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SEWING FOR BEGINNERS
First off, sewing is a whole new beast within itself. I get it and understand that it can be very intimidating to someone who’s new. Where do I even start? What do I need? I often get many questions about sewing or what advice I would give for beginners.
After much thought and reflection on my own experiences, I’ve compiled a list that will help any beginner conquer any sewing project. Remember to master these basic skills/techniques and the world will be at your feet-sewing wise that is. For your convenience, this post contains some affiliate links to recommended tools and supplies that you can purchase.
TOOLS & EQUIPMENT
Below are the 7 key tools/equipment that you need to help you with any project.
When you are a beginner at sewing, you will need to choose a good sewing machine to be your best friend. By having a good machine you will be able to create many projects. You will be able to create anything from small crafts to huge ball gowns. Your projects are limitless. I know there are many types of machines out there. However, my favorites machines are manual ones.
By manual, I don’t mean the ancient sewing machines that uses pedal foot power. I like my machines to run on electricity, however, I don’t prefer machines that have a digital screen on the machine to suggest stitch types, or how much stitch length you need, and etc.
Don’t get me wrong, electronic ones are great for embroidery and other things. I’ve seen these machines make fabulous embroidery on clothing, home decor, you name it. However, it isn’t my cup of tea.
I typically like to tell my machine what stitches to use, and not the other way around because this allows me to control what stitches I want for a specific seam. Therefore, I prefer manual machines.
EXPERIENCE WITH SEWING MACHINES
In my past experiences, manual sewing machines have worked out well for me that I didn’t even think to look at electronic sewing machines. However, don’t let my opinion deter you from trying out electronic sewing machines. Try out both to see which one best suits you.
I use to have an older singer sewing machine and loved it so much that when it died, I purchased another. The singers brand always worked out for me. However, I’m open to other brands as well.
Therefore, I added another singers and brothers machine to my collection. I added the Singers 4423 and Brothers JX2517. Of course, with different machines, you will find one which one best suits your preference. Regardless, both machines work wonderful and allow me to finish my projects with a tailored finish.
In order to make your sewing machine your best friend, you need to build a relationship with it. By reading your machine manuals or watching the DVDs that come with your machine, this will help teach you about the essential care for your machine.
Not only that, it will inform you on how to thread your machine, how to switch out a needle, troubleshoots any bobbin errors, and many more. By taking the time to get to know your machine, it will only be helpful to you in the long run.
If you have a sewing machine, do you really need sewing needles? Yes, sewing needles are a must!! You can still create many things with just a sewing needle and threads. Even as a experience sewer we need needles. Then as a beginner in sewing, owning needles is also a necessity. Sewing needles are required to do final touch ups on a sewing project.
Not only that, sewing needles are much cheaper than a sewing machine. Therefore, if you want to get started right away for cheap you can sew the old fashion way-with a needle and thread.
Nevertheless, be mindful that when you’re making any big scale projects, like a jacket, shirt, or any projects of this caliber, it will take a long time. By time, I mean it could take months and maybe years depending on how often you sew by hand.
Whichever, path you take, you still need these needles. Why? Sewing needles are essential when sewing a button on to a shirt, sleeve, or to close your lining seam to your zipper. Also, there are a vast variety of sewing needles for different purposes. We can dive into depth in a later post.
Here are some needles you can purchase to get started.
Like sewing needles threads are essential. You need them with a sewing machine and with a sewing needle. They are what holds your clothes together and an absolute necessity. There are a variety of threads and brands out there, and you can choose what threads you would like to use.
My personal preference would be the Guterman brand, 100% cotton threads. They hold the best throughout all the threads I’ve experienced. You can find this brand at your local Joann Fabric stores or online site like Amazon. See the links below.
*Disclaimer-i do not own the images above. They were taken from kingsma brand on amazon.
As a beginner, you will make mistakes. For that, we need a seam ripper. A seam ripper is a tool used to rip seams apart. Seam rippers are a savior for when accidents happen.
