When it comes to kick-starting those good intentions, February is the new January. And if your New Year’s Resolution was to get on that sewing machine and learn to ride it like a bicycle, we’re here for you!
Learning to sew is scary. There are needles and sharp scissors and three-dimensional object work and more maths than anyone is expecting. To the uninitiated eye, it can seem hopelessly intimidating. Be not afraid, however. Once you hit your stride, you’ll realise it’s all just stabbing and knots and there’s nothing you can’t undo with your trusty seam ripper beside you. You just need to build up a bit of momentum in order to make the leap.
For those committed to undertaking this daring endeavour, we’ve put together some resources to help you transition from ultimate beginner to confident beginner or even, deep breath, an intermediate sewist! So, if you don’t have a clue and are looking to sew, pick any (or many) of these options and stay the course to ultimate sewing success!
TAKE A COURSE
If you want to learn to sew, there is always the great option of finding a class where a teacher will teach you what you need to know. Pretty route one, but interpersonal pedagogy is a classic for a reason. Check to see if your local sewing or fabric store offers classes (like Weft and Warp or Gardams do), as well as community centres like libraries (shoutout to our local – SLQ). You can also try online courses like…
MODULAR ME by Ministry of Handmade
Created by Julie Hillier, an experienced sewing teacher with decades of experience, Modular Me is designed to help people learn to sew – step by step, technique by technique – building confidence and skills along the way. Based on a simple pattern block that becomes the foundation of a multitude of different garments, Modular Me’s sewing system teaches you how to modify the pattern via a series of creative sewing modules that include easy-to-read patterns, comprehensive instructions and video tutorials. A fun and rewarding starting point for a felicitous sewing journey.
Topstitch Makers is an online sewing course that doubles as a creative community – helping you find connection and engagement with other sewists as you learn. With virtual, instructor-guided sewing sessions, pattern sew-alongs, live talks and sewcial sessions, Topstitch combines the dissemination of information with accountability and support to keep the momentum of your sewing development barreling forwards. A great choice if you suspect yourself to be a Stitch ’n Bitch, Sip ’n Sew or gab-with-the-gals type sewist!
READ A BOOK
Books are another great way of imparting information on account of the fact that the facts stay still and you can flip back and forward between them. There are many, many books out there written to shepherd the prospective sewist but a couple of our favourites are…
Sew It Yourself with DIY Daisy
DIY Daisy’s book makes for an excellent introduction to sewing, filled with easy-to-understand instructions and projects that are simple enough to make, but desirable enough that you actually want to make them. Daisy uses measurement-based templates rather than traditional sewing patterns – a less intimidating and more intuitive introduction to sewing garments which helps develop a deeper understanding of how shapes fit together when sewing.
You Will Be Able to Sew Your Own Clothes by the End of This Book by Juliet Uzor
The name of this book makes some pretty big promises and those who remember Juliet Uzor’s star turn on the fifth season of The Great British Sewing Bee will trust her to deliver with absolute aplomb. Beginning with core skills like accurate measuring, sewing machine use and how to follow patterns, the book then guides you through 15 sewing projects, building in complexity to build your confidence – with special sections on upcycling vintage and thrifted clothes to create gorgeous, unique items.
SURF THE WEB
An incredible array of patternmakers offer sew-alongs – digital series where they go through the construction of their patterns with more detailed information about the techniques involved, in a step-by-step virtual sewing experience. Others offer all kinds of tutorials and tips to help starter sewists in general. Checking out patternmakers’ websites can be a great way to learn from a specific pattern or simply about the garments you’d like to make in the future. Some patternmaker pals whose sew-alongs we heart are…
WATCH THE TUBE
There is no skill in the universe, no matter how arcane or obscure, that you can’t find a tutorial on YouTube about. Sewing is no exception. If you are stymied by any specific technique, you can search and find a video by a kindly, middle-aged American woman – with less than 1000 views – walking you through exactly what you need to do with the expertise of an ancient master. For channels with more general learning content, here are a few we enjoy…
PLAY WITH PATTERNS
You can intake all the information in the world, but eventually, you’ve got to sit down and start sewing. A great way to beat the nerves (and save some cash; sewing ain’t exactly the cheapest hobby) would be to pick a nice, easy and free pattern to start with. We can reliably inform you that Peppermint has a huge selection of free, beginner-friendly patterns right here – and they’re super cute if we do say so ourselves. Happy sewing friends, get to it!