Make friends with a seam ripper - find one that you really like and buy several because no matter how experienced you become, everyone always makes mistakes.
LMAO! That was the first thing I thought of when I saw this thread!
But also remember to respect
the seam ripper. I can't count how many times I was ripping, ripping... ripped right through the fabric.
Tip related to that: until you are used to the ripper, cut through the threads while the fabrics are flat, just nipping the ---. Resist the urge to cut between the two pices of fabric, even though it seems quicker, because that's how I usually cut the fabric (or myself).
What else?... I second the good thread comment. I like Gutermann, myself. I also like to take a little piece of fabric with me when I'm buying the thread because sometimes your memory of the color is a little unreliable. And make sure you get enough!
Ditto for good needles, in the right sizes. Read the package label for descriptions of what types of fabric they are for. Sharp for woven, ballpoint for knits. Littler number=littler needle=finer weave (or knit) material. Don't try to sew chiffon with a denim needle or vice versa. Heartbreak will ensue.
Nice pattern companies for beginners in my opinion are Burda and Kwik-Sew. I liked the instructions and how they didn't assume that I just knew how to "ease in" or "french seam" or whatever, and the illustrations made the instructions make more sense. Also for whatever reason, the clothes always fit better. After a while, you will figure out what companies make things that fit you the way you like.
Make sure you have an iron handy when sewing. When you finish a seam or turn something or sew a curve, you usually need to press it afterward so that it's shaped right, otherwise it'll be puckery or otherwise weird. I used to try to sew everything together and then just press it out at the end of the project... doesn't work right.
Only other big thing I can think of right now is: don't sew angry
. Well, you can be angry at school or your job or your family, etc., sewing's good to get your mind off that! But don't sew angry at your project. Every time I'm mad at a project (and you will be!
), if I keep working on it just then it all goes kerflooey. Take a break and come back later, and in my experience, you'll end up with a much nicer product at the end.
Good luck! You have so much cool stuff ahead of you!