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Learn to sew : All the tips you need to start

Comprehensive guide on How To Sew for beginners in sewing ; Learn to sew your own clothes, accessories and anything you want
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Learning how to sew is no rocket science (I wouldn’t have learned it otherwise ☺ ). It is not even as complicated as cooking. You may disagree on that, but for me cooking IS complicated. And Sewing is ❤

You do not need to buy fancy patterns or the most advanced computerized sewing machine to sew your own clothes or anything you want to sew. When I started, I knew nothing.

My sewing machine was old and very maddening. But after sometime I learned the basics and the magic happened – after many many trials and errors (which continues even today)

But if you really want the convenience of ready made sewing patterns checkout the different online stores where you can buy the sewing patterns .

Infact, sewing as a hobby is therapeutic to me. It organises my somewhat disorganised mind. And the satisfaction of making something beautiful is beyond anything. Gifting a thing you have made yourself is also very fulfilling.

Check out the many different posts on sewing tips and techniques on rosettanreedlaw.com. Select the pages below to go to the relevant page and learn to sew.
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It allows me to be around one of my favourite things in the world – fabrics and clothes.

And makes me feel as if I have done something for the world when I alter, repair and recycle my clothes. And make things with scraps instead of dumping them into the landfill.

Sewing is easy

I learned a whole lot of sewing from the internet.Then I learned from books. Then from a teacher in a sewing class. Then I tried experimenting and learned some more. It is possible for anyone with passion to sew their own clothes with the guidance and resources available today. 

To make your own clothes, you just need to know how to make stitching patterns from your own measurements or an old dress, some basic sewing tools and machine and the motivation to finish the work patiently and perfectly.

All the other things are bonuses you should be thankful for. Checkout this post on how you can make a copy of your old dress . Checkout clothing sewing patterns available in this site.

You may choose to go for a personal sewing class. In fact if you absolutely know nothing about sewing and you are eager and have the time to spare you should go for a sewing class.

Check out the reputation of the class and the instructor from previous students before enrolling. Most classes take the fees upfront, leaving you no choice to opt out, if you find you are not benefiting. The good ones will start from the beginning and teach you sewing in an organised way so that you can set about sewing and designing for yourself.

Or else with some patience you can learn by yourself. If you are a self learner and confident that you can learn the nitty-gritties of sewing by yourself, there are some basic tips and techniques you should know.

Sewing Techniques to learn how to sew

All the sewing terms bandied about in the online sewing community used to boggle my mind in the early days. Most of the terms became clear to me when I wrote this comprehensive Sewing Glossary with the common sewing terms used frequently. Check it out if you are like me and would like to know more

Sewing machine

If you do not own a sewing machine yet, you can read the article on selecting the best sewing machine for beginners.

 If you have just bought your sewing machine you may remember what the service personnel explained to you about the machine.

Some basics like how to thread the sewing machine, how to adjust the thread tension, how to wind a bobbin, how to change machine feet, how to change the dial for different stitches, how to select the correct needle sizes are things you will learn from the service personnel send by the sewing machine company.

But if your sewing machine has been bought for some time, maybe you do not remember anything. The stitches available to you which seemed amazing in the showroom may seem confusing when you start using your sewing machine. All those levers and feet also will look complicated. It needn’t be.

The first thing you need to know is how to thread the sewing machine properly. Refer the sewing machine manual; Infact keep it near your sewing machine all the time. Refresh your knowledge by going through the steps given in this tutorial; Familiarize yourself with the various feet available with the machine. Because a lot of sewing machine stitching problems can be solved by properly threading the machine. 

Checkout the comprehensive guide here on machine foot and other parts of a sewing machine. 

Practice your sewing before attempting any project as such. Start by sewing in a straight line.

You can practice this on a piece of paper on which straight lines are drawn with pencil.

Then practice your sewing in a curved line.

Use short stitches and long stitches and see the difference it makes to your stitching.

You must be thorough with all the sewing stitches available with your sewing machine. If you are not, refer this article on the most common sewing machine stitches. This will be a refresher course for you

Similar related posts on sewing tools.

Try all the different decorative stitches in your sewing machine. You can try to decorate a handkerchief with these stitches; You can make a decorative stitch border to the embroidered handkerchief project here ( or even attempt to hand sew the border stitches) or make the small fabric gift bag.

You need to have some basic sewing tools along with your sewing machine. Some of them like the scissors, pins and tape measure are indispensable but some you can do without like a rotary cutter.

There are some tools which you may not have but which will completely change your sewing life if you have them. You guessed it right – the seam ripper. I get panic attack if I do not have it with me. You can guess how many mistakes I must make

Learn to read the tape measure properly if you do not know how to. To tell you the truth for a long log time I didn’t.

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Keep your expectations at a reasonable level the first few projects. You need to start your sewing with some easy beginner sewing projects, then gradually try the complicated patterns.Learn as you go. Take little steps and make big progress. Graduate to jackets from baby frocks, not the other way.

Other than these easy and wonderful projects you can also try your hand at the Shirt skirt or the easy Tunic top or a Kaftan as your first project. Kimono jackets and Ponchos are also best ones to start. 

