How to Start to Sew in 6 Steps

Sewing is a fantastic hobby that's easy to pick up and doesn't require much in the way of materials or supplies. And—even if you've never sewn so much as a button!—there are plenty of sewing projects you can create using basic techniques. Here are six steps to guide you in getting started with your first project.

1. Decide what kind of sewing most interests you
The best thing about sewing is how many different directions you can take your skills. From clothes to comforters, dolls or dog beds, many projects draw on the same techniques, but it is helpful to have an idea of what interests you; this can help direct you to the right resources as you learn.
2. Assemble basic supplies
At its simplest, all you need to sew is:
  • A hand sewing needle: Choose a simple straight needle. Check out different guides for help in choosing the right one.
  • Thread: Start with a cotton-polyester blend in a color that blends in with your chosen fabric.
  • Scissors: A good pair of fabric scissors is well worth the investment. If you're not ready to splurge on high-end shears, start with a brand new pair of regular scissors. Only cut fabric or threads with your sewing scissors. Paper or plastic materials will quickly dull your blades.
  • Fabric: For beginners, it's best to start with woven fabrics instead of knits.
  • A ruler or measuring tape: A flexible measuring tape (for curves) and a ruler (for straight lines) are important tools.
3. Decide whether you want to sew by machine
A sewing machine can make your sewing faster and more consistent, so many beginners opt to start there. If you want to sew by best sewing machine, opt for new rather than used. Your machine should be able to do a straight stitch of variable lengths, and a zig-zag stitch. Many machines also offer features like automatic buttonholes and decorative stitches, which are great as you gain new skills.

4. Practice basic stitches
Whether sewing by hand or machine, start by trying out some simple stitches. This will give you a chance to practice the hand movements required to make even stitches, or to test your sewing machine settings to make sure the thread tension is correct.
5. Time for your first project!
Choose something simple, like a pillow or hemmed placemats. These have limited, straight seams that are perfect for putting your practice to use. You'll also get experience with measuring and cutting your fabric, marking your seam allowances, and pressing your seams as you sew.
6. Challenge yourself
As you gain skills and confidence, start introducing more complex techniques. Curved seams, decorative stitches, delicate or heavy fabrics all pose unique challenges of their own. Try introducing these to your next projects and see how they differ from your previous work.

Learning to sew is much less complex than you might imagine, especially when you break it down into pieces. Start with the basics and introduce new challenges as you learn—before long, you'll be sewing like a pro!

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