Saturday, 23 June 2012

Where to start? At the beginning of course!

Whenever we are at craft fairs often people come by our stall, admire all the lovely fabrics, buttons, bit and bobs and say to us "I love all this but I cant sew".  My answer to them is "Just give it a go!".

I've always been "crafty" (some say in more ways than one) but there was a time not so long ago that I was new to sewing.  It was something I admired, something I wanted to try but then one day I found some gorgeous fabric I fell in love with and I haven't looked back!

So I thought I'd put together quick list of "must-haves" for anyone wanting to take up sewing, whether it be dressmaking or making things for your home, this is what I think are the very basics you need to get started.*

1. Needles
A range of needles in different sizes are useful for hand sewing but you will find one you are comfortable with once you start sewing.

2. Sewing Machine
This is the exact machine I have and it's amazing for beginners as its so easy to set up but has a variety of stitches, tensions and functions once you become more advanced.  I use mine mainly for plain straight stitching but have also done a number of lovely appliqu├ęs using the zig zag stitch on this machine.  Also, doesn't cost the earth!

3. Pins
Long pins with coloured ends are handing for pining work in place before you sew.  Also, a great tip I was given if you are machine sewing, the more pins you put in the slower you will sew and therefore, will have more control.  It works too!

4. Seam ripper
For when your stitching just isnt quite right!  So much better than using scissors which WILL rip your fabric (trust me, I've tried).

5. Tape Measure
No sewing box should be without one of these!  A retractable one saves it getting all tangled around other stuff.

6. Rotary Cutter
Some may say this isnt essential and a good pair of scissors will do.  I do agree, a good pair of scissors is invaluable for cutting smaller and irregular shapes.  However, if you are thinking of having a go at patchwork or quilting or will be cutting a lot of straight lines, it is so much easier to get an accurate cut with this.  A metal ruler and cutting mat is also needed.

7. Fabrics
And lots of them!!  Whatever takes your fancy, cotton, polycotton, fat quarters or metres of it, its important to have a good range of fabrics that you like in your stash in case inspiration strikes!

8. Magazines and Books
Mollie Makes is a favourite (and we will soon be stocking it!) but there are lots of books and magazines out there ready to inspire you and guide you in your next make.  I tend not to follow patterns to the letter, preferring to be inspired and use patterns to give me a starting point.

So thats it, my list of what I think you need to get started.  My only other piece of advice would be to just go for it!  If you've been inspired by something, give it a try.

What did you use when you first started out?  Did you make any sewing faux-pas??!  We'd love to hear about them!

* this is by no means a complete list of everything you could need to start, just my idea of the basics.


  1. Great post. Im a bit like you whereas I dont follow patterns to the letter, but use them as a starting point. Also apart from learning a bit of sewing at school (more years ago than I care to admit), Ive only been a regular sewer for about the last 18 months.
    When I have an idea about what I want to make, I pretty much get all my patterns from the interweb. There are absolute tonnes of ideas and free patterns out there you will always find something for your skill level and tastes. ;o)

  2. Great list, really helpful if you are not sure where to start. I would love to get a rotary cutter, straight cutting is not my forte!

    Estelle xx

  3. The advice about 'just having a go' is spot on.

  4. Good advice. I have never used a rotary cutter. Sounds like a good tool to have. A good choice of sewing thread / silk floss is also a good addition to your sewing box when starting out xxx

  5. I always thought that because I'm no good at 'art' i.e. the kind we did at school - drawing and painting etc, that I wasn't creative. Now I realise the 2 are completely different things, you can be creative without being artistic or being able to draw.

    I love sewing and that there are no 'rules' as to what looks good, it's a very personal thing.

  6. this is such a great list! Thank you! as a beginner in crafting this is ideal for me! :)xx