What’s the Project? Are you trying to learn to sew and looking for lessons on sewing for beginners? Here’s everything you need to know as you get started sewing-from what to buy to what to sew and more.
I know how it goes-you got that sewing machine for Christmas, you’ve wanted it for years. You dream of sewing beautiful, lacy pink dresses for your little girl. You think you’ll wow your friends with intricate Halloween costumes. You plan to create clothing for yourself that will magically make you look like you’ve lost ten pounds.
But there are gears and gadgets and you don’t know what they do. There are words like bobbin and backstitching and bias and you have no idea what they mean. Your heart starts to pound and your palms start to sweat just looking at.
So maybe that sewing machine got shoved to the back of the closet and it’s covered in a thick layer of dust. Or maybe you haven’t shoved it aside yet. Maybe you’re ready to grab the bull by the horns and learn to sew, but it’s overwhelming to get going and you don’t know where to start.
Sewing can be very fulfilling. You can sew new projects and gifts, you can alter clothing that doesn’t fit right, make cozy blankets and quilts, and you can create lasting memories with the projects you sew. It doesn’t have to be hard, it just takes practice and patience, but soon you can be sewing like a pro.
But you know what? Sewing for beginners can be a lot of fun because it’s so exciting as you learn what you are doing and start creating your first projects. You’re going to love it! Let’s learn to sew!
Sewing for Beginners: A Learn to Sew Guide-
Meet Your Sewing Machine:
Maybe you already have your sewing machine, but if you’re in the market for one still, it can be quite mind-boggling to try to figure out what machine to choose. They can cost anywhere from $99-$2,000 (and above) and how are you supposed to know which one will work best for you?
Some things to consider as you choose a machine:
- What’s your budget? Do you want something on the very low end of the price scale or do you have a little bit more money to work with?
- Do you want to buy it locally or do you want to order it online? Some companies will include free sewing lessons when you purchase in store. If that interests you, you might choose to buy locally. You’re likely to find better prices online though, so if you are comfortable learning to sew online, that’s a great route to go.
- Do you want a lot of bells and whistles, or do you prefer something simple that might be easier to get started on? Both can be good options-sometimes simple is great. Or maybe you have some specific options that you want in a machine? Think about some of the things that matter to you.
Of course, there are a lot of things to consider when you’re in the market for a machine, and you’ve got to find the best fit for you.
Here’s a rundown of some of the best beginner sewing machines with some information about each one so that you can make a more informed decision. Although remember, just because you’re thinking about sewing for beginners right now, you won’t always be a beginner. So buy something that you’re going to love.
Understanding How to Use Your Machine:
Once you’ve got your sewing machine, it can still be very intimidating right? You’ve got to learn to thread it, learn how to change the settings and learn what all of those buttons mean.
Every sewing machine is a little bit different, so your best bet is to start with the users manual. But don’t let this scare you. It isn’t particularly hard to thread a machine (especially with some of the new bells and whistles they have to make it easier) and most beginner machines aren’t going to have too many settings to overwhelm you.
So grab your manual, sit down with the machine and take a look. Maybe have something chocolate nearby to keep things happy and then be patient. Just practice threading and getting the machine set up.
If you’d like a peek into what most sewing machines are going to involve as you get started, try my Meet Your Machine: A Beginner’s Guide. I’ll walk you through some of the basics and hopefully at least lay the groundwork for you to get going in your beginning sewing journey.
Before You Sew:
There are some basic things you are going to need in order to get started with sewing for beginners.
First of all, you’re going to need some basic supplies like fabric, thread, a seam ripper, pins, scissors, and bobbins. Those are some of the most basic supplies needed (and of course there are so many more things you could buy as you go) to get going. For more details on what you’ll need to get started sewing, check out my Beginner’s Sewing Supplies guide.
Also, as you begin to read patterns and instructions, you’re going to come across a lot of unfamiliar words. Terms like basting and bias can be confusing but can be important aspects of what you’re working on. If you get a little lost, check out this Sewing Dictionary for some descriptions of the basic words.
A couple more things that might help before you get started:
- Understanding Different Types of Fabric and How to Buy It (that store can be overwhelming!)
- Sewing Pledge (things to remember as you begin this journey)
Sewing Lessons for Beginners:
It’s time! You know how to thread that machine, you’ve got your supplies ready and you’re sitting in front of your machine. It’s time to sew something. But how?
As mentioned earlier, there are local shops that teach sewing lessons in store. If you want hands-on instruction and a teacher who can answer questions for you, this might be a great option for you.
Another possibility is to find a friend or relative who can walk you through the basics of learning to sew. Someone who can sit you down and teach you to sew a straight line or what some of the basic terms mean and get you started on the path of sewing for beginners.
If you prefer a self-taught, learn at your own pace method, try these free Learn to Sew lessons online. These will walk you through beginning sewing-from sewing a straight line to adding elastic and buttonholes. They are basic and easy and you can learn as you go with projects to work on to help you try each skill.
Or, try a combination of the above. Work on the online sewing lessons and meet with a friend or teacher who can help you periodically as well.
There are so many lessons for beginning sewing. What’s important is to sit down and start trying.
And don’t expect perfection from the beginning. Remember that learning to sew takes a lot of time and practice and it’s ok if you make mistakes.
Easy Sewing Projects for Beginners:
But what to sew right? You dream of all the projects you’ll create, but it can hard to know where to begin. Whether that’s because you have so many ideas or because you are scared to start, it is best to start with some very easy beginner sewing projects.
A few things to look for when seeking out easy sewing patterns for beginners to get started on:
- Straight lines-these are the easiest to sew and can be a good starting place
- Not too intricate-something that doesn’t have a lot of frills and embellishments
- Household items can often be some of the easiest sewing projects to get started on. Clothing can be more difficult, so starting with things like blankets or pillows or even burp cloths or key fobs can be simple sewing projects to start with.
Where to Look for Easy Sewing Patterns:
The internet is FULL of easy, beginners sewing projects. Jump on Pinterest and you’ll be inundated with them. You’ll probably be either overwhelmed or really excited. If you need some inspiration, try my Things to Sew Pinterest board.
Then, as you get more comfortable and confident with your sewing, move on to some slightly harder projects. Take it at your own pace and do what works for you. Remember, sewing should be fun, not frustrating. But also remember that the seam ripper is your friend and it’s normal to use it frequently. Mistakes happen.
Taking it to the Next Level:
As you progress you will learn more and more skills relating to sewing. Maybe you want to learn to quilt? Maybe you’re dreaming of sewing clothing? There are so many possibilities and a lot of fun techniques to try out as you progress.
A couple of resources to help you as you move past sewing for beginners and into a more intermediate or advanced phase of sewing:
- Sewing Tips for Beginners to Pros
- Learn to Sew eBook-Includes tutorials on reading patterns, understanding bias and more
And here are some fun resources for sewing projects:
Are you ready to get started? You’ve got this! You can learn to sew and you can have fun doing it! Enjoy the learning process.