If you’ve been interested in learning how to sew, but have been unsure of where to start, we have the perfect thing for you. In this article, we’ll cover everything from the tools you need to make your very first stitch. This introductory guide will introduce you to the basics of all areas of sewing so that you can sew like a pro in no time.
Tools You’ll Need to Get Started Sewing
In order to get started with sewing, you will need a few tools. You can find all of these tools online or at your local craft store.
String cutting scissors, a rotary cutter, and a mat are just some of the basic items you’ll want to have available. Here is a list of things that every beginner sewer needs:
- Scissors for cutting threads and fabric
- A rotary cutter and cutting mat
- A ruler
- Sewing needles and pins
- Thread in coordinating colors
- Quilting needles – sharp needles with large eyes will make it easier to sew through thick fabrics
- Seam ripper – this is an optional item as most people prefer to recut their seam after they’ve sewn it, but since this is something you’ll use often, it’s a good idea to have one around.
Upon your first sewing experience, you will likely find yourself in need of an additional tool. Some people prefer to get a stitch plate (“a professional-looking wood or plastic piece with holes in it”), while others prefer to use the back of their ruler. Either way, we recommend that you purchase a stitch marker as well.
For sewing, you can opt for sewing by hand or a sewing machine. If using a machine, then add a sewing machine to your list of needed items. I suggest taking a look at reviews by experienced sewers that focus on machines that are suitable for beginners such as this review for best sewing machines for beginners. Another great source is your local materials shop, ask around and let them know you are thinking about getting a machine. They should be able to assist in helping you find a durable machine that will not break the bank.
Your First Stitch
As you become more adept at sewing, your first project may be a simple one. You might be a beginner, but let us not forget to start simple. The purpose of this project is to introduce you to the basics of sewing. This technique will teach you how to make a basic straight stitch.
Steps for hand sewing a straight stitch:
- Thread the needle with 12 inches of thread.
2. Leaving about 4 inches of thread loose, insert the needle up through the fabric about 1/4 of an inch from where you want to start stitching.
3. Take the needle back down through the fabric from where you started and pull on the thread until it is taut.
4. Keep pulling until you reach the same point where you started, and then from there take the thread all the way back up to where you started.
5. Before starting to stitch, make sure the fabric is pulled tight enough – if it’s too loose you may not be able to get the needle through with enough force and stitches may not be secure.
6. Bring the needle down about 1/4 of an inch from where you want to start stitching and bring it up through the fabric again.
7. Continue going through the fabric in this way until you have completed your stitch. To get the next stitch, start by making your last stitch a little longer and inserting the needle from top to bottom. Then bring it back up again and repeat this process until you have sewn over both pieces of fabric that you want to sew together.
8. To finish off your stitches, run them over with a thread or two on top or on the back with your needle to make sure that they are secure – then cut them off close when finished.
Take note: Your first few stitches may not be that good. It will take some practice to get them nice and even and the same length over both pieces of fabric you are stitching together. If your stitches are uneven, you may opt to cut them off and start again or at least give them a few stitches to hold before sewing over them again.
The Basics of Threading a Sewing Machine
The first step in sewing is learning how to thread your machine. This lesson will take you through the basic steps of threading a sewing machine, and will introduce you to the most commonly used tools when it’s time to sew. You can find more information on the different tools you’ll use throughout this lesson here:
How to Thread a Machine
Use this thread guide as a reference during your first few projects. Once you become comfortable with threading your machine, you’ll be able to do it without looking at the guide.
If you have a top-loading or horizontal-axis, top-loading sewing machine, simply remove your presser foot and place the thread underneath the presser bar, securing it with the tension disks on either side of the presser bar.
With a front-loading, vertical-axis, top-loading machine the threading process is a bit different. Remove your needle plate and place the thread underneath the needle plate and into the hole of your bobbin compartment. Some models have an indentation on the bottom of the sewing machine to make this part easier. Reattach your needle plate, making sure you don’t over or under tighten it because that could damage your stitching. If you’re using a top-loading machine with this method, the hole of your bobbin compartment is the same size as it would be on a top-loading machine without the presser foot. If you’re using a front-loading machine with this method, your needle plate may be larger than what’s used in front-loading machines without the presser foot.
Now that you’ve completed these first steps and are ready to stitch.
I hope you found this article helpful and it gets you on your way to starting a great hobby that you can take with you for the rest of your life. Let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with by leaving a comment below!
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