching? It’s reversing your stitches at the start and end of a seam. This creates a lockstitch that prevents your seams from coming apart.

Most machines have a reverse button to do this easily. Don’t skip this step – it only takes a few seconds and makes your seams much stronger.

Choosing Stitch Length

Did you know stitch length affects your seam quality? Using too long of a stitch length creates loose, sloppy stitches that can come undone.

For a strong seam, keep your stitch length around 2-3mm. This range works for most fabrics. Check your machine manual if you’re unsure of the ideal stitch length.

Threading Mistakes

Improperly threading your machine is a super common error. But it’s an easy fix once you get the technique down. Always refer to your manual for the correct thread path.

A different threading mistake is using low-quality thread that shreds and breaks easily. Stick to high-quality threads to avoid constant frustration.

Maintaining Your Machine

Like any tool, sewing machines need routine maintenance. Not cleaning out lint and dust can really gunk up the work over time.

Use a small brush to remove lint frequently, especially from the bobbin area. You’ll also want to oil your machine periodically per the manual instructions.

With some basic care, your machine will stay in great shape for many sewing adventures!


What are some common sewing mistakes beginners make?

Beginners often use the wrong needle for their fabric, pull or push the fabric too much, don’t prepare fabric properly, forget to backstitch, choose incorrect stitch length, thread their machine incorrectly, and don’t maintain their sewing machine.

Why is it important to avoid sewing mistakes as a beginner?

Avoiding common sewing mistakes from the start helps prevent frustration and wasted time and materials and allows beginners to produce better-quality projects.

How can I avoid sewing mistakes when starting out?

Read your machine manual thoroughly, use the right needles and thread, prepare fabric correctly, backstitch at seam starts/ends, use proper stitch length, thread the machine properly, and maintain your sewing machine regularly.


There you have it – 7 mistakes that often trip up sewing beginners. By knowing common pitfalls in advance, you can avoid them right from the start.

Feeling more confident now about jumping into your next sewing project? What kind of items do you want to try making first? Let me know in the comments!


Main image: freepik

Priti Nandy
Priti Nandy
Articles: 285

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