Bad Sewing Habits: It’s Time For a Change

bad sewing habits

Everyone has bad habits. Whether you aren't the best housekeeper, you cut corners on your work projects or you eat unhealthy foods while you are supposed to be dieting, everyone has bad habits. If those bad habits are part of your sewing experience, however, it may be time to say goodbye to them. Hopefully, you also have some good sewing habits that are helpful to your efforts. Below is a list of some bad sewing habits that people who sew tend to develop. If you have one or more of these habits, it may be a good idea to work toward changing the habit into a good one instead.

Thread Storage: Is Your Thread Out in Plain Sight?

Many novice sewers tend to leave thread out on the table. Even if you opt for a basket or small box that looks organized, it is still open to the air and the dust and lint that regularly floats through the room. In order to keep thread free of dust and avoid clogs to the sewing machine, thread should be stored in a sealed container.

For some additional thread and notions storage ideas, please check out this article:

Fabric: Do You Know What You Have Stashed at Home?

Some crafters choose to head to the fabric store and see what they can find. However, if you do this and don't check your current inventory at home, you may end up with fabric you already purchased. This means money spent on fabric you still may not have determined is good for a project. This means you have a lot of fabric laying around and no use for it.

For an easy way to store and manage your fabric stash, please check this out:

Work Ethic: Do You Take Breaks or Work for Hours on End?

If you work on a lot of projects, you may get sucked into the project at hand and forget to take breaks. While this may seem like a good habit to be in, it actually is bad for you and the sewing machine. This isn't even considering the other household tasks you miss or meals you don't make. Hours at the sewing machine means your eyes get tired, your hands start to hurt and other parts of your body ache. This can mean the project suffers too. If you want a better result, it is a good idea to take breaks and give yourself a chance to recover from the time you have spent on the project.

Holding Sewing Pins: Do You Put Them In Your Mouth?

This may seem convenient, but it is a very bad idea. It is far too easy to swallow pins, which is not good for your health. Not only can the pins end up in your stomach, but you can accidentally inhale a pin into your lung, which can do a lot of damage.

Starting a New Project Using an Untested Technique

You may find a new technique for sewing that seems like a great idea. However, before you start a project using material that you have in limited supply, try taking extra material you don't have a use for and testing yourself and the new technique on that. In this manner, you can get a handle on the new technique, then you can have better results with the project where you want to see it used.

Fabric and Designs: Make Sure They Mesh Well

There is a reason to use specific types of fabrics for certain garments or specific designs. It is not helpful to try to use any fabric for a project, when that project would work best with specific materials. Certain fabrics are far too challenging to use for a project. Pay attention to the fabric suggestions on the pattern and save yourself some hassle.

Fabric Marking: When Ballpoint Isn't Your Friend

If you have a sewing room, make sure all of your ink pens are stored elsewhere. A water soluble pen and a chalk pencil will be the best tools to have on hand. Make sure to test to see if a water soluble pen will stain the fabric you are using for a specific project. If that is the case, then use the chalk pencil instead.

For additional ideas on fabric marking please read more here:

Fabric Scissors: Keep Them In The Sewing Room

In direct contrast to your ink pens, your fabric scissors should be stored in the sewing room. Likewise, they should NOT be used for items other than fabric. This dulls the scissors and makes them less effective when you are trying to cut fabric for a project. Keeping them in the sewing room keeps them safe for projects and avoids accidental use as well.

If you've always wondered if you can or should cut paper with your sewing scissors, please read this:

Measurement: Measure Twice, Cut Once

There is a reason old sayings get to be old sayings: they have a point. Even if you think you know the measurements for a certain project, take them again before you start cutting. You may find a change in the measurements or realize you made a mistake the first time. Either way, measuring twice saves on wasted material.

Sewing Machines: Create and Stick to a Maintenance Schedule

Lint and dust tend to build up in the moving parts of your sewing machine. If you ignore this important fact, your work could be ruined when the machine stops running. To avoid this, make sure you do regular maintenance on your machine. It is also a good idea to take it to a professional who works at an authorized repair shop when issues get out of hand.

For more tips on maintaining your sewing machine, read this:

Now that you know some of the common bad habits crafters pick up in regard to sewing, you may be able to avoid them. That can mean positive changes for your sewing projects and a boost to your budget.

If you have any other bad sewing habits you would like to share, please help your fellow sewists out and leave a comment below!

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Not paying attention to the task at hand! I forget where I placed my markers or scissors or pins and end up stepping on them, or hunting frantically, wasting time to sew!


You MUST have an ergonomic sewing chair. Splurge on this one thing, and you will have less fatigue and pain, and increased stamina.

kathleen m barlament
kathleen m barlament

Ball point pen and sharpie marker can be removed from fabric. I have had both get loose in the dryer and mark up a lot of clothing and I do use sharpies in the sewing room on occasion for specialty items. To remove it, have clean warm water ready or the washer ready to go. Spray the offending pen mark with Aqua Net Hair Spray until it is saturated. Before the hair spray dries, get it in the water and rub the hair spray out. IF on application doesn’t work, let it dry and repeat. Will not work when the object is wet. This also works on a ton of other surfaces. Just have a wet paper towel ready to wipe it away.


I once used a ball point to outline what I was going to appliqué over. By accident. Didn’t notice until it was too late to make sure I covered it. Awful results. Always check now.

Other great suggestions too.


What scissors does one use to cut fabric and paper, such as fpp?


My rule and law is no food or drink in the sewing room. If I want something to eat or drink, I leave the sewing room. I once spilled cranberry juice over material I was cutting. So, it is a law in my house.

Reply to  Kristine

I agree, no food, drink, cats or dogs in the sewing room.

Reply to  ariesthread

Don’t forget to always press your projects when you’re supposed to! I always forget until I’m done