Some Basic Tips for Starting to Sew


  1. Beginnings can be frustrating! Some of the beginners mentioned that they really feel at a loss, and that their ideas and dreams really outpace their abilities. I think we all know how frustrating this is when you’re starting out. Katie made a wonderful observation related to this:
    “Also, with knitting you are forced to go slow at first… I found that when I started sewing on a machine I wanted to drive it like a car at 100 miles per hour . Not pacing yourself can lead to a lot of mistakes and frustration.”
    That is so true, isn’t it? We all want to get from point A to point B as fast as possible, especially when point A seems a bit of a dull wasteland of wrap skirts and potholders. But I worry that moving too quickly is what burns a lot of aspiring sewers out before their time. I think a good way for a beginner to approach this might be to look for simple projects that you can make with your own twist, like gorgeous trims or a fun printed fabric.
  2. You need a solid foundation. Many of you agreed that the foundations of great sewing are careful planning, the right fabric, and taking the time to get a good fit. Unfortunately, these are the most tempting areas for a beginner to cut corners. I think the lesson here is again, to slow down and let yourself enjoy the most creative part of sewing: the planning!
  3. A sewing community is a huge help. So many of you said that you learned to sew from mothers, grandmothers, and aunts. Others said they found that the most helpful thing was having an expert around to help when they got stuck. Still, others pointed to blogs and sewing forums as the biggest help. But what they have in common is sharing knowledge with each other and finding help when you need it. Kate said:
    “I spend a lot of time reading blogs and reviewing online tutorials and books. Ideally, I would love to be a part of a sewing club or sewing circle in my city with women of all experience levels, so we can teach and mentor each other.”
    I agree, that would be an ideal way to learn and improve, no matter what level you’re at!
  4. Sewing is about continuous learning. I think one of the reasons many of us are drawn to sewing is the fact that you can do so much with it. The possibilities are vast. The other side of that is the fact that there is a lot to learn. In many cases, it’s hard to even determine what you don’t know so that you can learn. I loved this comment from Nicole because I really feel that this is a common experience, even for those that have been sewing a while:
    “I still don’t really know how to sew “properly,” but I pick up techniques from reading people’s blogs, surfing the internet, trial and error, etc. Somebody talks about underlining something, and then I spend an hour surfing around to find out about underlining and think about all the places I should have used it in the past.”
    I think the key is to set your expectations accordingly. You’ll never be “perfect,” and you’ll always be learning, so embrace it and dive in with your curiosity.
Do you guys have anything to add? Any more lessons learned for the new sewer?