One of the questions I see most often is “How do I get started?” and it is one of the hardest questions to answer! There are so many different aspects of sewing that might interest different people that it is hard to answer that question without first asking a dozen opinion questions! Are you interested in sewing clothes? Quilts? Accessories? Home stuff? Do you like detailed projects or want quick and easy? Are you sewing for yourself, family, friends? Have you sewn anything before? What did you like/dislike about it? All of these questions allow me to formulate suggestions and paths that might most suit the asker. But, really, the generic answer is just do it. Just dive in and see what you like! Find a friend who sews (that’s me! I’m your friend. I sew. I want to sew with you.) and see if they want to get together to sew, even if it is a zoom hang! They might even let you borrow their machine for a quick lesson to see if it is something you want to actually invest in!
Then the next step is finding projects that you want to tackle, that won’t be so hard as to put you off sewing forever. I don’t think it matters if you start with a pillow cover, pajama pants, a tee, or a quilt. Just pick something that can be accomplished in a time frame that you won’t lose interest in. If you want something done in an afternoon, pick something that is quick. If you’re interested in a weekend project for the entire month, dive into something that is a little more. Listen to yourself, and your history of tackling projects, before choosing something.
If you prefer to start with a pattern (and unless you LOVE designing, I super recommend this), you can choose between the big brands that sell patterns at your local craft store, or independent designers, where you’ll find their patterns online. Now, I am biased on this, but I super prefer independent designers. I learned how to sew using paper patterns from the big four and … eh. The tissue paper isn’t my favorite thing. The fit tends to be intended to fit a wider variety of body types, so there is typically more necessary adjustments on clothing, and just fewer options for bags and accessories. Independent designers try to stay on top of and in front of trends (some big four patterns are doing decently well on this! I just mean in general.) Plus, they usually offer a group with access to help, suggestions, tips, and other people excitedly sharing their own makes! Also, independent means you’re supporting the small business. The start up. The work from home parents. People like me, because I work for one of these companies, hence the bias.
Try out a few different pattern companies. See what styles you like. Who has instructions you love and can follow. If you’re tackling clothes, who has the fit that needs the fewest adjustments for you? Most independent companies offer at least one free pattern and a lot of them are doing huge sales right now, so it is a great time to try out a few patterns, or just grab the ones you’ve been eyeing but didn’t have the money to pay for! Then, just get sewing.
Ask questions along the way. Take a class. Watch YouTube videos. Follow blogs (Hi! This is a sewing blog!). Find someone who sews things you like, or looks like you (for clothing) and follow them for inspiration. Get on Insta and find some people. Nothing is more motivating for me than seeing other amazing sewists making gorgeous things. And some of my best friends are people I’ve never met who live around the world, but who have shared this passion, and their lives, with me!
How do you get started sewing? There are many paths. None of them are wrong. The end result is joining an amazing, warm, welcoming community of creative, interesting people. Plus you get to make pretty things. I’d call that a win win!!
If you’d like my suggestions for independent pattern companies AND my sources for fabric, check out these posts here and here. I exclusively use Brother sewing machines, because I like them. But you’ll find a wide range of machines for different uses that appeal to different people. And I’m always happy to talk sewing! So if you want to have a sew-hang or sew-chat, let me know! 😉