Sewing Tricks for Beginners

Just because you are a beginner sewist doesn't mean that you have to settle for amateurish garments. As a beginner, I found that it's the little touches that make all the difference in how polished and expensive a handmade garment looks

I made this purple satin blouse not long after I had returned to sewing. It was inspired by a runway design and I found a comparable fabric in an inexpensive but pretty polyester fabric. I was careful in making and pressing the blouse, but not quite skilled enough with my sewing machine to manage understitching the facing or topstitching the cuffs with a good result. Instead, I put the handsewing skills I had learned as a Girl Scout to work.

The facing was narrow and the front bow kept pulling it to the outside of the blouse. Rather than understitch, which, in my opinion always has dubious results

Hand-finished facing.

anyway, I opted to turn the facing under and handstitch it down. Normally, this would not work for a neck facing, but in this case I was very careful to pick up only the smallest thread for minimum show-through to the front, and the bow covered the stitching. If the bow did slide to reveal the stitching, it looked like a hand-picked couture touch.

The inside of the cuff is

I also opted to handstitch the inside of the cuff, rather than topstitch per the pattern instructions. I think the result was much prettier and made the blouse feel extra fancy.

In addition, I bought special faceted buttons for the blouse. Nice buttons can make all the difference in taking a garment from so-so to gorgeous. I also like to collect vintage buttons, so that I am adding something beautiful and unusual to my project.

A pretty button makes a big difference.

If you are a beginnner, I urge you to make what you love. If you love the fabric and the pattern, you will be more willing to take the time and care that a garment you will keep forever needs. I always recommend taking on an inspiring challenge as I did with this blouse over a traditional "beginner" project. You will learn and develop creative solutions and with a few tricks like these, get a nice result that you will be proud to sport!

For beginner sewing projects, publications and more, check out the fab sale in the Sew Daily Shop.

Do you have any tricks you would like to share with your fellow sewists? Let us know on the Sew Daily blog.

Happy stitching! 



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Sewing for Beginners

About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

3 thoughts on “Sewing Tricks for Beginners

  1. I have been making my own clothes for over 40 years, There are 2 things that I have done in the past that come to mind immediately. I like making things from stretch velour. I couldn’t find ribbing for a dress and a top because they were an unusual color. So I made my own. For the top I knitted the ribbing. It was very easy to find matching yarn and, although my knitting skills are very basic , knitting a ribbing is easy and quick.
    The dress was a little bit more involved. I decided on how much “cuff” length I wanted, doubled the amount, added seam allowance. Then for the width of the cuff I added about 4 or 5 inches to my wrist measurement, plus seam allowance. Folded it in half for the length of the “cuff”. Then I sewed a casing for 4 strips of 1/4″ elastic. The elastic was cut 1″ larger than my wrist size. (Do make sure it will go over your hand easily.) Run the elastic through the casing, anchor, stitch up the seam, then add just like you would ribbing to a sweatshirt.
    I received many compliments on how attractive they were.