Guest post: Tilly’s Top Tips for Starting Sewing

Tilly and the Buttons

So you want to learn to sew. Great idea! Making your own clothes allows you to define your own style and explore your creative side, all from the comfort of your own home. You can make sewing as easy or as difficult as you like, and it doesn’t take long to start making clothing that you’ll love to wear.

Here are my top 5 tips for starting sewing:

1. Get to know your machine

Making the effort to get to grips with just a few simple functions of your sewing machine will set you up for a whole world of exciting projects. Practise threading until you can do it with your eyes closed, learn to stitch straight lines, curves and corners, and you’ll be ready to create all sorts of gorgeous outfits.

2. Start simple

For your first project, start simple and avoid anything fiddly such as gathering, zips or buttonholes. I designed the Miette wraparound skirt pattern  as the perfect first garment for beginners – it’s simple to sew, easy to fit and has photo tutorials to show you every step.

3. Be creative

Think of a sewing project as a blank canvas onto which you can add your own design flourishes. Picture how it would look in different fabrics, try embellishing with buttons or ribbon, or even making simple alterations such as changing the hem or sleeve length – the only limit is your imagination!

4. Make time

I love the rare occasion when I get a whole day with my sewing machine but in reality that hardly ever happens. Don’t let being ‘busy’ stop you from getting creative. If you can spend 30 minutes sewing in the morning before work or in the evening before bed, you’ll have a finished project sooner than you think. Setting aside time to make something with your own hands can make a world of difference to your wellbeing.

5. Make mistakes

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you mess something up really badly you can usually fix it by unpicking the stitches with a seam ripper. Or if it doesn’t look that bad, don’t sweat it – life’s too short to worry about a wonky seam. Wear your homemade outfit with pride – you made it yourself!

For more sewing tips, tutorials, and DIY dressmaking projects that are stylish and simple to use, check out my blog and follow me on Twitter @TillyButtons.

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