Sewing Supplies for beginners | Spools of Thread | Best beginner sewing machine

How to Get Started Sewing for Free & The Best Beginner Sewing Machine

You want to learn to sew, but are unsure of what you need or how to get started? Well talk you through our best beginner sewing machine, and our quick steps to getting started on a budget.

It prioritizes using what you own first, and seeing how much you'd like to invest next. Sewing is much more than just sewing with a machine, it encompasses ironing, pattern searching, cutting, fabric choice and more. Start at the first step and work your way through the list to get started on your sewing journey.

Don't worry about a sewing machine yet. Instead learn to hand sew.

If you want to learn to sew, try hand sewing first. It lets you test our sewing with out having to splurge on one of our best beginner sewing machines. Plus, you probably have a small hand sewing kit already, or can purchase one easily for a few dollars. Get a spool of cotton thread to go with it and try hand sewing a few basic stitches.

Hand sewing is great to learn because you will need to learn it eventually in your sewing journey, and it helps with tricky sewing techniques down the line.

We recommend learning 3 stitches to start with:

Try sewing these stitches on any scrap fabric (such as an old sheet, old shirt or jeans, or a cloth napkin) that you have laying around. Practice them a few times before beginning a project.

Pick a project that has step by step instructions, or a video tutorial.

We know your end goal may be to sew an entire quilt, or make a complex cosplay. But we recommend starting off with something simple like a cloth grocery bag, hair bow, or pin cushion. Most of these items require no ironing, and very little fabric to try out, and could be made with an old shirt or bed sheet.

Alternatively pick something is for beginners, but has very detailed instructions, or a video to go along with it. Like our Cozy Pillow Kit, which is a basic log cabin design, that has some fancy cutting techniques to get you going. (which can be made with the hand sewing kit, and a pair of average scissors)

Sewing something simple means your more likely to end up with a good result and something you'll actually use. The worst feeling as a beginner is putting in your best effort and not being able to wear the item you made in the end.

Buy just the essentials.

You will eventually need a few items for your sewing journey. We recommend buying a simple kit, like our hand sewing kit, to get started. But, you might need a few more items if you don't already own them.

If you plan to quilt you may also want a

  • Cutting mat
  • Rotary Cutter

After you get the essentials you may want to go ahead and get one of our best beginner sewing machine, or you may want to sew a few more projects by hand before investing in a machine.

Buy a pattern and fabric for your next project.

You've made something from scrap now is the time to get some fabric for a project. Find a pattern that’s made for beginners. Most the big brands (Simplicity, McCalls etc..) have patterns for beginners, or find a independent pattern maker who has patterns or tutorials with very detailed instructions. Finding a pattern with a video tutorial is very helpful as you can follow along with the tutorial

To figure out what fabric to buy for your project, check the package for what types of fabric they recommend. Some of the words may seem like gibberish, but they are good key words to search for when shopping online.  If going to your local store, look at the fabric types online first, so you know what to look for when in the store.

To buy fabric in store, pick out a bolt of fabric on the shelves, put it in your cart, or carry it to the cutting table, a shop employee will greet you, and ask how may yards you want. You can typically give them increments of 1/8 or 1/4 of a yard.

The pattern should tell you how many yards to buy of the fabric you need. Typically the pattern will give you a length by how wide the fabric is. So check the width of the bolt to know how much to buy. It might say buy 2 yards for a 60" bolt, and 2.5 for a 45" bolt.

When to get a sewing machine?

You should consider getting a machine when you've made a project or two, and you feel that you want to keep sewing. Sewing is more than just using a machine as we said earlier. Most of your time will be spent, pinning, ironing, cutting instead of even using the fun machine you bought.

We like to recommend a mechanical machine for beginners, a mechanical machine typically has 2 dials on it, one for stitch length, and one for stitch type. It typically has a variety of stitches and is less expensive, but better made for its price point.

We do recommend going into a store and test driving a few machines. Quilt shops who sell machines will typically let you try out the floor models, give them your price range and work with them on finding the machine for you.

Best beginner sewing machine:

The Bernette or Singer are better for quilters as they have a big enough open area that you can fit a quilt under them while sewing.

Best beginner sewing machine on a budget:

You can also look at purchasing a used machine. Goodwill online always has a handful of machines to keep an eye out for one that works for you. We like sticking to the big major brands when hunting for a used machine. Look for ones you can find manuals online, or that come with the sewing manual in the description. Ebay and other resellers can also get you an affordable machine. When in doubt ask Reddit! Reddit has a very active sewing community that likes to help beginners find their machines. ask for advice and ye shall receive.

Keep sewing!

Your sewing skills will continue to improve with every project. Keep following tutorials and learn to make new items. We recommend finding beginner level patterns that stretch your skills as you learn.

Find a pattern you like, that has 1 or 2 things you've never done before (buttons, placket, zipper, lining, collar, interfacing etc…) and try doing those things. The internet has tons of free tutorials on you tube and the like to help you learn. Almost any technique you need to know someone has shown how to do on YouTube already.


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