Our fearless leader Ronda Chaney is unmatched in the field of fashion education, particularly when it comes to impeccable construction. She is co-author of the book Make It Your Own and has written for such publications as Sewing UpdateSerger UpdateSew NewsF.I.T. Review and Singer Sewing Books. She has also appeared on the nationally syndicated television program America Sews. Here she shares 10 tips for how to eliminate frustration by avoiding common mistakes.

#1—Choose the correct fabric for each design. Should the fabric be soft or crisp? How much drape do you want?
#2—Sewing machine maintenance is essential. Clean and oil your machine regularly.
#3—Change the needle on your machine when necessary. A good rule of thumb is to install a new needle after every 6-8 hours of sewing.
#4—Read through all of the pattern instructions several times before beginning a garment.
#5—Mark the wrong side of your fabric when laying out your pattern pieces. This is especially important with fabrics that have less obvious right and wrong sides.
#6—Use directional stitching, especially on necklines.
#7—Prevent wavy button holes by making a “sandwich” with stabilizer on both sides. Solvy brand or another tear-away product works best.
#8—Prevent hemlines from stretching by first attaching with a fusible web, then top stitching.
#9—When you’re feeling tired, take a break, and save the most challenging part of a sewing project for when you’re most rested.
#10—Plan to make mistakes and understand that doing so is the best way to learn. Sewing is an acquired skill that is improved with practice. Lots of practice.