Blog,  DIY

Sewing 101 | The Basics

Sewing is so in! I am so fortunate to have a grandma that sews and was more than willing to teach me when I asked. I was never interested in sewing when I was growing up and they didn’t teach it to us in school in any class. There was a fashion design class in high school I could’ve take, but sewing wasn’t really something I cared to learn. I was way more interested in hanging out with my friends and talking about boys, I mean really, what high school-er wasn’t?

If you don’t have anyone around to teach you the basics, but really want to learn how to sew, you’re in luck! Sewing 101 are some quick basic how-to’s for beginner sewers and wanna be seamstresses. Alright, so I’m going to the very best I can. By that I mean, every sewing machine is a little different and has it’s own way of doing things.

Everything You’ll Need to Get Started

Believe me when I say, as long as your sewing machine runs with no problems, you’re golden. My first sewing machine was 20 years old & made so much noise!

Here are two of my favorite sewing machines (both under $200)

You’ll also want:

  • Needles – I use either a universal or a Singer needle when I sew. You’ll want to do your research to determine what brand/type is best for your machine. For beginners working with cotton, I would recommend a needle that is good for woven fabric.
  • Straight Pins – I would highly recommend getting the pins with colored ends. The silver ones disappear in your carpet if you drop them and you end up finding them with your foot (yikes!).
  • Pin Cushion – You can either go with the standard pin cushion, or now they have these great magnetic ones! Either way, you’ll definitely want one or at least a pin box.
  • Thread – My go to is always Coats & Clark or Gutermann. I have several white spools laying around!
  • Scissors – If you’re going to continue to sew, I beg you, invest in a GOOD pair of scissors! After you buy fabric scissors, promise me you’ll never cut anything but fabric with them.
  • Tape Measure – Most any tape measure will do! I like the flexible soft kind or a yard stick!
  • Seam Ripper – If there’s one thing I can’t live without, it’s my seam ripper!
  • Bobbin – When buying bobbins, you’ll want to make sure you get one that is specific to your machine. If you’re using the wrong bobbin, this can make sewing a lot more difficult. Be sure to look up what type to buy for your specific machine!

Check out my Amazon idea list SEWING 101 | THE BASICS for more great sewing tools to invest in! 

“SLOW LIKE A TURTLE”

Practice makes perfect & slow and steady wins the race. My grandma constantly told me these two things when I was learning to sew. I knew I wanted to sewing everything. And when I say everything, I literally mean everything. Being the instant gratification kind of person I am, I wanted to do it now. Of course my grandma had different plans for us.

When you’re learning, it’s okay to take things slow! I know you probably want to make all the things, but you really have to master the basics before moving on to all the things.

Here are some things to practice!

  • Sewing in straight lines: When I say straight, I mean very straight. This is one thing that I can’t stress enough. If you’re sewing to sell, people want to see near perfection. The more perfect it looks, the more you can increase the cost of your goods.
  • Sewing curved lines/ circles: This is really good practice if you plan to sew patterns in the future! Many of the patterns I use have curved edges, so making sure you can sew a consistent curved edge is helpful.
  •  Sewing pieces together:  This is a great thing to practice. Most patterns will have you sewing two pieces of material together. So you’ll want to take your two pieces of material with good sides together and practice sewing a straight seam.

Tips, Tricks & Tid-Bits

For real, there are like a hundred different tips that I could give you to make your sewing life easier, but ain’t nobody got time for that. So here’s just a few!

Tension is actually important.

Friends. Pay attention to your tension. I’m not going to sugar coat this part because I want your projects to turn out well… if your tension is off, it makes your whole project look like crap. Regardless of how the rest of it looks.

Friends. Pay attention to your tension. I’m not going to sugar coat this part because I want your projects to turn out well… if your tension is off, it makes your whole project look like crap. Regardless of how the rest of it looks.

My sewing machine has the tension set at the half way mark. Each machine is different, so you’ll have to play around with your own. Sometimes, to understand what’s going on with my tension I use two different color threads (one in my bobbin, one on the spool).  Just look for the little dial on your machine, that’s the tension.

Sewing Tension
It’s like goldilocks and the three bears, one is too tight, one is too loose and the middle is just right.

Service your machine.

End of story. If you’re going to be using your sewing machine a lot, just spend the money and take it to get serviced. I made the mistake of not doing this until I absolutely had to and it cost me 3 weeks of time without my sewing machine. If I can make any recommendation, take it in during the summer. The repair/maintenance places tend to be a lot slower! I think mine cost me about $80 and they were able to fix my timing and all the horrific clunking noises it was making.

Clean your own machine every once in a while too. Where you sew your material, right under your foot, there is likely some screws and a piece that comes off. Unscrew those, take that piece off and blow all the fuzzies out with a hair dryer. You should do this often. Especially if you sew with fleeces, minky, or any fabric that “sheds”.

Change your needles!

This is so, so helpful! Well, all of the tips I’m giving you are, but I feel like this is super helpful. It’s recommended that you change your needle after 8 hours of use. This could mean every couple days if you sew a ton or every few weeks. Dull needles suck (trust me, I am terrible at remember to change mine), so do yourself a favor and change them. P.S. You can also buy sharps boxes – do your garbage man a favor and buy one!

The walking foot.  

This foot will change your life. First master sewing in straight lines, around curves and everything else in this beginner sewing guide. Then, buy a walking foot. Seriously, if I could use this foot for everything, I would. This foot moves both your top and bottom fabric AT THE SAME TIME!! Game changer.

Putting it All Together

Now that you’ve bought all the things for your sewing adventure and you’ve started practicing, I encourage you to venture out and try some simple patterns! Check out our Pinterest for all the sewing patterns!  

Keep an eye on our blog for a pattern tutorial that will be coming soon! We’re hoping to get a YouTube channel set up soon and will be showing you things such as how to thread your bobbin and needle.

Have questions about sewing? Let me know! You can message us on Instagram or leave comments here. Want to do more DIY things?! Check out our DIY Hack Candle post!

Xoxo 

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