If you’re new to sewing, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There is so much information, but it’s hard to navigate. Much of the information is geared towards selling you something. In the bookstores, there are so many pretty books — but many are short on practical instructions. And of course there are the luscious fabrics — if only you could work magic on them!
1. Get your basic supplies. I recommend SewingStarter.com. You can save a lot of distraction and money in local stores by shopping for shears, tape measure, and other basics online. Start here. Also see Free Patterns.
2. Use your local stores for inspiration and advice. They might not be your best bet for supplies but you will find fabrics, matching thread and notions for your first projects. Smaller stores have the most helpful, knowledgeable staff.
3. Sewing does not need to be the hobby that sucks up all of your resources. You don’t need the fanciest or newest machine. You don’t need to use every stitch available on your machine. Three stitches might be all you need… and time to practice. See my Stitches for Knit post. Read recommendations for versatile basic sewing machines.
You don’t have to buy every cute fabric you see. Instead, plan out your projects with a Sewing Notebook, an inexpensive item that looks like this.
4. You don’t have to be retired to make time for sewing. Laying out, cutting, and marking a pattern all take time and concentration. Easy stitching should go faster. You can baste and hem by hand while watching TV or listening to music.
5. You don’t have to subscribe to all the sewing Web sites and magazines. Most of these offer some information for free, and YouTube is full of videos for sewing (personally, I don’t find them very helpful and I’m very annoyed by the self-promo and ads). Web sites give you a chance to decide where to spend your resources before you join or subscribe.
Check out Projects With New Sewers.
Photo Credit: Cleveland State University, Center for Public History & Digital Humanities.