Let’s get you started on your sewing journey. If you are interested in sewing for beginners, this post is for you. Sewing is a great way to slow down and immerse yourself in a meditative process. It encourages mindfulness, is calming, and is a great way to create beauty with your own hands.
First, I’ll share the tools you need, and then the very basics. Then, I’m going to share some projects that will help you get started!
My Best Advice
My best advice is to just start. It can be so overwhelming to not know how to get to the end result that you’re looking for, but you’ll never get there if you don’t simply start.
Beginner Sewing Tools
My rule of thumb is to start simple and not overwhelm yourself with a long list of tools you need. So, I’m going to mention just the very basics and what I really believe that you’ll need to get started.
First, you’re going to want a great sewing machine from here on out. I’m going to be mentioning projects that you’ll want a sewing machine for, of course, you can sew things by hand, but I’m just assuming from you being here, that you’re going to want a sewing machine.
I personally use a Babylock Grace. For you, I would recommend starting with a Babylock Joy. This machine will have all that you need to get started, and it is at a great price point of under $200. The Singer 4423 is just a classic heavy-duty sewing machine, and this is a great way to get started. It’s under $200, and I highly recommend it if you just want a very basic machine that will stay in the test of time.
Another trusted machine is the Janome 2212. It comes with a lot of extras within it. And it’s also under $200. Here is a full post on choosing a sewing machine!
A serger creates a stitch that prevents the edges from fraying. Just note, you don’t need a serger to get started, but if you’re looking for one, I recommend the Brother Serger, and I have it myself. I love it. It makes things so much easier. It’s so great if you’re making a lot of clothing that you’ll be washing and wearing often. Again, just know you don’t need a serger to get started. It’s just a recommendation for the future.
The next tool that you’ll need is scissors. So you want a good pair of scissors, and these will only be used for fabric. There are two I would recommend: Fiskars and Gingher.
Make sure you write on them or tie a piece of string around them – whatever you need to do to make sure that you and everyone else know that they’re only for fabric. I actually have a pair that are supposed to be for fabric only, but through the years they kind of got picked up, and I don’t use them for fabric anymore.
When you have fabric scissors, you don’t want to use them on paper or anything else, especially plastic, because it’s going to dull the blade. A good pair of fabric scissors will last you years. You can also get them sharpened if you need.
I love this clear quilting ruler, but for a while, I used just a right angle, and that is all you need to cut out straight lines. I love this cleat one because it helps measure things a little bit better
When you’re at the fabric store, you’re also going to need a seam ripper. I use this on probably every project because you’ll get going, and you’re not thinking about it. Then, you’ll sew something you’re not supposed to, and that’s where this comes in handy.
You’ll also need some pins, especially if you’re making something out of a pattern. It’s great to cut fabric and pin things together when you’re about to sew. So definitely pick up some pins.
Ironing your garment, along the way as your sewing is going to yield a much better result. You can use a home iron, nothing fancy. You can get a heavy-duty iron if you’re interested in that, but a good iron will help your project turn out so much better.
Measuring Tape & Rotary Cutter
You also want a measuring tape and a rotary cutter is also great for cutting long lines. And some people prefer to cut out all of their patterns with a rotary cutter. It’s up to you. You can also use scissors, but I definitely recommend the rotary cutter for cutting out straight lines with your straight edge that I mentioned earlier.
Beginner Basics for Sewing
Now let’s move on to the basics of getting started.
Thread your machine
To thread your machine. You’re going to start with your thread on its spool, and then you’re going to guide it throughout the whole machine. Following the numbers that are indicated on your machine, go all the way to the needle. Every machine is different, but the basic principles are the same.
Don’t forget to add the bobbin. Make sure it’s the same color as your thread. You can wind the bobbin beforehand, and you do the same thing you would to thread the machine. You just follow the numbers and allow the machine to do its thing by winding the bobbin for you.
I recommend having different bobbins on hand when you’re switching out colors. It makes things a little easier, you can save colors, and not waste that thread.
A straight stitch is a very basic stitch that you’re going to need when sewing anything. You’ll definitely change up the stitch depending on what project you’re doing, but the straight stitch will take you very far. So to start out, you’re going to slide your fabric under the presser foot and lower the presser foot.
You’re wanting to make sure with whatever pattern or project you’re following, if it mentions the seam allowance, you want to follow this.
So you’re going to line up your fabric and the presser foot and the needle where the seam allowance shows. So if it’s half an inch, seam allowance, or quarter of an inch or five eights, you want to line it up.
