Sewing encouragement for beginners from the pros

Lauren Guthrie on going easy on yourself

Lauren Guthrie profile pic

Lauren Guthrie of Guthrie and Ghani and The Great British Sewing Bee says it’s okay to accept that perfection is not an overnight thing in your sewing. Her sewing encouragement is this:

My advice for someone who is a beginner dressmaker would be to just go for it and don’t be afraid to make a mistake. As adults we can be really hard on ourselves and expect ourselves to be perfect at something right away. Just enjoy the process, learn from any mistakes and keep practising!

Lauren Guthrie
Owner of fabric emporium and sewing school Guthrie and Ghani and finalist on The Great British Sewing Bee, series 1

If there’s one thing I learned from The Great British Sewing Bee and Lauren and all of her lovely castmates, it’s that a cup of tea and the sympathy of friends goes a long way in soothing an annoyed heart.

The next time you find yourself in a place of having to use your faithful seam ripper, take a break. I highly recommend a cup of tea with that break. If you have a sewing buddy you can vent to over that stupid fly front zipper or whatever it is, even better. No doubt, you’ll come back fresher and ready to fix what’s wrong.

Colleen G Lea on being proud of your work

Colleen G Lea profile pic

Colleen G Lea of Fashion Sewing Blog TV is a fountain of sewing knowledge. She has this to say to the beginning sewist:

Be proud of every project that you sew, the magic will happen when you least expect it.

Colleen G Lea
Certified fashion design lecturer, Youtuber #fsbtv, love to design my own patterns, business professional and influencer

The magic Colleen speaks of here that happens when everything goes right in your sewing is not something you can force. Be diligent as you learn the basics, hone your craft, and keep sewing all the things. One day, you’ll look up from your work and realize that you’ve just made something truly spectacular.

Until that day, take pride in everything that’s going right at that moment. Maybe your zip is crooked, but doggone, you matched seam intersections in your dress like it was nothing–enjoy that!!!

Amy of Almond Rock on looking past imperfection

Amy of Almond Rock Sewing profile pic

Amy of Almond Rock and the editor of Love Sewing Magazine has one of the best analogies I’ve ever seen for looking past your imperfections in your sewing. Here’s what she has to say:

Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t like your first few makes or aren’t happy with your sewing. You’re experimenting! If it goes a bit wrong then the worst that happened is you wasted some fabric… but you will have learnt something in the process. No one complains if a cake has wonky layers, so be proud of yourself and your wonky seams.

Editor of Love Sewing Magazine

“I’m not going to eat that crooked cake.”

Said no one ever.

If wonky cake is as delicious as it is a little off, so it is with those squiffy seams we’ve all at some point sewn. Enjoy wearing them. The next ones will get better!

Helen Wilkinson on enjoying the ride

Helen Wilkinson profile pic

Helen Wilkinson of Helen’s Closet and the Love to Sew podcast has this to say about enjoying where you’re at in your sewing learning:

My biggest tip is: enjoy starting! We can get so focused on the finish line, but in reality, there isn’t one! There isn’t a ‘final’ version of yourself that is an expert at sewing and is 100% confident in making anything. Enjoy the beginning stages of your sewing journey and embrace the mistakes and the fails. It is all part of the experience! 

Helen Wilkinson
Sewing pattern designer, blogger, @Helen’s Closet and one half of the Love to Sew Podcast

I think a lot of times as beginners it’s easy to get jealous of other people further on down the road. But to echo what many have said here, you only get to the point of making truly noteworthy garments by first starting at zero.

To enjoy right where you’re at, to say, that’s too much for me today, but I’ll try it tomorrow–that is a big key to your sewing learning success.

Anita Morris on the fear of failure

Anita Morris profile pic

And finally, Anita Morris, the dear face of Anita by Design and champion of all beginner sewists out there wants you to stop it with this fear thing:

The ONE thing I would say to a beginning sewist is: Don’t be afraid of mistakes! Sometimes beginners allow fear of mistakes to prevent them from trying. Fear of messing up fabric or creating a garment they classify as a “FAIL” is probably the #1 reason beginners become paralyzed in the learning process.

Remember this: Mistakes are your BEST teachers!

They teach you what not to do and provide you with experience. There are no complete fails when you’re learning something new. Each time you try, there’s a lesson learned. Even if the project doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped, an opportunity to practice both old and new techniques is winning. So pull that fabric out and GET TO SEWING!!!

Anita Morris
Sewing blogger, sewing teacher at Anita by Design

If you keep thinking you’re going to mess up, that’s exactly what you’re going to do! Overcoming your fear starts with starting up your sewing machine.

Looking for more sewing advice? Here’s 7 pieces of sewing advice that totally transformed my creativity. And if you find that all your sewing projects end up as unfinished objects, here’s 5 steps to conquer your sewing UFOs.

So, I hope all these folks inspired you to keep going, learning, and growing in your sewing journey. Let me know if the comments, what’s the one piece of sewing encouragement that’s been the game changer for you.

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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