Beginner Sewing Tips: Starting Your First Project
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


  1. Choose the right sewing machine
  2. Pick a simple pattern
  3. Buy quality materials
  4. Learn basic sewing terms
  5. Practice your stitches
  6. Start your first project

Let's dive right into the world of needlework together! If you're a beginner looking for sewing tips to kickstart your creative journey, you're in the right place. This blog post will guide you through the basics of getting started with sewing projects. From choosing the right machine to picking a simple pattern, we'll cover all the essential steps to make your first sewing project a success.

Choose the right sewing machine

It's like choosing a new friend; your sewing machine is going to be your companion on this creative adventure. But don't let the plethora of options overwhelm you. Here's a friendly guide to help you make an informed decision.

Understand your needs

Before you hop on the 'buy' button, take a moment to understand your sewing needs. Are you planning to sew simple garments or are you going to explore complex quilting? A basic model, like the Singer Start 1304, is perfect for beginners who want to sew simple items. But if you're planning to dive into more complex projects, you might want to consider a more advanced machine.

Check the features

  • Stitch Variety: Even for beginners, a machine with a good variety of stitches can be handy. Look for a machine that offers basic stitches like straight stitch, zigzag stitch and a buttonhole stitch.
  • Speed Control: As a beginner, you might want to start slow. A machine with adjustable speed control can be a lifesaver.
  • Easy Threading: Threading the machine can be a bit tricky. Some machines come with an automatic needle threader – a feature that can save you plenty of time and frustration.

Set a budget

Just like any other hobby, sewing can be as budget-friendly or as expensive as you want it to be. Set a realistic budget for your machine. You can find a decent beginner machine for under $200. Remember, expensive doesn't always mean better, especially when you're just starting out.

Read reviews

Last but not least, don't forget to check the reviews. To get a real sense of what it's like to use the machine, read what other users have to say. Keep in mind that a machine that works great for one person might not be the best fit for you.

Armed with these sewing tips for beginners, you're now ready to pick your first sewing machine. Remember, it's not about getting the most expensive machine, but the one that best suits your needs and budget. Happy sewing!

Pick a simple pattern

With your sewing machine now sorted, it's time to pick a pattern. I know, I know, there are so many patterns out there, and they all look so beautiful. But remember, we're starting simple. Here are some tips to help you choose your first sewing pattern.

Start with beginner-friendly patterns

Look for patterns labeled 'beginner' or 'easy.' These patterns usually have fewer pieces and simple construction techniques. They're a great way for you to learn the basics without becoming overwhelmed. Patterns like the Tilly and the Buttons' Bettine Dress or the Sew Over It's Shift Dress are great starting points.

Understand pattern symbols

It's like learning a new language. Each pattern comes with its set of symbols - these symbols tell you where to cut, where to sew, where to fold, and much more. Take some time to familiarize yourself with these sewing terms before you start cutting and stitching.

Read the instructions thoroughly

Before you make your first cut, read the pattern instructions from start to finish. It will give you a better understanding of the process and help you avoid common pitfalls. Remember, sewing is as much about patience as it is about skill.

Choose the right size

One common mistake beginners make is choosing the pattern size based on ready-to-wear sizes. Remember, pattern sizes are different. Always refer to the body measurement chart provided with the pattern to choose your size.

Picking a simple pattern is one of the key sewing tips for beginners. It allows you to focus on learning the basics without getting overwhelmed by complex designs. And remember, it's okay to make mistakes. That's how you learn. So, ready to start your first sewing project?

Buy quality materials

Now that you've chosen your pattern, it's time to gather your materials. This is where the fun begins! Walking into a fabric store can feel like stepping into a candy shop. But remember, we're here with a mission. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when buying materials for your first sewing project.

Choose the right fabric

Not all fabrics are created equal. Some are easy to sew, like cotton or linen, while others, like silk or rayon, can be quite tricky. As a beginner, it's best to start with easy-to-sew fabrics. Also, remember to check the fabric recommendations on your pattern. They are there for a reason.

Invest in good quality thread

When it comes to thread, don't skimp on quality. Using a good quality thread can make a world of difference in your sewing experience. It reduces thread breaks, thread jams, and gives a cleaner finish to your project. Brands like Gutermann or Mettler are reliable choices.

Don't forget the notions

Notions are all the other little things you need to complete your project - things like zippers, buttons, interfacing, or elastic. Check your pattern for a list of required notions before you head to the store.