As I see it, choosing the fabric to sew is the most pleasurable thing about sewing. The variety of fabrics available to sew will boggle your mind for sure. For your beginner sewing project try to choose a simple cotton fabric and appropriate thread.

Checkout this post for different names for clothing you can sew – Not the most comprehensive But I have tried to list out some.

Pre washing

Pre washing your fabric is a necessity before sewing anything. I simply immerse the fabric in a little water. After some minutes rinse it out.

Pre-washing removes all the sizing which is there in the fabric and the shrinking tendency of your fabric is also tested. I am also scared about all the chemicals in the new fabric. A worst case scenario is the dyes in new fabric running and bleeding after you have stitched two bright colored fabrics together without rinsing the dye out first. 

Pre-washing has too many advantages for you to do it compulsorily with every fabric you use. You definitely would want to fit into your dress after the first wash, after all the hard work.


Choose the appropriate interfacing  for your fabric. There are some areas which you have to interface necessarily when sewing clothes like the button stand, button holes, zippers, collars, facings.

Body measurements

A most important aspect about sewing is taking the body measurements. Every one has a unique body. The reason why we sew our own clothes is to get a good fit. So learn about taking your sewing measurements perfectly. Whenever I am measuring myself for a close fitting garment I make sure that I will be wearing the undergarments or similar ones I mean to wear with the finished garment. That is just common sense.If you are not sure which patterns will suit you you can checkout this post which elaborates on the styles that suit according to body shapes


Pressing is an important element in sewing . Infact I think I spend almost as much time pressing (and cutting) as much as sewing. Get some pressing tips for the correct way to press fabric while sewing.


You better learn the proper cutting techniques before even attempting to cut the first time. Infact it is nothing as  lofty as it sounds – just some sound common sense advice on How to cut fabric perfectly.At times you want a garment which drapes like a dream – it is time for you to cut the fabric on the bias.

Sewing techniques

 It is necessary that the inside of your garment you make is as good looking on the inside as well as the outside. You need to finish the edges of the fabric professionally. Zig zag stitch is the first option for you if you are a beginner. Or else you can try the other options for fabric edges detailed here.

You need to know some hand made stitches also to perfect your sewing. And also how to machine hem your garments to perfection. Checkout the many ways you can use to thread a sewing needle easily.

Practice sewing seams – start with a plain seam with a straight stitch; learn to anchor the thread at the end of the stitching with a few back stitches. You can also try your hand at sewing a buttonhole with your sewing machine. 

You also need fastenings like zippers or buttons and other notions and Fabric trims if you are using them. Buy them beforehand instead of thinking about them in the middle of the project as mentioned in this article on time saving tricks to save time when sewing.

Learn the different types of fasteners you could sew on to your clothes and how to sew hooks and zippers on to your clothes or even a cute little frog closure ; Different types of Buttonholes you could sew and the way to sew a hand made buttonhole . 

Checkout this post on many ways to make fabric covered buttons .  the 50+ different types of collars you could sew on the clothes

Learn to sew 5 types of ruffles on to your clothes by learning how to gather fabric. It is also necessary to know how to stitch plackets on to your clothes.

There are also 5 types of pleats you could sew on to your garments. Different styles of pockets elaborated here also may be of interest to you and different ways to sew them on to your clothes like a side seam pocket or even a hidden pocket

Once you have learned the basics, you need the perfect pattern to sew your clothes. You have a choice to buy the patterns or make them yourself.

Checkout these Ultimate list of free sewing patterns and select the perfect one for you. You can make paper patterns and keep them for future use or mark on the fabric directly.

I would suggest that the first time you make a garment with a pattern, you should use an inexpensive fabric or muslin.

Test it out, change any measurement you need, then try it on that very expensive fabric you have kept for special occasion.

Keep the goal in mind that by learning to sew you can make beautiful and fitting garments for yourself and your loved ones.

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Author: Sarina Tariq
Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.
53 thoughts on “Learn to sew : All the tips you need to start”
  1. Aregash G
    I have read this guide top to bottom so many times that I almost have it all memorized. You might ask “Why?”. Well, aside from all the helpful links to point me in the right direction, so nicely put together on one page, there’s one particular reason. I tend to be kinda hard on myself, I can’t stand making mistakes or failing. So the one thing that has helped me most is knowing even someone as seasoned as yourself keeps a seam ripper handy! Thank you Reply
    • Sarina
      Thanks for the kind words
  2. Ayi
    Hi I like to say thank for this page, its helpful Reply
  3. Rogelia Rincón
    Please where i can get iron on fabric per yards Reply
  4. Prerm Vijh

    I am interested to buy books on sewing published under your banner?

