Sewing can be an enjoyable hobby for those that have a crafting background. Although it is related to other crafting hobbies, and you’ve probably used a beginner sewing machine at least a few times before, it can be an entirely different world to make your own apparel. To help you choose your first pattern wisely, here are some tips to give you a better chance at making this hobby something you’ll stick with.
- Stick with your skill level
Many crafters start out with some very ill-fitting garments that they’ve sewn and decide to quit altogether. Just like with anything you need to stick with it a little longer to give yourself time to fine tune your skills. The worst mistake that beginning seamstresses make is attempting a first project that is beyond their skill level. Even if the idea of starting out by sewing some pillow cases seems ridiculous it can help you to get a feel for the machine you are working with. Don’t attempt a notched suit jacket at first; you will need to work your way up to it.
Even if a pattern states it is ‘easy,’ you should consider a few things. Look at the back of the pattern packet and glance at the potential number of seams required to complete the project. If it looks like there are a lot of shaping seams, avoid this pattern. Easy apparel options include simple A-line short skirts or accessories like a tote bag. Don’t begin with pants, button down shirts, knit material dresses, or the like. You will find that you can easily go over your head and lose the excitement of sewing before you start.
Another way to know whether your pattern is beginner friendly is by looking at the list of notions. Notions are other items besides fabric that you will need to complete your project (e.g. thread, seam binding, etc.). You will do best to avoid patterns that require a line of buttons (one button is okay, but only if you have a good basic pattern), invisible zippers, and other types of notions that require changing the presser foot in the middle of the project. It takes a little while to get used to using different presser foots, so keep it simple. You can find the list of notions on the back of the pattern packet; it will be listed somewhere near the top for whatever view you want to do.
All fabrics are not created equal. Some are thick, some are fuzzy, some are slippery, and some are just perfect for beginners. The more ‘perfect’ beginner fabrics include 100 percent cotton or cotton polyester blends. These do shrink a little (remember to wash all fabrics before using), but they are lightweight, sturdy, and easy to work with. A great beginner sewing pattern will list either of these options in the suggested fabric section on the back of the pattern packet. Even though you can sometimes use different fabrics than those suggested, you are running a big risk; each pattern is designed using certain fabrics because they fit and flow correctly on the body.
- Choose a pattern that will look good
Another rule of thumb that is important to keep in mind while hunting down your perfect beginner sewing pattern, is to only choose a style that will look good. If you don’t like short skirts because of your huge calves, than don’t pick a short skirt pattern. Likewise, if the design of the pattern is something you know you don’t look good in, don’t choose the pattern. You are setting yourself up for failure if you override your logic on this issue.
Without a doubt sewing can be a great hobby and a money saver too. For your beginner’s sewing pattern, keep these tips in mind and you’ll be more likely not to hide your sewing machine away in the garage for another 10 years.