For beginners

If you're learning to sew "from scratch," here are the posts, in order, that will get you up-and-running. Of course, the secret to getting good is to practice, practice, practice! But these posts should take you through what you should be practicing and how certain things work.

Setting up:
  • Basic sewing equipment you will need for all sewing projects. All of the instructions will assume you have the first 7 items as well as the "Other things that you'll need...." section.
  • Sewing room setup. The various "stations" you will need in order to produce a garment.
Getting the pattern and fabric:
  • Getting your measurements, buying a pattern, and getting the fabric and notions for the project. Patterns will mostly be for multiple sizes of various garments. In order to figure out how much fabic you need to buy, you need to know your measurements and how that translates into a size. (Note, the first two soup-to-nuts patterns are Simplicity 2262 View D and Simplicity 2938 View A, if you want to "follow along").
  • Getting your fabric ready to be cut out. Fabric should be put through a wash/dry cycle in order to pre-shrink it, and because of this, you need to know how to prevent your fabric from fraying when you pre-wash it, and then ironing your fabric to get it ready for cutting out.
Basic techniques
  • Basting (especially pin-basting) is something you will need to become very familiar with. Probably the most important technique to master.
  • Fixing your stitch is what most stitches, unless specifically instructed otherwise, will expect to keep the stitch from coming undone. 
  • Plain Seam The basic means of joining two pieces of fabric together, including finishing the raw edge and ironing open the seam when you're done stitching it.
  • Ripping out a seam For when you mess up (and you will!), how to use a seam ripper to remove a seam without damaging the fabric.
  • Staystitch a simple stitch through a single-thickness of fabric to prevent the fabric from pulling or stretching while you work on the garment.
  • Easestitch a series of un-fixed stitches to allow you to gather fabric to ease two unequally-sized pieces of fabric together.
  • Topstitch a simple stitch through all layers of fabric to reinforce a seam and create a visible line on the garment
  • Understitch a stitch through all layers of fabric underneath the top (outside) layer of fabric to reinforce a seam that is invisible on the finished garment.
  • Stitching in the ditch is a straight-line stitch through the "ditch" caused by an existing seam. 
  • Hem is of course, how you clean up the raw edge on the lower edge of your garment and get an even line.
  • Working with interfacing this post will detail how to use lightweight, fusible interfacing to create a reinforced facing panel.
  • Finishing a raw edge with single-fold bias tape is a technique for cleaning up a raw edge that doesn't use a seam, doesn't require a hem or structural reinforcing using interfacing.
  • Trim seams, clip curves is a technique for easing a fold along a curve that is used both for both of the previous posts.
  • Pinking is a simple means of finishing a raw edge by using a special pair of shears to create a saw-tooth pattern along the raw edge.
  • Overlock is a stitch that will finish a raw edge by creating a thread "lock" over the raw edge itself.
  • The slip-stitch is a hand-stitch that is used to join three or more pieces of fabric invisibly when your sewing machine can't quite reach only a few of the layers.
  • French seam is a more advanced seam that encloses the raw edges to create a neater finish.
Let's make some stuff!
Simplicity 2938
Views A and C
  • Cutting out a pattern This goes over how to unpack a pattern, how to look up a cutting layout, the basic fold techniques that might be required, and how to pin and cut out a pattern so that the garment hangs correctly. This is a very important part of making a pattern, so it has it's own post!
  • Simplicity 2262 View D is a simple sleeveless top. This pattern will utilize all of the stitching posts in the "Basic Techniques" section, as well as using Single Fold Bias Tape to finish a raw edge.
  • Simplicity 2938 View A is a simple sleeveless sundress. This pattern will utilize all of the stitching posts in the basic techniques section, as well as using Single Fold Bias Tape, Interfacing, and installing a zipper.
  • Simplicity 2938 View C is a cardigan jacket that will require french seams, and will have with raglan sleeves (not fitted sleeves) and a single button/buttonhole. 
Having completed 2938 Views A and C you will now have completed the beginner's stuff and have your toe in the advanced pool. We'll head into intermediate territory with fitted sleeves, applying trim, asymmetrical patterns, waistbands, and making minor alterations to a pattern.

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