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Editor’s Note: I want to start this post by saying what a pleasure it has been having Peter on board with us here at BurdaStyle. He has brought a unique and personal approach to both sewing and fashion and we will miss his weekly doses of witty commentary and technical prowess. Thanks again, Peter!

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If you read magazines, you know that people love a good list. And lists are just as much fun to write as they are to read. Well, almost.

Anyway, I thought compiling a dos and don’ts of sewing list might be a good challenge, and I hope you’ll let me know what you think. Of course, this list reflects my experience; you are welcome to disagree!

Peter’s SEWING DOs

1. DO sew only projects you’re excited about.


2. DO start an important project with a fresh sewing needle.

3. DO clean your sewing area and the bed of your sewing machine thoroughly (I use rubbing alcohol) before sewing with light-colored or white fabric.

4. DO give yourself a break between projects.

5. DO keep your sewing area clean — or cleanish.

6. DO consider sewing with a vintage sewing machine, if only for the experience (you might prefer it).

7. DO keep a spare sewing machine (you’ll stumble on a cheap one at a thrift store eventually).

8. DO pre-shrink your fabric if your fabric is apt to shrink in the wash.

9. DO press as you go.

10. DO learn how to maintain your sewing machine.

11. DO organize your sewing notions so you know where to find them next time you need them.

12. DO invest some time figuring out thread tension for your sewing machine. (It’s basically just two disks and a spring.)


13. DO create a dedicated sewing space.

14. DO learn from your mistakes.

15. DO share your sewing knowledge with others.


16. DO talk up sewing when you can — young people need to know it exists.


1. DON’T sew when you’re feeling exhausted.

2. DON’T rush. Another day won’t make a difference and you’ll be wearing your project (hopefully) a long time.

3. DON’T sew for others unless the idea brings you joy.

4. DON’T buy the cheapest new sewing machine you can find at Walmart, Kmart, etc.

5. DON’T use cheap interfacing.

6. DON’T fall for every bell and whistle available on a new sewing machine; you’ll never use most of them.

7. DON’T iron with a dirty faceplate.

8. DON’T beat yourself up is your garment doesn’t come out the way you’d hoped.


9. DON’T sew under poor light.

10. DON’T put water in your iron if you’re ironing a fabric that’s water-stainable (ask me how I know!).

11. DON’T keep every last fabric scrap for the fantastic quilt you will (never) make someday.

12. DON’T forget to clean out the fuzz beneath your throat plate periodically.


13. DON’T overlook refurbished machines; they’re just as good as new imo.

14. DON’T set unreasonable standards for yourself.

15. DON’T force yourself to finish a project you’ve lost passion for.


16. DON’T hoard sewing notions!

So what do you think? Is there anything you’d include on your do and don’t list I’ve missed here?

Feel free to add some of your own below!

Readers, this will be my last blog post for right now. It has been great fun contributing to BurdaStyle and a privilege to interact with so many talented and eloquent sewers from all over the world! Thank you all for reading, and for your wonderful comments.

I’d like to offer a special thank you to Lindsey at BurdaStyle, who has provided excellent technical support these last six months.

Don’t forget to come visit me at my blog, Male Pattern Boldness!


When native New Yorker Peter Lappin bought his first sewing machine two years ago to hem a pair of thrift store jeans, little did he know he was initiating a journey that would bring him fame and fortune. While awaiting his fortune he stays busy writing “the world’s most popular men’s sewing blog,” Male Pattern Boldness, and now contributing to BurdaStyle.

“For more than twenty years I’d lived on the edge of the Garment District without even knowing what a seam ripper was. Now I rip daily!”


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    Aug 12, 2011, 08.16 AMby loulourosa

    I’ll miss your fun and interesting posts!

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    Aug 12, 2011, 04.55 AMby turtlegirl00

    love the list! soooo agree with do not sew when tired… sorry you won’t be on burda—but I will continue to read your blog! :) thanks for a wonderful final post here!

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    Aug 12, 2011, 04.23 AMby campanella

    Hi Peter, I SO agree with your list :-) Too bad there will be no more posts by you, I loved to read about a male sewing, it shows interesting, sometimes similar, sometimes different aspects!

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    Aug 12, 2011, 02.25 AMby Talia B

    great post! I like how you’re not urging me to save every last scrap of fabric. Everyone says to save scraps, but it feels like I’m hoarding after awhile.

