Can I Teach Myself To Sew?


Sewing is a skill that can be learnt, just like any other. If you have been thinking about learning to sew, you may be wondering whether or not it is something that you can teach yourself, or perhaps you should invest in some form of extra education to be good at it.

There is no simple answer to this. Some people can teach themselves to sew while others can’t. It’s all about having the desire, discipline, and self-drive to learn everything you can about sewing.  If you can do this, then yes, it is possible to teach yourself to sew.

A lot of people are intimidated by the idea of sewing. It seems like an alien skill to them that is impossible to learn. Most of them are interested in learning how to do it, but they never take the first step to actually start learning, so they never learn how to sew.

This article will act as a concise guide in how to teach yourself how to sew. It is important to know where to start: having the right tools and the right attitude towards sewing is the first step. Everyone had to start from the bottom at some point, no matter how good their work is now. It is really important that you do not get intimidated by the works of people who have mastered their sewing skills for years. Sewing is all about the freedom and joy that comes from making masterpieces of your own, no matter what anyone else thinks about them. It’s about enjoying the process of creating something unique despite your skill level.

Where to start

The first thing you’ll need to do is get some supplies. Here are some of the things you absolutely must have:

  • A sewing machine: Get yourself a sewing machine if you don’t have one. Go for something basic that has all the features you need. Keep it simple. You don’t have to buy a new sewing machine either. You can pick one up second-hand from a friend, a yard sale or even thrift shops.
  • Sewing thread: Start your thread collection with a few choice colors that will go well with anything you’ll be sewing. Don’t get anything too expensive; the most basic options will still serve you well.
  • Rotary cutter and measuring board: These are used to effectively measure and cut your fabric.
  • Fabric scissors: This will help you cut all your fabrics with ease.
  • Sewing basket: This is what you’ll use to store all your sewing materials. These come in a variety of styles and sizes. Get one that works for you.
  • Seam ripper: This will save you lots of time when you inevitably make mistakes.
  • Measuring tape: Any kind will do, but you can get as fancy as you want with them. They are quite cheap.
  • Pin cushion: They come in many different sizes and patterns.
  • Chalk pencils: You’ll need these for effective marking and measuring of your fabric.
  • Fabric: When starting out, there is no need to buy fabric. Just use an old curtain, bedsheet or whatever’s available. You will earn the right to buy good quality fabric when you have a command of the basic techniques of sewing.

When you finally have the supplies you need, the first thing you need to do to get started is to learn a few basic sewing skills like hand stitching. Even though you will be using a sewing machine, hand stitching will help you to fill the gaps especially if you have a base model sewing machine that does not have all the features and functions you’ll need. Some of the most important skills to learn here would be the basic techniques like a blanket stitch, running stitch, ladder stitch, backstitch, and whipstitch. These are the five most basic stitching patterns anyone interested in sewing has to know.

Get To Know Your Sewing Machine

A sewing machine can be a rather intimidating thing for a beginner. All the buttons and settings can frustrate you really fast. This is why it is really important to take your time to know the machine you’ll be using probably for the next few years.

Each sewing machine is a little bit different from the next one. So it’s best to start with the instruction manual. Learn the functions of the different buttons and settings of your machine to start getting comfortable with it. If you are using the most basic machine, there shouldn’t be that many settings to overwhelm you in the first place.

Keep things casual as you do this. The first thing you want to learn on any sewing machine is how to thread it. Fortunately, this is always really easy to do and after two to three practice runs, you’ll have gotten the hang of it.

Learning How To Sew

Before you can finally start learning how to sew, you need to have a good understanding of how to thread your machine, some of the basic hand-stitching techniques and how to use all the supplies you got earlier.

The best way to teach yourself how to sew is to harness the power of the internet and learn at your own pace. There are lots of free sewing lessons online that will walk you through this crucial stage in your sewing career. These lessons feature easy-to-understand projects you’ll work on to help you to learn as you go.

You can also try a combination of online and offline classes at local shops that offer sewing classes. The more sources you learn from, the quicker you will learn.

The most important thing to remember here is that slow and steady wins the race. Don’t expect perfection from the start. You’ll make lots of mistakes, but as long as you keep practicing, you’re going to keep getting better. 

Sewing Projects For Beginners

Chances are that before you even knew how to thread your sewing machine, you already had a list of what you wanted to make. Once you actually start learning how to sew, a lot of these things will look pretty complex. You need to elevate your skills from your current beginner level to a place where you can finally start working on the things you have always wanted to make. The best way to do this is by starting with the most basic projects that will allow you to learn all the important skills.

For a complete beginner, straight lines are the best place to start because they are the easiest to do. Once you have mastered this, you can advance to simple patterns that do not too many frills and embellishments.

Next, you can now start making a few random household items. These are usually the easiest projects to start on. Start with items like pillowcases, blankets or even burp cloths. Do not attempt to make clothes when you are a complete beginner to sewing as they are relatively difficult to make and can be rather frustrating if you do not know what you are doing. 

Where Do You Get Projects Like These?

Start your search for beginner projects on Pinterest. It has lots of easy beginner sewing projects that you can do quickly and move on to the next one.

Take your time with each project. When you feel confident about your sewing skills on one project, you can then move on to a slightly harder, more challenging one. Remember, you are learning at your own pace so do what works for you.

Taking Things To The Next Level

As you keep progressing, try to make things increasingly harder for yourself. Do not be afraid to try new skills like quilting and crocheting just because you think they are hard. You want to enjoy the learning process, make mistakes and laugh at them. Sewing is, above all else, about having fun. 

Is Learning to Sew Worth It?

Learning to sew is definitely worth it. When you finally learn to sew, you can begin to bring all your ideas to life. Nothing beats manifesting the ideas you have in your mind into a real world creation.

Sewing also has other benefits like:

  • Allowing you to make money from your hobbies. You can turn sewing into a lucrative money-making opportunity in a lot of different ways.
  • Helping you to save money. Why pay for items like pillows and curtains when you can make them for close to nothing? There is also the added benefit of knowing how to mend your clothes for free. 
  • It is great for stress management. Sewing helps to keep you focused and calm especially when you focus on the project at hand.
  • Giving you the opportunity to get creative. Every time you come up with a new idea, you make your brain cells work to come up with something fresh. The more times you do this, the better you become at it.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to the internet, teaching yourself to sew is now easier than ever. If you are a complete beginner, it will take you anywhere from 6 – 9 months to get really good at it. However, it might take years more to achieve that level of mastery that you’ve always dreamt of. Whatever your goals are, they are totally achievable as long as you put your mind to it. So take the first step and start today, will you?

Melanie Asiba

Melanie is an author. She enjoys traveling, reading and trying out new things. In addition to writing for Apartment ABC. Connect with her at [email protected]

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