Sewing 101- The Basics

I tend to spend some time in the morning or after kiddo is in bed scrolling Instagram. I love looking at projects and seeing how others are practicing their craft or just silly photos of cats. It is good therapy.

Tonight’s mindless therapy landed me on a photo of a dress with a red X and a rather heartfelt post of not feeling like they had skills or the ability to finish a project.

I am not huge on commenting on others’ posts but I felt like a reply was in order. But in the end, I realized any comment would be a novel. So why not break down some basics? I am sure they were not alone. Besides, why make your own mistakes when you can learn from mine?

I will be honest I am lucky I have a mother who can sew. I grew up with wonderful homemade costumes, and when I was ready I was taught to read patterns and sew little projects. I eventually made my own costumes and then ended up in school for theater learning costuming. I kept sewing on my own well after college making costumes and teaching others.

I am by no means an expert or have advanced skills. But I can turn out something wearable and with all my fingers still attached. With that, I also turn out full fails. Things that I straight up stuffed up. I can’t for my life sew pants. Honestly, I have one pair I have made with supervision. Like someone cut, pinned and said sew this line that line and you get pants.

Where to start?

Gather some resources, take a few classes and then practice your heart out.


I suggest the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing Amazon has it for under 5 bucks used. This book was one of the first books I got when I was trying to puzzle out gussets.

Pinterest is full of sewing tips and tricks. My Pinterest has a sewing resource board you can check out.

Youtube is my go-to for learning new hand stitching. Or when I need to see how to do something.


Classes can be found in your local community rec center, fabric stores or community college. I know youtube also offers a tutorial approach if you can’t find a class.

If you buy a sewing machine new they often offer a class. TAKE IT. I learned tons when I got my serger from the little class.

Go find a Laural, ask them to teach you or show up to A &S.


For real go buy some super cheap fabric and just go to town. Pillow Cases are good for learning to sew a straight line. A basic blanket, sew two pieces of fabric together, even the tie ones make you learn to measure cut and just handle fabric.

Get the “I could mend that” pile out too, work on sewing on buttons. Fix little rips. Take garments apart, see how they go together. Play with your clothing add a ruffle here a bow there.

Also, touch all the fabric! The more you feel the more you know the better you can pick out what you need.

Sewing, like any skill, the more you do make and mess up the better and better you get.

Next up the Mockup or how to get something to work.

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