5 Things Sewing Beginners Should Know

There are a couple of things every beginner at sewing should take to heart. The following are 5 tips that will save time, heartache, and even money when one is just starting out:


  1. First Projects do not need to be perfect.


In fact, first projects can even be terrible. There may be several reasons for this including bad fabric selection, technical issues, or simply trying advanced technique too soon. However, the only way to learn is through practice, so keep going!


  1. Start small and practice each new skill one at a time.


As a rule, make the first project something very simple to sew, like a pillow case. Pillow cases help the seamstress work on foundational skills like cutting, measuring, sewing in a straight line, and finishing seams. Plus they are a fairly low cost and low risk investment that result in lots of awesome decorative pillows.


Once the pillows are mastered, try other simple projects like clutches and purses. Clutches especially are a great practice project because they are essentially rectangles and squares with the added skill of learning to sew in zippers and buttons.


  1. Learn that patterns are just guidelines.


Pattern companies, especially the big four (Simplicity, McCall’s, Vogue, and Butterick) make patterns to accommodate the largest amount of people possible. For example, many patterns for women assume an average height of 5’5″ with a B cup. That means if a woman who is 5’11” with a D cup makes a pattern straight out of the package, it will not fit her. At least not in the way she wants it to. This is where fitting comes into play, leading to this next point…


  1. There is no “one size fits all” adjustment.


Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Even if someone has the exact same measurements as another person, the same piece of clothing might look different on each individual. So the skill of sewing is learning how to tailor the adjustments so that the garment works for the individual.


Here is a quick list of common adjustments


-For adjustments smaller than a B cup, make Small Bust Adjustments (SBA’s)


-For adjustments larger than a B cup, Full Bust Adjustments (FBA’s) are necessary


-If the fabric is pooling at the back of the neck, make Swayback Adjustments


-Wide/Narrow Shoulder Adjustments might be necessary for larger or smaller shoulder frames (respectively)


  1. Quality tools make life much easier.


Sewing can be a costly hobby right up front, but the following tools are necessary investments:


Scissors: While an expensive pair of $80 shears are not needed right up front, a good pair of fabric scissors are. Not only will the initial sewing projects look nicer, but the scissors are more ergonomic for the wrist.


Machine: Again, a $1000 machine is not required, but get a machine that is not a daily battle. One recommendation for starters is the Singer Stylist.


Iron: This is one of the most vital tools. Pressing a seam takes a project from looking like a junior high class project to something one might buy off the rack. Look for an iron that has multiple heat settings and includes a steam function.