If you’re only just getting started with sewing, you’re in for an excellent road ahead. There are so many things you can do with the craft. Sewing can be very rewarding.

However, beginners – and even some experts – make a few common mistakes along the way. Sometimes, people only learn these through experience. To minimize you ruining a project, we’re outlining these common errors so you can learn from other people’s mistakes!

The most common error is poor cutting of the pattern. Getting the model wrong is the bane of many a project. Be sure to align the fabric grain lines accurately, and do it on a flat surface. Don’t let fabric hang over the edge of a table, as that can pull it out of shape.

Remember to check the measurements twice before you break out the scissors.

Learn how to read sewing patterns. You need to know what the marks and symbols mean, alongside words and phrases such as grain line and fold lines. These all means something, and not knowing what they mean can produce a disaster.

Remember to use your presser foot! Many people working with sewing machines forget to use this, which is a shame. The presser foot holds the fabric in place, letting you get neater stitches.

Choose the right materials for the job. You might find nicer colours or prettier patterns, but if silk is a bad choice for a project, don’t use silk. Distinct patterns or projects are best done with specific fabrics, so aesthetics is going to have to take second place to practicality.

Be sure to check your tension dial. Mastering it is tough, and even experts can sometimes struggle with it. However, learning how much pressure is right for your project is essential. However, be sure to check that the bobbin is threaded properly before you fiddle with anything.

Be careful about how you sew your seams. Seams are vital to clothing! The constant reversing when working on seams can be tricky, but it is a crucial skill to master.

Like fabric, the needle and thread are necessary as well. For most garments, a 100% polyester thread is a good choice. Rayon, silk, and quilting thread are all poor choices for garment construction. Check to see if a universal needle is okay, or if it requires a specialised one like a ballpoint.

Always, always have more fabric than you need. You never know when you might need extra because you made an error. Also, some fabrics may shrink, so having extra material can compensate for that.

Preparing the material is just as important. Do your research. Some fabrics should be washed first, while others need dry cleaning. You’ll want to machine wash denim, and wool is dry clean only.

Finally, there is an adage in writing about keeping it short and straightforward. The same goes for sewing. Keep your projects short and simple at first, because you’re still just getting used to how things work. Save the elaborate and flashy stuff for after you’ve mastered the basics.