Getting Started with Sewing

Confession: I don’t know how to sew. I received a sewing machine as a gift for my birthday last month, and I’m still learning how to use it. I’m excited to learn how! Luckily, I have Laura from Sewing Makes Me Happy here to give you a beginner’s guide to sewing. If you’re just getting started with sewing, this post is for you!


Learning to sew when you are an adult may be intimidating, but it is a great way to enrich your mind. It’s been shown to help your improve your focus and ward off memory loss.

So you want to start sewing, but don’t know where to begin? Don’t worry, everyone has to start somewhere, and you’ve come to the right place to learn the basics of what you need, and how to get started.

getting started with sewing


Now before we get started on sewing, we must make sure that you have the proper equipment. The great thing is that you can normally get most of these items as hand-me-downs. Sewing people are very generous people and love to help others get started.

Sewing Box

A sewing box is very helpful for carrying all your equipment in; making sure it’s in one place. If you don’t have the means to get a real sewing box, an old shoe box can work in a pinch.

Sewing Machine

A really good sewing machine can run expensive, but if you’re going to be doing multiple projects, or get really into sewing, it is essential. There are plenty of models out there – so many that it can get overwhelming. Don’t worry go with a basic model like the Brother XM2701, which is great for the beginner. And, you can also find it for under $100 most of the time. Here is a great guide for beginners looking to buy a sewing machine.


Sewing needles run in a variety of size and sharpness. Make sure you have the right sizes and the right types for your entire project needs.

Pins and a Cushion

Along with needles you’ll need straight pins to keep the fabrics in place. Pin cushions, especially the kind that have a wrist wrap, are important because you’ll want to keep all your pins and even your needles in one place.

getting started with sewing


Fabric scissors should only be used on fabric, and kept sharp for clean cuts. Dull scissors means more mistakes and a greater chance for getting cut.

Tape Measure and Grid Ruler

A soft tape measure is useful for accurately measuring fabrics; a regular hardware store tape measure will not work in this case. A grid ruler is for those moments when you want to make sure that all your lines are lining up.


Thimbles are put on your thumb, to help you push the needle through the fabric. This way the needle constantly poking it doesn’t hurt your thumb.

Safety Pins

Safety pins are for those moments where you need to keep the fabric together, and straight pins just aren’t cutting it.


And last but not least, the thread. No sewing is possible without thread, and with so many different colors and sizes, you’ll want to do some shopping around to find the right thread for your project.


Now that you have all your equipment, what are you going to do with it? One project that is moderately simple is the pillowcase.

getting started with sewing

Pillow Case

One of the easiest ways to make a pillow case is with the burrito style. Finding instructions or even videos online is easy to do now, and most of them are quite simple to follow.

For this style, it’s suggested that you use multiple types of fabric, to give the pillowcase a bit more color. Don’t forget to make the case a little bit bigger than the pillow, that way when you put the pillow into the case, you won’t be fighting with it the whole time.

And also as with any project, make sure to turn the fabric inside out when sewing. That way the seams are on the inside and the outside looks neat and tidy.


Much like the pillowcases, scarves have many tutorials online, and with good reason. With so many different types of scarves, it’s important to know what type you want to make before you look up how to sew it.

An infinity scarf is going to be made differently than a scarf with a fringe. If you’re making a scarf with a patterned fabric, it’s best to keep with a simple design.

Don’t get too crazy with the texture of the scarf, let the fabric speak for itself. The same can go the other way; if the fabric is more simple, then it’s okay to go a little out their with the design. Look at what feels right for the fabric and go from there.


Learning how to sew is actually more important for adults than most people realize. From patching up clothes to crating your own, sewing is a skill that is irreplaceable. But as with everything, it is important to start with the basics, before taking on huge projects.

Laura Brooks blogs at and helps spread the word about sewing. Sewing has been a positive influence on Laura’s life and she wants the same for others. Follow along with her as she blogs about the massive benefits of sewing, including sewing psychology.

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