10 sewing frustrations of home sewers and how to avoid them

I love sewing BUT there are plenty of frustrations on the way to a beautiful garment. Here are my top 10 and how to avoid them. 10 Frustrations of home sewers & how to avoid them

  1. Broken Needle

    You are merrily sewing away and the needle breaks. Extra annoyance points when you don’t have a spare one on hand.

Ways to avoid it:

✂️ Always try to have a spare set on hand.
✂️ Make sure that you are using the correct needle for the weight of your fabric.
✂️ Remove the pins as you sew, rather than just being lazy and leaving them in.
✂️ If you are feeling kind of lazy, pin horizontally rather than vertically to minimise potential needle damage (this isn’t fool proof though).

  1. The bobbin thread runs into a different colour

    I don’t know why but this always happens to me on the hem. The place where it really counts.

Ways to avoid it:
✂️ Spool thread onto bobbin without tieing it to the previous thread (I know this – yet I keep doing it!).
✂️ Or if you are keen, keep a supply of bobbins in different colours.


  1. The overlocker thread snaps and it’s always the thread that’s hardest to re-thread.

    Isn’t this the most frustrating thing? I really do not enjoy re-threading overlockers.

Ways to avoid it:
✂️ Keep an eye on the tension.
✂️ Make sure that the machine is threaded correctly and that no threads are crossing each other where they shouldn’t.
✂️ Make sure the spool itself is free of any tangles and the thread is moving easily through the machine.


  1. The tension on the overlocker goes out

    Okay, I was wrong. THIS is the most frustrating thing. Playing with tension dials is never fun.

Ways to avoid it:
✂️ You can at least avoid tension guess-work by keeping a ready reference of how to adjust the tension, based on how the threads look. You overlocker guide should have come with one, which I would recommend photocopying and keeping close by (or take a photo of it to keep on your phone).
✂️ If the tension is just beyond redemption, it might be time to book your overlocker in for a service. Sometimes new machines come with a free service, so check that out first.


  1. You sew the wrong side of something to the wrong side of something else

    This is always such an uggggh moment. Take a deep breath. Get the un-picker. Be careful. Don’t take your frustration out on the stitches and end up poking holes where there shouldn’t be holes. Maybe take a break before you start unpicking.

Ways to avoid it:
✂️ The golden rule of sewing: Pay Attention.
✂️ Make sure you transfer all pattern markings. They do help.
✂️ Alternatively, use fabric with no wrong side and a solid colour or print that has no distinct direction. That way you can’t possibly go wrong (until you sew the sleeve in the wrong way around).


  1. Forgetting to reset the stitch length after tacking or gathering

    I have done this so many times! I am not sure it can be avoided other than paying more attention but it’s definitely annoying.

  1. Cutting out the pattern piece so that the fabric is the wrong way around.

    This is just heart-breaking when you realise it’s occurred. You have bought a beautiful print and then you realise it’s running the wrong way and will be upside down on your lovely new skirt.

Ways to avoid it:
✂️ See point 5.
✂️ If you have bought a print with a definite right away around, cut the pieces out individually and carefully, rather than cutting them all out together. You might want to cut the fabric in half so that you cut the front from one piece and the back from the other, ensuring the print faces the correct direction.
✂️ The suggested pattern layout might also be helpful.


  1. Unpicking

    Probably one of largest sewing annoyances is when you have to unpick something. I am trying to create something – not undo something!

Ways to avoid it:
✂️ Again, paying attention is key but we aren’t perfect.

✂️ My big tip would be not to reverse dozens of times – just go once and only on the seams that actually need that added security. Unpicking isn’t fun. Unpicking a big mess of thread is even less so.

  1. Messy threads, birds nests and/or losing thread at the start of a seam.

    Don’t you hate it when the thread goes missing just as you are starting a seam? This one is at least is easy to avoid. And the solution will save you from threads bunching at the start of your seam as well.

Ways to avoid it:
✂️ As per the above don’t go back and forth a million times.
✂️ Gently hold onto the threads at the back of the needle as you start to sew. Release after a few stitches, but make sure the threads are clear of the fabric so that it doesn’t get caught underneath.
✂️ For hems, consider hand sewing for the neatest finish (in an exact thread match to your fabric).

  1. Abuse of the fabric scissors

    The bane of every home sewer! When family members use the good fabric scissors for something other than fabric. My dad used to cut grasshoppers in half as an effective, if not traditional, method of pest control. Mum’s dress making scissors were often the nearest and sharpest pair. Mum was never amused.

Ways to avoid it: 
✂️ Hide the scissors.
✂️ Invest in some garden pest spray.
Arrow 2

Do you have any sewing frustrations to add?
How do you avoid them?

8 thoughts on “10 sewing frustrations of home sewers and how to avoid them

  1. Rach - The Bowerbird Girl says:

    Not the good scissors. God help you if mum busted you cutting anything but fabric with those puppies 🙂 Of course they were always inevitably stored in their correct place … which made them the easiest pair to find. HIDING the good scissors … now that’s the ticket.

  2. Jenni from Styling Curvy says:

    I have zero patience especially when it comes to sewing. I’m the Queen of the unpicker! I love the ‘thought’ of sewing but it always ends in disaster, but I’m loving watching your stylish creations pop up in my Instagram feed, you have the magic 🙂

    • Robyna says:

      Aw thanks. It’s been a bit of a buzz getting behind the machine again. I think the trick is to choose awesome fabric and a really easy pattern!

  3. Flat Bum Mum says:

    All these are the reasons I don’t sew anymore. (although I do really love it when I finish a piece) My overlocker needs re-threading so it is sitting in the cupboard gathering dust because I honestly do not have a clue how to re-thread the freakin’ thing! Arrrgghhhh! Bron x

Comments are closed.