Sewing for beginners
Interested in learning to sew? We can’t blame you. Sewing is a fun, creative, and fulfilling hobby—and an extremely useful skill. From mending and altering clothes to creating handmade gifts for friends and family, being able to sew allows you to tailor your everyday life to fit your personal style.
Of course, learning to sew may seem a daunting endeavor. You don’t own sewing supplies or fabric, and you don’t know how to use a sewing pattern. But fret not: learning how to sew doesn’t have to be difficult.
In this entry, we’ll guide you through the basics of sewing for beginners. From finding supplies to choosing the right beginner projects, you’ll find everything you need to get started on your sewing journey.
Beginners’ supplies: the essentials you need for learning how to sew
Before you start your first sewing project, you need the right supplies. Below, you will find a list of the beginners’ supplies you need:
- A sewing pattern
- Seam rippers
- Fabric shears
- Tape measure
- Needles, pins, and a pin cushion
- Chalk or washable markers
- Thread and fabric
- A sewing machine
Tip: sewing supplies don’t have to be expensive
The list above may look intimidating—especially if you’re on a budget. However, when you’re just getting started, you shouldn’t invest in expensive supplies right away. You can always do that once you’re sure that sewing is for you.
Fortunately, gathering your supplies doesn’t have to be a costly affair. For example, you don’t have to purchase a length of expensive fabric for your first project. Instead, repurpose an old sheet that you would otherwise have thrown out and use it for practicing sewing.
When looking for patterns, you can find free PDF patterns online. The great thing about PDF patterns is that you don’t have to search far and wide for the pattern you need. There are countless free sewing patterns available online. Once you’ve found your pattern, you simply download it and print it at home, and you can get started on your project right away.
In addition, the sewing pattern will always tell you what fabric you need to use for the project. This is important: using the wrong fabric for your project won’t give you the desired result. This way, having the information you need on hand saves you both time, money, and unnecessary frustration.
If you have friends or relatives who sew, you can also ask them if you can borrow their patterns and supplies. They may even have a sewing machine you can use.
If you want to get your own sewing machine, we recommend that you buy it secondhand—that way it’ll be a much more affordable investment. And should you lose interest in sewing, you can always resell the machine without losing too much money on it.
Getting started with your sewing machine
It goes without saying that before you can start sewing, you need to know how to use your sewing machine. Since every sewing machine is unique, the best way to learn to use yours is to start with the user manual. This will teach you how to thread the machine and use the pedal properly.
If you’ve borrowed your sewing machine from a friend or bought it secondhand, you might not have the manual for the machine. But don’t worry—manuals aren’t hard to find. Most major manufacturers of sewing machines offer their manuals as free PDF downloads on their website. Sites like Libble also offer free downloads of manuals for many different sewing machines.
You can also find many old manuals for purchase online. Resellers generally offer them for less than $25, which is well worth the investment.
To find the right manual for your sewing machine, you need to know the brand and the model number of the machine. The model number is usually on the back or the bottom of the machine. If you’re struggling to find it, try emailing the manufacturer a photo of your sewing machine. Most manufacturers will be more than happy to help you find the manual you need.
Ambition is good—but starting simple is better
Once you’ve got the hang of threading your sewing machine and using the pedal, it’s only natural that you want to get started on your dream project immediately. However, when you start your first project, it’s important not to bite off more than you can chew.
Starting off with something easy—e.g. a tote bag—allows you to practice the basics of sewing without getting overwhelmed by complicated patterns or stitches. It doesn’t take long to finish, meaning you can usually complete the project in one sitting. This gives you something to show for your efforts, and you’ll feel accomplished and motivated to start your next project.
For your first beginner’s clothing project, we recommend that you start with the Easy Shorts. This PDF pattern is free to download. It describes in detail how to print your pattern, tape it together, cut it, and sew the shorts.
If this sounds intimidating, don’t worry—you won’t be doing it alone. While you tackle this project, you can watch our full guide to sewing the Easy Shorts on YouTube. This way you can see exactly how the instructions work in practice.
Sewing lessons for beginners: learn to sew at your own pace
When you’re ready to start learning sewing, there are several ways you can go about it. If you prefer the traditional approach, many local sewing shops offer lessons in store. You could also look for a centre that offers evening classes you can attend after work. Another option is to find a tutor who gives private lessons or ask a friend or relative to show you the ropes of sewing.
Of course, these learning methods can be difficult to fit into a busy schedule. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your dream of sewing: you can always take sewing lessons online.
One of the best resources for learning sewing is YouTube. On YouTube, you can find countless channels dedicated to sewing. The Wardrobe by Me Youtube channel is a good place to start. Here, you’ll find video tutorials for sewing great beginner projects like the Easy Shorts mentioned above.
We upload new videos every month, so you have plenty of tutorials to learn from. You can also visit our blog for more tips, tricks, and news from the world of sewing.
You may also enjoy our step-by-step guide on how to sew a pair of pants
Your patterns are so precise, your instructions so detailed — You have made my learning how to sew such a pleasurable, joyful experience. Can’t help myself from trying more and more patterns, and learning new skills! Kudos!