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How to Sew - Sewing Tips for Beginners

Updated on April 6, 2012

As someone who is new to sewing, I thought it would be helpful to write a hub on what to do to make your sewing projects run smoothly. These are tips that I learned the hard way, and hopefully you can learn from my mistakes. Some people who are new to sewing skip these steps in order to save time. I know you just want to get sewing. But skipping the prep work can result in a poorly made item. And that is a waste of time and money! Let's look at the steps to follow if you want to learn how to sew like a pro.


Most sewing machine errors are caused by operator error or poor maintenance of your machine.

Maintaining Your Machine

Home maintenance of your sewing machine is an often neglected but important step of the sewing process. Unoiled and dusty machines don't run as smoothly. A home tune-up is actually quite easy to do.

First you will want to open up your sewing machine to remove the dust and lint. Using the brush that came with your machine, dust it out before beginning each new project. Next you need to oil it, so it runs smoothly. Consult your sewing machine manual to see the exact spots that need to be oiled. If you've lost your manual, just oil any place where the metal rubs against metal. It should be OK. Only use one drop per spot, and be sure to use high quality sewing machine oil. Now run your machine on some extra scrap fabric to remove excess oil, so you don't ruin your good material. Oil your sewing machine after every 4-6 hours of sewing.


Use a brand new needle with every project. Repeated thread breakage can be caused by a bent or dull needle.

Picking Your Project

Pick a beginner's pattern for your first few attempts at sewing. You want something easy. If you want to make yourself some clothing, choose something with few seams and nothing challenging like buttons or zippers. A looser fit is a good bet, like pants or a skirt with an elasticised waist.

Once you've chosen your project, you can pick your fabric and notions. Notions are the little extras you need to complete your project, like your thread, elastic and buttons. Choosing your fabric is the fun part, the part that makes the project truly yours.

Some fabrics are easier to use than others. The following is a list of easy to use fabrics:

  • cotton
  • cotton flannel
  • lightweight wool
  • wool crepe
  • wool jersey
  • fleece
  • velour

These fabrics are easy to cut and easy to sew. Be sure to pick the best quality fabric that you can afford. It will last longer and look more professionally made. That goes for thread too. Cheap thread will tangle and break and just be a nightmare to work with.

Once you've purchased your material, preshrink it BEFORE you begin to cut it. Wash it and dry it just as you would if it were a finished garment.

Pressing Issues

One step many inexperienced sewers skip is pressing their project as they sew it. Trust me, it is a important step. Pressing will set your stitches and blend them into the fabric. If you don't, the stitches will stand out more. This makes your project look unprofessional and poorly made.

You will need a good quality iron do this job properly. It needs a variety of heat settings so you can use it on any fabric. It should be able to make steam, too. You also need a clear padded ironing board. Have it all set up and plugged in, ready to go.

Keep in mind that pressing is not the same as ironing. You iron by moving your hot iron all around the fabric to get out the wrinkles. When pressing, you place the hot iron onto your stitches in an up and down motion, pressing firmly. Press every seam after you sew it, and before moving on to the next step. Press along the seam line as you have sewn it. Then open the seam out and press it again. Now your stitches are blended and your seam is more flexible.

When you are done, give your work an all-over ironing. When you sew, you pull your material and stretch it all out. Ironing gets it back into its original state.


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    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 6 years ago from Canada

      You're welcome, GCSandy. I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for commenting.

    • GCSandy profile image

      GCSandy 6 years ago from Page, AZ

      This is a very well-written hub that deals with some very important aspects of sewing! Thanks for writing this.