Lessons in… Starting to Sew

Hands up if your New Year’s Resolution was to start a new hobby or at least make sure you make time for a hobby.

Was this hobby sewing? Great! I thoroughly approve. It was my resolution in 2015 to try new hobbies and in 2016 to sew more, and it changed my outlook on my clothes and how I spend my time.

But finding the right place to start can often be tricky, especially when seeing everyone’s wonderful makes on the internet can make everything seem a little bit daunting.

Well here is a round-up of my recommendations for having a wonderful year of handmade goodness.

Lessons in... starting to sew

The world of sewing patterns just keeps growing and, with so many wonderful designs out there, just knowing where to start can be confusing. While it might be tempting to try that gorgeous-looking dress labelled intermediate, it could make or break your relationship with sewing.

Remember: choosing something tricky and then struggling put you off sewing altogether, and we don’t want that. So ease yourself in.

If you want to support indie designers then I couldn’t recommend Tilly and the Buttons enough. Below are some of my favourites (The name of the first pattern did not play a part in my choice… much.)

Aside from the Tilly and the Buttons patterns there are lots of the easy Simplicity patterns that are perfect for beginners. However, do bear in mind that while patterns from companies such as Simplicity are great but their instructions are no where as thorough as those you will find from indie companies.

Other indie pattern companies to note:

Lessons in starting to sew choosing fabrics

This is another area that can quickly become overwhelming. There are so many beautiful fabrics available that it is quite easy to see why people’s stashes soon get out of control. But just keep this things in mind and you’ll avoid taking on fabric you can’t handle, yet.

Start cheap. Buying that beautiful expensive fabric might end up being a total waste of money for your first project. Don’t worry you will get there just give it time. First projects might not last you a life time but your first few projects will almost be practise pieces, once you’ve nailed that pattern come back to it with that fabulous fabric.

Some of the best places for cheap fabric are Fabric Land or eBay.

Choose the type of fabric carefully. You don’t want to be making your first project with slippery silk that will be a real pain to work with. Remember what I said about ruining your relationship with sewing? That will do just that. Instead pick cottons, which are widely available and perfect to start working with. Making the Cleo? Thin cotton won’t work so try cheap denim or cord or be particularly thrifty and use some old curtains.

Here’s mine:

tilly and the button cleo in curtain fabric dominique major

So you’ve got your pattern, fabric and you’ve started sewing. But you’ve made a mistake or your stitching on your finished project is a little bit wonky. So what? It’s fine! When you sew your own clothes it’s very easy to pick it apart. But what you think everyone will notice won’t even be apparent to most people when you wear it out. How often do you inspect your stitching when you buy something from the high street? Probably never. So unless something is falling off, just embrace it. Just make it your aim to make fewer mistakes the more you sew.

Last but not least, the best thing about sewing is how fun it is. So just roll with it take your time and have some fun!

Looking for even more reasons to sew, last year I wrote this piece for The Huffington Post and if you need to update your sewing kit here’s something from my old wordpress site.

Let me know below what your first sew is or tips for starting to sew.


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