The Paper Bag Trick: A Beginner's Sewing Tip to Streamline Your Sewing Process |

The Paper Bag Trick (a Beginner’s Sewing Tip)

I realize that lots of the sewing tutorials I post might seem scary or too intense for a lot of beginners out there. I want this blog to make sewing accessible to everyone, so I’m going to start a series of posts specifically for the beginners out there. We’ll start with a trick that streamlines the sewing process, but that I forget to utilize too often! I’ll call it the paper bag trick.

The Paper Bag Trick: A Beginner's Sewing Tip to Streamline your Sewing Process |

Why use the paper bag trick?

The paper bag trick helps keep your workspace clean(er). It also encourages you to cut off strings AS you sew, instead of waiting until the end. This is important, because when you wait until then end you miss more threads, making your finished project less professional. You can use the little “blade” on the back of the presser foot on your machine to trim threads, or keep little scissors close. I sometimes prefer using scissors because I can be more precise, but it’s much more time effective to use the machine, and I know professionals who swear by it.

The Paper Bag Trick: A Beginner's Sewing Tip to Streamline your Sewing Process |

It’s as simple as this:

Take a paper bag and fold down the top a few times to make a cuff. This helps to hold the bag open

Tape one edge of the bag on the edge of the table next to your sewing machine.

Cut off strings as you sew and drop them in the bag. This keeps your sewing area clean. If you leave strings on the table around your machine, they tend to stick all over whatever you are sewing as you work.

When you clean up your workspace, dump the strings out of your bag and save the bag for the next project.

That is really all there is to it!

I was uncertain if I should share such a simple tip, but I was quite impressed when I learned it as a beginner. I also thought writing about it would maybe help me actually put it into practice (finally). 🙂 If you don’t want to buy paper bags to try this, check out my diy un-paper bag tutorial to make your own (hint: it’s beginner friendly!).

As a beginner, what sewing tips would help you improve your sewing? Is there something you’ve been dying to try, but just aren’t sure how? Let me know in the comments so I can add it to my posting calendar.

Love, Jess

The Paper Bag Trick: A Beginner's Sewing Tip to Streamline your Sewing Process |



  • Kristina Dapaah July 12, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Very cool pictures! I have a sewing machine that Ive never used and always wonder if Ill ever get around to learning. I’d be such an amazing skill to acquire ! Dropped in on Twitter, all the best with your blog!


    • stitchesandsunflowers July 12, 2016 at 10:33 pm

      Thanks so much! I am very much an amateur when it comes to photography, but I’m excited to be learning. Your compliment means a lot. 🙂 Nice to meet you!

  • Ana July 13, 2016 at 4:57 am

    I’ve never used the sewing machine and I can totally say that it’s not my cup of tea! Thanks for sharing this post with us!

    • stitchesandsunflowers July 13, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      Everybody has their skills, but I hope someday you’ll try it!

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