What Are a Few Things That Beginners Should Know When Learning to Sew?

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Answered by: Megan, An Expert in the Sewing - General Category
Learning to sew is not as hard as some people may think it is. One aspect of sewing that sometimes seems overwhelming to beginners when they are first starting out is picking the right sewing machine.

There are so many different types of sewing machines on the market today it's no wonder choosing one is such an overwhelming experience. There are the basic sewing machines, which is what a beginner needs, and then there are more advanced sewing machines with all sorts of bells and whistles such as embroidery machines and quilting machines. All you need as a beginner is a sewing machine that will allow you to do three or four basic stitches.

Once you have chosen your sewing machine, you should read through the instruction manual carefully. Most sewing machine manuals give step-by-step instructions on how to thread the machine, how to change out the bobbin, how to replace the needle, and how to do a few basic stitches. Some manuals may even go into a bit more detail than others but generally, the manual will be easy to follow and understand. After you have read through the manual, you should practice using the sewing machine.

Old clothing, towels and table cloths make good materials to practice with. You should pick a comfortable speed on the sewing machine and then practice making a few straight stitches. There will be a setting somewhere on the sewing machine that will allow you to adjust the type of stitch as well as the length of the stitches.

When you are comfortable making straight stitches, you should begin to play around with the different settings. You should try other types of stitches such as the zig-zag stitch, which is usually found on most basic sewing machines. You should also try sewing in reverse, which is also called back-stitching. Back-stitching comes in handy when you start or end a stitch because it locks the thread in place so it won't come undone later and cause your project to fall apart.

When you feel comfortable enough to begin sewing an actual project, you should pick something simple and beginner-friendly. There are many instruction books for beginners that have easy, step-by-step instructions on how to complete different types of beginner-friendly projects. The internet is another good source for finding easy projects for people just learning to sew. Curtains, table cloths, table runners, and scarves are all projects which are simple enough for a beginner to successfully complete. They each involve using straight stitches and back-stitching, and there isn't a whole lot of measuring and cutting to do on the material.

Beginners are going to make mistakes. It is part of the learning process, and it is why the seam ripper was invented. In many cases, the mistakes that are made will only be noticeable to you as the beginner and only because it was you who made the mistake. Chances are someone else isn't going to notice if the stitching is a little crooked or if the seam is wider on one side than it is on the other. Those are the things that will make each one of those projects that much more special, and it will allow you to do better on the next one.

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