Simple precautions turn a frustrating home sewing project into a quality garment. Guidelines suggested by Pauline Richards, a free-lance clothing specialist, forestall common difficulties encountered in basic sewing:

1. Select a pattern with seven to eight pieces. More pieces guarantee more complicated construction challenges.2. Use a fabric, such as interlock knit, printed broadcloth, chambray or lightweight denim, that doesn't require a lot of care. Avoid plaids or prints that require matching or slippery fabrics such as silks, polyesters or velvets.

3. Read the entire guide sheet before beginning so the sequence of construction is clarified.

4. Interfacing is crucial to a professional-looking appearance, but is often left out by the occasional seamstress. New, improved iron-on interfacings are simple to use and give shaping support to a garment.

5. If you have a known fitting problem, select a pattern that minimizes that problem. For example, a waistline seam can be eliminated with a one-piece bodice/skirt design.

6. Keep equipment in repair. Troublesome problems may be the result of faulty sewing equipment rather than lack of sewing skill.

7. Small, overall fabric designs conceal flaws or minor errors in sewing or pressing.

8. Plan ahead, allowing a full two weeks to complete a project. Deadlines create pressure and unnecessary mistakes. Stop sewing when tired; weary eyes overlook details that also result in errors.