Gone are the days when everyone was taught how to sew in their home economics class. For that matter, gone are the days when everyone was expected to stitch together their own clothes at home. Which is maybe a relief to some? But still, sewing can be an enjoyable hobby, a way to flex one’s creative muscles, or even just a means of unwinding and reducing stress and anxiety.
If you’ve been thinking about starting a sewing habit but don’t know where to begin, we’re here to help. Here’s everything you need to know about starting to sew, including a list of the supplies you’ll need, resources to help you learn, and tips on overcoming a few common challenges.
Basic Supplies You Need
Starting a sewing hobby requires that you have some essential supplies. You’ll need—at the least— a sewing machine, measuring tools (tape, ruler, etc.), pins, scissors, marking tools (such as a tracing wheel or erasable marker), needles and threaders and, of course, thread.
How To Learn
There are a number of ways you can learn to sew. If you’d like to take a class, fabric stores like Joann’s offer a number of intro sewing classes. As you get more advanced, you can take classes tailored to specific skills, like sewing zippers. You can also check your local community colleges for classes, or look for other private sewing classes in your area.
If you prefer to learn sewing on your own, there are many online tutorials. Blogs like Tilly and the Buttons offer tutorials on a number of sewing topics. Craftsy also offers online sewing classes that many beginners have found useful, some of which are free and some of which come with a fee. Skillshare has a fair share of sewing lessons, too, that can help you kick-start your new hobby.
Using A Sewing Machine
Your biggest expense will probably be your sewing machine. Before you stress about the cost, however, know that there are a number of ways you can get your hands on a sewing machine inexpensively. Check out these sewing machines suited for beginners, which range from $75 to $175. You can also check sites like Craigslist for used sewing machines that are in good condition.
If you don’t want to purchase your own sewing machine, you can also consider renting one out. Many sewing centers offer rentals for the day, which can be handy in the beginning when you’re just learning and haven’t formed a frequent habit.
Challenges You Might Run Into
Any time you learn a new skill, there are some initial challenges you inevitably run into. But don’t let these discourage you, as they can easily be overcome. Here are a few challenges you might face, and how to avoid them:
Your Thread Is Bunching
It’s not uncommon to find that your thread is bunching under the fabric. This often happens because there isn’t enough tension on the upper thread. To solve this, re-thread the top thread, making sure your presser foot is raised. Then, raise the take-up lever and needle to the highest position according to your machine’s manual, which will help create the right tension.
Your Needle Keeps Breaking
Choosing the right needle is an important part of sewing. First, make sure your needle is straight and not bent, which can lead to breakage. You also want to make sure your needle is the right size. Needles range from size 8 to 18, and the smaller the size, the finer the needle. Finer needles work better for fabrics such as silk, while larger needles are best for flannels and synthetic suede.
Your Stitching Is Uneven
No one wants their creations to have uneven stitching. First, make sure your needle isn’t broken or damaged. Second, make sure your tension is set right. Third, be careful to thread your bobbin correctly. If these don’t help, pay attention to how you’re handling the fabric when feeding it through the machine. Avoid pulling it, and instead work with the machine instead of forcing it.
Sewing can be a stress-relieving, creative outlet once you get the hang of it.