Sewing 101: My Personal Tips for learning how to sew...

Happy Wednesday Lovelies!
I hope you are having a wonderful week. So I thought I would do something different on the blog today. I have been getting lots of questions and emails in regards to my sewing and how I learned how to sew.  As most of you probably know I just started sewing about 4 months ago and I had no previous experience, never went sewing school but I was determined to learn. So I brought out my  sewing machine I got on sale over a year ago, did some research online and then watch tons of YouTube videos. In this post I will be sharing a start kit for a beginner and some of my personal tips. I personally believe anyone can sew as long as they have the patience and are willing to learn. I would never had considered a person that is creative and can sew but here I am sewing and actually loving it. Here is a couple things you would need to get started:

  1. Sewing Machine: This is the most important thing, to have in order to sew. I got my Brother XR1355 Computerized Sewing machine (HERE) at my local Costco on sale for about $140 in the summer of 2013. But they are lots of sewing machine brands everywhere including another Brother HERE and Singer HERE. I would advice you to do some research and read reviews online before getting one. Take into consideration the variety of stitch options, ease of threading and bobbin use and so on. 
  2. A Sewing Starter Kit: There are lots of ones in stores like Joann's, Walmart and many more on Amazon.  HERE is a good one that includes a pair of scissors, pin cushion, tape measure, and a seam ripper (which is a sewist's best friend). A sewing starter kits has the basic necessities for sewing plus it's easier and cheaper to get one than to buy all those items separately. 
  3. Threads and Bobbins: These are also very important when it comes to sewing. You cannot sew without a thread or bobbin (a thread storage spool for the under-stitching). Typically your sewing machine should come with about 3 bobbins but you will need to get more the more you sew. You can also find them at any store that sell crafts items and online.
  4. Pins: They are very essential to hold fabrics in place as you make the stitches and even when you are cutting the fabrics. I personally cannot do with my pins when I am cutting and sewing, they help me in making sure my stitches are straight and very neat. 
  5. Sewing Patterns: These were definitely my life saver when I started sewing. One of my biggest issue before I started sewing was how am I supposed to cut the fabric and how do I know my size. That's where the sewing patterns with its instructions came into place. They come in a different styles and a combination of sizes i.e (6-8-10-12) or (14-16-18-20) but it depends on the brand that you buy.  Some of the brands that I use are NewlookSimplicityMccallsButterick and Vogue. You can definitely find them online and in stores like Walmart, Joann's Art and Fabric Store, Hobby Lobby and Hancock stores. At first you might think that they are pricey but they are not if you shop wisely. Walmart has the cheapest Newlook patterns for the price of $2.97 and Joann's regularly have pattern sales. For example this past weekend, Joann's had Simplicity patterns for $0.99 (regular prices start at about $11) and I was able to stock up on the ones on my wishlist. Also if you are a beginner I would advice you to start with Newlook patterns, they are easy to sew and their instructions are very clear and easy to understand.
Some more tips:

  • If you can afford it, get a Serger/Overlock Machine for finishing up the seam ends of pieces that you sew.  Currently I do not have one but my sewing machine has some overlock stitches that I use the finish the seam ends and prevent the hems from fraying. But HERE is the one on my wishlist and I am hoping to get it before next year and as I soon as I finish saving up for it.
  • Start sewing with fabrics like Cotton and Polyester blends that are easy to cut and sew until you are more experiences. Stay away from stretch fabrics like knits and ponte, chiffon and even satin until you feel like you can handle it. I started sewing with a cotton (see post HERE) and then I used ankara wax fabrics which are 100% cotton as well. Till date I have not used any stretch fabric but I have worked with chiffons, satin and brocades but they were very difficult to work with and I had to be careful.
  • Note that the sewing pattern sizes are totally different from your regular retail sizes. To know you pattern size, you need to measure your bust, waist and hips and then compare it to the size chart at the back of the pattern. The pattern sizes are typically a 2-3 sizes smaller than your regular retail size. I normally wear a size 8 in all my retail clothes but after measuring myself my pattern size is typically a size 12 or sometimes a size 14 since I have a bigger bust.  So definitely measure yourself or get someone to do it before cutting up a pattern and sewing.
  • If you can afford to take a sewing class, do it! But all I did was research online and watched lots of Youtube videos. Some of my favorite channels are MimiG.Cheapbutchic1 and ProfessorPincushion. I made my first DIY using this tutorial HERE by Cheapbutchic1. Mimi G. has lots of sewalong tutorials as well. Professor Pincushion has lots of videos on basic sewing skills like putting in a zipper, making pleats, gathering, and so on.
I hope this post have answered some of your questions if not all and has helped in a way or 2 on how to start sewing. I am in no way an expert yet and I am still learning everyday but I just wanted to share some of the things that helped me when I started sewing. I will also be doing some tutorial posts (not videos yet) on basic items like how to sew a gather maxi skirt which would be the first one. And from now on I will be doing sewing pattern reviews with my DIYs as well. Feel free to ask any questions below or shoot me an email at if you have any question and I will definitely be happy to reply. Have a wonderful day!

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