Sewing 101

I wanted to write a post for all of those out there that are thinking about learning to sew but have not yet because they don't know where to start or because they think it seems too hard.  All you need to get started is a sewing machine and just a few essentials.  As for it being hard, as a beginner myself, I can tell you that with practice and patience you will find that it's not quite as difficult as you think to create some simple but fun projects and then expand your experience from there.  

My sewing room at home.

I was first inspired to learn to sew after looking for curtains for our bathroom for two years and not finding anything I liked.  I realize that this makes me sound quite picky and a bit obnoxious...but the reality is, I had an idea of what I wanted in my head, but couldn't find anything that resembled what I pictured in my mind.  Then one day I was watching HGTV at the gym and there was a women on the "Property Brothers" making her own curtains.  Maybe it was the runner's high or maybe it was the lack of oxygen to my brain but I thought, "I can do that!"  I had often thought that I would like to learn to sew but would then discourage myself by thinking I didn't have the time or that I would just mess up any project I attempted.  I don't know what it was exactly about that episode of "Property Brothers" that suddenly convinced me otherwise but I'm glad it did.  That very night I went home and told my husband I would like a sewing machine for Christmas.  Fast forward almost eight months later with August just a day away...and my bathroom is still curtainless.  Ha!!!  But, I have tackled several other projects including living room pillows, euro shams, tote bags and my current project, curtains for our living room.  I'll tackle that bathroom eventually but in the meantime I've discovered a hobby I thoroughly enjoy.  I was lucky enough to have a spare bedroom at home that really served no purpose other than to store stuff we didn't really use, so we cleaned it out and made it a sewing room.  I consider it my happy place to destress after a long fact, cheesy as this sounds I can feel the corners of my mouth turn up into a smile every time I'm in there.

Enough about me though, if you want to learn to sew, there are several ways to go about doing so.  First, do some research to see if there are any classes in your area.  Check your local adult education program and the adult education programs in some nearby towns.  Often you can find an adult ed class offered in the evenings at a local high school.  There may even be one that doesn't require you to have your own sewing machine.  Also try calling some fabric stores in your area.  Some stores offer one time classes where you go to the shop for an hour or so and they have a demonstration on some sewing basics.  Another great resource is your local Joann Fabrics, wander around the store a bit and you will find that they have quite a few guides with instructions on sewing basics and projects for your home.  Best of all these guides are free! 
Just a few of the sewing guides you can get for free at Joann Fabrics.

Another learn to sew resource that I find especially handy are how-to books.  I have two and find that this is really beneficial because if I read how to do something in one book but am still a little confused, reading up on it in the second book and hearing it explained in a different way usually answers my questions.  Also, how-to books cover a wide variety of topics like the basics stitches, how to select the right fabrics, and detailed project instructions.  One of the books I have is called "The Sewing Book" by Alison Smith.  I like this book because I think the pictures that illustrate the instructions are great and easy to follow.  Alison's book really covers everything so if you have absolutely no experience with a sewing machine and pick this book up you can truly get started with just this to guide you.

The Sewing Book by Alison Smith, an excellent learn to sew resource.

A peek inside The Sewing Book.
 Another helpful book is Singer's "The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing".  Like Alison's book it covers some beginner's basics and then progresses into detailed instructions for several home interior and fashion projects.  I like the layout of this book and the detailed illustrations as well.

Singer's handy learn to sew guide, "The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing"

A peek inside "The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing"
Once you have your instructional tools and are ready to begin to sew, here are some sewing essentials that I find quite helpful:

A sewing ruler that is see through and has the grid markers is a definite essential, it helps you accurately measure fabric, and without precise measurements and markings your project will end up looking less polished and more "home sewn".  A chalk pencil, seam ripper, pin cushion and point turner are also tools that you will find yourself using over and over again.  A notions box is helpful for storing and organizing your stuff.  It can also help keep small parts that belong to your machine from getting lost, like your zipper foot and spare bobbins.  Also a good pair of fabric shears is important for cutting fabric accurately.  You should only use your fabric shears to cut fabric and nothing else.  Using them to cut other things will make them dull and dull shears can cause your fabric to fray when you cut it.

With these tools you are ready to get to work.  Just remember to keep your patience.  I recommend starting with a project where you won't mind if it doesn't come out exactly as you were envisioning.  I started with a tote bag rather then some of the home interior projects I had on my list.  A tote bag is a project that is both easy and useful.  Plus they make great gifts.  Over the next few weeks I will be posting some of the projects I worked on along with instructions on how you can make them too.

So what are you waiting for?  Embrace your creativity and start sewing!  Remember you are not learning alone...I'm right here with you!

Till next time, dear readers! 

1 comment

  1. Some great ideas for getting started! Post the curtains when they are ready!


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