Making your own home décor can be extremely rewarding, and one of the easiest ways to start creating is through sewing. Don’t worry if you’re a beginner, though, this easy-to-follow guide will show you just what you need to start making!
Your first project
It’s best to start off with an easy project rather than a project that will daunt even an expert. By starting with something as simple as a table runner or a scatter cushion cover, you’ll build your skills and knowledge and see how the nuts and bolts of sewing work. This means that you’ll be able to tweak patterns to suit your taste – or even create your own patterns – sooner rather than later.
But, before you go out and buy thousands of dollars’ worth of sewing supplies, know that you only need to start with a beginner sewing kit and can build on your supplies from there.
A beginner’s sewing kit
A sewing kit for beginners only need a few basic items. While this won’t make it possible for you to make just about any pattern, it will give you the chance to make (especially) beginner patterns.
These items include:
- Fabric scissors – These can either be straight or (preferable) have a bent handle. Paper scissors will suck at this job, trust us. Once again, you don’t have to buy the most expensive scissor you can lay your hand on if you’re still trying to figure out if you’ll even like sewing.
- Needles for hand sewing – Try and get some in different sizes – many of the needle sets already have more than one size needle. One decent-sized, good-quality set shouldn’t set you back too much, and you’ll be able to use them for a long time.
- Straight pins and a pin cushion – Pins are very important to keep pattern pieces in place while you’re either cutting out a pattern or stitching two pieces of a pattern together. A pin cushion – while not a definite must, does make life easier.
- Tape measure – A flexible tape measure is a must to make sure that you always measure correctly. While a ruler will work fine in some instances, you’ll find that for practical reasons you use a tape measure a lot more.
- Seam ripper – We’ve all been there; it seems to be the perfect seam but then you suddenly see it’s too long, skew, or even (we may have been guilty) worked in the wrong color thread. Then it’s time for the seam ripper to come out – it can be a life saver!
- Tailor’s chalk — Tailor’s chalk is the tried and tested way to mark fabric while you’re busy with your project. It’s easy to apply and to remove, but you can also use water soluble pens and pencils if you prefer. Get more than one colour — for example, blue and white — in order for you to be able to mark both light and dark fabrics.
- Muslin fabric — Once you start your larger projects, you may want to test a pattern before using your “real” fabric to make the pattern. Muslin is an inexpensive, plain fabric that is used for this.
- Thread in basic colors — It’s handy to always have the basic black, white, grey, and primary colours at your disposal. They’re also handy while you’re still learning all the ins and outs of your sewing machine and its stitches so you don’t use all your project’s thread!
A sewing machine
Unless you really want to stitch everything by hand and not just do decorative stitching, for example, a basic sewing machine is a good investment. This is especially true if you’re planning on making curtains and other large projects.
Now, you don’t even have to look at the $500 and up models for when you’re just starting. The models that are perfect for beginners cost approximately $100-$150 brand new and will be able to do all the stitching that you’ll require.
Make sure to get an extra packet of needles when you buy your machine – there are few things as irritating as having a needle break and not having a spare one handy to finish the project!
Fabric and thread
While you probably want to jump onto a website like fabric.com and buy all the beautiful fabric you see, it’s best to go to a brick-and-mortar store, at least when you’re still a beginner. When you do this, you can get personal attention and have all your fabric questions answered. The store staff will also be able to guide you to choose the correct fabric for the project – not to mention buying enough fabric for the project. After all, the last thing you want is for your project to be a flop simply because you chose the wrong fabric or bought just a few inches to little! There will also be patterns, thread, trims, and everything else you need for projects.
Rather than grabbing just any pattern off Pinterest, make sure that the pattern is from a trusted source. This will also help to ensure that your project is a success, as the pattern would have been properly tested and you can be sure that all the measurements, etc. are correct.
Some trusted pattern producers that have been around for decades are McCall’s and Butterick. Also, be sure to check out blogs for the many amazing indie designers out there!
Especially when it comes to cutting out patterns, you will need quite a large flat and clean area to work on, for instance, a dining room table. You will also need ample room while stitching together the different pattern pieces. Choose a table and chair where you can sit comfortably, neither stretching too much nor slumping.
If you do choose the dining room or kitchen table, make sure it’s completely free of any greasy spots, toddler’s sticky hands or coffee spills as you don’t want any stains on your fabric!
Good light is also very important. If your work area doesn’t have good overhead lighting, bring in a desk lamp or two and angle them to give you the best light possible.