You have your reasons — and I could give you plenty — for wanting to start sewing. Whether you’re jumping in for the first time or picking it up again after a while, it can be helpful to have an idea of what you’re getting into and how to make it work for you. Let’s talk about a few simple ways to break into your new sewing hobby.
1. Stock up on some basic supplies. You could easily empty your bank account on all the notions, equipment, and tools that the sewing industry is producing these days. While there are definitely some winners out there, you don’t need it all when you’re just warming up. Here’s a list to get you started…
- sewing machine (nothing fancy needed here unless you’re planning to sew professionally — I personally sew on a Brother HC1850 that was purchased through Amazon)
- scissors (buy a pair that will only be used on fabric and thread)
- rotary cutter (I use and adore the new Olfa Splash)
- cutting mat (bigger is better — you want lots of room to spread out)
- cutting ruler
- seam ripper
- pins and/or clips (Clover Wonder Clips are my little heroes…I don’t know how I ever sewed without them)
- iron and ironing board
- special items like buttons, interfacing, quilt batting, zippers, twill tape, purse hardware, etc. (this completely depends on what you want to sew)
A word about fabric…you don’t have to buy the most expensive stuff, but there definitely is a difference between low and high quality versions. The fabrics you choose for your projects will determine how well they hold up and (quite honestly) how much you’ll want to use them. Since my local options are fairly limited, I buy almost all of my fabric online. If you keep your eyes open, you can get some great prints at low prices by using coupon codes or by browsing the ever popular sale section. Some of my favorite shops include:
- Fat Quarter Shop
- Hawthorne Threads
- Pink Castle Fabrics
- Pink Chalk Fabrics
- Sew Me a Song
- Tactile Fabrics
- Westwood Acres
2. Start learning online. It’s absolutely possible to teach yourself how to sew through online tutorials. I did it myself back in 2011. There are tons of sewing bloggers out there who are more than happy to share their knowledge with you, and lots of them are posting step by step instructions and even videos for completing projects at a wide range of skill levels. A great place to start is the tutorials page at Sew Mama Sew. I’ll also be sharing a new tutorial with you here at The Glamorous Housewife once a month, and you can find all of my previous tutorials at Fabric Mutt as well as a page full of helpful links and blogs. The online sewing community is a warm and welcoming one, and there are so many ways to get involved through blog hops, project link-ups, and sew alongs. If you decide to take the next step and start sharing your sewing through an online blog of your own, you can find my tips on that subject here, part of the Advice for New Bloggers Series hosted by my friend Beth.
3. Work through a book. While you can learn a lot online, there’s nothing like holding a book in your hands. Some fantastic sewing books have been written in recent years, full of inspiring photographs and beautiful projects. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite titles with you in the coming months including my own versions of projects from each book.
|1. House Pouch Front, 2. Zakka Linen Pouch in Use, 3. Zakka Sewing Kit Inside, 4. Zakka Pencil Pouches, 5. Zakka Block Quilt, 6. Zakka Itty Bitty Magnets, 7. Zakka Potholders, 8. Zakka Organizer Front, 9. Zakka Message Board 1|
Last year I started sewing through the book Zakka Style by Rashida Coleman-Hale as part of the Zakka Along, an online sew along. As I worked through this book week by week, I picked up a ton of new skills and ended up with a lot of great projects to show for it — just take a peek at the mosaic above. Incidentally, the Zakka Along 2.0 is in full swing right now, this time using the incredible book Patchwork, Please! which I’ll be sharing with you next month. If you’d like to get in on the fun, check out all the details here.
4. Be patient with yourself. It takes time to learn a new craft. Don’t expect perfection from yourself right away, and don’t get discouraged when things don’t always turn out the way you hope. With every project you learn something new or at least gain a bit more confidence. Everybody makes mistakes from time to time no matter how long they’ve been sewing. Take a look at the two pouches above which I made from a pattern in Patchwork, Please! just this past week. I was so busy cutting, quilting, and sewing that I completely forgot to attach the interfacing to the main panel of the pouch on the right, giving it a bit of a saggy look. While I was disappointed to face this flaw after all that work, I climbed back on the horse and tried again with far better results the second time as you can see on the left. And the first bag isn’t a total loss — when I have the time, I plan to go back and see if I can fix it. So don’t give up. Learn from your mistakes, celebrate your successes, and be willing to try anything at least once. You’ll be so glad you did.
This post was written by Heidi Staples. You can find more of her tutorials on her wonderful blog, Fabric Mutt.