Sewing for yourself or gifts for others is a great creative outlet as a way to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Here are some guidelines on how to start if you’ve never sewn before. Remember to start with easy projects and most importantly to have fun and you will be on your way to a new creative outlet.
What you’ll need:
If you do not own a sewing machine I suggest going to a manufacturer and trying out different machines. You do not need to spend a lot of money for your first machine…between $150 and $200 is the average price. A known brand name such as Singer, Bernina, and Pfaff all come with a warranty for up to a year and should work fine for a beginner sewer. Another option if you are just starting out is to look for used online or at thrift stores.
Other basic supplies you will need are scissors, tailors chalk, straight pins, and a measuring tape. You can find all of these including any notions you need for your particular pattern at your local fabric store or online. Some of my favorite online stores for notions include Sewtrue.com and Joann.com.
Pick a pattern:
Remember to start simple, do not take on more than your skill level. There are lots of great patterns which are easy to understand and sew. You can either pick one at your fabric store or go online. There are great community websites for sewers of all levels which you can download free patterns, purchase inexpensive patterns, as well as get sewing tips and great DIY ideas. One of my favorites is www.burdastyle.com. There are many patterns for you to choose from for a first sewing project such as a basic tank Sadie 6019 as well as Sidonie 8281 an a-line skirt. Either would be a great first project you could wear this spring or pick another pattern as long as it is labeled very easy to easy. Other websites to try are Sewgirls.com and sewing.com.
Purchase your fabric:
The pattern you choose will give you guidelines on fabric you will need as well as how many yards to buy. For a beginner purchase fabric which is easy to use and does not require matching a print or pattern. Fabrics such as jersey knit, cotton, or linen are great to start with. Avoid silk, slinky knits, pinstripes, and plaid. For first projects it is best to purchase fabrics in person if possible. If you prefer to buy online you can refer to websites mentioned or go to www.etsy.com. There are many independent fabric stores who are selling great fabrics on etsy.
Purchase notions needed:
Your pattern will tell you any notions needed for your design such as the number and size of buttons, the zipper length and type, elastic width and length, shoulder pad style and size, hooks and eyes, and so on. A great website to make your purchases is Nancysnotions.com.
Sewing your garment:
The pattern you pick out will give you step by step instructions on sewing your garment from how to lay out your pattern to what to sew first. If you feel you need more help before you sew any part of your garment go to one of the community websites listed above and look up for more information. For instance, if you have never sewn a zipper before you can see an online tutorial on Burdastyle.com which will give you more insight and confidence before you sew yourself.
I hope you enjoy your first sewing project and will continue for years to come. Sewing is a great way to have fun, be creative, and enjoy wearing one of a kind creation you made yourself.