Mastering Sewing Basics: A Comprehensive Guide to Getting Started

Sewing Basics

Embarking on a journey into the world of sewing can be both exciting and intimidating, especially for beginners. Understanding the sewing basics is essential for laying a solid foundation and unlocking endless creative possibilities. In this guide, we’ll delve into the fundamental principles of sewing, exploring the essential tools, techniques, and terminology needed to sew properly. Whether you’re a complete novice or looking to refresh your skills, mastering these sewing basics will set you on the path to sewing success.

Understanding Sewing Basics: Getting started before diving into the intricacies of sewing, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the essential tools and supplies needed to begin your sewing journey. Here’s a breakdown of the sewing basics you’ll need:

  1. Sewing Machine: A reliable sewing machine is a cornerstone of any sewing endeavor. Choose a machine that suits your skill level and sewing projects, whether it’s a basic mechanical machine or a computerized model with advanced features. Familiarize yourself with its functions, including stitch selection, tension adjustment, and threading, to unleash its full potential.
  2. Needles and Thread: Quality sewing needles and thread are indispensable for achieving professional-looking stitches. Select needles appropriate for your fabric type and weight, ensuring smooth stitching without snagging or breaking. Likewise, choose thread that complements your fabric and project, opting for polyester or cotton thread for versatility and durability.
  3. Fabric: Selecting the right fabric is crucial for the success of your sewing project. Start with beginner-friendly fabrics such as cotton, linen, or fleece, which are easy to work with and forgiving of mistakes. As you gain confidence, explore a variety of fabrics to expand your sewing repertoire and challenge your skills.
  4. Cutting Tools: Sharp cutting tools are essential for precise fabric cutting and pattern preparation. Invest in quality scissors, rotary cutters, and cutting mats to ensure clean edges and accurate measurements. Additionally, sewing basics include seam rippers for correcting mistakes and marking tools for transferring pattern markings onto fabric.
  5. Pins and Pin Cushion: Pins are indispensable for securing fabric layers and patterns during sewing. Opt for sharp, rust-resistant pins and a convenient pin cushion to keep them organized and within reach. Pinning accurately is a crucial sewing basic that ensures smooth sewing and professional-looking results.

Sewing Techniques: Mastering the Basics Once you’ve gathered your sewing essentials, it’s time to familiarize yourself with fundamental sewing techniques that form the backbone of any sewing project. Here are some sewing basics to master:

  1. Threading the Machine: Properly threading your sewing machine is the first step towards successful sewing. Refer to your machine’s manual for specific threading instructions, ensuring correct placement of the thread through the machine’s tension discs, guides, and needle.
  2. Stitch Selection and Settings: Understanding different stitches and their applications is essential for achieving desired sewing results. Experiment with straight stitches, zigzag stitches, and decorative stitches, adjusting stitch length and width to suit your fabric and project requirements.
  3. Seam Allowance: Seam allowance refers to the distance between the stitching line and the fabric edge. Sewing basics dictate using the appropriate seam allowance specified in your pattern or project instructions, typically ranging from ¼ inch to ⅝ inch. Accurate seam allowance ensures proper fitting and construction of garments and other sewn items.
  4. Backstitching: Backstitching reinforces the beginning and end of seams, preventing them from unraveling during wear and washing. Master this sewing basic by stitching a few stitches forward, then stitching backward over the same stitches before continuing with your seam.
  5. Pressing: Proper pressing is the secret to achieving professional-looking seams and finished garments. Use an iron set to the appropriate temperature for your fabric to press seams open or to one side, ensuring crisp edges and smooth finishes.

Mastering sewing basics is the key to unlocking your creative potential and enjoying the art of sewing to its fullest. By familiarizing yourself with essential tools, techniques, and terminology, you’ll gain confidence and skill in handling various sewing projects with ease and precision. Whether you’re sewing garments, accessories, or home decor items, sewing basics lay the foundation for success and satisfaction in your sewing endeavors. So, roll up your sleeves, thread your needle, and embark on your sewing journey with confidence and enthusiasm. Happy stitching!

Sewing terminology in different countries

As I’ve mentioned before, we have as a family recently relocated to a different country. North America to be exact. Coming from South Africa, I have learned one way of speaking. But now, being in North America, I need to learn new terminology for everything, including sewing terminology.

Sewing terminology is very different on the two continents and I’m sure around the world as well. What you call one thing in South Africa is called something completely different in North America.

The main problem with not knowing the correct terminology is that when you walk into a shop to buy something and you ask for help, the assistant does not know what you are asking as your sewing terminology differs. You know exactly what you are asking but the assistant does not. This creates problems and frustrations on both ends.

To overcome this problem, I have compiled a list of sewing terminology that is used differently and that I came across.

Terminology used in SA – Terminology used in North America

Sewing machine – sewing machine (that one stays the same at least!)

Overlocker – Serger

Sewing scissors – Sewing shears

Base pattern – Sloper

Base pattern – basic block pattern

Material – Fabric

Material shop – Fabric store

More sewing terminology differences will be posted as I come across them.

Equipment needed for making a block sewing pattern

So I recently made a new block sewing pattern for myself. But I didn’t have the correct equipment. It was a rather difficult process making the block sewing pattern without the correct equipment.

In this post I will outline the different pieces of equipment needed and what I did, not having the correct equipment, to still be able to make my basic block sewing pattern.

The first thing you need is a measuring tape. You need the measuring tape to measure yourself as well as make measurements on the actual pattern piece.

The next piece of equipment you need for your block pattern is called a french curve. This is a ruler, shaped in the form of a curve. Because I didn’t have a french curve, I made my own. Click here to find out how to make your own French curve ruler

You would also need a hip curve. Well, I didn’t use one so I do not consider it a complete necessity.

I also used a 90 degree ruler. This ruler is in the form of an L shape and helps when you need to draw straight lines throughout the pattern, which the block pattern is FULL of.

In addition to the curved rulers, you also need some pattern paper. I am not someone who likes spending money on things, so I just used newspaper. It is not recommended though, especially if you’ve never worked with patterns before. For the pattern, I would recommend using a roll of blank paper, blank newspaper, pattern paper, brown paper, tracing paper or even baking paper (This works great for tracing)

In addition to all of the equipment listed above to make your sewing block pattern, you can add some markers, a pencil, pen, selotape, pins, a small ruler and a pencil sharpener and eraser.

I hope this is helpful. With these basic pieces of equipment, you can make your own sewing block patterns easily. Like I said, I use newspaper and thick markers for visibility.

Sewing Advice! Yay!

Sewing Advice! Yay!

Welcome to my blog! This will be my first post about sewing advice!

I have learned that it doesn’t matter how good you think you are at something, you still sometimes need a little bit of advice. Therefore, I am going to aim at providing sewing advice in this blog.

This page won’t be very long because it does not contain much content. However, I would like to be able to provide some excellent sewing advice that you can read about – in the categories on the right hand side of the page. There are categories you can click on to get help with the particular topic you are struggling with or just archives about previous sewing advice and sewing help tips and articles.

I hope you like my sewing advice blog! So go ahead, have fun and explore all the sewing advice topics there are!