Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sewing for Beginners..

A few girls have asked some sewing questions, so here is my attempt at answering them...

Q: What do you need to start sewing?

A: - A sewing machine (obviously!) Find a cheap one at a garage sale/ebay etc and see if you like sewing before splashing out on an expensive model.

- A good, sharp pair of fabric scissors. Hide them. Seriously. I have had so many pairs ruined by my well meaning husband who feels like cutting paper, plastic and pizza. (yes, really.)

- A tape measure. With both centimetres and inches. A cheap one will do fine.

- Some dressmakers pins. Any will do. I prefer the metal headed ones, simply because you can iron over them without melting the plastic heads.

-A collection of threads. Don't worry about really expensive ones at the start. You're just learning.


Q: Is sewing vintage patterns different from sewing modern patterns?

A: Yes! Very. Especially older, 40's era patterns. Often they will be "unprinted" - meaning there's no markings on the tissue pieces. Don't start on one of these!

Another difference is that vintage patterns sometime assume you know exactly what you're doing. For example, instead of showing you how to sew in a zip, the instructions will say:"Insert the zip." Not very helpful if you're just starting out.

Vintage patterns are also sized differently. A size 18 in 1952 will be very different to a modern 18. Always check the back of the pattern envelope for the waist, bust and hip measurements.

Q: What fabrics do I use?

A:It's totally up to you. But use your common sense - if you're making a light, floaty dress, don't use suiting wool. A good way to save money is to use old bedsheets when you're learning- they're cheap and lightweight and have cute patterns.

Hopefully that will help some of you start your own projects. I also recommend borrowing a basic sewing techniques book from your local library. That way, you can always look up new ideas.

Happy Sewing!


  1. I just found your blog and love it!!! You are so pretty and stylish, and as a retro-obsessed girl I'm completely in love with your pictures. You look just like a pin-up girl from the '40s!

    I love sewing too and often buy vintage patterns off ebay but, like you said, some are easier than others. I like your bedsheet idea -- will try that soon.

  2. Thank you so much! This is great :)

  3. Thanks for the info and a little confidence to those of us unknowing ladies. I would love it if you would start a series like maybe once a week with new pointers for new sewers like me...? No pressure. Just thought it could be fun! Thanks again!


Thanks for your comments!