Sewing encouragement for beginners from the pros

What beginner doesn’t need a little sewing encouragement? I know when I first started seriously sewing, I needed a whole lotta hand holding. I distinctly remember Diana Rupp and Sandra Betzina’s books and videos giving me the cheerleading that got me through so much frustration.

Here’s the deal: There’s a lot to know when it comes to sewing! And if you try and learn all at once, you’re bound to feel the burn of overwhelm and defeat.

I reached out to several pros in the wider sewing world and asked them one question: What sewing encouragement do you have for a beginner?

Because they’re awesome people, they kindly responded. I hope you find their words to be the push that gets you through that next bad zipper that gives you fits. Let’s dive into what they said!

one woman teaching another woman to sew with a sewing machine
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Meg Healy on embracing enthusiasm as a beginner

profile pic of Meg Healy

I think when you’re learning to sew you have a lot of “I just made fire!!!!!” kind of moments.

“Wait, I can make make my own clothes????!!!”

“I just made a pair of JEANS!!!!!!” etc.

That excitement can really push you through a lot of tough moments. Meg Healy reminds us of that:

If you love it that’s all that matters!

Meg Healy
Lead educator, Burdastyle
Co-host of Sew&Tell Podcast

When you love it and remember that you love it, you’ll keep pushing on for sure.

Sandra Betzina on fitting & ripping work out

Sandra Betzina profile pic

As I already said Sandra Betzina for me has been one of those teachers who cut through all the noise and kept me going. She’s one of the most intellectually generous people, and her warmth and humor have taught me so much. I’m not gonna lie, I had a legit fangirl moment when this gem popped up in my inbox:

Be  honest about your measurements and don’t freak out when you see the pattern size. These sizes have no relation to ready to wear.  Don’t get discouraged when you have to rip something out. This is part of the process. I have been sewing for years and I still rip things out. Have fun with sewing.  Your end result does not have to be perfect. Trust me no one will notice, unless you tell them, which you should not do.

Sandra Betzina
Author of many sewing books, Power Sewing DVDs, host of the Power Sewing web-tv show, Vogue Patterns designer under the Today’s Fit line

What sewing encouragement can we gain here?

  • When you sew, what you make is YOU-sized
  • You + your seam ripper =a regular thing
  • Having to rip something out isn’t a reflection on your skills, it just means you have to try again.

The Fold Line ladies on sewing satisfaction and starting small

Profile pic of Kate and Rachel of The Fold Line

Rachel and Kate of The Fold Line had a lot to say about the joy a sewing beginner realizes as well as some pointers for starting easy.

Sewing is a fantastic hobby and being able to make your own clothes is really satisfying. It enables you to create a unique and personal style with clothes that really fit. There is nothing better than when a friend asks you ‘where did you get that dress from?’ and you can proudly say ‘I made it!’ 

Starting any new hobby can be overwhelming though. We would always recommend choosing a simple sewing pattern for your first project and have out together a list of beginner friendly options here. Also the sewing community is full of friendly people who love to chat about sewing and go fabric shopping so make sure to join your local group.

Rachel & Kate
Owners of The Fold Line online sewing community

I love it! Find joy in the possibilities and the realization that you can make just what you want to wear. Find sewing buddies to help you along the way and give you advice when you get stuck.

And start small so that you can have success when you’re learning the ropes.

Learn more about the benefits of creative handcrafts.

Melissa Mora on mistakes

profile pic of Melissa Mora

Melissa Mora of Melly Sews and Blank Slate Patterns had this to say about mistakes:

I’d say make lots of mistakes – they’re the best way to learn.

Melissa Mora
Owner of Melly Sews and designer behind Blank Slate Patterns

Failure is part of the process. The sooner you embrace that fact, and you can learn to move past your sewing failures, the faster you will learn.

True: Your first few garments will be terrible. But pay attention, and every single one will get a little bit less bad than the last.

Eryn Shields’ sewing encouragement on shooting for quality

Eryn Shields profile pic

Eryn Shields, the face behind Style Sew Me wants you to not get bogged down in how long your sewing process takes. Here’s what she has to say:

My advice to beginners to enjoy the process and don’t obsess over how fast you finish. When you take the time to learn the pieces and techniques that go into a project, practice, and take your time. The end result will be much better quality. Quality first, speed second.

Eryn Shields
Sewing blogger and pattern designer at Style Sew Me

If you’ve ever seen those memes about the hilarity of “1 hour sewing patterns”, you totally understand this!

So much of learning to sew is teaching your hands the feel of the fabric under the machine. It takes time and practice to develop the finer points of that.

Do the best with the skills that you have right this moment and keep on growing. One day that “1 hour pattern” will take you 30 minutes!

If you’re just getting started, try working one projects with straight line sewing like this 7-minute DIY zipper bag.

next page graphic with spool of thread

8 thoughts on “Sewing encouragement for beginners from the pros”

  1. Madeline Rodriguez

    I am trying to get back into sewing after many years. This article has helped me get the courage to jump in! I think I will try something easy to start off! Thanks

    1. I’m so glad to hear that Madeline. Go for it! I think if you can have those small successes, you’ll keep building your skills back up and be more and more encouraged to keep going!

  2. I started making my own clothes about five years ago. I learned so much form sewing books but also reviews from other sewists as well as youtube. With every garment I learn something new. It’s just like traveling around: you see so much new sights.

    1. 5 years Sonja???? Wow–you’ve learned an impressive amount in that time to be able to make the beautiful garments you make with the precision that you do! You bring up a great point that looking and paying attention to what others are doing really helps you grow in your own learning.

  3. Can I geek out for a moment that A. you invited me to contribute and B. that I’m in the company of these sewing POWERHOUSES!

    Okay, geeking out completed. 🙂

    What a wonderful article that is so positive and encouraging. No matter the skill level, we can ALL use this reminder!

  4. This was wonderful. I saved it for future reads. I have over the years allowed procrastination and fear of messing up stop me from going forward. I am a very long time beginner. Thank you for including a variety of seamstresses! I’m making a mess of my first real “solo” garment but I’ve learned so much.

    Thanks for doing this. Also, social media is a blessing and a curse because we (I should say me) 🙂 compare ourselves even if indirectly. Thanks so much for doing this!! 🙂

    1. I’m so glad this was encouraging to you JC! You are not alone on the social media comparing trap–it can be a place where you can use what you see to learn or it can just as easily send you down a shame spiral. The more we can encourage each other to keep going and keep learning the better. Good luck as you’re finishing your first real garment–it’s such an accomplishment, and I promise you if you keep at it, a year from now, you’ll look back at it and be able to see how much you’ve grown as a sewist!

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