Looking for an effective and interactive way of learning how to sew?
There is a lot to be said for the digital revolution. The 21st century - the beginning of a third millennium that opened with the Internet already omnipresent - allows anyone with a connection to the World Wide Web to rediscover a multitude of arts and crafts that had previously been reserved for a small group of elite professionals - or else had fallen into disuse.
Whether it be learning a musical instrument, bookbinding or origami, the Web is full of pages and blogs run by fans dedicated to transmitting their knowledge on amazing expressions of human ingenuity.
Naturally, sewing occupies an important place among the old crafts. Whether you want to become one of the great fashion designers or simply sew adorable clothing for your children (or yourself), the Net is the Holy Grail of learning a new skill.
Small steps lead to big ones: using quality sewing tutorials found on the Web will allow you to progress and hone your skills with ever more complicated sewing projects - and eventually play with the big boys (and girls).
The Best Sewing Books to Look For in Your Local Bookstore
Sewing books don’t always find their way to supermarkets or your local bookstore’s main display: you will usually need to go searching among the shelves or, if need be, have your bookseller order the title you want.
But since choosing a good beginner sewing book blindly is difficult, here are some references to help you transform your home into a sewing workshop using an easy-to-use sewing manual and allow you to gain confidence in your sewing machine:
- Caroline Smith, Sewing for the Absolute Beginner, Search Press Ltd., 2015 This book is just what the title says. In short, simple explanations, it guides you through your first sewing projects.
- Wendy Ward, The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking: Sewing techniques and patterns to make your own clothes, David & Charles, 2014. This is a comprehensive guide that takes you through the whole process step-by-step, from choosing your fabric to understanding patterns - and doesn’t forget the importance of ironing!
- Alison McNicol, How To Use Your Sewing Machine: A Complete Guide For Absolute Beginners, Kyle Craig Publishing, 2013. This book shows you the basic sewing skills you will need to use your sewing machine and includes some easy projects to get you started.
- Jane Bolsover, Sewing Machine Basics: A step-by-step course for first-time stitchers, CICO books, 2010. This book has handy tips on how to sew things such as a bias binding and zippers.
- Jan Saunders Maresh, Sewing for Dummies, Wiley Publishing, 2010
- Lee Hollahan, How to Use, Adapt and Design Sewing Patterns: From Shop-Bought Patterns to Drafting your Own, A & C Black Publishers Ltd., 2010 Teaches you everything you need to know to adapt ready-made patterns to your body and start drafting your own.
- Caroline Fairbanks-Critchfield, Crafty Little Things to Sew: 20 Clever Sewing Projects Using Scraps and Fat Quarters, Lark, 2017
- Emma Hardy: Learn to Sew: 25 quick and easy sewing projects to get you started, CICO Books, 2016
- Emma Hardy, My First Sewing Machine Book: 35 fun and easy projects for children aged 7 years + , CICO Kidz, 2014.
Search for sewing classes London here.
And don’t forget your local newspaper stand: there are several sewing magazines out there with step-by-step instructions in every issue for, say, how to sew a button-down dress or make a tote - such as Sew, Love Sewing, Simply Sewing or Mollie Makes.
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Great Sewing Tutorials on the Web
When learning something new, there is nothing more frustrating than having to feel your way in the dark, not knowing what simple beginner’s mistake has just ruined your entire project.
But now with the Internet we are no longer alone in our endeavours and can profit from other people’s experience without ever having met them.
Sewing blogs and sewing tutorials are not hard to find - just google what you want to know and you will be confronted with a plethora of how to’s. The hard part is choosing the best ones to succeed in you sewing project.
But fear not! We are here to guide you through this labyrinth of sewing sites and free sewing instructions. Note that we will not be covering sites that offer nothing but sewing patterns without any other explanation.
Best Sewing Blogs
There are some excellent sewing blogs out there, a small selection of which are:
- Sunny Gal Studio makes casual wear and gives you tips on how to improve your sewing.
- Sigrid’s Sewing Projects lets you follow along with her as she sews specific projects, letting you pick up tips and tricks along the way.
- Blog for Better Sewing for lovely vintage sewing - and she has her own range of vintage fabrics, too.
- Male Pattern Boldness: tired of being a man in a world of women’s sewing blogs? This one is run by a man and includes a wide range of menswear and some women’s dresses.
- Mrs. Hughes specialises in plus-size tailoring.
- Made by Rae makes her children’s clothing herself and takes you along for the ride.
- Made Every Day is a sewing crafts site with a blog.
This is only a small selection. We have tried to cover a wide range of specialities and interests, but in the end, it must remain arbitrary as everyone responds to different approaches and there is wonderful quality to be found almost everywhere. It’s up to you to take the information gleaned from these blogs and from there try and find the sites that best suit your techniques, styles and what you like to sew.
Would you like to find more great sewing blogs?
Learn Sewing Basics Online
For general sites on learning how to sew from the ground up (as well as specific sewing techniques such as what to do with raw edges or how to hem a skirt), try teaching sites such as Victory Patterns with lots of sewing tutorials; Sew Mama Sew offers tutorials and online sewing classes.
Crafts Projects Step by Step
You will have noticed that there is a difference between general sewing tutorials (the fundamentals of sewing) and step-by-step sewing instructions to help you finish a specific sewing project.
So don’t hesitate to try more precise searches in your search engine - such as “how to make a sewing kit” and many other sewing projects: there are almost as many sewing tutorials as there are creative ideas - so we won’t even try to list them all!
Try Purl Soho for a variety of projects from home dec, while Tilly and the Buttons has hundreds of cute sewing projects you will be sure to nail - even without sewing lessons.
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Sewing Tutorial Videos: Good for Visual Learners and Perfecting your Sewing Technique
As time goes by, courses made up entirely of text seem more and more boring. In fact, studies show that the same text presented in different ways (black-and-white compared with colour-coded) will not have the same impact.
This is even more true when we come to manual hobbies: a proper sewing tutorial should have a lot of illustrations.
Some sites base their whole concept on this: Pinterest, for example, is a social network that lets their users share pictures with others - including fun and unique sewing tutorials.And it is also possible to add sound to image - voilà, we now have an audiovisual tutorial!
Many sewing blogs have their own videos on their website while others are hosted on specialised interfaces of which YouTube is the best known.
Though there are a few fame-crazed individuals imagining themselves champions of haute couture while posting mediocre content, there are a lot of channels worth mentioning.
Though the quality of sound and the grain varies, the basic information is still good. Very often, you will be following the creation of a specific piece of clothing.
Cosmetic pouch or sponge bag, beach bag, tote, pillowcase, cushion - nothing escapes Dailymotion and its rivals!
Look up for online sewing classes on Superprof.
Alternative Online Sewing Tutorials
Have you considered taking online sewing lessons? It might be the ideal solution for becoming a dressmaker without losing motivation when your sewing projects don’t come out just right.
Knitting, crochet, embroidery: these are activities a sewing teacher can teach you; he can supplement his sewing lessons with digital media to help you make your creations.
Whether you decide to get a private sewing tutor or not, don’t forget that you will need some basic sewing accessories available in any local habershadery (thread, iron, zippers, etc.) - a basic sewing kit could be useful for covering your bases - as good quality materials are indispensable for successfully completing a sewing project.
There are e-learning courses - paying and free - available on several websites including, of course, Superprof.
They will take you through the most basic sewing skills you will need, then build upon them to craft more and more complicated creations. The first fruits of your labour might not be a matched-pattern skin-tight evening dress - but rather a tote or drawer organiser - but chi va piano, va sano e va lontano, and you will soon be conquering DIY thanks to the best sewing tutorials out there.
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