    1 Reply
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      Aug 12, 2011, 03.12 AMby Peter Lappin

      If it feels like hoarding… ;)

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    Aug 12, 2011, 12.02 AMby carottesauvage

    too bad you won’t contribute anymore…

    1 Reply
    • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

      Aug 12, 2011, 03.13 AMby Peter Lappin

      I’ll still be popping in from time to time! (But you can find me on my blog every day.)

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    Aug 11, 2011, 11.31 PMby proploft2012

    I have to say that this is a great list and i think i know just the person to send this to, especially the “DON’T keep every last fabric scrap for the fantastic quilt you will (never) make someday.” and “DON’T hoard sewing notions!” haha. but she has a sort of excuse because she runs a sewing group filled with young children, she is following your “Do talk up sewing hen you can,” rule. I see tons of little kids in there all the time, and a few older ladies. I will miss your blog posts so much, they always made me laugh a little :)

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    Aug 11, 2011, 09.25 PMby elegantmusings

    Peter, have you been spying on me lately???? Because that last Don’t Bonus Tip hit close to home. Can’t help I’ve been finding a ton of great notions for cheap at the thrift store lately! >>looks innocent<<

    I swear I’ll use them… one day.

    Will miss your posts here—I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them!!!! :)

    1 Reply
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      Aug 11, 2011, 11.20 PMby Peter Lappin

      Thanks, Casey! I spy on you constantly so you might want to lower the window shades. ;)

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    Aug 11, 2011, 09.15 PMby Anna Aasbjerg

    Great blogpost! Will miss your inputs in here! :-) I have to say, that you really hit the spot with your do’s and don’ts! On the do-side I would like to add: DO allow yourself to have a proper drafting/cutting-table, if you have room for it. DO invest in proper scissors. :-)

    2 Replies
    • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

      Aug 12, 2011, 06.17 AMby Peter Lappin

      Excellent do’s!

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      Aug 12, 2011, 04.17 PMby MadeByMarzipan

      OH yes, I FINALLY got a pair of Gingher shears and I can’t believe the difference!

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    Aug 11, 2011, 09.14 PMby countrygurltracy

    Loved the post and already read your blog! My Dont to add would be don’t put off taking your machine in to be serviced!!!!!!!

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    Aug 11, 2011, 08.30 PMby bjr99

    Wonderful post. We will miss you!

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    Aug 11, 2011, 08.30 PMby bjr99

    Wonderful post. We will miss you!

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    Aug 11, 2011, 08.23 PMby Luciac

    So true…

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    Aug 11, 2011, 08.02 PMby luxihere

    Wow! nice list of Dos and Dont’s and i can relate to all of them! i would like to add one more Don’t which is “Don’t continue sewing when your body signals possible breakdown! Remember when you machine can break down, so can your body”

    One more Do i will try to include would be "Do organize all your ínspired To-DO lists so that someday you may actually make it , or else they will be in the virtual world of To-Do forever!

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    Aug 11, 2011, 07.54 PMby dabura

    Awesome post – reminds me why I love to sew!!!! Thank you and good luck in all you do!

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    Aug 11, 2011, 07.52 PMby designerroya

    You’re leaving? OMG! I need to bookmark this though! OMG! Thanks so much for all the articles and especially for this one!

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    Aug 11, 2011, 07.51 PMby nani

    hahaha! i’ll keep in mind the “don’t keep every last fabric scrap for the fantastic quilt you will (never) make someday” because is probably true… we’ll miss you!

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    Aug 11, 2011, 07.37 PMby anneecharri

    will miss the posts! its amazing how you pick up tips from all the shared knowledge and keeps you going even when projects don’t turn out quite (!) as you imagined them :) I hope you come back soon

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    Aug 11, 2011, 07.28 PMby ecila

    I learn some good advices! Thanks!

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    Aug 11, 2011, 07.13 PMby May Phillips

    Awesome post – reminds me why I love to sew. I don’t think all ever be able to not hoard sewing notions though :)

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    Aug 11, 2011, 07.04 PMby kanamithedreamer

    I really like this :) Thank you for writing

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    Aug 11, 2011, 06.53 PMby bhghatesyou

    great post and you will be miss on here. hopefully i can still enjoy you on your blog!

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    Aug 11, 2011, 06.50 PMby suzigreenfrog

    I’ll be sad to see you go, it’s because of you I’m having the problem of deciding between the 221K and 222K. Good luck in all you do, and thanks for sharing your knowledge x

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    Aug 11, 2011, 06.20 PMby janul

    Why the last post? That´s really sad, I loved your blog posts here… :)

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    Aug 11, 2011, 05.46 PMby nouvellegamine

    oh no! we’ll miss you!

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