Reader Tips for Learning to Sew

When I held my Blogiversary giveaway last month, I asked readers to comment with their best advice for someone who is just learning to sew. You guys had such great responses! I’ve been meaning to put them all into a post, and here it finally is. Thank you all for your excellent advice!

(Note: I tried to link everyone to their blog or website if it was listed. If I linked you incorrectly, or if you would like your advice excluded from this post, just let me know and I’ll fix it!)

Take Your Time….

Erin said: “My advice is to be patient, everyone makes mistakes!”

Tina said: “Let’s see… the best advice I ever received was “sew slow”… resist the urge to put the proverbial and literal pedal to the metal and whiz through things. Take the time to measure accurately, find the grain, trace the patterns, make adjustments to said patterns, etc. It’s not a race!”

Melissa said: “My best advice would be to slow down! Take your time with all the steps. Your finished product will look so much better!”

Kat said: “My best advice to a new sewer is when you start to fell yourself getting stressed walk away, have a cup of tea, read a few pages of a book and relax. Once you are feeling in a better head space go back, read through the instructions and start again. Stress is the biggest destroyer of sewing projects! Once you start to freak out if you keep going things will no doubt just get worse. Sometimes a 5 minute break can work wonders when learning a new skill.”

Start Simple…

Kendra said: “My best advice to new sewer is that you need to be prepared for the fact that it takes time to become proficient. Your first attempts may not always turn out. Learn from your mistakes and soon you will be turning out masterpieces!”

Nay said: “My tip for a newbie sewist is to start simple, use a beginner’s skirt pattern (is there anything easier than a skirt?) and a medium weight cotton to get the hang of things.”

Nicole said: “Best sewing advice — Start with something simple so that you are able to feel successful and will keep going. Do not start out your sewing adventure by making a complicated gown. Also, thrift stores are a great place to find inexpensive and/or vintage fabrics. Sheets make great muslins!”

Get Inspired…

Nicole said: “I’m still starting out with my sewing (maybe an advanced beginner?). To me, reading blogs and books has been SO helpful. I finally understand why early projects always looked like tents on me after learning about things like full bust adjustments and how to really choose a pattern size. So my tip would be to read, read, read before/during a project. Reading about princess seams and darts before actually attempting them, for example, made the process so much easier.”

Maude said: “My best advice on learning to sew is to look around on internet. Many sewing blogs show how to do things with great pictures and it’s really helpful!!”

Trollemor said: “My tip is to make something easy and fun, and use sites like Pinterest and blogs for inspiration to find free Pdf patterns!”

Make a Muslin..

Rebecca said: “If in doubt, make a toile using cheaper fabric like calico to be sure for a great fit!! (in order to prevent ruining your gorgeous fabric)”

Julianne said: The advice I most often share is to not be afraid to make mistakes. In the beginning, you should focus on building your mojo and confidence, which doesn’t always mean you’re constructing garments ‘the right way.’ This is facilitated by working with cheap fabrics, because if you mess up with $2/yd jersey then at least you’re not bankrupting yourself. Experiment!

Scared Stitchless said: “My two best tips are to press everything as you sew and always, ALWAYS make a muslin”

Elena Knits said: “Always make a muslin :)”

Try, Try Again…

Fridica said: “Actually, I’m just learning to sew myself 🙂 My best advice: don’t be scared to try :)”

Mariela said: “The one piece of advice my mom told me and I’ve told my sister is: Don’t be afraid to undo your progress. It may be frustrating but you will learn what you did wrong and learn to correct it.”

Chrichri said: “My best advice to a new sewer is: sleep on it 😉 which ever fault or little detail you messed up, relax, think about it, even sleep on it, before putting your project in the bin or ripping out the seams. Don’t sweat the small stuff, you’re probably the only one who notices that crooked seam. Be patient and you’ll gradually become a great sewer.”

Know Your Machine…

Lucia said: “I’m a newbie too and from my first sewing experience, all you have to do is get to know your sewing machine (ex: machine parts)”

Accept Imperfection…

Lilly said: “I don’t really have any advice that hasn’t already been said, but I agree on taking your time on things and learning to accept (and maybe even love) your mistakes. I love to quote the owner of my local fabric store, who is always talking about her “happily imperfect” projects! My stuff is always “happily imperfect! Oh and having a space, like a sewing room or area of the house, where you can leave stuff out is also nice. That way it’s easier to just work in small spurts when you have time.”

I totally agree with all of these tips! When I first started sewing, I was really impatient. I cut a lot of corners just because I wanted to be finished. As I’ve gotten more experienced, I’ve realized the value of slowing down and doing things right the first time.

I would also add to have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment. If it doesn’t work, at least you’ll learn something!

Do you have any other great tips to add? Leave ’em in the comments!