Sewing Ideas For Beginners

Beginner sewing? How to start?

I don’t wanna call myself a designer, really but… Sometimes I have ideas for clothing. I’m an artist, I love drawing cute outfits. Now if only I could make them… I would really like to!

I’d be interested in making skirts and blouses… And learn how to properly hem clothes. But I’m thinking it might be too hard?

What should I start with? Any tutorials/patterns would be much appreciated! Thanks!

Sewing Ideas For Beginners

A real, live beginner sewing class would be my very first choice for you. The initial learning curve for starting as “never sewn” to making clothes is pretty steep at first, and most people do better with a little hand-holding. Look for a beginning sewing class in fabric stores, sewing machine shops, community education classes, community colleges; 4-H if you’re young enough.

If you’re in the US, and nothing else pans out, talk to someone in the local ASG (American Sewing Guild) chapter to see if someone’s teaching near you: First critical things to learn are operating the sewing machine, cutting out fabric correctly and sewing straight and curved seams — and it really doesn’t matter if your first project is a tote bag or a quilt square or a t-shirt. After that, though, you’ll probably want to find some specific classes on garment making.

If there’s nothing else available near you, I like Connie Crawford’s Studio Sewing Skills dvd — it’s basically first term design school sewing in a can, and covers all of the basic garment sewing skills, including zippers, buttons, collars, facings, etc. The main project in the dvd is a camp shirt, but it pretty well sets you up for all garment sewing.

Connie was my first patternmaking teacher. I’d sewn for about 35 years at the time, but had only done minor patternmaking — mostly fitting issues and minor changes to commercial patterns — different sleeves, collars, cuffs, pockets, that sort of thing. But I’d never been taught the fundamentals of ease, balance, turning one basic design into another…. it’s very nice to be able to whip out a pair of pants that fits someone hard to fit with just a few measurements and an hour of pattern drafting. Or knock out four or five different blouse patterns for yourself in a day — and know they’ll fit properly! Once you learn to sew basic garments from commercial patterns, that might be something you want to investigate (patternmaking and especially draping classes are very hard to find outside of fashion school curricula).

If you can, I’d suggest taking your first sewing class someplace where they supply the machines. If you do that, you’ll have a much better idea of what you like and don’t like when you go shopping for your own machine. 

As far as hemming goes, once you’ve got basic machine stitching down, ask your library for Carol Ahles’ book, Fine Machine Sewing and work through the chapters on hemming. YOu’ll save yourself a ton of time by learning to machine blindhem. And it’s a really good book.

Jane Ruffner

I am Jane Ruffner. I am a Happily married woman who loves to Sew.

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