So you’re interested in the wonderful world of sewing– that’s great! But where do you start?
What are notions? What’s a stitch? How do you know what fabric to use? Where do you even get all the stuff you need? These are all important questions that will be answered in this helpful guide to everything sewing.
By the end of this article, you should be equipped with all the information you need to start your very first sewing project. Excited? Let’s get started!
Firstly, let’s get you familiar with the tools you need.
Sewing Kit Supplies
Like your basic toolbox with a hammer, screwdriver, and nails, it’s good to have a very basic sewing kit around the house for simple repairs. It doesn’t take much to assemble the necessary supplies for a sewing kit and chances are you probably have many of these supplies lying around your house already!
Let’s break down the anatomy of a basic sewing kit.
Scissors – Every sewing kit needs a few different pairs of scissors. While your regular pair of scissors in your office drawer have their utility in sewing, you’ll also want a pair of sharp shears for cutting fabric and sewing scissors (those cute little scissors) for snipping threads. Three pairs may sound like overkill, but it makes your sewing projects easier.
Measuring Tools – A sewist’s best friends are the tools that help them measure. While your standard 12-inch ruler has its purpose, it won’t get all the necessary measuring jobs done. You’ll also want a soft tape measure, and a tool called a seam gauge, which is a hard ruler with a sliding gauge in the middle to help you measure seams.
Needle and Thread – No sewing kit could be complete without your needles and thread. It’s a good idea to have a variety pack of hand-sewing needles with different eye sizes for your various projects. The all-purpose thread will do the trick for just about any project. You’ll want a spool of black and a spool of white thread for your kit, but having a spectrum of colors will give you more options.
Needle Threader – Believe us, this simple tool will make sewing so much easier. A needle threader helps you get the end of the thread through the tiny eye of the needle without losing your mind.
For the most simple repairs, these are the tools you need for your sewing kit. However, there are other tools you will need if you’re looking to do basic sewing projects beyond repairs. For a complete basic kit, check out this guide on how to assemble a complete basic sewing kit for less than $150.
The Basic Stitches
Okay, so you have an idea of the supplies you need to get started. Now let’s talk about the actual act of sewing.
A stitch is one complete movement of a threaded needle through a piece of fabric. There are many different kinds of stitches, each serving a different purpose. It’s important to note here that there are stitches you can do by hand and stitches you can do with a sewing machine.
For simple repairs and basic sewing projects, it’s important to know how to do the basic hand stitches. You should learn these before moving onto a sewing machine.
Before you even learn the basic stitches, you need to know how to both thread a needle and tie a knot at the end of a thread. The needle threader from your kit will help you with the task of threading the needle. For tying the knot, all you need to do is loop the thread around the threaded needle, then guide the loop down to the end of the thread and pull it taut.
The most basic hand sewing stitch is the running stitch. This stitch will get you through nearly all necessary repairs. With this stitch you start by poking the needle through the back of the fabric, pulling the thread all the way through, then poking the needle back down into the front of the fabric about a centimeter away and pulling all the way through. Once you have done that, you’ve completed one running stitch. Repeating this simple pattern will get you a nicely stitched piece of material.
Another basic stitch that’s good for your hands to know is the blanket stitch, also known as the buttonhole stitch. For this one, you pull the needle through the back of the fabric, and then instead of pushing it back through the front, you go around pull it through the back of the fabric again. This will create a loop, which you then pull the needle right through completing the stitch. This stitch is great for strengthening the end of the fabric, like a blanket, or creating buttonholes.
To learn more basic stitches and when to use them, check out this guide to the ten most basic stitches. Here you can also learn the basic sewing machine stitches as well.
Knowing the tools you need and the stitches to accomplish sewing projects are important, but one topic that becomes a bit more difficult for beginning sewists to understand is fabrics.
But it’s easy to get knowledgeable about materials when you know where the fibers come from and how they were put together. To have a comprehensive understanding of when and why to use different fabrics, we recommend you check out this article on what fabric you should use.
However, for a quick reference here are some different fabrics we sewists love to use:
Flannel – Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a pattern, it’s a type of fabric. Flannel is typically made from wool and is ideal for sewing projects that will keep you warm in the winter. It’s great to work with as a beginner; it’s soft and also good for quilting.
Voile – This is a light fabric usually made from cotton. It’s soft and thin, perfect for making light shirts and dresses. It’s ideal for summer!
Quilting Cotton – This fabric, as indicated in the name, is cotton made specifically for quilting. This is perfect for beginners because it’s stiff, making it easy to cut and sew.
Denim – Denim is a heavyweight cotton fabric that’s easy to work with. You can use it for clothing, furniture, or accessories.
Taking a Sewing Class
While all of this information can get you started sewing, nothing beats what you can gain from taking a sewing class.
Sewing is such a valuable skill, and so few people can do it! If you can learn it, you will be equipping yourself with a hands-on skill that will serve you for the rest of your life.
Plus, it’s not only a useful skill, but it’s also a creative outlet. Like painting or pottery-making, sewing empowers you with the ability to create. It’s truly an art– and a highly useful art at that! It’s easy to become inspired when you’re learning to sew around others.
Taking a piece of fabric and turning it into something useful will give you an amazing feeling, especially when you have the encouragement of others who are doing the same thing. That class environment can provide you with endless inspiration.
One of the best benefits to learning to sew in a class is that you learn how to save money. Not only can you save money by doing your basic repairs, but once you start learning to create something from start to finish, you can save money on clothes, pillows, curtains, and nearly anything fabric in your house!
Sewing is also a very green practice. You will learn to repurpose fabrics rather than wasting them. Reusing old material involves very little sewing skill and gets your creative juices flowing.
Like with any creative class, you will make great friends in a sewing class who will encourage and support you through your sewing projects. It’s also an awesome hobby for children, so it can be a family activity!
There are so many benefits to taking a sewing class that if you’re serious about learning to sew, you shouldn’t hesitate to sign up for one.
It doesn’t take much to become a sewist. All you need is the right supplies, the knowledge of how to do basic stitches, and the fabric to sew on. We are huge advocates for sewing classes. If you sign up for one, you will learn far more than what’s provided in this article. If you want to be equipped with some serious skill, get yourself signed up and find yourself a sewing machine!