Hi, I'm Alison, and I make stuff. I Could Make That is a log of my crafty life. Welcome!

A reader emailed me and asked, “Any tips for how to get started into sewing?” I thought about it, and decided a roundup of links to beginner-friendly sewing projects and techniques would be the best thing I could contribute. I’m not much of a teacher, but I can assemble some tutorials for sure!

These links assume that you own a sewing machine, that you’ve threaded it, and that you’re aware that to use the machine, you put the fabric under the foot and press down on the pedal. A sewing-machine manual should help you with all of that. For definitions of basic sewing terms, this Wikipedia article is surprisingly thorough.

If you’ve got the machine threaded and know how it works, the first thing you should do is put some scrap fabric under the presser foot and practice a bunch of straight stitches. Play around with stitch length, thread tension, etc., until you’re at least a little comfortable with the thing.

Now. One beginner’s ideal sewing project is not the same as another beginner’s ideal sewing project, so you can pick through this list according to your interests and what you want to learn.

Techniques & Basics:

Sewing Tools & Supplies

Seam Finishes

Hoppo Bumpo’s Hem Tutorials (her seam tutorials are good, too!)

Patterns Demystified

Bags, Pouches, etc:

Simple Tote Bag

Jordy Bag: I made a ton of these when I first started sewing—they’re easy to make but come out sturdy and beautiful! Even now when I draft my own patterns for bags, they’re all variations of the Jordy. All you need to master is a straight stitch.

Wristlet: This tutorial is good if you’d like to try sewing a zipper.

Front Zippered Pouch

Drawstring Pouch: pretty self-explanatory. Again, just a straight stitch, though on this one you should finish your seams somehow so they won’t fray.

Home Dec:

Molly’s Handmade Napkins: great if you want to learn more about bias binding. Or try these napkins if you want to learn about mitered corners instead.

Criss-Cross Coasters

Oilcloth Storage Bin: This is a good starter project for oilcloth.

Stuffed Hearts: intro to softies!

Envelope Pillowcase

Sewing Machine Cover: make your sewing machine look pretty when you’re not using it!

Clothing & Accessories

Kids’ Patchwork Scarf: A good intro to patchwork. You could make this for grownups, too.

Felt Barrettes: want to try sewing something small? Here you go.

Flirting the Issue Skirt: shirring! Yay!

Summer Scarf: More shirring, yay! Or gathering, also yay.

Do you guys have any fave projects for beginners? If so, leave them in the comments!

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