Learning to sew can be a remarkably rewarding experience. The ability to fix, alter and make your own clothes and household items is an endlessly valuable skill that allows you to express yourself creatively. While picking up the needle and thread for the first time can be daunting, with a little patience and well-meaning effort, you can quickly acquire the fundamental techniques necessary to create incredible pieces. If you want to be skilled at sewing, consider the following tips for absolute beginners.
Investing in good-quality, durable tools is the first step in beginning your sewing journey. Sewing tool kits are cost-effective and excellent for beginners; however, some components may be of sub-standard quality. High-quality fabric scissors may be pricey, but they are worth every penny, considering they enable clean, precise cuts. In contrast, blunt scissors can be difficult to manoeuvre and may even damage your fabric. Furthermore, never use your fabric scissors for cutting other materials, such as paper, as this will quickly dull the blade.
Some fabrics are easier to work with than others. Generally speaking, it is advisable to practise with easy fabrics to acquire basic techniques and create a firm foundation for building sewing confidence. Excellent beginner fabrics include cotton, linen and felt for small practice projects. It’s worth leaving fabrics like organza, chiffon and knitted jersey until you’re more experienced and able to handle materials with less stability.
You won’t master the skills and techniques needed to craft an entire garment from scratch overnight. As is the case with any hobby or skill, start small and build your confidence slowly. There are countless ideas and suggestions for beginner sewing projects online, so have a look around to see what takes your fancy. For example, you could craft a DIY purse out of felt or upcycle an old t-shirt into a tote bag.
Once you start working with patterns, you will quickly learn that projects can go disastrously wrong if you don’t carefully read the instructions. Every pattern comes with step-by-step instructions, and while you may be able to improvise once you build confidence in your sewing skills, it is always wise to give them a thorough review before getting started. Furthermore, sewing patterns often come with fabric recommendations and modification tips so you can adapt your project according to your personal preferences.
Hand sewing and sewing by machine are two entirely different procedures. While they are advantages and disadvantages to both, it is advisable to invest in a good-quality sewing machine once you’ve mastered the basics of hand-sewing. Sewing and embroidery machines save you time and reduce the amount of manual labour it takes to complete a project. Learning to use a sewing machine may take a lot of time and practice, but with so many free online tutorials, you’ll be making high-quality, strong and durable garments in no time.
Nothing quite puts a stopper on a project than the sudden realisation that you’ve mixed up your measurements. As a rule of thumb, it is always wise to double-check your measurements to ensure your garments fit as they should. Keep in mind that most patterns provide measurements in both centimetres and inches, so make sure you don’t mix them up.
Unfortunately, sewing is a hobby that invariably demands a lot of materials and tools, and a chaotic sewing room can be profoundly overwhelming. Keep clutter to a minimum by storing everything in labelled boxes, drawers and bins, either by colour or material. Get creative and utilise vertical space with wall-mounted storage units and shelves where you can keep equipment and accessories. Furthermore, every now and then, have a good clear out and get rid of unwanted fabric and unfinished projects you’re no longer passionate about.
Practice is the key to improving any skill. While it may sound cliché, practice does make perfect, and the more you engage in your newfound hobby, the more successful your projects will be. Sewing involves a lot of train and error, and while some projects may fail spectacularly, everything is a learning experience. Don’t be disheartened, and persevere with your goals.