Here's my effort to ward you away from making these same terrible mistakes. These are in no particular order.
1. Not pre-washing
I am terrible for not pre-washing my fabrics. I think because I feel like I cut my patterns big enough that I have room for error. WRONG! Especially since I sew with knits a lot, not just knits but cotton knits. I really want to do better about that.
2. Not buying enough fabric
You know how sometimes you are at the fabric store, and you really see a gorgeous fabric. Then you think to yourself, "Hmm, I'd really like to get some of that to put in the stash," not really having a particular idea for it. Then you only purchase a yard, take it home and put it up, and come across it months later wishing to make a shirt. Only you realize you don't have enough to make a blouse. Yeah that's typically me! I realize that I hoard fabric, but I will get the gumption to sew garments a lot. I don't typically have any plans when I buy fabric; and if I do have plans, they are pretty general (i.e.: shirt, shorts, pants instead of pleated yoke shirt.)
3. Not fitting throughout sewing
I will be so wrapped up in my sewing and trying to get things finished that oftentimes I will sew straight through, not taking heed to fitting. This has landed many a project into the trash. Or donated. This is not always the case. I think I am self-correcting this bad habit. I have found myself trying on things even if it only has the front and half of the back.
4. Restarting UFOs months after beginning
I recently did this. The downside to this is that you usually forget which way pattern pieces go... or lose a couple of pieces (maybe.) The upside is you get plenty of wrist exercise from ripping seams about three times back to back. And not just ripping basting seams. No; that's for sissies. I mean ripping small straight seams and tight overlocked seams. That's the fun stuff! (You would figure I had learned the first time...)
5. Not taking notes of technique or changes
This tip slightly falls in line with the previous one. Had I taken notes of my self-drafted garment and had said notes been placed somewhere easily retrieved, then I would not have kept stitching the upper back portion upside down and to the wrong side over and over again.
6. Not pinning liberally
I believe this speaks for itself. I don't like to pin. Period. I don't like pinning chiffon. I don't like pinning cotton. I don't like pinning jersey. I don't like pinning charmeuse. I don't like pinning zippers. I don't like pinning gathers/ruffles. I don't like pinning anything. There are times when I can get away with not pinning. And there are times when I cannot; I typically learn this the hard way. You would think with my disdain for pinning that my walking foot is constantly attached to my machine, but it is not.
7. Not always using proper equipment
I have an amazing abundance of presser feet, mostly because I've had a few sewing machines (of 2 I still own) and I keep the feet. Not only have I acquired them that way, but I purchase feet that I think that I will need (and feet that I don't think I will need *don't judge*.) In addition to a plethora of presser feet I
hoard have tons of sewing needles. I have even recently obtained a winged needle and a triple needle. With all this being said, I can count on one hand the amount of times I've used some of those feet. I haven't even used the triple needle and I've had it well over a year. Instead of trying to take shortcuts and do it the "simple" way, I should just simplify my life by using the proper tool. For example instead of measuring a hem, I should just use one of the various hemmers that I have. I have them ranging from a narrow hem to 7/8" hem yet I seldom bother to use them.
8. Not making a muslin
If you ask me this one pretty much sums up all of them. This is probably my biggest fault. I have ruined so much fabric from not making a muslin. I am definitely learning to cover this ground before I go and ruin some fabric that I won't ever see on sale again. Not only for the sake of the fabric, but this serves to figure adjustment issues which is something I'm constantly doing. I like my shirts pretty long not necessarily tunic length, but I do like the top of my behind covered. I typically have to make patterns that are kind of lengthy.
9. Not finishing seams
This issue doesn't agitate me as much as the others. I have yet to find my niche with finishing seams. I mean I always overcast them, but I don't know if I should do it after sewing a seam or once the whole article is finished. So I just don't... When I know the piece will be ready to wear when I'm done, then I'll take the time out to finish them. However, if I'm stitching up something quick for demonstrative purposes, I won't (and then it falls apart.)
10. Not using interfacing
Y'know that interfacing stuff is a wonderful wonderful thing! Why I fail to locate it for facings and plackets is beyond my mind's capacity. I truly believe it serves its amazing purpose. Deep down in my heart I know it; however my mind, heart, and hands don't always agree. My heart says I should interface; my mind says maybe I should, maybe I shouldn't; and my hands are so confused that they just keep on sewing. It doesn't just simply facings, but it also makes those difficult-to-sew slippery fabrics a breeze to sew.
I'm not claiming to be this miraculous expert in sewing. Heck if you read that list, you're probably wondering if I can even sew at all, lol. I would just like to save you from botching up your own garment sewing and save you some money. Let me tell you purchasing the same fabric for the same pair of pants is not fun. Far from it even. I hope you can gain something from my list of bad habits (that I may or may not be trying to break), even if it's nothing more than you getting a couple of chuckles from my crazy slip-ups and brain farts. It happens to us all.