In recent years, with the increasing popularity of the “do it yourself” philosophy, the amount of people wanting to learn to sew is undoubtedly on the rise.
Whether you are attracted to haute couture, beginner’s sewing or simply curious to learn how to make your own clothes, as a nation we are becoming more and more interested in sewing as an outlet for our creativity.
Learning how to sew also allows you to make and design your own garments and, in turn, spend less money on clothing and indeed interiors, which isn’t always respectful of human rights and the environment.
The handmade element makes a lot of people want to take sewing classes: the feeling of personal achievement, the pride of having been able to make a dress, a pleated skirt, a trouser hem or a nice bag all by yourself.
But remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and sewing a dress, trousers or a skirt does not happen by magic: you have to buy all the sewing essentials – which can be expensive – and then learn the technique.
There are many ways to learn to sew and embroider these days:
When you start, knowing how to use your sewing accessories is not easy.
That’s why in this article the Superprof editorial team is sharing some useful tips for sewing newbies.
This is probably the first tip for all sewers out there, to avoid making mistakes and to ensure you make a well-sewn piece, you have to know what you are doing.
What tools do I need to buy to make bedsheets and pillowcases? Source: Pixabay
This requires you to have a clear idea of what you want to sew before you start.
Sewing can be motivated by wanting to give creations as a gift to others, to meet a personal need or a simple desire to create.
It is what you’ve decided to create – and the recipient of said creation – that will predetermine the choice and quantity of fabric.
Indeed, sewing one or two small tops for a 6 year-old girl is obviously not going to require the same amount of material as making double curtains for two big French windows.
Therefore, the sewing project in mind pretty much dictates the tools you need to buy at your local haberdashery or, for the impatient sewer, from an online haberdashery website: satin measuring tape, seam ripper, Japanese ruler, sewing needles, sewing thread, fabric, etc.
To sew a zip, re-do the zip of a tent, customise a top or pretty dress, for example, the choice of colour, type and thickness of fabric will be completely different.
Another tip: do not forget about sewing patterns.
Have you ever seen an electrician wiring a new building construction without a plan?
A pattern will also break down the work into different stages so you don’t do everything in a rush.
For example :
If you still find it too complicated, use a sewing kit for beginners: these are usually very well done, and allow you to progress quickly with the right equipment and pre-cut fabric included.
Want to sew but ran out of inspiration? Having a quick skim at sewing blogs on Google can quickly give you fresh sewing ideas.
Discover how you can make your own sewing patterns...
Like all skills, sewing requires you to fork out a bit of money to acquire all the essentials.
Scissors, pins, buttons, thread… Time for a new pleated skirt! Source: Pixabay
Equipping yourself properly to sew is indeed one of the most important tips in dressmaking. Here is a list of the must-have sewing tools:
It is almost a truism: to sew in favourable conditions, it’s important to set aside a proper workspace.
Tidy, make room, and set up your work station in a clean and bright space. A tidy, cleaned and well-lit room also allows you to clear your thoughts and work better.
On one hand, a sewing machine can be bulky, and you have to free yourself from the space to store all your fabrics and tools from your sewing box.
To enhance your creations, you may want to think about investing in a piece of furniture and a lamp to illuminate your work and the sewing machine.
Discover more on how to sew efficiently by using your sewing machine…
It is important to spend time choosing your fabric and thread for embroidery or sewing.
You’re not going to hessian fabric to make a vest top that you can’t even put on once you’re finished!
Careful: thread that’s too thin on a thick fabric can make seams too fragile. Source: Visual Hunt
Jersey, jeans, leather, cotton, poplin, cretonne, cotton piqué, pure cotton, terry cloth, flannel, batiste cotton, velvet, coated cotton, denim, linen, silk, wool, polyester, etc: there’s a multitude of fabrics, both natural and synthetic, which, depending on how they are made, will be thicker, thinner, or more rigid.
The same goes for thread.
After comparing all fabrics in a haberdashery, we recommended that you wash the fabric before sewing.
Make sure to steam iron fabric after its first wash so it adjusts to its actual size. This step is useful in the sense that the fabric will shrink to its final dimensions.
It would be a pity to take measurements – respecting the 1cm extra on the pattern for the sewing margins – and then you can’t even put the garment on once it’s all finished.
Now all you have to do is get to work!
See how you can make quick progress in your sewing with these tips!
When you start, after having scanned the net to choose your sewing machine, you have to learn how to use it, like a new toy placed in the hands of a child.
Teach yourself like a child how to use your new sewing toy: doing simple things, then later move on to more complex projects. Source: Visual Hunt
A zigzag stitch, straight stitch, overcasting, crowbar, bobbin, presser foot, length and width adjustment, etc. are all words to familiarise yourself with.
To learn how to use your new Singer, Husqvarna or Brother machine our humble advice will not please everyone: practice, practice, practice.
Sew straight and parallel lines on poor quality fabric which you don’t intend to use.
It can be an excellent exercise to test your straight stitch or zigzag stitch for example, and practice varying the tension of the thread.
You will first of all learn how to thread the spool and insert the bobbin. Make sure that the spool of thread is of the same quality as the thread already in the bobbin, in order to obtain regular seams.
And, depending on the type of fabric you use to sew, you will have to learn how to choose and change sewing needles regularly. It’s simple, but it’s not invented.
Last tip for using a sewing machine: never panic and persevere.
Faced with a jam, a bad stitch, an irregular seam or completely ruined seam, do not be afraid to stop and do it again.
Sewing by hand or machine may be more complex than you expected.
Our first creations rarely meet our expectations.
That’s why we recommend you start sewing gradually, taking on bigger tasks little by little.
You should begin by making simple pieces: sleeves, waistband, elastic waist, etc. Then, make a stab at invisible lining, buttonholes, the finishing touches when making shirts, tops and dresses.
Sewing should always remain a pleasure, a hobby, a passion, driven by an insatiable thirst to learn.
Superprof recommends taking regular breaks so you don’t let negative ideas, irritation and frustration drown out your desire to succeed: everyone can excel at sewing.
Our final piece of sewing advice: to improve your level, there’s nothing better than individual lessons with an experienced teacher!
Discover also what you can do with all of your leftover fabric…