Life is much better when you learn how to slow down.
In his book In Praise of Slowness, Carl Honoré explains why it is important to slow down in our world that is always going too fast.
Sewing is a great way to slow down and take some time for yourself. Because you do not learn how to sew in one night, it takes time, patience, precision.
But the results are worth the detour!
Wanting to learn to sew then? What steps should you take?
Follow this helpful guide!
Is It Easy to Learn How to Sew?
When you begin to learn sewing, it is safe to say that it is difficult. Especially if you have friends who are experts and have made beautiful pieces.
Sewing is not rocket science, it's all about taking it step by step.
Find sewing classes London or sewing classes Glasgow.
Get a good sewing machine
If you are not sure if sewing is for you, do not worry you can always sell your machine but do not skimp on the quality. A good sewing machine costs at least £150. Anything below this, it will not last the test of time. Or worse, it might not even sew properly.
Opt for a manual machine at first, just to be sure you know what you are doing. No need for a serger in the early stages. Be content with a simple sewing machine.
And learn how to use it! It may seem obvious but once you're alone in front of your machine, it can be a little intimidating. Read instructions carefully and feel free to ask for tips in store or from friends and family.
Find quality sewing equipment
After the sewing machine, you should invest in a sewing box and fill it with good-quality products:
- Thread: Gütermann, Coat, DMC ...
- Needles: different sizes to change depending on the thickness of the fabric,
- Sewing scissors: a pair for paper and a pair for fabric,
- A Chalk pencil: to draw markers,
- Pins, a lot of pins,
- A Tape measure: to take measurements,
- A Ruler: to add margins, mark hems ...
- An Iron: a must-have in between the sewing stages.
Know how to use a pattern
The sewing machine takes up only 20% of your total sewing time. But what is the other 80%? It's preparing your work:
- You copy the pattern,
- You cut it,
- You draw the pattern onto the fabric,
- You cut it,
- You pin it,
- You draw markers...
Tip: For a beginner, these steps may seem tedious. Make it easy for yourself with patterns with sewing margins included.
Choose easy patterns at the beginning. You'll find them in a sewing magazines like Simply Sewing. The instructions provided are well detailed and you can easily learn to draw, stitch, embroider and overlock.
I know, you'd like to jump right into pretty frilly dresses or gathered tops but in order to avoid getting discouraged, it's better to start with cushion covers, bibs, scarves or sew a simple bag, pocket or make an easy dress.
Can You Learn to How to Sew Quickly?
Becoming a seamstress (or a fashion designer) who can have creative ideas and turn them into a reality takes a long time but knowing how to sew can be learned in a matter of weeks depending on your motivation and the time you can devote to it.
Learn to Sew by Hand
When you learn something new, you normally have to repeat it several times to really get the hang of it, a bit like when you learn a language. By repeating vocabulary over and over and revising it every day, it is quickly learnt. It's the same thing for sewing. And before anything else, you have to know how to sew by hand.
To do so is fairly simple: all you have to do is practice! More precisely, practice stitching. Running stitch, tacking stitch, straight stitch or back stitch, you take your piece of fabric, draw lines, then off you go with your thread, needle and thimble!
Based in Scotland? Try sewing classes Edinburgh.
Learn to sew step-by-step
For each new project, try to learn a new sewing technique. In order to learn quickly, nothing is better than setting out a list of objectives to be reached in a notebook to clearly chart your progress and how you get there.
There is no shortcut, just keep practicing starting with simple pieces. It is more satisfying to successfully complete an easy sewing job than to attempt a more complicated one and fail, get frustrated and unmotivated.
Above all, be curious! Be willing to try something new every day and learn from your mistakes. It's quite normal to make mistakes here and there. It's all about getting over your frustration and learning from them instead of giving up after the first stumble.
Take sewing classes
Of course, if you want to invest some money into your learning, the fastest way to improve your sewing skills is to take sewing classes with a teacher.
On Superprof, there are currently 67 teachers offering sewing lessons online or locally. The classes costs between £15 and £50 depending on your level, the teacher's experience and your location.
You can even take online sewing classes.
How to Learn to Sew Using a Machine
The most popular way to sew is still the sewing machine. It's not really the seamstress who sews, they are just there to guide the machine. The sewing machine must therefore become an extension of the seamstress's hands.
For a beginner, finding the right sewing machine can be overwhelming. It is important to buy a sewing machine that will last. You should focus on two criteria: weight and price. And to help you, here are the essential functions that the machine must have:
- The running stitch: used in 90% of cases,
- The zigzag stitch: also widely used to prevent a fabric fraying for example,
- Tension adjustment: you must be able to adjust the tension of the thread manually (and automatically in some cases),
- The free arm: to be able to sew all around a trouser leg or a jacket arm,
- The overlock stitch: does the work of a serger,
- The elastic stitch: to put together elastic fabrics such as stretch or jersey.
Spend around £200 for a good sewing machine that will last the test of time (the entry level feature major brands like Janome).
The essential accessories
If you buy a used sewing machine and it lacks some accessories, don't worry, you can easily get them for a low price:
- Presser foot,
- Bobbin case,
- Zipper foot,
- Buttonhole foot,
- Classic replacement needles and "jean" and "stretch" needles.
The different ways of sewing with a machine
Well, now that you know a little about the makeup of a sewing machine and the essential features, it's time to learn how to sew.
Simply Sewing offers fun tutorials to learn how to sew the various possible stitches using a machine:
- Sew a running stitch
- Sew a right angle weave,
- Sew a broken line,
- Sew a round shape,
- Sew an appliqué,
- Oversew, etc.
Take a sewing class to learn how to use your machine
If the instructions, tutorials on the internet and advice from the seller is not enough, it is time to sign up to a sewing course to learn how to use your machine.
Because it is not necessarily obvious how to use a sewing machine right away, opt for a course shouldn't break the bank.
And psssstttt, on Superprof, the first class is usually free!
Sewing Ideas for Beginners
Easy sewing is the best way to progress gradually. You don't start running when you can barely walk. And starting off simply, doesn't have to be boring!
Why not redecorate your entire house with trendy cushions and be able to say to your friends and family, "I made that!"
An origami pouch
A good way to practice using different fabrics of different thicknesses and varying colours and patterns is to sew full pockets.
A pocket for each outfit? Why on earth not!
And once you understand the main principles, nothing can stop you from going even bigger.
A swing dress
Who said that when you start sewing, you only stitch useless things?
Want a new dress that's easy to sew? Visit the website Merrick's art.
Choose your fabric at your local haberdashery, cut the right dimensions and sew your new trendy dress with ease!
- Learning to sew is not difficult in itself. It will be easier for those who are good at manual work but with patience and hard work, everyone can do it.
- Although learning to make the most technical pieces is not done overnight, mastering the basics of sewing is possible in a few weeks of you're willing to put in the work.
- The sewing machine is the must-have tool for any dress maker, it is essential to know how it works and how to use it properly.
- Finally, to learn how to sew, you should start with basic clothes and accessories such as a pillowcase, baskets, bibs or simple dresses.