Ican’t quite believe that Sew You Can is approaching it’s first birthday, time flies when you are having fun. I have loved every second of teaching sewing and growing this little business. One of the things I think I have heard most in the past year is people telling me that have had a sewing machine for years but never used it, or they have wanted to learn to sew for such a long time and have never got around to it. I say, what are you waiting on! Go for it! So, I thought it might be helpful to share my top tips for beginners in a blog post! 

1. Actually start, what’s the worst that can happen??

I quiet often say, it’s just sewing bits of fabric together, it’s not life or death! That might sound a bit harsh, I realise starting something new is daunting, but when you strip it back, if you have a go, and decide, that didn’t work or, or that’s just not the hobby for me, that’s ok! You tried, you didn’t like it, that’s ok! But, to be honest, I’m sure you’ll love it. 

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     2. Start with my favourite fabric – COTTON!

It's no secret, I love fabric! There are some stunning fabrics out there, beautiful sateen, drapey viscose, jersey, French terry... the list goes on, but step away! Start with your old friend, cotton. Cotton is stable, it is reliable. It won't slip and slide and stress you out. It won't stretch out of shape and give you nightmares! Cotton is widely available and affordable. I completely understand that for your first sewing project you don't want to spend a fortune on fabric when things might not go to plan. Quality 100% cotton is available from as little as £3 per 1/2 metre. Also, don't overlook what you already have. Start out by practicing on old bedding you no longer need, or try places like R:Volve or charity shops. Try to avoid anything polyester or ppolycotton, environmentally it is not the best, and you will get much better results working with 100% cotton. 

3. Be realistic, your first project isn’t going to be your wedding dress. 

I am all for ambitious sewing, 100%. Believe in yourself, there is nothing you can’t sew…… eventually! I love a goal. Maybe you want to learn to sew because you can never get swimwear to fit properly, or maybe you can just never find the perfect pair of trousers. You can definitely sew these things to suit your body shape perfectly, eventually. But, start with quick, simple projects. Things like drawstring bags, tote bags, scrunchies, aprons, a simple skirt with an elasticated waist, kids clothes…. the list goes on. All straightforward sews that don’t take too long and can be made from your old friend cotton! Learning to sew is a lot about confidence and these quick sews will give you a relatively quick feeling of success which is a brilliant confidence booster!

4. Ask for help if you need it.

There is honestly no such thing as a silly question, if you need help ask. People often feel a bit silly when they can’t get there head around something they feel should be straightforward, something they see others doing like its second nature. You might get confused threading your machine or filling your bobbin and think, ‘I’ll never get the hang of this.’ But, don’t think like this. Think of it this way. You get in your car and drive, its second nature to you now. You can reverse park, drive on the motorway, negotiate a roundabout without a second thought, but remember that first driving lesson? Perhaps in an industrial estate, hardly out of second gear stalling every two minutes, probably thinking I’ll never be able to do this. It is the same with sewing. All these things will very soon be second nature to you, it just take practice. So, don’t be afraid to ask, get the help you need to over come the obstacles and make progress. The sewing community is lovely. These so much help and encouragement out there. I promise if you come to one of our classes you will be welcomed and encouraged by everyone, but even if you are puzzling it out at home you will find so much support out there. There are fantastic you tube channels and blogs as well as brilliant beginner friendly tutorials on Pinterest.

5. Enjoy 

Quite possibly the most important of all my tips, enjoy! Remember you are doing this because you want to. It’s your me time, your mindfulness or escape. Relax and enjoy it. Don’t stress if something doesn’t work out, make a cup of tea and try again. Reach out to people within the sewing community and get help either in person at classes or online. Expect to make mistakes, it is all part of the learning process, we all do it and its OK. 

Hopefully that is just the encouragement you need to get started. Just remember it’s just sewing two bits of fabric together, give it a go, what’s the worst that can happen! If you are still feeling a little nervous, we are here to hold you hand! Come along to one of our Beginner Sewing Classes, we promise you'll be full of confidence by the time you finish! 

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