Get enough fabric

Always buy a little extra fabric than what the pattern calls for. This gives you room for error and allows for shrinkage if you plan to pre-wash your fabric (which you should).

Buying quality materials is a key step in starting your first sewing project. It not only makes the sewing process easier but also results in a better finished project. Remember, good quality doesn't always mean expensive. With a bit of research and smart shopping, you can find quality materials that don't break the bank. So, are you ready to start your shopping trip?

Learn basic sewing terms

So, you've got your sewing machine and your materials. You're all set, right? Well, almost. Before you dive into your first project, there's some lingo you need to get familiar with. Yes, sewing has its own language! But don't worry. I'll guide you through the basics.

Seam Allowance

Think of this as the space between the edge of the fabric and the line where you sew. Many patterns include a seam allowance in their measurements. It's important to stick to this because it affects the fit of your finished piece.


This is a technique used to secure the start and end of your stitching. You simply sew a few stitches forward, then a few stitches backward. Doing this prevents your stitching from unraveling — a handy trick to know, wouldn't you agree?


Basting is essentially tacking fabric together with long, loose stitches to hold it in place before you sew the final seam. It's especially useful when dealing with slippery or tricky fabrics.


The grain refers to the direction of the threads in the fabric. Threads can run lengthwise (these are known as warp threads) or crosswise (weft threads). Cutting your fabric along the grain is critical for the drape and fit of your finished project.

Just like any new hobby, sewing comes with a bit of a learning curve. But once you get the hang of the basics, you'll be speaking the language of sewing in no time. So, are you ready to add 'seamstress' or 'tailor' to your list of skills?

Practice your stitches

Now that you're familiar with the lingo, it's time to get hands-on. Practicing your stitches is a pivotal part of your sewing journey. Like any other skill, practice makes perfect — or at least, makes things a lot easier!

Running Stitch

Let's start simple. The running stitch is the most basic type of stitch. It's essentially a straight line of stitches that you can do by hand or with your machine. This stitch is perfect for seams and hems, as it's straightforward and sturdy.


Remember this term from our glossary? Backstitch isn't just a term, it's a stitch too! It's great for securing the ends of your seam. To do a backstitch, you sew forward, then reverse and sew back over the same stitches. This way, your work won't come undone.

Zigzag Stitch

This stitch does exactly what its name suggests — it zigzags! This stitch is useful for preventing fraying at the edges of your fabric. It's also great for sewing stretch fabrics, as it allows the seam to stretch with the fabric.

Buttonhole Stitch

This one might seem a little advanced, but it's good to know. The buttonhole stitch is used to create a neat and durable edge around a buttonhole. This stitch might seem tricky at first, but with a bit of practice, you'll have it down in no time.

Practicing these stitches will give you a solid foundation for your sewing journey. Remember, it's okay to make mistakes — they're just learning experiences in disguise. So, are you ready to thread that needle and get stitching?

Start your first project

After you've done your homework—choosing the right sewing machine, picking a simple pattern, buying quality materials, learning the basic sewing terms, and practicing your stitches—it's finally time to start your first sewing project. Breath in, breath out. You've got this.


Before you dive in, let's get some things ready. First, make sure your workspace is clean and organized. This helps to prevent any potential mishaps and keeps your materials in top condition. Start with a clean slate, literally.

Next, gather all your materials. Double-check that you have everything you need. There's nothing worse than getting halfway through a project only to realize you're missing a key component. It's always better to be over-prepared than under.

Choosing Your Project

As a beginner, it's tempting to jump into a complex project right away. But trust me, starting with a simple project can save you a lot of frustration. Think pillowcases, tote bags, or even a basic skirt. These are all great beginner projects that will help you get the hang of sewing without overwhelming you.

Take Your Time

Lastly, but most importantly, take your time. Sewing is not a race. It's about enjoying the process, not just the result. Make sure to take breaks, especially if you're feeling frustrated or tired. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will your sewing skills.

Starting your first sewing project is a big step, but with these sewing tips for beginners, you're well equipped to take it on. So go on, make that first cut, sew that first stitch. Before you know it, you'll be sewing up a storm!

If you're looking to expand your sewing skills after starting your first project, we highly recommend checking out the workshop 'Creative Ways to Use Traditional Hand Embroidery Techniques' by Irem Yazici. This workshop will help you explore the beautiful world of embroidery and add a unique touch to your sewing projects.