Texas Living

Beginner’s Guide to Sewing

By Jennifer Norris 1.10.14

Onesies, pajamas, halloween costumes, or even a guitar strap to help fulfill a 3-year-old’s rock-star dreams — the possibilities are endless when you learn to sew. 

Learning a new skill can always feel daunting, but this is one you’re sure to cherish. Whether it’s making household chores easier (and less expensive!) or making lasting memories (who can forget your two-year-old’s pumpkin costume, or your baby’s Christmas onesie?), sewing is a valuable skill for any household. 

Here’s a guide to help you get started:


Find the perfect machine. You don’t need state-of-the-art anything, but you do need a dependable machine that doesn’t jam or break down regularly. There’s nothing like a threaded-up mess to quench your will to persevere. So do some research to find the right one. Consider it something you’ll pass down for generations. 

Stock up at the fabric store. This part’s fun. You’ll need a fabric pencil, seam ripper, shears, tape measure, and pins. Oh yeah. And fabric!


Get a little help from a book. Don’t go it alone! Books that demonstrate different types of stitches, illustrates techniques, and explain terminology (what is bias? piping? notions? selvage?) can come in really handy when you’re frowning over your fabric.

Get inspired online. No one can start a new project from nothing! Scroll through Pinterest to find potential projects. Some sewing machine companies even feature tutorials and project ideas to help you get started.

Buy patterns from the store. Sometimes, nothing beats the old-fashioned, skin-papered pattern from the store. These virtual maps, with all the markings and directions, will walk you easily through your project. 


Join a community. Your local fabric store may have classes and communities for all sewing levels. Don’t be nervous. Book a beginner class and meet other sewers with a wealth of knowledge to share.

Practice, practice, practice. Every time you take out your sewing machine, you learn a trick or technique. Keep going and build off what you’ve learned. Soon you’ll be able to handle even the most scary-looking patterns! 

For more help around the house, learn how to master your laundry list and these surprising uses for vinegar

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