Learning How To Sew When You’re A Complete Beginner

Believe it or not, sewing is cool again. From cross-stitching to making your own clothes the sewing world is full of endless opportunities. It’s has more acceptable than ever get your craft on with a needle and thread. Don’t think sewing is just for the elderly. It’s a creative outlet for all ages and is also a useful skill to attain. Many people are even creating lucrative businesses selling their handmade sewing items on websites such as Etsy.

So if you’re interested in sewing but don’t know where to start, this guide will give you a few pointers to help you.

What type of sewing do you want to do?

The best place to start is understanding what kind of sewing you would like to try out. Take a look in sewing magazines and on websites such as Pinterest and Craftsy. They are all packed full of different sewing ideas that might help you decide what you want to try first. You’ll be able to see the differences between each sewing style quite clearly. Making clothes and soft furnishing is different to freehand embroidery for instance. So it’s important to get some initial ideas of what style you want to try first. The beauty of sewing means that if you can learn one type, you can then transfer these skills onto another kind. For instance the skills you acquired to make a basic shirt, you can then use to make a pillowcase.

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Getting the right equipment

You need to make sure you get suitable equipment for your chosen style of sewing. Sewing machines are a great investment piece as they are so versatile and can be used for a number of sewing projects. Look for beginner sewing machines, which will be much easier for you to use initially. Head down to your local craft and hobby store, where you can ask an expert to help you. They can seem complicated but they are actually very easy to setup and use. Read the instructions carefully to thread your machine up correctly. It can take some time for you to get used to the setup, speed and settings on the machine. Be patient and don’t give up. Also, make sure you buy the right kind of thread, spare needles, pins and scissors. These are additions that will make the quality of your sewing better.

If you don’t want to buy a sewing machine just yet, you can always make clothes by hand sewing instead. Remember that this technique can take much longer than machine sewing. For cross stitch or needlework, you will need good quality needles, threads and materials such as an Aida cloth. Ask for help online or in store if you need it.

If you feel confident, enough you could even buy yourself some patterns to try. For embroidery, you can easily find children’s sewing kits to get you started. Dressmaking patterns will usually have a difficulty rating on them ranging from beginner to expert. Try to pick simple projects first as a more difficult one can be overwhelming when you are just starting out.


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Learning the basics

Right so now you’ve got your equipment and your ready to try out sewing. There are many different ways for you to learn the basics of sewing regardless of what style you have chosen. One option is to enrol on a sewing course. These are commonly held on evenings and weekends. They will have specialist teachers there who can teach you everything you need to know. If you want to try out a complicated sewing style such as dress making, these classes will be invaluable. They can teach you about cutting out dressmaking patterns, different types of seams and hemming techniques. These courses usually run for five to six weeks and you will have a finished garment by the end of it.  You will more than likely be making something simple like an A-line dress or skirt to help you grasp the basics. These courses are also ideal at getting you used to working on a sewing machine and how to use it effectively. You can also find classes for needlework and cross stitching, where you will be taught how to create images using a number of techniques. Unfortunately, not all of these courses will be free, so expect to pay an enrolment fee and potentially for your materials each week.

If an evening course isn’t for you, you can also try online tutorials and step by step picture guides. The online sewing world is full of lovely people who just want to share ideas and help each other. There are video tutorials and guides you can look at, which allows you the freedom to learn at your own pace. Craftsy and Pinterest are fantastic sources for these tutorials so keep a lookout on there for interesting projects you might want to try. The majority of these tutorials will also be free to use as often as you like.

Books are still a brilliant tool for learning new skills. As well as teaching you the basics, sewing books are also excellent for jargon busting. As you start to learn more and more about sewing you will come across words you may not understand. Sewing books will often have a rich glossary of terms, which can explain exactly what each word means. This will save you from getting confused and teach you some new sewing terms. They will also feature sewing ideas you can try from simple tasks like sewing on a button to making your own wedding dress.




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Now don’t be disheartened if you can’t sew straight in a straight line to begin with. Or you can tie a knot at the end of your thread very well. All of this comes from practise. The incredible creations online and in magazines are a result of years of experimenting and practising. The more you practise, the better you will get. Don’t be afraid to try new things and to challenge yourself. This is how you progress into an expert sewer. Now go out there and get sewing



Fee is a 35 year old mother of three, who has been on the blogging scene since 1996. Over the years she has tried to change her style but finds the personal diary effect to be her niche - there are not many of those around in the blogging world nowadays.

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