Saturday, April 26, 2008

Getting Started - New Sewists

A few days ago, I received an e-mail from a young lady who would very much like to start sewing her own clothes. She has desired to do this for many years but didn't know where or how to start. She asked a few people for tips on getting started, but didn't get enough guidance on how to begin. Here is how I responded. The name has been changed to "WanttoSew".

Good morning WanttoSew,

I apologize for not providing information sooner. This week we are celebrating my Pastor's 31st anniversary. I'm flattered that you asked me for guidance. I greatly appreciate the compliments. For the most part, I'm a self taught sewer only attending a six week introductory course in middle school. I took home economics in high school, but no sewing course.

There are some essential supplies and equipment needed to get started.

* Sewing machine and threads
* Serger, if desired
* Scissors of various size including pinking shears
* Rotary Cutter(s), mats and straightedges
* Pattern tracing paper or cloth, tracing wheel
* Pressing tools such as sleeve board, seam roll and ham
* Pressing equipment, including ironing board and iron, press cloths
* Straight pins and cushion
* Measuring tools (tape, ruler, gauge)
* Marking pens (either air or water-soluble) or tailor's chalk
* Spray adhesive (temporary)
* Hand-sewing needles and thimble
* Point turners
(Sewing Savvy & me)

This is just for starters; as you try various techniques, you will need to expand your supplies and equipment. If you are really serious about sewing, I would also suggest that you purchase "Vogue Sewing" and "Fit for Real People". These are great reference books that will help you with sewing and fitting techniques. These may be two of several books that you will purchase. Over the years, I have subscribed to a variety of sewing magazines: Sew News, Vogue Patterns, McCall's, Sewing Savvy, and Threads all of which have been very helpful.

Two of my first projects in the six week course were to make a stuff animal and a tote bag. Later I made a simple pair of pants: darts, zipper and waistband. It took me forever to finish. lol May be you can start with a simple skirt. WanttoSew, you may also consider taking a beginner sewing class at one of the local fabric stores in your area. A class may help jump start your confidence to pursue your dream of sewing your own fantastic wardrobe.

WanttoSew, I hope this is helpful to you. Let me know how it goes.

Thanks again for your patience,


  1. May I add my 2¢?

    Dear WanttoSew: I'm so happy you want to learn to sew. It's a wonderful way to spend your time. Don't get discouraged when things don't turn out perfectly. Every sewer makes mistakes. Keep a positive attitude and have fun learning!

  2. How nice of you to respond and so positively too. You make a GREAT teacher.

  3. I think you have given WanttoSew some very good advice. You might also want to suggest to her some of the blogs that offer help, tips and even answer questions new sewists might have. Good job.



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