Sewing is not only a useful skill to have but also a fun hobby. While not necessarily difficult, there are certain mistakes you may make as a rookie that complicate things unnecessarily, as well as some tricks you can learn to make things easier. The following guide focuses on how to make things easier when you are starting out.
1. Choose Your Fabric
As you gain more experience, your choice of fabric may depend solely on the purpose of your project. However, when you're first starting out, some fabrics are more difficult to work with than others. For your first few projects, you should choose a fabric that's a little easier, such as 100% cotton in medium weight. As you gain more experience, you can graduate to something a little more challenging, such as fleece fabric. The more advanced you become in your sewing skill, you can start working with complex and fancy materials, such as lace, silk, or velvet.
2. Learn To Use Patterns
Some people are "improvisational" sewists, meaning that they start cutting and stitching fabric without any sort of plan or pattern. It takes years of experience and skill to be successful at this, and even then, it's not a very efficient way to work. The most advanced sewists largely still prefer to use a pattern.
Before you can make good use of a pattern, however, you have to learn how to use it. Sewing patterns have symbols representing things like stitching lines, buttonholes and buttons, and places where you need to fold the fabric, and in which direction. These symbols can look like incomprehensible hieroglyphics at first. However, once you learn to read them, they communicate a wealth of material in a quick and efficient fashion.
3. Gather Basic Tools
Regardless of whether you sew by hand or with a sewing machine, there are certain basic tools and materials you will need. Thread is an essential for any sewing project. It comes in a bewildering array of colors, materials, and gauges. When you're starting out, you should choose an all-purpose thread in polyester. You'll also need needles with which to sew. If you intend to use a sewing machine, obviously the needles should be compatible with it. From time to time, you may have to do some sewing by hand, so make sure you have some of these needles as well.
Pins are also essential to any sewing project. These, too, come in various sizes, but you should choose those with plastic heads. For the sake of safety and organization, it may also be a good idea to have a pincushion with which to store them until they are needed.
When you sew, you will frequently have to cut out paper patterns, fabric, and threads. Therefore, you need at least two pairs of scissors. The cheaper of the two can be used to cut paper, while the sharp sewing scissors should be reserved for cutting fabric. You also need at least one seam ripper in case you make a mistake and have to undo what you've done. Other, optional cutting tools for sewing include rotary cutters, which allow you to cut through several layers of fabric at once, and pinking shears, which allow you cut a zig-zag edge in your fabric. This can be both decorative and functional as it helps with curved seams.
5. Choose a Simple Sewing Machine
If you choose to sew on a sewing machine, you don't have to invest in the fanciest and most expensive one you can find. All you really need is a machine that can do a couple of basic stitches, especially a straight stitch. If you decide you want to learn to use fancier stitches later on, you can upgrade to a more expensive machine. However, people who have been sewing for years find that they do not often use those capabilities even when they have them.
Like any other skill, it takes some time to learn the knack of sewing. Keep practicing and don't get discouraged with yourself, and soon you'll hardly be able to stop stitching.