Usually, on your machine, there is a little ruler or measuring tape to show you. And if not, you can just take out your measuring tape that you have and measure where the needle is to the end of the fabric.
To start out, you always want to do a back stitch. So, you’re going to start by pressing the pedal with your foot and going slow. Gently press it like you’re pressing the gas pedal in your car, and you’re going to start stitching.
It’s going to go very slow at first. All you want to do is make two to three stitches and then you’re going to stop, press the reverse button on your machine, and go back two to three stitches, the same length. Then, you’re going to go forward and keep sewing.
You’re going to do this when you reach the end of your project, and you’re going to reverse stitch once more. This is going to lock your stitch in place, so it doesn’t unravel or come undone.
When you’re starting out doing your straight stitch, you want to go really slow. If your machine has a speed regulator on it, I recommend going to the very bottom speed and going just one stitch at a time lining up the stitch with the seam allowance that you originally started with. So, just gently guiding the fabric through the presser foot at a slow pace, but not gripping the fabric, not pushing it through – just allowing the machine to guide it through the machine will do the work, and all you have to do is guide it.
So these same principles work for the zigzag stitch as well. This is a stitch that I recommend you look for when you’re buying a machine because it’ll come in handy in a lot of projects. So, when you’re doing a zigzag stitch, you’ll still do the reverse stitch. You’ll go slow. You’ll guide the fabric and let the machine do its work.
Another technique that a pattern might call for or a project might call for is just making notches. This is just taking your scissors and making a little snip at the edge of your fabric. This is either to line up the pattern, or it’s to make the curve live flatter.
You won’t want to skip this. Your project will usually show you where your notches need to be.
We all mess up a seam here and there… or on every project. So, you’ll want a seam ripper, like I mentioned earlier. Just take your seam ripper and flatten out the seam. Carefully, insert the tip into your seam that has already been sewn, and just carefully guide it through and add a little bit of pressure. That’s going to rip those seams apart.
You can also flip it where this little red side is on the bottom, and this is going to make sure you’re not puncturing the fabric in the wrong place and creating a hole. Make sure you’re going slow. In the end, you can pull out all of the extra threads.
First Projects for the Beginner
Now, I want to suggest a few projects to get you started! With any project, it’s really about just starting, going through the detailed instructions, and reading over them before you get started. Choose a project that you’re going to be excited about, excited to pick back up, and excited to finish.
That’s why I’m going to recommend a lot that I’ve already made on my Youtube Channel, because they have detailed instructions for you. Some come with patterns in them and will help you learn some basic skills that are going to carry over to every project that you make from now on.
This simple tote bag is the perfect, confidence-building first project. The possibilities for this bag are endless, and you’ll be able to make something you can be proud of with these simple instructions.
If you’re making a project for a little baby or a little child, I suggest the Rhodes Overalls. These are so simple to make, and once you make them, you’ll learn not only how to put a simple piece of clothing together that your child can wear, you’ll learn elastic casing, and how to add elastic to any garment. You’ll learn how to add a button, which is not as scary as it sounds, and you’ll learn how to do a pocket.
And all of these things are included with our pattern.
A birthday crown is also super simple to make. This is going take you less than an hour. If you’re a beginner, it might only take you 20 minutes. This is a great first project. It will help you learn how to sew points and making sure they’re pointed. This will also show you how to add binding and add a little ribbon detail to the back.
If you’re looking for a project for a woman or for yourself, I recommend the Ada Lounge Set. This is going to make you feel so confident in your sewing journey because you’re going to learn how to add a neck binding. You can add pockets, and you can make them in shorts or pants.
It’s a super simple tutorial to follow, and it’s great for the beginner. For this project, if you’re a beginner, I recommend starting with a linen or cotton fabric before you start with a knit.
If you want a project that you’re going to work on for a little bit longer, but is still beginner-friendly, I recommend our Kantha quilt tutorial.
This is a beginner quilt that’s also hand-stitched and stitched by a machine. So in this, you’re going to learn how to make a basic quilt, and you’re also going to learn how to use basic stitching for embroidery. You’ll also learn how to change the embroidery thread color. The end result is a beautiful quilt for yourself or a baby.
You’re All Set!
Hopefully, now you know where to get started with sewing! If you’re looking for more ideas, just look around our Youtube Channel or our blog for some inspiration. I hope today helped you just get started on the right foot. If it did, share this with someone else who’d like to get started too!
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