Added Aug 16, 2013
Don't throw away your scraps. Pack up the big pieces and keep a few smaller ones nearby as you work on projects. I always keep a scrap of the fabric from the project I am working on near my machine at all times. Before touching the actual project I use it to test stitches to determine the best length and tension for that particular fabric. Its also a good indicator of whether the machine needle needs to be changed. By doing so it can prevent ruining a project or having to undo an unsatisfactory seam, which, depending on your fabric, can cause it to fray excessively from over-handling.
That handy scrap also serves as a ready test lab for sampling seam finish options - which zigzag or overcast finish will work best for the fabric. Or, for whenever a quick stitch check, or stitching anchor is needed. It just good sewing.
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