Sewing Tips for Beginners

When I first started sewing garments about 2+ years ago, I didn't know where to start.  This was before I found the amazing Instagram community and didn't know any sewists IRL to ask questions.  I had so many questions: What do I sew first? What tools do I need? How do I do this? When do I cut the fabric?  And many more...

If you're like me, read on! In this post, I will be listing some sewing tips I wish I knew when I started sewing.  This list was compiled by me but the tips were submitted by many sewists in the community who have many years of sewing experience.  I hope you find this list helpful - and feel free to comment if you have other helpful tips!

 

1. Start with a SIMPLE PATTERN

Many sewists start their sewing journey with simple patterns like a simple top, elastic skirt, or pajama pants. Some beginner friendly patterns include: 100-Acts-of-Sewing Shirt No. 1, Artists Box Top, Lenaline Kiril Top, Named Clothing Inari Tee, Named Clothing Ninni Culottes, TruBias Ogden Cami, Untitled Thoughts Sandrine Tank. 

You can find many beginner friendly sewing patterns on Indiepatterns.com and filter by "Beginner". 

2. Read all the steps beforehand

It's a good idea to read through all the steps before starting your project. It will give you a better understanding what you'll need at each step and be better prepared to tackle the project.  Or if there are any techniques that you have not used before, you can look them up and practice before starting your garment sewing.

3. Sewalongs are a great resource

When you find the pattern you want to sew, google the pattern and try to find sewalongs. Indie Pattern makers usually have blog posts of the pattern with detailed instructions, pictures, Q&A, and how-to's, which are super helpful. Also, check YouTube videos for technique tutorials, I have learned so much from them!

4. Fabrics shrink after washing

So it's super important to wash your fabric and iron it before you cut into it! You don't want to end up making a gorgeous garment, wash it, and then realize it has shrunk and no longer fit! Some fabric shrink more than others (and some need several washes), depending on the content, so even if it takes a bit longer to get to your project, it's totally worth the time.

5. Measure twice, cut once

Take the time to carefully trace and cut your fabric. Use paper weights to make sure your pattern and fabric do not shift. Make sure you are tracing the correct size and only then cut into your precious fabric! Once you cut your fabric, there's no turning back!

6. Press seams as you sew

Not only does this make sewing easier, but it also ensures that you are sewing the fabrics at the right spots. It really helps for a neat finish! So, definitely do not skip this step when it's called for!

7. Make a muslin

Muslin is also sometimes called a toile.  This is essentially a test garment you sew using muslin fabric (or other inexpensive fabric) to check the fit of the pattern.  

This step is not to be skipped if you have purchased a really nice fabric - you wouldn't want to make a mistake and end up with a project that won't fit, right? Try the pattern out with muslin fabric. Or use a cheaper fabric that is close in drape and feel to the fancy fabric - you might end up with a wearable muslin! Also, test the stitches to make sure the tension fits the fabric you chose for the project!

8. Do it for the love of the craft

There will be ups and downs during your sewing journey, but practice will make you better. Don't be afraid to try new things. The online community is extremely supportive so don't be afraid to ask for help. Sew because you love the craft, not because it'll save you money (it won't).

 

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