  5. Prerm Vijh
    do you provide any books to buy Reply
  6. Abosede
    Thanks for all these information,lot of things to learn here,love to go into designing,it’s so helpful. Reply
    • Moridiyah
      How can I subscribe to your list
  7. Ayomide
    Thank you so much.This is helpful and quite explanatory and encouraging .Thanks for explaining in simple terms Reply
    • Sarina
      Thankyou Ayomide. Glad that you found it helpful
  8. Jemima
    Any free class? Reply
  9. ogochukwu
    HI SARINA Reply
    • Sarina
      Hi ogochukwu
  10. Nelson Ogunyankin
    I’m glad to have found out your great work. It’s such a vast expanse of knowledge clearly outlining and discussing topics. Thank you. Now, I’ve been saddled with getting material ready for our trainees and would humbly ask your kind permission to use information from your website to nudge them in the right direction. This will keep our Artisan Centre better positioned to deliver quality teaching aids. Thank you again. Reply
    • Sarina

      Hi Nelson
      Thank you for the appreciative words and I am really happy that you think the information is of value. Please feel free to use the website, except to copy and publish in another website.
      Best wishes

    • Nelson Ogunyankin
      Thank you for the kind permission. I am grateful.
  11. Abiodun
    This is very helpful Reply
    • Sarina
      Thanks Abiodun
  12. Emmanuel osei opoku
    Thanks you very much Reply
  13. channa

    how to stich mask for coronavirus in home..this is very urgent need for the whole world.
    other guides no important for this time.

  14. komal singh
    hello, can you tell me which shirring or smocking machine is good for commercial purpose and which is also portable? Reply
  15. sujan
    yes Reply
  16. olaide
    great Reply
  17. Lucy
    Hi Sarina, I’ve just come across your blog and love the content you are sharing to encourage people to sew. The most recent post I could find was from January 2019 and I wondered if you are still posting regularly? If so we are a family run sewing business and are always looking to collaborate with bloggers like yourself on sponsored posts or giveaways and I wondered if you would be interested in something along these lines? Reply
  18. Navya Shree
    I need to learn stitching please conduct classes in bangalore Reply
  19. Cristy Tubilla
    I want to know more tips about sewing Reply
  20. kelvin
    I am serious about garment making can i learn more of this Reply
  21. Alo precious Deborah
    It’s really nice and encouraging Reply
  22. kaumba
    want to learn how to make patterns Reply
  23. Tlotlo Sharon
    As a beginner I would like to take sewing lessons online,and this is amazing and I do have passion for it. Reply
  24. swathi.s

    i found your site, its awesome because i am learning lot from your site.
    thanks a lot.

  25. promise
    Wao! I love this and I have passion for it Reply
    • Clementine
  26. Francois Nsabagasani
    I want to start a tailor’s shop very soon and find your data very useful . Thank you for this website. Reply
    • Karen
      I would love to help anyone wanting to start ant type of sewing business. 25 years experience owning my own alteration shop.


  27. Aaliya Zaib

    Hi Sarina,
    Just took a glimpse of your site. And its amazing, I was looking for something similar.

    Grear work there! Reply
  28. Esah
    I really desire to learn dis skill,am a total beginner from the scratch. The way u have explained in dis article gives me some hope and a clear insight to my future in dis new hobby. thanks Sarina. GOD bless u. Reply
    • Nirupa
      please suggest a good book , where we learn all that you have spoken in Sew Guide.Give us the best author to to learn all the modern types of tailoring garment with pap;er cutting, how to measure , wdhat amount of cloth we require, in E;nglish. Nirupa
  29. Nazar
    Exilent Reply
  30. Teresita Hipolito
    what is the width of the boxer short? only the length was stated. Reply
  31. Anita Kaushik
    Looking for some easy sewing guidelines and found this site. Your way of explaining is amazing. May be now I would be able to follow my new found hobby. Thanks! Reply
    • Sarina

      Hi Anita
      You just made my day; thanks for the appreciation

  32. Jubemi Omatseye
    I love to venture into the fashion environment. I was searching for sewing for beginners and stumbled into you site. Good job. Time for me to get my first machine and begin. Thanks. Reply
    • Sarina

      Hi Jubemi
      Thanks ; Best wishes

  33. Oluwaseun
    Thanks for sharing from your wealth of knowledge. Thank you.I have learnt tailoring through the local apprenticeship training in my locality.I want to formalise my training,write a certifying examination,register my business and get started.Your work is really helpful. Reply
    • Sarina
      Thanks for the encouraging comment
  34. Ofelia
    Thanks for all the info Reply
    • Sarina
      Thanks for reading
  35. Leah
    I found your site searching for information on ribbon embroidery. Thank you so much for everything you do on your site. It is a plethora of information. I’ve taken a look around and I have already found so much that will help me with my sewing and embroidery skills. You are amazing. Reply
    • Sarina
      Thank you for the sweet words ; really cherish the encouragement
  36. Elizabeth Arthur
    Thank for all the information. I am over 70 and starting out to try and sew a capsule wardrobe and clothes for my family. One of my problems is matching material to pattern. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks Elizabeth Reply
    • Sarina

      Hi Elizabeth
      You are referring to fabric with designs that you want to align , right?. That is a problem I also have 🙂
      which is why i make paper patterns and then place them on the fabric to see which suits best, whether the sleeve piece on left and right have the same design. You will have to guestimate and buy extra fabric though when you want this
      For a general estimation of how much fabric is needed maybe this post would help //rosettanreedlaw.com/how-much-fabric-do-you-need/

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