You may have sewn the wrong seams together, or caught another part of your project in the seam, and a variety of things can go wrong. This is where the seam ripper comes in and helps you take out that seam.
Regardless of what experience or inexperience you have, you will always need a seam ripper. Below are some seam rippers that will help you out of any mishaps.You can find some in the links below.
C-thru & tape measure
When it comes to ensuring that you have the correct measurements, you need rulers. But just not any ruler. A C-thru ruler is a gridded 18 inch ruler that like its name is see through. Why would we need a see through ruler? Having a see through ruler is great for drafting and drawing straight lines.
There are other reasons why a C-thru ruler is wonderful but I’ll save that for another blog post. Another ruler that is a must in any sewer or fashion designer’s kit is a measuring tape. I’m not talking about the ones you find at a hardware store. I’m talking about the tape measure that is flimsy so you can use it to measure around your body or your dress form.
I normally keep 3 on me at all times. One around my neck, one in my sewing room, and one in my sewing kit. These little rulers will help you create the perfect fitting clothes. Below are links to where you can purchase these rulers.
Scissors are an essential part of any fashion designer’s kit! You need a good pair of sharp scissors that will help you cut your fabric with ease. There are an array of different types of scissors with different purposes. We can explore those different types in a later blog. For reference, I’ve added links below to a few scissors that I recommend from Amazon.
If you want a high quality scissor, I would recommend the Gingher.
If your on a budget, the Livingo brand is also good.
Last but not least, Pins. You would think that these little pins are insignificant but you can be so wrong. They have a huge use in the sewing and fashion world. Getting a good set of pins will help you tremendously as you can hold fabrics together, iron with them, and much more. It’s another key tool that is essential to the success of your project.
Don’t forget to use a pin cushion or a magnetic dish to keep all your pins together. Otherwise, you may end up stepping on one. That will be a painful lesson to learn.
Here is a personal tip. Instead of using a tomato pin cushion, I use a magnetic tray. This allows me to keep my pins together and have an easy access to pins. Also, if I drop any pins that I cant find, I can use the magnetic side of the tray to magnetically pull it up.
Beginner’s Sewing Advice
Below are the top 3 key advice that I have for the beginner’s sewing series.
As a beginner, don’t overwhelm yourself with big projects. Start small. Choose projects like pouches, tote bags, or anything of this sort that will help you hone in your basic skills.
By choosing projects that uses mostly straight stitches, you will be able to complete the project with ease. I found a list on easy sewing patterns from another blogger to be quite helpful on where to begin with small projects.
Check out Crazy Little Projects to get started on some sewing projects.
As with any art form, practice makes perfect. So practice, practice, and more practice. The more you sew and master your skills/techniques the better you become. Along the way, you will figure out your own tips/tricks to finish your project faster. Keep at it even when things are not in the brightest light. Always be on the positive and you will be able to create that gown that you always wanted.
As with practice, it takes time to master your skills set. Remind yourself that this is a journey. You’re learning many new things and you will not become an overnight success. Give yourself a break and understand that it will take time to master the basic skills. Once you have those fundamentals down, then you can build on it and your imaginations are limitless.
SLOW & STEADY
Overall, sewing can be overwhelming. I hope I have provided insights to what every beginners needs to know about sewing. As a beginner don’t look at the whole picture right away. Take it slow and steady by breaking it down by steps.
Learn the basic sewing skills, get the right tools that will help you finish your project, and patience. Understand that this is a new world that you’re entering. Allow yourself time to master these skills. Not only that, allow yourself to fail. We learn the most when we fail. So if you mess up on stitch, try again.
It’s okay to mess up when you’re just beginning because you can learn from it. Once you refined your skill set, you can always take it to the next level. When you are ready for that level, you can see our Intermediate & Advance series for more insights. Until then, keep sewing and continue the dream!
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