Advice for Beginner Sewists

Posted on December 17, 2020 by Stephanie Triplett

Sewing is a journey filled with ups and downs, just like life, but the tips in this post will help make it a bit smoother for any sewist, especially those that are new to the craft. A lot of the tips are common knowledge, but I've gathered them into one central post to make them easier to access and use!

Selecting your tools:

  • Any sewing machine with basic features will do— as long as it can sew basic stitches and operate smoothly, you’re all set. However, a machine that includes essential tools is a big bonus in gathering the supplies needed to get started. 
  • Make an organized list of supplies you need for each project, so you know exactly what to shop for.
  • Start with fabric that is easy to manage, like cotton.
  • Beginner sewing tools like cutting, pressing, and sewing supplies are imperative.

Prep for your project:

  • Learn how to thread your machine and wind a bobbin by using your user manual or watching a tutorial online.
  • Preshrink fabric before sewing--this is crucial for sewing the right size!
  • Use the sewing chart found with each pattern to take accurate measurements of your body, then map it out before beginning a project.

Cutting:

  • Make sure to lay out the fabric so that it is cut on grain. 
  • Cut one layer at a time to avoid slippage.
  • Place scraps into a separate container to use for testing or another project.
  • Use pattern weights or clips to cut out patterns. 
  • If you pin, do it horizontally, spacing pins about a hands width apart being careful not to over pin. Pinning vertically is helpful if you're pinning curves.

Sewing Tips:

  • Do sample stitching to make sure it works for the fabric you’re using. 
  • Trim threads with a thread clipper after each seam is sewn for a professional finish. 
  • Use a point turner to get sharp corners in collars and other edges.
  • Practice sewing seams on scrap fabric and go slowly at first, building up speed as you gain confidence. 
  • A magnetic seam guide will help to achieve straight lines.
  • Clip the corners and curves of your fabric to eliminate puckering. 
  • Finish seams using pinking shears at first.
  • Press fabric and seams with a steam iron by using a lifting and lowering motion to remove wrinkles and set in the seam.

Working with Patterns:

Don’t hesitate to make the first move towards sewing. It's not nearly as daunting as you think it is, trust me. Do a little research to pick out a pattern that excites you and get to it. Remember the tips above, and don't be afraid to mess up-- the greatest success stories usually come along with a bit of trial and error.

Which tip did you find most useful? Leave a comment below!

Looking for more? 

Check out this post: Tips and Sewing Knowledge Every Sewist Needs.

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