I have developed habits. Everyone develops habits. I love baseball so let’s use that as an example.
Just watch the batter go through all those motions when he approaches the plate as he prepares to take a swing at the ball that is about to be hurled at him. If he is unable to connect with that ball watch him as he moves again through all the same motions as he prepares to take another swing. I have been sewing for many years and I have developed many habits. Not all of them have been good.
I used to bite my thread rather than make an effort to keep a small pair of snips near me when I was hand sewing, I would just bite the thread. My mother would constantly fuss at me about this. “You’ll ruin your teeth.” Well, I don’t know if that is what actually ruined my teeth but, I can no longer bite my thread, even if I wanted to. A chip here, a laminate there, a shifted tooth, whatever my teeth don’t align at all to allow that habit now. So, I’ve broken that bad habit. (like it or not)
I used to leave my rotary cutter blade exposed while I quickly set it down to remove the piece that I had just cut and to re-position the the fabric to make the next cut. Then, I almost cut the outside of my hand when I accidentally knocked the rotary cutter when I was in a hurry to continue on to the next cut. I completely appreciate those little warning that could have been much more costly and I heeded it as a warning. I have now developed a new habit of closing the blade before I set down the rotary cutter. I mean come on, it barely takes an second to do.
I used to put pins in my mouth. Oh yes, I had heard the stories of inhaling or swallowing pins. This one took me a while to decide to correct my bad habit. It wasn’t until I saw one of my children mimicking me. She didn’t have a pin but, she was using the hand motions. I broke that habit right then and there. I am so glad that I did as I now teach sewing to children and adults and I try to be very conscientious of what I do in demonstrating so as not to share any bad or dangerous habits.
I do not record or write about my projects that I sew. In other words, I don’t track projects in a sewing journal. I haven’t even tried. I do feel that keeping a log about all projects (past and future) could be very helpful in determining what worked and what did not and what could have been done a bit differently. This is something that I have realized that I need to develop into a habit.
When I teach beginning sewing I instruct processes. Needle down, turning the hand wheel towards you then, presser foot down. I like to watch other instructor’s videos so that I am able to perfect my techniques. I have noticed in a few, that the instructional process for this is: pressure foot down, then needle down to begin sewing a seam. I like to teach putting the needle down first because the needle then allows the student to see where they are actually beginning to sew at the same time the needle is holding the fabric in place. It also seems an easy transition to needle down to pivot. But, that’s just how my mind works.
I know that this process is habit for most people but, which do you do when you begin sewing a seam? Needle down first? Or presser foot down first? Or do you have one of those computerized machines that does all that thinking for you? What other habits have you had to relearn over your sewing history? I love to hear them. Also, please share any habits that you have found to make your sewing experience extra successful.