Today I'm going to share my top 15 sewing tips for beginners to help you get started and improve your skills. Even if you just need a reminder, these tips will come in handy.
Sewing is a fun and satisfying hobby for many people. You can make your own clothes, decorate your house, and do all kinds of other cool things. It's super rewarding to finish a project and see what you've created with your own hands.
Although sewing can be a calming and relaxing activity, it can also be frustrating, especially when you're just starting out or working on a difficult project. Like anything else, it takes a lot of practice and patience to improve.
Here are my top 15 tips for beginners to give your sewing journey a boost.
1. Start with easy projects
Ideally, start with projects with a small number of pieces and straight seams. This will help you develop your skills and become more familiar with the process.
Here are some simple projects you could try as a beginner: pillows, simple skirt, reversible fabric coasters, placemats, simple zipper pouch, headbands, darlings, infinity scarf, travel toothbrush holder, fitted sheetsor one drawstring bag.
2. Gather your supplies
Make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials before you start sewing – such as a sewing machine, fabric, thread, scissors, needles, pins and a seam ripper. Here is a broken down list 12 Essential Sewing Supplies for Beginnersso you'll know exactly what you need to get started.
Nothing is more frustrating than getting halfway through a project and realizing you don't have the right tools or materials. Having everything you need on hand is the key to an enjoyable sewing project.
3. Choose the right fabric
Take a moment to think about these questions. What do you want to do ? Is it a piece of clothing, a decorative object or something else? No fabric is versatile.
Is your fabric light or heavy? Does it drape well or not? Some fabrics, like viscose, silk or chiffon, are drapey and ideal for dresses and blouses. Others, like denim or canvas, are stiffer and therefore perfect for bags, coats or jackets.
Select a fabric suitable for your project and skill level. Avoid fabrics that are too delicate, stretchy, fuzzy, slippery – that is, more difficult to work with – until you have more experience.
4. Learn how to thread your sewing machine
Make sure you understand how to thread the machine, wind the bobbin, and adjust the tension. Learning how to thread your sewing machine is important because you will use this skill every time you want to sew.
Depending on the project, you may need to use different types of thread and needles. For example, you can use a thicker thread for denim or a thinner thread for silk. Threading your sewing machine correctly allows you to get the most out of your sewing projects.
5. Iron your seams
To use an iron and an ironing board to iron your seams as you go.
Ironing your seams is a crucial step in the sewing process because it helps secure the seam and gives your project a professional, polished look. Plus, it makes it easier to sew with precision.
6. Use a straight stitch for most projects
The straight stitch is the most basic and versatile stitch, and it is suitable for most sewing projects. Start with a simple, straight stitch, then move on to more advanced stitches as you become more confident.
Also use the seam allowance guide on your needle plate to make sure all your seams are the same width.
The needle plate is a metal part located directly under the needle and presser foot of your sewing machine. This plaque has engraved lines and numbers. It is important to know that these markings are intended to be used as a seam allowance guide.
Related: Here are my best tips and tricks for sewing a straight stitch, plus all the things I wish I knew when I first started learning to sew.
7. Read the instructions before you start
Take the time to read the instructions before you start sewing. It makes the process much easier if you know what you're supposed to do before you start doing it. It can also help you spot any potential issues or challenges before getting too far into the project.
When I was a beginner, I often skipped parts of the tutorials or skipped reading them altogether. But as I gained more experience, I learned that taking the time to fully understand the process is much more effective in the long run.
Now, I always take the time to read and understand the entire tutorial, even if it takes a little longer. It helped me learn new things faster and more efficiently.
Related: 15 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Sewing
8. Slow down
Take your time measuring and cutting the fabric and be patient with yourself. You can't be both fast and meticulous when you're a beginner, that's an unreasonable expectation.
It's totally okay to finish a “quick 10 minute project” in 1 or 2 hours if you're a novice. Just focus on getting it right the first time. You will get faster over time, once you have more experience.
9. Take breaks
Sewing can be tiring, especially if you are a beginner. Make sure you have good lighting and a comfortable workspace and take breaks when you need them, to rest your eyes and hands and to avoid fatigue and back pain.
Although it's nice to get into a flow state when you sew, don't go more than 2 hours without taking a break. Take this time to do some stretches, drink some water or tea, have a snack, and take a fresh look at your project.
10. Practice on falls First of all
Before you begin your project, practice your stitches and techniques on scraps of the same material.
This will give you the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the fabric and the sewing machine and make any necessary adjustments.
11. It's okay to make mistakes
If you make a mistake, don't panic! A seam ripper is a tool specially designed to help you remove stitches without damaging the fabric. Simply slide the tip of the seam ripper gently under the stitches you want to remove and push it through the fabric to cut the threads.
Don't be afraid to use it: it's better to correct a mistake than to end up with a completed project that doesn't look quite right.
Sewing is a skill, and like any skill, it takes time and practice to get it right. Don't get discouraged if your first projects aren't perfect – just keep practicing and you'll get better at them over time.
Be persistent and willing to keep trying even when you encounter setbacks. By persevering, you will eventually achieve your learning goals!
When you make a mistake, take a moment to think about what went wrong and how you can prevent it from happening again in the future. This will help you become better at sewing over time.
Also, if you made a mistake that you can't correct, you can start again. It's better to start from scratch than to end up with a completed project that you're not happy with.
12. Invest in good quality sewing tools
Quality sewing tools can make a big difference in the ease and precision of your sewing.
Cheap scissors may not cut as cleanly and may even leave jagged edges on your fabric. Here is a list of best sewing scissors which cuts through layers of tissue like soft butter.
Using the right needle for your project can make or break a sewing project. Different needles are designed for different types of fabrics. For example, using a leather needle on lightweight fabric may result in tears or uneven stitches. Also, using a universal needle for stretch fabric, it just doesn't work.
Sewing pins should be sharp and smooth so as not to leave holes or snags in your fabric. A good quality sewing machine can save you time and frustration by sewing more precisely and handling different types of fabric more easily. Here is a list of best sewing machines for beginners you can buy this year.
13. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you're stuck
If you encounter difficulty with a particular step, do not hesitate to ask for help.
There are many resources available, including online tutorials, sewing forums, and groups that can provide advice and support.
14. Take care of your machine
Your stitches will start to look wonky and weird if you don't clean your sewing machine regularly. Ideally, you should brush lint and lint from the bobbin area after each project. This way the sewing machine can feed the fabric smoothly again.
This is what a sewing machine cleaning kit looks like.
Regular maintenance and cleaning can help extend the life of your sewing machine and keep it in good working order. Follow the care instructions provided by the sewing machine manufacturer in the user manual.
15. Experiment and have fun
Sewing is a creative and rewarding hobby, so enjoy it! Don't be afraid to try new things and take on more challenging projects as you become more comfortable with your skills.
These sewing tips for beginners are a great starting point for anyone looking to improve their skills or get started with sewing.
Completing a sewing project can bring a great sense of accomplishment and pride. It takes patience, focus, and problem-solving skills to complete a project successfully. Plus, sewing can be a therapeutic and fun way to express your creativity.
Whether it is making clothes, decorative items or sewn gifts, a completed sewing project is always a source of happiness and fulfillment.
Happy sewing everyone!